Starting A New Book: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

autumn

Hello, my lovelies!

I had such grand plans for October.

I was going to finish the second draft of my supernatural/fantasy book and send it to my agent. I was going to start the first draft of a new book. I was going to update this blog regularly, take a week off with my family, sort out some DIY tasks, and, in all likelihood, solve the global warming crisis at the same time. In other words, I succumbed to the ‘do all the things’ trap. My perfectionist side likes to do this every so often – it piles on the pressure and watches the inevitable meltdown with a giant carton of popcorn. Sigh.

This was probably a result of finishing the old book completely and finally (copy edits done!) and not having started the new one. After a few weeks of panic (I’ll never have another idea! I’ll never finish another book! The others were flukes!) I settled back to work. And nothing happened. Even if I managed to write, it came out stilted and weird.

First I bullied myself (‘you must write 2000 words today or else’) and my brain froze and refused to work at all. Then I took a week off to read and watch films and walk and think and, by the end, my creative mind was beginning to wake up and send me little snippets.

Today, I finally seem to be in the zone. I have a couple of characters I adore and a ‘feeling’ which, for me, is the most important part. The relief is enormous!

In other news, it appears to be the end of October. If you’re doing NaNoWriMo this year, I wish you lots of luck (and words – lots and lots of words!). I won’t be taking part officially, but I will be trying to write as much as possible on my first draft. I’ll aim for 30,000 and will check in here throughout the month. Do feel free to set any goals in the comments, so that we support each other during November!

theworriedwriter_300Finally, if you haven’t tried my free podcast, yet; do consider checking out the latest interview with Joanna Penn (from The Creative Penn). If you need inspiration to get more productive or to follow your writing dreams, Joanna’s energy and enthusiasm may be just what you need.

Episode #08: The Worried Writer: Joanna Penn ‘I Measure My Life by What I Create’ 

Alternatively, if you’re struggling with getting words down at all and are in a writing slump, this post may help: The Only Way To Defeat A Bad Writing Day

2015: Dreaming Big, Setting Goals

ID-100298534Hello my lovelies!

I hope you are having a wonderful winter holiday.

In addition to eating chocolate and spending time with family, I’ve been chucking stuff out in preparation for the new year. There is something about the dead time between Christmas and January 1st which gets my ‘clear the decks’ head on and I’ve filled several bin bags.

I also love the chance to take stock of what I’ve achieved, to think about what I want to do next and – my favourite activity – set some goals!

Some of these are largely out of my control and, as such, fall into the ‘dream big’ category. I’m hoping, of course, that my latest book finds an amazing publishing home and that I have happy book deal news to tell you all soon.

And, if any passing film producer wants to snap up the rights to The Language of Spells or The Secrets of Ghosts, that would also be sweet!

However, in terms of stuff I can actually control…

My main goal for 2015 is to write a new novel but, after reading Joanna Penn’s Business For Authors and doing a lot of thinking during December, I have a few other goals to add to that:

Update this blog regularly. I didn’t do too badly this year, but I would like to consistently update once a week during 2015.

Overhaul my website. I’m moving to self-hosted and I also want to tweak the design.

Send out my first newsletter (and a couple more throughout the year).

Try another format for blogging/connecting with readers. I adore listening to podcasts and would really like to try making one of my own.

Write lots and lots. I’m stealing my friend Keris’s 2014 strategy and am aiming for a yearly total of 150,000 words (her total was much larger – hush now). This works out at 15,000 a month for ten months (giving myself two months off for holidays/fallow periods).

15,000 a month can be further broken down into 3750 per week or, 750 words each work day. That sounds pretty reasonable, but I shall update throughout the year to let you know whether it’s working.

So, how about you guys? Are you setting goals or making resolutions?

 

 

 

Books, Books, Books!

Having finished the latest (maybe final?!) rewrite on the WIP, I’m now free to catch up on my reading. Yay!

Here are the books I’ve been gazing at longingly for the last few weeks…

N.B. This list doesn’t include the books I’ve put on my Christmas wish-list or the pile I have out from the library. Yes, I am a bookaholic, but you guys knew that, right?

mynotoriouslifeMy Notorious Life by Kate Manning. This was featured on Catherine Newman’s blog (I love her writing and have followed several of her book – and board game! – recommendations with great success). Plus, it sounds amazing. Here’s Emma Donoghue’s blurb:

Not just a splendidly page-turning story of an angry orphan clawing her way up in the world, but a gripping docu-drama about women’s business (in several senses) in nineteenth-century America. My Notorious Life gives midwifery its full dues: the glories and the miseries, the feminism and the money, the literally bloody ethical dilemmas. Unflinchingly memorable (Emma Donoghue, author of Room)

provincial The Diary of a Provincial Lady by E.M. Delafield. I think I heard about this book from Sara Manning on Twitter and, as my obsession with the 1930s continues unabated, I grabbed a second-hand copy with both hands.

 

 

goodomensGood Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. The fabulous news about the Radio 4 adaptation of this book reminded me that I’m long overdue a re-read.

 

 

 

businessforauthors Business For Authors by Joanna Penn. I’ve been freelance for many years and have even run my own company, but I haven’t quite made the psychological switch to treating my fiction writing as a business. I really want to build a career/continue doing this full-time, though, so I’ve downloaded this manual to kick-start my business-planning for 2015.

 

minitaurist

 

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton. I missed reading this with my book club because of deadline-hell, but everybody loved it so I’m keen to give it a whirl.