Biggest Time Sinks

I think we all have our own things that we do instead of that writing that we ought to be doing. In this I’m not going to include the obvious things like working, sleeping, eating and keeping the house tidy (in all honesty, I tend to find ways to procrastinate these too!).

Gaming

I’m admittedly a bit of a gamer, not as much these days as I used to be – but I still play a fair bit. The games vary a bit, but the longest standing one is probably World of Warcraft. I even used to run a WoW blog for a few years, but as my gaming slowed down, so did my blogging about it. Other games I play are Dragon Age, Diablo, Stardew Valley and a bunch of little ones on Steam when I have the time.

TV-series/Movies

I probably watch more series than movies these days, but I do love a good movie and go to the cinema to see some of the ones I’m really interested in. TV-series are so good these days though, and there are so many of them. Too many! Services like Netflix, Amazon etc. have made series and movies so accessible, that it’s easy to waste hours binging on a new show.

Internet

No surprises there. I can easily waste hours just browsing the web, checking blogs, updating my own, perusing the latest posts on Facebook. Oh, and what’s new on my favourite YouTube channels? I also use the internet to keep in touch with my family in Sweden, so in fairness – I do love having access to it. When living away from your family it makes the world seem a little smaller.

What are your biggest procrastination fiends / time sinks?

So, what changed?

I’ve been thinking back to how I was writing before I got sick ten years ago (and everything fell to pieces). What has changed? Why am I struggling with writing to the extent that I am?

Ignoring the fact that I have chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia, why can’t I pull myself together to do these things? Or is that the reason in itself? It can’t be. I know people who suffer from these things and they do get writing done.

Working full time for the last year and a bit for the first time since before I got sick is definitely not helping. I have limited energy, and currently it feels like all of it is going towards getting to work and doing my job. When I’m home, very little – if anything – is left. Not working, however, is not an option – because of that pesky detail of paying bills.

After a busy week, I just spent a whole day in bed. So energy levels definitely aren’t at their best at the moment.

The one thing other than my illnesses that I know is different is that I had a friend/colleague that read my chapters as I finished them. I think on some level that helped me feel motivated to keep going. Writing a book, as any writer knows, is a sludge and a rather lonely process. You have no idea if what you’re churning out is terrible or at least decent. (Most likely terrible, there’s a reason there’s a revision process!)

Still, having that one person who read each chapter as I wrote them – it kept me going. And it gave me an idea if I was on the right track, because she’d question things if they didn’t make sense and some things I could then nip in the bud instead of possibly missing them during the revisions/editing. I definitely miss having that.

None of this helps with my lack of energy, and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better. Truth is, I have no solution, I think maybe I just needed to vent.

If you have a chronic illness of some kind, how do you get through it and find the energy/ability to write?

Book Titles

This week’s struggle is regarding book titles. I’m terrible at choosing book titles or story titles, I truly am.

The Regency Romance series I’m currently writing will be sub-titled by the surname of the main family, once I choose their surname, but obviously each book needs its own title. Which would be the most important part, really.

Because the siblings all have names from Shakespeare’s works, I wanted the titles to play on that as well.

The original titles I came up with were:

  1. As He Likes It
  2. Taming of the Rake
  3. Winter’s Kiss
  4. ???

The fourth one I’m not sure about. I’ve been thinking maybe¬†A Midsummer Night’s Proposal or something similar.

As time has gone on though, I’ve come to realise that the first title might sound a lot more racy than the book truly is. It kind of sounds like an erotica title. Doesn’t it? So I think that I should probably change it. But I’m struggling to come up with more titles that sound well from Shakespeare.

One idea was to have every title reference kiss.

  1. A Midsummer Night’s Kiss
  2. The Kissing of the Rake or Kissing the Rake
  3. Winter’s Kiss
  4. Twelfth Kiss

But then I’m not sure if that’s just too much kiss, you know?

I’m at a loss. I don’t really know what to do at this point. Other than pulling my hair in frustration.

To Name or Not to Name

My latest struggle is regarding the surname of the main family of my Regency Romance. The idea is that there will be four books, one for each of the siblings.

Originally, their surname was Howerty, but I’m not sure how I feel about that name now. I don’t think it has a nice ring to it.

For a moment, I thought I had the perfect surname; Hathaway! It was ideal, because the siblings all have names from Shakespeare’s works (due to their mother being a big fan), and the plan is that each book title with be a play on his works as well.

