Inspiration for Writers: Rebecca Miller

I find this video of Rebecca Miller, author of ‘The Secret Lives of Pippa Lee’ completely inspiring.  Not just for her eloquence and openness in talking about her creative process but also for the beguiling wall behind her in the video.

I confess to often watching police dramas and being captivated by their ‘crime board’ – you know the big board that onto which they haphazardly pin all sorts of intriguing pictures and clippings and other what-nots.  I love the way they stare at it for crime-busting inspiration and occasionally, if we are really lucky, get out bits of string and piece together the crime through the power of the thumb-tack.  As a stationery addict, it almost, nearly makes me want to apply to Detective School. But….  Then I remember that the uniform for a bobby on the beat is almost universally unflattering and that the thought of training school and – gulp – obstacle courses and morning runs, has me crawling under the duvet in horror at the sheer physical effort.  Inspector Morse I may be, but Cagney or Lacey, I most definitely am not.

Still, I digress.  So for writers wanting some inspiration into process, this should be right up your alley.

Enjoy!


 

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Endangered Speechies: D

endangered speechiesSo how on earth it got to Tuesday again, I have no idea.  My only excuse for being such a shockingly irregular blogster is that last week I really pulled myself back into my writing.  I will update you on this later in the post but let’s just cut to the chase shall we?  I know, I know – it’s Tuesday which means that you are itching for the latest thrilling and enticing collection of endangered speechies.

Do not fear my friend –

This week’s endangered speechies are coming to you from the letter D:

1: Dando: A restaurant customer who decamps without paying for their meal.  Oh the scoundrels.  Apparently this saying comes from a popular song from the early 19th century – fascinating… so there you go!

example: Susy had been working too many years in the Chittanooga on West diner to know a dando when he slid onto a stool at the counter.

2: Day after the fair:  Just too late to be of any use.

example: The fire engines rounded the corner as Amy looked up to see Jon’s car pull into the kerb.  ‘Typical’, she thought,’ Always arriving the day after the fair!’

3: Dance on nothing:  Be hanged.  I find this a rather delightfully grotesque image really.  Gallows poetry anyone?

example:  Old Milly Hobblenob will be dancing on nothing before the end of the week, mark my words,  You can’t poach the Baron’s grouse and expect to walk free from that, said Mrs Puttletrop with a particular type of gleeful relish that is typical of the shopkeeping classes.

4:  Devil’s Delight: A terrific noise.  Which could make the name of a really great band in a novel perhaps?  Potentially anyway…

example:  From the corner of the farmyard came a devil’s delight.  Sally rushed out brandishing the gun.  She fired two shots and watched as the beast skulked into the shadows taking a prize duck with it.  ‘Next time”, she screamed into the night.

5: Dismal Jimmy:  A confirmed pessimist.  I am not sure but if by any chance your name is Jimmy this might perhaps be a rather damning personality label.

Example: “Don’t be such a Dismal Jimmy”, coaxed Natasha as she punched Vladimir in the arm.  He took another swig of vodka, “I tell you Natasha, there will be blood on the streets if the government refuse to grant the Netflix license.  They must be made to listen to the people!”

6: Doorstep and sea rover: A slice of thick bread and butter with a herring.  So like a herring sandwich I suppose.  I am constantly, and pleasantly, surprised by some of the nautical references in my slang dictionary.  I love that a sea rover is a herring. – nice!

example:  After a long stretch at sea, Alec put up his feet towards the cosy fire.  “Here you go love, a nice doorstep and sea rover”, said Rosie.

” I see you didn’t learn to cook in the two years that I was away then?” he teased, his mouth full of salty fish and fluffy bread.  Rose rolled her eyes and looked at the calendar to see when his leave would end.

7: Draw a bead: Take direct and exact aim with a firearm.  The ‘bead’ is the foresight of the weapon, apparently.  Side note: Gosh, do weapons have foresight?  If they do, would they not be reluctant to belch their contents out at such a rapid rate.  Even I can predict that it will cause some damage.  If therefore weapons do have ‘foresight’, I can only assume that they are therefore psychopathic machines without any compassion whatsoever.  How nasty!

