So THE END??

I don’t imagine too many of your thoughts are taken up by little ol’ me dear readers – my own mind, for example, has room for few thoughts that do not concern a group of imaginary folks, what I should have for dinner and if I have been attentive enough to family and friends – but perhaps you wondered to yourself today:

THE END

‘Do you reckon that daft blog woman who has yet to decide on her blog niche and who consequently witters on about any old thing has actually finished the book she is supposed to be writing…?’

Readers, I wrote this blog post in advance. It was to serve as a kick up the… well, you know what I mean. I would write a version where I finished the first draft of my book on the date I said I would with a vintage bottle of Veuve Cliquot acting as a carrot stick. Writing that I had finished it before I actually finished it would spur me on, I reasoned.

I closed my eyes, in best Paul McKenna stylee, and visualised what that would feel like. I tried to imagine what I would be looking at – a text document with THE END in bold black, I suppose – how I would feel (ecstatic with a faint sense of loss) and how I would move (away from the lap top immediately).

And then I wrote the version where I didn’t finish the first draft. It was a post filled with doom and gloom, fear and loathing, self-pity and hatred. Blimey, dear reader, the negativity radiating from that short article would have been enough to chill your very bones.

So without further ado… I FINISHED IT.

A little haste has perhaps crept in to my writing over the past week and there are plenty of ill-advised words and phrases sprinkled though out – not to mention bonkers plot lines, plot holes aplenty, inconsistent characterisation, more loose ends than the final The Returned* episode and weird happenings. I think too, that Uncle Fred (you remember, he was the poor guy who met with a freak, deadly ending thanks to a fruit bowl) may have resurfaced round about page 283, but finito draft one most definitely is.

[Thanks to the insomnia, I got up this morning at 5.15am and blasted out just over 7,000 words in pig-headed determination.]

And with one ending comes another beginning. It so does. I’m guessing all of the hard work now begins. I’ve got to take this monster of spelling mistakes, grammatical ghastliness and bonkers storyline and try to make it (oh please) publishable.

Hmm. Anyway, egotistical as I am, I wanted to end this post by inviting you dear, lovely and esteemed audience to share your achievements with me. In the words of the lovely Heather Small: “What have you done today [week] to make you feel proud?”

 

*Huh. I sulked for hours after the last episode of The Returned.

A Top 10 List to Help with Writer’s Block

Oh, oh, oh! I have a deadline to meet dear readers. Once it seemed like many moons away. Now it gallops towards me faster than a…

Stuck for a metaphor here. Faster than my own attempts to neck a glass of red wine come Friday evenings? Faster than the cat comes screeching into the kitchen when he hears the fridge door opening?

Trouble is, it’s a self-imposed deadline and we all know how they work – or don’t work, truth be told. I’m still writing, but The End doesn’t seem quite as nigh as it did the other week when I was flushed with the glory of 8,000 words.

So as I lay in bed last night battling insomnia (again, though my friend Kylie’s good advice to concentrate on saying one word over and over again in your head has proved useful), I came up with a good old Top Ten list in my head and thought to myself: “Aha! I can procrastinate, blogger-stylee, while hopefully helping my fellow writers battle their own bouts of writer’s block/lack of self-discipline.”

  1. Drum roll… Ahem, just write. Set yourself a target of a number of words which you think you can easily achieve. Write that number – and only that number – and bask in feelings of achievement.
  2. Have an imaginary conversation with your lead character. I invited Katie to sit down across the table from me. I asked her how she was and how she would like the book to end up. ‘Happily,’ she said, ‘oh and can I snog one of the big boys from Year 6?’ I tutted, but said I would look into all options.
  3. Write your ending in synopsis form. I’ve actually written plans all the way through writing. The basic structure was always there, but as the book has developed, sometimes I’ve needed to add things in so I would write another detailed plan. It was useful because it included background on characters and why they were doing what they were doing.
  4. Go back over other chapters and tweak. It makes you feel as if you are doing something worthwhile.
  5. Go for a run. Or a walk, or a cycle ride. Basically, just get out in the fresh air and puff and pant a bit. Physical energy often stimulates mental energy.
  6. Think around different options for your book. I’ve been talking to my brother-in-law about an app which would serve as some kind of publicity tool, but thinking in different ways is good for creativity in general.
  7. Join a writers forum/group. I’m part of the LinkedIn writers/editors group and the people on there do have incredibly fascinating conversations. There’s all kinds of help and advice available, even if you just want to get a few people to shout at you online: GET WRITING YOU IDLER! (They wouldn’t; they’re too kind.)
  8. I’ve had a few astonishingly patient people reading my book for me as I go along, and I ask them from time to time if they think a chapter works and if they think a particular storyline is plausible/credible.
  9. Go and read other people’s writing blogs. I follow a few of them (the bottled worder,  Daily (W)rite thebookofalice, writings of a Mrs, Gabriel LocateroFrancis Barann, Sophie Bowns and a few others and it’s heartening reading about other people’s writing methods and practices.
  10. Drum roll… Ahem, just write.

What do you think? If you have any top tips for continued creativity, I’d love to hear them.

8,000 Words Comin’ Atcha!

I promise you the ones I wrote were a bit more interesting than this.

I promise you the ones I wrote were a bit more interesting than this.

Fiddle-de-dee!* Ladies and gentlemen of my esteemed audience – from out of nowhere (it seems) another 8,000** words has appeared.

Gracious heavens! The wretched writer’s block is blissfully obliterated and my self-imposed 3rd August deadline for finishing the book looks do-able once more.

Oh, but despite my lack of superstitious beliefs do such carelessly-uttered confidences signal an inevitable crash? You might encounter me next week with a cheery, “Hey, how’s it going? You were charging ahead great guns last week! Is another 8,000 words in the bag and The End in sight?”

To which I might mutter (bad-temperedly and shame-facedly): “Ah. Well, ahem, this week we are looking at rather reduced productivity. It’s a matter of… five words. And three of them were the result of re-reading old chapters and discovering I had missed out the odd ‘a’, ‘the’ and ‘but’.”

I am also contemplating my top of the range (not) printer and wondering how on earth it will cope with my attempts to print out 300 or so pages post novel completion. Repeatedly. I fear for my toner cartridges – I sense they are sprinters and not marathon runners. I’m definitely going to need to see this baby in the flesh (so to speak) and thus be able to survey the many, many typos that will surely jump out to me as I view the words on paper.

An additional concern! Who among friends and family can I further cajole into reading my book and reassuring my ego that it is ok? (Or suggesting in a kindly way that I should not have given up my day job after all.) I may further test patiences when I ask them to re-read said book, having swapped chapters around and added bits in.

All in all though, it’s a wonderful feeling when The End is in sight. Mucho excitement threatens to over flow in the Highheelsandpinkglitter household. Life beyond the laptop is contemplated and I may dust off my running shoes.*** Veuve Cliquot beckons…

 

 

*From out of nowhere too I appear to have developed a penchant for peculiar turns of phrase.

**8,771 words to be exact. Now I may go and write precisely 229 words to take this week’s total up to 9,000…

***Once the heat has died down.