My Writing Journey

Writing PG-Rated Scenes (As in your parents might be shocked!)

Have you done this, yet?

Today, as I got into the flow of my words, I realised that I might have to write something a little risquè.

A little man-on-man action.

Not that I have a whole lot of experience in that!

However, it is critical to my story.

Then I remembered that my parents have both read Marriage Unarranged, and there was a tiny scene in there, which Pops questioned, before glossing over…

How on earth will he react to this?

I am wondering if I need to have a little sticker on the front of the book, “Rated PG – Parents might need Guidance!”

Okay, so it isn’t written graphically. I’m no erotica writer, but there is still some need for the words arousal and hardness, and phrases like lips trailing over bodies

See what I mean?

Pops, you can’t read it! 🙈 I am already imagining Mum’s comments, though she is aware of the topics that are going to be covered in book two.

But… has it piqued your interest, yet?

My Writing Journey

Dreams Do Come True – Exciting News!

I’ve been at this writing game for a while now.

And, somewhere in my mind, it’s always been a dream for me to write a book, and see it, out there; a real book with my name on the cover.

I achieved that, all by myself, in February of 2020, when I independently published Marriage Unarranged.

But, deep down, I have always yearned for an opportunity to be traditionally published.

Little did I know, that a couple of years later, I would get approached by someone… a publisher, like, a real one, who wanted to sign me.

And that is exactly what has happened!

You are reading, officially, about me signing my first ever THREE BOOK DEAL with Spellbound Books!

Oh, my, what a rush!

I am so, so excited at the prospect of working with this woman-centric publishing house, who have my stories at the heart of their interest.

Marriage Unarranged will officially be re-released by them, in June of this year, and books two and three will follow over the next two years!

There is even a brand, spanking new series name.

The Rishtay Series.

Rishtay means relationships, and they are at the heart of every story I write.

What a blast!

Of course, I had to get my new notebook for this brand spanking, new adventure! It’s already sectioned off, and jotted in, with all manner of dates, etc. I am nervously excited, now…

So, you’ll have to follow, and stay tuned for all the latest updates!

I am well on the way with book two, too, so this will give me the kick to get the first draft finished, too!

Please, won’t you join me in a little celebration?

After all, I wouldn’t be where I am, without you all behind me!

And for that, I thank you!

Marriage Unarranged, My Writing Journey

Words – They Don’t Always Come Easy (+ A Birthday Sale!

Well, it’s been a little while since I posted on here, and I apologise for that, to start off with.

Life, over the last eighteen months has been kinda surreal, for us all, and I know it has taken its toll on me, in so many ways.

I’ve been battling through the understanding of remote teaching and learning in school, what with the closures.

I’ve become a master at organising mass covid testing in the house, what with two teens and me needing twice-weekly tests.

I got promoted, which, though is a wonderful boost to the ego, comes with its own fair share of ‘AAAARGH! 😱’ moments. So now, on top of being the class teacher, I am responsible for the whoe EYFS unit, meaning two nursery classes, two reception classes, three other teachers, 8 Teaching Assistants, and four lunchtime supervisors. And we are in the midst of change within the department, due to a new Government Framework change Oh, and the Ofsted threat looms heavily, this year, because we are due!

And my son had his GCSEs this summer, which was a stress in itself.

Then we moved house. You know the score.

What’s this got to do with words?

So much.

Because since I have had all the above to deal with, it has been nigh on impossible to have the energy and time to write what I want to be writing. And, to be honest, the last few months, I didn’t want to.

I seemed to have fallen out of love with my story.

And with reading.

And that was a biggie. Here is me, usually reading 5-10 books a month, barely finishing them because I couldn’t even get into these wonderful fictional worlds.

However, reading was the thing I needed to get my head round. Reading books gives me the inspiration I need, to get back to writing. And the last month has seen me read just shy of twenty books!

One was a book with some content similar to the theme I am writing about, and as I read it, I began to ruminate. Through my mind, thoughts ran, along the lines of “I think I can do better than this. No, I KNOW I can do better than this.”

And I did open my manuscript.

I didn’t write much, but I tweaked, and I also found a whole new sub plot to add to the story.

Then I reread the beginnings of another story I had begun to write in the first lockdown. And a skeleton plan of a third.

And I looked at the cover for this one I am writing now, to spur me on.

Words want to come out now. That’s a feeling I haven’t had for a long while.

