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This week…

I have noticed I am getting behind on the posts a lot.

I don’t have time to tweet, or check my twitter feed.

I have read about three pages of a book.

I have written less than 1000 words.

Where is the time going??

I am generally falling behind on a lot of personal life arrangements. I have reasons, but they don’t get me an agent so they are not worth focussing on.

Instead, a little later than I should, I am going to set myself some weekly targets.

This week coming, I will:

  • Finalise the plan for changing the format of the whodunnit and PUT IT ON PAPER!
  • Send the Family Tree out to four more agents (to make up for a missed week!)
  • Read something from cover to cover.

When push comes to shove, I need to know I am still moving forward. If things slow me down, I run the risk of halting, and I don’t want that.

So this post isn’t really about the week I had, but the week I am going to have, and how I’m going to make it work for me.

And Monday’s already over, so I’d better get to it!

Happy writing,
EJ
🙂

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This post is unexpectedly late due to my husband getting ill, sorry about that, but he has been in need of a little tlc, and I’m going to keep this short for the same reason.

So a quick recap – last week was a positive one: editing was completed, agents were identified, appropriate synopses have been started.

I feel energised in my writing, and have a plan.

My plan involves agreeing with a friend that in 6 months, if no pick-up from agents, I will self-publish. I’m still not sure how I feel about it, but it is a plan, and it gives structure to my aimless amblings earlier in the year about what to do for the best.

It also means I can now get down to work on my next project – either a re-work of an earlier draft book or a follow-up to the one being sent out.  I have a brief timeline for the follow-up so could build on that but I kind of like the idea of revisiting something I’ve done, in my newly-positive editing mindset, and seeing whether it’s got potential to work. That is a decision for the next few days.

Yep, last week was a good week.  This week hasn’t got off to the best of starts but give it a few days and I should be back on track.

Watch this space!

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

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I’ve been talking about my writing a lot recently – for a number of reasons and to a pretty mixed audience.  It surprises me how easy people think it is to be published; as though every writer has a raft of offers (if only).

I explain the options of traditional publishing vs self publishing and how literary agents are the first line of resistance when it comes to most traditional publishing, but still I get the ‘of course you’re published’ comments that make me feel a little like I’ve failed them.

Getting an agent isn’t automatic, isn’t that easy for most people, and doesn’t guarantee publication anyway!

It surprises me how many people don’t know what goes on for writers, really – questions and assumptions I’ve heard about my own ‘career’ can be really demotivating, and quite honestly I have rejection letters and emails for that, I don’t need it from people in general conversation!

On the more positive side, editing has gone really well this week, despite a few shaky days when I couldn’t fit writing work in because of other things going on.  In some respects I think the busy days helped me because I was so keen to make up some lost time that I’ve managed to do more in an editing session than I would normally expect.

I now have just 34 A4 pages left to go, and that is my task for tomorrow.  I hope it won’t take more than 3 hours but if it does, I’ll just have to hunker down for a long evening.  Luckily, as I am working a lot of extra hours from Tuesday onwards I should get out of work on time tomorrow!

I’m still enjoying revisiting the book; there have been a few changes to improve the flow but really, there’s not a lot of alteration.  I want to build on this little world I have created though, and explore where these characters go – so I am really keen to get going on the sequel.

Perhaps that’s the part I miss when talking about writing.  Publication is an ideal, because I want people to read what I’ve produced – but writing is the goal.  I don’t write because I want a lucrative career, or a twitter following, or the film rights, or to be able to wear designer dresses to fancy awards.  I write because I need to write.  When I don’t sit down and build a story, or poem, or moment on a piece of paper, I am missing out on joy.

The rest is just wrapping paper.  The writing is the gift.

Enjoy your gift,

EJ

🙂

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In preparation for my competition entry this week, I spent most of my time on my first novel.

Re-reading it has been really lovely. It has identified a few minor issues to tidy up, which is the task for next week, but I doubt that will take more than an hour or so.

Re-doing the synopsis has been much more time-consuming.

When I first prepared everything for agents, I followed all the guidelines to a tee, and the majority of those only allow for one page of text. Looking at that after a little time has passed showed me where I had missed a trick, in terms of building the story. I’m not sure I got it right for this competition, but it is something I will definitely be focussing on over then next couple of weeks.

All this has really got me excited about the book again, so after debating my next options for a while, I am going to try to agent route again. If it’s still unsuccessful I have the option to self-publish, and I will prepare for that too.

The book represents a transformation in my life – giving up my career to write, building an on-line presence, creating a writing community locally. I changed my world to make it happen, and I don’t want that to be wasted.

