10 Things About My Writing

I was recently tagged and challenged by fellow writer, Elizabeth Hein to write 7 things about my writing on Facebook. It was fun to read her list and I like the idea of sharing such tidbits. In that list alone, I felt as though I got to know a personal side of her. When I had written my seven, I realized that I could probably write another seven, and another seven after that. Instead, I’ve decided to list ten things about my writing here (no special order):

1. My best and most creative writing time is between 5:00-8:00 a.m.

2. I have written the beginning of two new novels since the autumn and cannot decide which I want to drive forward most. At the same time, my second novel is begging for a re-write.

3. I never know how a story will end until I get there.

4. Lately, all the social media focus on my part has affected my writing time and concentration – the excitement of a debut coming out and all. Sometimes I want to toss away all the technology and live like the old days. Wouldn’t you love to jump back in time for a day or two, or a week if you’re up to it? I’d go back to the early 20th century.

5. I am a note girl. I write notes to myself with new words and expressions and leave them EVERYWHERE. They are in every nook and cranny in this house I think, yet I am baffled when I can’t find the ones I’m looking for.

6. The sun is one of my greatest motivators. It makes me feel good to the bone, and when I feel good to the bone, the creative juices flow more easily.

7. I edit as I write. I can spend far too long on trying to perfect that one sentence instead of moving on. But I get irritated if it isn’t just right.  I rather enjoyed the editing process with my editor on Gillian Pugsley – no really! She was great and I think we were very much on the same wavelength.

8. I need tea when I write, lots and lots of tea.

9. My family, my brother-in-law, my sister, all those who know me well, laugh when I get praise in reviews for my quirky expressions in my writing, because they know that’s how I really talk in real life, and it drives them bananas.

10. I adore a beautifully crafted sentence, especially those simple ones that stand out from the crowd, e.g. “As the days leaned into August…” in Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner. That’s only part of her sentence, but it swept me away with that one word leaned. – Whether mine or someone else’s creation, “It makes my heels click”.

What are 10 things you’d like to share about your writing?

Thick Skin to Publication

A close friend has said to me on a number of occasions over the past year that most people would never know what goes into publishing a book. She thought, and rightly so, that a writer writes a book, picks a publisher, and finds it on the bookstore shelves weeks, maybe months later. She often seemed bewildered when I’d say that my editor had sent the manuscript back to me for changes, again and again and again and yet, again. “How rude,” she thought. “Whose story is it anyway?” “And why on earth do you need to do all this social media kerfuffle?” What would I do without my devoted friend? She, like me, has come to realize over the past year what a twisty, uphill road it is to publication. And my road has been many years long, like most writers, dotted with other painstaking, joyous works and a whole mountain of rejections.

An incredible learning experience, having my debut novel published has taught me about patience in an industry that is tearing at the seams with new books every day. It has taught me about patience in seeing the process through correctly and patience in developing the best possible product with my best possible writing. Editing is huge and cannot be rushed. It means months and months of changes, re-writes and tweaking until it feels right – until it is right – the most polished product possible.

For the first time in my life, my writing is being reviewed by people other than my teachers or employers. I have a healthy stash of stoic Scottish blood in me, so I am neither disillusioned nor dispirited and feel perfectly strong to face criticism. However picked apart my novel might become, the one hope that stays true to my heart, is that my actual writing will be seen as good writing. I have worked hard to improve my writing. Every day, keeping an oxymoron alive by lovingly slaving over my craft, certainly to no financial reward as of yet and sometimes to only one pair of eyes. Writers write – it’s what we do. It isn’t easy. It isn’t for the faint-hearted. We feel vulnerable when handing our babies over – dare I say to be judged. Thick skin is a must.

On the other hand, when someone notices your writing, a story you’ve crafted from your heart as much as your mind, it is pure joy to see it go through the publishing process. It makes me think of a watchmaker with a fine pair of tweezers carefully riveting the inner workings together or driving components apart – a jewelling set to fit everything into place.

I’m grateful for such a process.