FINDING YOUR WHY – first steps

Since my book was published last year, lots of people have asked me why I wrote it. I suppose there are many answers to that question ranging from, “Because I wanted to see if I could write at length.” to “Because I wanted to think through how I felt about the topic.” In order to write this article I have spent some time thinking hard about the answer to this question and I think that the most honest answer I can give is that I wrote ‘Isolation Junction’ because I believe I have a contribution to make to the whole current debate about domestic violence and coercive control. In writing my book as a narrative rather than as an academic discussion paper I was hoping that it would appeal to a new and possibly different audience. Those who perhaps enjoy relaxing, reading a novel as part of their busy lives and who in reading the novel will relate to and recognise aspects of unacceptable behaviour.

It is my belief that often books which deliver the most powerful message are those where the message is hidden within the story. Why else would some of these stories hit the headlines as Hollywood blockbusters if their message was not compelling and powerful?

It is often said that everyone has a book in them and I believe this to be true. So, how do you go about recognising this and beginning your journey?

Here’s a good place to start discovering your message/what to write about:

1. First list topics you’re interested in, love or feel passionate about – this could be anything from a hobby to a taboo subject to an interest in fairytales- it could be anything.

2. Do an old fashioned spider diagram of aspects of the topic and include any thoughts for writing material.

EG. For me it was the taboo subject of domestic abuse so I wrote my passionate feelings on it : awareness, show abuse for what it can be like, focus on the emotional abuse and coercive control side as it needs to be uncovered, my fears, my sacrifice, women need to know about unhealthy relationships, what does a healthy relationship look like. A life changing message, education through entertainment. And so on.

3. Which of your topics has the most depth? Which one are you drawn to? Which one is screaming out the be wrote about? Which one has a message?
——> The message doesn’t have to be a life changing but it could bring someone an escapism, it could be that you want to help people through a self help book (how does it help?), it could be that you want to feed those who love fantasy (how does your idea bring something new to the genre). One of the common questions is why did you write your book? so its great to find that why before you put pen to paper, fingers to keys.

4. Keep all the spider diagrams in case you come back to them at a later day. Focus on the topic and spider gram you have chosen to write about and test it out, get some ideas together. Continue to build on the spider diagram and think about the basic wireframe of a book.

5. Write a short story, blog or even your thoughts about the topic and post it out to the world, ask followers, friends and family to give you feedback. If you don’t already have a social media page and website then begin growing this right away. You can let people know that you’re working on and gain feedback. Take on the feedback and rethink or build your idea. Making your why a powerful one.

Not only will this help the beginning of your writing journey but it will help your marketing because you can tell people why you wrote your book, blog post, short story etc.

Let me tell you a little more about my why that I touched on earlier and where the inspiration came from.

I was on an awareness course about Domestic Abuse. Alongside me were about 8 other women who had been in abusive relationships. As the day progressed, I found that I simply couldn’t believe that some of what the other women were saying was exactly what I had gone through but just in a different format. Domestic Abuse tends to go in a cycle and whichever way it begins, the behaviour spirals again and again. At first it could be months between incidents but for me, as time went on there were many instances within one day. It is quite normal to try to prevent the cycle from starting again by changing your behaviour as much as possible. By the end of the course I had come to understand that we were all subjected to the same behaviour and that no one knew before that this could even happen to someone i.e. that a relationship can be so unhealthy and soul destroying. I realised that others simply needed to know more about this unacceptable behaviour; they needed to see the warning signs before the relationship goes further or the behaviour gets even more serious. On the other hand I needed others to see the behaviour for what it is. If people are in a relationship and the behaviour within it is not acceptable and is not their fault, it can’t simply be changed by changing yourself.

I knew I had a story to tell and with my previous unfinished written work I realised my first novel had to be more than a book but that all important message – a way for others to be able to pass a book on to help victims and to get the penny to drop and bring about realisation of what is happening sooner. This means that when the relationship ends victims and survivors realise they are not the only ones out there and its ok to talk about the abuse. But also uniquely in an ‘entertaining’ way and using a form of media and the work of fiction to bring it to light.

It didn’t take long to get going as I had written a lot of notes about my own feelings as a way of releasing my emotions, I found the process therapeutic and as I started the journey I also brought my friends and family and followers on it with me. I set up social media FB page and Twitter feed early on to start sharing thoughts, updates, quotes, memes and links relating to writing, the progress of my journey and domestic abuse. It certainly made an impact and unfortunately a lot of messages from fellow victims and survivors of their own struggles and the feeling of not being able to talk about it until seeing my posts and messaging me.

