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Posted on 12 August 2018 19:36

Summary:

Lots of exciting stuff going on and deadlines to meet, but also plenty to time to work on projects.

 

Monday:

I went to a fun No Grammar Required session and did lots of interesting freewriting.

I also got an email from an independent publisher with lots of very positive feedback on Artisan, asking to see the whole manuscript, which is very exciting.

 

Tuesday:

I got a second reasonably positive rejection from a magazine, so I sent them a third story for their consideration.

I also went through the feedback on Artisan from the independent publisher, and made some notes on what I need to do in the next edit.

I finished off with a review.

 

Wednesday:

I went to meet Hannah in a cafe after work and launched into the new Artisan edit. I completed the first chapter and t went better than I had expected. It was fun to revisit the story, and not too taxing deciding where to implement the publisher’s feedback.

Then I went through the shortest of the stories I wrote on retreat last week and tweaked it to as perfect as I could make it, ready for submission.

Next was the middle-length story from last week, which received ten critiques on Scribophile. So I went through them all one by one, considering the comments and making changes to the story accordingly.

 

Friday:

I gave the middle-length story a final read-through and declared it ready for submission.

 

Saturday:

I started reading an article Dave sent me and made some notes for a possible blog post about it.

 

Sunday:

I finished reading the article and writing notes on it.

 

Posted on 05 August 2018 15:50

Summary:

Now, that’s more like it for a writing week! I wrote every day, completing over 9000 words in total, and achieving tons on new original projects. Hurrah! The only problem is, I have very little available writing time for the rest of the year, so it’s going to be tricky to keep momentum.

 

Monday:

I managed to write 500 words of Celestial Intern on the train down to Exeter, then nearly two thousand more on my first afternoon at Retreats For You in Sheepwash, Devon. I booked to come here some time ago, but the owner’s husband sadly died the week before so my retreat understandably got cancelled. The business is now under new ownership, so I was looking forward to giving it a try, as an alternative for when my other go-to writing retreat isn’t running.

So far, so good!

 

Tuesday:

Reasonably slow start today, but I was at my desk and continuing with Celestial Intern by 10am, after a very interesting discussion about writing with some of the others over breakfast.

I took a break between writing stints to do some critiques on Scribophile, as I need to build up points before I can post anything new there for feedback.

I finished the first draft of Celestial Intern by lunchtime, which was awesome. I think it’s only the second original short story I’ve written this year, so I was very happy to get it out onto the page.

I also completed enough Scribophile critiques to build up the points required to post both parts of my story.

 

Wednesday:

I posted Celestial Intern to Scribophile, and went through the new edition of Writing Magazine to add upcoming submission opportunities to my rolling spreadsheet.

Then I finally cracked on with the new POV strand of Colours, which has been swirling around my brain for months and refusing to come out. I managed four scenes before lunch, which is a third of the strand.

I did a few more Scribophile critiques in an effort to get my story into the spotlight more quickly and build up points for the next one.

I also typed up the remaining notes from the last notebook I finished.

I took a look at my potential upcoming submission deadlines, and inspiration struck for a competition, so I wrote a new short piece in response to that.

I spent some time scouting around for places to send my currently unassigned stories, and added these to the spreadsheet.

 

Thursday:

I carried on with Scribophile critiques - I’d forgotten how much work it is to get enough points to post and then get stories into the main spotlight for feedback.

I read all the information for a really interesting competition I discovered in Writing Magazine yesterday, then brainstormed some notes for my entry, based on an excellent idea my husband sent me last night.

Then I did a review of the book I finished yesterday.

After lunch, I carried on with the Colours POV strand, completing another four scenes.

Then I started, and actually finished, the first draft of the competition story. I had built up another five points on Scribophile throughout the day, so I posted it on there to get feedback after the Celestial Intern story had had its turn.

I finished off by going back to the never-ending Scribophile critiques.

 

Friday:

Last morning in Sheepwash so I got up early to make the most of my remaining time.

I started off by writing the last four scenes for the new POV strand in Colours, thus completing the second of the main projects I wanted to work on while on retreat (after Celestial Intern).

Then I did a couple more Scribophile critiques, as my story were still quite a long way from the spotlight.

I was incredibly pleased with my productivity while on retreat - the two main projects completed, and two whole new stories written, neither of which were even on my radar when I arrived on Monday!