So, Hathaway seemed like the name to go for.

Except, I had completely forgotten about Lisa Kleypas’ series, “The Hathaways“. I even read the books, and yet I had completely forgotten the name!

Which means that I’m back to square one. I can either stick with Howerty, but I’m just not loving the name. It was a name I came up with as a teenager when I penned the first version of what will be the second book in one of my old writing pads. Or I need to think of a new name. It needs to be a name that I 1) like and 2) works well as a series title. The Hathaways, being a really good one. The Howertys? I don’t know.

Do you ever struggle with names?

Keep or Discard?

As I’m editing my novel I’m finding myself questioning how many changes I want to make. There are things that I think maybe I should change, while at the same time I’m not sure if it would make the story better or worse.

It’s my first novel that I’m going to publish, and the people that have read it so far are basically a couple of friends and a sister. They’re not the most likely to give me negative feedback, and they also are not massive romance readers, so it’s difficult to ask them if they think this or that thing should or should not be included.

This means I’m left on my own, and as a writer I find that it can be difficult to be objective about your own story. You wrote it, and cutting parts out or changing them massively can be difficult, even if it’s for the better. That said, if I knew¬†that it was for the better, I imagine that it would be easier.

Needless to say, I can see where editors come into the picture in the publishing world. A freelance editor is not something I can afford though, so I’m going to just have to make the decisions myself and hope for the best.

A few examples where I’m wavering (it’s a Regency romance):

  • The hero gets angry and leaves, going back to London. I enjoy the scene because it’s a funny exchange between him and his best mate, but it might be a bit over the top. Or does it show how impulsive he can be with his hot temper? I don’t know!
  • The male villain tries to sexually assault the heroine, in an attempt to ruin her. This might be too much, maybe it would be enough to just have her alone in a room with the intent of getting caught? Back in Regency times that might have had the same effect?
  • The female villain is very secure in herself, which I want to keep – but I feel like it sometimes veers towards slut-shaming from the other characters. Definitely do want to change this since I don’t like slut-shaming. When I wrote it ten years ago I was younger and didn’t really think about it, but seems very obvious now that I’m reading it again.

These are all decisions I’m just going to have to make on my own, and I am definitely struggling. Maybe I’ll end up doing a coin toss…

How do you deal with editing?

Synopsis? WHY??

Ok, so I managed to read through the entire thing again (my manuscript if anyone is wondering) and although I still fear that it’s all lard I think it’s time that it went out the door to actually glimpse the light of day. (Ie. someone else is going to have to read it and comment.)

A few people have read it of course, but since they’re either related to me or want to stay on my good side since they’re my friends (and supposedly want to remain that) I don’t necessarily trust their objectiveness. Hence my need for someone to read it and let me know what they really think.

Actually, I just got my very first critique partner and I just sent her the first chapter (and will be getting one from her soon). I’m quite excited about it, albeit nervous. I’ve never had a critique partner before.

Now… I have a few problems… Hence the antagonistic title of today’s blog entry.

1. No matter how I format my manuscript it WILL NOT fit into 400 pages! If I keep it at Times New Roman font is 385, which is fair. But when I make it any kind of Courier font (which is what you’re supposed to submit it with) all of a sudden my page count is up at 490!!! HELP!

2. How strict is the 100,000 word rule? I currently have 102,000 words. Time to start cutting? How can I cut my baby? *starts fretting*

3. I happened to see a contest for completed manuscripts and thought I’d enter. They need a synopsis. Que? I don’t have a clue how to write a synopsis, and the deadline is quite soon so I don’t have a whole lot of time to do it either. Why do we have to use synopsises? *cries* Can’t I just send the first chapter? *sniffles* It’s not fair… Is there a Synopsis Crash Course out there somewhere?

Ok, so I’m panicking slightly here. Here I thought I was almost done, and then these things happen… *grumbles*

Will crawl back into my hole now and try to figure out how to write a synopsis…

Guilt

Yes, I’m feeling rather guilt ridden right now. No, I haven’t murdered someone… It’s just that I’ve done absolutely nothing for my book for over a week and it makes me feel really guilty. I think I’m getting nervous since it’s getting close to finished, and it feels like it’s not good enough and I have no idea what to do about it.

A critique partner would probably be a very good idea, but I’m not entirely sure how to go about finding one. It’s got to be someone who knows what they’re talking about of course, and someone you trust.