The novel was funded by a Kickstarter campaign which received 110% from those who followed my journey of this idea over a period of 12-18 months.

Isolation Junction was released to the world in October 2016 (domestic abuse awareness month). My book follows the story of Rose who is stuck in an abusive and coercive relationship referred to as Isolation Junction. After years of emotional abuse, the self doubt about her future and the erosion of her confidence, Rose takes a stand. Finding herself alone, penniless and frightened Rose wonders how she will ever escape from the situation to provide a better life for herself and her children. With 100 reasons to leave and 1000 reasons why she perceives she can’t – will she have the courage to do it? And will she find the support to regain control and confidence?

The novel has received a fantastic amount of local press coverage and those who have read it have expressed their feelings towards the taboo subject and the novel:
“Jennifer Gilmour has taken a taboo subject and turned it into a book of hope … she has shown we do not have to be victims of domestic abuse …. but survivors”
“Isolation Junction shows that there can be life after abuse, that a woman finding herself in a similar situation deserves to be valued.”
”This book I was not able to put down”
“A hugely important book!”
“A very gripping and interesting read”
“Thank you Jennifer for highlighting this issue and hopefully inspiring women to break free from emotional abuse”
“A fictional account of an everyday, unacceptable issue”

What’s your message? Whats your why? What makes your work a value to the reader?

I look forward to hearing your responses.

I am also working on another project that involves other survivors and victims of domestic abuse, if you feel able to talk about an experience involving domestic abuse then please get in touch with me jljarratt@hotmail.com

 

This post is brought to you by Jennifer Gilmour.

What I know now…

I had my first book published in 2013, and since then a further five books have made it into the world with my name on the cover. Despite this I still feel like a ‘new’ author – though looking back at what I thought then, and what I know now, I have learnt a few things.

What I thought before I was published – and what I know now.

1) Published authors make a living from their writing

There are many who do, but there are so many more who don’t. So many authors who write books in between their day jobs. The image I had of writing books by my poolside has been sadly shattered. Jackie Collins managed it. Kathryn Freeman sits in her study and squeezes her romance writing in between her medical writing. At least I have Jenson Button for company. [insert photo]

2) Writing is a solitary existence

It’s true the only way to get words onto paper is to ignore everyone and everything around you for a while and just write. For those who miss face to face interactions though, there are plenty of conferences and local writer group meetings that provide opportunities to chat with other writers. People who understand when you mention sagging middles (of the book variety) and head bopping points of view. Then there are the virtual interactions on social media. Comment on a blog, reply to a tweet – the writing community (authors, bloggers, readers) is hugely supportive. You don’t have to do it alone.

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3) Editing is about correcting plot inconsistencies, spelling and grammar

Editing does feature all of those – but by heck it’s about a whole lot more. My editorial reports are often split into sections: plot, characters, pace, romance, timing and style. All of these are looked at in the first edits – well before the spelling and grammar. I’ve had to add chapters, delete thousands of words, combine two characters into one, soften my heroine. All far more complex – and challenging – edits than my naïve unpublished self had thought. Then again, my unpublished self believed the book I’d written and submitted was as good as it could be. I had no idea what a huge difference an editor can make.

4) I’ll run out of plot ideas

I’ve found that having the ideas isn’t the problem – it’s knowing which of them to run with that’s the hard part. As is keeping focus on the book you’re writing, while in your head you’ve just had the most brilliant idea for another book…

5) Writing is easy

Yes, that was the most stupid of them all. When I started out, I was writing around 4,000 words a day. I thought it was a doddle. Funnily enough, that first book never did get published. I’ve recently revisited it, and was horrified by how terrible it was. In hindsight, writing it again would be have quicker. So writing is easy – it’s writing something that people will want to read that’s bloody difficult.

 

This post is brought to you by Kathryn Freeman.

How many drafts before I can call myself a writer? #amwriting

Writing a novel is easy. You just need a bit of time, a good idea and considerable curiosity. Re-writing a novel, now that’s the hard part. And it’s where I am right now, working on the second draft of a new novel. By ‘working on’, I mean agonising over each and every one of 80,000 words, wondering why I ever thought this was a good story to tell, or why I thought that these characters could carry it.

