Another Tuesday dawns… probably quite literally as this post is published (I’m scheduling it for 7am) unless, of course, the world has been swallowed up overnight by our evil alien overlords.
Aaaaaaanyway, it’s time for ‘What I’m Writing’! Chrissie is hosting this week so if you’re looking to link up please head over to Muddled Manuscript. There’s a fresh pot of tea on, and I’m pretty sure I heard something about biscuits…
So, to business! What have I been writing this week? Well, again I didn’t have much time (this last month has been manic) but I did manage a piece of flash fiction to link up to #ThePrompt last Friday. And that was on such a sad subject that I then asked the boys to set me a limerick challenge just to cheer things up! Apart from that I’ve spent a bit of time tinkering about with my picture books and that was it.
BUT NO, WAIT! I did do something significant! I submitted my first picture book manuscript to an agent! I know it’s not the world’s most amazing news but it’s one of those little things that feels quite big. I’ve put myself out there. Although I’ve submitted work to publications and competitions before I’ve never sent anything to an agent, so this is new territory. This is also the most passionate I’ve felt about any submission I’ve made. This little book matters to me. So yes. There you have it. Eeeek.
This week is set to be a quieter one so I’m looking forward to spending some time on my latest picture book. I’m also planning on doing a bit more blog-surfing for poetry and prose for my first Brit Mums post in early December. I’ve already got my eye on some (last week’s Prompt was full of fab pieces) and it should be fun to hunt out more.
I’m also going to spend some quality time with my family. I have a hunch my husband is rather sick of the sight of the back of my laptop and the sound of me tap tapping away! So we’re planning a trip to the cinema and out for a meal. We used to go to the cinema (just the two of us) a lot but since having kids it’s something that happens so rarely I tend to get very excited about it. Wheeeee!
Last week I wrote about being in a spin with everything going on in my life: about all the things I wanted to write and the decisions I needed to make. The rest of the week I suffered a classic case of writer’s block. The words just weren’t flowing. It was incredibly frustrating, especially as I wasn’t lacking inspiration, just the ability to get the words out!
I got to the weekend and decided something needed to be done. So I wrote a list (ah, lists – love ‘em!) of all the non-writing things I needed to get done and then managed to get a lot of the little tasks ticked off. That calmed the spin-cycle in my head down a bit and I realised I desperately needed to focus more. So I thought I’d set myself just one writing task and ignore all others… and I’m now in the process of writing my second children’s book!
I made this my focus on the back of people’s advice on my post last week (you were all incredibly helpful, thank you!) I’ve decided I’m going to try and get an agent for my picture book and I think I’m going to be a much more interesting proposition for an agent if I have more than one piece of work to show them. Also, when I actually paid attention to my thoughts (rather than just being in a flap saying ‘I want to do ALL THE THINGS!’) I realised that a second book was actually what I WANTED to focus on. I had an idea and I was itching to write it – everything else could wait.
I’ve realised that as much as I love writing something every week (or most weeks) for #ThePrompt and #Prose4T - and more recently #FridayFiction and the #WonderfulWorldofWriting it’s also a huge creative commitment. It’s a fantastic thing to do in terms of pushing me on, developing my writing and being part of an online community but I feel I’ve reached a point where something’s got to give. I can’t write a novel and two picture books and a blog and poetry and flash fiction and also research literary agents (alongside three kids and work commitments) every week. I need to prioritise.
So, I’ve made a decision: no blogging between this post and next Tuesday’s post. And no writing other things either; this week is for writing and editing my picture books, and for researching agents. Full stop.
I’m really excited to tell you about a new linky I’m (jointly) starting next week. It’s called ‘What I’m Writing’ and it’s for all you fellow writers, poets and bloggers out there.
Regular readers will know that I love writing. I also love writing about writing and this blog is full of posts about writing challenges I’ve set myself, my aspirations, moments of self-doubt, successes and knock-backs. If it’s about writing and I’m thinking it, then it’s usually here.
I also love reading about other people’s writing, whether it’s to feel inspired by their success or to read about their doubts and moments of writer’s block and think ‘Phew, it’s not just me!’ And I like to be a supportive commenter, in fact that’s one of the most important things about blogging to me – the community.
In all these things I know I am not alone – pondering and procrastinating seems to be part of being a writer!
