I’ve joined Peter M. Ball’s Sunday Circle to help keep my writing on track. Follow along here or join in the fun over at Peter’s blog, Man Versus Bear.

What am I working on this week?

This week I’m still focused on the rediscovered short story and my novel manuscript. I’ve written an ending for the short story and am now in the middle of editing, which is going reasonably well. I’ve come up with a useful rewriting plan for my novel and am in full swing on the second draft, which will entail a lot of new writing as well as editing.

With all the cutting and rewriting that is going on for both projects, I sometimes wonder if I would ever have finished a story, let alone published anything, back in the old days of pen and paper and typewriters. The freedom I have to work and rework a word, a sentence or a phrase by using writing software makes me admire the pre-computer software writers all the more. I am grateful to have tools at my disposal that make rewriting and editing a much more simple process.

What’s inspiring me this week?

This week I watched a video interview with the American writer Cheryl Strayed. I haven’t read any of her books, although I loved the film Wild, but her interview was fantastic. It’s almost 50 minutes, so took a large chunk out of my evening, but it was well worth it. She’s smart, wise, and a deep thinker. One thing she said that really resonated with me was about looking for the depth in your work, and asking yourself the question: what is the story about, what is at its core? Strayed believes that the universal themes that underlie a book’s narrative are what draws readers to a story and makes it resonate with them. That is something that I look for in my own writing, particularly when I feel a piece isn’t working.

If you’re interested, you can find the interview with Cheryl Strayed on Marie Forleo’s youtube channel.

What part of my project am I avoiding?

Not avoiding any writing. I only avoid dishes. I hate doing dishes. If you come and do my dishes for me I’ll bake you some banana bread.