where I’m at – #WhatImWriting

It’s Monday, the boys are back at school and it’s time for a proper ‘What I’m Writing’ post! I haven’t written about writing-y stuff for a while so there are a few things to catch up on.


My ideal writer’s retreat – a forest glade in the sunshine. I haven’t retreated here to write yet (this was taken yesterday and I had two small boys with me) but I’m determined to at some point!


NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) happens in November and is an online community of writers all aiming to write a novel in a month. A NOVEL IN A MONTH! Obviously I’m not crazy/talented/dedicated enough to attempt such a thing but I have signed up to the camp version which is this month. This is much more laid-back as you get to pick your own word count and your project can be anything word-related. I did it two years ago and wrote 15,000 words – it really helped with my motivation.

This time round I’ve set myself a target of 5,000 words because I want to focus on my picture books which aren’t really about word count at all. I’ve also decided to include blog posts in the target. Within this, there is also a hidden reading challenge as three of the blog posts I want to write are book reviews and I need to read the books first! So far, I’ve written 2194 words (although that doesn’t include this post!) but that’s all blogging and NO picture books! I WILL write some soon, I WILL!

London Book Fair

I’m going! I’m not quite sure what to expect but there are lots of interesting seminars to attend and people to network with, all in the area of writing and publishing and all under one roof, so it sounds fab to me! It’s this week and I’m combining it with a business conference and a meet up with some blogging friends, and also bookending it with nights at my parents house (I’m leaving my youngest with them) so it’s going to be a busy week. I fully expect to reach Friday exhausted with my head in a spin but I know it will be worth it.

Agent Submissions

I wrote a while back about having submitted some of my picture book manuscripts to agents. Thankfully at The Festival of Writing back in September we were all told how tricky it is to find an agent and how incredibly common rejection is, so the responses I’ve had (or rather, the three no responses, one rejection and a ‘we didn’t get your MS can you resend?’ followed by silence) haven’t really got to me. I just need to try again. The issue is finding the time to do so, as agent research and meeting the submission requirements is not a swift process. I know I’m procrastinating though and I just need to prioritise it. Basically, in my juggly life, unless I prioritise things, they don’t get done!


Oh man, blogging is time-consuming, it really is. Not just the writing of posts (although I don’t seem to have a gift for speed, it has to be said) but the promotional activity (which I keep deciding I need to focus more on, then failing) and the social side (which is lovely but takes time and energy). When you’re a blogger who wants to write other things – novels, short stories or whatever – you do find yourself wondering if you’ve got the balance right. I do, anyway. Blogging is taking a lot of my focus at the moment. The blog post I wrote about education got so much attention (by my standards) that I’ve not felt able to concentrate on other types of writing because there’s been so much going in in my head. And there are more blog posts brewing too. I’m hoping CampNano helps me put some energy elsewhere.

I’d better leave it at that, I as I have planning, organising and packing to do for the week ahead!

Writing Bubble

11 thoughts on “where I’m at – #WhatImWriting

  1. Tara Borin

    Maddy, I know just what you’re saying about the blogging balance. I struggle with that one, too. Just this weekend I went through a big mental back-and-forth over whether I should be putting any energy at all into blogging…I also sometimes want to ditch the idea of a writing blog and go back to a more personal, lighter, family journal type blog…but really my goal is to be a published poet, to publish a collection of poetry. So to that end, I think my time is generally better used writing poetry. Although I recognize that publishers want authors to have some sort of web presence. So! Balancing act, yes. Hope you find your sweet spot!
    Tara Borin recently posted…Two Poems in Rat’s Ass ReviewMy Profile

  2. Mummy Tries

    I felt like this after my first viral post hon, it’s only natural. BUT it was also the catalyst in many ways for me taking a huge step back from my blog. It made me realise that I didn’t want to be chasing after viral posts, or only writing about autism, and it made me assess what was important. You’ll get there. Good luck at the book fair, so gutted to be missing you xxx

  3. Alice @ The Filling Glass

    Back to school for us yesterday too and back to chores and writing (although not an equal mix!). I’d love that writers retreat away from all the chaos. Good luck for Camp NaNoWriMo, and agent submissions, I hope you manage what you want to get done. I am doing the Artists Way with Kamsin, that is busy enough for me. And yes blogging takes up time, often I think too much of mine, I end up writing for my blog and nothing else. Ah well, but I am looking forward to meeting you this week. Xxx
    Alice @ The Filling Glass recently posted…Exploring The Artist’s WayMy Profile

  4. Rebecca Ann Smith

    Well done not being put off by rejections from agents. You’re absolutely – it’s so tough and competitive you just need to keep going. Sooner or later you’ll find the right person who loves your work. Good luck with the next batch!

