Thursday, 30 August 2007

Healthy start to the Coffee Morning!

I'm posting this on thursday as I won't be near a computer again until late Friday morning - so don't eat the fruit until Friday's coffee morning has offically begun!!!!!!!

Hello and Welcome to the new novel readers who joined us this week - Sarah G, Flowerpot, Jude and Lane - you can all have a double serving from the fruit platter!!!

I’m serving up fruit this morning after the blow out of last weeks sugary cupcakes. Enjoy! My writing week has yielded up few words but I did get some useful constructive feedback from my ‘trusted reader’. I’d given her the first 10,000 words to read and she gave me excellent constructive feedback. It’s back to the drawing board for me – which I’m both excited about and hesitant. My aim in the next few weeks is to look at the links between chapters – it’s easy to forget that the reader doesn’t have the same level of insight or information that you have about your story and sometimes I think I’ve written something in, but actually it’s still in my head.
I have a few dots to join up!

As I’ve been feeling a little despondent this week about whether or not I’ll ever actually get my novel ‘finished’ to a standard where it can go out into the world I’ve been leaning heavily on some of my favourite writing quotes to keep me going. The two I’m fond of at the moment are:

Writing is a way of life
I write a little each day without hope and without despair
Isak Dinesen

Editing makes all the difference
The difference between me and an amateur is I cut out the boring bits
Elmore Leonard

I’m also keen on telling myself to just ‘get it over it’ when I feel the black cloud of insecurity descend – sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t!
When the mantras don’t help I move on to my creative crutch – chocolate – it never lets me down!

What are your favourite writing mantras or creative crutches?

PS: Has anyone heard the outcome of either The Daily Mail Novel writing comp or Miss Write comp?


Graeme K Talboys said...

Boring, I'm afraid, but I don't have any. Writing is an addiction and I cannot not do it. It isn't always one of my big projects, but I write every day.

KeVin K. said...

"Writing is an activity best done late at night and you should wash your hands afterwards." -- Mark Twain

"The proper tools for editing one's own work are a pot of freshly mixed India ink and a brush." -- Rudyard Kipling

"Write, mail, repeat." -- Dean Wesley Smith, ghost writer of over eighty novels and books 'written' by celebrities.

liz fenwick said...

No word on the Daily Mail and I don't know anything on the Miss Write. In fact I'm not ichty about the New Writers' Scheme submission to the RNA. They said they should have it back to me before |I leave and it is so close now to when I leave. I am jumping on the post woman every morning.

Love all the quotes.

On the writing front I have separated Madde and Serena's stories in a Cornish House to make it easier for me to see it - that makes sense. I haven't yet begun the rwriting process - that will wait for Dubai and dd's beginning school on the 9th.

Have agreat week all :-)

Jen said...

'The first draft is always shit' - Elmore Leonard. (I'm doing well in that department then.)

'Keep writing. Keep doing it and doing it. Even in the moments when it's so hurtful to think about writing' - Heather Armstrong.

It really is painful sometimes, getting the words out, let alone getting them right. I hate it sometimes, but I still don't feel right if I don't do it. Rather like long-distance running, I imagine.

Shame writing doesn't make me thin though.

hesitant scribe said...

Hi All - have been busy getting fit and not writing. Hmm. This is because the first half of my research trip to Spain will be spent on the back of a horse, so need to be reasonably happy exercising all day.

Jen - love that quote. I, too, am doing well in that department!

I didn't get my AHRC funding and although I knew I wouldn't, I kinda hoped beyond hope that I would get it. You know? So that shut me up for a bit while I had a rethink. Winning would've meant a positive affirmation that I was on the right track, and not winning has meant a positive affirmation that I need a rethink!

So I am free to write whatever comes now, and looking forward to 10 days in Spain making copious notes and writing lots! :)

Hope everyone's work is going well. XXX

p.s. that fruit platter is scrumptious! Hmmmmm

CTaylor said...

I finished a short story this week...and that's it for writing/editing. A poor, poor attempt.

I can do quotes tho:

There's nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and open a vein. ~Walter Wellesley "Red" Smith

Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia. ~E.L. Doctorow

I try to leave out the parts that people skip. ~Elmore Leonard

If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it. ~Toni Morrison

It is necessary to write, if the days are not to slip emptily by. How else, indeed, to clap the net over the butterfly of the moment? For the moment passes, it is forgotten; the mood is gone; life itself is gone. That is where the writer scores over his fellows: he catches the changes of his mind on the hop. ~Vita Sackville-West

Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass. ~Anton Chekhov

Flowerpot said...

