From Hook to Book

Archive for the category “Musing on writerly topics”

Moving House and Stuff

Well, we’ve moved house. And moving house is BIG!

Because we have TOO MUCH STUFF!

Moving house 2After all my best efforts to cull unnecessary bits and bobs and dispose of the long gathered minutiae we’ve accumulated over twelve years in the house we’ve just vacated, I thought I’d done a pretty good job.

But as you can see in the pic, I’ve boxes of stuff still unpacked. Stuff that’s now living in the spare room upstairs, because there’s no room in our small temporary abode. That’s right. We still have one more move to go. So I will have another chance. But, unlike the pressure of getting down a word count in writing, no one gave me a box or volume limit when packing. Though you’d have thought so from the sighs and moans of the movers who had to cart our boxes up the stairs.

The fact that there is so much stuff relegated to storage, not immediately needed, tells me I didn’t do the ruthless cull on my house that I’d do during a good word count slash on a WIP.

I guess it’s the same quandary. Sometimes it’s hard to see what’s worth keeping. We hold on to lines and extra linen we love, beautifully crafted sentences and spare salt shakers, hard wrought descriptions and hard bought dishes that we just might need one day.

But, if I can live without all this extra stuff for several months – and not miss it – until the house we’ve bought settles, do I need it?

I suspect the problem is it’s a bit like superfluous plot lines and peripheral characters. We don’t usually need them, but they’re awfully hard to dump. They took time to dream up and craft. We might want them back for another purpose the moment we’ve written them out or off.

I sold a couple of freestanding towel rails that I now really need back. Too late!

At least we never have to lose anything entirely in our writing. We can cut and cull to our hearts content and pop it all in a saved file, ready to grab back if needed. Op shops and online purchasers are not quite so understanding or restorative.

So I’m probably keeping way too much. And it’s not helped by the fact we are moving into a larger house again soon.

I really do like a good word count slash. The work always comes up stronger, clearer, cleaner without the dross. Now if I can just get rid of some more of my crap – pardon, I mean stuff – I’m sure my house will be cleaner and clearer too.

But can’t I just store it in the shed for a few months until I’m sure I won’t need it again?

Moving house is actually very exciting and cathartic. Not to mention inspiring for this writer after coming across a removalist who desperately belongs in a story. Stay tuned!

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Writing Through the Ages (of my children)

When I first started writing, my kids were six, nine and eleven, and I found coming up with ideas on what kids were into doing, liked, disliked, got up to, came very easily, especially when inspired by my live-in research/demographic sample. It took a long time for me to realise that as my children grew up, the ages of my protagonists had increased too.

Gorgeous babyNow my babies are all adults and I find it interesting that I’ve written an adult novel. I think there might be a connection there. (I am, of course, still writing YA and kids’ books too. Mind you, they are novel-length of late and the output slower than shorter-length works.)

So I’m really excited that I’m going to become a grandmother shortly. I could gush here all day about the multiple, personal ways, I’m excited, but this a writing blog. With that in mind, I’ll just say how excited I am that I will get to tell lots of spontaneous, made-up stories and see the world again through the eyes of this special little person. Also I know that I won’t only go exploring through his or her experiences, because I remember the wonderful world of make-believe my own children reopened the door to – in my imagination.

Being busy writing some tough and reality-based stories over recent years, I’ve missed the world of whimsy and fantastical imagination. I’ve missed cuddling the soft, downy cheeks of newborns and giving horsey rides around the house too. I can’t promise the knees are up to any horsey rides, nor wait to welcome this new member of our family and, dare I say selfishly, lots of new story ideas too.

So a question for fellow writers: Do you find that the ages/stages of children in your world have influenced the age group or genre you write for?

The BIG Question in your Novel?

Big ProblemThe first time I was asked: “What is the big question in your novel?” I responded with a blank look.

BIG question??? Hmm! Hadn’t really thought about a BIG question. I was just writing what I hoped was a cracker of a story and following my main character’s journey through a testing and changing time for women during the era of The Great War.

“Wrong. No! You must be writing to answer a question,” insisted my uni research tutor.

Really!???

Turned out, I was actually asking and exploring quite a few questions, but it took me some considerable effort to seek them out and, even more so, to articulate them and find the core question.

Being an historical novel, I thought, at first, that my questions would be very different to those that might be posed in a contemporary story. I considered them to be all about a woman’s right to happiness and did they have any rights to it, over duty, in the era of 1912 – 1920? I thought the question not relevant to young women in western society today, who often have so many choices.

