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It’s about 10.20pm and I’ve just got in from my writing group. It was a bit of an odd evening, but it was a good night.

It seems a long time ago when I decided that I should set up my own group to meet my own desires, and someone said something today that really made me proud.

They have published their book via Amazon and have sold a number of copies, both print and Kindle, and they said they wouldn’t have done it without the group. They may have written without us, but we were the catalyst for publishing this year, for just getting their work out into the world.

It’s amazing what a writing support group can achieve – people writing and performing poetry for the first time in their lives; people writing their first novels; people publishing their own works.

I really do think having a network of like-minded people can do a writer wonders – and if you can’t find what you want, build it yourself!

Happy writing,
EJ
🙂

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Yesterday I couldn’t write about writing.

Today, I’m going to share a conundrum with you.

Long time readers will know that my writing dream has been to find an agent, get picked up by a publisher and have my books, beautifully bound, on a bookshop shelf. Longtime readers will also know that this particular dream has not yet come true.

Enter my friend, who has offered to help me publish my novel as an e-book, via his company. I have the offer of cover art, a technologically intelligent adviser, and a way to publish through an actual company rather than by myself.

I have previously acknowledged that I prefer to write poetry to prose – I am immensely proud of my book, but I haven’t been able to successfully produce another yet and when I have the choice I choose poetry over a story. This may mean I only ever write one book, and it would be lovely for people to actually read it.

But do I accept my dream is subject to the reality of the writing world at this time, or do I hold on? Do I stick, or twist?

There are some self-published works that capture the attention of mainstream publishers, but they are the tiniest minority. If I go for it myself, I am saying that my book may never be in a bookshop, may never be picked up, its pages turned.

But if I don’t my book may stay as a document in a file forever, and there’s no point to that at all. Every day, we are shown how short life is by way of news stories and personal losses, and I wonder what I am waiting for.

This is the year of doing: I have tried new things, accepted new challenges and taken new opportunities. The question now is whether this opportunity is the right one to take.

A decision needs to be made, and I need to be brave and make a choice.  I’m not entirely sure I like that feeling.

But at least I have the chance to make a choice, and that in itself is something to celebrate.

Happy writing,
EJ
🙂

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Well, following on from last Sunday’s post, I am officially an employee once more.  I can no longer say I have given up the 9-5 to write, as such, because here I am going back to something similar.  Perhaps fewer hours per week, but the principle remains the same – it is the end of my writing life in its current form, at least for a while.

Since I gave up work I’ve studied creative writing, written a complete novel, drafted another and am bashing out a third; I run a small but successful writing group; I have performed my poetry to the public. So those are successes and show that I have made something positive of my time off.  In non-writing terms, I have become heavily involved in a local charity which is something I would never have done if I was still in my old role – this is also something that brings me a great deal of satisfaction and a sense of being part of my community.

So what changed from the start of my journey?  Well, I didn’t enjoy writing short stories so my original idea of sending them off regularly got pushed aside to make way for novels; that ended my plan of earning regularly through writing which has led me to where I am now!  I haven’t found an agent willing to take on my slightly contentious story and have not yet reached the point where I want to pursue self-publishing.

In my more confident moments I think I can carry on as I am, much as I suggested last week.   My desire to write hasn’t ended, it’s just how I use my time (and the amount of time I have) that’s shifted.

It’s another new beginning which is exciting in its own right – and after this one there will be another in November when  I get married.  In fact, life is full of them.

The reality is I’ll probably do less writing than I hope, but more than I did before my break – and that will be enough for now.  When I get into the swing of work again I can assess everything and see what I can manage.

I can’t feel too bad even if  the writing life has changed – I wouldn’t give up these four years for anything, nor the joy I have found in them.  What matters most now is that I remember I’m a writer, and keep getting those words on paper.

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

 

 

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I’m not sure if I’ve used this picture before but if I have it’s long enough ago for everyone to have forgotten, I hope!

Passion

 

For those of you who don’t recognise this, it’s a passion flower.

This particular plant is a tenacious little thing. I had it in a pot, it got ripped out by small children and left like a handful of twigs on the edge of my garden – and from that scrubby bit of half-dead birds-nest material a bushy climber began colonising a corner of my house.

I have had to cut it back many times but it returns, year after year, to take back its place.  Even when I’ve cut it back, the coils of its tendrils still hang on to wires and other plants.  Its glossy leaves and inside-out flowers are beautiful and I wish I could let it grow as vast and luxurious as it would like.

That plant behaves exactly like I should behave.  It never gave up, it strove for a place in the world.  It absorbed whatever material it could to make a difference and improve its lot.  It held on even when it seemed hopeless.  And it bloomed: no matter how many obstacles were put in its way it found a way to succeed.

I need to be a force of nature.  I need to write with determination, to fight for my place in the writing world, and hold on to whatever gives me strength so I can build on that position.

I need passion for writing – and I have it.  If you want to make writing a key part of your life, you need to have it too.

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

 

 

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This week I’ve struggled to find writing time – with family events including a big birthday party for my partner, helping arrange an event for the local charity I support, and illness (my own this time!), writing has slipped down the list of priorities.

Getting ready for my partner’s party, I was looking out a list of songs that were #1 singles on this date going back as far as I could, and I found this.  I love a bit of Bowie and clearly I am an 80’s girl at heart as that’s what I nearly always share!

Back to writing – I do have a new idea for the current novel but I’m going to scope that out during my retreat when I can give full attention to it; I was inspired by one of the books I’ll be talking about on Tuesday to think about the book in a more flexible way…

I’m also preparing to contact more agents which I want to do before I go away; my target is another 2 this week.  As I am going to be in rehearsals for a play every day the week after I might not get any more done before retreat but hopefully when I come back I’ll find out I won the competition I entered and I’ll have an agent.