Loved the Elmore Leonard quote and thanks for the fruit. I can't eat chocolate or anyting with too much sugar in so can't sue that as a crutch. I tend to take the dog for a walk, that sometimes helps. Good to meet you all!

ChrisH said...

Wrting mantra? Apply bum to seat.
Alas although I've done that I spent 50 million years sorting out my links - you are all there, including our new members. Still slashing and burning... will there be anything left?

Lazy Perfectionista said...

I don't have a specific writing mantra, but my life mantra is 'Just bloody get on with it!' - something I have a problem with... I'm contrary, so usually HAVE to write at the most inconvenient moments, and nothing comes when I've scheduled in some good writing time. Argh.

Lane said...

Morning all and thanks for the fruit novicenovelist. Am particularly fond of mango although it does tend to smell of cat's pee.

Have had quite a productive week. The word count has risen and a short story popped out too. I'm sure it's largely due to the inspiration gleaned from all your blogs. Thanks.

Mantras? I can never remember them but my own is 'Better out than in'.

Like Chrish I've been trying to individually put all your links on my page and I don't have 50 million years left. Has anyone got an easier suggestion or a code?

JJ said...

Sorry to ignore the questions and coffee, but I'm off to a posh hotel for the (whole) night for my 16th wedding anniversary. Oh, I'm so old...

Will post tomorrow when it's back down to earth.


Rowan Coleman said...

Good morning! I love this topic, I love Elmore Leonard quote, my mantra which I have to say is one of my own is 'When I finish this I will get paid and the house will be safe from repossession for six more more months.' It's not catchy nor deep but it's an excellent motivator.

Also when writing I always think of a quote by the author of The Black Narcissus which I heard on the radio when I was about ten which is 'There are always exactly the right words for every sentence.' It makes me think more about the actual writing process as well as simply the story.

Have had a good writing week, delivered, weighing at 125K words, my sixth novel to the publishers yesterday. It's not finished there will be work to do but the vast bulk is done, hooray and phew! Also got the finished copies of my next new children's book RUBY PARKER FILM STAR (Out on October!!) which are lovely. The American edition of THE ACCIDENTAL MOTHER is published in the U.S this week. They tell me it's sold into shops pretty well for a first time UK novel so keep you fingers crossed for me that it finds some readers over the pond and doesn't sink without trace...

p.s I can't eat fruit, my body wouldn't be able to cope with the shock.

ChrisH said...

Lane, if there is a better way than laboriously adding one link at a time I'd be glad to find it! (Might be a bit miffed at all the time spent on it - like waiting in the supermarket queue for yonks only to have new cashier appear on the next till just as you're unloading!)

Flowerpot said...

chrish I know just what you mean. But mantras - I came across this the other day.


I have that pinned up by my desk now.

Caroline said...

I have no quotes, so I'll borrow all of yours and pin them next to my wall.

I've been having a bit of a 'stamping my feet' kind of week. I am trying to pull it all together in my third draft. I do think that this is the worst stage. I am close to the final 'product' but I have soooo far to go.
So glad to hear that others struggle too(!) - it really does help.
Happy writing.

Kate.Kingsley said...

Jen, it would be ace if writing burned as many calories as it does brain cells, wouldn’t it?! Until then I suppose we’ll have to stick to the fruit plate as opposed to the cupcakes 

The “first draft is always shit” quote is one of my favourites too, so much so that I have it on my blog sidebar. It’s also doubling as a mantra for me too ~ I have (finally) given myself permission to write drivel, which can then be polished, as opposed to slaving over sentences and paragraphs in order to perfect them. It’s much easier to clean up a mess than it is to magic something out of nothing, for me anyway.

Having said that I’ve not made a lot of progress with the novel recently: I’m on the precipice of a career change, and have spent the last week researching training, financial implications, employment availability, voluntary opportunities, etc in the counselling sector, and this is taking up most of my evenings. Itching to get back to the WIP, but the mortgage paying activities have to take priority for the time being. Luckily I should have all day Saturday and Sunday to crack on with it. I’ve been fretting whiclst I’ve been away from it! Apologies also for neglecting everyone’s blogs ~ I’ll be popping round to update myself soon.

