Friday, 22 February 2013

winter blues

The last day of half term. And the only day I haven't been at work or trudging through a never-ending spiral of Scandinavian designed furniture convinced if I just get the right combination of shelving, low lights and soft furnishings then I too can be as successful and cool as Birgitte Nyborg.
Normally Friday is writing day. Two weeks ago it was a work conference day, last week it was sleeping-puppy-on-my-knee day (he was recovering from a certain delicate operation and was the epitome of tired pathetic neediness). Today it has been baking and High School Musical marathon day. I was supposed to be writing during the HSM marathon but between online grocery shopping, searching for affordable tap shoes and jazz pants (9yo not me. Natch.) and intervening in yet another tussle between 9yo and pup, her annoying little brother with extra sharp teeth, I am almost ready to admit that life has beaten me. Again. And once again I think that I just don't deserve success, I don't work hard enough for it.
I spend a lot of time telling 9yo to just be herself, to be the best she can be, not to worry about other people. I wish I could take her advice. Funny how you never seem to measure up isn't it?
Lots of people have jobs, lots of them have children and a good proportion have both and yet, that nasty insidious voice keeps telling me, they are still writing every day, 1k 1 hours, rewrites, edits, first drafts flowing, while I stumble between work, activities (hers, natch) and chores, my brain a constant tired fog. And their hard work is beginning to pay off, more and more names I know, alumni of NV 1 and 2, SYTYCW, RNA new writers are selling. Brilliantly and deservedly so. But not me. Not yet. And if life carries on at this pace I worry it will never happen.
Of course I know what to do. I need to ignore what other people are doing and just plod on. Spring is coming and with it the opportunity to sit out in the car and write during the activities, more energy thanks to actual daylight, and the renewed hope spring always brings. I just need to keep going. And believe that one day it will be my turn. One day...

Friday, 1 February 2013


I did one of those time wasting Facebook quizzes today. Turns out I only own 9 of the 100 most influential albums made, possibly 8 as apparently I ticked Dexy's Midnight Runners which I definitely don't own. I didn't include the albums my OH may own which was very honest of me but still, not the best result (not sure who decided which albums were worthy of inclusion, the list is very white male guitar heavy but hey, I aced the books one so can't complain). Not surprisingly the albums I ticked are all, Velvet Underground aside, from my late teens/early twenties; Blur, REM, Spiritualised. And it seems my tastes haven't moved on, if I buy newer music it still tends to be either boys with guitars or pop princesses, my true guilty pleasure.

I have finally started to rewrite Summer Fling, a mere year after receiving the edits. It's taken a long time to feel my way back in especially after rewriting Minty three times in the last year. It's also taken a long time to get a handle on Lawrie, my heroine. Readers loved Jonas, the hero, but found Lawrie too uptight, unsympathetic feedback which genuinely astonished me. I loved Lawrie, why didn't they? Why wasn't I able to convey her properly? Maybe I needed the time and distance to give me some perspective before I began to rewrite.

It was a New Year karaoke session which inspired Summer Fling, the moment I realised that the Stereophonics 'Dakota' was totally my song (I made it my own according to the Wii, I have now added Tiffany's 'I Think We're Alone Now' to the illustrious list). Boys, guitars and the all-encompassing bitter-sweetness of first love.

In the year since I received the edits two more singers have helped me get Lawrie more; pretty much all of Lana Del Ray's debut album, a homeage to out of control teen angsty obsession and Taylor Swift's Trouble. I stayed up one night watching the video over and over, burbling to my OH all the reason's it was helping me encapsulate Lawrie. Sadly I forgot most of them the next day. The telling part is the narrator's self awareness. She doesn't blame the boy for what happens, she blames herself because she knew it was inevitable. And that, right there, is the key to Lawrie.

Lawrie isn't Taylor Swift and Jonas certainly isn't the ratbag rocker boyfriend. The book is set nine years after the relationship ended and there's no rolling around in the desert with dip dyed hair and a rather funky fringe. Well not yet, I haven't finished writing it so there's time. But Lawrie knew Jonas was trouble (trouble, trouble) the minute she saw him, not in himself, but in the disruption he could cause her plans. So the consequences are all hers, the blame is hers. And that's what she has lived with for the last nine years.

Sorted! Now all I have to do is write what happens next... what song is going to help me with that?