A Bit of a Pickle

Canterbury

When my May 2022 copy of Writing Magazine dropped through my letterbox, I felt one article had been written primarily for me. The article, ‘The shock of the (shiny and) new’ by Gary Dalkin, talks about how to cope with writing one novel when a new idea pops into your head about another book. I read the article with relish as it’s the situation I find myself in currently.

I have written 42,000 words of one novel and 7,000 of another, and I’m enjoying writing them both. They are both women’s fiction, both with an element of suspense, and I’m enjoying writing both protagonists and cast members. I start writing one, then moving to the other, which is utterly ridiculous, as I’ll never get one finished at this rate, dear reader.

So, I wrote a synopsis for both novels and today I showed my long-suffering hubs, my youngest daughter and her partner who have arrived for the weekend, and I’ll show my eldest daughter when she arrives later this evening. So far two votes have gone to the longest novel and one vote to the other one. If my eldest daughter votes for the one which would make it a tie, I’ve no idea what I will do.

You are probably saying, why don’t I continue writing the one which is already 42,000 words, you crazy fool. And yes, that would make sense, but there’s an irritating voice in my head saying, which one will hook an agent? I know I’ve had several books published previously, but my heart is set on finding an agent – perhaps I have a foolish heart. However, two agents who were not grabbed by my last novel said that they would love to consider any future books I write. This, dear reader, made my heart sing.

However, I believe this is the reason I am in this pickle; I feel so close, and yet…

Perhaps I will have my answer come this evening – let’s hope so, otherwise, I risk wasting valuable writing time jumping from one novel to the other. I can, of course, ask my tutor at The Novelry, and it may come to that after this evening, but it’s fun seeing how the votes pan out.

Thank you for taking an interest, and I will update you when I know which novel I have nailed to the mast.

Happy Word Flow One & All

What Stops Me From Writing?

Sitting in my local cafe with a Match & homemade sourdough crumpets.

I write every day; it’s what makes me happy – unless the words aren’t flowing. On those days, the negative voice in my head is telling me the story is rubbish, and I’m a terrible writer. For those moments, I look at the positive comments I’ve received from my tutor or editor at The Novelry, or from agents who, although they have rejected me, are keen to see any further novels from me. These are all printed out and pinned above my desk.

I try to look at Twitter and Instagram in the morning, as I can get sucked into the vortex and swill around without noticing the time passing. I follow so many book bloggers I’m often steered towards Waterstones to add books to my future purchases list, or buy them there and then, especially if there’s a signed copy on offer – my weakness. Thankfully, I’m not a fan of FB, although I have an author page there.

Being at home also means I’m interrupted from writing by the washing machine, dust which is screaming to be swept away, or Alfie, our rescue cat, who wants stroking while he eats, given water from my cupped hands under the bathroom tap, playing with indoors, or company in the garden while he rolls in the soil. I cannot ignore his pitiful meowing or his eyes staring at me until I move and follow him.

There are some days when I’m reading a novel that is so good that I just want to sit and read it until I finish it. Although it’s imperative for an author to read, sometimes it does make me feel that what I am writing is not good enough. Comparing oneself to others brings nothing but pain.

Of course, the news is also taking its toll on my creativity. I watch the news once a day only to keep abreast of what’s happening, but it’s so upsetting that it can be hard to focus on anything positive in life, as there is an element of feeling guilty about how I’m living compared to the people in Ukraine. The behaviour of human beings toward one another is so abhorrent in this situation it is incomprehensible.

Well, dear reader and writer, I hope you are not stymied from writing too often, and if you are, you find ways of dealing with it. Of course, it is good to have a break when things aren’t going your way, and I find nature extremely beneficial in those moments, whether it’s walking by the river, on the common, or sitting or working in the garden. May you all have a peaceful day.

Happy Word Flow One & All

It’s been a while.

Well, folks, it’s been a while since I’ve written a post. Covid interrupted life as we know it, and I hunkered down to write my novel – Margot Baker Knows Best. I’ve spent two years at The Novelry working on it, and Margot and I have become firm friends over that time. She’s not always the easiest person to be around, but there’s a secret in her past that has shaped who she is and her perception of life. She’s never told a soul – but maybe that would help her?

I’ve now put her to one side to await the blessing of The Novelry to start submitting her to agents, and I find I’m missing her and her entourage. However, I’m jumping headlong into working on my next novel, as writing makes me happy and keeps my mind off thinking about Margot’s future.

I spent a week away in Cambridgeshire, in a chalet by a lake, where hubs fished and I wrote. There were some cheeky goats on the site – the one in the above photo loved greeting me in the mornings. Writing while surrounded by nature is an uplifting experience for my creativity, and we plan on doing a similar holiday again this year. Do you find nature makes you feel the same?