Example: Lieutenant O’Dowd pulled out his weapon and drew a bead on the gunman. “Drop it McCronacle, or I will shoot.”  Had McCronacle know that O”Dowd’s weapon had foresight he might have dropped the gun.  In hindsight, that might have been the sensible thing to do, buy Mc roancle had never been troubled with that curse.

8:  Dying duck in a thunderstorm: Looking absurdly forlorn and depressed.

example: “There now, you look like a dying duck in a thunderstorm,’ said Bobby.  He took out a hankie from his pocket.  She blew her nose loudly.  Bobby found it a curiously attractive noise – luscious and strong.  He had always had a penchant for emotional women.

So there you have it, another collection for the archives.

See you next Tuesday, my dears.  Or before then if I get my a into g and post some more.  That’s the plan.  But you know the thing about plans…..

 

 

A month of writing without a plan: update

writing quote

So, yes I have not been blogging, and no, I have not been lolling around eating doorsteps and rovers looking like a dying duck in a thunderstorm.  That was the week before last for your information.  That’s right – the week when I only wrote a pilfering 9400 words for the whole week.  That was The Week of Life, and I am afraid that writing had to take a back burner for the while.

However, this week I determined to get back on course.  I had already conceded that I might not be able to complete the novel in the 28 day time frame (which incidentally ran out… TODAY!).  But still, I make the rules on this one, so I gave myself an extra week which takes the challenge to this Thursday.  By then, I wanted to have finished my first draft OR completed at least 28 sessions of 3000 words per session.

I am happy to report that despite no plan and no postits being harmed in the writing of the novel, I have now reached 68 500 words.  You read that right folks.  That’s more than a NaNoWriMo novel.  In a month, with a week off for bad behaviour, I have managed to write all those words and find myself approaching the final furlong of my story.

I am not there yet but it has been a blast of a writing experience.

Here are 5 things I have learned writing a novel in a month:

1:  It is okay to take a day off:  Yes writing is a habit, but so is smoking.  You can take a day off without having to abandon the dream altogether.  It is possible to get back on the writing wagon.  A day off is not a failure my friend.  It just means that on that particular day, something else was more important than your writing. And THAT IS OKAY.  Promise!

2:  Having a plan is one way but it is not the only way:  I worried about writing myself into dead ends with this novel.  Hell, 28 days ago I did not even know what story I would be telling.  I have learned to trust myself and my story to show me the way.  If I come to a dead end then I will extricate myself from it in the second draft.  It is just a story.  A dead end is an opportunity to create a new opening.  That’s it – not a biggie.

3:  A strict timeframe is a great motivator:  Look, I confess that I like a deadline ina  sadistic kind of way.  Not only do I enjoy a deadline, I take great relish in beating those deadlines.  This would be fabulous in Corporateland but unfortunately it means I do put myself under some pressure, even though I make my own deadlines.  But having a deadline – it helps.  It keeps you on task and gives you just the right frisson of pressure to keep putting words on the page.

4: It won’t be perfect but it will be something:  This is a first draft, a pile of words.  It can be honed and polished and tweaked and pulled later.  You are creating raw material.  Don’t worry that it is not great.  Take heed from the writers who warn us that the first draft will be doo-doo.  This is just for you, nobody else needs to ever read this one.  It is your baby and you can love it even though it is a bit odd-looking, and takes after your great uncle Jimmy who ended up in the nuthouse.

5: Have fun with it:  The worse that can happen is that you lose a month of writing and bit of memory on your laptop.  Big deal.  Think of it as an experiment in writing and nothing else.  If it works then you have anew model for writing your first draft.  If it doesn’t then you just lost a month but you probably would have spent that month procrastinating anyways so you are still way ahead of the game.  Win. Win.

Hope that cheers you on.  I will bring you a report from the finishing line before Easter if it all pans out how I hope.  Fingers crossed loves!

Inspiration for writers

There’s something rather inspiring about listening to other writers share their process.  I am a morning writer so, often of an evening, you will find me curled up with my tablet scouring the internet for writerly inspiration.

Here is one such gem that I stumbled across.  It is short but very, very beautiful.

Enjoy.

 

 

5 Ways to get in the Writing Zone

the writing zoneI am flagging on my 30 day writing challenge today.  I woke up knowing that I need to fire up my writing engine but aware that I was painfully low on gas.

