Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Writing is Work

This week is my first proper week as a writer. It should've been last week but that was a bank holiday and people wanted to do things, which was lovely, it really was, but at the moment all I want to do is write. When I don’t write I become jittery. 

Betsy Ball
Previously, I thought the best time would be between nine and twelve am because that is when our new puppy sleeps and sometimes it’s impossible to get anything done when she’s awake. But I’ve discovered that when people know you’re at home, they think that gives them free reign to disturb you (I’m not mentioning any names because that would be mean and they aren’t trying to annoy me. In fact most of the time they want to do something really nice). As I’m not technically working for someone,(yet) sometimes it seems like I’m a lady of leisure.

Don’t get me wrong, I know I’m  lucky. I’ve been given the opportunity of pursuing my dream career by my very understanding husband who has agreed to me taking a year out to write. But it’s hard to get others to understand that writing is as much work as when I went out every day to an office.

So it turns out nine until twelve doesn’t work. Not only do you have people wanting you to go for lunch all the time (I really would like to). You also have the postman, the window cleaner, the meter reader and the door to door salesman. As soon as that door goes, distraction hits. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve got really into a scene and the bell rings, Betsy goes mad, my phone beeps, all at the same time. Another admission is that I’m not a morning person. I’m a night owl. I really struggle to get up if I don’t have anywhere in particular to go (like work).  

After much deliberation I’ve decided to write between ten pm and one am. Whilst the world is sleeping I’m writing. No one is awake to disturb me. Our very cute puppy is asleep and tomorrow I will be nice and polite to the various people who turn up at my door. Better still I have written 2500 words of a short story and this blog entry.  I definitely have more focus at night. 

So my advice this week is to consider when is best to write for you. Just because the norm is for people to work during the day and sleep at night doesn’t mean that’s right or write (sorry couldn’t resist) for you.

What am I working on?

At the moment I’m writing a short story crime series called The Maple Cottage Mysteries, which is about two friends who fall into careers as private detectives. I wrote the beginning for an assignment in my first year at uni and couldn’t stop thinking about it.  I’ve been desperate to go back and finish it. Here’s a little taster:

‘Eastwood Park women’s prison near Bristol has a history of suicide and self harm amongst its inmates’. Charlie Scott found this worrying information on Wikipedia whilst preparing himself for what he expected to be a trying day.  
Charlie hadn’t realised there was so much about prison life online. He’d even discovered that when you first go to prison you can’t shit for weeks. He was hoping that it wouldn’t come up in conversation as Melissa entered the prison ‘Visit’s Room’.
Melissa Turner, Charlie’s lifelong friend, had been incarcerated after her request for bail was denied. The charge was murder.  
Melissa looked normal; he’d half expected her to change into a heroin addict over night.  She did look tired, but only as though she’d pulled an all-nighter to finish an assignment. It was different for Melissa, she’d worked in prisons so knew exactly what to expect. He wondered if she even knew some of the other inmates.
“You came,” Melissa smiled as she sat down opposite him.
Charlie sat a little straighter and tried to get a better look at her arms. The self harm anecdote had left him feeling paranoid. Melissa caught his gaze and smirked.
“Charlie Scott, you’re such a hypochondriac. I bet you’ve been on the internet again,” she scolded.
He blushed.
“I’m sorry. It’s just, well, I didn’t know what to expect. I used to watch Bad Girls,” he admitted.

Book Review Billy & Me By Giovanna Fletcher

I first heard about Giovanna Fletcher after watching her husband Tom’s wonderful and now famous wedding speech. In fact that speech introduced me (via twitter) to the extremely successful and talented extended Fletcher family. It’s both refreshing and inspirational to come across such a warm and genuinely nice bunch of people.  In these negative times we’ve all been experiencing lately, they really do make things seem much brighter.

On to the book: Billy and Me is about following your dreams and letting go of those events from the past that can hold you back. Sophie is living half a life. It’s a happy one but she’s too scared to leave the security of her village. When she meets Billy, he boosts her spirits and encourages her (as all good partners should do) to start living a more fulfilling life. It’s not all smooth sailing though and Sophie has many obstacles to overcome before she can become the person she’s truly meant to be, making this an extremely entertaining read.

This is a beautiful love story, the sort of love that many readers will hope to experience for themselves one day (if they haven’t already).  I can’t wait for Giovanna’s next book (hopefully a sequel?).

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