I started writing fiction because I wanted to write freely, and at length. My professional life has always contained a huge amount of writing, and people have always very kindly said that I do it well. But I had always written for someone else – an organisation, a manager, a publication – and to a brief defined for me, not by me.

Writing fiction provides the space in which to write without constraint, to think about the audience only once the first draft is nailed onto the page; only then do I have to think as if someone else is in the room, trimming the long florid passages about food and landscape to serve the needs of plot and character: my study floor is littered with the remains of darlings that have been killed.

Well that’s the idea, anyhow. It is perhaps the most cited piece of writing advice of the last hundred years: kill your darlings. But its glibness belies its brutality in action. A phrase, an image, a scene of which you are immensely proud does not advance the pipeline of narrative or character: no matter how fondly it is held, it must be put to the sword. You can kid yourself that you’ll store it away for future use, but unless your filing system allows for remarkable cross-referencing, it will in fact go the way of countless beloved words from my current manuscript: forgotten and lost forever.

I work according to three maxims: writing is laying pipe; don’t get it right, get it written; and be ruthless in the rewriting. The first two are easier to pull off than the last, and that is why the process of turning a first draft into a second is so much less joyful than the initial outpouring. In part, this is because it is the first time that the ‘Reader’ has been in the room, judging my attempts to make a world. But there is something more: I am in no way as heartless in the face of a well-turned phrase as I like to pretend.

I love words: it’s why I do what I do. I can play with their concatenation for hours, turning over their sound and savour like wine in my mouth. One of the characters in my second book, The Cursing Stone, is largely as he is because I wanted to use the word muculent. And when I stumble on a beautiful combination of them, I am a little too pleased with myself to let them slip away unused. I have to work hard to resist the temptation to break the pipework of my plot to jemmy in a beloved, fleeting phrase.

I have been here twice before. Perhaps this stage of the process is why I still find it hard to describe myself as a writer. This is where the work lies, beyond the fun, and I’m still not very good at it. To pronounce myself a Writer seems too much of a claim. I doubt dentists have the same engulfing sense of charlatanism when asked at parties what do they do for a living; I doubt they mumble something about teeth and pain while staring at their shoes.

But this will pass. I will eventually pull these 80,000 words into something that is fit to be seen by other eyes and then I will share them with the lovely people who tell me what works and what doesn’t, and then I’ll agonise again for a while, but for less time and in less agony. And maybe, maybe, these words will become a book that will stumble into the light and I will feel able to say, without embarrassment, that I write.

 

This post is brought to you by Adrian Harvey.

Writing Every Day

I’ve always been obsessed with the idea of writing every day. I go through spells where I do write every day, but that’s more coincidence, it’s never a religious kind of discipline so much as a bit of a productive spell.

When I read about Jack London, who had a mad and varied life, writing 1000 words every single day in order to hone his craft, I really admired that level of dedication. But I’ve never been able to stick with it. I’ve always written, I’ve always got one piece of writing or another on the go, but I’ve never made sure to sit down and get it done every single day.

I recently visited the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam. There was a section featuring just his pencil drawings, and there was a quote on the wall from him that said “Drawing is the root of everything, and the time spent on that is actually all profit.” I loved that. The museum was full of the paintings that eventually made his name – but to him the root of it all was these drawings, just practising his craft, flexing his creative muscles to get better and better, even if those drawings didn’t amount to anything directly. It was all still profit for his creative bank account.

I decided that I didn’t need to divide all my writing into either poems or working on my next novel – that I should try writing regularly just to keep my internal writing machinery from getting rusty. Rather than 1000 words every day, I settled on 500. It seemed more attainable as a starting point.

But still, even with a lower word target, I knew it wouldn’t be easy. If I can find a way to get out of doing work, I will. I had to come up with a foolproof system. I’ll share it with you now just on the off chance that you, like me, have always wanted to try writing every day, but felt like you didn’t have the discipline. Or maybe you just find the pressure of working on your ‘proper novel’ every day too much pressure, especially if you’ve recently hit a big wall in terms of where you think it should go next.

So, this is my system: I made a big list of things I know inside and out. Events, places, people, things that have happened to me, things I have opinions on etc. For example, the top of my list was ‘going to Amsterdam, Manchester United, Tom Waits, meeting my girlfriend’ etc. Really basic. Really broad.