I may as well keep the faith, after all!!

In other news – This week we’re on book 29, Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy on the 100 novels list. This is one of those I can’t remember if I read or not, back in my studious student days; I know I’ve read some Hardy prose and am not convinced I enjoyed it but it may have been Tess.  Oh, for a better memory…

And finally – I’ve been looking into writing competitions; one I saw might be of interest to some of you guys.  It’s The Bridport Prize, and is an annual competition across various categories.  The closing date is 31 May so have a look if you’re thinking of sending work off and don’t know where to start.

Until next time, happy writing,

EJ

🙂

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This week, I’ve tried to fill in some blanks in my to-do list; it goes back a while so am feeling a little better for it, but I am a bit frustrated not to have finished off more!

Firstly, I chased my outstanding responses from agents.  It’s always a bit unnerving – there’s a comfort in not knowing – but I also want to make sure I have explored the options in full.

Then I prepared some more submissions to go out – I had intended to hold off due to the competition but decided that the likelihood of winning was so small that waiting was simply a way to waste a few months.

Unfortunately the requirements are a little different so I have had to re-work my synopsis, but at least it’s done!

I’ve also been revisiting some early writing exercises.  This might seem a bit weird when I’m supposed to be planning my next book, but I wanted to try freewriting my story line to see if it would help me answer a few questions I have.  It’s a work in progress but if it works I’m going to try this approach for my characters too.  I know who they are and what they want but I need to make them live a little.

This idea came about when I was looking for exercises for the next writing group; I hope the group find the exercise as useful as I always have…

So that’s a start of my to-do list being done; here’s hoping for another few ticks next week!

In other news – I missed book 25 (Jerome K Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat) of the list – I haven’t read it but it sounds light enough to try after the one I’m just finishing off so I’ll see if I can download it.  We’ve now reached book 26, The Sign of Four, by Arthur Conan Doyle.  Again, I haven’t read it and I’m not convinced I’ll enjoy a full-length Sherlock story but I have got it and I will give it a go sometime soon.

Also – Recently one of my cousins posted a link about speed-reading, and then I saw this article, and I felt obliged to talk about it!  The purpose of the various bits of software is to get you through a book as quickly as possible. Now, I generally read pretty fast, but the speed of these things is ridiculous and I don’t understand the purpose for most people – why rush a good book and finish in an hour or two, and not have taken on board the ideas, concepts, motifs etc…  It might be useful for people behind on their deadlines I guess – but maybe not for people who read for pleasure and like to linger in a comfy chair with a packet of biscuits and their latest tome!

And finally – I’d like to say hi to all my new followers – well, all my followers actually!  I really appreciate your support and encouragement as the blog undergoes another round of changes 🙂

I hope you are all enjoying the new Thursday posts and the more in-depth challenge updates on Tuesdays – please do let me know what you think!

Until Tuesday,

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

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The last two weeks have been quite productive: I’ve finished reading the guide to the paranormal book (well, the relevant parts anyway!), I’ve sent my manuscript to a writing contest, I’ve done some multi-purpose research (I’m researching for a quiz but have been able to use the experience to weave an idea into my story), and I’ve started my next stage of research.

All in all, I’m ready to start planning out the next novel!

I’m keeping an open mind about how the idea will progress, but I’m going to be strict about cutting superfluous themes and scenes this time – any ideas I have that don’t fit will be recorded somewhere else for future use or reference only.

I’m keen to get going, but I’m trying to be really methodical and make sure I don’t make the mistakes I did on the woods book – which is now calling out for me to work on it even though I’m not sure what the fix will be yet!

The next step will be a short synopsis of the whole thing, of about a page, and from there I can identify other areas I need to research, as well as start planning how I get from the beginning to the end…

In other news – We’ve reached books 21 and 22 in the 100 books list.  Book 21 was Middlemarch, by George Eliot which I have read and actually enjoyed a lot; I found it much more interesting than some of the contemporaneous books.  I wanted to read it after seeing the BBC adaption with Rufus Sewell – can’t think why he drew me in!

Book 22 is The Way We Live Now, by Anthony Trollope which I haven’t read but I have put on my reading list – hopefully I’ll get to him in the course of the reading challenge!

And finally – I read a very interesting, and thought-provoking, article this week about earnings for self-publishers and the relationship between publishers and writers.  I haven’t analysed the original data yet – although I’m very grateful that data has been provided so freely!  Until I do I don’t know how easy it is to extrapolate  from it in a wider sense, because the source of the data is Amazon and therefore already has an in-built skew towards e-books, but it makes a lot of sense to me that earnings % is higher per unit for self-published books.  My own experience of looking at publishers shows that with all the various steps (from me through an agent through a publisher through a physical manufacture through to the point of sale) each one diminishes the end payment I will receive. The other point to consider here is that many e-books from traditional publishers are similar or the same in price to a physical version whereas a lot of self-published are cheaper than a physical book, which (to me) seems unreasonable.

A higher earnings % doesn’t mean higher earnings though, and it doesn’t mean all self-publishing will lead to a living wage!  But most writers know that writing isn’t a big earner for the most part, and there is a debate to be had about what is a reasonable amount to make, 5 wise, per book.

This debate will continue, and there will be more data analysed in the future; if you’re considering what way to go with your own book this issue is an important factor to consider.

I’ll leave it there for today – it’s been a busy day and I’m exhausted!

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

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