There is a lovely moment in the Keira Knightly/ Mark Ruffalo movie “Begin Again” where Keira, heart-broken and terribly drunk is struck by a great lyric for a new song.  Her lovelt flatmate hands her pen and paer and tells her to ‘get in the zone’.  She says “I am in the zone” in her perfectly clipped English accent and is admonished.  “You sound like a posh schoolgirl”.  Keira bounces back with a great impression of a Noo Yoike Cabbie. “Arm in tha zowen!”.

So today I am offering five fab ways to get IN THA ZOWEN as a writer:

Five fabulous ways to get in the writing zone:

1:  Revisit your outline

If you haven’t gone crazy nuts and thrown yourself into a month long pantsting challenge then you are probably using either a detailed plot outline or some story beats to get you through your story from one bank to t’other. If you want t6o get in the Writing Zone, revisiting your plan and getting excited about how far you have come and how close you are to that great, great scene that has been playing out in your head for days is a good way to motivate you to put your bottom in the chair and start writing.

2.  Gaze upon your novel vision board

I talked in a former post about how much I am loving Vision Boards for novels.  Though I have sworn off planning for this month, I was happy to bend my own rules and create a vision board for the novel on Day two of the month.  Having a good visual stimulus can really ignite your creative right brain and nudge the story to present itself.

3.  Create a writing soundtrack

I am a big 8Tracks.com  fan (user julsnolan if you want to see what I am listening to)  There are some wonderful playlists over there.  Some are designed for study and writing, some are created to correspond to a novel that is already published.  Finding some great tunes that really correlate with the mood and feel of your writing is a lovely add-on to your writing experience.  Listening to those tracks outside of your writing time can also be a great  way to keep in contact with that imaginative thread that you are creating.

4. Journal

I find that starting my writing session with a few minutes journaling can be a great method for clearing the mind and dumping any annoying thoughts and issues that could be hanging around.  Get it out.  Get it down on paper.  Then you are clear to let your story fill the gaps left behind by your emotional residue.  It works – believe me!

5. Breathe

Yes I mean meditate.  Spend just one minute breathing deeply and nothing else.  Visualise yourself writing and the words flowing from your fingers.  Imagine yourself turning the pages that you and only you have created.

The Zone is simply a mental place from which creativity and devotion can spring.  It is only a breath away, my friend.  Only a breath away.

How do you get in the writing zone?  Leave a comment with your tips and hints below.

about me

5 reasons why writing is good for your health

5 reasons why writing is good for your health

As I was walking along the beach this morning between slot one and slot two of my writing for the day, I began to think about the health benefits of writing. I mean, I get it – it is true that we writers are not the most athletic of demographics.  Out art is, after all,  sedentary – bum on seat, fingers on keyboard or pen.  Even painters get to stand for hours which is apparently much better for you than sitting down to work ( – though of course they are all alcoholics so the benefits are probably cancelled out.)

But I maintain that writing is actually marvelous for your health and here are my top 5 reasons why writing is good for you:

1: Writers are more likely to take themselves on long walks

When  in the middle of a hefty chapter, or having written your hero into an inescapable cul-de-sac, there is nothing that clears the cobwebs better than a good walk.  Take away the pain of running and the annoyance of having to get changed to leave the house, a good walk allows you to lose yourself in your body’s natural rhythms and think about your story in a leisurely and clear-headed way.  With the added advantage of doing some exercise too which gets your juices flowing again.

2: Meeting your writing goals enhances self esteem

Ask any writer and they will probably tell you that they go a little bit mad if they don’t get their daily writing done.  From personal experience, I know that once I have done my word count, I feel much more positive about my day.  By keeping a record of my writing for the day, I am able to really feel that I am working towards my goals, which is an essential element of self-esteem.

3:  Expressing yourself improves your blood pressure

If you keep things bottled up, your poor ticker starts to feel the pressure.  Whether it be ideas, thoughts, characters, or stories, keeping things locked inside your mind rather than giving them a  manifested form on the page, is actually a form of repression that can lead to all sorts of problems in the human body.  We are designed to find a means of expressing ourselves in order to release tension.  If writing is your means of expression then practice daily.  See it as a healthy means of decreasing pressure build-up in the body.

