How often do you say ‘I’m bored’?
I can’t remember the last time I was bored.
I used to say it a lot when I was a child. Almost every day. I had so much time I didn’t know what to do with it. I’d go and whinge to Mum and Nan until they found me something to do. It usually amounted to going out somewhere, plonking me in front of the TV, or putting a game on the PC for me to play.
Fast forward twenty years and I don’t have the time to be bored. What with a full-time job, long-term relationship, chores, commuting, writing books, writing poetry, writing blog posts, social media, marketing, graphic design, sewing, baking, cooking, reading and socialising, there’s just too much to do!
It doesn’t matter what our word count per day, we all hit creative roadblocks sometimes.
But you know what?
You can be more creative.
And you can write more.
It wasn’t too long ago that finding me sat at my desk was a rare sight. My desk was more of a dumping ground than a workspace.
Fast forward 18 months and it’s a rare sight to see me not sat at my desk, even rarer still to not finding me writing.
So what changed?
First of all, I made the active decision that I didn’t want to waste my life. I’d spent my life wanting to write books but always let the fear stop me. After a series of unfortunate events in 2015, I decided there was never going to be a ‘right time’ to get the book finished, so why wait?.
You never know what’s around the corner, so why wait to achieve your dreams?
Writing groups—sometimes called critique groups—have a baaaad rep. As a member of a close-knit (and very tough-love) one, this bugs me.
Different writing groups operate in different ways. Different people want different things out of them. It’s unfair to dismiss them all based on one or two that you’ve been a part of (or worse, that someone you know has been a part of).
Workshopping was a huge part of my university life, both during my BA and MA. Not having critique groups to discuss things with for a while was disorientating, and it wasn’t until last year that I found another one I liked. Good writing groups don’t come to those who wait, though: they come to those who seek them out, or that create them.
If you want to be a part of a writing group—or start one up—here’s some things to consider:
The process of publishing What Happens in New York took me just under a year from start to finish. That included writing over 200,000 words (95,000 of which made it into the book); plotting; character development; copy editing (badly); proofreading (badly); cover design; interior formatting for print; formatting for Kindle; writing the blurb and all the other copy that went along with it; uploading to CreateSpace; uploading to Kindle, and marketing.
With the exception of some tough love editing from my writing group, I did it all myself.
By the end of the process, I was exhausted.
Rebecca Ann Smith is the author of Baby X, the story of Alex Mansfield, the doctor behind a project to grow a human foetus inside an artificial uterus. When she goes on the run — and takes the new baby with her — the parents wait for news and Alex’s coworkers try to figure out what happened.
Here we talk about the story behind Baby X, the editing process, and her inspirations.
A couple of weeks ago, the worst thing that could possibly happen to a writer happened to me.
My laptop died.
My ten-month-old laptop that I’d bought because my previous one was too slow to keep up with what I needed it for.
And it wouldn’t turn on.
Boyfriend — who’s a computer programmer and also builds PCs — had a look, but it still wouldn’t play nice for him.
I wasn’t too worried. My writing was backed up on Dropbox.
Or that’s what I thought until I tried to open the file on another device.