When I did the creative writing course at "Jakan" in Stockholm we did a field trip to Norstedts - one of Sweden's biggest publishing companies. What I remember the most is that the editor who showed us around said that in order to become a writer you need to learn to be alone.
When I was younger being alone was my natural state. (In my early teens I didn't have many friends and spent my time afternoons and evenings doing homework, reading and writing.) I was also alone when I first moved to Stockholm and when I first moved to Brighton and when I lived in Thailand and New Zealand. Durings these spells of loneliness I started or worked intensly on novels.
As I got older and more confident I made more friends, and nowadays I have to force myself to be alone. Brighton is a very sociable place and is great for sparking off your imagination. Brighton is also a great distraction.
This week I did a bit of an experiment. I made squares in my diary when I had time off and put "Lou" in the squares to remind me that this week I'm going to spend time with myself. It proved succesful.
First I had itchy fingers and wanted to text everybody in my address book and suggest beers and on the beach. Then I realised that I'm fully capable of having a beer on the beach on my own. Because it's in my own company, when I create reflection time for myself that I come up with ideas and feel creative. I love sitting on the beach or in a cafe with my notebook and write down random thoughts and allow myself to let my mind wander. Then I go home and transfer some of my thoughts to the computer, seeing if anything could make it into a short story.
The result this week:
*I worked on CLEANING IN LINGERIE - a story for the Bridport Prize
*I wrote a piece called THE ART OF MISSING ROXANNE
*I started a story about my death and loss
*I started a story about a pillow fight
*I worked on a story for the Short Fuse Edge of the Sea festival event
*I worked on a story that was called TOUCH ME LIKE YOU WOULD TOUCH HIM and renamed it. It's now called THE PARTY IS OVER.
Sometimes my scheduled writing time in the morning before I go to the library is not enough. To come up with new ideas I often need evenings and weekend to float about in. The mornings are great for getting on with things, a bit like an office job: right today I'm going to work on this story kind of thing. Whereas evenings and weekends are better for coming up with free ideas and do some wild writing. I have to remind myself not to fill every evening and every weekend with other people. I need to re-learn to be alone.*
*A lot of people who are alone watch TV or do housework. TIP: throw out the TV, ignore the dirt and be creative instead!