4: Writing develops your brain power and can help treat Alzheimer’s

Did you know that there are those who treat Alzheimer patients with Memoir writing classes?  The theory is that by using the brain’s linguistic function and bridging the gap between memory and language, we create stronger neural pathways and keep those parts of our brains functioning in a healthier and more revitalized way.  So when you are using your brain and searching for the right word or phrase, you are actually giving your brain a really great, personalized work-out, that is just as good as doing crosswords, or logic puzzles.

5: Writing is fun and so brings a renewed sense of positivity to our day

Yes, you heard it right, my dear!  Writing is … FUN.  Capital letters fun. I know, I know –   we would love to think that writing is hard work and that we are all suffering for our art, but the reality is that writers have inordinate amounts of fun in their work.  They get to play God, make up whole worlds, and tell stories for a living.  When things get a bit tough, why not remind yourself of this essential fact and find the fun in what you do.  Play with your story.  Throw in a curve ball.  Do something completely outlandish just to remind yourself that this is fun.  That mind shift will be just the thing to kick-start the story once again.

Or at least, these are the five things that I am telling myself as I go through my month long writing challenge.

Update on the Pantster challenge: 

Another 3000 words today which brings my up to about 12 000 words so far this month.  If you don’t know what I am on about then you can hop back to the first post here, where I explain the challenge and why the blinking heck I am doing it anyway.

I am having a lot of fun with this.  It is amazing what reveals itself when you start to write.  I hesitate to say that the Muse is with me but…. The Muse Is With Me.  I can feel her.

And she is AWESOMELY GORGEOUS.

 Leave a comment to tell me why you think that writing is good for your health… or not!  How are you nurturing your Muse?

In fact that, my friends, may well be the title of tomorrow’s blog post.

Until then, my lovelies, have a write good day!

x

 

 

 

Why writing in cafes is really hard

writing in a cafe

Today, on Day Three of my Month of Pantsting, I decided to write in a cafe.

Because, I am weak, and like many writers, I have fallen in love with the idea of writing in cafes, getting on first name terms with the staff, naming my characters after them.  Blablabla.  I blame J.K. Rowling and her glamorous tales of life as a solo mum, banging out Harry at the local cafe.  I fell for it like the rest of you.

But here I am afraid is the sad truth.  Cafe owners hate writers.

WHY CAFE OWNERS HATE WRITERS – especially aspiring ones!

Cafe owners love people who are nipping in for a quick coffee or a bite to eat.  In out, 30 minutes max and then the table is free for some new punters.  Job done.

But writers?   Oooh, that’s a whole other ball game.  I guarantee that cafe owners see that laptop emerging from the bag and they have already calculated how much that novel has lost them in lost revenue.  They know that we will be there for hours sipping on that one cold coffee and just generally cluttering up the place.  We take up a table for four.  We eat nothing.  We have no friends, and glare if the music is too high or if people dare to laugh too loudly near us!

If we were good writers we would at least order a suitable amount of coffees.  Say two per hour to make up for the fact that we are taking up space that could be inhabited by honest, decent, paying customers.  A word of caution though : if you drink two coffees per hour, you will probably be dead within a week.  And that will definitely put a dent in your monthly word count.

And Planners/ Outliners…. well, it’s never going to work is it?  The cafe owner is not going to let you pin your vision board and plot outline to the wall, let alone tolerate your covering the tabletop with PostIts.

The Solution?

It’s a simple one.  Go in disguise.  You have several options of course:

Disguise options for writers:

  1.  Go as J.K. Rowling.  Blonde wig.  Shy demeanor.  Soft voice.  Throw in a couple of references to Harry et al and you are good to go.
  2. Go as a ‘business person’.  People are generally much more tolerant of all sorts of shenanigans if they are done by people wearing suits.  My evidence for this?  Global Financial Crisis anyone????
  3. Pretend you are a tourist.  Make a point of asking for the WIFI password and then pretend to be having a Skype conversation in a different language before burying yourself into your laptop.  Don’t speak another language?  Call yourself a writer???  Make it up, my friend! NOTE: the downside of this plan is that it is difficult to return to the same cafe for more than three days.  That’s when the special Tourist in Cafe dispensation runs out!
  4. Pretend to be a cop.  You can buy a fake uniform and occasionally talk into a walkie-talkie for effect.  Buy a donut and cwaffey, and you are golden with this disguise for a few hours at least. Top Tip:  Don’t buy one of those sexy cop uniforms – inappropriate!
  5. Write by hand.  This is my disguise of choice of course.  That way I could be confused for a sad woman sitting on her own filling in her ‘dear diary’ for the day.  This approach is also much easier if you are not a plotter because you have all you need – pen, notebook, head full of sparkling and exciting ideas fopr the next big thing on Amazon.