Hopefully, I won’t be a stranger to my site from now on – although I’m not making any promises as I’ve tried changing my profile photo, but it won’t upload, which is highly annoying, as Margot would say.

Hope 2022 will be a positive and healthy year for you.

Happy Word Flow One & All

Welcome 2021, we’ve been waiting for you.

Like most people, I am delighted to say goodbye to 2020, although I’ve been exceedingly lucky compared to some folk. Neither me or hubs have had Covid-19, and neither have our immediate families. Of course, this could change, although hubs being a nurse, is tested weekly, so we would know swiftly.

It was a quiet NYE, obviously, although there were a lot of fireworks at midnight, much to Alfie’s chagrin, so he hid in his ‘safety’ cupboard where I’d already placed a blanket in readiness.

I was – and still am – kept sane by The Novelry, honing my writing, attending classes on Zoom, and listening to some amazing authors such as Joanna Canon and later this year, Mike Gayle. This Sunday is the first Team Chat of the year, and I’m so looking forward to seeing a host of familiar faces after the Christmas break.

I no longer make New Year’s Resolutions. I do, however, have some things I hope for this year, but I’m not putting unnecessary pressure upon myself to achieve them. 2020 has taught me to take one day at a time and to appreciate the smaller things in life, such as a delicious piece of cake, the spring bulbs pushing through the hardened soil, or a quiet stroll along the seashore. It is, of course, impossible to make plans for the year, seeing as Covid-19 is ever-present, so another reason not to add undue pressure on what I can or cannot achieve this coming year. I received plenty of books as gifts this Christmas, so when I’m not writing, I have a wonderful selection of novels to choose from. I hope you were lucky, too.

Let’s hope 2021 is a brighter and healthier year, where we can see our families and friends, eat out, attend food and literary festivals, and listen to live bands in pubs. But let’s look forward one day at a time, with the hope the infection rates and death rates fall dramatically, ushering in the life we used to know – or near enough.

Hope the words flow for you, and stay safe One & All.

It’s That Time of Year

Well, we’ve had a rather trying year, but we’ve made to Christmas, whatever it may look like in your home. Normally, we take the decorations down the day after Boxing Day now our daughters no longer live at home. However, seeing as this year we find ourselves in tier 4 on Boxing Day, we’ve decided to keep the lights up to add some cheer to our home. I will also look at the background next time I photograph Alfie – the wires and plugs rather spoil the image!

I know there are several books from my wishlist waiting for me under the tree – I’m excited to see what they are! I will post a photo or two on Twitter @HemmieMM and Instagram hemmiemm at some point.

I hope you find some comfort, cheer, fun, love, and a cocktail or two over this festive period. I have a new cocktail glass so it would be rude not to use it.

Thank you for reading this – I appreciate your company.

Lockdown2

Local beach near where we live in North Suffolk

Well here we are again, folks, in our second lockdown, in an attempt to lower the infection rate of covid-19. I am so glad we managed to see our daughters when the rules allowed, as it had been well over six months since we had last been together. I noticed how long their hair had grown, and they were kind enough not to mention how much my lockdown belly had grown!

I had given up my gym membership last lockdown and have joined an online one – although this does require an element of self-motivation, which is not always forthcoming. I finished writing a novel, which is awaiting feedback before I complete yet another round of edits , and I have started writing a chapter plan for the next one. I have been buying far too many books, and desperately need some shelves putting up as I am now just piling them up in my office. I also fiddled with my website, which was a spur of the moment decision, and one I regretted for a few minutes until I finally worked it out.

A quirky new cafĂ© had just opened in town, and I had enjoyed several trips there to savour their coffee and cakes, with a book to read for company. It was also the perfect setting to work on my novel when I needed a change of scenery. This is one thing I am missing right now, but it’s somewhere I am looking forward to visiting again.

Yesterday, hubs and I went to a local beach, which was almost deserted and so invigorating. Barely a breeze, so the sound of the waves filled our ears, soothing our souls, and although the canopy was cloudy, it was a dry day. We walked quite a distance, coming across the occasional dog walker from a safe distance, obviously. The walk energised me and cleared my head of clutter that can dampen my creativity.

During the first lockdown we had glorious sunshine, which allowed us to picnic in the garden and pretend we were on holiday. This time, the weather has not been on our side – the endless days of rain were rather soul-destroying. Having said that, I am totally aware that for some people, the weather is the least of their worries. These are troubling times in so many ways, that we need to show kindness to one another, and reach out to those who may be struggling. We got to know two elderly women in our road during the first lockdown, who now have our telephone number in case they need anything.

I hope that you are coping during this difficult time, and have found ways to alleviate any anxiety or stress it might be causing you. Miranda Hart is doing a sterling job on Instagram if you’re in need of some inspiration.

Let’s hope 2021 is brighter and healthier for one and all in so many ways.

Stay safe.