Weekly Update

It’s been a rough start to the year with leaving my old job and starting a new one. Then finding out I was pregnant a couple of weeks after resigning. Then miscarrying two days before I would have hit week twelve. As if that wasn’t enough, I then ended up in the hospital with complications from said miscarriage.

I’m back at work again as of this week, and I’m also trying to get back into the editing of my first novel. This year I am going to publish it, and that’s that.

Editing

Numbers of chapters edited: 5

My goal is to edit one chapter per day, but I’ve discovered that the days when I work a few nights in a row – I get nothing done. It could be because I get home from work around 9 am, sleep until 5 pm and then only have two and a bit hours before I have to leave for work again. Now that I know that’s how it works in my new job, I can try to make up for it by doing an extra chapter on days when I’m not working.

Writing

I’ll be honest. I’ve done zero writing other than the edits. Definitely need to find a way to jump start my writing. Whether that is to write some random crap that’s never meant to see the light of day just as an exercise or to just force myself into a new project – I don’t know yet. But something has to be done. Editing is well and all, but I need to write something new too.

Other Random Stuff

It was my weekend off, and I would have been able to get quite a bit of stuff done – only I ended up hardly being home. Once I woke up after my last night of work on Friday I had a follow-up appointment at the hospital, and then went out to dinner and a movie with my partner’s mother and sister. On Saturday I went with the same two ladies again to do some clothes shopping, and then a trip to IKEA to buy a few things (like the yummy meatballs).

Today, Sunday, we’ve been away most of the day to my partner’s grandmother for a big family gathering that they have once a year. All the family come down from the various corners of the UK, and it’s a really fun day. Then in the evening I spent a few hours raiding in World of Warcraft, like I do every Sunday night when I’m not working. Because I’m a geek.

How was your week? I hope it was more productive than mine!

Keep or Discard?

As I’m editing my novel I’m finding myself questioning how many changes I want to make. There are things that I think maybe I should change, while at the same time I’m not sure if it would make the story better or worse.

It’s my first novel that I’m going to publish, and the people that have read it so far are basically a couple of friends and a sister. They’re not the most likely to give me negative feedback, and they also are not massive romance readers, so it’s difficult to ask them if they think this or that thing should or should not be included.

This means I’m left on my own, and as a writer I find that it can be difficult to be objective about your own story. You wrote it, and cutting parts out or changing them massively can be difficult, even if it’s for the better. That said, if I knew that it was for the better, I imagine that it would be easier.

Needless to say, I can see where editors come into the picture in the publishing world. A freelance editor is not something I can afford though, so I’m going to just have to make the decisions myself and hope for the best.

A few examples where I’m wavering (it’s a Regency romance):

  • The hero gets angry and leaves, going back to London. I enjoy the scene because it’s a funny exchange between him and his best mate, but it might be a bit over the top. Or does it show how impulsive he can be with his hot temper? I don’t know!
  • The male villain tries to sexually assault the heroine, in an attempt to ruin her. This might be too much, maybe it would be enough to just have her alone in a room with the intent of getting caught? Back in Regency times that might have had the same effect?
  • The female villain is very secure in herself, which I want to keep – but I feel like it sometimes veers towards slut-shaming from the other characters. Definitely do want to change this since I don’t like slut-shaming. When I wrote it ten years ago I was younger and didn’t really think about it, but seems very obvious now that I’m reading it again.

These are all decisions I’m just going to have to make on my own, and I am definitely struggling. Maybe I’ll end up doing a coin toss…

How do you deal with editing?

Things We Don’t Say

This is a personal post, so if you’re only interested in reading about writing and similar things, you might want to skip this one.

There are some unspoken rules in our society about things that we should and should not share with others, and I’m going to break one today, because I need to write about it. Writing is how I deal with things, and I also think that we should be able to share anything we feel that we want to. I know others might prefer to keep it silent, and that’s fine too. Everyone should do whatever feels right for them.

Up until a few days ago I was pregnant.

I lost the pregnancy at 11,5 weeks, just short of that “magic” number when you’re generally considered to have passed the worst bit. While things can still go wrong, most miscarriages happen before week 12. Before it happened to me, I never thought I’d take it this hard. I’ve been through a lot, and I’ve made it through on the other end, and I will this time too. It’s just surprising how much it hurts.

While I was cautiously optimistic about the pregnancy (something I had wanted for a long time), it was difficult to keep my enthusiasm down. I knew that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage, but I was still hoping. It’s difficult not to. Against better judgment I was thinking ahead, dreaming of things to come. Now all those dreams have shattered, and I have shattered with them.

Part of me feels ashamed of being as upset as I am. There are people who lose their babies, there are those who miscarry a lot later. And here I am, feeling sorry for myself after 11,5 weeks. How dare I?

Another part of me just feels sad. Sometimes I just feel numb. I’m sure that I’ll get over this, but for now I will allow myself to feel sad. Even if just for a while.

Have I lost it?