Now, it’s just finding that balance, betweem, the new commute (we moved a little further away from my work, and the kids school), work itself, and the kids after school commitments.

I have no excuses. I am even blessed to have a whole writing room now, in the new house, complete with reading nook! Here’s some photos of my special space.

Wish me luck. I hope many more words flow in here!

And on to the sale…

As it’s my birthday week, Marriage Unarranged is discounted for the next five days on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk!

Birthday week Sale!

#MarriageUnarranged is 99p/c for the next five days!

Monday 30th August, until Friday 3rd September.

If you fancy a little spice in the end of your summer reading, because, let’s be honest,it’s getting a tad cold out there, be sure to download it, and I’ll consider it a birthday wish from you, to me, too!

getbook.at/MarriageUnarranged

‘Chickpea Curry’ Lit — Chick Lit with an Indian twist!

It all started/ended with that box…

Aashi’s life was all set.

Or so she thought.

Like in the Bollywood films, Ravi would woo her, charm her family and they’d get married and live happily ever after.

But then Aashi found the empty condom box…

Putting her ex-fiancé and her innocence behind her, Aashi embarks upon an enlightening journey, to another country, where vibrant memories are created, and unforgettable friendships forged.

Old images erased, new beginnings to explore.

And how can she forget the handsome stranger she meets?

A stranger who’s hiding something…

Marriage Unarranged, My Writing Journey, Uncategorized

Encouragement Is A Writer’s Best Friend (+ a Birthday #BookSale)

Some writers are lucky, you know.

They get an idea, and the words just seem to flow.

And when one is complete, the next idea arrives, waiting to be transferred from mind to screen/paper.

But not all of us are that blessed.

Well, I say that, but I have the ideas. They aren’t always fully formed, but they are there, ready to come to life on my MacBook.

For me, time is the hugest constraint. Life as a teacher, as well as a wife and mother, coupled in with Covid-19, the lockdown, and to top it off, a HUGE amount of home improvements, means that sometimes I wonder whether it’s worth it…

Then you get messages like this.

And you find that there are readers out there who have actually taken time and effort to write or post about your book. This post by Jazz of @her_reading_nook on Instagram blew me away, and there was another post filled with more images, too!

View this post on Instagram

It’s all in the details [of Marriage Unarranged] 📖♥️🌺 __ Trendy ethnic jewelry from: @saggiparanda 💎🤩 __ 📖Review continued from previous post: *𝚀𝚄𝙾𝚃𝙴 + 𝚂𝚈𝙽𝙾𝙿𝚂𝙸𝚂* Aashi, the protagonist catches her fiance cheating on her so the big fat Punjabi wedding is cancelled but the India trip originally for wedding shopping becomes an adventure with her best friend, Kiran + brothers, Sunny & Bali: “Sunny was painfully aware of how hard it was for Aashi to forget the original reason for the trip. Dotted around the various shops were reminders of bridal accessories they should have been buying. The ℂℍ𝕌ℝ𝔸, 𝔹ℝ𝕀𝔻𝔸𝕃 𝔹𝔸ℕ𝔾𝕃𝔼𝕊 their mamaji (uncle) would have been slipping on her wrists. 𝕂𝔸𝕃𝕀ℝ𝔼𝕐, 𝔻𝔸ℕ𝔾𝕃𝕀ℕ𝔾 𝕆ℝℕ𝔸𝕄𝔼ℕ𝕋𝕊 he & Bali would have added to her wrists, which as they dropped off, she would give to her single cousins & friends, with the blessing that they would get married soon too” -Marriage Unarranged📖 Swipe: #IndianFashionHistory #PunjabiFashionHistory On the flight to New Delhi, Aashi falls asleep on a stranger, Arjun! Is Arjun about to be her rebound or soulmate? So bollywood. So brown girl! 🙋🏽‍♀️ 𝚃𝙷𝙾𝚄𝙶𝙷𝚃𝚂: Love the brother+ sister relationship portrayed between Aashi & Sunny (eldest bro) + Bali (younger one). Just in time for #happyRakhi / #Rakhri which means “to protect”, a traditional Indian holiday celebrating brother +sister bond where the sister ties a thread on the brother’s wrist signifying the brother’s promise of being there for his sister through thick & thin 🌺 as a token of love, the brother gives money/ gift in return for the thread💓 Grab a copy of this light read, travel to New Delhi, India & add this beautiful book cover to your reading nook for future #sHelfies 🤳🏻💃🏿 Rom com/ Chick lit isn’t my go to genre but this is like reading a bollywood movie & we all could use a little bollywood/ fairy tale during this time🙃 feel me! • • • #MarriageUnarranged #RituBhathal #AuthorAdmiration #☕️andBooks #I❤️TheSmellofFreshPages #BookBehavior #RomCom #ChickLit #IndianAuthor #PunjabiAuthor #Bookstagram #DiverseBooks #DiverseReaders #Bookish #TheBookLook #BookBlogger #bookstagramIndia #PunjabiWedding #IndianFashion #punjabijewellery #indianjewelry #SonjaAndOve

