Once a month I send out a newsletter – you’re probably being asked to sign up to it right now! Subscribing lets you win freebies. But if you’re allergic to email newsletters, no matter, here are some extracts from my October newsletter.
You are not alone. These are hard, hard times. Does it help to know that other people feel the same? I wrote a special, two part feature for Words and Pictures, revisiting (virtually of course) some of the authors I have interviewed about their creative space over the past two years, to ask how lockdown has affected their writing process and what they thought writers would need to consider going forward. You can read this here and here. I hope it helps.
This month I also interviewed the YA author Teri Terry and found out about her working methods. I was really interested in her accumulation of ‘prompts’ for each project; how she spends time tracking down notebooks and other types of ‘talisman’. I don’t do this myself, though I might do in the future…. but I do spend a lot of time choosing notebooks, and thought I’d share those with you. Is this procrastination, or is it an important part of the process? You decide, but my feeling is that anything which gets you moving forward is important.
The shiny gold notebook is for a WIP with time travel… The cover seemed appropriate, and as the ideas are big (and doing my head in) I needed a big notebook.
The right hand one is my notebook for picture books. It has blank pages rather than lined, in case I feel moved to draw! The Handbook for the Recently Deceased on the left is for my WIP which involves cryogenics… See what I did there? And anyway who needs an excuse to have Beetlejuice merch? The final notebook, at the bottom, is my every day notebook/journal which at the moment is dominated by lists for packing. (I wrote an article about journaling some time ago if you’re interested in how to use an everyday notebook).
This month’s blog is about writers in films and the misconceptions Hollywood seems to have about the profession. Writers as millionaires, writers who don’t seem to need to spend any time writing, and then writers with writers block… these are common themes. (But none about procrastination….)
I’ve had quite a difficult month, with the death of my two step-parents within hours of each other (unrelated and nothing to do with Covid, but the virus does make everything so much harder…) We are also in the process of moving house. All of this has left me unable to concentrate on the bigger projects I have going, so I’ve been concentrating on picture books. Other writers might turn to poetry in these circumstances, but I would never get past the Hallmark Card type of thing, but there is something very satisfying in trying to write a whole story in a few hundred words, with repetition, story arc, character development and page turning elements. Mentally, it’s like doing a jigsaw puzzle.
How to write
And so to this month’s how to write book: this compact little book is a homage to children’s books, and you can see from the post its that it packs a lot of ideas into a tiny space.