Eventually I worked the major question in my novel through to:

At what point do we question the rightness and rationale of what we’ve been taught? (Or should we?)

Of course, this turned out to be a timeless question, relevant to as many women/people in the world today as much as a century ago. A right of passage and a question that – in some form – has  been explored and debated in books the world over – through every genre.

Bunyips Don'tI remember having a debate with my Writing for Children tutor, several years ago, when I wrote a glowing review on the picture book Bunyips Don’t by Sally Odgers and illustrated by Kim Gamble. My tutor maintained how could the book end with a celebration when Young Bunyip had moved to the sunny side of the swamp with new friends leaving old Bunyip alone? To her, Young Bunyip was bucking his heritage and a selfish creature for deserting Old Bunyip. I argued that Young Bunyip tried to encourage miserable Old Bunyip, living in the dank and dark, that he could dance and play (be happy) on the sunny side of the swamp and to come with him. Old Bunyip chose not to just because Bunyips Don’t dance and play and live on the sunny side. He chose to live the same old unhappy life rather than make a choice to change. In the end, my tutor was more convinced but still struggled with Young Bunyip “abandoning” his heritage and his kind’s way of life.

Doesn’t enjoyment and love for a book often come down to reader perspective?

If I hadn’t been going to uni, would I have ultimately learned as much just in the writing of my novel and formulated the same BIG question? Perhaps!

But the scope of my Master’s degree insisted I explore and articulate the social context and big question of my novel leading me to discover and thrill to what I discovered were the many layers to my story. Many intentional but some that I found had emerged organically too.

Chris pre-grad (Large)So last week, I walked the ramp to the RMIT graduation stage with a huge grin on my face and grasped my degree, very pleased and proud to be a Master of Creative Media (Creative Writing) with Distinction.

Now – onward to get my novel published. And discover the BIG question in my new manuscript/s.

Often I hear writers asked, did your idea spring from plot, character or setting? Not, what question are you asking. So I’m asking you: Do you write with a BIG question in mind?

Chris post graduation (Large)

The Paper-full Office

It’s time to put my office back together, after emptying it for new carpet, but I cringe to re-store all the boxes of old manuscript drafts and files. I’m wondering what to keep and what to chuck?

Even the tax man only makes me keep my paperwork three years. Am I just being precious keeping all these manuscript drafts of my published books, not to mention multiple drafts of many unpublished titles?

I’m so far distant from a paperless office I’m out the other side. In fact, adding much more paper, I will be – on the far side of the door. I truly don’t mind lots of books and paper stuff, but… seriously, it’s time to cull.

Surely even well-known authors who donate their work and boxes of manuscript to the Lu Rees Archives don’t keep everything? Or perhaps they do and that’s why they donate their life work when still living, to get the boxes out of their homes.

With that thought, I ducked into the website of the Lu Rees Archive to get an idea of what they do hold. Heaps, it seems, and, very interestingly, they also tell you how to look after your papers. I discovered I’m breaking all the taboos and shortening my paperwork’s life span by using metal pins, staples and rubber bands amongst other no-nos. The website explains that “metal rusts very quickly and leaves permanent marks. Rubber bands quickly disintegrate, leaving marks. Self-stick removable notes easily fall off, and when they do remain, may shift from the desired spot and leave a sticky residue. Sticky tape eventually loses its sticking capability and leaves marks as well as a residue. Liquid paper and correction tape wear off and crack.

One great and surprising tip recommends using HB pencil to label your files etc, because pencil lasts for centuries and doesn’t damage like inks and pens. Lots to learn if fame ever finds me and my work.

But, since I’m not famous, yet, and running out of room, perhaps a mini cull would suffice.

How many or much do you keep of old drafts, notes and paperwork from your manuscripts? Is there a good reason to keep all or any of it? Please let me know your method and ideas in the comments?

Every Writing Milestone Needs Celebrating

A lovely shot of encouragement for me this week with one of my novel manuscripts being long-listed in a major UK children’s writing competition.

I’m a great believer in celebrating each and every writing milestone. Even the smaller stepping stones.

They give me, firstly, delight that a forward shift is happening and a great excuse to break out the bubbly.  Plus they encourage me that publication of this novel might not be too far away. Secondly, competition awards and short/long-listings add to the CV and help build my writing credits, hopefully enhancing future submissions to agents and/or publishers. Thirdly, such milestones give me something to blog about.