So with all of this in mind, Chrissie from Muddled Manuscript and I have decided to start our ‘What I’m Writing’ linky to share all these sorts of posts. We hope to grow a community of writers who can support each other, cheer each other on and generally help us all feel we are not alone. So whether you’re a published writer or just nervously putting pen to paper for the first time (or anything in between), and whatever it is you’re working on whether it’s novels, short stories, poetry, scriptwriting or blog posts… we’d love to read about it.
The linky will be every Tuesday and alternate between our two blogs. We’ll be posting a monthly prompt too which we hope will spark discussion and get us all on the same page.
It’s launching on Tuesday 9th September (a week today !) We’d love to see you there!
CampNaNoWriMo starts tomorrow so preparations here are in full swing!
Although by ‘full swing’ I mean I’m sitting here thinking ‘I really must get organised’ while actually doing nothing at about it. But that’s pretty much how I start every holiday – I’m a last minute scrambler who’s much more likely to concentrate on writing a list of things to pack than actually getting anything in the suitcase.
Not that CampNaNo is a real holiday (and thank god for that, I hate camping) it’s just a virtual one: “An idyllic writers retreat, smack-dab in the middle of your crazy life” is how it describes itself. I just have to write 15,000 words in a month and enter daily word counts onto the camp nano website. Easy.
Or perhaps not as I struggled to write 10,000 words this month and school holidays start in the middle of July so I’ll have even less free time. But I’m up for the challenge!
Anyway some things are sorted. For a start, last night I completed the 10,000 word challenge I sent myself for June so the first draft of my novel stands at just over 30,000 words now. So assuming I reach my CampNaNo goal it should have reached 45,000 by the end of July which is probably more than half of the draft. I say ‘probably’ because, due to not being a planner, I have no real concept of how long my book is likely to be. But my gut says 80,000 words (give or take the odd 10,000).
What I DO need to do before tomorrow though is sort out my characters as some of them are a bit hazy. And I could really do with working out where the next few chapters are going to be taking me. I’m currently following a ‘let’s see what happens’ approach which is quite fun (and surprising) but is a bit too ‘seat of the pants’ to be comfortable. And I need to be comfortable while camping don’t I? I’ve got to have an air bed and a camping stove and my own duvet at least!
Actually, sod that, what I’m after is a luxury yurt. So I’d better get started on my planning…
Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been pondering a few issues to do with my writing/blogging. A major issue was to do with finding time, amidst the chaos of life, to write some short stories I’ve had rattling around in my head and to work on my novel which had stagnated at Chapter Two!
Last Friday I decided to set myself the challenge of finding two hours in every day to write creatively – specifically prose – and to do this before any blogging (or blogging-related activities) in any day in order to prioritise that.
So, did I manage it?
Well, pretty much yes! My weekend target was met all in a rush on Sunday night then on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I managed to divide my writing time between baby-nap-time and the evening (when the kids are all in bed). Last night – having squandered nap-time by falling face first onto the bed the moment the baby was asleep and sleeping as well – I wrote for two hours in the evening.
I did cheat and do a bit of blogging during the day some days, basically because I realised I can fit the odd bit of tweeting and commenting into random snatches of time which I can’t really do with ‘proper’ writing so it seemed silly to waste the opportunity. But I still feel I prioritised the creative writing as I promised.
Things that were achieved in this week of writing:
I finished a short story that had been paused at its third paragraph since Christmas. It’s not perfect, but is at least at the point where I’m now able to leave it for a while before coming back to it and making changes.
I’ve written Chapter Three of my book! It’s now just over 6000 words long. And I know that’s a tiny number of words to have written out of a whole book but at least it’s progress!
I spent some time on a few other short stories. They may or may not come to anything but at least I had a go.
The downsides (yes, I’m afraid there were some!):
I’ve practically ignored my husband all week as every evening has been spent tap-tapping away at my keyboard
I’m REALLY tired because I’ve been unable to get an early night and the baby hasn’t been sleeping well.
My social life has suffered – I’ve wanted to email various friends but not had time, I’ve not been able to chat to my Facebook book group (which doubles as a general gossip group!) when I’ve wanted, and I’ve been dashing home from the school run to write rather than having a chat at the school gates.
I’ve failed to sort out the mortgage, pay my credit card bill or do various other admin stuff and my inbox is overflowing with things that I’ve not had time to tackle.
The house is messy. Ok, messier than I want it to be because I am a control freak and need a tidy house!
