April 2023. Small but difficult steps

My Big Thing this year was The Leg. I’m finally out of the contraption which was holding bones and ligaments together and am now trying to build up strength. It’s depressing how weak my bad leg is after eight weeks of being immobilised and I’m having to undergo intensive physiotherapy just to get me bending and straightening the knee again. What’s this got to do with writing, I hear you ask? Well, it’s just like they say – you need to keep using the creative muscles every day or they waste away and it takes a lot of work to build them up again.

As to that, the Detailed Plan I mentioned last month is slowly and torturously being turned into a Book with even more effort than the physiotherapy. The target of having a completed draft by the end of May is slipping away – I’m now aiming for July. But as with the leg, I’m taking it one day at a time.

However this month I did managed to go on a river cruise of the Seine where I visited Monet’s Garden at Giverny and his famous lilly pond. I was struck by something he said: “It took me a while to understand my water lilies. I had planted them for pleasure; I grew them without thinking of painting them… You do not become imbued with a landscape in one day… Then, all of a sudden, the enchantment of my pond came to me like a revelation. I took my palette… Since, I have had few other models.”

He painted this same subject over 250 times, and these waterlilly paintings are amongst my favourite pieces of art. It’s amazing to think that he did not set out to create them, but stumbled upon them almost as an afterthought. It is worth thinking about this as writers, no? I also recently read that Vincent Van Gogh did not consider becoming a painter until the age of 27. Before that age he’d never tried his hand at it at all. And of course he was dead a mere 10 years later. So the message is this – while it’s important to keep the creative muscles working, don’t force them into action before they’re ready. Maybe it’s best not to plan too assiduously, but to allow yourself to be diverted and to rejoice in the diversions.

My blog this month is the last in my series about crime and thriller writing – this one being my top ten crime writers and their best novel.

Best read of March

This is new addition to the newsletter as I thought it might be fun to tell you about my  favourite read in the preceding thirty days. I read fourteen books in March so it’s a tough call, but this was my favourite. The ten year old narrator has a lovely, memorable voice, and the positivity in her manner, the matter of fact way she narrates her family situation – parents separated, Dad about to marry another man – is truly lovely.

How to write

If taking small steps appeals to you, here is a great book to get you started. It’s all about using mind maps to create ideas. It is a very positive book and talks about how creative intelligence works, reassuring you that everyone can be and is creative, it’s just a case of tapping into it.

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