I was glad I stuck to domestic bubbly when I found out the $43 Aust post charge to send the full manuscript to the UK. I wouldn’t want to do that every day, but it will be worth every cent if the manuscript is short-listed.

No matter whether it goes forward to a short-listing, I’m thrilled for the validation of this one, that is close to my heart, and I passionately believe is a great story.

Meanwhile, my fingers, toes, eye brows and everything are crossed for the next stage. Roll on December.

Talk to me, I’m a writer!

And people do. Incredibly generously. No matter where I go, if I ask a question and say I’m writing a book, mouths and doors open. Even when we barely speak the same language.

My recent research revealed that the location of French farmhouses, at least in the Somme area of France, aren’t like our Aussie farmhouses situated out in the middle of paddocks, far from town, but are located within the village, often on the main street.

Big buildings with high wooden doors and entries, or perhaps steel for the more modern, can line the street, like in the photo here. Beyond the walls and doorways are the yard in the middle and the farmhouse at the back. When asked why farmhouses weren’t on the farm land, my guide explained that it’s safer in the village (in numbers) unlike being isolated out on the land alone. In a country invaded often over the centuries, this made a lot of sense.

The farmyards’ location and set-out is integral to an important meeting of two central characters in my story and when I learned of their true location, I realised I’d set up their meeting all wrong. Only trouble was, since my guide wasn’t a farmer, how did I find out what lay behind the closed doors and gates of French farmyards to even begin to imagine their set out or setup? Many haven’t changed layout much over the century since the war, but, of course, most are much more modern in technology and living arrangements today.

Skulking along the main road of a small village seemed the closest I could get to seeing inside, snapping surreptitious photos through the odd door or gate left ajar. Until… My sidekick and I came across the huge house (pictured) next door to a “farmhouse”.  When Jackie, as we came to know him, stepped out the farm gate to retrieve something from his car, we bade him ‘Bon jour,’ and when he responded in-kind, I took the opportunity to ask him how old was the house as a lead in to asking about the farm.

He said he’d pop back and ask the owner of the “chateau” who was inside. Minutes later he returned and asked us to come in and meet the owner. Before we knew it, we were shaking hands with Jacques, Jean Claude and Jackie and explaining my interest as a writer in both the chateau and the farm. To my bemusement, Jean Claude started filming me while I interviewed Jacques. I feared, he may have misunderstood and thought me famous. The word writer seems to carry such weight. I started to explain that I was your garden variety writer, not discovered yet, but knew my words not understood by Jean Claude’s grin and failure to put down the camera, so we both continued to enjoy the moment.

Next thing, Annik, Jacque’s wife arrived and she very graciously took us off to show us through the lower floor of their delightful chateau. I was both awestruck and embarrassed, not having meant to impose so much on their kindness and generosity of spirit. My time with Annik stretched my French to surprising lengths and I found long forgotten phrases and words in my efforts to communicate with her. How could I forget, la fenêtre, the window and other such descriptions around the house from Form One French class? Sr Austin would be proud of me.

Annik and Jacques allowed me to take photos and answered all my questions. I also got to see through the disused farmhouse and imagine how it might have been when one of my characters lived there so very long ago. She may not live next to the chateau but I’m hoping it’s going to find a small role in the book too.

The meeting reminded me how often and how much people are happy to share their knowledge, expertise and sometimes important parts of their lives with me, indulging my writer’s curiosity with an openness of spirit I delight in and very much appreciate. I’ve spoken to rodeo clowns, sailors, itinerent workers, coal miners and now chateau owners to bring authenticity to my stories. Each time I feel they’ve given me a gift. They certainly enrich my stories.

Publication is a tough gig, but the writing life is pretty damn cool.

Step by step to publication

 

After lots of emails crossing paths in the ether all week from various writing buddies… I’m putting it out there. How can we writers inspire, buoy, encourage and fool ourselves into keeping steadfast on our journey to publication?

More often than not, it’s a long, long haul from Point A – the idea that inspired the story to Point B – publication.

Sounds simple enough. I mean how hard can it be? A few thousand words! How long can it take? A few months!

Turns out – not so easy. Not so fast. A novel isn’t written in a day, a week, a month or, for most us, even a year. It needs to evolve, develop and be written page by painful page, draft by draft. (Unless, of course, the muse is in town and on those golden days it verily hurtles along.)