A post shared by Jazz (@her_reading_nook) on

And it makes your effort feel worthwhile.

Then, you get little comments from authors your love and respect like this…

Thank you, Zoe!

It spurs you on to try and write more.

This summer holiday has whizzed by, and I grabbed the bull by the horns. I had time, a little, at least, to devote to my writing.

My aim was 40,000 in four weeks.

I didn’t quite hit that, but I was close, and, considering I’ve spent the last week and a half manically demolishing furniture, having a ma-hoo-sive clear out and stocking the local charity shops with copious amounts of donations, and visiting B & Q many times to buy boxes, choose tiles, and bathroom suites etc, I’m not going to beat myself up over not quite hitting my self-imposed target!

I managed 37, 869 words!

I’ve also had my cover comissioned and more or less designed, ready to go, to spur me on. No, I can’t share that yet. Let me get the book written first!

And, what with my birthday, next week, I decided to have a little sale on Marriage Unarranged, so if you haven’t already, grab a Kindle copy for 99p/99c on Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk! From Friday 28th August, to Thursday 3rd September. Go on, make a writer’s day, buy a copy!

https://getbook.at/MarriageUnarranged

Oh, and while you’re here, did you sign up for my mailing list?

I am in the middle of writing an exclusive Chickpea Curry Lit story for my subscribers, and there will be news, tips and even recipes! Oh, and you’ll be the first to know about Book Two, and all the exclusive reveals, too!

You know you want to join… go on! Click the pic below to sign up!

Blog, My Writing Journey

Writing My Way Through A Pandemic

Well, hello there, my dear readers.

Firstly, can I apologise, profusely?

I have been very naughty, not posting on here properly for the last six weeks or so, thanks to this ‘thing’ that is happening around the world.

What thing?

Oh, come on, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

That coronavirus, or more specifically, COVID-19.

It sure is a surreal world we are living in right now.

Who would have thought that something regarded as a flu of sorts, would bring pretty much all of the world to a standstill? (I know it isn’t like the flu at all, but that is what most people thought at first.)

As reality slowly hits, people you know become affected, infected, and either recover, or the other option. I, personally know of at least two people who have passed away, including a member of our family.

It’s serious, you know, this pandemic.

And amidst all this pandemic we have been given a gift.

The gift of time.

Well, it didn’t feel like a gift, initially.

One minute, we were dealing with a few absences at school. Told to watch out for anyone in the family with a cough or temperature. Then BAM! Schools closed, restaurants, pubs, bars, theatres, cinemas closed. Other businesses closed offices and encouraged employees to work from home.

It was like being thrown into a parallel universe. One where I was still going to my day job, as a teacher, but to empty classrooms, and just a handful of children, key worker’s kids, so I could help with childcare.

Obviously, with so few kids, not all staff were needed, so we were given a rota to work from. That meant more time at home, to make sure my own family were settling into this new normal. Online learning for them. Working from home for my hubby, who has taken over the dining room with his computers.

‘Great!’ I thought, initially. Lots of time to write!

Because, between you and me, I’ve been getting some nudges to get book two written and out. Folks who have read Aashi’s story in Marriage Unarranged, have really bonded with the cast of characters, and want more.

If you haven’t already, check it out by clicking below!

Now, it’s a good thing that I had some ideas before I published this one, but I didn’t have much time to get words on a screen, or paper, for that matter.

So now, all this time, handed to me on a plate.

Perfect!… Right?

Er, no. Well, not for me, and especially not at the beginning.

I felt a block. Mental, emotional, physical, writer’s BLOCK.

Nothing worked.

My mind went round and round, but wouldn’t focus on my little world with Aashi and her family.

I couldn’t even read like I usually do. Normally, I would read 2-3 books a week, but right now, I couldn’t even concentrate on someone else’s words.

TV and films were the same.