A big worry of mine is if I’ve simply lost the touch when it comes to writing. I used to love it – I still do, I just never really seem to get around to doing it any more! Did life come in the way? A lot has happened in the ten years since I finished my two novels, but it shouldn’t be an excuse. Other writers have to deal with life and things happening as well, and they still manage to write.

So have I lost it?

Am I no longer a writer? Can I no longer sit down and get those words down on paper the way that I used to?

I’ve tried writing the next book in the planned series that I started with those first two novels, but I can’t seem to get the words out. Everything sound wrong. At this point, I don’t know how many versions I’ve written of the first chapter. (Well, there are currently 25 items in the discarded folder, which includes some old plot lines and other things that have changed.)

It’s why I have considered not going back to the series for now (other than to proofread and revise the first two), since I seem to be completely stuck. But when I look at all of my other ideas, nothing appeals to me. The ideas seem fairly static, at the point where I left them, with nothing new coming to me.

So have I lost it?

No more inspiration? No more story ideas?

All I have are partly fleshed-out ideas, some are even less. Maybe I should just pick one and start writing. Maybe it will come to me as I go. Perhaps to get inspiration I must force myself to writewhether I have any idea of where I’m going or not. For the sake of writing.

Or have I lost it?

Gifts for the Bookish Writer

I know it’s been a long time since Christmas, but I wanted to share some of the lovely gifts I got that were perfect for me as a book lover and writer. Naturally, I got other great gifts as well, but these three deserve to be highlighted. It might give someone else some ideas what to buy their reading or writing friend.

A pair of warm, comfy booties for when you want to snuggle up for a good reading session. (Or keeping your feet warm at the desk when writing!)

My sister got me this sign, and it probably hits a little too close to home. It’s still hilarious though, and it’s definitely going up on the office door (once we have one).

I got this lunch box book (that I put in my gift ideas list before Christmas) from my partner. It was a hit with the kids in school when we went out every Monday with our packed lunches. “Did you bring your book today?” was a common question.

A White Rose (part 3)

An old story, written a very long time ago. Published for the Repository, so that I can collect all the old writing in one place.

You can read Part 2 here.

They rode out of town early the next morning. The sun had only just started to show its face, and Rain was so tired that she couldn’t be bothered to keep her distance from Ereptus, but shamelessly used his back as a pillow, and almost fell asleep leaning against it. For once they rode in companionable silence, and Rain felt more at ease than she had during her whole life. She wasn’t sure when it had happened, but for some reason she trusted Ereptus.

“Tell me about your life,” she suddenly blurted out.

“What?” Ereptus seemed surprised.

“Tell me about your life,” she repeated. “Why did you become a thief?”

Ereptus seemed uncomfortable with the subject. “It wasn’t a choice really, it was the only way to survive.”

That surprised her. “Why?” she asked.

“Like you I once lived on the streets,” he told her. “Well, I still do in a way. Only now I steal enough to rent a room for the night most of the time.”

“And to buy fancy clothes,” Rain pointed out, tugging lightly on his fine tunic. “I never would have guessed from the way you dress that you don’t have a home.”

“That’s the point,” Ereptus confessed. “Dressed like I am, I can easily get into the nicer inns and talk to the wealthy people. That’s the way to make easy money. I don’t steal enough to save up, just to live a comfortable life.”

“That sounds nice,” Rain sighed.

“You’re not going to end up like me!” Ereptus snapped, which made her almost jump right off the horse. Peeves peeked out of her tunic, hissing and growling at Ereptus.

(more…)

Weekly Update

I thought I’d start making a post every Sunday on what’s been going on during the week. Maybe it will kick me into gear if I have to write down what I’ve done (or not done).

New Blog Design

I didn’t really like the old blog design, so this weekend I sat down and tried to fix it. After staring at the screen for such a long time, I honestly can’t tell whether it gotten better or worse – but at least it’s different to before.

Writing Progress

Not done nearly as much with writing as I had hoped. Some weird things are happening in my personal life at the moment, and I’ve been pretty distracted. It’s not an excuse though, I should still sit my bum down and write! Next week will have to be better.

I did do some revising of the chapters of my first MS, and that needs to continue so that I can publish it as soon as possible.

As for writing, I’ve had such terrible writer’s block for the third book in that series that I think I need to take a break from it. Which means I have to pick up another project for a bit, but I’m hoping that something fresh will get me out of the writing slump. Somehow, having writer’s block and failing to finish that book has become such a big thing, the longer it’s gone on, that I’m just getting nowhere. Hopefully, a new project will let me eventually come back to it with fresh eyes.

Which brings me to the next part…

Choosing a New Project

Revising is good and a necessary evil, but I need to do some writing as well. Which means I have to choose what to work on next. There are so many ideas that it’s difficult to choose. I’m leaning towards an idea I’ve had for a while about a supernatural series. My biggest decision is to decide whether it should be contemporary or historical. Both have their pros and cons.

Other options include another two Regency romance ideas, a contemporary romance and a fantasy romance series.

