A Little Motivation

This is the café where we had brunch yesterday. It’s a wonderfully eclectic former cinema with high ceilings, ancient décor and Caferickety wooden tables; a sublime place where you can sit and have a family meal alongside someone reading the Sunday newspapers over a coffee.

The reason for our visit? We were all celebrating one of those weeks where we’ve enjoyed some accomplishments. Nothing major, just those little successes in life that may seem insignificant to those outside our little group but everything to the individual involved. For my part, after several months of break, I’ve started working on a new writing project.

My motivation over the summer was lacklustre at best and any time I did spend at the computer was mainly concentrated on faffing and fiddling with my latest novel before we start the official edits later this year. The day job kept me extra busy and my spare time was filled with long evenings drinking wine in the garden with my husband, cycle rides and days out with the family.

I’m not sure when or how the turning point came. Some of it may be due to the cooler weather and the days shortening, pulling me back to indoor activities. However, my motivation was certainly kick-started this week by a book club I had dinner with on Tuesday night. They were a lovely group of ladies and what struck me was their sheer sense of enthusiasm for the books they have read and enjoyed. In short, it was infectious.

It made me consider what I enjoy about the writing process: drawing up characters and watching them surprise me as they develop; working out those twists and turns so that the book moves at high tempo, enjoying the roll of the words as they reach the page. This is why I write, because I enjoy the buzz when something works and I read a passage back that makes the hairs on the back of arms stand on end. And I share my work in the hope that somebody else will read it and feel that same buzz.

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Just Another Phase…

We’ve been busy decorating daughter’s bedroom recently. It seems to me that the life of a child is played out in phases, in her case characterized by the décor of her room. When she was young it was a Winnie the Pooh room. When old enough to express a preference we moved into a pink Disney Princess theme. Several years on, she was fascinated by the ocean, so we switched to blue and accessorised with all things under the sea. Now that she is a teenager we have moved on again and I’m sure that her purple walls will soon be covered with posters from her beloved Kerrang magazine.

As I stroked the brush across the walls, it struck me that navigating the creative world of writing feels quite similar in many ways. When I discovered fiction writing, all those years ago, I started with a few short stories. Then I dipped my toe in the water and decided to write a novel which eventually became An Unfamiliar Murder. I had a bit of a paddle with The Truth Will Out, still unsure of whether it would actually work. With my latest, I plunged myself right in at the deep end and immersed myself in it. However, since starting my fourth, I feel I’ve lost my way a little.

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When the Time is Right

It’s no secret that I finally have a first draft of my third book. I’ve talked on Twitter about how my long-suffering husband has been subjected to that initial read these past few weeks.

This first independent read feels so important. Until then, the book has very much been my own. I might have talked through ideas for odd scenes, gained a couple of opinions on plotlines, but it’s very much the figment of my imagination. Sharing invites a critique and, more importantly, whether it hangs together, is believable and works.

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Write From the Heart

When I first joined the realms of social media, I quickly noticed all the online writing challenges. It seemed almost daily a post would appear in my inbox about word counts, such as NaNoWriMo, the 500 words a day challenge, the A-Z Blog Challenge. In fact, I read so many posts about daily word counts it almost gave me an inferiority complex about my own writing habits.

There are benefits of course. Writing everyday helps us to develop and improve our style, concentrates the mind, makes our projects grow. Challenges can provide focus and discipline. However it’s important to remember that not everyone is able to follow such a routine. Some people belong to a small pocket of authors who can only write when the mood feels in balance. Others, like myself, have a day job, a family and other commitments.

500 words a day doesn’t sound very much, but to write 500 quality words a day is another matter. For me, squeezing in half an hour to sit in front of the screen for the sake of it and churn out a load of drivel simply doesn’t appeal. Even getting those words down and making something of it later, leaves me cold.

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