Instead, I kept on refreshing the news, to see what was happening. Social Media tried to plant all sorts of seeds in my mind. I tried to scrabble through the rubbish to find the nuggets of truth.

Then, one day, I just stopped.

I realised that I was driving myself slowly crazy.

My morbid curiosity was rubbing off on the children, and my hubby was getting tired of talking about things too.

So I stopped. Well, not the social media. I can’t totally leave that. But I became more selective with things I was reading. And I only checked the news once a day.

And slowly, the writing mojo crept back, peeking it’s head over my shoulder as I perused things on my computer.

“Come on, Ritu. It’s time, don’t you think? I’ve got a cracker of a story here for you. You know you want to write it, don’t you?”

My Writing Mojo

And it was right.

Using the time I wasn’t refereeing between the kids, making food, or cleaning the house, I uncovered moments to reread the words already written.

I found time to really tighten my character bible. I actually have a real Character Bible that I bought and filled with names, descriptions and traits when writing the first book. This was going to be important for me now. Many old characters would feature, but there would be new ones introduced too.

I researched, too. There are elements of this particular story that I haven’t had first hand experience of, and I wanted to make sure that everything sounded realistic. So, armed with my notebook, I trawled websites, and am in the process of finding people to talk to, so I can nail the main element of the storyline.

And finally, and most importantly, I began to produce words. My manuscript has grown by around eight thousand words, which is wonderful. I have been helped by taking part in online writing sprints.

Do you know what writing sprints are?

You set a timer and see how many words you can write in that given time. Sometimes, having a little deadline chasing you motivates you to get those words down. Being alone is fine, but having company is even better.

Obviously, we can’t be with others at the moment, but there is always the internet! One of my favourite, and extremely supportive writer groups on Facebook, Rebel Authors, have been running live writing sprints at various times of the day, where you can be accountable to someone, and get productive. In fact, to make it even more fun, Sacha Black, the organiser, has even arranged a weekly Poison and Prose sprint session once a week, where you can bring your choice of poison, be it alcoholic, or not, and enjoy some funny conversations in between sprinting.

Me with last week’s poison!

Other days, I have logged into Facebook, and author Lizzie Chantry has a writing group where she has a dedicated writing hour. Again, it is not essential, but having that online accountability makes you focus more.

If I am not writing part of the manuscript, I am formulating new blog posts or author interviews I have been invited to take part in. In fact I even wrote an article for Cysters.org, a charity for individuals with various hormonal issues. If you want to read, please do, by cliicking the link here.

Writing articles…

And now I need to set my routine for the next few weeks, keeping this new normal in mind. I will be going into school some days, either for half days or full days. I will be at home for others, where I can use the time the children are doing their online learning to write.

There doesn’t appear to be an end in sight, yet, for these strange times, so I can get this next manuscript ready, hopefully in much less time than the nearly twenty years the first one took!

See, every cloud has it’s silver lining, doesn’t it?

Have any of you found your creativity stifled in the current climate, or are you flourishing?

My Writing Journey, Uncategorized

Tweaks And Things – You Can Always Make It Better

So, I have my book baby in my hand.

It’s been read, reread, checked and checked again.

No room, or chance for error, right?

Wrong.

I received a (much appreciated) email from a reviewer, alerting me to a couple of missed punctuation marks and silly niggly spelling errors. She is aware of how much this book means to me, and knows how I want to put as perfect a version out there, as possible.

But how is this possible? As I said before, I read and reread countless times!

The problem is that I am too close to the story. No matter now much I read it, I gloss over bits, so end up missing thoes niggles.

I requested ideas from my main writing support group on Facebook (details below) and was given some great ideas:

  • read using a ruler so the next lines can’t distract you
  • read backwards, either from the bottom of a page up, or even from the end of the book to the beginning
  • read it out aloud in a monotone voice (impossible for me, as I am one of nature’s storytellers, and when I read aloud, I have to use expression, and accents – ask the kids in my class, and my colleagues), or
  • use a narrator facility available on most word processers like Word, and even Siri on your MacBook. Hearing your typed words spoken, can help to pick up certain discrepancies

These, along with the help of a proofreader friend of mine, allowed me to pinpoint some silly errors that grammar and spelling software would miss. Continuity errors were caught by said friend too.

Finally, I have a tweaked, polished proof, all uploaded again, and squeaky clean (well, almost. There might be a few naughty bits, but then, romance needs a teensy bit of sauce to, doesn’t it?)

