Tuesday, 7 July 2020
What is procrastination?
Procrastination is the act of delaying or postponing a task
Examples of procrastination:
Checking emails. And Twitter. And Facebook. And Instagram. And back to Twitter...
Housework (seriously, some people do this. Not me, obviously, but other less normal people)
Writing blog posts about procrastination instead of writing their book
Yes, I am writing a blog post about procrastination instead of working on Book 12 because, right now, this seems a lot easier. I'm in The Slump, where the words won't seem to come no matter how much I will them to. It's doubly frustrating because I've planned the book and know what should be happening on the page. In fact, it's triply frustrating because I've reached 60,000 words of the book. The End is tantalisingly close and yet the words are stuck.
The last 5,000 words of the 60,000 were hard won, but I got there. I celebrated with a post-it note progress marker and a doodled butterfly. And then... nothing. There were NO MORE WORDS to be had. Cleo's story had decided to grind to a half even though it isn't finished yet. And not only that, I started to pick holes in the part that was written. I don't edit as I write - I start at Chapter One and power through until The End and fix everything later. That's what second drafts are for, and it's always worked for me because I know if I start to tinker, I won't progress.
I don't like these nagging thoughts telling me how rubbish the book is, or telling me the bit I'm writing now should be several chapters back, or that there's so much work to do on the second draft and I haven't even finished the first yet. These thoughts really aren't helping the words to flow, and ignoring them and having a leisurely scroll through Twitter isn't going to get the words on the page either, so I'm doing something I don't usually do yet: I'm writing my notes for Draft Two while working on the first. I'm making a note of all those nagging thoughts, all the things I keep reminding myself need fixing, and ploughing on with the book. I've managed to add a thousand words to the book this morning, so fingers crossed it continues to work and I'll be celebrating 70,000 words with a post-it note soon!
Friday, 3 July 2020
*Me the parent, not the kid
If you're still home-schooling, give yourself a massive pat on the back because the end is in sight. In just two weeks, our home school adventure/nightmare (delete as applicable) will be over!
I've just had a look at my original home school blog post, and it brought back how anxious I felt when the text message came through from Isobel's school telling us that her school had closed. I had no idea what I was doing, so I'm grateful for the help that was out there: the online classes from her teachers and the work they set, Twinkl for their resources and worksheets, BBC bite-size, and other parents on Twitter, especially those who admitted how stressful they were finding it too because they made me feel normal. We usually present our best lives on social media, so I can only imagine how much of a failure I'd have felt if everyone else was showing how wonderful it all was going (even if they were hiding the bad bits).
I was also feeling anxious about my writing, worrying how I was going to work with a house full of people while juggling home-schooling. Luckily, Isobel's at an age where she can mostly get on with the work set, so I take my hat off to those parents with younger children - you really do deserve the hugest pat on the back!
We quite quickly found a new normal, with three of us working in one room (my older daughter has been doing her college work upstairs, on her own. She's obviously the smartest of us all) and while it hasn't always been a pleasant experience, we've somehow muddled through. I usually struggle to write during the school holidays, but as I've written 60,000 words of a new book so far and released the paperback of Everything Changes But You during lockdown, it should be a breeze from now on. Right? I guess we'll find out in a couple of weeks...
Friday, 26 June 2020
Reaching the 40,000 words milestone for Book 12 a couple of weeks ago was amazing as it meant I was around the halfway mark. But it also comes with a hint of trepidation; reaching the halfway point is a reminder that the book is no longer shiny and new, yet you've still got a huge chunk to write before you can type those glorious words: The End.
This part of the writing process can have me feeling a bit bogged down with it all and in The Slump. Sometimes this is full-on writer's block, where the words simply won't come. Or sometimes there's an idea or two for new books floating around my head, jumping around and calling for my attention - and these ideas are shiny and new. I need to somehow keep myself in this book and one way I've found is to keep myself 'pinterested' in the story.
It's a really simple idea of highlighting the important plot points of your book in Pinterest by pinning relevant images. I did this for The 12 Christmases of You & Me, and it was fun picking out the images and seeing the story build up visually rather than just seeing a Word document. You can see my Pinterest board for the book here.
When I started to write Book 12, I set up a new Pinterest board and started to build the story up in images. It's only the first draft, so some of the pins may change or get removed later on, but I love seeing my book in a different medium. I'm writing a romantic comedy, but this would work for any genre, and it doesn't matter if you're writing your first novel or you're got a few books under your belt - we all need a bit of motivation and focus sometimes!
Friday, 19 June 2020
*Me the parent, not the kid
Our timetable has had another tweak over the past couple of weeks. Because some pupils were due to go back into the school, the online classes Isobel had about three times a week have stopped because the teachers are needed for the classroom 'bubbles' at school, and I've also decided we're having a little break from basketball in the garden after my washing line came down three times in one week.
As well as the schoolwork provided by school and the worksheets I downloaded from Twinkl, Isobel has been watching BBC Bitesize every day, which has been a godsend over these past few months. It's twenty blissful minutes where somebody else takes over. I'm not sure if they'll stop too now kids are starting to go back into school or if they'll carry on until the end of term, but I'm grateful for every episode that's been made!
There are four weeks of term left, so we're on the home stretch now. We can do this.
Friday, 12 June 2020
I'm so excited to be able to share the cover for The 12 Christmases of You & Me. I absolutely love it and I hope you do too!
What if you could go back in time and fix the biggest mistake of your life?
Two years ago, Maisie’s best friend walked out of her life and she hasn’t heard from him since. When she wakes up in 1994, she naturally assumes she’s dreaming. But when she finds herself in the past again the next night and her actions in the dream alter her present-day life, she begins to wonder if she’s somehow hopping back in time. And if she is time-travelling, can she save her friendship with Jonas?
When Maisie is forced to relive Christmases of the past, will she face up to her mistakes, or make them all over again?
The 12 Christmases of You & Me is a magical tale of friendship, first loves, and learning to live in the present.
The 12 Christmases of You & Me is out on 20th October, but is available to pre-order right now for just 99p/99c!
Wednesday, 10 June 2020
I've been recording my writing milestones on post-it notes and sharing them on social media in a bid to keep myself motivated while writing Book 12, and last week I was able to share my 40,000 words post-it note.
That's a lot of words, but more than that, it represents the halfway point of the book as I'm aiming for 80,000 words. This is a massive morale boost, especially as I was worried about finding the time to write during lockdown. I'm home-schooling my youngest daughter so I was nervous about starting a new book during this time - would I be able to write and home-school? Would I be too stressed to concentrate (I definitely don't have the skills and patience to teach!) But I'm getting there, word by word, and each post-it note feels like an achievement.
I've loved writing the first half of Cleo's story, and I'm looking forward to the next half and seeing where she takes me!