We need sustenance along the way. Small incentives towards making the dream a reality and I’m not  talking chocolate, a glass of bubbles on each chapter completed or trinkets in small velvet boxes. No, I mean some writerly stepping stones to support our self-belief and enthusiasm from point A to B. Because at some point along the path, there’ll be more quicksand than shore, more shale than stone under our feet. With no agent, or publisher beside us mopping our brows and waving the chequered flag, we can be the ones to flag. Our writing stalls and suddenly that brilliant idea seems trite, unoriginal and going nowhere.

We don’t get a treasure map, or to kick the odd doubloon to tell us we’re on track. We shake the compass, but it only points north – as the crow flies. It doesn’t tell us the easy roads or shortcuts.

What we need is some tips to inspire and gain some kudos along the way – always great for the C.V. but more important, great for our confidence and self-belief.

Here’s my top ten stepping stones towards publication:

  1. WRITE – only words on the page can grow a story.
  2. Join a writing group (find kindred spirits who get what you’re doing, and offer real, productive critiquing that helps your work, builds your craft, and theirs, spiralling you all towards publication).
  3. Enter competitions – to gain confidence, writing credits and crafting competence. (Not to mention certificates for your achievements book. Okay, brag book, if you want to call it that. See tip 5)
  4. Submit to anthologies, magazines – to get your name out there, gain confidence, writing credits and inspiration to continue.
  5. Keep an achievement (display) book to keep copies of those small steps, Letters to the editor, commendations, reviews you’ve written – great to browse those milestones on days you need a reminder that you’re moving forward.
  6. Build a website – create a cyber presence, AND/OR create and maintain a blog – gain a voice, a following, a kinship with fellow bloggers. (Remember to comment on other blogs and exchange reciprocal links.)
  7. Rework your chapter, story, base premise, for fiction short markets, or find non-fiction links and submit to newspapers, magazines, journals, e-sources for publication, gain writing credits and link back to your WIP.
  8. Build your writing profile through social media i.e. Facebook, Twitter, Jacketflap, LinkedIn. (Suggest keeping your Facebook author persona separate from your personal family/friends persona.)
  9. Network – online groups, associations, writing organisations, attend conferences, lit festivals and industry talks.
  10. Daydream – see your book cover on the shelf – crucial to keep motivation and self-belief alive. (I’ve been known to create a cover to manifest the dream. Love modern tech.)

My writing friends and crit buddies are invaluable in keeping me focussed and motivated. Their successes enthuse me and absolutely inspire and energise me to try to keep up with them and pull out all the stops to emulate their successes. And when none of us are getting far, we can commiserate together because none of us want to kick the dog.

Sometimes that finish line PUBLICATION seems invisible and as unreachable, un-navigable as a line in a river of frothing, foaming, rushing water.

Love to hear how you hold the sometimes rickety writing craft on course – please let me know in the comments.

Don’t Write What You Know

“Are you French? No, then set your novel in Australia. Write what you know!”  Words to spark a blogpost and debate.

The jury is out on my Google search into who first spoke the words Write what you know, though Mark Twain and William Faulkner seem to be the main-listed culprits.

Write what you Know would probably have been the first (and most oft repeated) piece of advice I’ve heard quoted as a writer. For a long time, I stuck slavishly to it. Believed in it. Passed on the words of wisdom myself. UNTIL…the day I realised it was given and explained (to me) by someone who took it as literally as I took it from her. Too often “write what you know” advice is given to new writers without adding the all important addendum, until you learn to write and are ready to explore beyond the breadth of your own experience. Or boredom takes you out, whichever comes first.

I mean, was Anna Sewell ever a horse? Was Toni Morrison ever a slave? Did Geraldine Brooks ever live in a sixteenth-century village consumed by the plague?

No. And why didn’t they need to have lived the life, in the place, at the time of the characters and stories they were writing? Because one doesn’t have to be a horse to know how any warm-blooded creature feels to be beaten, starved or left out in the freezing cold. We all recognise and know pain. We all experience illness and the fear of our own mortality. Few of us escape the pain of loss of a loved one.

We live, therefore we experience. As writers we can take those emotions and feelings and impose them on our characters and story events, transport them to places and eras we’ve not personally lived in and make them real. Authenticity comes through connecting the reader to the emotional and lived experience in ways that resonate, in ways a reader can engage with and feel the pain, pleasure or emotional happenings in the story.