And I have been busy writing content for some of the Blog Tour posts. All the bloggers I approached, have responded, and I officially have a tour planned! Next step – create the Blog Tour Banner!

I even arranged for my first book merchandise – a bookmark!

Another thing I did, was experiment with pens. Now, if you know anything about me, (and most writers), you’ll know that I am a stationery addict. I can never have enough pens or notebooks, and all the other stationery inbetween! I convinced myself that I need a special type of pen for signing my book. I am a bit specific. I love purple. My fountain pen has a bottle of purple ink that I use to fill it with. But, the ink bleeds on the paper in my book, so it’s not perfect for signing. And then, Amazon did this…

Okay, so Amazon didn’t actually do it, it was me. But think of me as the addict, and Amazon as the dealer. I have enough purple pens to experiment with, and to write with for a good long time now! Can’t say “I can’t find a pen!” now.

And then I did another thing. I mentioned a Facebook group a little earlier in the post. The group is run by our very own Sacha Black, and is called 13 Steps to Evil – Villain Masters. This group have been huge in helping me along with the last few months of my journey to getting published. From weekly accountability threads, a safe place to ask questions and get advice, writing prompts, and timely funny writer/villainous memes, to genuine friendships – I have found my writer people! Now, Sacha not only writes amazing fiction, superb writing guides and informative blog posts, but she has also started a podcast called The Rebel Author Podcast. I’ve listened to most of the episodes, and read the transripts of all. So good – I highly recommend. She’s already had some great guests, and it’s only ten episodes old! Well, now she’s branched out into her very own merchandise, and I just had to get my hands on some.

Here I am with my large mug, slouch T-shirt and spiral notebook. I know what I’ll be drinking out of, whenever I write now! Today’s Chai Latte tasted great! And if you want to check out her merchandise shop, click here.

Oh, and something absolutely amazing happened today. Someone I don’t even know posted my book and the preorder link on a Romance Facebook group. I am speechless!

Right, I must get back to that Blog Tour content, but I’ll be back soon, with a banner giving all the dates and details.

And, what are you waiting for? You know you want to put your order in!

It all started ended with that box…

Aashi’s life was all set.

Or so she thought.

Like in the Bollywood films, Ravi would woo her, charm her family and they’d get married and live happily ever after.

But then Aashi found the empty condom box…

Putting her ex-fiancé and her innocence behind her, Aashi embarks upon an enlightening journey, to another country, where vibrant memories are created, and unforgettable friendships forged.

Old images erased, new beginnings to explore.

And how can she forget the handsome stranger she meets? A stranger who’s hiding something…

Marriage Unarranged, My Writing Journey

New Year, New Book. What Next?

Well, I can’t quite believe it. Here we are, finally in 2020. A new decade too.

And this is the year I will officially become a published author!

Pub Day is not far off, around 6 weeks, and the nerves are jangling like crazy.

In my last post, I announced the offical publication date, of 9th February 2020, and it felt like an age away. But time has a habit of running away with you, when you have something lined up, doesn’t it?

So, I have my book, officially on preorder, kindle version, and the paperback to be available from the publication date. Right here – getbook.at/MarriageUnarranged

There was a slight kerfuffle with the cover. Somehow, even using all the information KDP give an author and cover designer, the first wraparound, or print cover, fell short by 0.088mm! And it all makes a difference, so after tweaking, and resubmitting, we finally got the measurements right.

I was so excited. This meant I could order a proof copy, and finally see what my book baby would look and feel like in a reader’s hands.

Then I pressed Publish Now, instead of Save.

I woke in the morning to an email from Amazon KDP congratulating me on my new live paperback!

Eeeek!

No!

That wasn’t meant to happen!

Thankfully it had only been live for minutes, so I managed to ‘unpublish’ it and order my proof…

It came, yesterday, on the 31st of December. What a wonderful present 2019 gave me, on it’s way out.

Here she is! 🥰

I sat, stroking it, flicking through the pages. I mean, look at it. It’s a real book! And it’s mine. A lot of time was spent sharing the news on social media, because you have to keep that buzz going, and I have had such lovely comments from people all over the world. (I just hope they buy the book, too!)

Hugging my book baby

But that is not it. There are still a lot of little niggly things that need doing. My next job is to proof read the print copy. I have to make sure there are no errors that have missed my eye in all the other rereads – spelling mistakes or formatting errors. And I’ve been doing the same with the ebook version too.