 

Saturday:

Back home, but still enthused.

I wrote a review of another book I finished earlier in the week.

I also helped Bear post his account of the writing retreat, and wrote my own blog post about it.

 

Sunday:

I took it easy today and just wrote two reviews - one of a film and one of a book.

 

Posted on 04 August 2018 12:39

I haven’t really written much of anything since the Winchester Festival in mid-June. I mean, I’ve been adding days to my habit pledge tracking spreadsheet, because I have been working on writing-related stuff, or making notes for projects, or mostly posting reviews.

But I haven’t felt as if I’ve really written anything new, other than one fanfic.

So, I was both excited and apprehensive about heading to Devon for a writing retreat this past week.

I made a long list of all the writing and non-writing activities I might get on with while I was there, packed way too much stuff, and made my way to Paddington on Monday morning.

It was a three-hour direct train to Exeter, which is exactly the sort of journey I like. And I decided not to let the opportunity pass me by. I had all my notes for a short story I wanted to break the back of during the week, so I set up my tablet and got to work, completing over 500 words over the course of the journey.

It was a 50 minute taxi drive from the station to Sheepwash, and I finally arrived at Retreats for You around 2pm. Debbie, who runs the retreats, gave me a very warm welcome and an extensive tour of the amazing 17th century house.

One of the great things about Retreats for You is that the retreat runs from lunchtime to lunchtime, rather than the usual schedule of arriving after 5pm on the first day and leaving around 9am on the last. So, I utilised the momentum I’d generated on the train and got straight back to work once I’d settled in my room.

The next three and a half days flew by in a blur of productivity, relaxation, and good company. There were three other writers there at the same time as me, and we had some very interesting and wide-ranging meal-time discussions. I also enjoyed watching village life out of my window, which looked out onto the square.

But, best of all, I wrote three whole short stories (two of which I didn’t even know I was going to write before I arrived in Sheepwash) and finally got on with my second novel, which has been languishing for months.

I have learned over the course of many years that I don’t have to be ‘in the right frame of mind’ to write. But, having a week away from home - in beautiful surroundings, with delicious food laid on, and other writers to talk to in the evenings - certainly doesn’t hurt!

I will certainly return to Sheepwash, hopefully many more times, as and when my schedule allows.

 

Posted on 29 July 2018 13:04

Summary:

Still mostly reviews and very little fiction writing, but some good planning progress ready for going on retreat next week.

 

Monday:

I reviewed a book I gave up reading yesterday.

 

Tuesday:

I got the best kind of rejection from a publisher today:

“Thank you for giving us the opportunity to consider this one. After reading and discussing it, we've decided we can't use it at this time. Good luck placing it elsewhere. You write well. Not this one, but maybe your next one. Send us another story, please.”

Which means more than one person actually read my story; they seriously considered it; they think it’s good enough to be published, just not by them right now; but they also want to publish something I’ve written - which is all awesome.

So I sent them another story!

 

Thursday:

I wrote some more notes for the Celestial Intern story, both before and after having a really useful and awesome idea-generating chat with Geen about it.

 

Saturday:

I wrote a review of a film we went to see last night.

 

Sunday:

I reviewed the audiobook I finished listening to yesterday.

I also wrote a short poem for a GYWO prompt.

 

Posted on 22 July 2018 19:42

Summary:

Technically, lots of writing days, according to my tracker, but no actual creative writing in the true sense. However, I’ve got a retreat coming up, and a regular writing gig starting soon, so I’m feeling very good about my writing future.

 

Monday:

I went to No Grammar Required after work and really enjoyed chatting to Claire and Lisa about writing and life in general, and also completing the freewriting exercises throughout the session.

 

Tuesday:

I reviewed Unorthodox by Deborah Feldman.

 

Wednesday:

I wrote a review of a short story anthology I finished earlier today.

 

Thursday:

I reviewed both the book and film versions of A Wrinkle in Time.

 

Sunday:

I wrote a review of a graphic novel I read last night.

I also had a very positive conversation with two of the editors at Etre, who have invited me to be one of the staff writers for their new quarterly print magazine. It’s an exciting project, and I’m looking forward to working with them on it.

