Overthinking my writing

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I’m currently in a phase of overthinking my writing and it has rendered me emotionally blind through being over-analytical about every word and idea I pull from my head. The whole thing is driving me doolally.

Although crime/psychological thriller and contemporary women’s fiction are my go-to genres, I’ve been reading a lot of articles about the current squeeze, up-lit – uplifting literature. Think along the lines of ‘Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. With all the political and social upheaval currently in the world, readers are seeking escapism through up-lit novels about kindness and empathy.

I thought I’d try to write one and see where it takes me. I came up with a quirky title (no, I’m not telling you yet), a diverse cast of characters, likeable but with flaws, and a goal for those within the story to strive for. So far, so good. Only, 16,000 words in and I’m searching for the darkness, the mental health issues, the knife twisting in someone’s back, and it’s not long before I feel myself being dragged towards a psychological thriller.

I know that old adage banded around ‘write what you know’, but I’ve never stabbed someone (unless giving an injection) or poisoned someone (well, sorry about those prawns…) and yet I can research the topic to then write about. I love researching even though that can be dreadfully distracting.

So, I’ve put the up-lit novel on the back burner and am now planning a psychological thriller, and I already feel at home.

I’m not giving up on the up-lit WIP, but perhaps I need the summer weather to lift me out of the murky swamp winter finds me in.

Happy Word Flow One & All

 

Happy New Year!

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Well here we are in 2019, let’s hope it’s a year of peace, understanding and hope. I also hope for a year of fabulous books from diverse authors in a plethora of genres, with plenty of readers to be enveloped in the pages.

On a personal note, I moved to Beccles on the Suffolk/Norfolk border seven months ago and I feel so settled here. The town offers me everything I need, including an independent bookshop and gym – yes, I did say gym –  and the people are so friendly and helpful. This house affords me a room of my own to write in and store all my books on writing and the numerous box files of notes on past and future novels. I do appreciate how lucky I am, but I have worked hard all my life to get here, it didn’t just land in my lap!

We had a wonderful family Christmas, with both daughters coming home from university for the holiday. They are both in their final years of their degrees and I’m very proud of their hard work and the adults they have grown-up to be. We had a fun time playing board games whilst eating and drinking all the naughty stuff, hence my need to go to the gym!

Alfie, our rescue cat is thoroughly enjoying his new home with plenty of gardens to explore and other cats to befriend. He’s such a dear soul, loving, gentle and a white bundle of fun. As a former dog only lover, I am taken aback at how much Alfie has taught me about cats and how adorable they are. I still talk to dog owners and their dogs on my walk into town, but I also now stop and pet cats I see along the way – how changeable we are, no matter what age.

I have two contemporary novels almost finished and I’m undecided what I’ll do with them. I still haven’t branched out into the self-publishing arena, mainly due to fear of the unknown. I could send them to my publisher, or I perhaps try another avenue yet to be determined. I sent the first three chapters of one of the novels into a competition and received some very positive and constructive feedback which I am now incorporating into the manuscript and my writing in general.

I hope 2019 offers you the opportunities you seek, the love you require and a healthy mind and body. Thank you for following me and reading my blog, I truly appreciate each and every one of you.

Happy Word Flow One & All

Whoops!

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Well, I must say, I’ve been a terrible blogger of late as instead of writing the odd post here and there, I’ve been concentrating on my own writing and reading novels from my TBR pile. It wouldn’t be too bad, but I keep buying books to add to the pile – a draw-back from having a local independent bookshop and from following! The ones calling to me currently, are: The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris; Outline by Rachel Cusk; Zero by Gine Cornelia Pedersen; Everything Under by Daisy Johnson and Conversations with Friends by Sally Rooney, which I’m currently reading and enjoying.

Yesterday, I put up the Christmas decorations – hubs brought them down from the loft, his contribution – and now I feel almost ready for Christmas apart from writing cards and wrapping gifts – which are momentous tasks in themselves. But yet again, instead of doing some each day, which is what I planned to do, I find myself hiding in a corner to read, or ensconced in my office writing; it’s got worse since having my own room.

I recently had  the first three chapters of the latest novel I’m writing, professionally reviewed via a competition, and the feedback has given me much to think about. There were positive points as well as constructive criticism and I’m itching to get back to the debut of the novel to start rewriting it, but Christmas will interfere in one way or another.

However, I have much to be grateful for in life, so I should rejoice in those moments and be thankful when I’m tucked away reading or writing, even though hubs still comes and interrupts me to tell me a joke he’s seen on Twitter! Before we know it, Christmas will be here, then gone in a flash, then another year will be almost over, before we all start again with new goals, resolutions, hopes and battles to overcome. I would like to say that I plan to be a more proactive blogger, but I think I’d planned that for 2018 and look what happened – whoops!

I strongly imagine I won’t be chatting to you on here before Christmas, so may I take this opportunity to thank you all for following and reading my blog and to wish you all a very Merry Christmas.

Happy Word Flow One & All

 

Darker Side of Fiction book event 2018

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On Saturday I attended The Darker Side of Fiction book signing event in Peterborough, run by the wonderful Rachel and Jo from Hourglass Events, and I’m already looking forward to attending the same event in 2019!

The Friday night was spent in the hotel bar sampling their array of gins (fell in love with the violet one and now have a bottle at home) with avid readers, now friends, Emma Precious-White, Claire Field and Yvonne Davies. There were other authors and general public in the bar and we laughed a lot until 1am when I thought I should go to bed as the signing started at 9am!

