LISP 2022 Flash Fiction Finalist 'I Was Planning To Stay Home And Bake Bread' by Claire Schön
- Can you please tell us about you and your daily life?
I have two small children and my daily life is usually spent running around after and with them and trying to be in two places at once. I am also a systemic coach. I try to find time to write every weekday – it doesn’t always work out.
- When and how did you get into writing?
I started writing around the start of the pandemic in 2020. I suddenly had a tiny bit of time, as I wasn’t commuting anymore. I joined free courses run by Writers’ HQ and then took part in their weekly Flash Face Off and became addicted; I didn’t miss a week for nearly two years. I have had more than thirty pieces published now and been long and shortlisted in various competitions since. I won a couple of competitions in 2022, one of them was the Retreat West Pitch competition; I am currently rewriting my novel on the course I won with them.
- How often do you write? Do you have a writing routine? And what inspires you to write?
I try to write every weekday morning, but things get in the way (sick kids, sick me, sick of too many other things crowding my time). I really need a block of time to write; I am not good at grabbing 20 minutes here and there. I like to write about small moments that have great meaning – these are often inspired by something my kids will say. I also like to write about injustice and how what we are born into often dictates our path in life. I started out writing comedy, but it has turned a little dark recently.
- How does it feel to have your work recognised?
I really need recognition to keep me going. I love writing because I like to work away at something on my own, but I need to feel that there is life out there and that what I am writing makes sense to someone. Working on my novel has been hard because I am trying to be strict with myself and limit the competition entries and participation in anything else, which means less feedback.
- What's the best thing and the most challenging thing about writing a Story?
For me the most challenging is the editing. I know some people love editing, but I hate it. I love it when the idea floods me and spills out onto the page – I don’t like wading through the murky waters of improvement.
- How did you develop the idea for your LISP-selected story? Is there a story behind your story? And, how long have you been working on it?
I wrote a version for a prompt for a circus themed competition but didn’t like it and never did anything with it. Then a prompt came up for FFO at Writers’ HQ and I decided to revive it. I was also having one of those days and felt like running away with the circus. The story is about having enough of life, escaping and being enough.
- Can you please give us a few tips about writing a Story?
If an idea comes to you or a character starts speaking to you, write it all down wherever you can and then do something with it as soon as you can. Don’t rely on memory.
Don’t get rid of anything either; you might be able to revive it later with more input.
If you have time, get a couple of other writers to review it and give you feedback – I feel this has always improved my stories, and I am very grateful for my writing community.
- What's the best thing and the most challenging thing about competitions?
The best thing is the deadlines. We’re mostly sitting on our own, driving ourselves mad with our words – deadlines make us work towards a finish and send them out there. The challenge is the wait – you might tell yourself you’re not, but you’re waiting – and hoping.
- Lastly, do you recommend the writers submit their stories to LISP?
Yes, I am preparing a story now for the next flash competition.