Ready to proof read!

But, that’s not all.

There is also promotion to do, and I have been contacting and organising a blog tour to coincide with the release. I believe I have got responses from pretty much all the bloggers I approached…now to write content for the posts!

And I have arranged for a social media Book Blitz too, where the cover and blurb will be showcased across Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for the week preceeding the release. I feel rather pleased with myself, but I’ll be happier when I actually get that content written!

And what of the rest of the year?

Well, there is no time to sit back and rest on my laurels! I still have a life to lead, and I am hoping that you readers might want more, so I have my goals for 2020, writing wise, set out.

2020 Writing Goals

And there you have it!

Wish me luck, my dear Peeps!

getbook.at/MarriageUnarranged

Described as Chickpea Curry Lit – Chick lit with an Indian twist, and not jsut for chicks, you Chap(patti)s too!

It all started ended with that box…

Aashi’s life was all set.

Or so she thought.

Like in the Bollywood films, Ravi would woo her, charm her family and they’d get married and live happily ever after.

But then Aashi found the empty condom box…

Putting her ex-fiancé and her innocence behind her, Aashi embarks upon an enlightening journey, to another country, where vibrant memories are created, and unforgettable friendships forged.

Old images erased, new beginnings to explore.

And how can she forget the handsome stranger she meets? A stranger who’s hiding something…

Blog, My Writing Journey

Will They Like My Book?

So, you wrote a book.

Or at least you wrote a story, or a body of text, and you want it to become a book.

What comes next?

Well, you know, from my previous post here, about things getting too much that it’s not just about writing. There is rereading, and rewriting and editing involved that can take a while.

After all that work, have you finally got something worth reading?

I mean, that’s why I write. To be read. You know that. I mentioned it here.

And the only way I know it will be something worthy of a reader’s attention, is by sending it out to a few readers.

Those in the know call these test pilots Beta Readers. Or you can strip it down further and say your first readers, those who will feedback with information as to whether your story is viable, are your Alpha Readers.

Then after rounds of edits and rewrites, come your Beta Readers. They are the ones who will give you the feedback that can take your book from good to great.

Some Beta Readers are there to give you general feedback.

  • Does the story engage the reader?
  • Does it make sense?
  • Any major plot holes?
  • They will give a great general piece of feedback for you to mull over

Some go that bit further:

  • Give more specific feedback about style of writing
  • Point out spelling or grammar errors, or those missed full stops and unneccesary spaces
  • Give detailed notes on every page

All this feedback is great. But what do you do with it all?

Well, having sent my manuscript to five trusted Beta Readers, I am awaiting the full feedback from a couple but I have already had some. Here are a couple of pointers to remember.

  • Wait for all your feedback to come in before making any major changes
  • Check to see whether there are any similarities in the feedback that may highlight an issue that you need to tackle
  • Remember there’s no such thing as bad feedback. If you sent it to the right people, all will be constructive
  • Don’t forget it is one persons opinion
  • Pick and choose what you decide to alter. It is your book, after all
  • Keep positive comments handy to cheer yourself up when things are tough, but don’t forget any negative words. They are there to help you better your work.

These are the comments I have kept to make me feel these last 19 years have been worth it!

I was so down last week, having let editing get to me, so I had a total break from everything for a few days. It helped immensely. I woke up one day feeling so positive about the whole situation that I ended up submitting my manuscript to a publisher. Just like that!

I don’t have my head in the clouds, but if you don’t try, you won’t know, will you?

Now I just have to wait… wait for the rest of the Beta Reader feedback… wait to hear back from the publisher…

My Writing Journey, Uncategorized

When It All Gets A Bit Too Much

Writing.

It’s an overwhelming business, you know.

If you ask someone who doesn’t write, their image of a writer at work, would be someone surrounded by books, a computer or paper to hand, tapping on a keyboard, or scribbling ideas down furiously.

Or gazing out of the window at a picturesque writers retread, pencil at the ready for any ispiration that might hit.

Or that other chestnut, the writer taking up a table at the local coffee shop, empty cups strewn across said table, and laptop set up, ready for that literary greatness to fill the screen.

Yes.

That’s it.

That’s exactly how all those books out there came to fruition.

A few hours or days to write or type, and a perfect story is created, ready for publication.

NOT!

The writing journey, along with the subsequent editing process, is an arduous one. And though you may spend a lot of it on your bottom, you use up your mental energy more than you realise.

