fiction Stories Writing

My Publishing Journey: The Second Proof in lock down

It’s sunny, the birds are singing, The Beatles are playing Here Comes The Sun aloud into my garden via Alexa and it’s all very lovely. My dog has just brought me his brussel sprout toy to throw him and I’m wondering why I even look at other toys for him because sprout will always be best.

I’ve just had to dust my laptop to see the screen. No idea why this was the case as it’s been well used over the past week or so since I received my second proof via email.

Lock down life, as you’ll know if you’re a regular reader of mine, has been nothing short of frantic. Work has taken over and my writing has been pushed aside a little apart from the days where inspiration won’t allow me to escape writing it down.

This is why on receipt of the second proof of my manuscript I screamed a little inside with panic as to how I was ever going to complete a full read through.

My publishers have told me that this could well be the final proof before my book goes to print which is both alarming and extremely exciting. For this reason I must get it right.

So far so good in that the only edit I have made is a missing ‘he’ early on (much like my own life) and a slight structural change to the whole thing, but nothing major. Just an idea that came to me this time around and one which I think will improve the overall read. Quite good for almost half way in, I say!

I must admit that it was beginning to get to me the lack of time I was putting into my writing lately. All of my customers at work kept asking how it was going and I would repeat myself, losing a little optimism each time.

The excitment that came from the proof has turned these conversations around and I’m now discussing my passion for writing with those who didn’t know I was a writer and hypothetically planning my launch party with those who did (a bit premature I know).

My advice to anyone losing their mojo with any passion during these difficult times would be to stick at it. Make time for it. Talk about it. Don’t lose faith.

I am now highly enthusiastic and cannot wait to approve my proof to move onto the next stage of the publishing process.

I may even have a release date for you all soon! Watch this space…

fiction Stories Writing

a lock down novel: 7

(a snippet of)

Chapter 7, Mary

Days have merged into weeks when I have felt permanently exhausted, entirely drained. I have felt fidgety as if I want to get outside and do things but the thought of physically acting upon that drives me crazier still, so I have mostly remained here in my room.

The shaking sensation in my hands have been beyond my control and I can hardly hold the pen that I am writing with now which is nothing on what they have been some days.

My skin is itchy and I have a huge rash over my face and arms which has always been a sign of a breakdown. I have blotchy patches all over and scabs from where I have picked in a panic or worry until blood drips onto the off-white carpet. At least that’s the cleaner’s problem. It is a silly colour choice for a place of this sort anyway.

My hair is beginning to fall out too which is what happened last year when all of this started, well, sort of when it started.

My legs ache. My clothes are hanging off me because I haven’t eaten for what must be days if not a whole week now. I can’t remember. My memory is going too which is scary because a lot of the time that is all I have to hold on to. Memories. How precious they are.

I spent some time earlier (I think it was today) looking through old photos that they allowed me to have in here. Some were of Erin and Jack so young I could cup them in my hands, like tiny puppies not ready to leave their mum yet. Some were of them only a few months back which makes me so proud to look at. To look at how they have grown into such fantastic humans with little help from me. Though I have a bit of pride to take for it I guess, I wasn’t always completely absent.

The children have hardly wanted to visit. I think the few times that they have appeared has been out of forceful bribery by Eileen. Perhaps a promise of McDonalds on the way home or a trip to the cinema to see the latest release.

What a good aunt she still is. No matter what we throw at her she keeps a strong frame within herself to hold everything together and keep those children onto a path of success and independence for which I will always be grateful.

Adulthood Non-fiction Observations Writing

Since when did our world get so busy?

Since when did our world get so busy? Since when did we struggle to find time? Time has always been the same length. So tell me, what happened to mine?

Since when did we start having to set reminders; to text back, to wake up, to go out to dinner, to put things away. How did life get too manic that when we finally manage to stop we don’t know what to say.

Since when did we wish for things to slow down so much that we get home and lock the doors just to escape for a while.

If someone asks us to help out in the evening, we struggle to find the energy to go that extra mile.

