Monday, 2 December 2013


December already and I've bought this sparkly carousel calendar covered in simpering Victorian children. Because...traditional values or something.
Last year, the boys had a calendar filled with Lego Star Wars toys - which they fought over, then promptly lost interest in. Someone gave them a chocolate filled calendar too - and they'd accidentally opened all the boxes and eaten the contents by day two or three, as I recall. (Seven-year-old can be remarkably accident prone when there's chocolate involved.)
Hence the cheesy Victorian scene above.
I've tried to ignite their interest by making them guess what'll be behind each door. Crackers? Bells? A bulging stocking?  A smiley snowman?

Well, so far they've found two sleeping Victorian children and tomorrow's guesses are...
"I dunno, a sleeping kid probably." (Ten-year-old)
"Yeah, I guess another sleeping kid too." (Seven-year-old)
If the printer wasn't (always!) out of ink, I'd be spending this afternoon printing some truly horrifying photos off the internet and inserting them behind the remaining doors! Ho ho ho.

I haven't felt much like blogging lately. This was always supposed to be a Writer's Progress Blog, so whenever it goes a bit quiet, the reason is a lack of writerly progress. I'm still writing and still hoping, but sometimes the hopefulness flags a bit and I go to ground for a while. It's probably an end-of-year-thing. The arrival of December is making me face the fact that this is going to be another year of not being a published writer...and that I'd be able to afford better Christmas presents if I gave up and got a job in a shoe shop.

But...I came across a Twitter conversation between writers last night that suggested it's all just a matter of time and perseverance...

Elizabeth Chadwick posted the picture above, with the words 'The novels I wrote before I was published.'

Lesley Pearse said 'I threw mine away because they were so embarrassing, but the pile was bigger than yours, Elizabeth.'

'Crikey, Lesley! Not all mine are there. I think I wrote eight in total. How many did you write?'

'Four. But huge tomes. I was afraid to keep them in case someone got hold of them after my death.'

Jill Mansell *joining in* 'I think I wrote eight books before I was published.'

Charlotte Betts added 'Eight for me too! So many of my author friends say you need to write eight first!'

Proof that the important thing is to have faith and keep going.

I'm almost up to 60,000 words of book number three now, which means I'll probably have something new to submit early in the new year. And I still feel a tiny fizz of excitement at the thought.
I have writer friends who've lost heart and given up writing for a year or longer. They've found it correspondingly harder to begin again, the longer they've left it. I'm certain this would be true for me too.
I also have writer friends who've become obsessed with getting a single book published - editing, re-drafting and submitting it endlessly - because it's hard to give up on something you're proud of. But Elizabeth Chadwick added these tweets about letting go... 'I regard most of those unpublished novels as apprenticeship pieces now, but at the time I thought they were the best thing since sliced bread...Thing is, they weren't ready for publication. If it was today and I'd published as an e-book, I'd have embarrassed myself.' new aim is to keep going for eight books, whilst not giving up or getting too attached.
Eight, though - yikes!


I went for a wander around the local shops this morning and picked up a couple of Christmas presents. Fancy chocolates, antique jewellery and ahem - a bottle of gin. But I couldn't help wondering what had happened to all the shops that used to sell bread and milk? The barbers? The butchers? The chippy and the off license?
All my local shops are now offering chipped teacups, cushions and commodes...

Do you see what I mean?
Has this happened everywhere - or just where I live?
I'm thinking of bucking the trend and buying everyone gifts that haven't already been used/worn/meddled with by generations of strangers this year. Brand new gifts - still in the factory wrapping and everything. Soulless they'll be, without character or quirks or that strange vintage smell.
I don't care - I am a badass.
Ooh - sofa!

1 comment:

  1. Oh Helen I know these feeling only too well! 3 Christmas's ago I was on a high, with an agent and so sure publication was just around the corner. Trouble is it must be the largest corner known to man as it still hasn't happened and I no longer have an agent! But I continue to write and hope. Letting projects go and moving on is hard but I'm learning to do it. Take heart, 2014 might just be our year x

    I really love those traditional calenders, far better than the chocolate ones that show no festive cheer other than a piece of, often yucky, chocolate!

    In case you don't see my reply to your comment on my blog about the purple house. Yes my youngest showed it too me. The comment was something like, "Hey Dad, found the perfect house for Mum and she could move right in!" Haha maybe they know me too well!


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