Monday Motivation and a GoodReads Giveaway

Happy Monday, all!

I know that it’s the Spring Bank Holiday here in the UK, but it’s just a normal Monday for me… I’m in my garden office, typing away on the latest book and trying to remember this:

Image Credit: Life at Number Five
Image Credit: Life at Number Five

[Free PDF printable of the image is available here]

I love this quote and I think it’s really important.

When I’m struggling with a creative project, it’s so easy to forget… I look at a finished book such as The Language of Spells or In The Light of What We See and, even though I wrote the darn things, I forget how hard I found it.

When I’m working on something new and it’s all difficult and messy and uncertain, I have a tendency to think that I’ve ‘forgotten how to write’ or that ‘I shouldn’t be telling this story because it isn’t flowing/isn’t good’, forgetting that I felt EXACTLY THE SAME WAY about my previous books!

IntheLightofWhatWeSee-NEWAlso, if you haven’t got your hands on In The Light of What We See, yet (or would like a spare copy to use as a gift – books make wonderful presents!), why not enter this GoodReads giveaway?

It’s for a signed copy of In The Light of What We See, and I will happily sign it to a particular person/with the personal message of your choice (within reason!).

Anyway, I hope you are well, and thank you for visiting!

 

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

Podcasting, Writing and the Joy of Rereading

ID-100305236It’s been a lovely sunny Easter holiday. We’ve had the first picnic of the year and even been to the beach a couple of times (which means, of course, the first outdoor fish and chips of the season – yum).

In between the fun, I’ve been busy editing and uploading my new podcast. The first episode is now live and you can subscribe in iTunes or listen via The Worried Writer site.

The first episode features an interview with YA author (and my good friend) Keris Stainton. I really hope you like it!

Writing-wise, I’ve been trying to work on a new project that just doesn’t feel right. I don’t usually hit my first, serious ‘I can’t do it’ wall until around 20,000 words, but I am seriously flailing at just 4000. I need to decide whether it’s the wrong project or the wrong idea or whether I’m just burnt out and need a little break.

Speaking of feeling a bit odd, after finishing the excellent The Girl With All the Gifts by M. R. Carey, I couldn’t settle on a new book to read.

So, I decided to visit some old friends…

I used to reread a lot and it’s something I’m trying to find time to do again. It’s nice, every once in a while, to step off the ‘shiny new book’ conveyor belt (so many new books, never enough time!) and to slip between the worn covers of an old favourite.

Sometimes it’s like coming home, with everything just as I left it – and is just as comforting as that sounds. Sometimes, though, it’s deliciously unsettling; familiar stories made strange with the fresh perspective of another decade (or two) of life.

How about you? Do you like to reread books or is once enough?

[Image credit: pannawat at FreeDigitalPhotos]

Announcing The Worried Writer Podcast!

theworriedwriter_300

Those on my mailing list already know about this (sign up here if you’d like to be in the club!) but here’s my ‘big’ announcement…

My secret project is a brand new podcast called The Worried Writer!

If you want to write but find it hard, this podcast is for you. Every episode will be packed with practical advice and resources and, perhaps most importantly, the knowledge that you are Not Alone.

Each month I will interview an author, delving into the nitty-gritty of the creative life. We discuss how they get their writing done and how they deal with self-doubt, creative block and procrastination.

I am a self-confessed ‘worried writer’ and, on good days, I feel as if I’ve made peace with that. I work despite the self-doubt, and I’ve developed several techniques with enable me to get words on the page on a regular schedule. I want to share those tips and techniques with you, answer questions and provide support to fellow-worriers.

I also (selfishly!) want to gather more tips and advice from other writers because worry is a sneaky little beast and I have no doubt that I will need new ways to combat it in the future.

I really hope you’ll join me. The first episode will go live next week, but in the meantime here’s a short article on the value of putting process over product.

Monday Motivation: Stamina

johnirving

 

As I’m armpit deep in rewriting at the moment, this John Irving quote has special resonance for me.

Stamina isn’t just for the rewriting stage, though, it’s an essential component of building a creative habit, writing (and finishing) a first draft, submitting, and publishing.

Do you agree? If so, how did you show stamina this week?