Since when did work engulf us and every other aspect just have to fit in? To the point where we have to book a holiday and force ourselves, force ourselves to give in.

Since technology, since globalization, since everything got faster and easier and more complicated.

All these wonderful developments in this wonderful world that are all going to end up simply hated.

It has forced us to speed up, it has forced us to cram everything into the shortest spaces of time. It has forced us to find ways out to a simpler life and a bit of peace of mind.

Sometimes, just sometimes, take a slo-mo moment from your day. Perhaps don’t even stop just slow down and notice all the good around you in so many ways.

Notice friends, notice nature, notice family, notice pets, notice sounds, notice how it feels to be alive.

It is almost too much, so often too much, but what most of us want is easy and for easy we must strive.

Non-fiction Writing

20 writing goals for 2020

  1. Enter 10 writing competitions
  2. Finish book 2
  3. Publish my debut novel
  4. Work hard
  5. Encourage others
  6. Finish my Writers Bureau Writing Course
  7. Attempt writing for radio
  8. Write more in different settings
  9. Write some happier fiction
  10. Keep it up with my blog (at least 2 posts a week)
  11. Earn some money from my writing(!)
  12. Attend literary events
  13. Embrace conversations when people are upbeat about my writing
  14. Read more brilliant work of others
  15. Read more around topics like social media, blogging and self-promo
  16. Take myself off to places to gain inspo and ideas
  17. Start another novel???????????????
  18. Read my writing magazine WHEN it shows up
  19. Stay positive and enthusiastic
  20. Keep going
Non-fiction Writing

I write because…

I write because it’s therapy

I write because I’m lucky

I write because I have the opportunity

I write because it’s fun

I write because it makes me happy

I write because it is my sanity

I write because sometimes I’m sad

I write because sometimes I’m happy

I write because it teaches me

I write because I need to

I write because I escape

I write because it tests me

I write because it helps others

I write because it helps me

I write to express myself

I write because I love it

I write because I want to

Non-fiction Observations Writing

The Write Mood

Aspiring to be a writer is a tricky thing. Not only does it take time and effort, but it takes a strong and confident mindset too. This is something that I sometimes forget to have.

I firmly believe (and know from experience) that being in my twenties is tough. I’m not yet settled, I am single, I don’t own a house, I have no responsibilities, no notion of the future and a constant comparison to others. Whether this is going to be the case throughout my life, I am yet to find out, but all I know is this stage of life in contrast to younger years.

My mood towards life and my future goes in a pattern of waves. Sometimes I am full of energy and can’t write fast enough for all the projects that I have on the go. Sometimes I write five blog posts in an hour, a novel in six months and tiredness never comes into it because I’m so passionate. I know I’ll succeed and take every bit of feedback, every rejection, every personal opinion asking me what I’m “actually doing with my life” in a positive light and strive for a bright future ahead of me.

Other times I have no motivation, I feel overwhelmed with my workload, I have a novel on hold for six months and I feel completely tired all of the time. I take every nugget of advice as criticism, I doubt my every move, all rejection is a black hole and I feel skeptical about the whole thing.

Being a creative, I have the tendency to exaggerate. The other day I woke in the stormy weather to realise that my car windows were open and my key was at my friend’s house. Knowing I couldn’t close it without a key, I thought up the most unrealistic and extreme scenario that I could and concluded that my car would be struck by lightning, the water would cause an explosion which would set alight my grass, our house and then the entire neighborhood. Of course, I was wrong. This is the mind of a writer after all.

I have to remember this when I’m thinking about my future too. I will think up the worst case scenarios and fixate on them which is dangerous. I’ll always be single, I’ll never afford to buy a house, I won’t ever get published. What am I doing?

My busy brain got the better of me one morning last week and to shut it up I meditated. Whether meditation is for you or not, I think it teaches a huge skill in life. That skill is pretty much not to think too much and to live fully in the moment.