 

Posted on 15 July 2018 13:08

Summary:

Little and often seems to be the trend for this week. I think I generally prefer having a couple of long sessions during the week and not worrying about it the rest of the time, but it’s good to know I can keep my momentum going, even when I don’t have a whole free day for a proper writing date.

 

Monday:

I went to No Grammar Required, a freewriting workshop run by a lovely lady named Claire. We wrote about pens and it was awesome.

 

Tuesday:

I did some research for this month’s GYWO discussion post about writing good description.

 

Wednesday:

I met Hannah after work and did some more to my WIP Big Bang story, as I realised the dog disappeared half way through, so I needed to track through the second half and insert him back in.

I wrote the first scene of the new POV strand in Colours and also wrote the first few sentences of the Celestial Intern story. So, at least I now have something to build on for both of those projects, which I’ve been struggling to get started with in the last few weeks.

 

Thursday:

I reviewed the current GYWO Book Club book and also the audiobook I finished today.

 

Friday:

I helped Bear post about joining in with today’s protest march against Trump.

 

Saturday:

I did a review of The Incredibles 2.

 

Sunday:

I attempted another home-based writing day, starting with a comprehensive list of everything I wanted to complete and in what order.

I started by drafting this month’s GYWO discussion post, ready to put it up next weekend.

Then I posted the completed WIP Big Bang story, ready to go live later in the month.

I moved on to editing an awesome piece of fiction my brother wrote recently. It didn’t need much work, and I hope to see more of it soon.

I concluded with a blog post about Monday’s freewriting meetup, which I plan to attend again tomorrow.

 

Posted on 15 July 2018 12:55

Due to the many demands on my time, my approach to my writing is generally pretty regimented. I schedule writing sessions throughout the week and have a prioritised list of all the writing tasks I want to complete during each one. I have a spreadsheet of all my past, present and planned publication submissions and competition entries, and another that tracks the number of days I write and how many words I achieve across several categories.

This is great for my productivity, ensuring I always know when my next writing sessions will be, what I will be working on, and that my progress will be accurately tracked. But, while I know from past experience that the best way to get writing done is to sit down and do it, such an ordered mindset can stifle creativity.

All writers know the benefits of a long walk, or a meditation session, or just getting on with something else and letting the subconscious have a turn. And writing without really thinking about it, and without a clear plan in mind, can lead you to some unexpected and fascinating places.

So, when I spotted a freewriting meetup starting in London, I went along - and it was great!

The lovely Claire led the session, giving us a prompt and then setting us loose on the page for five minutes of freewriting. We mostly wrote about pens - why we chose the one we chose out of the selection presented to us, and then more specifically about the pen itself. Then we swapped pens and wrote about the new one we were passed. Each of us read out our pieces at the end of each five minute writing slot, and it was amazing the range of thoughts and images that were produced. My contemplation of my various pens took me to some introspective places, both humorous and dark.

I’m not intending to use any of those pieces for another project. They existed in that moment and I’m glad to let them go. They reminded me of the joy of simply writing, going wherever my mind takes me, and not worrying about form, function, content or purpose.

I will definitely be going back to No Grammar Required when I can, and I very much look forward to more random exercises in brain splurging with Claire and the other members.

 

Posted on 08 July 2018 16:52

Summary:

I got a lot done this week, and worked on writing projects every day but Tuesday, which felt really good. Just because I’ve completed my 120 habit pledge for the year already, doesn’t mean I should stop working at my writing!

 

Monday:

Back to Wapping to enjoy the sunshine at The Turk’s Head with Ann.

I started off by adding another 150 words to my WIP Big Bang story. It ended up still technically 200 words too short, but I really don’t think it can take any more padding, and I suspect it’s close enough that the moderators won’t make an issue of it. Or at least I hope so!

Then I moved on to planning the new POV strand for Colours. It’s been months since I’ve even really thought about this story, so it was a bit daunting to launch back into it, but also exciting. I located my notes and read through them all, then started plotting out the scenes I need to thread through what I’ve already got. The structure of this project is already quite experimental, and the new POV is only going to add to that, so I hope it works.

My next task was to take an 850 word story and create two new versions - one at 1000 words and one at 700 words for two upcoming submission opportunities.

I edited another short story for a different submission opportunity.

I noodled around for a bit, checking for competition results and identifying new places to send a few other stories that had recently been rejected or revised.