I find I sometimes draw subconsciously on my own personal, emotional experiences and don’t necessarily recognise the origins until later. A bit like dreams, I suppose. Some mean nothing and others we can see the wellspring, even if the dawning doesn’t come until much later on.

Sometimes my writing reveals that I know more than I think I know. This proves itself in those rare and wondrous moments when words appear on the page and I sit back and go, Wow! Where did that insight, knowledge, revelation come from? Other times, fine details and rich imagery of place and setting emerge out of much reading and research I may have done months or even years before.

Research, lots and lots of days and weeks of research, shows in the authenticity and emotional connection of good story and characterisation, not merely through the insertion of historical facts or costume/period details. So I can write about a girl in France, enmeshed in a war I did not fight in the trenches or on the homefront. I know how this girl feels to be betrayed, lied to, and scared on finding herself alone in the world, because I can summon up memories of those exact same feelings. I might need to magnify them significantly for my character’s usage, but I’ve been lied to, betrayed and found myself alone in a foreign country, albeit in the latter case by choice. I can impose like feelings and emotions onto my character and make her experience real through adding description and evoking the place.

Yes, I can write what I don’t know, what I’ve never experienced and yet still make it real. So I’m on the no side of the debate team that says “Don’t write what you know”.

If writers did not give themselves permission to write outside their experience, there’d be no science fiction, no spec fiction, no fantasy. No hobbits, or time-travelling Doctor Whos, no Star Wars, ET or Hunger Games.

Personal experience and emotions may be the foundation stone, but the walls and windows come from imagination. Otherwise we’d all be writing the same old same old.

Writing fiction takes courage and research and getting into the psyche of living, breathing people, or animals in Black Beauty’s case. If a writer can take me into the skin of a horse, a Frenchwoman, a soldier, a space warrior, or a Neanderthal tribesman and make it real, I’m happy to go on the journey with them. That is the writer’s job – to transport the reader beyond their disbelief, to a new place, time, life. The writer must believe in their story and bring it to life beyond what they knew when they started out the writing.

Do you write what you know? Or do you go where no man, woman or writer has gone before you? 

A Novel Beginning

“So much of our time is preparation, so much is routine, and so much retrospect, that the pith of each man’s genius contracts itself to a very few hours. The history of literature — take the net result of Tiraboschi, Warton, or Schlegel — is a sum of very few ideas and of very few original tales; all the rest being variation on these.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Experience”

Where do you start a new novel? According to the famous words in A Sound of Music’s Do-Re-Mi, the “very” beginning is a very good place to start. But for my new novel, I don’t think the very beginning is the right place to start.

I mean how can a writer know so early in the writing? Often nothing much is happening in the “beginning”. Hence the value of backstory and flashback. Sometimes important incidents shaping the character or journey might be found in the past, but are these the best starting points? Or, are you best to start in media res (in the action)? Or in a poignant moment.

You know what, it doesn’t matter, because…

Yay! I’ve started the writing. And my initial chapter one starts not at a birth or even when characters first meet, but at a significant event where all their lives are about to change. The moment in time is inevitable and unpreventable.

Whether this start remains as the beginning one, two, three years from now when I finish this novel, I am yet to know. What I do know is that it’s fantastic to have started and to have met one of my main characters. I cannot wait to get to know them all.

I have lots of scene ideas and a storyline. It’s complex and going to take time. I do know this novel is not going to be written like the last with a chronological narrative. That’s exciting in itself. And opens up a whole new way of writing for me. I’m usually pretty linear. But because I have lots of ideas and multiple viewpoints, I think this story and characters will lend themselves to growing and weaving into each other. Of course, it might all tangle into one hell of a mess too, but the beauty is the freedom to write in disconnected scenes. Of course I envisage the connections in my mind, but it’s going to be a little like a jigsaw putting it together.

I’m excited to have bought the new Scrivener for Windows program and am hanging out to try it. I’ve just got to put aside a couple of hours to go through and learn the basics via the tutorial. I love that I’ll be able to write in scenes and then shuffle them and draw them all back together via the program. I can see lots of possibilities. I’m also eager to try the digital index cards and cork board, though I’m equally impressed with the value of laying out hardcopy index cards to map a manuscript too. (If you’re into index cards, and haven’t already done so, you might like to check out my previous post on manuscript mapping.)

