Today I am sharing a wonderful guest post written by Madeleine Dyer, author of Untamed, for the Book Lovers Blog. As a writer with a chronic illness her advice is invaluable. I wish I had read it earlier so I would not have beaten myself up so much for struggling to write after an epic November and times fatigue takes over so no words are added to my WIP. I am terrible at comparing myself to other writers, they achieve more than I despite working full time, and looking after young children but I need to remember having a chronic illness can be a full time job and if I don’t practise self care nothing will be achieved.
In this month’s Writing Magazine a reader wrote into the helpline section for advice on writing with chronic fatigue. Her friends suggested maybe she should stop writing. I hope she continues to write because it helps with mental health and is a wonderful form of escapism. I also hope she finds her tribe to help her on her writing journey as I have. The writing community on social media especially Twitter and FaceBook is strong and mainly supportive. Many writers have health conditions which impact their lives and are willing to share tips and advice. I may work on my WIP and stories alone but writing is no longer an insular hobby. There is always someone to talk to, bounce ideas off or laugh with online. I am grateful for Turtlewriters on Twitter whose quotes and encouragement always help on bad days and the Fiction Cafe Writers. If it was not for them I would not have known about the RNA and the New Writers Scheme.
Writers can be found using the following hashtags #spooniewriters #writingcommunity #FictionCafeWriters #turtlewriters #5amwritersclub (If you are awake then)
If you have a chronic illness how do pace yourself with writing or do you have any tips? Feel free to share below.
Hi guys! I’m so excited about today’s post, because I actually didn’t write it (except this introduction)! As you can see from the title at the top, this is my first ever guest post for BookLoversBlog, a super exciting step for me and one that I hope can continue because I love getting to connect with other bloggers and writers and have them share their experiences, there is such a wide world of writers out there with different experiences to mine and I want to make sure that is reflected in this feature.
Which brings me quite nicely onto today’s topic. Madeline Dyer is a YA writer, who has several chronic illnesses, so when she suggested writing a guest post about her experiences of writing with chronic illness, I thought it was a great idea. I hope that any of my followers who are also writers with chronic illness find…
I recently signed up to The Pigeonhole, described on the website as a book club in your pocket. It offers a selection of new releases from top publishers and classics. The new Sophie Kinsella book is an option which I am looking forward to if I get chosen to read it. The books are released in sections and you read along with other readers. More on how it works can be found here
I saw an advert for it on social media and not only did the blurb of The Flower Girls by Alice Clark-Platts look good, the promise of a free book drew me in. I am on a strict book budget this year. The more I read about the idea of the business the more I realised it could also help with my aim of reading more classic books. The big tomes, even on Kindle, are daunting but this way the book is broken down into staves or instalments. It reminded me of the Dickensian scenes in The man who invented Christmas where readers eagerly wait for the next part of the story out side the book shop. If it was good enough then, maybe the updated version will be good now.
I started reading The Flower Girls this week and so far I am enjoying the experience. As an insomniac it is exciting to receive the next part at midnight. It adds to the suspense of the thriller because you are left dangling mid story everyday and you are eager to know more. On the flip side, this could be frustrating depending on your outlook but the whole book is available to binge read a month once all the staves have been sent out or those on the read at leisure bookshelf can be read quickly. With crime or suspense novels, I also have a bad habit of reading the last page to discover who did it or who is alive, this curbs that temptation.
Alongside the story, there are options to interact with readers – share opinions of characters or scenes and writing style. I think this will come into its own with the classic books but I am enjoying the Q and A with the author which is also available.
One bonus I was not expecting was that as a procrastinator with words to write, this way of reading increases my productivity because I can not fall into the trap of reading just one more page or chapter. I am reluctant to start new book to read concurrently so it is a win-win situation.
Have you tried it? Let me know your thoughts below.
This year has begun with exciting news; I have been given a funded place on the New Writers Scheme with the Romantic Novelists’ Association. I can’t believe it and keep having to read the confirmation email to remind myself it is real. A big goofy grin appeared when I read the membership pack signed by Katie Fforde – yes, the Katie Fforde whose books line my mum-in-laws bookcase after I have read them – the Queen of Romance novels. I do not know who sponsored me, but I am very grateful. This chance feels like a big step in making my writing more than words on my screen and into a reality where others may read them. Last years’ luck of winning NaNoWriMo coaching gave me a confidence kick and a chunk of a WIP which has a romantic thread suitable for the RNA which enabled me to apply. I think the Gratitude Jar I started last week will be full of good memories by the end of 2019.
Nerves have kicked in. I doubt finances or health will allow me to join many events they offer but one event I would love to attend is the writing conference with workshops and talks. Fancy me being in a room of authors, editors and publishers. It is mind-blowing. I have highlighted it on my wish list. I just need the rail companies to sort themselves out, become co-ordinated with their times and change the rules to allow a small scooter on board so I can get there.
Thank you to Fiction Cafe Writers and Viola Bleu for telling me about the scheme.
Time to get writing as I have a novel to finish – gulp and a new adventure to begin.