I picked an upcoming submission opportunity I didn’t already have a story for, and used my tarot deck and fantasy picture grid to brainstorm ideas for something new.

I finished off the day by typing up some notes from my current notebook.

 

Wednesday:

I wrote a review of the book I finished yesterday.

 

Thursday:

I went to Le Pain Quotidien after work but discovered I’d left my Bluetooth keyboard on since Monday and it was dead, so had to revise my writing plan. I brainstormed the new short story (which was really successful and resulted in a full plot outline), then read some more of Bird by Bird.

 

Friday:

I wrote a review of the excellent audiobook I finished listening to today.

 

Saturday:

I added the latest submission opportunities from Writing Magazine to my rolling spreadsheet.

I also went through the latest feedback on Artisan and created a grid of contradictions.

 

Sunday:

I spent three hours completing fifteen submissions to publication opportunities and competition.

I also finally got round to watching the first part of the Writing the Other webinar on whether writers should write characters who are different to them, which was very interesting. I made some notes afterwards on the most important points.

 

Posted on 01 July 2018 21:45

Summary:

Getting back into the swing of things slowly, and very much enjoying not having any Artisan editing to do...

 

Monday:

Planned as my first full writing day post-Winchester, so I had a long list of things to work on. I met Ann and Baby R at the Turk’s Head in Wapping, and started by catching up on reviews.

Then I went back to the WIP Big Bang story, which hasn’t been getting much attention lately, and is the only thing on my list at the moment with a deadline - and that deadline is really looming! I added nearly 1500 words, which was very pleasing, though it’s still 500 words too short overall.

Deciding a week was enough space, I went through my notebook from Winchester and compiled all the feedback on my submission documents, while it was still relatively fresh in my mind.

 

Wednesday:

I collated some more Artisan feedback and scanned the opening chapter with all the annotations from one of the Winchester agents.

I also wrote a review of our next Family Book Club book.

 

Saturday:

I wrote a review of my latest audiobook and compiled my review stats for the first half of 2018.

I also completed my GYWO habit pledge for the year, as this was my 120th writing day of 2018! So, now I have to see if I can double it to hit the next pledge level of 240 days by the end of the year.

 

Posted on 24 June 2018 20:12

Summary:

Stripped back and streamlined. I mostly had a break from writing this week, but still managed a few bits and pieces along the way.

 

Monday:

I wrote a blog post about my experience at Winchester Writers’ Festival.

 

Tuesday:

I wrote a review of Ocean’s Eight.

 

Wednesday:

I wrote a review of Rough Music by Patrick Gale.

 

Friday:

I wrote a review of The Potion Room and Cutter and Squidge.

 

Sunday:

I put up a post on GYWO for people to share their writing successes.

 

Posted on 18 June 2018 13:14

Winchester Writers’ Festival is an amazing opportunity.

Hundreds of writers of all types to meet and talk to. Workshops, talks, panels and presentations on all aspects of the craft and the industry. And, most importantly, submitting your work to agents and getting face-to-face feedback.

I did not get an agent at Winchester, but then I wasn’t expecting to. One agent told me he gets 2000 submissions a year and signs maybe four new authors.

What Winchester did for me was to teach me important things about myself and what I want from my writing, which made it an extremely valuable experience.

I saw four agents over two days, and they all gave me detailed and constructive feedback, for which I’m very grateful. But it was also wildly contradictory, which made the whole thing quite baffling.

Still, the opening to my first workshop of the weekend was:

There are no absolutes in publishing.

And most of publishing is wholly subjective.

I learned from sending my first draft out to about fifteen readers that people respond very differently to fiction. If they all highlight the same issue, then you’ve got a problem you need to fix. But if they violently disagree on whether or not particular things work, you’ve got something that at least some people are going to love.

The same thing, of course, applies to agent feedback. Contradictory advice on what ‘needs’ changing or improving suggests that there are some agents out there that will love my novel just as it is, and it’s simply a case of finding the right one.

My last workshop of the weekend reinforced that principle, by repeating the age-old advice - the only way to get published is to persevere. Keep sending your work out until you find that one person who’s going to believe in your novel as much as you do.