Each day, I sit down at the computer, look at the long list, and choose whichever one feels easiest at that time. Then I start typing. It doesn’t matter if I stay on topic, it doesn’t even really  matter if it makes sense, it just matters that I’m keeping the writing part of my brain active. I usually hit 500 words pretty quickly – and often fly past it without even thinking to check the word count. Granted, I’ve only been doing it for a couple of months now, but I keep thinking of things to add to the list of ideas, and so far it’s been my longest sustained run of writing every day. And as far as I’m concerned, as someone who wants to write for a long time, and wants to get better and better at it, that’s all profit.

 

This post is brought to you by Jared A Carnie.

Fact and fiction

I am in the final stages of writing my third novel. Set amongst the world of the silk industry in 18th century Italy, Amsterdam and London I am, once again, intermingling fact and fiction.

I am often asked where I get my ideas. My first novel, ‘The Girl with Emerald Eyes’, was set in the world of twelfth century Italy. It was inspired by a personal experience when my husband was taken ill while making a film about the Leaning Tower of Pisa. The second book: ‘Daughters of the Silk Road’ was a huge leap of faith from my publisher. ‘I have an idea about a Ming vase,’ I told her at our initial meeting. ‘Someone inherits a Ming vase and doesn’t understand what they have sitting in their hall. Of course, it turns out to be valuable. I’ll develop a historical storyline to intermingle with it – perhaps exploring how the vase arrived in Europe.’

‘I’ll have that,’ she said. ‘Wow!’ I thought. ‘That was easy.’ Not so easy perhaps, as I then had to write it. Fortunately for me, several weeks of research threw up the remarkable Italian merchant explorer Niccolo dei Conti who returned to Venice in 1444, following twenty-five years travelling in the Middle and Far East. He wrote a fascinating account of his time abroad in which he referred to a meeting with the legendary Admiral Zheng He – a favourite of the Chinese Emperor Xuande (1426 – 1435). This was the hook I needed. Could Niccolo have brought back with him a Ming vase that survived him and his descendants until the present day? It might stretch credibility a little… could such a vase survive the rough and tumble of everyday life for over six hundred years? And could someone inherit such a vase and not realise its true value?

I chose a particular Ming storage jar as ‘my vase’, and had it pinned to my notice-board throughout the time I was writing the story. Made in the time of Emperor Xuande, and now in a museum, the Dragon Jar was remarkable because the claws of the dragon (a favourite motif of Ming china) had only three claws, indicating that it was intended for a royal recipient. In my novel, this vase is inherited by my modern character – a young divorced mum of a teenage daughter – who doesn’t know its worth, and uses it as a mere receptacle for car keys and dried flowers.

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Amazingly, just two weeks after the book was published, an almost identical vase was sold at Christie’s in Hong Kong for $158 million [£16m]. This Dragon Jar – also made under the reign of Emperor Xuande – had been used by its owners as an umbrella stand! Coincidence? Or a case of life imitating art?

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What of my current novel, set in the 18th and 21st century silk industries? For me, it’s important that the setting provides more than a mere backdrop: it also has to allow me to immerse myself in a subject that will hold my interest for at least a year while I’m researching and writing. My first novel revolved around architecture – a subject that is close to my heart, as my parents were both architects. My second was about blue and white china – something I have loved since childhood. Where then did the passion to write about silk come from? It is a fabric that I love to wear. It’s used in everything from underwear to furnishings, and even to medical instruments. It’s as strong as steel. But these are merely rational arguments for writing about a subject, and the truth is that most novelists don’t employ logic when choosing a subject for a story. In my case, I simply woke up one morning with a powerful sensation that silk would be the setting for the next novel. Slowly, piece by piece, elements of the story came together. A friend took me to see an exhibition of the works of the botanical artist Maria Sybilla Merian. Born in 1647 in Frankfurt, Maria Sybilla was remarkable in many ways. Appreciated in her own life-time for her work as both an artist and an entomologist, her output was considerable. Her beautiful paintings of flowers, plants and insects were triggered by her initial fascination, as a thirteen-year old child, with silk moths. They were her first love, and she continued to record the process of the metamorphosis of butterflies and moths throughout her long career. Given that the silk moth is the starting point for the process of creating silk, I was keen to weave her story into my novel.