So that’s my focus for the rest of this month. For the rest of tonight, though, I am logging off as we are in for a storm and I think my power might be compromised!

Happy writing,
EJ
🙂

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At last, and many months after originally planned, I have completed the first draft of the whodunnit.  Hurrah, huzzah, yee haw and other cheering celebratory words!

Following a final push this evening to get the last 5000 or so words done, I feel like there should be a confetti cannon and party poppers, but I’m going to settle for a sleep…

I’ll let it settle now, and for the next few weeks I’ll concentrate on new poetry and re-reading the Family Tree novel to see if anything pokes me in the face as being annoying, out of character, melodramatic etc so I can revise it if required.  Then, it’s decision time on that.

For now though, I am ridiculously tired and need to turn my brain into the off position. Tomorrow will be a writing free day and then…

And then, I’ll start all over again.

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

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It’s been a very busy weekend, because I’ve been helping out at my friend’s annual business open day. It’s a beautiful location and a great weekend but boy, do I feel it when the last customers have left and we’ve packed up for another year!

The whole week has been a little frenetic, actually – I changed jobs on Thursday, so had a lot of finishing off to do at the beginning of the week, we’re in the process of clearing out our storage room and there’s a new course starting that I want to catch up on before I get behind!  I have also been making decorations in readiness for my Halloween party, culminating this week in the weaving of a large orange wool spider web.

Beyond these, I have done some writing, and got a few bits under my belt.  Sadly, not much of the whodunnit.

Or rather, the time I’ve spent hasn’t got me to the end. It’s so odd – I can sit and write for a couple of hours, only to have moved very little either in word count or story. It’s like that dream where you run down a corridor that stretches the more you move.

So at the risk of yet another missed deadline, I am going to set myself a new one. Before I do that, though, I will do a final plan to get me from where I am to the end. I keep adding bits to the story, but what I ought to be doing is getting the key information into the interviews with the lead police officer, so that will be my focus for the coming week.

By next weekend, I will know what I need to do, and have a timetable to do it.

I will be so very, very glad to get this one finished, I just can’t tell you.  I never imagined working on it so long and it is a reminder that I need to be more practical in my writing processes. It is also a reminder that every writing session missed is an opportunity wasted – I no longer have the luxury of making up writing time at 3am or working through the night to meet a target.  I have to set my targets around my life, not the other way around.

It’s a lesson I should have taken on board already, but it’s one I struggled to absorb.

If nothing else, this whodunnit has been a good learning tool as to how to balance writing with my paid work; like so many things, it’s taken me a while but I’ll get there in the end!

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

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I have got myself a little overwhelmed this week, with too many things to do and not enough time to do it all.  It’s been fun but also busy, tiring and not quite as productive as I would have hoped.

This is a little bit like my to do pile, at the moment (in fact, technically this is part of my to do pile!):

The to do pile

So let’s start with the writing, shall we.  Well, I got the timesheet  out and this week I dropped 2 hours – Friday and Saturday – so I’m going into next week with a challenge to make that up.  I don’t know if I will do it, looking at my diary for next week – but I’m very conscious that I have 17 days to get the first draft of the whodunnit completed so I really do need to get on.   In terms of the storyline, I am on track – I have 3 interviews, a repeat, a reveal and the end point, so if I can get the 3 interviews done this week, the repeat and reveal next week, and the end point plus any mop-up in the 3 days of the week after, I’ll be ok!!

I also need to dig out a couple of my poems and pass them on to a writer for a second opinion; but he is awaiting my feedback on his work so I need to prepare that first!  I promised it about 4 weeks ago so I must get that done by Wednesday at the latest.

In the non-writing, I have to get to grips with the proofing for my friend, which I have set some time aside for tomorrow, and work out some time to go through a project proposal of another member of the writing group.

But they are for next week, and in the meantime I really should be getting the most out of this one.   After all, there’s 2 hours left of it!

And finally – as you know, I gave up on the 100 novels list a few weeks ago, more due to time that anything else.  So here is the full list and I hope you find something new and interesting to try from this list, as I did.  As to the next step – a more diverse list, perhaps – there’s an opportunity to get involved if you like.  One book I would have liked to see, but would never have appeared, is The Silk Road by Jeanne Larsen – a book I have mentioned more than once on here because of the impact it had on me.  It has influenced my thinking on mythology, opened my eyes to the way language is used differently in different cultures, given me new and interesting poetic forms to try.  I loved it as a teenager, and as an adult writer I have absorbed lessons from it that have shifted my perspective – and I still love it!

So there you have it, folks – a week of doing, adding to the to do list, and planning for the next phase.  Lots more still to do, but now I just want to go and read my favourite book!!

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

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