But it’s not that simple. Sure, there was one writer at that workshop who said she’d sent her novel out to 300+ agents over the course of five years, and eventually landed a two-book deal from a publisher a couple of weeks ago. I’m amazingly impressed with her staying power, and I’m delighted for her that it eventually paid off. But there was a another writer I met, who got an agent at Winchester last year, but whose book still hadn’t sold to a publisher a year on, so she was back with a different book to try and find a different agent.

Finding an agent is only the first (very difficult) step in a long and complicated process that involves a huge amount of work, revision, patience, self-marketing and conviction. And, even with a publishing deal, there are certainly no guarantees of success.

For those who are prepared to go through that, and put the work in - I salute you and wish you all the luck in the world.

But I have decided that the traditional publishing route is not for me. At least not right now.

I don’t know yet what I’m going to do with my novel. In a few months’ time, I may come back to it, do another pass, maybe send it out to some small independent presses, or bite the bullet and self-publish, just to get it out there in the world. Time will tell.

In the meantime, I’m going to focus on my short fiction, which I love writing, and which I know I can sell. The defining moment of my weekend at Winchester came during Friday’s dinner, when I got an email from a print magazine, saying they want to publish my favourite short story I’ve written in the last couple of years - for more than twice what I’ve been paid for my short fiction before. It made me so happy, and it showed me where my passion and my writing future lies - at least for now. I’m not out to be famous or make lots of money from my writing. I just want to enjoy the process and see my work in print every now and then. And that’s okay.

So, thank you to the Winchester Writers’ Festival for helping me figure out what I want.

 

Posted on 17 June 2018 15:32

Summary:

Anxious build-up to Winchester, followed by a fairly draining experience of the festival itself, and a re-evaluation of my writing priorities.

 

Monday:

I submitted seven short stories, pieces of flash fiction and poems for potential publication or to competitions. Very much not my favourite activity, but it’s the only way to get anywhere!

I also went through the new issue of Mslexia magazine and added more submission opportunities to my rolling spreadsheet, ready for when the ones mentioned above get rejected!

 

Wednesday:

I caught up on all my reviews from the last week.

 

Thursday:

Off to Winchester! Though all I did today was arrive, find my room, relax for a few hours and go to bed.

 

Friday:

First full day at Winchester. Interesting and useful workshop on the fantasy/sci-fi market, and two agent meetings, which provided mixed and contradictory feedback. I met some lovely people over dinner, though and also got an email to say that a print magazine wants to publish one of my short stories.

 

Saturday:

Great workshop on cultural appropriation, not so great workshop on creating evil characters, useful tips on avoiding the slush pile, and an interesting talk about book blogging. Plus two more agent meetings, with more mixed and contradictory feedback.

I was due to stay over and do another full-day workshop on Sunday, but I decided to head home, as the whole thing was exhausting.

 

Sunday:

I did some submission tracking, and started to process my Winchester experience. There'll be a proper blog post about this soon...

 

Posted on 11 June 2018 14:34

Summary:

 

It feels as though things are moving forwards. Only a few days until Winchester Writers' Festival, and Artisan is ready to go!

 

Monday:

 

I finished a very interesting book and wrote a review of it.

 

I also went through Writing Magazine and added new submission opportunities to my rolling spreadsheet, and then identified new places to send some of my unassigned stories.

 

Tuesday:

 

After reading an article in Writing Magazine about not giving up on rejected work, I unearthed another couple of old pieces and identified places to submit them.

 

Wednesday:

 

More Artisan editing today - it seems like it will never end!

 

Thursday:

 

And the Artisan editing is done! Wow - now I just have to wait for the agent feedback at Winchester and then decisions will have to be made…

 

Friday:

 

After wrestling with the pitch for Artisan all week, I came up with some half-decent wording in the shower this morning:

 

“In a world where people’s lives are dictated by magic, Abelard Abernathy accidentally gains magical powers and discovers a centuries-old conspiracy at the heart of society. But is he prepared to give up everything he’s always wanted, to change the world for the better?”

 

Saturday:

 

I met George Mann at a reading retreat and talked to him about his road to publication, strategies for keeping focused, and training the subconscious crew.

 

Posted on 03 June 2018 19:51

Summary:

Edits, edits and more edits...

 

Monday:

Ann was free, so we arranged to meet up for a writing session. I mostly focused on transferring my hard copy Artisan edits onto the electronic copy. In between times, I checked the relative chapter lengths and moved some things around to make it more even.

