Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Hey diddle de dee -a writer's life for me

Hey diddle de dee -a writer's life for me-   is a blog post I wrote for the Awfully Big Blog Adventure blog over a year ago... in case you missed it, I thought it was a bit of fun and worth sharing again!

 We writers are emotional beings. We live in our heads but our emotions rule.

Perhaps it is because we spend so much time living our characters' lives, feeling their joys and sorrows and getting angry or sad for them.

We journey through their roads of despair and frustration when we make things go wrong in their lives - as they always must, or there would be no story to tell.
For that very reason it is only on rare occasions that we can share their elation and joy when everything is going well.  Because as soon as we do we are plotting ways to make it all go horribly wrong again.

While all these emotional roller coasters are swooping around in our heads as we play God with our characters, in the big world outside we have families, commitments and other pressures to contend with.

As if that was not enough there are the emotional highs and lows, the joys and frustrations of being a writer....

8.30am  Full of enthusiasm for the day, determined that  lots will get written which will, without doubt turn out to be a bestseller.

9.00am  Phone call from  publisher who says YES! to a new book- Celebratory wild dance around the house-  until a neighbour is looking strangely at you through the window. Make coffee and prepare to start writing.

10.00    Notice that someone has written a scathing review on Amazon - depths of despair.

11.00  An invitation arrives by email to take part in a great new project, praises abound for your  skill and expertise. no one else will do.

12.00  The morning is over and not a word written - It is surely all rubbish anyway- can't write at all, should give it all up. Decide to give it one last try and find the flow.... just as the phone rings.

1pm   It is a call from mother she is unwell and needs to be taken to the doctor, NOW!

2pm  Check email on phone while at doctor's to discover there has been a spelling error on an advertising brochure for a festival you have been invited to. Unfortunately thousands have been printed already calling you not a writer but a Best Selling WILTER!  You check the dictionary to find out what a wilter is.
3pm    Arrive home determined to get an hour or two of solid writing before the day becomes a complete disaster and settle down, losing yourself in the domestic mayhem that surrounds your characters following the car accident you created yesterday ' just to spice things up a bit'.  You discover you have incapacitated a main character and written yourself into a corner. Aaargh!
4pm   Stomping around the room you step on the cat's tail, knock over your half drunk cup of coffee onto a pile of new books you had forgotten to put away and an important letter you should have posted yesterday.

5pm. After clearing up the mess you decide to take your mind off it to see if your subconscious can work out the problem with the plot while you mess about on facebook, and Twitter,and read a few blogs.

5 mins to 6  You have the solution.  Elated and typing furiously you are completely lost in the best thing you have written for ages, it is really happening on the page and nothing can stop you now...
6pm    The door bangs and your partner arrives back from work tired and hungry, asking if you are ready to leave because the reservation for the restaurant is for 7 and the traffic is dreadful.

 Your characters are in limbo, half reaching for each other, in mid argument, freeze framed.

 With your head still in their world, you close down the computer and attempt to look delighted as you prepare to leave them behind for an outing that had seemed like a good idea  just a few days before.

Little wonder that at times we feel we have writer's block, that nothing will work and ideas seem to turn to dust,when every plot line rolls off uselessly, like tumble weed blowing haphazardly into the wilderness.

Perhaps, as we live in our heads this is our subconscious telling us that it is time for a rest, a break from the constant highs and lows, time to re group, to let ideas float around in the air without trying to pin them down.

Even when it seems like there will never be another idea worth chasing to the rainbow's end,  eventually, like rising from a good sleep our creative self emerges unscathed.  

It is as if nothing has happened and we are ready to dip into other worlds and explore our characters and their emotions again.

What a delight!

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Interesting meetings at Edbookfest!

I had a lovely audience at my Edinburgh Book Festival event, lots of great questions and it was
good to chat to some of the young readers afterwards in the signing tent.

One young lady said she was half way through Don't Judge Me and was really enjoying it but she already knew who had started the fire in the story.

When she told me who she thought it was, I suggested that she might change her mind as she read further on!

After my event I was going to be away for the rest of the first week of the book festival, tutoring a course for adults on Writing for Children at the Arvon Foundation Writer's Centre in beautiful Monick Mhor near Inverness, but more about that in my next blog.

In the second week of the book festival I had some interesting times.

I went to listen to Sophie MacKenzie who I was to be speaking with at the Bloody Scotland Crime Festival in September.

I was keen to hear her speaking about her latest YA novel Split Second. It was fascinating and her audience were obviously keen fans of her books.

I also had some interesting moments in the Author's Yurt, the 'green room'.  You never quite know who you will meet there.

These characters were perhaps stranger than most, although they did seem friendly!

I also met up two excellent writers Liz Kessler and Joanna Nadin and I went to listen to them talking about their very different books.
They were being introduced by Julie Gamble from Blackwells Bookshop.
Joanna Nadin and Liz Kessler
Jo Nadin, Liz Kessler and Julie Gamble
With Cat Clarke

Afterwards we all had fun catching up in the lovely sunshine outside the Yurt, where we were joined by local Edinburgh YA writer Cat Clarke.

Nicola Morgan was looking far too serious. I wondered if she was trying to work up a bit of a spell here, so I had to take a picture!

Not sure if it was the glorious sunshine this year but it seemed as if everyone was in playful mood!

Francesca Simon

Lots of fun was had by all until, for another year, the Edinburgh International Book festival drew to a close.

Summer festivals have been fun and it started at the seaside!

I am finally back at my desk after an incredibly busy couple of months and some interesting events and experiences.

At the beginning of August I started the festival season off in East Lothian at North Berwick's lovely Fringe by the Sea festival.

North Berwick and the white tents of The Fringe By The Sea Festival

This excellent festival runs for a week, just before its much bigger cousins in The Edinburgh International, Fringe and Book festivals get going.  It is a vibrant mixture of music, books, comedy and much more, all happening in the sunny seaside town of North Berwick.
It was really lovely to be at a festival somewhere so close to home and the sun always makes it even better.  

The Bass Rock
The very next day I was off to Charlotte Square for the start of the Edinburgh International Book Festival.