Life Cycle Of A Writer: Becoming an overnight success!

Something struck me when listening to all of the recent Romaniac interviews. It was this: nearly every successful writer has done a lot of leg work to get where they are.

This was true in lots of the interviews, but I thought I’d highlight two in particular: Natalie Meg Evans and Brigid Coady.

Both of whom mention their long road to publication that almost had them give up, and yet with their persistence, they have both gone on to be award-winning authors.

It’s this persistence and determination to never give up that seems to be true of all authors.

You may have seen in this recent post, my own persistence and determination has paid off and I have signed a two book deal with Carina. I managed to write the majority of my book since having twins so while I don’t consider myself an overnight success, I do think it’s worth mentioning what I learned along the way.

1) Listen: There are so many writers willing to impart their knowledge.

2) Learn: Critique of your work might be hard to hear, but it will help you in the long run.

3) Support: Find writing friends who will support you in a healthy way.

4) Be persistent: I might be overusing this word in this blog, but it might be because I’m being persistent. 

5) Read: Read about writing. Read in your genre. Read because you love to.

6) Make writing a priority: I’ve been guilty of not always doing this. It’s only since having twins and my time has been very restricted that I’ve become more focused. Unless it is urgent, everything else can wait. Apart from the twins, I have been looking after them in between!

7) Reach out: Find writing groups to join. Find associations to join. Go to conferences. Go to parties. The people you meet might give you the single piece of advice you needed or end up being your editor one day.

8) Repeat: Do it again and again and again.

9) The End is never The End: Every writer I know continues to learn and I know really, my journey is just at the beginning. 

What else have you learned along the way that could be added to the list?

Catherine x

Life Cycle Of A Writer: A Spark Of An Idea

As Baby Number Two has gone off to the New Writers’ Scheme, I’m enjoying a few weeks of blissful ignorance of how much more work there is to come. I’ve been able to read, something which has been lacking these last few months when evenings and nap times have been dedicated to writing.

My mind is already toying with the next project. Looking back, Baby Number Two arrived after two light bulb moments. One was at a dinner party with friends when we were discussing the number of children we’d like to have. It created a What If? question in my head and I realised it would make a good story. The second light bulb moment was when I was at the London Paralympics where I realised it would be good to make the story into a documentary and it gave me the hero I needed. There were lots of smaller moments of inspiration along the way, but those were the main two.

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Currently, for my next project, I have half an idea and I need a spark to come along to complete the idea. Personally, I find sitting at a keyboard is not the way to find the next eureka moment, so I tend to get out in the sunshine and seek the answers there. Although, as this project will involve some research, I might have to start reading up and hope there is inspiration amongst the pages.

Over the next few weeks I will be doing a further revision of Baby Number Two before sending it out to publishers and agents. And whilst I wait, I’m planning to make a start on my next project. So let’s hope the other half of the story comes to mind.

Where do you find your sparks of inspiration? Or is there no telling when they might pop up?

 

Catherine x

 

#ReadOnGetOn

We’re joining in with Read On Get On and Southampton City Libraries with their campaign to encourage reading. They’re asking everyone to share photos of where they read and to share those pictures on facebook and twitter using the hashtag #ReadOnGetOn. All the details can be found on their website here. So here are some of the places we read:

This is me(Laura) reading in my conservatory. It's south-facing, and is the perfect place to read while I warm up. Daisy thinks so, too.

This is me(Laura) reading in my conservatory. It’s south-facing, and is the perfect place to read while I warm up.
Daisy thinks so, too.

The chair is a recliner, and I have a table and lamp next to it, with a space for a mug. I often come in here to write, as well.

The chair is a recliner, and I have a table and lamp next to it, with a space for a mug. I often come in here to write, as well.

Sue: When travelling; land, sea or air. Was handy today when I had to take a 20 minute bus ride.

Sue: When travelling; land, sea or air. Was handy today when I had to take a 20 minute bus ride.

Sue: Reading in the garden - such a treat after the winter

Sue: Reading in the garden – such a treat after the winter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My girls enjoying our local library!

Catherine: My girls enjoying our local library!

 

Who needs a reading snug when you can have a basket?

Who needs a reading snug when you can have a basket?

 

Catherine: My couch, where i collapse at the end of the day and where most of my reading and writing happens. It's moulded to my shape!

Catherine: My couch, where i collapse at the end of the day and where most of my reading and writing happens. It’s moulded to my shape!

 

So please join in on Facebook and twitter showing us where you read using the hashtag #ReadOnGetOn.

 

Life Cycle Of A Writer: Crossing the Finishing Line

Never has there been a more glorious moment than writing these two short, little words:

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It is not the first time I’ve reached THE END of a manuscript, but this one has been something of a HERCULEAN effort. I had the idea for Baby Number Two in 2012 and after mulling it over for a while, I wrote the first chapter to enter into the New Talent Award at the Festival of Romance. Much to my surprise, the first chapter was shortlisted and I was invited to attend the New Talent Reception prior to the Awards dinner. Looking back on my iPhone pictures these two photos are next to each other:

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My lunatic grin at finding I was shortlisted

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The reason I look quite so crazed in that photo?