Interestingly she also divorced during her life – an unusual event in itself in the seventeenth and eighteenth century. I did some research on divorce in Italy and discovered a fascinating collection of court documents that revealed how many women sought divorces at that time, particularly in Venice, where the Patriarchal Courts held sway. I have never been divorced myself, but appreciate that although it can be a traumatic experience for many people, for a woman who is deeply unhappy – or forced into an arranged marriage – it can prove a liberation. Her release from an unhappy marriage can also be a kind of metamorphosis.

At about the same time, I discovered that the modern Italian silk industry is currently undergoing a revival in the Veneto region. Once the foremost silk producing region in Italy, it suffered a decline in the 1960s due to the overuse of pesticides in their mulberry orchards. With no indigenous silk for their mills, they started to import the raw material from the Far East. A local international businessman, whose own family had been involved in silk for generations, decided to reverse this trend and has begun to revive the industry that had once been the bedrock of the local economy. In the days of Palladio, the legendary Italian architect, it is calculated that over four thousand of his finest villas were built using wealth produced by the Veneto silk industry.

I have combined these elements in the novel, which will be published in late Spring 2017. Title yet to be decided.

 

This post is brought to you by Debbie Rix.

The Contemporary Fiction writer at Christmas

Sssh – whisper it. Christmas for contemporary fiction writers is much the same as for most other people, those whose problems can be put in the first world section of the global Venn diagram anyway. Sourcing such a cheap tree all the needles fall off in the car …considering whether to bother with sprouts… swearing at the solar powered outside lights because they’re just not up to the job in December.

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It’s possible however that most people don’t have to fit in writing a story for an Amazon competition. My agent passed on news of this one: subtext, why not have a go and earn us all our fortunes? This year they wanted a children’s story, specifically an update of “’Twas the Night before Christmas”, that surprisingly complex American ditty, most of which is untrue. We all know Santa doesn’t exist, but really! A house in London where not a mouse is stirring? Unlikely, very.

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They had an illustrator ready to go. They’d award the prize by early December, ready to be published a fortnight later for a five day free download and then the usual KDP royalties. And a £2000 gift card. And rights etc.

Not my thing, I said. You were a primary teacher, the agent said. You know the audience.

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And I did always like Dr Seuss (yes I know, he didn’t write “’Twas the Night before Christmas” but it’s a long narrative poem from the US and he did write those).
And I was – am – concerned by the number of children I used to teach every year, with over 20 different languages and several different religions between them, who were fed a diet of Christmas Christmas Christmas throughout December, in litressy, noomressy, art, colouring, music… and then more and more of it in the shops, buses, on the telly… A day of Diwali, a quick card for Eid, a month of Christmas. Happy Hanukah and back to the reindeer.

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I did – do – think it needs updating. Don’t get me wrong, there are some brilliantly diverse school Christmas performances out there, but the day to day diet, as we all know, both within and outside schools, is relentlessly Christmas focussed from late November onwards, and mostly white skinned, traditional and commercial rather than Christian. The families on the adverts are prosperous. They have to be, to afford the toys. The spectre of debt isn’t raised until New Year. The soup kitchens put in overtime, and although we collect at carol concerts, how much do we make the connection, for our children, with the Middle Eastern refugee family the story is about?

Plus the didact in me missed – misses – teaching and thought I could painlessly shove in a bit of Geography and Comparative Religion. So I reckoned I could spare a couple of hours.

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Two days later, I had a poem. It didn’t win, but someone at Amazon will be gnashing their teeth one day, because I think I’ll submit it next year to some children’s publishers and see what they think. I tried to keep the rhythm and spirit of the original, but to reflect UK society, now, and to be a bit funny, and a bit questioning, and a bit restful. I’m not going to copy it all out here in case some dastardly person Saint Nicks it. But here are some extracts, and if anyone would like to test run it with their children and grandchildren, please contact me for the full version. If you can read it with a map of the UK to hand and maybe some Santa toys as props, that would be even better. I would love your feedback.