Alternatively, you could just bite the bullet and write at home.  But there’s nothing very glam about that is there???

Latte anyone?

Oh and by the way.  I did write today.  3000 words.  Yayah 🙂

Have you ever written in a cafe?  Any tips for how to make it work?  Any other disguises that could work?  Leave a comment.  This could be a vital writers resource that we are creating here, people!

 

One Month, One Novel – No Plan

This is the month that I write a novel – with no plan.  I am officially joining the Pantster tribe and throwing myself into this one with my eyes wide shut and my fingers crossed.

Let me be clear – this is not my natural modus operandi.  I am most definately, by nature, a Planner.  I am a Virgo with a stationery fetish and a stack of notebooks just crying to be filled with dreams and ideas.

Why write a novel with no plan?

However, I had a terrible epiphany last month.  And it was this:  I am often so thorough in my planning that by the time I come to write I am completely over it.  It has become like entering into a romantic liaison having already watched the whole disaster panning out ahead of me.  By the time I have planned those darlings, I couldn’t care less about the main character, and tension?…. meh, not happening.

You see I have a sneaky suspicion that planning had become, for me, a very subtle form of what I term, Productive Procrastination.  You know, the type of procrastinative activity at the end of which you have something, and nothing, to show for your time.  And I wanted to try something different.

So, what is the alternative?  Pantsting.  Literally writing by the seats of my pants.  No outline.  No scene by scene plot arcs.  No orchestrated tension.  I was just going to throw myself into it and hope for the best.

The scene was set.  I had made the trailer.  It was scheduled in my Filofax.  Systems were go, go, go.

Day One

But somewhere in between deciding to do it and actually doing it, I found myself in a maelstrom of self-doubt.  What should I write?  What genre should I write in?  Was I writing to sell, or writing for me?  Should I finish the other novels first?  Should I revive my very brief foray into erotica?  Should I? Should I?  Should I?

So Day One was, in sporting terms, a No Show.  Rain Stopped Play, and all that.  Not that I wasn’t thinking about the whole thing.  Not that I wasn’t beating myself up like a gangland boss, and reprimanding myself for my lack of action.  But words on page?  Nada.  Nothing.  Sweeeeet FA.

Day Two

So Monday arrived.  Which was kind of like Day One, only it was by now, Day Two (are you still with me?)  The scene was set.  Kids were at school, I was heading home to write, but blow me, if a sneaky new novel idea hadn’t crawled into my brain overnight.  Like an earwig, this idea was gnawing away – munchie, munchie, munchie – and to cap it all, the blinking sun was shining.

Well, I ask you, what’s a woman to do but take herself to the beach to ‘live in the moment’ for a little while.  Well, an hour and a half later, I was back at the car and ready to return to my post.  I was Ready To Write.

Or so I thought.  Because then something very strange happened.  I had laptop freeze, which for those who don’t know is when I go to turn on my laptop but I just cannot do it.  Something stops me.  I don’t want to be tied to the keyboard.  This frolicking little pony in my mind says, ‘don’t do it!  stay free, my beauty, stay free, neighhhh, prrrrr’.

Which is, quite evidently, a problem.

Or is it?  Because my answer to this conundrum was pretty darned radical.  I have gone…. ANALOGUE, my friends.  We are talking notebook, pen, armchair.  Old School Portability.

“Paper and pen?”  you cry.  “Are you nuts?”

Well, it would appear that yes I am.  But here’s the thing.  It is working.

First session of the novel with no plan: 2400 words.

Which I think can officially be called – A START!

So what say you?  Fancy joining me?  Fancy freeing yourself up from the orthodoxy of planning and venturing into the crazy unknown.  Want to pick up a pen and just start writing?

Let’s do this thing.

