By late afternoon today I was almost levitating with rage and frustration at my inability to write a decent short story. After a dozen false starts, the idea I had confidently sketched out a few weeks ago for an upcoming competition began to twitch and shiver with life, but the gap between the concept and the execution felt insurmountable. I never feel like this (or rarely) when I’m writing my novel, but something about the pressure of a word-limit and a deadline makes the whole exercise seem especially phoney and contrived when writing a s short story. I briefly came to the conclusion that I hate short stories – I hate writing them, and I hate reading them. I hate feeble little conventional realist tales with a twist at the end, and I hate pretentious formal experimentation (both of which I have been guilty of in the past). I hate desperately casting about for the right tone. I hate the immense sensation of futility when writing something you know is substandard that you’re going to enter into a competition that you’re not going to win. Hate.
But then, that’s just today. Tomorrow will be different. And at least I got a first draft finished by this evening.