Welcome to my weekly writing diary!
It has been an eventful week, so let’s get started.
First, here’s the latest edition of the series involving my two pets; Harry the cat and Po the dog. Every week on this blog I record the highs and lows of their special friendship.
When Harry Met Po
Po had spent a good hour standing up at the living room window, barking at the window cleaner across the street. At nearly two years old, Po had a lot to say on the subject of window cleaning. After a quick drink of water, Po was about to carry on shouting at the man across the street when his owner started waving a tennis ball at him.
Harry always liked to give his large furry friend advice. “They are trying to shut you up, Po. Ignore the tennis ball trick!”
Po liked Harry, but sometimes his little furry friend came up with ridiculous ideas. This being a prime example. “I don’t think a tennis ball is going to shut me up,” laughed Po. “They will want me to chase it a few times and then I will return to giving that window cleaner some much-needed feedback on his handiwork.
Harry smiled. “Don’t blame me if in three minutes you are sat quietly over there, away from the window, with the tennis ball and your dog collar on.”
“Dogs do not take advice from cats, Harry,” said Po, with an air of confidence.
Three minutes and twenty seconds later.
There will be more from When Harry Met Po next week.
What have I found tough this week?
I have struggled with unexpected life curve balls this week. It is not easy trying to rewrite the first draft when life is chucking all sorts of obstacles at you. My washing machine flooded my kitchen floor earlier on in the week which robbed me of writing time. I had been writing an intense romance scene when my washing machine let out what sounded like a mechanical wail, spewed its water everywhere and then died. My evening was then spent on my hands and knees cleaning up the mess and trying not to look at the gigantic laundry pile looming over me.
Weirdly, whilst crafting the romance scene I did have a niggling doubt about whether it was a little ‘too passionate’ and I had got carried away with the heat of the moment. When I went back over it last night, my thinking was correct. That scene needed to be dampened down.
So, maybe my old washing machine was trying to tell me something?
Have I done anything unusual this week?
I actually WEPT with joy in the toilets at work. This emotional outburst was caused by two events in my life, which came to fruition on the same afternoon. Readers, it is a shock to think I CRIED proper tears over:
Creating and finishing a lengthy department governance manual.
Receiving the BEST rejection EVER from a publisher.
Both sort of happened at the same time. My face became hot and I was blinking back an army of tears, so I rushed off to the ladies toilets and cried.
I thought writing a dry governance manual would break me but I finished it. The whoosh of joy which powered up my spine as I typed the last word on the page was difficult to contain.
With regards the rejection, I wasn’t weeping because it was a ‘no,’ I was blubbering because they said some amazing things about my work. I never thought I would cry with joy over a rejection.
I have to keep going, folks. There are a lot of stories in my head which I need to write. The rejections keep coming but I know I am improving. Also, it was only last year I decided to focus on romantic comedy. This was after three years of writing the wrong things. So, now I must give it everything. At least I am on the right track.
How is my project ‘The Patient’ coming along?
Until this project, I was a 60k word sort of girl. The thought of churning out any more words felt like a huge challenge and one I kept putting off.
When I started ‘The Patient’ all those months ago the first draft got to about 45k. So, with the second draft, I set myself the task of rewriting it and taking it to 90k.
Oh my goodness – this is tough and I can see why I loved saying farewell to my characters and story at 60k. It’s not so much lengthening the story or working on the characters that I have found hard, it’s the sheer work involved. Also, I am now fighting the, ‘just end it at 65k,’ and forget all about challenging yourself.
However, I have discovered that the more you write about your characters the more they open up to you. They want you to spend time with them.
I have also found the extra work has made me love my male character, Tim. My previous male characters felt a bit wooden, but Tim has his own voice now and the deeper I get the more fun he is to write.
The other huge challenge is that I have been wanting to include a cancer plotline in my story. As my husband had cancer for two years this subject is not something I am a stranger to. You have to write about things you know and I think writing about it will help release something inside of me. I don’t think I ever fully processed the time of my life when my husband was ill. So, I have taken the plunge.
Writing allows you to address the dark stuff which loiters at the back of your head.
I know I can make it funny even though it is a dark subject.
The important thing is to keep learning and challenging yourself. I keep telling myself this 🙂
What music has helped me this week?
I can’t tell you how inspiring and motivating I have found the music from The Greatest Showman. It’s kept me going x
Have fun out there!