All comments gratefully received.  Show me I am not alone in this.  Please….

 

Go Pro versus Go Slow

the war of artI recently reread “The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield.  Just like the first TWO times that I read it, this little powerhouse of a book provided me with much food for thought and a well needed kick up the behind.  In fact, it was so darned inspirational that it sent me into a flurry of planning.  Postits abound, journal pages galore – washitape, colour coding – I was riding high on a wave of “I can do this.  I am a writer” high.

Professional Overwhelm for Writers

And then…. overwhelm reared her ugly, salivating chops at me. Yes I could see that Pressfield was right.  I do need to take the whole thing seriously.  I need to up my game.  I want to GO PRO.

But the thought of all that?  Well, it’s a mountain, isn’t it?  The Roman Empire took hundreds of years to create.  Is it realistic for the solitary writer to think that they too can build that Kindle, indie publishing empire in less time than it takes to grow some seedlings in my vegetable patch?  Probably not.

And to enter into this marvelous and creative paradise, I need to ensure that I have the strength and resilience to do this for the long haul.  I need to be professional enough to have the patience to build things solidly from the ground up.  And that probably means that, like most writers, I need to temper my greed with a savouring for going a little more slowly.  I need to take my time a bit, and tell myself that it is not a race.  I can do this at my own pace.

Of course, such wisdom does not stand particularly firm in the face of my grand plans.  I like a challenge.  Every writer does.  Why else would we set out on this journey?  If it was so easy then everyone would do it, right?

What is a ‘professional’ writer?

And all the info that is out there is pretty clear.  You need more than one ‘masterpiece’ if you are going to stand a chance at going “pro”, and, by that, I mean, earning a full-time income.  Because that is what ‘professional’ means really.  It is about getting paid to do your thing.  We can all go a bit crazy churning out vast amounts of content but if the quality of that content is shoddy then the reality is that you are building an empire on dodgy ground and it will inevitably fail.

Do I want to be a professional if that means putting out vast amounts of content that I am not particularly proud of?  Well no, not really.  Who would?

Reasons  to ‘go slow’

So instead, I am taking today to remind myself that it is okay to go slow.  Slow is not unprofessional.  Slow is steady and measured.  Going Slow is about ensuring that the quality standards of your work are the best that you can offer and that you can promise that quality on a consistent basis.  Going Slow means that the journey is part of the reward.  It is about giving things time to build and develop without pushing them or placing them under too much pressure.

I am coming to the understanding that yes, I do want to be a writer.  Heck, look at me – I am writing.  This very post is evidence of that.  But is this ground-breaking?  No.  Am I being professional by only committing to producing a few books this year?  Yes, if I can promise myself that I will be consistent and productive without compromising my own standards of quality control.

How to go slow as a pro

So, fellow writer, by all means – Go Pro.  Create your work with the attitude that this is your life’s work.  It is not your ‘job’ (yet)but it is your profession.  A profession has longevity, it has standing.  In a profession, you commit to constantly learning and honing your craft.  You expect it to take a few years to really get into your stride and you commit to doing what it takes in the long term.

go pro v go slow

But you don’t do that at the expense of your mental health or quality of life.  You can avoid overwhelm and burn-out by committing to a realistic daily word count.  Record it.  Take pride in every small step.  Don’t rush or push.  Instead be willing to relish every inch of the path and to extract all the lessons that you can from your process.

Be professional in your approach by all means, but don’t forget to have fun and enjoy the ride.  Expect some disappointment and remind yourself that this is a long-haul game.  No short-cuts here.  The more you do, the better you will get.

What are your success parameters?

So I make this commitment to myself as part of my professional development as a writer:  I will commit to writing at least 1500 words every day.  My target is to create a solid body of work of which I can be proud and confident that it is a good representation of my emerging identity as a writer.  I am willing to try some new things and learn as much as I can from the masters of my craft. I am in this for the long haul.  I do not set myself a time-frame for success.  My success parameters are based on what I have within my control.

So, what are your success parameters?  Are you setting goals that are professional and sustainable?  Are you balancing going slow with going pro?  I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

See you next post???

