Thursday, 21 January 2016

In the Net

Hello, my name is Julie and I am a writer. I am a writer with a butterfly mind. I am afflicted with a flutter of ideas flying around my head at anyone time. To some writers who find sourcing ideas like getting blood out of a stone, this might sound like heaven. But it isn't. Clearly, I'd rather have too many ideas than not enough ideas, but just as not having a clue what to write about, having too many ideas can be just as debilitating.

As part of this affliction I have note books and pieces of paper littered around my house. They're in my office, my kitchen, my front room and my bedroom. I actually wake up in the middle of the night, quite frequently, and have to scribble notes down as new ideas intrude into my sleep. I always tell myself, whilst sitting amongst these little mountains of paper, that no idea is wasted and that I will, eventually, use the ideas in a short story or article. But judging by the amount of ideas I've noted down, this could take some time.

Another problem with having a butterfly mind as a writer is that I never know which project or idea to work on first. I want to work on all of them. I can't seem to distinguish between which idea will get me a sale and which will not. It can be all so overwhelming and, if I am not careful, I am rendered inactive and end up not writing a thing.

So what can I do to make sure I am productive? I have to go with the idea that speaks to me most at the time. Last year the choice really was a no brainer. I had three close deadlines to hit for a publisher who had paid me an advance to get the work done. That obviously took priority. The other projects and ideas had to take a back seat but they still nudged me every now and then to remind me they were there, waiting in the wings. And still my piles of ideas got higher.

My plan this year is to quieten my butterfly mind and tackle one project at one writing session, instead of becoming a rabbit in the headlights and become frozen by the many ideas I could be getting on with. I am going to use my butterfly net to catch that idea and give it my full attention.

Which writer are you? Have you few ideas or too many? How do you deal with it?

Happy writing
Julie x

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Can't, Won't, Shan't

We've all been there. That dreaded voice in our heads that belittles our thoughts of positivity with our writing yattering on in the background, until we give in and stop writing. So what stopped you writing in 2015? What was your background voice saying to you that made you give up? Or were you able to ignore it?

My little voice tells me that I can't write. It tells me that I shouldn't even bother. I'm told there are thousands of other, better qualified, more talented, younger writers out there so I'm just wasting my time. Then my little voice has the audacity to suggest that I just give up and get a proper job, that no-one will want to read what I write let alone pay me for it! Who do I think I am?

This year I managed to silence it just long enough so that I could get three books published and several short stories as well as continue to write a regular column. My little voice is most definitely not happy and continues to sulk in the back of my mind, just waiting for the next rejection to come through so it can yell, "I told you so!" at the top of its lungs.

We all have doubts and get nervous at the thought of pitching an idea for an article, subbing a short story or novel. That's normal. But what's not normal is if we let the heebie jeebies paralyse us into inaction. If we let our insecurities and anxiety prevent us from getting our work out there then we might never know what we have the potential to achieve.

So, next time your little voice pipes up, listen to what it's saying but then blast it with what you do know you are capable of, and that's putting pen to paper. Keep scribbling no matter how loud your little voice says so that you can silence it with your success. But beware. Your little voice is as stubborn and determined as you are. It will always be there in the background. Your job, if you want to be a professional and successful writer is to keep its volume down so you can keep writing.

Happy writing in 2016

Julie x