Sunday morning run on the cycle track through woods.
May is a month that weeps green. Cow parsley and nettles reach my shoulders in places along the path. The smell of wild garlic shouts life, joy, hope, and mingles with the sleazy scent of hawthorn flowers.
This is a path I run often, through all the seasons, and I love it.
The very first short story I had published was born here, about eight years ago. Little Red Running Hood. I entered an online competition run by the wonderful Inktears. The story was commended, and published on their website. I look at the story now with a critical eye, of course. Certainly, I didn’t understand the concept of killing darlings back then. 😁
Still, it was a big step for me, just putting my work out there, and it led, of course to the next step, the next story, and on, and on. Before that had been four years of concerted effort, daily writing without feedback or having any idea what I was doing, and trying to outrun my shyness at sharing stories. And the negatives still lurk in my mind – comparing myself to others, how long it takes me to write anything, the constant balance between being in the real world and not lost in the one(s) in my head, the combination of luck and timing and some other unknowable magic that results in success.
Anyway, today, running through the woods, and remembering how this place inspired the first seeds of that story, I thought of all the writing I’ve done since, all the ideas, the manuscripts started, finished, ongoing. The milestones, the warm and wonderful interactions with other writers. The writers who’ve helped me. The writers I’ve helped. The family I’ve found. All the good stuff.
Perhaps we writers should take stock of all the little steps, and what they amount to, more often, and be kinder to ourselves.
There’s a saying ‘all writing is rewriting’. It’s attributed to many writers – Hemingway, Capote, E B White, and John Green amongst them – so I guess it must be true. But also I think all writing is learning. Learning about yourself, and the world, and the people in it. Learning about the graft of it. The craft of it. The love of it.