Tag Archives: novel

All fur coat and no knickers

As in, ‘Oh, don’t listen to her, she’s All fur coat and no knickers, that one.’

Ocelot fur coat by Kürschner, via Wikimedia CommonsLately, I’ve realised, ‘that one,’ is me. If you’re unfamiliar with this saying, it basically means that someone is all talk and no action. Earlier this year, I talked about Giving more, Doing more, and Being more. I have been quietly giving and doing more but being more – well, as I’ve said before, not so much. I’ve also talked about writing. I’ve not talked about my novel that much, but I have talked about it enough that you’d think I’d have got more done.

Perhaps I’m spending too much time talking, and not enough time just getting on with it. So, with this in mind, I have decided to only post one or two blogs each month from now on, so that I can shift my focus to this big project and keep it there. I’m still interested in interviewing more Ordinary People for the series if you’d like to take part/know anyone who would, and I would welcome any guest posts if you’re interested in writing one! I’m especially interested in showcasing guest posts from young writers like Natalie.

Right, now… Please excuse me while I take off this ridiculous fur coat* and get back into my jeans. 😉

* I don’t actually own a fur coat. 

Let’s not talk about the novel

Ah, the novel…

A lovely blogging friend  commented on my absence from blogging/twitter etc. last month, saying that I was ‘probably busy writing.’ I wish that were true. Well, I suppose I was writing a bit, but I’ve barely touched the novel in over a month.

Friends have asked about it and I’ve started to say ‘let’s not talk about it,’ because, well, there’s nothing new to tell – not really. However, I promised to update you and haven’t done since December so it’s about time I came clean…

Since December, I have barely added to the 10,000 words I had written during NaNoWriMo. Yes, I’m disappointed with myself. I had intended to write a certain amount of words every week and it fell by the wayside. I’ve been taking on a little too much lately (not all of it necessary, perhaps I was diverting my attention deliberately…) and something had to give. The novel was the first thing I stopped. It was stalling anyway, I was starting to wonder what my characters were doing and feeling a little distant from them. I thought that taking a break from the story might help. I’m still not sure whether it has.

After about a month, I returned to my initial draft and re-read it. The first couple of thousand words are ok, I think. Then the story seems to wander off, away from what I originally wanted it to say. I’m not sure whether I’m writing two novels or if I’ve just lost sight of what the novel is supposed to be about. I still will write it, but what I have here isn’t it. On the advice of a friend, I won’t trash it, just in case. I will, however, take the first part – the part I’m happy with – and start the story again from here. Continuing where I left off is a bad idea, I feel, as it would be too easy to meander back into the irrelevant story and get frustrated with where it’s going.

So – that’s where I’m at. Starting over. I will be revisiting and reviewing my original plot outline to make into something tighter, more likely to help me stay on track, and then I’ll start over. I don’t know how much I’ll write each week but I will definitely take a blogging break again as soon as I find my ‘flow,’ to make sure I don’t lose the momentum this time. I’ll be sure to let you know how it’s going as soon as there is anything to report! In the meantime, let’s just not talk about it 😉

Are any of you working on a big project at the moment? If so, how’s it going? What do you do when you find it stalls or goes in a direction you’re not happy with? Please share your advice and experiences below!


Hello again!

It’s good to be back. If you’re wondering where I’ve been… Well nowhere really, nowhere but inside my head, working on a new project.

At the end of October, I blogged about taking time out from to really get going on my novel, which I started at the beginning of October and initially, did very little about! As some of you may be aware, November was National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), and many writers have been dedicated to completing a 50,000 word novel within the 30 days. If you are one of these writers, and you managed this, I salute you! That takes some dedication and I look forward to reading your  novels some day soon.

I have been using most of my blog reading/writing time to work on my novel, but have still kept up with all of my other commitments and so haven’t been able to dedicate as much time as I would have liked. However, over the course of the month, despite starting two new big work-related projects and having a very sick toddler for part of the month, I have managed to write just over 10,000 words. It’s not NaNoWriMo but it’s not bad going either!

At first, I kept wanting to go back and edit my work, which really slowed me down but I have now managed to let go of that and I haven’t even been stopping to break my work up into chapters yet. I also looked at my word count every time I sat down to begin with, and would feel annoyed if I didn’t manage to write at least 500 words each time I sat down. Once I let go of this, I found I could write much more without even realising it. I guess my biggest learning curve this month has been letting go of things. Here’s what else I’ve learned:

  • Writing when I really don’t feel like it/have other things on my mind just doesn’t work for me. I’ve been told time and again that ‘good’ writers must write despite this. Well, every time I’ve tried this I’ve written badly. Very badly. It’s just not worth it. The book is in me and it comes out when it’s ready. I give it a certain amount of hours each week and if nothing comes out, then I do some research or refer back to my plot outline instead – that way I’m still working on it even if I’m not writing it
  • Reading fiction on the days that I’m writing is not a good idea. I often find myself taking on the style of that particular writer. So I have been reading some interesting non-fiction this month!
  • Not blogging, or reading blogs, for a month has freed up a few  hours a week, which I have been able to use to focus on the novel. Now that I’ve got the momentum going I am back to blogging (I’ve missed it!), but think I will reduce the number of posts to once a fortnight to ensure I don’t slow down too much on the novel
  • I’m making mistakes, but that’s ok. I can fix them later. As a friend recently said, ‘you can’t edit what you haven’t written!’
  • I’m not scared any more.