I haven’t read as much (I’m a bit of a book worm).
I haven’t watched the final two episodes of The Bridge and I really want to!
Because of all the above I’m grumpier than normal which is not ideal from a parenting perspective.
Oh, and I really need to phone my Gran!
Who knew that those two hours were so crucial to my life? I had no idea that using them entirely for writing would mean so many other things falling by the wayside!
So, it was an interesting experiment and I’m really glad I did it, but I’m not going to keep up the routine.
Is that bad? Does it suggest I’m not dedicated enough to writing? I don’t know… I just feel like there’s so much to juggle and I want to get the right balance and this week has felt a bit ‘off’.
Next week’s challenge:
One hour a day of creative writing.
AND I had such fun writing limericks with my family at the weekend that I’ve decided to set myself the ongoing challenge of writing one over the weekend and publishing it on my blog on a Monday. I love limericks and using the kids for inspiration felt like a really positive thing to do. So check back here on Monday for a much shorter post!
I’m linking up with Writing Warriors. Pop over to Stephanie’s blog to find out how other people’s writing weeks have gone!
You might notice it’s been a good long while since my last blog post: *whispers guiltily* eleven months! But before you chastise me for my lack of commitment to writing, hear me out. I’ve been writing quite a lot, just not on here.
What happened was that after setting up this blog and publishing a couple of my posts I had a bit of an anxiety attack about it. I started questioning myself and wondering what I was doing. “I can’t write my thoughts in a public place! I need my privacy!” my mind squeaked at me before adding,”Who would want to read what I write?” then rounding it all off with “Why am I doing this anyway? What’s the point?” The result was fairly crippling.
So I backed away and decided instead that I would just spend what time I could writing. It seemed to simplify things. I hadn’t done any creative writing for years so it made sense to just try doing that instead of attempting to chronicle what I was doing at the same time. It allowed me greater focus and, for an essentially private person, felt less risky. Writing without blogging was the obvious thing to do.
And that’s what I’ve been doing – when I can – for the past year. I certainly didn’t abandon my writing bubble.
Then last week I got an email asking me to renew my blog subscription and I came back here and thought maybe it was worth a second bash. I haven’t really got any conclusive answers to my questions from a year ago but I know they’re mainly related to the self-doubt demon and he needs to be vanquished… or at least ignored.
So I’m just going to start blogging and see where it takes me. For a second time then, here goes!
So, this is it: my first blog post on my whole new blog. I have to admit I’m feeling slightly daunted.
I’ve started this blog as part of my attempt to follow a long-held ambition to become a writer. Writing is something I’ve always loved and have pursued to various degrees at different points in my life, but somehow other things have always taken precedence. Now I’ve decided I need to actually have a go at it while I can.
I say ‘while I can’ because life has been pretty hectic recently and in a few months time it’s about to get more so. I have two young sons and I am currently expecting our third child who is due in February. However, two weeks ago my younger son started nursery school giving me three wonderful mornings a week where I am free from parenting responsibilities and free from work responsibilities. I still can’t quite believe it!
I’ve called this blog ‘writing bubble’ because I’ve decided that that is what this time is: these mornings are my little bubble of time, my chance to start writing again. So I’m going to attempt to ignore the housework (frankly that ironing pile never gets any smaller no matter what I do) and put pen to paper. Or rather, fingers to computer keys – I don’t think I’ve written anything longer than a shopping list in long-hand for years.
This is a personal blog so it will probably document all sorts of areas of my life – I’m not going to try and tie it down, especially at this early stage – but there will be a focus on my writing endeavours. I don’t mean in a dull list-like “I wrote 300 words on the subject of camels today” way: I’m more interested in documenting how it feels to have a crack at this and the things that inspire me along the way. I’m also hoping the blog keeps me focused on my goals and, of course, that it helps me connect with other like-minded people out there (hmmm, I sound a bit like a dating site now… ).
I’m not planning on letting my writing bubble burst or float off (or any other bubble-related metaphor you can think of) come February either; my plan is that by starting something now, I can pick up enough momentum to carry me through the sleep-deprived early days of new motherhood. Maybe I can write stories in my head while feeding in the depths of the night; who knows?
Sitting here now, I have no idea where this is all going to lead which is why, as I said at the start, I feel daunted. But it is kind of exciting too; I’m stepping into my writing bubble and it could take me anywhere…