Monday, 20 June 2011

My Writing Life at the Moment

I'm sure there is a conception that authors put their heads down every day and beaver away, or to use a comparable Aussie-ism, wombat away. The reality is probably far removed. Yes, I try to set a daily quota and mentally set myself a target of books I want to achieve each year which I usually achieve BUT ... [you knew it was coming, didn't you?]

LIFE intervenes. Trouble for me lately is that the whole world is breathing down my neck to interrupt my progress and make my work harder. And make no mistake, a first draft is HARD WORK. For me, it's the part of the writing process I dislike the most and the one I postpone as long as possible. But, that said, I do need time prior because I'm a plotter. I need to get to know my story people in my head and on paper, and my scenes mostly sorted, and any initial research done.

"HOWEVER"...she said, growling deeply, the words are still agony to produce. Perhaps because of all the said above unscheduled intrusions they are coming more slowly. Perhaps because it's an historical novel and I need to keep track and be aware of the historical truths and elements to include. Perhaps it's because I'm a slow writer anyway. I don't know. But this novel, an Australian historical, is trickling from my pen. Doesn't help that it's twice the length of one of my modern romances.

Talk about unexpected distractions. We've had very distant cousins call in on their travels up through "The Centre" for the winter. People staying in the house, and you know what that means. Scramble around to actually clean the place. I mean, housework. Who does it? Who needs it? As soon as you do it, it needs doing again. At least I knew the house guests were expected and wasn't caught out with as much dust and clutter as usual. At least I can shut my office door.

Then a favourite elderly aunt telephoned so I set aside at least an hour, and there's the odd social lunches. Well, one has to eat so I guess that's no hardship and someone else is preparing the food. Bonus. But this all takes time out of your life. And it always seems to come at once. I have three writing days this week then more visitors. Then it's the weekend and we head off to visit family, then we fly off to visit more family in Queensland for two weeks. Why do they live so far away?

I don't regret any of this. My whinge and point is - we need to keep our mind focused on the big picture, work through it all. Keep that quota of pages coming each day, or most days - even if it's the crappy first draft. And believe that what we're producing is even remotely worthwhile. And that takes discipline. Authors usually work at home, some at a table in a street cafe, some on their laptop in a lounge chair. Personally, I can't write with music and need utter silence so I'm happy to be a hermit in my office for my hours each day. However we write, the task is to get those words on paper. Through LIFE which is unavoidable and going on all around us.

The biggest challenge is when you get to the stage, no matter how much you love writing or what life throws at you, that you have to force yourself to the task, sit your butt down on a chair, and simply write regardless. Books don't write themselves. They're WORK. It takes dogged determination but it has to be done or we simply don't achieve. And that's the bottom line. The desire to achieve and finish that project. And when it's done and you type The End, all the difficulty and angst is worthwhile.

Because then you have words on paper. But, of course, that first draft is only the beginning... <sneaky smile> Even the most experienced of authors know they need rewrites. But that's a part of the process that I love so it's never a chore and it means you have that dreaded first draft behind you.

Okay, rant finished for the day. Just needed to vent and put it out there that the writing life is not all glamour and book sales. <cough, cough> So I guess now I've finished this blog and can delay no further, I have no excuse but to get back to that dreaded draft. <sigh> Chocolate, someone, please!

Thursday, 16 June 2011

4* Book Review for LOVING LUCY

I have received a great and comprehensive 4* book review for my latest modern romance LOVING LUCY by Mandy the bookworm on her blog. Really chuffed. You can read it here.

Monday, 6 June 2011

My new Kindle

Bless it, I received my yummy new Kindle for my birthday recently. I didn't actually send out hints but I do seem to recall blathering on about it for months so my idle ramblings didn't go whizzing straight between the listener's ears after all. Good to know.

Since epublishing all my backlist [oh, come on, a little shameless plug doesn't do any harm - do check them out on Kindle and Smashwords], the eworld is of much more interest. The explosion of reading material in this format seems to have taken off just in the last couple of years. Where once it was perhaps seen as the avenue of the author desperate to be published, and some may still view it in that light, it is now the format that writers and novelists like myself with already published novels are taking advantage of to transform their stories into a new and exciting medium so that readers and fans who perhaps hadn't heard of that author or missed getting hold of a title, for example, if out of print, can now find it available.

Before deciding that a Kindle was my ereader of choice, I scoured the electronics departments of many stores. As well as fiddling with some myself and receiving half hearted help from shop assistants, it was simply the huge praise and positive comments for the Kindle that finally sold me on it.

It was super simple to set up.  I just plugged it into the computer to start charging it up - which probably took about two hours - I then started fiddling with the buttons, reading the instructions on screen if I got stuck and, she said, hanging her head in embarrassment, practised downloading books. OMG. Too easy. Put in your account details and then it's 1-click and off. Couldn't believe how fast those historical novels zapped onto the screen. Exciting stuff. Next thing I know, a heap of emails told me I had bought all these books and the credit card started smoking.

Since those first heady days, my husband saw me reading a paperback and said, "Why aren't you reading your Kindle?" My explanation was that I was desperately trying to control my urge to read all my new ebooks first and being strong-willed in reducing my paperback pile. So my strategy now is one paperback, one ebook. Fair enough?

I do feel though that I will probably not give up paperbacks. Reading heavy historicals and trade paperbacks in bed and waking next morning with sore thumbs from trying to hold it up is yet another Kindle plus. But <sigh> not all novels are yet available as ebooks so those unavailable will still be bought in hard copy. I guess I'll just have to read those snuggled up in my favourite chair with a cuppa.

Love to hear of others' experiences with their ereaders. Which ones you have, why you chose it. How has life changed since the big day, etc. I can only say, for myself, it's all good.