Some seasons seem to be hard-wired into us. It’s the start of a new year around here, and while there haven’t been any fireworks (that I’ve noticed), there are plenty of kids in new school uniforms, teenagers forming new cliques, and students filtering into the city for freshers’ week. It’s been some time since I started afresh in a new academic year but that doesn’t seem to stop my mind whirring away as though I was in the midst of major upheaval. Suddenly I have no time for anything: I’ve missed several writing competition deadlines, pulled out of a writing project, and I’m juggling family get-togethers, theatre trips and writing workshops in increasingly squeezed weekends.
Partly it’s lack of organisation (but if I sent an entry to a writing competition two weeks before the deadline, mightn’t I miss out on sending a better story which was already finished but still needed to be forgotten about for a week and redrafted?) but also we’re heading into festival season. Morley, Ilkley and Sheffield are tempting me with their literary delights. There’s a large crossover of guests, but each has something unique to offer, something I know I’d kick myself for missing.
I know someone who’s started an MA in Creative Writing this week. I don’t think I’ll be rushing to follow in his footsteps, but this time of year does make me want to learn new things and begin journeys. I’m reading one non-fiction book, one collection of short stories and a sci-fi novel at the moment, I’ve got 2 almost-written detective novels in my work-in-progress folder, plus a whole host of short stories. I’ve got ideas for collections, new stories, and a series of blog posts floating around. And this is before we mention the time spent exercising and chatting down at the Telegraph Short Story Club. Don’t expect me to know what day it is for a while.