It doesn’t take me long to set up, with the help of my glamorous assistant, Peter (hubs). It was lovely to be seated between Joey-Paul and Lavinia Urban. It’s always good to catch up with authors as well as established, such as Katrina Lecoy, and new readers.

I’m gradually get more confident at speaking to people when they approach my table. the first year I tried not to give eye contact so the people didn’t feel pressurised to buy, but now I know that they want to chat with the author and discuss the books. They may or may not purchase a book – they may buy it on Kindle when they get home – but it doesn’t matter, it’s all about making connections with readers and giving them a bookmark and pen so they hopefully remember me in the future.

Pre-orders are wonderful as I’m already prepared with bags and goodies already for those people who’ve placed an order. There are still goodies for those that purchase on the day, of course.

The room was buzzing with people and I managed to buy a couple of books from Paula Acton. I buy some books from the other authors each year so I get to know their work. It’s an exciting time as people approach the table to discuss my books. Rachel and Jo always provide goody bags for the author and assistant, including a bottle of water and a personalised gift – I received a gorgeous coconut scented candle and hubs got a mug depicting a humorous  fishing scene.

My crime series featuring DI Eva Wednesday and DS Jacob Lennox is always popular, but so was The Reluctant Mother, a contemporary novel with dark edges. Not sure if I’ll have a new novel ready for next year, but who knows? I’m working on one currently, but I’ll say no more.

It was an amazing day, and unfortunately we were unable to attend the Darker Ball due to family commitments, but we’ll be there next year.

The actor who played Nick Cotton was staying in the hotel, making some authors and readers very excited, but not me. It would have to be Greg Davies to make me happy!

I’ve included a few photos below, sadly I don’t yet have all of them to show. I’m sorry if I’ve left anyone out – the gin night was a bit of a blur!

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Beach cleaning

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Since moving to Beccles in Suffolk four months ago, we’ve taken part in a couple of beach cleaning events – one in Lowestoft and one in Aldeburgh.

Having never done one before, we didn’t know what to expect. We arrived at the meeting point where other people were already waiting, then the organisers handed out work wear – gilets, gloves, grabbers (although I chose to use my gloved hands as I find grabbers frustrating to use), a bottle of water and refuse sacks, then off we went for three and a half hours!

As we had to walk through a car park to get to the beach, there was already rubbish strewn around, which if left, would have blown onto the beach, so our job started straight away and I was already mumbling to myself about why people couldn’t dispose of their rubbish responsibly, but it was to get much worse – the rubbish and the muttering.

Hubs and I walked separately to go at our own speed, and soon I came across what I called ‘party areas’, where people had obviously gathered for a few drinks and snacks but didn’t have the decency to take their rubbish home with them, or use the bins in the car park! What shocked me were the broken glass bottles I found, with jagged edges that would really harm any children or dogs running around. Bottle tops, crisp packets, cigarette butts – that we now know contain plastic –  and plastic wrappers from sandwiches etc were all there to be found.

But what really upset me (and gave me back and leg ache for 4 days after the event) were the tiny bits of polystyrene (looked like from takeaway cartons and cups) dotted around. They were tiny, but enough for fish to ingest, and they blighted the sand. I would take one step then bend down to gather the pieces, then another step to repeat the same action – I did a huge amount of squats over the period of time, no wonder I ached! Even though I spent the most amount of time collecting these pieces, I could see there were more but time wasn’t on my side.

On returning the sack to the organisers, they said that everyone complained about the amount of polystyrene they found strewn around – very disheartening.

The second beach clean in Aldeburgh threw up little polystyrene but we did find plastic food wrappers, plastic lolly sticks and drink cans instead. Again, we found some broken glass, and I can’t understand how people can dismiss the harm they may be doing to a human or a beast down the line. It was a shorter event and as such, didn’t feel as satisfying – but at least my body didn’t suffer afterwards.

We will continue to attend these events although it’s sad they have to exist. However, even if visitors to the beach took all their rubbish away with them, there would still be detritus from industries, boats and ships on the water, so I suppose this is a never-ending story (cue for that song).

 

 

A Room of My Own

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After years of writing in my armchair, on the sofa, on the dining room table, progressing to a small desk in the lounge, I’ve finally moved to a house with my own writing room. This has afforded me a larger desk (a Victorian pine kitchen table) and an office chair which is much more accommodating on the back, neck and shoulders, than a dining room chair.

I now have a notice board on the wall above my desk where I can place important info regarding the current novel, a cupboard where I can store all my writing files, and a bookcase dedicated to books on writing and creativity. For the hot days we’ve been experiencing, I have a large stainless-steel fan in place to keep me cool. It’s still a little too messy for my liking, but having only moved three months ago, it’s the last room to be sorted and it will eventually happen.

At last I have peace, away from hubs and his constant need to have the TV on in the background, regardless of what drivel is on – often rolling sports news – need I say more? I keep the door open, however, as Alfie mews at the closed door – he likes to wander in and check on me – occasional sleeping in his bed or on my laptop!

Have I been more productive? Well yes and no, Writing without distraction is infinitely better, but being alone does mean I can nod off and hubs isn’t there to wake me up.

A writing room is by no means essential – I’ve managed for years – and I know I’m very fortunate to finally have one, but it’s definitely something I wouldn’t want to be without, now. Thankfully, this is our forever home after years of moving for work and growing children, so I can rest assured this is my room for as long as I need it – I’ve no idea when I’ll stop writing – if ever?

Do you have your own writing space, or do you prefer being surrounded by household hubbub? We’re all different and seek different experiences and environments to work in.

Happy Word Flow One & All