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A change in the process.

It has been quite a while since I have written a blog post, and with 2023 coming to an end I thought it would be a good time to jump back into it.

If you have read my previous posts, you will be aware that I like to write early in the morning. I started this routine when my son was younger, and I needed to find a quiet time of the day to write without interruption. It is still my favourite time of the day to write but recently I have tried something a bit different. I'd like to say it was a well thought out plan but like everything else about my writing - it was accidental.

Not too long ago I was at my computer going through old drafts that I had abandoned at some point deciding which ones get to stay a bit longer in the draft folder and which ones were ready to be deleted. After two cups of tea and a lot of procrastination I left them all there except for one. I moved it to a different folder – it’s called ‘Current draft’.

This particular manuscript was written a couple of years ago - it is completed however I couldn't find a publisher for it. After reading it again I could see why - too many characters with too much going on, too many themes that didn't connect but there was something about the two main characters that I couldn't let go of.

Not only that, two of my friends would always ask me about this manuscript – we would meet for brunch or a coffee and it would always come up in the conversation: ‘What’s happening with it?’

At the same time I was going through this process, my publisher at Scholastics, asked me if I was working on anything. Not really - no. Well, maybe there is something, but I don't know how to fix it...

And this is where the new process began - all of those thoughts, and a few more, rattled around in my mind for several days. I walked the dogs a lot, cleaned the house, thought about it some more and then one Saturday afternoon it hit me as to why I just couldn’t rewrite it; I had to change the main characters' names, delete a couple of others, change the underlying theme and start again.

It was well and truly dark outside by the time I have finished the first few chapters.

Unlike other manuscripts, I didn't get up at 5.30am the next morning and start writing. Instead, I walked the dogs, thought about where I was up to and by mid-morning I was writing again. For the next couple of months, I plodded away at it, getting some friends to give me feedback along the way, writing at all times of the day and into the evening.

I write in a Word doc and at one point connected my headphones to the computer and had Word read it back to me whilst I cleaned the kitchen.

What I am trying to say is that for so long I have thought that I was an early morning writer but what I have discovered is that, like my writing skills, I am learning as I go - that it is possible for me to try different ways of getting the story to the page, to be open to change.

So it is now completed and I have returned to my draft folder to see if there is another manuscript there that I could revive and move to the 'Current draft' folder. But before I do that, I might just walk the dogs, do some gardening, get the washing from the line...


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