Sorry to hear about the funding, Hesitant scribe. And welcome to he new racers,

Have a great weekend,
Kate K

Jen said...

Kate, how about fruitcake as a compromise?

As for adding links, I accidentally deleted everything on my side bar and, so far, have been cheating and just using a generic link to this blog. Putting them all in individually takes yonks but will provide a good reason to procrastinate sometime soon!

Sarah*G* said...

my favourite quote that I keep repeating to myself I have pinched from Nike!
Just Do It!
Although I think I should also repeat to myself over and over again, 'Google bad, stop googling things, no Google!'

Leatherdykeuk said...

I don't have any mantras, I'm afraid, just that one Terry Pratchett who insists that to be a writer one has to actually write every day.

I doing well-ish. About 8K on 'Dead Line' and another 3.5K on 'Diary of a Demon' (still have no plot for that yet but it's interesting to watch it develop.)

B.E. Sanderson said...

I keep a database of quotes, and many of them are very inspiring, but I don't think of any one as my mantra. Some of the best ones, IMO, are:

"Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self." - Cyril Connolly

"It’s a damn good story. If you have any comments, write them on the back of a check." - Erle Stanley Gardner

"In every great novel, who is the hero all the time? Not any of the characters, but some unnamed and nameless flame behind them all." - DH Lawrence

And I leave you with this last bit:
"Don't let the bastards grind you down." -General George Stilwell

This week's been full of life stuff, so the writing has been neglected. I did finish the zillionth draft of my first novel, though, so I can take a few days off. =oD

Graeme K Talboys said...

I have just been reminded by a friend that I do have a mantra. Not so much to do with the creative process as with saving heartache.


In 1970 I wrote a novel, long-hand, carried it with me everywhere as I worked on it. I had nearly finished it when it must have slipped out of my bag on a train. Never saw it again. Ever since, I have kept copies of everything.

These days finished work is printed up and put into a spring back binder (I'm on volume nine). I have an external hard drive to duplicate what's on my desk top. It's all on the lap top as well. And if I go out, I take a DVD with the latest copy of my stuff in case I come back to find the flat a smouldering cinder or the desk cleared by burglar bill.

Jude said...

Hi all

My writing teacher hit a cord with me when she said;
'write, even when you fear it'll never be good enough to get published. Words can always be worked on. Whereas nothing will always be nothing.'
I also like to tell myself I'm on the right path when I find myself wondering what the hell I'm doing dedicating all this time to something that could just end up shoved in the bottom of a drawer for the rest of my life.
I'm on the right path... I'm on the right path... It feels reassuring!

Jude x

Cathy said...

Love all the quotes.

Just popping in to say hello, lots going on in my life at the moment and for the next month.

I have to admit I have only put a link here into my sidebar rather than everyones blogs sidebar is already lengthy so I didn't want a huge list to get lost in it... Hope everyone is OK with that?

Helen said...

Just wanted to poke my nose in to say hello. Having a 'doo' tonight for ten people so have been rather busy today. Plus hubbie working from home and hogging the broadband connection! Will see you all next week, when I think, it is my turn to host.

Oh and welcome to all the new racers.


sheepish said...

"Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhwere." Carl Sagan and
"Omit needless words" The Elements of Style. Strunk and White

I am not to the point of omitting needless words yet I am just happy to get something on the page.
There are some very good quotes in the comments I also remind myself that I write for myself, if anyone else likes it that will be a bonus. Have a good week everyone.

KeVin K. said...

Two things to add.
First: I cheated on the linking. I just put up a link to this blog and advise my lj friends to visit all y'all regularly.

When I mentioned mantras to Valerie, she reminded me of the one I have taped just below the screen of my laptop -- a copy of a sign I had over the family computer when I was writing in the kitchen. I hesitate to mention it for the same reason I didn't think of it the first time I posted. Because by definition I'm breaking it when I visit y'all.
The sign says:
"WRITE. Do not chat about writing. Do not post about writing. WRITE."

So if you'll 'scuse me, I'm gonna go write.....

KeVin K. said...

Okay. I really did go to write, and my first item of business was to read a project description from some folks who are inviting writers to pitch. I had to come right back here because you guys would appreciate this.

How to tell a game designer is American:
If the guidelines for the fluff (descriptive story that goes with a role-playing game) says "Setting: Isolated Anglican church" and "Time period: Circa 1300."

Sending off an e-mail for clarification now.

ChrisH said...

OOh, make a back up... that's a good one.