I also wrote a review and identified places to submit two of my stories that were rejected last week and need to be sent out again.

I checked my upcoming free days/evenings for writing to ensure I would have enough time to finish my two main projects by their deadlines and it all looked good.

 

Wednesday:

I met Hannah after work and carried on with Artisan editing. I got halfway, which I figured wasn’t bad in two sessions, still with over two weeks to go until Winchester.

I also went through Dave’s comments on the WIP Big Bang story and worked on a new scene to solve the word count problem.

And that was it for this week. I’ve been really busy lately, and wanted some downtime. I also wanted to make the most of the weather and spend some quality time with Dave in the sunshine.

 

Posted on 28 May 2018 11:06

Summary:

 

People and places were all helpful this week in getting me where I needed to go with my writing.

 

Monday:

 

I met up with Ann and new Baby R at The Turk’s Head in Wapping, and settled down for a writing session.

 

I decided to alternate copy-editing chapters of Artisan with various other projects.

 

Those were catching up on reviews and writing the last scene of the WIP Big Bang story.

 

Wednesday:

 

I met up with Hannah after work and managed to edit another three chapters of Artisan. Only twenty more to go!

 

Friday:

 

Off to Wentworth for a NAWG writing weekend, and also off to a good start, with two more chapters of Artisan edited before dinner.

 

Saturday:

 

I spent most of the day in the gorgeous library at Wentworth, working on editing Artisan, and managed twelve chapters. I motivated myself by allowing myself a Galaxy Trucker mission every two chapters, which worked really well.

 

Sunday:

 

I made good use of my remaining time at Wentworth, editing the last six chapters of Artisan. Now, all I have to do is transfer the hard copy edits onto the electronic version…

 

Posted on 21 May 2018 10:06

Summary:

 

Progress made on both projects that have looming deadlines, which is good. But not a lot of time spent on writing this week, and I’m missing having long sessions with multiple projects on the go.

 

Monday:

 

 

Today, I took myself to Notting Hill and enjoyed a comfy chair and giant teapots in the Candella Tea Room.

 

I caught up on my reviews, then ploughed on with the WIP Big Bang story.

 

Tuesday:

 

I sent in my snippets for the WIP Big Bang art claims, and added some extra words to the end of the scene I wrote yesterday.

 

Friday:

 

I spent most of the train journey up to Chester locating and correcting the errors my wonderful parents had found in Artisan. It was mostly typos and missing words, but my dad caught one major inconsistency where two characters had the same conversation twice, twenty-five pages apart!

 

Sunday:

 

I copy-edited Chapter Four of Artisan on the train home from Chester, using my tried and true method of reading it backwards, sentence by sentence.

 

Posted on 14 May 2018 08:48

Summary:

Good use of available time slots for getting on with stuff. I like having the option to just find a cafe and get to work, now that I’ve trained myself to be able to focus in that kind of environment.

 

Monday:

A new week, and some new resolve, as deadlines are looming. I went into town early, to give me an hour or so before meeting Geena, to ensure I got some writing stuff done.

I started with a review of the film we went to see on Saturday, then wrote the fifth and final short piece to complete my Bingo/Yahtzee challenge.

I also wrote a blog post about Winchester anxiety, and the benefits of being realistic about my writing future.

 

Tuesday:

I posted my combined challenge stories, which involved entries on Fic Promptly, Ficlet Zone, Sentinel Bingo, and GYWO Yahtzee. So very complicated - but lots of fun!

In the evening, I went to a London Writers’ Cafe event, which provided really useful feedback on my Artisan cover letter from two agents.

 

Wednesday:

Work trip to Leeds, so I spent an hour on the train honing my cover letters for my Winchester submissions, based on last night’s feedback, then went back to wrestling with the end of the novel.

 

Thursday:

I put together all the documents for my Winchester submissions and printed them out, ready to post at the weekend. I also sent a pdf of the whole Artusan manuscript to my parents, who are very kindly doing a quick read-through to check it all still makes sense after my recent revisions.

 

Saturday:

Today’s writing venue was Picturehouse Central, making use of a gap in my day between a meditation class and a trip to the theatre.

I took a break from Artisan and did a stint on the WIP Big Bang instead, since snippets for that are due next week.

