It's a new year so I have to start a new novel. I hesitated mostly because I thought doing A215 was enough with the OCA course, but I've realised that the more I write, the more I can write, so I've pledged myself to write 1000 words a day for 100 days and put a first draft together (even if I have to get up in the night to do it). Interestingly, I have a beginning, middle and an end, for a change, up front. I've noticed a difference already in my writing, my first drafts are better, and I'm more confident doing massive edits, sweeping the story around, sorting it out.
My story is set in a bed and breakfast establishment, run by the last of a family living in an old house (a bit like our house), trying to make a living. The owner of the house is slowly revealed by the people who stay there, whose stories wind through the book. That's the present story anyway, but knowing how much the last one changed it may not be anything like the final draft!
I've also been wrestling with whether to do an MA. I know someone who did one, and frankly, although her work is polished and cleverly written, I couldn't imagine it going further. So I found an old copy of her MA groups anthology, which is wonderful, very varied. Even her piece in it is rich and warm and full of promise. I would like to end up writing at that standard, which, objectively I know is better than mine but not unreachably so. I want to push my writing, not because I must be published, but because I want to take it as far as it will go. Ultimately, an MA will help me teach - I enjoy building people's confidence and skills almost as much as I enjoy honing mine.
One thing I have realised in the last few weeks. It's impossible to have a written voice amongst the noisy voices of my children. Taking time away from them has been incredibly helpful. Going away for a few months would let me concentrate. It's not as if they need me to listen to them 24/7, just that their words become a blanket of sound over my head. With kids away at college and university and work, I can start to find the silence I need to work.
Oh, and we bought a new printer, and a lovely hifi for the study! Investing in the time I spend in there, in the work that I do. I feel like a grown up writer now.