Ten things I have learnt writing a novel

I’m giving my manuscript a final proofread before submitting it to a potential publisher later this month. It’s been years in the making, this novel. It has sat, untouched, for months at a time. Life has gotten in the way, including setting up my own editing business, raising my daughter, becoming single, rebuilding a life,…

I’ve put this post off for weeks: A new way of looking at procrastination

I may be mediocre at many things, but one thing I am brilliant at is procrastination. I seem to make a lot of well-intentioned plans and set myself what I think are realistic writing goals, and I still find myself wandering round the house picking up and putting down ornaments when I should be working on my…

Wrestling the Octopus: how to avoid writing a novel

At a certain point, a novel-in-progress starts to get a tad unwieldy. When you begin, you have a blank screen and the boundless enthusiasm of a puppy. After a few months you have a mountain of scrap paper scrawled with half-finished paragraphs and synopsis drafts, screeds of ideas jotted down and pinned all over the walls in your office,…

Endings

Today I'd like to say a brief word about endings. We hear a lot about beginnings, and how difficult/important they are. "A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step." (Lao Tzu) "The beginning is the most important part of the work." (Plato) "Every moment is a fresh beginning." (T.S. Eliot) "For fucksake…

Music to Write By

If I'm lucky, every week I spend a number of happy hours by myself, writing. Music is often my only companion. If I'm really concentrating - trying to craft a particularly tricky sentence, or juggling a complicated plot sequence, I turn it off, but most of the time it is the perfect accompaniment. I'm like Pavlov's dogs: the minute…

The Hurty Bottom and other stories

The most gorgeous 5-yr-old in the universe (aka my daughter, Miss B.) was awarded a certificate at her school assembly this morning. The certificate read: "For writing some awesome stories so far this year. You are trying so hard with your writing!" Miss B. is turning into quite a storyteller. Every morning after mat time the…