My second visit for a library event happened Thursday 24 November in the afternoon. It was bouncing bullets and I was convinced no-one would turn out. After all, to get four authors for the princely sum of £3 was cheap by any standard. I had doubts about the fee I must confess. Maybe we were too cheap, therefore cheapening our brand. I’ve been to literary events in the past and they have been exorbitant for my purse. However, I paid because I wanted to learn and hear from authors who were high up in the publishing echelons. To be fair, I wasn’t disappointed. I don’t believe from the applause at the end of our session our audience were disappointed either. Phew!
The other authors who joined me are romance writers and prolific in their work. They all recommend the RNA. Each of them a good generation below me. Rachel Brimble, who sadly dropped all her books in a dirty great puddle and wrecked them before getting to the event writes period romance and series. Lucy King writes Mills and Boone (if I hear a sniff be warned) it’s a bloody great skill she has at her fingertips and the work rate is phenomenal. Jane Lark arrived with a massive suitcase, has written a ton of romance, showcased her stuff in NY and other places and is branching out into thrillers.
Me? I had a small carrier (waterproofed) and have two novels, working on other projects. Please note for years and I mean decades I have lacked the confidence to get my work out there, until someone said “Do it before you pop your clogs.” I have been given contracts and I am a newbie to this writing malarky publishing world.
I didn’t start out planning to write a romance, but somehow my friends Harriet, and Kate, decided they needed some love. Who was I to argue – after all they kept telling me their stories, and I had to write them.
So back to our wonderful audience.
We started out with the obvious, introductions and then straight into the questions.
When it came to my turn to speak, I did the usual and asked about them. Specifically, if there were any budding writers. Oddly only one put his hand up. The others shifted around in their seats or looked to the ground. Once he got rolling with his background, coming from Cornwall and moving back to this neck of the wood did a woman give a potted account of her non writing ability. I suspect there was a writer there. She said she had completed a literary degree, though couldn’t write to order. I can empathise. Sometimes I become completely stumped writing when actually told to write by a writing group. My handwriting lets me down. I find I can write and find the flow much more easily with my laptop. It’s instant, legible and easy to delete. Delete is my favourite pastime. Well, editing has become the norm. Editing polishes. Then Jane said that a well renowned author – wish I could remember her name, deleted 60,000 words. INTENTIONALLY. Yes. INTENTIONALLY because she didn’t like what she’d written. Then she wrote another best seller.
Anyway, once again I digress. A third person, also female, began talking about her ‘writers block’ and asked how to overcome it.
Here we go. I am writing as a stream of consciousness but have decided to EDIT by highlighting the topics discussed.
There is no straight answer, but big foot in very big mouth was straight in there. After all, I thought, I’ve heard so many people on different forums, and in creative writing groups asking this very question. ALL HAVE THEIR VIEW ON THE MATTER. I thought maybe I could consolidate and chuck the answers out there. It seems that my author friends had different ideas, but in the end, I believe we all shared the same viewpoint.
WRITERS BLOCK and how to overcome is purely subjective. I suggested putting her project away and forgetting about it until she felt comfortable before taking another look. It could be a day, a week, a year. The aim not to put herself under pressure and worry the words will never flow again.
For me, the latest project has been on hold for about 2 weeks. I’m itching to get back into it. I want to make it shiny, and my thought processes have begun to machinate. After writing a 500-word synopsis, it has focussed my mind even more. I think I have worked out where I am going wrong, and it’s giving me food for thought. Interesting that. Maybe I should do it more often, put it away?
Anyway, sorry about that, I also suggested starting another project or go for a walk. Jane said she benefits from swimming. I guess that relaxing your mind, taking a step out and into the sunshine, and releasing yourself from the angst is all that matters.
I have heard this said a million times. What is your voice? Lalalalala? Trilling up the stairs to We Will Rock You?
No. It is when someone recognises bits of you when they read your work, because they are familiar with your style of writing and comfortable with it. My voice was recognised when I wrote a children’s book. I still love that the writer told me she recognised my voice. I learned what she said from that and still write in that voice. Why? Because it’s me. It’s how I hear and feel things, and how I want people to hear and see things written by me.
Back to this lovely young woman. She said that she had paid (it sounded like she spent a considerable sum) for her work to be edited. She said that the report was frank. Brutal even. Sometimes paying someone to do this is a great idea. Be brave. Get it out there. Get some unbiased feedback. She said upon reflection it was fair. In some ways she agreed, and in other parts didn’t agree. This, we also agreed, is perfect. You dont have to listen to everything, just listen, let is permeate through your brain cells without exploding and getting a shredder on your work. Editing is hard work done by Editors who see things differently to us writers. They dont re-write for you, they make constructive suggestions. TO IMPROVE YOUR ALREADYMASTERPIECE.
Let’s call our lovely lady Lydia for argument’s sake. Lydia has completed her novel. She said that there are bits of her within the text. Again, I believe that is what we do. Leave little breadcrumbs of ourselves in amongst to be found – this could well be your voice.
FINISH THE PROJECT
This is huge. To finish a piece of work, even if it’s not shiny yet, is a great position to be in. Finishing is often the hardest thing to do. There are thousands of writers out there who have not finished their work.
Until it is finished you won’t feel the joy of writing THE END. It is both a trauma, and a relief. Relief you have got there. Trauma because you might just have to let your baby go and start something new. (That’s the naughty editing side of me getting in the way.) ;]
The editing can become fun as you see the changes, hone and improve the work. It is a great thing to do. I hated it at first. Now, well it’s become a bit of an obsession.
The gentleman I referred to earlier said that having moved from Cornwall and writing about that vista, now transferred to Wiltshire had initially been difficult. It seemed like he was settling back into writing. I hope he was inspired, it sounded like he was at the end of the session.
I couldn’t help but suggest he join a critique group, or creative writing group. It’s been clear to me that either critiquing writing groups in Trowbridge are shielding themselves from me, or just don’t happen. I’ve just sent an email to the head librarian Basil, at Trowbridge Library with some suggestions that I am happy to be a part of.
We writers can be a very different breed. Slightly cooky, very weird, (nothing like me at all of course) and, at times very lonely. Writing might be free therapy, but it is a lonely occupation, unless you happen to be working with another writer. Or like being a hermit crab and living in the shell of a computer. But thinking about that writer’s block, sometimes a little bit of a confidence boost is all that is needed to get back on that horse. Yeeehaa!
Well, that’s all for now folks. Thanks for your comments – the nice ones. The scammers can go to hell. I have the power to block you.
Where silence turns to courage, survival and happiness