Santa in the UK © Jessica Norrie 2016

On the night before Christmas our parents were busy
We children excited and jumping and dizzy,
(…..)
“Please tell them a story,” said Mum to her mother,
So Nana sat down with us, sister and brother.
“We’ll go on a journey,” she said, “all round Britain.
Get a scarf and a hat, and where’s that lost mitten?
We’ll give Father Christmas a hand on his sleigh,
He’ll tire us out so we’ll sleep till next day!”
(….)
We started in Cornwall, at the tip of Land’s End
Giving out surfboards and Fisherman’s Friends
The reindeer pranced and broke into a canter –
Father Christmas turned round saying “Just call me Santa.
(…..)
In London we slid down the big helter skelter
Delivered some gifts to the Hackney Night Shelter.
We feasted on vine leaves and rice and kebab
As Santa said that wouldn’t add to his flab.
(…..)
“Some children don’t celebrate Christmas,” he said
“I’ll still leave some gifts at the foot of their bed.
At Christmas we always help people in need,
Just as we do when we celebrate Eid.”
(…..)
We squeezed down the chimneys of rich and of poor
If Santa saw presents were few, he gave more.
(…..)
Then Santa got hungry again in Kirklees
He pulled up the sleigh and picked up a Chinese.
All tangled in noodles he feared we’d gone wrong
And checked on the Satnav. But we weren’t lost long
For look! There was Durham, all sparkling glory!
The cathedral was shining as bright as Diwali.
(…..)
Santa entered a pub. It was full of good cheer:
“Please offer a bed to this poor couple here.
(…..)
“You have only to ask,” said the landlord, “I’ve room!”
When sure they were settled, off Santa went – zoom!
(…..)
Then the Highlands and Islands, bleak fields and sheep
Shepherds snowed in on the hillsides so steep
And hardly a soul there to give presents to –
“Thank heavens for that!” Santa said, “’cos I’m through!
That last chimney was squeezing me closer and closer
I knew I should never have had that samosa.
(…..)
Exhausted but happy we slept until late
And woke up for Christmas Day well after eight!

“Santa in the UK” ©Jessica Norrie 2016

Anyway, that’s why this contemporary fiction writer’s Next Great Novel was on hold in December. That and designing some all age family entertainment with my own last blog post for the year, “The Writers Bored Game”, which you can find at https://jessicanorrie.wordpress.com

Have a lovely Christmas all, and see you in the New Year.

 

This post is brought to you by Jessica Norrie.

Just Keep Going

My first novel ‘In a Moment’ wasn’t the first book that I had ever started but the difference between it and my other attempts was that it was the first book that I had ever finished. In fact I have lots of unfinished books sitting on my laptop.

When I start off a book, I am full of energy and enthusiasm for the idea. In my mind it is the best idea I’ve ever thought of; it is the idea that will put all other ideas in the shade. I am already imagining who would play the lead roles in the screenplay, how much artistic licence I would be prepared to grant the producers and more importantly, if I’d be able to wrangle a couple of seats at the Oscars for me and my other half. But after the initial excitement starts to wane and I get deeper into the story, I start thinking about how the idea sounded so much better in my head. I cringe at every word I have written and think the whole thing is just plain awful. As Iris Murdoch once said ‘every book is the wreck of a perfect idea’. When the self-doubt takes over and the end still seems so far away, it is very hard to keep the faith needed to sustain a one hundred thousand word novel. Sometimes scrapping the work seems to be an infinitely more attractive option.

So what made me decide to keep going and finish ‘In a Moment’ you may ask? Well when I was about halfway through it and struggling to sustain momentum, I went along to a ‘Getting Published’ workshop. The one thing I took away from the day was that every author on the panel believed their work sucked but they didn’t give up on it. Instead they kept going until they reached the end and then they edited it. It was a light-bulb moment for me and I came home that day and decided that no matter what, I would finish the book I was working on. No matter how many times I wanted to scrap it (and believe me there were many), I kept going until I had completed the first draft. And I really think that persevering with it even when I wanted to delete the whole thing is what made the difference, because once I had completed a first draft I was able to look at it from a helicopter viewpoint and edit it. I was able to see what didn’t work and what needed to go before I submitted it and I was very fortunate to be offered a three-book deal by Poolbeg Press.

I now know from having (almost) five completed books that self-doubt is something that I (and all writers) will have to battle with every time we sit down in front of the computer. You are definitely not alone – join a writing group, attend a workshop, or use social media to connect with other writers. There is an invaluable support network out there of fellow writers who are all going through the same thing. Now if the doubts start to take over I try to ignore the negative voices in my head and keep going with the original idea, remembering why I fell in love with it in the first place. Your first draft will almost always be terrible so don’t get disheartened by it. Just get it down on the page – you can edit what you’ve written, but you can’t edit a blank page.

 

This post is brought to you by Caroline Finnerty.