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Back In The Zone – Thanks Radio Four.

May 17, 2012

An amazing thing happened this week, well yesterday.  I was listening to Mathew Parish on Radio Four, discussing Goya on his programme, Great Minds, when I suddenly felt the urge to write.  Nothing strange you might think, and normally for me it would not be.  However, for the last few weeks I have been so preoccupied with domestic matters I have not been in the right frame of mind. When I have been in the mood I have found myself staring at a blank screen for ages, my creative juices having gone on vacation apparently.

It didn’t worry me, I knew they would come back, but I hadn’t bargained for the urge to write to return in the middle of Mathew’s discussion.  The idea for a story came out of the blue and I had almost the whole story before my computer had (slowly) got its act together.  By the time I had a blank page to stare at, my original idea had grown and I could hardly type fast enough to keep up with the words flowing out of the ether – I am sure that is where it was coming from – The Watchers was writing itself!

Goya had nothing to do with it in case you are thinking I have written a story about the artist or art.  I have no idea where the story came from, I hadn’t been mulling it over for days or intending to write a story anything like it.  The Watchers may been have been inspired subconsciously, I suppose, by a conversation I had with someone weeks ago and which I thought had been filed away  under – ‘One day that would make a great book’ – but suddenly I was writing a story not too far from the experiences we had talked about.

In just over an hour I had written almost 4,000 words of a short story and my original idea had changed way beyond what I had intended.  That is seriously weird.  But not a one-off as I found out about an hour and two cups of tea later.  This time I was listening to a replay of an interview with Dexy’s Midnight Runners – remember ‘Come on Eileen’?  I bet you will be singing it all day now!

I met one of the band, years ago when I had my Music Business hat on, but that is another story for another day perhaps.  Anyway, back to my second seriously weird experience.  As I listened to the interview with the band and their music, another story started to flood into my head.  Nothing to do with the band or their music, but I guess there is a link to the time the band was around which triggered my story.

The Black Bird is based on a conversation I had years ago about someone finding a bird inside their house and their attempts to catch it.  Again as I started to write what I thought would be quite a funny story, something happened and off I went again, the words filling my head as my hands flew over the keys faster than I could type accurately. Lots of editing was needed when I had finished.

After about two hours I had another short story of 4,300 odd words, again it had taken on a life of its own and my original idea had expanded way beyond what I thought it would be.  So, now I have two short stories which I am quite satisfied with, though who knows if they are any good.  That is for someone else to decide.  I am considering submitting The Watchers for another Anthology I have been invited to contribute towards, though it might be a little bit too dark for their cause.  I shall have to wait and see.

The Black Bird is a more humorous story, a little in the style of my God’s Waiting Room series of short observational pieces.  I shall have to think what to do with it, as I am not sure where it would fit.

Now I am looking forward to what is on Radio Four this evening – it will be interesting to see if anything broadcast will put me back in the zone and inspire me, though the way the stories came to me almost complete, was a bit weird.  I have seen it happen when people are song-writing but it has never happened to me before.  I shall have my Radio on this evening and who knows what I might have to tell you about tomorrow.


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  1. annieye permalink

    Come on Eileen reminds me of the day there was a tug of war across the Ise Brook that feeds Wicksteed Park Lake. It was hilarious – the Cheyne Walk side took on the St John’s road side of the brook. It was the ‘best of five’ and both sides got their fair share of soaking. The sun shone, it was a bank holiday, and Dexy’s Midnight Runners were blaring out on the loudspeaker. The song always reminds me of that fun-filled day.

    Congratulations on getting two stories written. I’m the same with my writing – once I get going I can write for hours. I am so grateful I learned to touch-type when I was seventeen.


    • Ann, funny how songs take you back to a time and place – just like smells do. Sounds a wonderful day out and fun too.

      You seem as if you are doing really well with your writing and of course you have the book due out soon which must be so exciting. Is it via Lulu? I did touch-typing at school, short-hand and commerce too…lot of good it has done me. I am the Queen of typos! My hands and brain need to have a chat.



    • I believe I have replied to this Anne but it I haven’t let me know as I am trying to get to grips with the various options offered for responses and seem not to be getting any of them right. I await your response….I do hope you got my reply sent earlier.


      • annieye permalink

        Hi Jane – Just picked it up, but not been online much this weekend. Book will be e-book to start with, on all the main websites, but we are looking into getting copies printed so I can have a local book launch. Won’t be through LULU, though. I wasn’t impressed with the service we got for Telling Tales, especially poor Jo in Australia. I suspect that if you go direct to book printers you get a better deal anyway.


        • Won’t be going near Lulu again either. Good luck with the book and launch, sounds fun. I am still working on various projects which I have to get ready for an agent to view at some point when I am happy with the 3 chapters she wants…I guess I shall need a website at some point but all this tech stuff is doing my head in these days, computer not happy and connection lousy so will navigate those waters a bit later on.


  2. Amazing! Jane, thanks for sharing, I think this is wonderful. I totally believe that writing and inspiration is like this and I am in awe that you wrote 8000 words in one day (I haven’t misunderstood, have? These two stories happened in the same day, right?). That’s amazing, and you must be so proud. Maybe you have a little collection of short stories coming your way by way of inspiration delivered by Radio 4… definitely tune in tonight and see what happens. And keep us posted! XX


    • Ha yes – it is all down to Radio 4, how hip is that! Yep I did it, but then I did write 52,000 for NaNoWriMo in 30 days so once I am in ‘the zone’ there is no stopping me.
      Wonder what the topic will be tonight which sends me off on one… long as it is not Gardner’s Questions, not that I don’t enjoy it, but you know. Also, I have to give The Archers a miss….as soon as the music starts I lose the plot (whoops). How is your writing going? Email me when you are ready with your brains trust….meantime I am trying to get ‘Come on Eileen’ off the tip of my tongue….


    • Nicky, I think I replied to this but then again may be not – must be my age! I did have a tune in and nothing happened, so I shall try again. I had a lot of other stuff on my mind so perhaps that is why. I am thinking of doing a collection of short stories for Epub but the prospect of messing around trying to format it all is a bit off-putting. Thanks for asking. I will update as and when the spirit fills me again.



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