I took this test on the day I was heading up to the New Talent Award Reception, so no champagne for me then. It also put a stop to any writing for some while, because that faint little line turned out to be twins and throughout pregnancy I was a) not able to write because my brain was mush and b) I didn’t want to jinx anything, which was silly and irrational, but that pretty much sums up emotions during pregnancy.

It was only once the twins arrived safely that I managed to consider writing again. This story that I’d created over a year ago needed to be written. But how, with twins? I talked about that on my last vlog and turning to the traditional pen and paper route worked for me. Gradually, at every given opportunity, I have scribbled away and have managed to get those 3,000 words to roughly 80,000 words.

It’s taken me nearly 3 years and I managed to produce two children quicker, but at long last I can say I’ve reached THE END.

Now truth be told, I should take this opportunity to recline on the sofa for a very long time. I’m pretty sure I need to, but as parenthood doesn’t allow that, and certainly not in the day time then I’m continuing to fill every spare minute and am already 100 pages into editing. Because crossing the finish line is a great feeling, but I’m still chasing the dream that everyone gets the chance to read this story.

Catherine x

Life Cycle Of A Writer: Sparkle Round-Up

Here at Romaniac HQ, we believe in positivity. The reason we started the Life Cycle Of A Writer posts was so that we can share the lows and highs of our journeys. It is a mighty tough business for which you need a thick skin, but we go by the philosophy if you work hard and believe in yourself great things will happen. Give yourself the chance to sparkle, and if you don’t mind indulging us for a few minutes, we wanted to share our moments of triumph with you and together raise a glass to all the highs.

December

It all started in the middle of December at the Romaniac Sparkle WeekendEn route to our get together we found we had good reason to celebrate when Vanessa Savage learned she’d won the Flash500 Novel Opening Competition for Missing Grace. The report from the judge, Steph Patterson, provides some very encouraging words for Vanessa:

“The introduction to Missing Grace just pulls you in. Straight away, it raises a number of questions and you quickly read on. A mere sprinkling of back story, told in a way that links the past to the present, introduces us to another important character, and then we’re heading straight into the plot. The tension grows as the mystery unravels. My congratulations to the two finalists! I’m sure both will go far.”

If that wasn’t enough reason to raise a glass, during our sparkle weekend Catherine Miller learned she’d won the Just Write Monthly Masterpiece competition for Miles Between Us. With the judges saying they were gripped from the very start. The first three chapters are now available to read on their website.

January

2015 got off to a great start when Vanessa received news she’d won a Writers Forum competition for her short story No Such Thing As Monsters. The magazine should be out in March!

To add to our early 2015 cheer, Catherine was highly commended runner-up in the Accent Press and Woman magazine writing competition for her work-in-progress Baby Number Two.

February

Laura E. James carried out her first Waterstones book signing at the Dorchester branch, selling and signing copies of Follow Me Follow You

Laura and Sharon Goodwin (Jera's Jamboree) at Dorchester's Waterstones.

Laura and Sharon Goodwin (Jera’s Jamboree) at Dorchester’s Waterstones.

Vanessa received double good news in February – Her current work-in-progress The Murder House made the final four in the Caledonia Novel Award and she came third in the Flash500 flash fiction competition with her story Pretty Maids All In A Row

March

March has been mega for good news, and we’re only part way through the month.

Catherine went up to London to receive the Katie Fforde bursary award. This is for someone on the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme who has great potential. Katie presented Catherine with a trophy at the RNA March meeting.

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Laura carried out her first talk with a fellow Dorset writer, Kathy Sharp. The Preston Friendship Club were fantastic audience, and Laura hopes to do similar events in the future.

In a celebration of Mother’s Day, Celia J Anderson’s letter to her mother was included in The Guardian. It’s the first letter and has a lovely picture of Celia in a bonnet.

As if all these bits of excitement weren’t enough, Romaniac HQ celebrations went into overdrive when we learned our wonderful Jan Brigden won the Choc Lit and Whole Audiobooks Search for a Star competition. Her novel As Weekends Go will be published later this year.

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We’re absolutely delighted for Jan and so glad to have our first life cycle transition from aspiring to published writer.

We’ve also finished putting a considerable number of words together with The Murder House by Vanessa Savage, Baby Number Two by Catherine Miller, Fractured Love by Lucie Wheeler, What Doesn’t Kill You by Laura E.James and Living The Dream by Celia J. Anderson reaching completion in one stage or another and the very hard-working Sue Fortin has been getting The Half-Truth into its final version ready for publication in two days time!

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Time to upgrade Romaniac HQ’s mini-bar. There’s no way we can stock enough champagne in there if the good news keeps coming in at this rate. Now if you’ve all got a filled glass, please raise it to the wonder of sparkle and positivity!

CHEERS!

CHEERS!