An inspirational location

About 18 months ago we moved from the urban sprawl to a much more rural location. I guess what people find inspirational in terms of finding a place to write is a matter of personal taste, but for me my new home and in particular my lovely little office is just the best place to sit and write.

My home is a stone and wood cottage, it is completely surrounded by trees, and as you can see below, the little first floor pod on sticks is my office.

Last Import - 07and here is my writing view…

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You can just spot the kookaburra in the tree above ūüôā

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The critique partner – writing

Getting people to read your books isn’t always as easy as it sounds. It took me a long time (like years) to let go of work and let people look at it.

Lemming

So having been brave and offered up my soul, what sort of reactions do I get from my nearest and dearest?

Here is¬†a couple of examples, mostly because they made¬†me chuckle for different reasons…

My Dad.

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My Dad is an avid reader, as in he consumes books by the bucket load. He is eighty-nine now, and has been chewing through books of every genre for his entire life.

Soooo a good critique partner? Well, yes, sort of.

The book I am working on now¬†is a scifi/ fantasy. Probably not my Dad’s ‘cup of tea’, he’s more your crime/ thriller, but he does read a lot of pure scifi too, and he has read an enormous number of the classics. Now you may expect loved ones to be gentle in their feedback, maybe even overly gushy? Nope not my Dad – his response to my first draft book was that it was ‘quite good’.

Am I deflated by this? Well to put it in context, I once put a short story on a review website, my first 2 reviews were a 5/5 and a 4/5 and then my Dad reviewed it and gave it a 3/5!

It’s a good job I don’t have any kind of ego to crush!

We both had a good laugh about it, and I feel comfortable that my dear father is the last person to give over-the-top praise. He is really good at sticking with a book he starts, and reading it properly,¬†and even with¬†poor ones he will persevere all the way through. So with this in mind, since¬†he read my¬†full story in draft mode and thought it was ‘OK’ then this gives me a bit¬†of hope.

My husband.

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My husband is not a reader Рat all РOk I probably need to qualify this. His idea of holiday reading is a kindle full of technical books on being a CIO, general technology, IT architecture, as well as a diverse collection of other fact based genres including things like psychology, fitness and nutrition. He is like a well oiled fact-crunching machine, and he chews through this information based food fest with the same gusto that my father embraces the latest Tom Clancy offering. He mixes this incredibly dry kindle read list with the odd bit of mainstream in the form of Dan Brown, but he openly admits to having a poor attention span for fiction.

Soooo a good critique partner? Well, no, possibly not the best critique partner.

He managed to read my¬†short story, and his response was ‘It doesn’t sound like you wrote this’ – make from that what you will. He managed to read the first two chapters of my main book and his response to that was ‘The chapters are too long…I like Dan Brown…he has¬†really tiny chapters…there’s a cliff-hanger¬†at every page…you should make it more like that!’

I have stopped trying to get him to read it…

Creative writing – taking a risk

Creative writing has been a long term passion of mine, and¬†I wrote a little while ago about living my life purpose – it’s time to stop procrastinating. In it I talk about my dream to become a writer. I started a journal, enlisted an editor, and began¬†taking those necessary steps to start turning my dream into a reality. comfort My book – The Wall – is currently in the capable hands of a wonderful editor that I have found. I am extremely hopeful about what I will learn by having an expert cast their eyes over my work. I realise that I have a long way to go, to get both myself and my book to the finished product, but I am determined to enjoy the journey, and to keep learning on the way.

In order to fulfil my life purpose I must risk being a fool or a failure

In all aspects of my working life, I am not a person driven by excessive planning. If I have a goal in mind, whatever that goal is, I always find a way to get there. I simply focus on what I want to achieve, what I am doing now, and what I am doing next. What I don’t do in plan every single step that I will need to take, just the immediate and the distant. Is this the right approach? Will it work for writing? I honestly don’t know. For the moment I am very focused on getting this book edited and to quality, but I am already starting to understand more about publishing, agents, self publishing, and the things I need for my next step. I do know that a lot of people send synopsis and first chapters and wait for interest before finishing a book. For me this didn’t really appeal. I had to finish a whole book just so that I knew that I could. As part of my research I have found some¬†awesome blogs out there, with great information on improving the quality of writing, and on publishing itself. I am also a recent, but now avid, podcast listener. My daily¬†commute to and from work provides the perfect opportunity to read blogs or listen to a podcast on writing, and provides plenty of ideas to use when I get home in the evening. I guess one of the things that sticks in my mind about writers is the stamina you need to see your book through to publication, and how incredibly hard it is to put your heart and soul on the line. The bottom line is, if we want to achieve our goals, and if we want to stop wishing we were a writer, and to begin accepting that we are a writer – we have to take that risk – take the risk of being a fool or a failure.