Tuesday, 21 June 2011

The Temptations of Book Heaven

If the writing life is a landscape, then working on my novel, A Deadly Yearning (!) is the best place to be.
It's a sandy cove with an azure sea and smooth white sand surrounded by Pahootakawa trees.
I don't think I've spelled that right but never mind!
I stetch out on the balcony of my rough-hewn wooden beach hut and indulge the imagination.  Bliss.
But then I have to visit the brazen, lurid, buzzing city of writing to earn some money.
I have to fund my novelling.
And writing is how I want to pay the bills, so I'll take whatever work is there.
So, this city - let's call it 'New Gotham' - is where I have to go.
It's full of sleazy backstreets where traders tempt you in with their ready smiles.
Some of them just want to slice the writing out of your for free.
'Get your name out there,' they say, 'give me your measly article for free.'
They make me feel like I'm lucky to find them.
They don't want to pay me but they promise that one day I'll be able to charge a few
pennies for an eBook or two.
Then there's the secret citadel of Public Domain.
I found it only two days ago and I can't believe how tacky and glorious and beautiful it is.
It's like an antique shop where everything is free!!  Free.  Really free.
The temptation sets my heart bouncing.
I download several wonderful, obscure and glittering old things.
I have plans to renovate them and sell them on.
It seems so right and so wrong at the same time.
But it isn't.  It really isn't.
Once, years ago when I was struggling on my own with a small baby to feed, I used to buy old white shirts.
I took them home and dyed them.  Then I sold them on a market stall for a whole lot more than I ever paid for
them.  Was that wrong?  No.
So public domain - it's okay to give in.  Because in the end, it's the way you rewrite them.
It's the touch of a different colour, a new decorative approach.
It's like shabby chic for writers.  I give myself over to temptation and I'm planning an eBook
or two or three for my websites.  And I can handle the guilt.  I can.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

My new book 'The Wolf in Your Bed' is coming out soon.
I was really inspired by this book 'Why Does He Do That?' by Lundy Bancroft. There is so much up-to-date research on emotionally abusive men - it's a brilliant book for anyone who is interested in this subject.

Oh, and when it comes to dark fairy tales, you can't do better than Angela Carter.  Her 'Bloody Chamber' is a classic. 

Everything is a Work-in-Progress!

If you want to make a living as a writer you've got two choices.  Either you run with the pack.  Or you go off into the woods on your own to find a different way of doing things.  It seems to me that the easiest thing is to go along with everyone else for a while.
Let me explain.  When you run with the pack you do an apprenticeship.  You learn about writing, the art and the craft.  You write so much rubbish it makes you cry. 
You do courses, find friends to write with and you read as many books on writing as you can find.
You learn to take rejection.  You learn how to take heaps of rejection and ridicule about your dreams to become a writer.  You work in a bar or an office or a school.  You never, never give up.
But it's all too easy to get stuck with the pack.  There's safety in numbers.  You can spend all your time dreaming and scheming and talking and writing but somehow, nothing ever comes of it. 
That's when you come to the crossroads.  Maybe you let the pack go on and you fall asleep on the sweet, cool grass.  Perhaps, you wonder, perhaps you were a fool to ever think you could make a living as a writer...

And then, one day, you wake up - and you know who you are as a writer.
That's when you can choose to go off into the dark woods.  The unknown.  If you're really, really lucky - you'll have a writing friend, another writer who is off on her own too.  She can see directly into the heart of your writing and make it all seem worthwhile. If you haven't got one, find one now.  Without Jane, my writing buddy, guide and mentor, I'd be packing fish in a factory.  Or something else I'd be useles at.
So, here in the writing woods you make a den. You've got a notebook and a pen and some supplies.  This is it.  There's no turning back now. You listen to the birds for a while.  The smell of leaves.  The feel of the earth under your feet. 
This blog is about my time in the woods.  I've just got here and I'm setting out my works-in-progress.  That's when I realise that the first thing I need to do is organise.  Organise.  Organise!!!
So today I'm making a list of all the works in progress..
1. My self help book The Wolf in Your Bed needs proofreading before it comes out.
2. An ebook - The Wolf in Your Bed Workbook needs to be written
3. The crime novel, A Deadly Yearning needs some loving attention.
4. Oh, and I've got to write loads of stuff for the websites I've set up about loads of things that interest me...
This is who I am as a writer.  Diverse.  I like variety.  I'll write about anything that fascinates me or moves me.  Do you?
Or are you still running with the pack and writing what you think you ought to write instead of what you love to write?
Okay, time to stop babbling on and get back to work.