It’s another Monday, it’s the last day of August, and it’s a bank holiday. I have no idea where time is going at the moment but I can’t quite believe it’s September tomorrow. I’ve been a full-time author for nearly three months now. I thought I’d have more time on my hands. It feels like I have less!
I’ve spent the last couple of weeks deep in my editing cave, working on the second book in my Hedgehog Hollow series, and will have one more week to achieve my deadline. Then I’ll have a couple of days’ break before starting on the third book in the series.
My #MondayMotivation choice for the ‘What’s on my wall?’ feature this week is a picture I bought in the same Derby gift shop where I purchased the ‘Be Brave’ bear I wrote about in Part 2 of this series. You can find the post here.
As soon as I saw it, this image spoke to me as an author because each time I start a new book or even a new chapter or a scene on a work-in-progress, I’m asking myself this question:
WHERE SHALL WE GO?
I don’t plan my stories. I’m what’s known as a ‘pantser’ meaning I fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants, making it up as I go along. I know my characters really well, I know what the premise of the story is and how it’s going to end … but I don’t know how the journey is going to unfold. And I find that really exciting.
This woman with her dog and her suitcase, standing in the woodland with many paths ahead of her made me think of the choices and decisions I make every time I put fingers to keyboard. Where will my story go? What adventures will my characters go on?
It hangs on the wall to the left of me and every so often, I turn around, look at it and smile. Where shall we go? My characters will give me the answer.
Wishing you all the best for the final day in August and a brilliant start to September.
Last Monday, I started a weekly #MondayMotivation blog post about what inspires me in my office and here’s the second post in the series.
In the UK, it’s evening now but the late posting is not because I’d forgotten (although with my sieve for a brain, that was very likely). I’ve actually been on a book deadline so needed to prioritise getting the manuscript for my second book in the Hedgehog Hollow series to my editor. Which I’ve now done. Eek! The anxious wait for the verdict starts now.
So, onto my wall and today’s choices is…
I picked up the picture in a gorgeous independent gift shop in Derby in November 2017. I’d love to give the shop a plug but remember that thing I said just now about having a sieve for a brain????
I’m part of a writing collective of ten authors called The Write Romantics who were all members of the New Writers’ Scheme (NWS) run by the Romantic Novelists’ Association (RNA) when we met virtually. Seven years later and we’re all either independently published, traditionally published or hybrid with well over 100 books between us. We’re spread around the country so meeting up is a challenge but, a few years ago, half of us managed to coordinate diaries for a weekend away. None of us were familiar with Derby but it seemed like a pretty central point to meet.
Being a huge fan of bears, the image immediately drew me in but the words were what made me buy the picture. BE BRAVE. Because, as authors, there are so many points in our writing journey when bravery is needed:
When we first ask someone – a friend or family member – to read our manuscript (MS) and prepare to receive their honest verdict … which may not be the positive response we’d have hoped for
When we submit our MS to a publisher or agent … which may result in rejection
When it’s publication day … and our book may fail to make an impact on the charts
When a negative review comes in … and we have to keep telling ourselves it’s only one person’s opinion/it’s not personal when it really feels like the world hates our work and it’s very personal
When we speak at an event … and hope someone turns up!
When we finish our next book … and worry it may not be as well received as the one before
And a whole lot more
At the time of our Derby meet-up, I was particularly trying to be brave about writing. I’d been indie for about a year after my original publisher ceased trading and it wasn’t going particularly well. Battling self doubt about my ability to make it as an author thanks to poor sales and weak chart positions, the bear spoke to me. Loudly. Yet gently.
The picture hangs above my desk and I look at it several times a day and draw strength from it. Be brave. Keep being brave. And sometimes that bravery will pay off and great things can happen. They did for me.