 

Posted on 07 May 2018 10:37

There’s a very definite line in my mental calendar at the moment, that runs through 15-16 June. That is when I’m going to Winchester Writers’ Festival and getting feedback on my first novel from agents.

 

In terms of activities that need to be completed before that date, I’m very much on track. The first three chapters are polished and ready for submission, as is the synopsis. I have a draft of a covering letter, which I’ll be getting feedback on at a London Writers’ Cafe event tomorrow night. So, by the weekend, my submissions will be printed and ready to go to the post office, in plenty of time for the receipt deadline of 24 May.

 

I’m also on track to complete the major revisions to the end of the novel by Sunday. Then the whole thing is going to my wonderful parents for a continuity pass and feedback on glaring problems, while I start copy-editing from chapter four. I should then have plenty of time on retreat during the last weekend in May to fix any major issues and finish off the editing before arriving in Winchester on 14 June.

 

But then I have absolutely no idea what will happen.

 

Though, I suppose it will likely be one of three things.

 

I’m getting feedback from four different agents at the festival, based on my cover letter, synopsis, and varying amounts of the actual manuscript.

 

Option One - they all say it’s no good and I shouldn’t pursue it. And, in that case, I will consign it to a drawer as having achieved its purpose of showing me I can write a novel, I will take what I’ve learned and move on.

 

Option Two - at least one of them suggests it’s worth pursuing and gives me pointers on how to improve it. In that case, I will gladly take the feedback and use it to direct further revision, after which I will research other agents to submit to, and keep trying.

 

Option Three - one of them loves it, reads the rest and offers to represent me. And, in that case, I will panic, lose my mind, and probably never write another word in my life.

 

Because, in a lot of ways, I’m actually hoping for Option One. That’s the easiest way out of the situation I find myself in. I really like my novel, and I’m really proud of myself for the work I’ve put into it and what I’ve produced. But it’s been hard, and not always fun, and I’m not sure I’m prepared to put in the effort it will need to get it to a point where it will sell. And that’s not even taking into account all the complexities of contracts, marketing, self-promotion, sales figures, and of course expectations for another book.

 

Clearly, part of me wants that - otherwise, I wouldn’t be submitting to agents at Winchester. But the realities of being an author are also very scary, and part of me also wonders if it’s really all it’s cracked up to be.

 

I love writing, and I know I’ll keep doing it, regardless of what happens at Winchester. But, if I’m honest, writing short stories for competitions, anthologies and magazines is probably where I’m most comfortable. I am working on a second novel, which I love and think is probably better than my first, and I will continue with that regardless of my Winchester fate. But, at least I know, going in, that the ‘worst case scenario’ actually leaves me in a place where I’m very happy.

 

So, I guess I will just have to see what happens, and be grateful that I’m at stage where, whatever the outcome, I can view it as positive.

 

XXXXX

 

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Posted on 06 May 2018 14:50

Summary:

Perhaps as expected, my writing output during the rest of the holiday gradually reduced, but I did still manage to get some things done here and there.

 

Monday:

I wrote another short piece for my Yahtzee/Bingo challenge.

 

Wednesday:

I wrote a review of Avengers: Infinity War.

 

Saturday:

My plans to write most days of the holiday fell rather by the wayside, but I took advantage of a planned lunch and afternoon activity in the city to prompt me to get up early and head in for a writing session beforehand.

I started with a couple of reviews.

Then I went back to Artisan and worked on the closing chapters for a while.

 

Sunday:

I added the latest round of submission opportunities from Writing Magazine to my spreadsheet.

I prepped all the documents for my submissions to agents at the Winchester Festival, ready to print and send next week.

 

Posted on 29 April 2018 09:46

Summary:

 

It’s never the case that I have to be in the right frame of mind to get some writing done. It’s all about making use of the available opportunities.

 

Saturday:

 

First full day of the group holiday, and I was up early. So, I took advantage of having the downstairs to myself, and did my first writing of the week.

 

I did a review of the last book I read.

 

Then I attempted to launch back into the revisions for Artisan - with some trepidation because the ending needs to be completely rewritten and it’s a daunting task with a rapidly looming deadline. I managed to re-write a couple of scenes, leaving just the last four chapters to deal with.

 

Sunday:

 

Another morning writing session gave me the opportunity to write the third short pieces for my Yahtzee/Bingo challenge, which was fun.