Think about things to a certain extent, but not too much that it removes a passion, or happiness, or peace. When things get too much – stop. Focus on the moment, enjoy the here and now, count your blessings and live.

fiction Writing

Dining Room

Dad and I have been waiting for our starter for over fifteen minutes now since ordering and I am beginning to get impatient. The hunger is very real shown through the embarrassing grumbles in my stomach and the angry expression which I can feel upon my face so I try to take my focus elsewhere to forget about it for a while.

A voice beckons from the entrance where the diners have only just arrived, but a man in a black suit impatiently fidgets which I guess is so that he will be noticed by the wait staff. His wife is swiftly tugging at his suit jacket to prompt him to quit the act, but his frustration is showing through the redness and stern expression all over his face. The quiet atmosphere in the restaurant calls for only whispers so though he is speaking soft but firmly, his words appear as a bellowing as if he’s at a fun fare with a homophone attached to his jaw.

Eventually a nervous waitress attends to them when he almost leads her to an available table and pulls out the chair for himself before his gentlemanly duties of allowing his wife a seat first.

A man to the left of the couple is clearly indulging in a similar form of scrutiny as myself as I can clearly see his right eye glaring at them while attempting to act subtle by keeping his left eye focussed on the menu. His hands are shaking as if he is waiting on a first date with a beautiful lady but the rest of his body appears to be waiting on no one. His gaze keeps shifting between the couple and his menu so that when the waitress asks him if he is ready to order, he directs her away to give him some minutes more.

While the couple to his right are ordering with the poor waitress, his attention shifts to elsewhere in the room bringing my focus there as well. It is at this moment that I realise I am no longer people watching but rather following this man and his thoughts.

A couple are quietly but equally loudly showing their affection for one another. The observing man looks concerned at this but the man involved is beaming with happiness and pride. Having already demolished their starters to not miss out on lovingly kissing while they await the mains, the lady sidles up to the man in a teasing manner ending with her sat upon his knee.

So that I don’t look obvious in my observations and because it’s making me a little queasy, I remove my gaze from the two and back to the single man who looks more depressed than before. The couple to the right are onto their mains when I notice Dad’s Mussels coming out.


The Write Life is usually fine

There’s a hashtag on Instagram called #writelife and I am so confident in believing that life as a writer is the right life for me. It is the life that I often choose and one that I frequently write about.

In my spare time I decide to write, when I’m not writing I think about writing lots and ideas come rushing to me from all sorts of random sources of life. It’s a busy, creative and happy place in which I give a lot of my life to but sometimes, very occasionally, but something that has to be noted, the writing world isn’t always so rosy.

Writing is a solitary venture. This is one reason why I love it so much because all day I spend talking to people. Small talk, informative discussions, friendly chit chat, advice givings – talking. It’s all good but it does get tiring so in my breaks and on some of my days off I love to lose myself in my writing or nose dive into a book and lose myself there.

However, sometimes this has a negative effect. I read what I’ve written and feel it’s useless but have nobody there to tell me that it’s not or where I can improve it. I feel sad and write about it but the pages aren’t telling me that everything is going to be ok or what I can do to change things. I question the path I am taking but it’s all inside my head and I can create many scenarios – trust me. At times like these, which happen fairly frequently, nobody is with me to tell me that I’m making good choices, that it’s a risky but good move, that it could all lead to something amazing, when all I am thinking is that it is all for nothing and could all go wrong.

Most of the time I am able to believe this myself and repeat these positive sentences inside my head which keeps me going, but sometimes it all gets too much being on my own inside my writing bubble.

Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love what I do and right now, for an example, I am happily sitting alone with a cup of tea and my laptop in total bliss which is often the case. I also am lucky enough to have a strong support network surrounding me who mostly deliver motivational comments and pride for what I am choosing to do.

So it’s great. The #writelife is great. It’s a new world with never ending limits of creating people and places and stories. Most of the time its the happiest. I can create whatever I want and I feel so free in doing so. However, sometimes, just SOMETIMES, the #writelife is not the best place for me.

(How’s that for contradictory?!) The End.