Working and Writing

I don’t know about you, but I’m not lucky enough to be able to write full time. I don’t expect to be able to write full time either and if I’m honest, I think I would become a major expert at procrastinating should it ever become the case! I work full time in order to support myself and my partner. I am lucky enough to actually really love my job. I am a support worker in a job where I meet new people regularly, work with some of the best colleagues I could ask for and I’m given full autonomy to make my own decisions and get on with my work. No two days are ever the same and I like that. I absolutely love it.

On the other hand, my job does get pretty tiring. I work a shift pattern of earlys, mids and lates. It’s a pattern that just recently came in too so I’m still trying to get used to it but after a full month run through I have to say I quite like it. The problem I’ve found so far is that, through my early shifts I come home still full of energy and raring to write. Which is obviously great.

The mids, I’ve found so far, have been the worst. The shift spans the middle of the day meaning I don’t really have a lot of time before or after work. I come home tired and struggle to write anything at all. The lates give me a little more time in the morning to write but of course it means I need to drag my ass out of bed and make a sustained effort to stay awake and write! (Okay, it’s not that bad considering I’m really a morning person!)

On top of this shift pattern, if you remember I’m going for a no zero day. So far I have succeeded (except one day in January) and I’m proud of myself but at the same time (particularly when I did those mid shifts) I found that I was maybe writing a couple of hundred words, if that, per day. And that really bums me. When I write I like to sit down and really crank out the word count otherwise I don’t feel like I’ve achieved much. Of course it won’t happen everyday but so far this month, my word count is pretty atrocious compared to January.

I have a lot of short stories on the go with ideas spinning through my mind as well as edits on a novel and I get frustrated when I don’t have time to sit and write (or edit). This weekend I’m off and as well as everything else (housework, DIY, gym, socialising), I hope to get some major writing done.

Do any of you work full time? What is your day job? How do you manage writing and working full time? If you don’t work, do you have any suggestions for us?

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Giving Up

Today marks the first official day of Lent. Before I start, let me tell you that I don’t consider myself to be a religious person in the slightest. I was Christened as a child and yes I used to go to church and Sunday school with my gran, but now I don’t consider that to be a part of my ethos. However, each year when pancake day rolls around followed by the 40 days and nights of lent, I always try to challenge myself to give something up.

You may all know (if you follow my facebook or twitter) that I consider myself to have a biscuit problem! I use them as a snacking tool or a not-quite-full tool or a reward tool. It’s not good. I eat way too many biscuits. So this year, this is what I’ve given up.

It might be that my snacking technique will have to change slightly but I refuse to give in to that crumbly goodness!

Do you give up anything for lent? What are your reasons behind it? I’d love to hear from you!

Emotional Writing

Something hit me this week while I was writing. If you are a fan of my facebook page you might have noticed that I’ve talked about writing something new this week. I’ve been working on it ever since I woke up from a dream and it’s flowed from my pen (and my fingers to my laptop) with so much ease it’s unbelievable. I’ve loved every minute of it so far and want to keep working on it, maybe once I figure out where I want it to go!

The thing is, while I’ve been writing it, I’ve noticed a certain sort of emotional, and perhaps even physical response. I think I noticed it more because I was working on a genre I don’t normally write and so I guess I reflected on the process a lot more.

What it brought to my attention is that (as it’s a romance sort of genre) that I felt my heart racing along with my main character. I was as excited as she was and a little hot when she realised how much she liked the guy. It got me to thinking… do you experience emotions while you’re working through writing a story? It doesn’t necessarily have to be romance but I write a lot of horror and suspense and come to think of it, I get all that too. I tense up and feel my shoulders tighten, my toes curl and I can’t stop typing. I sometimes type so fast just finding my way through an action scene or something that is so tense, I get lost in the moment.

Getting lost in your story must be a good sign because if you’re lost as the writer it means the likelihood of your reader getting lost is high. What do you think? Do you ever get an exaggerated emotion while you’re writing? Do you react the same way as your main character? Let me hear your thoughts!

Alice J. Black on Hiking, Two Ferocious Cats, and her latest YA novel, The Doors

The Delete Key

I wish to introduce Alice J. Black is one of my fellow Melange Books, LLC authors who is published with their Fire and Ice Imprint.

She lives and works in the North East of England where she livesĀ with her partner and slightly ferocious cats! She writes all manner of fiction with a tendency to lean towards the dark side, but she also to challenge herself and write out of her genre too. Dreams and sleep-talking are currently a big source of inspiration and her debut novel, The Doors, is a young adult novel which originally sprouted from a dream several years ago and grew from there.with her partner and slightly ferocious cats! She writes all manner of fiction with a tendency to lean towards the dark side, but she also to challenge herself and write out of her genre too. Dreams and sleep-talking are currently a big sourceā€¦

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The Write Balance

As a writer I tend to focus more on longer works and novels. At one point it wasn’t the case. I suppose when I was first beginning to write it was all about short stories and flash fiction. Really, they are still at my heart. But when I did my first ever Nanowrimo in November 2011, I was hooked. I got such a rush from writing 50k all in one month. It was planning and preparation and then the writing. I was always wondering whether I’d written enough or whether I could write more and if I was going to make it to the end of the month. I did, I made it for my first year of completion. I’ve done it every year since as well as having wrote some things in between.

I got my debut novel published in November last year and now I’m in the middle of editing another novel ready to submit as well as cranking out a load of short stories to sub to anthologies.

I submitted four shorts in January and a couple since February began. I recently had three acceptances! One for a zombie short called Dealing in Death which will be in Undead Legacy. The Wolf and the Rabbit which will feature in Kaiju: Lords of the Earth. Then tonight after coming home fro a long shift at work I had an email stating that my short story The Truth in Abercrombie had been accepted to the Sirens Call Publications Ezine.

I almost feel like things are really going my way and I’m very proud of myself not only for getting those stories out but for getting accepted.

The other side of it is that I want to be sure I don’t lose my novel. It has been about a week since I last looked at it. Editing can be a daunting process and it’s easy to tell myself that I’ll do it tomorrow or to wait until my day off. I think sometimes I need a kick up the bum. I need to be able to get the balance right between shorts, novels and editing. It can be hard to juggle but I know it’s manageable.

When you write do you prefer flash fiction, short stories or longer works? Or is poetry your forte? Let me know!