Like most writers, I imagine, that´s a question I often get asked. So I thought I´d give an update on work in progress here on my blog.
Firstly, I´m producing poems for my second collection... very slowly. I´ve tried to estimate the rate at which I produce poems that I want to keep, and possibly publish, and very approximately it works out at about 10 a year. However, I sometimes write three or four in as many weeks and then go months without writing one. It´s always been like that with me and I never let it bother me: the dreaded writer´s block. Right from when I started writing, I always had the attitude: I don´t have to do this. If the flow dries up, then I don´t write. I´m not sure how I´d feel if the dry period stretched to years rather than months, but I think my attitude probably wouldn´t change.
Now, though, there´s another element in the mix because the work that I´m producing now is also part of my doctorate in creative and critical writing. I need to have sufficient work to meet the requirements by the due date. The terminology makes it sound like accountancy rather than poetry. That was intentional, but I don´t like it much. When I did my MA I had enough ready poems to have submitted my final portfolio even if I hadn´t produced a single new poem. It took the pressure off and in the event I wrote a lot of new poems (at the usual rate, just about). I´m not in that position now, though. I´m trying not to think about it.
And then there´s the new novel, Arthur´s Eventful Weekend. It´s a rather quaint title, I think. One friend asked if it was a children´s book when I told him what it´s called and I can see that it has that kind of tone. It´s about a chap called Arthur, who is telling the story. Over the course of one weekend he goes over his whole life, remembering and taking stock of events and stages that he has passed through. Between those memories, the events of the weekend are unfolding. At the end we learn that something from his past has just resurfaced in his present life and this leads him into a momentous decision. One of the techniques I´ve used in the structure of the narrative is to take events, characters and themes from the Arthurian legends and transpose them into a modern setting and given them a realistic tone. That means they are radically altered from the magical world of the legends, but they are still recognisable.
I´ve just about completed the main part of the writing but I keep tinkering with it
and will probably continue to do so until it´s taken away from me!