When I decided to really ramp up the writing of my first draft, I used the month of August in 2017 and created my own mini #RiNoWriMo, as November and #NaNo WriMo is beyond me, what with being a teacher in my other life.

So August, that sacred month for teachers, where you get time off, was sacrificed for my writing.

And write, I did!

But I didn’t know how much writing 2,500+ words a day would take out of me.

I started back to school in September an emotional wreck. Not the best way to start the academic year, I’ll have you know. Although pushing myself to write hit word count goals, it zapped me of any energy, and the ability to function emotionally for a few weeks. Writing had become too much.

And the draft still wasn’t finished. I wondered whether this writing malarkey was really for me?

So when I decided that this August, two years on, would be my month for editing, I had to keep my emotional wellbeing in mind too.

#RiNoEdMo has nearly come to a close, and I have worked my pudgy behind off (not literally, because if I had, that would be wonderful, but I digress…) to go through this manuscript with a fine tooth comb. It took me 10 days to finish the first of my ‘final’ edits.

Once it was off to beta readers, I sat back with a light heart, and one heck of a headache.

That mental tiredness had kicked in. It had officially become too much.

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So, I scheduled time for me, time with my children and family, time to read.

And, yes, I have revisited my draft, as and when feedback drips in, tweaking easy bits, but I have put it on the back burner so I can get back into my other life mindset. (I hate to call it real life, because writing is part of my real life too, it’s just my alter-life… By day wife, mother and teacher. By night writer and sleeper.)

One week until school beckons to me. One week to get some of that r’n’r. One week to maybe add a few more tweaks Stop it woman, you are meant to be resting!

I have compiled a list of things I do to help me get that ‘me’ time as well as being as productive as possible, within a short timespan.

  • Take regular breaks and hydrate.
  • Give yourself a time limit for how long you will spend on your manuscript every day.
  • Treat yourself when you reach a goal. A bubble bath, a manicure, a drink…
  • If your head hurts, listen to it, and step away for a while.
  • Always have a good book handy to read as a reward.
  • Plan a day out.
  • Change the scenery around you – write in the garden one day, on your bed on another, take your laptop for a trip to a different place. It’s as refreshing as a break.

All little things, but they do help to keep your wellbeing from sinking, as you swim through the ocean of Getting That Book Out There.

Do you have any other advice for keeping sane while writing and editing?

My Writing Journey

Writing To Be Read

Why do you write?

Well, for some, it is to allow feelings to be released. For others, it is part and parcel of their job.

And for authors, it is because you have stories we wish to tell, and share with the world.

Now, anyone could write away and create a tale which they send off out into the big wide book world.

It’s possible.

Self-publishing platforms have made it that simple. As long as you have access to a computer, you can write, download and press Publish, and that’s it.

You are a published author.

Plenty of writers out there have done that. There are over one million titles published worldwide, every year.

And if you have been trying, you know it is nearly impossible to land a traditional publishing deal. So, that’s where self-publishing, or independently publishing comes in.

But how many of those books that are self-published are successful?

If you market right, you’ll make some sales, then your book might get buried under the waves of newer books hitting the shelves.

There are some authors, though, who have smashed the Indie Author market.

And it’s not just by some fluke. (Maybe it is sometimes. I’ll name no names, but there are a few self-published books over the years that have become huge, yet the writing leaves a lot to be desired! But I digress…)

Those writers spend time on their books. They don’t just churn out reams of text, give it a quick glance, then press that Publish button.

They write, and reread, then write again. They use the eyes of beta readers as well as editors, to help their book baby grow. They take time to create a world within their book that will transport a reader. They want the cover to attract you. They want the blurb to hook you and reel you in. These writers want you to become fully immersed in their story. They want you to be thinking of the characters, long after you reach The End.

They want you to think of them; of buying any future books they may write.

They want you to want to read their books.

That’s why I write; to be read.

In my heart, I know my story is worth telling (fictional, not my life story!) I know it is a tale that would be enjoyed, providing I give it all the love and attention it requires.

That’s what the last few weeks have been about.

Reading, rewriting, getting feedback.

It’s taken me nearly 20 years to get to this stage, you know. That’s how much I believe in my story.

When I reached the last page, after this final set of revisions, I felt ready to send the manuscript out to my team of Beta Readers, and that’s where my book baby lies right now.

I sit here, nervously awaiting feedback now.

Will my baby be ready to be set free in the literary world?