I’m glad I’ve had a few months to begin to separate from my last novel. It was very funny and quite strange to see in the new writing where the main character is supposed to be a young Aussie male that the voice and speech mannerisms came out fuddled with the unique voice of Maire, the main character from my recently finished novel. Funny because she’s female, young and Scottish. Hmmm. Perhaps the distance from the first is not great enough yet.

I have lots of research to focus on before progressing too far with the writing. Though I am writing in a similar era to my previous novel so have the benefit of a great starting knowledge on the history, lifestyle and culture. Really I’m just thrilled to have made a start.

The writing process is different for all of us. American author John Irving begins with his novel’s last sentence and works his way backward through the plot to where the story should begin. I don’t have such a process to  start. Though with my background in writing for children and YA, I try to go with action, or start the point of story where things begin to happen, hot up. I’d love to know if you begin your new story by a set process or how you begin. I wonder if it affects different genres, age groups, styles. Please share if you’d like to in the comments.

(The photograph above is the birth of my new baby zucchinis, or they will be soon. Writing novels takes preparation just like vegetable plants. Only I’m not sure that my new novel will look as beautiful for awhile. I’m sure I’ll be eating these zucchinis long before my novel is ready.)

Writers Write

It takes time to “own” being a writer. For me it took several published books and a few royalty cheques. This was pre-author website, self-promotion and social networking days. Back when writing was a far more solitary and silent act. But, I digress. Of course, being a writer is not only about being published, but the act of writing. Writers write.

How often do you meet someone socially who enquires, what do you do?
“I’m a writer.”
“Really, I always wanted to write a book. I just don’t have the time.”
Gotta love these people. If only they could grab that snatch of time and tap out that book. Thank goodness, they don’t, because that would mean all the more competition in an already crowded marketplace.

I think a lot of people more love the “idea” of being a writer. The physical act, time needed and learning the craft of writing is a whole other ball game.

Making writing time and owning being a writer are about setting yourself up for success. A mindset that worked for me. So I thought I’d share a few tips and ideas for new writers.

Before you solve the lack of writing time conundrum, you need to:

1. Know why you write

a. Hobbyist
b. Professional /budding author
c. Cannot not write
Work out, do you like to write and the idea of being published? Or, do you believe yourself to be a writer and write to be published?

2. Believe being a writer is who you are

It’s hard in the beginning to allow ourselves the right to take writing time, especially when it cuts into family/friend/social time. Call it. Own it as you’re writing, producing words, crafting an actual manuscript. Join a writing group for support and critique. Send out your work to competitions, markets – both free and paying to start.

3. Enlist help

To do this you need: (if you aren’t living on your own)
a) An understanding partner
and
b) A partner who knows “writing” is what you do
c) Kids that know “writing” is what Mum/Dad does
d) Family who know “writing” is what you do

***they can only know this by seeing you do it.***

4. Show you are a writer by writing

When you write and produce and – are seen to do so – your dedication is how others come to take you seriously as a writer. Once they do, this is when you can really call in practical support and understanding.

This change in mindset for you and your family helps set you up for “writing time” success.

 

Writing time tips:

1. Schedule /block out time to write every day
2. Swap TV time for writing time
3. Take phone off hook/Turn off mobile – be unavailable during your writing time
4. Close email program – turn off widget that notifies incoming email, if you can’t avoid looking
5. Give yourself permission to be anti-social – negotiate with partner/family
6. Young children: Get the family to help with chores, don’t accept excuses.
7. Older children: Organise a roster for household jobs AND ENFORCE IT.
8. Put a sign on the door to say “Writer at Work!” And mean it.
9. Hire a cleaner/gardener/lawn care person.
10. Drop back from full-time to part-time work or arrange flexi-time.
11. Get up an hour earlier OR go to bed an hour later
12. Negotiate writing time with partner/family at weekends.
13. Write in short bursts – grab time wherever/whenever you can.
14. Own your right to your own time

Sometimes  you just have to choose writing over a social engagement; a movie you want to see; a loved hobby; your windows might not be as clean, or your garden as perfect as it once was; your cupboards may be less tidy – you cannot have it all. How much do want you want to write? If you really want it, just do it. Even snatches add up. Three hundred words isn’t much. 300 words a day by 300 days of the year = 90,000 words. That, people, is a novel.

There is only one way to write a novel. Write!

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