Scuttling Sideways to Move Forward


I’m not one to believe in astrology though I confess to always reading my horoscope when I see one (in a waiting room or the hairdresser’s) and usually dismissing what it says if I don’t like it, while keeping a pleasing one in the back of my mind for future reference. My sign is Cancer the Crab and I have to admit I do have very crab-like tendencies; I disappear into my shell at the hint of any unpleasant situations as well as when I  need to get away from people and parties. Half an hour is usually my limit, after that nothing tempts me more than a quiet room, a nice cup of green tea and a good book.

My partner would claim I am crabby at times, even crabbit, that lovely Scots word that describes feeling bad-tempered, tired and at the end of your tether.

But I have noticed another crab-like tendency in relation to my writing. Take my last blog – there I was waxing forth about children’s books and writing for children; I wrote down all the ideas that came to mind, looked up the rhyming dictionary for words to rhyme with kangaroo  and sloth (rhymed text seems to be the in thing at the moment) and prepared to produce my children’s picture book.

So what did I actually write? A woman’s story, in fact, two of them. I seem to have stepped sideways away from writing for children and into the world of women’s short stories. Admittedly, the one I finished does have its roots in some of the notes I made for my children’s book but the other one, (which is not going satisfactorily and whose voice I haven’t quite got) came from nowhere. No, I tell a lie; it came from a funny story I read on Facebook when I was supposed to be writing my children’s story.

Does this happen to other writers? Do poets suddenly find themselves writing articles? Novelists writing limericks? Journalists for the broadsheets bursting into the purple prose of romances? Do other writers also take a step along a different avenue, not much travelled, and find themselves in terra incognita?

Or is it just me?

One of the woman’s stories is now sitting on an editor’s desk awaiting judgement while the other is on my desk ready for a hatchet job or a complete rewrite.  And the children’s book? Er… let’s just say it’s still at the draft stage.

As for astrology, the story on the editor’s desk was set around  a certain musical, one song  of which contains the line ‘….this is the dawning of the age of Aquarius….’

Maybe I’ll have a look at today’s horoscope, just in case.

3 thoughts on “Scuttling Sideways to Move Forward

  1. Enjoyed your post, Ann! While I don’t put much store in horoscopes, I do find many people have a tendency to show characteristics of their sign! Maybe we do pick and choose to fit. And yes, I often end up writing in a completely different genre/subject to what I intended!


  2. I recognise this approach to writing, beautifully demonstrated. My question is, did you finish the two ‘left-overs’?

    My version has them lingering a drawer eternally, as I move onto something new.


  3. I had to reread my piece before I remembered it! So much water has flowed under that proverbial bridge in the last 5 years, it seems like a different existence. I remember the one referencing the age of Aquarius which got nowhere but what the other one was, I have no idea.


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