  5. Anna

    Time to get submitting those books to agents right at the top of your priority list! They are fab ( in my humble opinion) and you should absolutely be confident in sending them out into the world. Go for it!
    Love Anna
    Ps have a great time this week! Will look forward to hearing all about it soon x

  6. Marija Smits

    It’s good to read about what’s going on in your writing life – clearly a lot! And as Becky says, good to hear that you’re not flummoxed by the lack of positivity from agents. Just keep going. That’s all we can do, really. And I think ‘balance’ is definitely the key word for the blogging and writing. Anyway – it’s lovely to catch up with you again here. :-)
    Marija Smits recently posted…Guest post: Ichabod’s 10 taste-tastic tips for dealing with writing rejectionsMy Profile

  7. Kamsin

    I can relate to blogging being time consuming. I am resigned to the fact that I am a slow writer! I can only manage two posts in a week and I have no time for any other writing. I’m hatching this plan to give NaNoWriMo a go in November and going offline for that month to achieve it. I’m telling myself I’m planning the book I’m going to write in that month. Although truth is all the planning is in my head so far, I need to start putting ideas on paper!
    Kamsin recently posted…How do you become a better writer?My Profile

  8. Turning Up In Devon

    I completely understand about balancing blogging time with other writing and (in my case paid freelance work of design/illustration) and marketing a blog is sooooo time consuming. LBF will probably be really inspiring, when I went to Cheltenham Literary Festival to see Cressida Cowell and Lydia Monks with my kids I was buzzing afterwards. Good luck.

  9. Cara

    Hi Maddy, thanks for this interesting post. It’s lovely to see how others are going on. Feels like I’m in a community! I have lots of things to say from this post so here goes.

    I did NaNoWriMo last year and completed the 50,000 words (54,000 in the end)! It was actually pretty easy, and I could see it building up nicely each time, but here’s the thing. It was the first time I’ve actually done it. Previously I’ve got a few thousand words done and then got lost down a research rabbit hole, but with the story I was writing last November, I had already done the research. I knew the characters. I knew the plot. I knew the obstacles in my heroine’s path. All that stuff was already done, so I just had to flesh it out. I’m still working on carving that flesh into a decent book and getting that book out to an agent (more on that in a moment).

    I am rubbish at networking. I went to an event a few weeks ago and met some nice people, but I only got one contact, and then I forgot to get in touch. I guess I still could… I wish there was some speed-dating thing I could go on.

    I am now looking at submitting the book I wrote during NaNoWriMo to an agent. It is SO MUCH WORK trying to find one that seems to fit well, and it seems that nearly all of them are in bloomin’ London. Grr. I’m starting with my favourite, and so rejections will naturally mean moving down the list. I guess I’ve got to be willing to be wrong.

    When I’m doing other stuff I tend to not blog, but I never used to share my poetry on my blog, and actually, changing that has been brilliant for me. It’s hugely boosted my readership, it’s made blogging more thoughtful and more fun, and it’s given my poetry a point. There is still some stuff I don’t share, because I want to get it published somewhere else, but really, most places where I’d actually read poetry don’t mind about it being published on a blog.

    I loved your piece about illustrating your poem. That inspired me to think more about how I go about writing my work, and it’s good to be mindful of these things, so I wanted to thank you for that.

    Thanks for this post too! Loving your work.
    Cara recently posted…writing: what I’m writing just nowMy Profile

  10. Susan Mann

    Hope Camp Nano Wrimo is going well. I also hope you enjoyed the LBF. It looked amazing in the pictures I saw. I too wonder about the balance of blogging and writing and everything that goes with blogging. It is so difficult to keep it up. Sorry about your submissions, but you will get there, I know you will xx


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