Have I mentioned that I’m terrible at making choices?

A White Rose (part 2)

An old story, written a very long time ago. Published for the Repository, so that I can collect all the old writing in one place.

You can read Part 1 here.

Rain gazed at the man who was readying the horse. She didn’t trust him. Not that she particularly trusted anyone, but this man made her nervous. His eyes were dark, almost black, and she hadn’t been able to see any feelings displayed in them. He was a handsome man, she couldn’t deny that, tall and slim, without being skinny. A day’s growth darkened his square jaw, and dark hair fell to his shoulders, curling slightly at the collar of his tunic.

Dressed all in black he didn’t look like someone you could trust. He was cleaner than most men she’d encountered in the city, but who ever said cleanliness meant you were a good man? Her father had been clean, and he’d been as mean as they come. She shuddered slightly at the memory of her father. It was a time of her life she’d just as soon forget.

Ereptus had finished with the horse and mounted, motioning for her to join him. She walked over to the horse, and Ereptus took her arm and pulled her up behind him, as if she weighed no more than a toddler. They soon took off, and Rain had to grab hold of Ereptus’ tunic as to not fall off the horse. Peeves were complaining a little bit inside her tunic until he settled himself in a spot where he wasn’t squeezed between her and Ereptus.

She’d told herself that she wasn’t going to speak, but she soon grew bored. The previous day she’d still been seething with anger about being forced out of the city where she thought she’d made an acceptable life for herself. Although she liked Gaylen, she was angry about the highhanded way he’d decided that she should be taken away without consulting her first.

“Ereptus?” she said, her voice hesitant.

“Yes?”

“What is this place like?”

“This place,” Ereptus said. “Is called Messina.”

“Fine,” Rain grumbled. “What is Messina like?”

“It’s the capital of Erya, and the seat of the Council and High King. Probably the most peaceful city in our lands because of the Kingsguard and Peacekeepers. You’ll be safe there, it’s not like the city you’re used to.”

“I was safe where I was,” Rain huffed. “Despite what you think, I am fully capable of taking care of myself. I have done for years!”

“You’re a child”, he replied dismissively, making her grind her teeth in anger.

“I’m not a child!” she snapped. “And even if I was, you were once a child living on the streets, and you’re still alive.”

(more…)

Scheduling Time to Write/Revise

I’m learning from my mistakes, and realizing that my original idea to write in the evenings just isn’t going to happen. In the past I lived on my own and could write whenever, but since just over a year back I live with my partner, and have discovered that I can’t write with him around. We share a desk, so he’s right next to me – which is nothing short of distracting. Especially when he’s yelling at random strangers in a computer game.

The new plan is to write in the afternoon when I get home from work. I usually have a couple of hours before he arrives, so that will be my writing time. As long as I can stay awake, that is. Definitely my biggest issue at the moment.

Once my new job starts, I’ll have even more time every day before the partner comes home, since I’ll either have a day off – or I’ll be coming off the night shift and will have from whenever I wake up to when he comes home.

I definitely need to schedule my time though, because if I think “oh, I can write whenever” – it doesn’t happen. There are too many other things that I’m doing. (Most of all sleeping, or working. My life is filled with excitement, as you can see.)

My goal from now on will be to revise at least one chapter per day. I’d like to schedule some writing in there too, but I haven’t quite decided what I’ll work on first. To ease myself back into writing I might just finish off a couple of short stories (not for publication) that I have lying around. Get my fingers (and brain!) warmed up again with something that’s not as important as something I plan to publish.

What are your goals and how do you schedule your writing time?

Change is Coming

2017 is a year of change for me. It has to be, since I am determined to get back to writing and get my novel published. One of the reasons that I was unable to do pretty much anything last year was that my chronic fatigue coupled with my current job was sapping me of all my energy. Literally.

I would force myself out of bed in the mornings, already exhausted. I’d spend my day at work, keeping up a happy front, not letting people know how bone-tired I really was. Then as soon as I came home, I’d just deflate basically. Unable to keep my eyes open, I’d fall asleep and easily waste hours. Eventually I’d force myself up again, make some dinner. Maybe have an hour or two of trying to stay awake before going to bed for the night.

I’m writing it in past tense, but that is still the case today. It’s a struggle, and I can’t keep doing it. I get nothing done outside of working, since all I seem to do is sleep. Writing suffers. My chores around the home suffer. I suffer.

So, with that in mind – I’m making changes.

In an effort to get some energy back, I’ve quit my job and I’m instead going to a different job that is three nights a week rather than five days a week. It’s my hope that this will solve some of my lack of energy, since I won’t work as many days straight in a row – giving me more time to recuperate some energy. Which in turn should also give me more time to write (and do the other things that need doing).

It’s possible that it’s not going to make a difference, that I’m just too far gone into the rabbit hole of tiredness and exhaustion – but I have to try, because I can’t keep going like this.

Fingers crossed, that this will pay off – and I can get into a good routine of work, sleep, writing and having a bit of a life again.