So, I will post updates here from time to time but there’s no timetable for that because I’m taking the slow and steady approach to this novel and the way I see it, it takes as long as it takes. Even if I don’t post any updates, I will talk about it on twitter with the #amwriting hashtag and I’ll definitely let you know when it’s finished!

Thanks for your support!

The novel – an honest update

Earlier this month, I announced on twitter (as a short poem on National Poetry Day) that I had started writing a novel. I then blogged about it and said that I would post updates to this blog. It’s not even been a month yet but here’s the thing… I haven’t actually done very much about it.

Oh, it started well. I had a dream, which gave me the basic idea for the story. I got very excited about it and I told my sister, who was also excited for me. Then I wrote a basic plot outline and started writing the introductory chapter (I call it this as I’m not yet sure whether it will be the prologue, chapter one, or something else…). I went away and came back to it the next day. It didn’t feel right. So I started over. I’ve done this twice now and as I write, there are still only 1,260 words on the page.

I got a bit upset, so I wrote some other stuff instead, thinking I’d ‘come back to it.’ I’ve added a word or two here and there, but it’s not enough. I keep talking about it and then actually doing very little. This is not good. I need to focus, really focus, and get some writing done.

So why am I here, blogging today? You might wonder… Well, I said I’d update you on my progress – whether or not I’ve made any! Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

  • I’ve become far too used to writing short stories and am out of the habit of writing for any great length of time
  • I want to edit what I’ve written about every 500 words. I keep stopping to do so and then end up starting over
  • I have very little writing time, which I need to be more possessive over
  • I am brilliant at procrastinating
  • I’m scared. It’s a big project.

And so here’s what I plan to do about it:

  • Be more possessive about my writing time. Use it primarily for writing the novel. The blog posts can wait
  • Flesh out my plot outline so that I can use it to refer back to should I get ‘stuck.’ I can always change it should the story take a different turn
  • Use the plot outline to break the novel down into manageable ‘chunks.’ Allow myself to edit a little after completing each chapter (or three, I might need to review this)
  • Embrace the fear and just get on with it.

So that’s where I’m at. Tomorrow sees the start of National Novel Writing month (NaNoWriMo) and although I won’t be officially participating (announcing that I’ll write 50,000 words in a month will just terrify me and make me watch the word count rather than what I’m writing), I am going to enter into the spirit of things by taking a blogging break and concentrating on the novel for the month (I’m sure I won’t be the only one!). Hopefully this will get things moving along.

I’ll still be around on twitter but I might be a bit quiet. Normal service will resume in December and let you know how I’ve been getting on.

Good luck to everyone who has signed up to NaNoWriMo – I look forward to hearing how you all get on!

Hello you…

Hello Dear Reader,

It’s been a while since I just said Hi!  Whether you’ve been reading for a long time or you’ve just stumbled upon my blog today, I welcome you, and thank you for coming along for the ride! I hope you have enjoyed/will enjoy reading my words…

The past couple of months at Honest Speaks has been mostly Free Write Friday and 100WCGU entries, with just a couple of poems thrown in. While there’s nothing wrong with that, I felt it was time I started ‘talking’ to you a bit more. Whether you’re new here or have been reading a while, you might want to head over to my ‘About me‘ page, which has been recently updated…

So, what news..? Well I’ve got a few ‘projects,’ on the go but none of those are that interesting (yet) so I won’t bore you with them here… However, some of you may remember that I launched a new parenting blog, ‘Mothering Mushroom,’ a while ago and perhaps you’re wondering how it’s going? (If not, you might want to skip the next paragraph!). Mothering Mushroom is now six months old and I’m enjoying writing about family life and recording Mushroom’s milestones there. I’ve also made some great friends – some of whom I know also read Honest Speaks (hello, you!). If you have a toddler (Mushroom* is 18 months old so that’s my focus) or are simply interested in reading about family life, you might want to head over there and have a look around.

And finally… If you’ve been following me on twitter, you’ll know that the big news is my novel. That’s right. I have started writing a novel. In the past I have had many ideas about what I would (or ‘should’) write about but none of them have really held my attention for long enough. This time, my idea is definitely ‘the one.’ How do I know this? Well, for one, I am very excited about it. Mainly though, I know it’s the one because I feel that even if nobody reads it, I still want to write it.

I know this book isn’t going to write itself quickly. In between work, childcare, this blog, Mothering Mushroom and various other commmitments, I am quite ‘time poor.’ I need to make time to write it. Quite a lot of time. This means that there may be less blog posts over the coming months. However, I will try to continue to post at least once a fortnight and you still can catch me on twitter. I won’t be sharing my draft on this blog but I will post updates every now and then to let you know how it’s coming along.

Ok, that’s quite enough about me. What about you? How are you..? Yes, you!What exciting projects are you working on? Do share below – I’d love to hear from you!

*Mushroom is not his real name. Just in case you were wondering.