What to write? The short story versus the novel…

I absolutely love writing, but, and I know many die-hard “you will write if you’re a writer” types will descend on me with relish for this statement, it is very difficult to find the time.  When I wrote Worlds Away, it was an absolute labour of love, aided by a long summer holiday for redrafting and promoting, and I am currently penning a sequel.  Am I as inspired as I was with my first book?  Do I enjoy writing as much as I did the first time?  Yes and yes, without hesitation.

What has changed, though, is the amount of actual time I have.  Two young boys and a job that is far more than full-time see to that. Added to that, exam marking, being married, and occasionally speaking to human beings outside my immediate circle all take their lovely toll.

But the lure of writing calls strongly. More than strongly.  I berate myself for putting it so far down the list.

This week, I have enjoyed the rare pleasure that is time away from work.  The days have been spent, of course, enjoying my time with my children, and wonderful days they have been too, but the evenings have been, unashamedly, “me time.”

So, to writing.  For some reason, I’ve found it difficult to be back in the world of my first novel, so I did something I have never done before (don’t ask me why) and I penned a short story.

I know that Stephen King forged his early career in writing and submitting short stories for publication, but I don’t read many (compared to how many novels and plays I read, anyway) so I’ve never written one.  Maybe I believed myself to be unqualified. However, last night, I found myself entering a new level of challenge.  How does one construct a world and believable characters in such a short snapshot?  Please believe me that I do not for one moment think that short = easy.  There is a wonderful art to the short story that I am just starting to appreciate.  The result of around four hours was a half-decent first draft for entry into a writing competition.  It’ll need messing with for the next week or two, but that’s the joy of writing for me: creating something and then perfecting it.  And it’s all mine.  It wouldn’t have existed without me.

I’d love to hear from fellow writers.  Is this the way to fit writing in my life?  Is busy ever too busy to make your mark on the world of writing?

I tried to write something that wasn’t sci-fi, but my mind just doesn’t work that way.  I’m thinking of creating a collection of sci-fi shorts exploring the big themes that interests me.  Will anyone be interested in that?  I have no idea.  Hope so!

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