Saturday, 26 March 2011

A bit of a ramble about writing

What do you think of the new look Blog? I love the serene colours and of course I had to use flowers as my background as I do love floral photography. Sadly, the stunningly gorgeous background image is not one of my own.

This last week has seen quite a few of my writerly friends struggling to write whether it is finding the time due to other demands in life, fear of committing to the page because of shaky confidence, fear of committing to submitting work, or like me the feeling that whatever I write is not good enough and never will be. All these reasons take on an enormous soul destroying grip, and there are many times when it would be easy to say 'enough' and give up altogether. But if writing was easy, everyone would be doing it. So, we plod on doing our best to shut out the demon that nips at our confidence. 

Social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter make it easer to share these woes and to bolster each other's flagging confidence, without it I think I would have given up a long time ago. I have been very lucky to find three like-minded romance writers and we have formed a very close working relationship to critique each others' work, exchange writing information and to be there when we hit the highs and lows that inevitably come with the writing territory. It doesn't make the writing easier but it is good to have the support network.

My work-in-progress (WIP) is sitting at just over 14k. It was growing in wordage but there was something very wrong with it. A lightbulb moment revealed that I had backstory, conflict - both external and internal, what I didn't have was a story. I had a set of circumstances but I had no idea how to bring these circumstances and my hero and heroine together. This moment of revelation was all very well but the problem of sorting it out hung over me like a black cloud. I couldn't see beyond it.  

It was a truly awful moment. Every word dragged its feet on to the page, some good, some bad, some indifferent. I had lost my connection with my characters. I was getting bored with my own writing. Not good. Something needed to be done before the damage was irreparable. Okay, it was a first draft and first drafts are allowed to be bad but sometimes instinct needs to be taken notice of.

Close to tears and heading for bed the answer presented itself. Voice. It was the voice that was wrong. I had been too busy trying to make my story fit to certain specific guidelines and technicalities, trying to emulate what I'd read in the genre I'm aiming for, that the essence of my writing style was lost therefore making it harder to write my hero and heroine's story.

The rewrite began the very next day with a lighter, less intense tone, and hopefully my real voice.


  1. Loving the new colours :-D Glad to hear you've rediscovered your voice. Here's to a successful re-write.

  2. What a gorgeous serene blue I love it.
    Also love the fact that you are back on track. It's funny how so many of us New Voices are struggling six months on. At first we had the adrenaline of the contest to carry us through, then the determination to prove that we could do it even though we didn't place. But all the research we have done has filled us with so much extra information that many of us are know doubting our ability and have lost that confidence that enabled us to enter in the first place. Now we have the painful process of applying that knowledge to our own voice, that's what will one day make us real writers I guess. But I love your writing and can't wait to read what will happen when you take on the man with turquoise eyes x

  3. Hi. Love the background photo and yes it is serene. Your own photographs are superb also, maybe you could use one for a cover on one of your books one day. Maybe we all need a new writing challenge, not quite sure what, but if anyone spots it let me know. I am aware of what is stopping me writing at the moment and it is this last piece of coursework for my autobiography course. Once that is written I shall be free to write what I want. Hope you continue to like your new voice and look forward to buying the result in the shops. Mx

  4. I agree with Rose and Doris - love the new look as well. I'm glad you have had a revelation about your writing, it's all part of the process working out exactly who YOU are as a writer. I've had a similar lightbulb moment this week, realizing that I was forgetting my voice and making the story into what everyone thought it should be... Anyway, have fun re-writing and remember you're not alone in all this :D

  5. Having all the support of other writers on Facebook and Twitter is key for me. It's so reassuring to know that everyone else is battling the same difficulties. It makes it easier to persevere.

  6. You're right about voice. I just wrote The Wedding Favour in the end as I wanted to. I just knew I wouldn't get it to 'fit' Mills and Boon, and hope that maybe I can find another romance/chick lit publisher some day.

    My friend gave me some great advice, and doing NaNoWriMo back in 2006 also helped. "Throw it all at the wall and see what sticks." Edit it, later. Just write. The more you write, the more you'll find your voice. Don't worry about publication, just get the words down.

  7. @ Doris : Thank you and good luck with your submission. :o)

    @ Rose Red : NV seems such a long time ago now. I'm so glad I entered as it has brought me into contact with many writers with the same aims, and I'm learning so much from the various Blogs and networks. As you say, the knowledge has a downside in that we forget our own voice. Hopefully, we can all find the middle ground that encompasses both.

    @ Morton : Thank you for the compliment on my photos. :o)
    Autobiography/biography is a hard subject to tackle - I covered life writing during my OU creative writing course - it takes a lot out of you especially autobiography. You have to dig deep and sometimes uncomfortably so. Good luck with the course.

    @ Xandra : Glad you like the new look! It's comforting to know we're not alone. I have to keep reminding myself that I'm the one writing the story and how other people might write it doesn't matter - not easy when doubts creep in. Good that you've had the revelation too - these moments hopefully help us to suss out who we are as writers.

    @ Julia : It's a wonderful community. Everyone is so willing to share their experiences.

    @ Teresa : That sounds like good advice your friend gave you.