After a very quiet Christmas, 2019 is insight and it is time to say goodbye to 2018. This year has been emotionally difficult but I have survived thanks to my writing. I am looking forward to starting a fresh page in the chapter of my life.
Farewell to my 2018 goals
Looking at the plans I made in January’s post there are some which will roll over into 2019.
I am still disorganised, with notes in different places but they are more contained and with a new planner I am hopeful I can change.
the first draft for The Elfaenian Journals has not been finished because I got sidelined by Willow’s story. On the plus side, it does not hide in a dusty file on my PC forgotten but always in my thoughts. By writing Willow’s world, it is evolving too.
a visit to Whitby for a research and chips is still needed
I love A Christmas Carol and part of the joy of the run up to Christmas is reading taking my copy off my forever shelf for its annual read as well as binge watching the movies from Disney’s cartoon starring Jim Carey, the Alastair Sims to the best version The Muppet’s Christmas Carol. This year I had the luck of reading Miss Marley by Vanessa Lafaye which is a beautiful read and complements the original perfectly. It is a warm, heartbreaking tale but has thread of hope throughout. It will be added to collection to read every year as will the film The Man Who invented Christmas.
Have you seen it?
I love it for the festive and book theme, the era and acting but mainly because it gives a glimpse into the creative mind of Charles Dickens. It tells the tale of how under pressure to produce a book readers will love he produced A Christmas Carol in only six weeks. I am sure it skims over the negative aspects of his personality to produce a high energy fantasy with an insight into the writer’s mind when they suffer writer’s block, find inspiration and how they act when characters appear.
It also shows how he decided to self publish and his battle with plagiarism which are relevant topics for today’s writer. I wonder what his tweets would say if he was in the situation today.
As many of you know I am lot a great fan of classic books but this and Miss Marley have encouraged me to find out more on this enigmatic man beyond snippets I have picked up along the way – I doubt Dr Who Christmas special from a few years ago is the most reliable source of information. The book the film is based on by Les Standiford is on my TBR for next December and I am also going to attempt to read at least one Charles Dickens novel next year. Maybe then, I will not feel as much of a dunce at writing group when they discuss literature. Any recommendations would be great.
December is here and NaNoWriMo is over for another year. After succeeding in writing 50,000 words – yes I did it if did not already know – I thought I would reflect back on what I have learnt.
The main one is I can surpass my own expectations with the support of others and determination.
I can prove naysayers wrong.
I can not emphasise the importance of support from others. Having people behind you, believing in you when you do not believe in yourself gets you through the slumps and allows you to celebrate the highs. I can not thank those who have been with me enough, especially my daughter for the endless cups of tea and encouragement.
Accountability is an important factor. If I had not had Megg Geri checking in to see how I was doing, expecting 2000 words daily – not achieved often – I would have faltered in week two. Words would have fizzled out and I would have given up. On days when only were written 200 words by lunchtime and I was tired, grumpy or dystonia was giving me a hard time, before I would have said “that will do”. Not wanting to disappoint Megg I would go back in the evening and write some more, sometimes surprising myself with the amount or content.
Rewards matter! Knowing I could buy a Kindle book if I completed 10,000 words spurred me on because I needed Justin Cronin’s The Passage trilogy. The reward of a coffee and catch up with a friend on a Friday if I survived the week gave me the boost I needed at times too. Thank you, Kris and Jennifer.
An excel spreadsheet was my best friend towards the end. Seeing my percentage progress on the screen helped me push through the last 10,000 words.
I discovered I am more of an evening writer than morning one. Ideas are better in the morning but bulk writing is an evening thing.
Dialogue between characters when it comes to you must be captured and written down. Trying to think of dialogue in front of a blank screen is useless, for me it has to come organically from the players, usually when half asleep or doing something boring not related to writing.
Writing daily is a joy (except on “I can’t do this” days) and routine matters.
It is amazing what gets done if people leave you alone to do it. My writing room became my haven. The writing room is also known as the spare box/junk room with a bureau squeezed in just in case I am seen as pretentious as in the J.K Rowling and Arron Banks row.
It is hard mentally. It pushes you to work beyond tiredness, life experiences and forces you to give priority to writing. As a mum and wife this was one of the hardest things. Putting myself first rather than others is not natural for me but they are old enough to look after themselves. I am in awe of people who can do it with a young family, work and other responsibilities.
I can get through the slumps to get to a better place.
It has pushed my health to its limit. I think I have got a way with it. I’m not in hospital which has happened before when I have pushed myself too far but I rattle more with more pills, have accumulated more consultants this last month and slept for seemingly days since Nano has finished. Is the pain payback worth it? Yes but I’m glad it is over. I could not keep the intensity up in the long run.
I need to get my head around dictating, my hands, well hand as I am a one handed sometimes one fingered typist, is painful and is on the verge of going on strike.
Knowing your characters well helps, but it is great when they throw surprises and unexpected ones turn up.
I love writing and need to continue. Having a few days off I miss it.
I can achieve when I believe.
Now I need to finish the draft so the joy of editing can begin.