Tuesday, 15 December 2009

New kid on the block nerves

About eight years back I conned my then boyfriend (now husband) into buying a laptop on the pretext that I would try to write romance for Mills & Boon, so I have to commend him on his admirable patience - I honestly don't know why it's taken me so long to start my journey, but I am just so glad that I finally have. Who knows how long the journey will take, but that's part and parcel of it isn't it? I've read the mills and boon forums for a good while now, and it was seeing the competition info there in black and white that finally spurred me into action - along with my little one starting nursery and suddenly freeing up my week day afternoons. Again, kudos to my husband for being cool enough to want me to spend my afternoons giving this my best shot - I run a business from home too which has really been forced onto the back burner lately, i'm not really sure at the moment how all that's going to pan out. I just want to spend my time writing, it's totally intoxicating to a level I hadn't fully realized it would be.
Finding writing time isn't simple around a young family, a knackered husband who's working all the time, plus running the business & home too - I feel like i'm juggling (and dropping) the balls all the time, and I don't even want to talk about the unscalable mountain that is my washing pile. I guess (hope) that's pretty normal though!
I find myself carrying my big notepad (note to self: stop buying pretty notepads. Butterflies, flowers, swirls... you name it, I have it. I've always been that way - I was always a sucker for sparkly pencils and fluffy pencil cases as a kid, this is just the grown up version) everywhere with me, and for some weird reason my writing juices seem to flow best just around 5pm, at which point i'm usually running around the kitchen making dinner for the kids, feeding the cats, washing up...I often find myself stirring a saucepan with one hand and madly scribbling away with the other.
When I look back on it to try to make sense of what i've written, it's generally a random collection of words and ideas for lines of dialogue - I don't think i'm going to be someone who plots heavily in advance, I seem to work best by pantsing it, so i'll stick with that for now. I also find that I prefer to work with music on in the back ground, but can't cope at all with the TV or radio. Chatter completely distracts me - but then I am easily distracted. (and in my defense, Loose Women sometimes offers up plot ideas, haha).
I've recently gotten really into spotify, and have built up a playlist that suits the characters and story lines in my book - it's surprised me how much inspiration i've drawn from listening to music whilst writing. It's got to be romantic though, no thrash metal thank you, or who knows what my H&H would end up doing...
Is it normal to eat more whilst writing? I seem to be incapable of engaging my brain without a bottomless cup of coffee and a bag of maltesers on the desk. Or the Christmas tin of quality street, as it is at the moment...BAD.
Aside from chocolate, I'm also developing a big addiction to reading romance writers blogs, but i don't think that's a bad thing. I'm a rookie in this game, and i'm learning so much from everyone else who's been at it longer and who are generous enough to share their ups and downs. I feel unqualified to post on other people's blogs who've been at it for a while, and really unsure of myself.... it's kind of like starting school where everybody else knows each other already. It's probably heightened by the fact that i've never blogged before, it's a whole new world to become accustomed to the ways of. Hopefully the new kid on the block nerves will ease as I go along my own journey - am desperately hoping the addiction to maltesers eases too, or else I am really in trouble!


  1. Joanne - i have three little boys (1, 3 and 5) so I feel your writing pain! It's soooooooooooo hard to find/make the time to write. And my house is an absolute bomb site - thank God I don't believe in ironing!!!

    Oh and as for eating. Was just thinking the same thing during my writing time this morning! I like to have my daily can of Diet Coke (I KNOW so bad for me) while writing and it's even better if there's chocolate to go with it! I try not to think about the scales - they are NOT my friend!!

    Can't wait to read your winning chap btw!

  2. I write because then I don't have to clean. Although you can always tell when it is going bad as then even the toilets get cleaned.

    YOu will be fine.

    YOu simply need to digest what the editor says about your chapter and see how you can make your story stronger.

  3. Thanks Rach, it feels good to know I am not alone in my need for caffeine to make my brain work. :o)
    I threw my scales away, they were taunting me every time I went in the bathroom!

    Hi Michelle, thank you for the advice, it's really appreciated. I'm looking forward to the consultation, but kind of dreading it at the same time in case Kimberley thinks I am a complete idiot. It'll be really good to hear her feedback though, and hopefully i'll be able to apply her advice and move my story on.
    Here's hoping your loo is currently in need of a good clean!

  4. Hi Joanne,

    I just found your blog and wanted to say hearty congratulations on your success in the contest. I'm sure you deserve every bit of it. And all the best of luck to you in your consultation with Kimberly. Can't wait to read your chapter.


  5. Hi Joanne

    Am so glad I found your blog (followed the link from Feedjit on my own - am official nosy parker).

    Huge congratulations on your competition result. Am really looking forward to reading your chapter.


  6. Chocolate, caffeine, blog addiction? Sounds pretty normal to me Joanne :-)

    like your blog design BTW.

  7. Lorraine, hooray for being normal...although I failed to mention my wine addiction, but I manage to keep that to evenings only. ;o)
    I reckon the blog is symptomatic of my addiction to pretty notebooks, I happily wasted LOTS of time dithering over different designs.

    Hi Sri, it's nice to meet you! Thank you for the congrats, am i right in thinking that I've read on subcare that congrats are in order for you too? I am virtually sending you some of my tin of quality street, it'll stop me from eating them all. :o)

    Suzanne, i'm glad you found me too. :o) I read your blog, but due to my new girl status am too much of a scaredy-cat to post & say Hi. I won't be anymore now though. x

    You know, I think I'm going to love blogging! Lots of new buddies. x

  8. I'm sure I posted a message last night, but this silly computer is super slow on an evening.

    Anyway, I agree with Lorraine, your addictions are very normal. I, too, can't keep my hand out of the Quality Street tin. I have eaten all the strawberry and orange creams single handedly. I probably shouldn't be so proud of that fact, but I need to do something.

    Yes, blogging brings lots of good friends which is fantastic for times like this. I love that everyone supports each other.

  9. Congratulations on the Present Contest. Can't wait to read your entry.

    And I know I'd rather be writing than doing just about anything else - especially the piles of laundry or the bathroom!

  10. Woo-hoo!

    Well done on the Presents comp, and it sounds like you're well on your way to being a writer already. Carrying round a notebook? It's more than I remember to do ... people usually stare as I gasp and fumble in my coat pockets for some tiny scrap of paper and a pen, then scribble for all I'm worth before the idea fades.

    Did that at the school Xmas concert yesterday, in fact. Had an idea; couldn't rest until it was on paper. The woman next to me clearly thought I was mad. But you need to be mad, at least a little bit, if you'd rather write than do anything else - which probably goes for all of us here.

    Good luck, and keep blogging so we know how it's going.

  11. Joanne
    Congratulations to you! I am so very happy for you and can't wait to read your chapter. I enjoy your blog very much!

  12. I'm adding my congrats belatedly to your site (just found it!) and hoping that the rest of your journey towards publication is as great as the start! Kudos to Joanne for eating the creams - hate em! We could happily split a tin I think although my own particular bete noir when writing is liquorice all sorts. I think I'm alone in this, haven't found any other writers with this particular addiction. Lorraine has sent me lots of virtual ones in the past - thanks Lorraine!

  13. Thank you everyone, you've made me feel really welcome in the community.
    Looking forward to chatting more and getting to know everyone in 2010!