I have a friend who reads it and comments, but she comments more on if I make a typo or grammar mistake than anything else. She’s going to read it again now though that it’s almost finished to see how it flows. I’m reading it myself as well but I keep feeling that it’s lacking and it terrifies me. I’ll ask her to be really cruel and brutal after she reads it this gime… since I really want this book to be good.

Then I also want to just get it done and over with as well… It’s a bit of a split feeling. Because I really want to start writing the next manuscript… I’ve got two characters in my head and their story is just nagging to be written. When I will find the time though I don’t know. With a new job and everything I find myself rather short of time. I admire all these authors who manage a family, job and writing all at once. I can barely manage a job and a life.

I guess I should get back to proofreading… But I keep procrastinating since when I’m reading it I keep thinking ‘It’s crap. It’s crap. It’s crap.’ And I don’t know how to stop…

Begone evil fiend!

Hah! Defeat over the blank page at last!
Victory is mine!

The chapter was finally written and I’m so very glad to have it over and done with. Wrote chapter 21 as well (which did have some difficult parts… ie. my first love scene… I was blushing half of the chapter…!)

Been back in Sweden for the weekend and between visiting relatives and purchasing all the Swedish goodies I’ve not had for a while there’s simply been no time for writing. I will get right back to it this coming week though, and I’m still on my deadline since I have a personal goal of one chapter per week, and chapter 21 was written for this week.

Actually, I’m ahead of schedule since my final deadline is August, and I only have about 100 pages left to write *cheers* Difficult 100 pages… but only 100 pages nonetheless. After that starts the “real” work though of editing the manuscript, but I have to admit that I quite look forward to it.

Tomorrow it’s off back to Netherlands again. Have to admit I don’t look forward to it, except for knowing I can get back to my manuscript… I really want to finish it now and start the editing process. *fingers crossed*

A Blank Page

Do you have any idea how horrible it feels when you’re sitting there behind your desk staring at a blank page, and you have absolutely no idea what to write? Well, trust me, it’s not a pleasant feeling. Especially not after you just wrote five chapters without hesitating for more than a few moments at a couple of points.

Then all of a sudden it’s there. The blank page. It’s staring at you from the screen, all white and without a single letter written on it. (Except Chapter Twenty at the top, but that hardly counts.) It’s mocking you, telling you that your inspiration is gone and you’ll never get any further.

Ok, it’s actually not that bad… Interestingly enough I know what to write after this piece, I just don’t know what to write right now. I’ve come to the point where my two characters are getting married (they’re getting married already? you ask… Well… Yes! If I can figure out how to write it…)

Maybe I should skip this and get back to it later, but I have a feeling that if I do that I won’t be able to write it at all. So I’m sitting here, staring at that blank, white page mocking me with its lack of words.

Even with my panic during Chapter Six I didn’t have the page mocking me. Something’s gone awfully wrong here. What am I to do? It’s like a chicken race really… I stare at the page… The page stares at me… The first one to break down and start crying lose. I’ve not been beaten yet, but I’ve also not started writing anything yet.

How difficult can a wedding be to write? you ask. Well, you know what. A couple of days ago I would have asked the same thing. Now I know… It’s pure agony. I can’t even get the first word down.

I’m sure it’s different for everyone though. Maybe every writer has their own little terror that they don’t know how to write. Up until now I never would have thought that mine would be a simple little wedding. I was wrong… Very, very wrong.

Well… Back to staring at my blank, white page…

Chapter 6 Panic

I’m now two weeks behind on my own deadline, I really need to get a grip. I wanted to finish one chapter per week, but after the first week (during which I finished chapter 5) I’ve not since managed to finish a single chapter.

The week it was meant to be written I was sick and so I never found the energy (or inspiration) to write it. The week after (last week) I should have managed, but I ended up being quite busy at work and felt too tired when I get home.

And unfortunately it doesn’t end there. I’m having some kind of Chapter 6 breakdown or something. It took me all of last week to figure out how to start it. I tried four different ways to start the chapter, and neither worked out. Now I think I’ve finally got it, but having written a couple of pages I seem to have lost my touch and I don’t know how to continue.

It’s very frustrating and I guess I’ll just have to force myself to write something. If it’s total crap, then so be it. It’s easier to edit a page full with text than a blank page, as some wise writer once said…

So I better get to it.. Wish me luck!