Inspired by others’ successes

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I didn’t think I would be participating in Thursday’s Children this week, because I had so much scheduled for the blog: cover launches, new release blog tours and giveaways. But it occurred to me that the very reason for all these posts was actually a source of inspiration to me, and that maybe I should share it for anyone else who is struggling right now.

The fact is I get a huge buzz from the successes of other authors—especially my friends, obviously, but also people I follow but am not even that close to on Twitter.

In the past couple of weeks one person in the writing community on Twitter got a three-book deal. Another got an agent. Two others have launched their books, while two have revealed covers for their books. And I know of someone who has had a contract offer and is considering it now (and no, I won’t say who it is—I don’t want to steal their thunder).

I don’t know if there’s something in the water in Publishing Land at the moment to make all these awesome events occur at once, or whether it’s because my circle of writerly folks on Twitter has expanded to the point where I’m just hearing more news. It could be a little of both. But I LOVE IT!

I’m not saying a tiny part of me isn’t jealous—but it’s not the kind of spiteful jealousy that makes me resent the successful people. It’s not the kind that eats at my heart, or even brings me down a little. It’s more of an “oh, that must be nice!” reaction, which is completely overridden by the happiness I feel for these people.

At the end of the day, we’re not all competing for one job; there are a lot of publishers and agents out there, and just because someone else gets picked up for something, that doesn’t reduce the size of the pie for the rest of us. (Mmm, pie…) It’s also a good indication publishing is thriving despite all the changes to the industry, which has to be good news for all of us.

Also, I’ve had UB40’s cover of Kingston Town stuck in my head since I heard it on the radio on Tuesday, and who could be gloomy with such a cute little reggae tune playing? (Given the peppy nature of this post, maybe Don’t Worry, Be Happy by Bobby McFerrin would be more appropriate, but my brain isn’t listening.) 

Click here to see this week’s other Thursday’s Children blog posts.


Inspired by cover art

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As I’ve previously established, I love looking at gorgeous cover art. And as I’ve also recently established, I’m coming to the end of my agent query ride on ISLA’S INHERITANCE. But that doesn’t mean the end of the ride for the manuscript, just that it’s time to consider my options for unagented publication.

So. I like to think ahead. I like to look at cover art produced by different small presses, and at indie books’ cover art, and imagine what sort of art I might have on Isla’s Inheritance. And I have a couple of very talented friends, who’ve helped me put together a draft cover.

My very talented friend, Krystal, is a photographer, and although she usually does outdoor shots with children she was happy to do a photoshoot with a gorgeous model, and send me the images. My other very talented friend, Kim, is an indie author who designs covers, so when I sent her a manipulated version of the cover (complete with cheesy font and plain background) she very politely told me what I was doing wrong and helped me come up with something a thousand times better.

Unfortunately it’s too early for me to share the cover with you, even though I’m bursting with enthusiasm about it and want to show everyone. Partly because there’s no guarantee if I publish with any publishing house that I’ll be able to use it as my cover, although in that case I’ll turn it into art for the blog. And partly because cover reveals are actually a big deal in the promotional cycle of a book (as you may have noticed from the recent cover reveals I’ve been posting), which requires me to have an impending release to promote.

But I’ve saved it as my desktop wallpaper. And sometimes I sit and look at it, and it gives me ALL THE FEELS! So even if no one ever sees it but Krystal, Kim, me and my boyfriend (when he uses my computer), it was worth the time I spent on it.

This isn't the cover, but it is the title font with the image removed. ALL THE FEELS.

This isn’t the cover, but it is the title with the image removed. ALL THE FEELS.

Click here to see this week’s other Thursday’s Children blog posts.


Finding time to write

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Rhiann Wynn-Nolet suggested to me that a solution to my bouts of disillusionment about the growing pile of agent rejections (other than to write something else, which I’m doing) was to join the group of bloggers that do the Thursday’s Children blog hop.

It’s based around that old children’s poem:

Monday’s child is fair of face,
Tuesday’s child is full of grace,
Wednesday’s child is full of woe,
Thursday’s child has far to go,
Friday’s child is loving and giving,
Saturday’s child works hard for a living,
But the child who is born on the Sabbath Day
Is bonny and blithe and good and gay.

Thursday’s Children: we have far to go. For the record, I was born on a Sunday—Easter Sunday, in fact—although I don’t feel particularly bonny or gay (not that there’s anything wrong with that), and I’m only occasionally good!

Anyway, the theory is that we’re meant to blog about something inspirational on a Thursday. One Thursday, every Thursday, random Thursdays: it’s up to the individual blogger.

Here goes my first attempt at writing a post about inspiration.

Writing: if I can do it, you can do it.

I’m a single mum to a preschooler. I am trying to sell my house, so we need to maintain a display home level of tidiness, and I work thirty hours a week. All of that means not a hell of a lot of spare time.

But I set myself the goal of writing a minimum of a thousand words a week on my WIP, and (except for the week I was really sick) I have done that for the last year or so. Before that, when I was writing my first novel and was a bit more timid, my goal was five hundred words a week, but I usually wrote a thousand anyway.

I don’t always reach my goal in one sitting. I’m usually in bed by 9.30. But five hundred words, twice a week. That’s doable.

I know there are people in worse boats than me. People who work two or three jobs: the same situation but 60 hours a week or more. I’m blessed in many ways. I work with words in my day job, so I keep my grammar skills honed, and sometimes they send me on editing courses. And I get paid reasonably well for those thirty hours (although not that well; like I said, I am trying to sell my house).

But I thought I didn’t have time to write. Then I discovered that if I gave up computer games—especially those addictive Facebook-based time-wasters—and watched less TV, I had time to read and write again. At a thousand words a week, I won’t be breaking any land speed records. I heard about one amazing lady on Facebook who recently wrote an ENTIRE NOVEL in four days. She averaged twelve-to-fifteen thousand words a day. I’m in awe of her, believe me (she must cane NaNoWriMo!). But I can average a novel and a bit a year, and that’s not bad.

So. Whenever anyone tells me they have this great idea for a novel but they can’t find the time to write, I want to shake them till their teeth rattle. Because if I can, you can. Maybe that’s less inspirational than it is a goad to your ego, but hey: whatever works! Write the damned book. 😉

Click here to see this week’s other Thursday’s Children blog posts.