Gosh, that sounds like the title of one of those really insightful writer’s manuals, doesn’t it? Well, I have news for you; it may even be true. I had to go to Sweden last week for work (roolly, troolly) and I had high hopes of writing my story for the Nothing But Flowers anthology being released on Valentine’s Day while I was away. Well, I had forgotten how badly the jetlag can hit you when you fly literally half-way around the world. It’s the 10-hour time difference that’s the killer.
My old body hasn’t travelled overseas since 2004, so it’s had no opportunity to practise the kind of shock you enter when trying to adjust to a half-day’s difference. Needless to say I got no writing done while I was away – I was too busy trying to stay awake for my meetings. Fortunately I had the threads of the story just about knitted together before I left, even managing to write about half of the first draft before I flew out last Saturday. I arrived home yesterday morning and, after a couple of nanna naps, managed to spark up enough last night to bash out the rest of the first draft, edit it and send it out for beta reading. The story had been percolating in my mind for a few weeks, which always helps the initial drafting process (this is the real key, not the jetlag!)
My Chinese Whisperings alumni, Chris Chartrand and Rob Diaz II, kindly read/edited the 1500w story for me, as did my better half. I worked on it some more this morning before work and again this evening, before finally submitting the finished piece at 9pm. It’s a sad story, which I don’t usually write – mine are usually pretty fast-paced and have a dash of humour – so I am left wondering whether being in a hazy, jetlagged state contributed to the mood of the story. Having seen editor Jodi Cleghorn‘s glee at receiving a single story with a happy ending, I was left wondering whether I should have tried for a bit of uplifting post-apocolyptic fun. Ah well, perhaps next time!
Don’t forget to tune in to Literary Mix Tapes on Valentine’s Day, where Nothing But Flowers will be published online for 48 hours. After that the collected stories will be available in eBook and paperback formats from eMergent Publishing, the proceeds of which will go to the Queensland flood relief efforts. I hope you will enjoy my story, ‘Grey, Like Stone’, a post-apocalyptic tale of love, set in Canberra and Namadgi National Park.