How to write like a mad woman in the attic

Jane-Eyre-2011-jane-eyre-2011-25507868-1920-1040See that mad woman in the photo clinging to Michael Rochbender?  That’s me after the writing week that I have had.  Because I have been writing like a nutter this week.  Big aim for the week – get a 30000 non-fiction book down in rough draft.  Result?  Boo yah – in the bag!

Honestly, I blame the New Year.  I got sooooo serious about my New Year’s resolution process this year.  I mean,  I started thinking about my resolutions in, you know, October.  You know the kind of thing – visualising how great it was going to be to make those resolutions.  What pen I would use?  What notebook I would crack open?  How wonderful it would be to start a new journal…..  Like I say, I got really into it.

And then when 2015 actually, really, truly arrived, I went all out.  I mean, I was onto it like a rash.  Not an area of my life was safe from the crazy manic gleam of my New Year torch.  I dusted away those cobwebs from my ‘Writing Projects’ folder, wiped the inch of grime from my keyboard, spray-cleaned my ‘I am A Writer’ mirror and MADE A START.

How I wrote 40000 words in 10 days

My first mission was to finish a novel that I started way back last March, and then abandoned  about April in a fit of ‘I am rubbish, why bother’ syndrome.  A syndrome which, I should add, lasted all year.  ALL YEAR.  By the end of the year I was so bored of going with the flow, I was positively comatose.

This year, I am going decidedly upstream.  In the first ten days of January, I had macheted my way through 40000 words.  I will say that again – FORTY THOUSAND WORDS IN TEN DAYS.  You heard it here folks.  Imagine if I kept up that pace.  I would be able to write ONE MILLION FOUR HUNDRED AND SIXTY THOUSAND WORDS in a year. I put that in capitals because I am shouting that very loudly.  Know how many ‘novels’ that is?

I do – because I have a calculator, get me!

That would be the equivalent of …..TWENTY NOVELS in a year.  Twenty, can you imagine?  I mean apparently, according to the title of one book I recently ‘sampled’ on Kindle, “twenty books maketh not a kindle empire”.  According to that wise epistle, I should be aiming to have a hundred books on Kindle if I am to stand a chance of buying myself a cup of coffee and a biscuit once a week.

So I need to get onto it, don’t I?  Come to think of it, we all need to get onto it.  I mean what are we doing?

Here are some ways that you are wasting your time when you should be writing:

  1. If you brushed your hair this morning, well that’s about 25 words right there.
  2. Four toilet breaks a day = 150- 300 words, depending on… well, you know!
  3. Getting dressed.  Male writers – 5 words, women writers – 500 words.
  4. Cooking a meal – Male writers – 5 words, women writers – 1000 words.
  5. Household chores Male writers – minus 50 words, women writers – 1500 words
  6. Reading a book – 10000 words (what are you thinking?)
  7. Social Media – 100000 words at least.
  8. Meeting real live people for coffee and chats – 50000 words – ditch that habit
  9. Maintaining a romantic relationship – 500000 words. is it worth it?
  10.  Reading a blog like this?     – priceless

I mean you can see how it amounts up.  Which is why I have decided to abandon real life and instead devote myself only to writing. It’s the only way I am ever going to make it in this business. As of tomorrow,   I am doing a Bertha Rochester and refusing to get dressed, brush my hair, talk  in intelligent sentences, or even talk in sentences at all.

Well at least, until I get the next book written.  It seems like it is the only way.

I mean, gosh, those ten days were amazing, crazy, wonderful, desperate.  They were like having an affair with Captain Jack Sparrow – mad and unstable, but great fun.  I came out of them with big, big hair and a smug glow in my cheeks.  I felt GOOD, baby!

But you know, it may not be a lasting thing.  It may not be ‘reasonable’ to keep up that pace.  To write twenty novels a year, or even set out to do such a thing, would be the rantings of a crazy woman, wouldn’t it???

So, sorry Bertha Rochester.  It’s time for you to get back in the attic.  I need to brush my hair and get that crazy dust out of my eyes.  Perhaps we could hang out again once or twice this year.  If you promise to be good, I might even give you a little walk around the estate once a month.

But no promises, okay?  Still, thanks.  I enjoyed our crazy productive ten days.  And this week has been fun too.  It’s been … inspirational.  But I am getting tired now.  I need some time out, girlfriend. Loving the hair though…..

Laters

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