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Tuesday, 23 April 2019

The Creativity Demons

You know that kind of misplaced creative feeling you get? Like when you're supposed to be making a macrame plant hanger but it's not going totally smoothly so you decide to go and put a flower border in the front garden instead?

Okay, maybe this is a little bit specific. But anyway, it's a real thing, a sort of 'creation fatigue'. Your mind wants to create something and you're all inspired and fired up with ideas and then... it's like the original inspiration dies away and you still want to make something, but the original something you started just looks all limp and sad and not something you'd want to hang a spider plant in. Or something.
This is fine, but you couldn't hang it in your window, could you?

That. Only with books.

Writing away, everything going smoothly. Then the first gritty little bits start to get into the works. The wheels start making clunking noises and, in some extreme cases, fall off. Your characters behave badly or have 'creative differences' with the other characters and go off to start their own book. Outside the sun is shining, and you are incarcerated in the dark, damp depths of your living room trying to squeeze the last ounce of creative spark out of your tired and limp brain.

And then the 'creativity demons' creep in.

'Look...' they whisper, while you suck the end of your pencil and stare at your computer with decreasing levels of hope. 'You want to make something? Why not go into the kitchen? You can be creative with cookery instead...'

So you lay down your manuscript and wander into the kitchen, thinking possibly no further than a cheese and avocado sandwich with Marmite (because that's as creative as you can get at the moment), and then there is a sudden CLICK and you find you are melting chocolate and grating lemon rind and becoming a kind of cheap version of Nigella only without the clothes sense and the overt sexuality.

So. Yes. Still haven't finished the book, but the cake was AMAZING...

Sunday, 10 March 2019

Imposter Syndrome. A bad case.

Yep, it's true. It's mine and it's sitting on top of a cupboard right now, looking at me with its little pointy edges. Fantasy Romantic Novel Winner it says. I won it for this one...
...which, should you wish not to miss out, is available to purchase right now from Amazon.

Go on, it's fine, I'll wait.

And I am still pinching myself. Still saying 'but how can I have won an award? I'm me...' almost as though the panels of readers and Those Who Know who arrange these things are not allowed to like my books because I am a person who mostly wears wellingtons and works in the Co Op.

It's Imposter Syndrome of course. The fear that, actually, we have no idea what we are doing, are just muddling through, desperately flinging words at a page and hoping against hope that nobody will sit up one day and say 'hang on, none of these words make any sense at all! Plus this book smells slightly of mud and is clearly written by someone whose main task in life is to make sure that the confectionary shelf in the local shop is really really tidy.'

Apparently lots of writers have it. Imposter syndrome I mean, not the urge to keep the Dairy Milk from invading the world. Many of us believe that we don't deserve any success, that we are really rubbish at what we do and it's simply some kind of magical glamour field that is keeping everyone else from realising this. I think I might be unique in also suffering from Imposter Syndrome in my day job, where I am convinced that I am operating a till simply by pressing random buttons and it's only through the goodness of the heart of those higher up in the Co Op network that I am still employed at all. But why? This is my fourth award, for goodness' sake! People somewhere are enjoying what I write enough to shove the books to the top of the voting list (unless they are purely giving me awards out of sympathy, which I hope isn't the case). A shelf full of similiarly pointy stars testifies to this, and also, incidentally, means that I have some fairly life-threatening dusting to do whenever I have visitors. So why, on earth, do I daily feel that I am no good at this 'writing' thing and should spend my downtime doing something more profitable and that I am better at, although at this point my mind realises that I am not any good at anything else and I go and stand and stare at the pond for an hour or so.

Is it a female thing? Is it to do with 'not showing off'? Not wanting to boast?

Or are all humans basically fumbling their way through life pretending to know what they are doing, and in a minute-by-minute state of fear that someone is going to say 'Hang on a minute...'

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Shortlisting and short legs

Well, I've only gone and been shortlisted in the Romantic Novel of the Year awards again.

Sorry, that sounds a bit downbeat, doesn't it? I am actually beyond delighted. I'm up for the Fantasy Award this time round, against a trio of very lovely authors and two wonderful books, so I feel madly inadequate as usual, and am again wondering what the hell I should wear.
This is the book. Not what I am going to wear...

I am cursed with short hair and short legs. In fact, I look not unlike a bowling ball with a pair of feet. So, in desperation, I messaged my friend Lynda Stacey (who always looks lovely and is my own personal style guru), who very kindly sent along some items of clothing which may make me look a little less - well, rotund. I am currently in that stage of further desperation where I try on clothes, think I look acceptable in them, walk about a bit feeling quite swish, catch a glimpse of my back view in a mirror and realise that I look like a hippo in mourning, take off clothes, go and drink gin and then come back to repeat the performance with different clothes.

I am also in training to run a 10k race in May. The training takes the form of flailing my way up and down local hills in the company of a terrier who spends the whole run yelling 'lookrabbits!Runfaster, cancatchrabbits!' and is, quite frankly, exhausting. You would think that this training would mitigate the whole 'bowling ball' look, wouldn't you? Nope. I now look like a fuschia bowling ball.
This is even the same expression as I wear.

Well, it will make me stand out at the awards, if nothing else...