Thursday, 15 May 2014

Time for a Rethink

It's a lovely day today.  I walked the dogs early, and then reluctantly sat down to get on with the business of writing.  It is a wrench, when the sun is shining so warmly outside.  The beach is calling me...

As I have written recently on this blog, I have been beavering away this year, writing like a woman possessed, but I have not come up with anything of note.  I am pretty sure this is because I switched from the idea of writing as a creative outlet, as art, to the idea that I need to earn a living and that writing is a good way for me to make this happen. 

So, in the last few months I have produced and published several chick-lit novellas and a children's book.  None of them very good.  They might have been better - I had some moments of insight, when I could see exactly what I needed to do to improve them, but I wasn't connected enough with them to bother.  I didn't want to invest any more time in them.  Surprisingly, I have actually sold a few of these books despite my own lack of interest in them.  Which shows (she suggests hopefully) that I do have some talent, if even the work I know is nowhere near my best can attract some readers.

Recently, I have been working on a full-length romance (if you have read this before on here, bear with me.  I do have a point to make).  I was not proud of this work at all - even less than the others - because I decided to write it for purely commercial reasons.  It was trash.  It went from being Mills and Boon to being Jilly Cooper, and then descended even further into something that I can only imagine was on a par with Fifty Shades (I haven't read those books but I have read plenty of reviews of them, none of them flattering).

No matter how I tried to convince myself that writing this rubbish was fine, because it's not my fault if people want to read it, and after all I need to make a living, my conscience did not rest easy.  For the purposes of research, I skimmed through some other books in a similar vein (there is plenty of this stuff free on Kindle) and I knew I was lowering myself by reading it, never mind by trying to emulate it.

I mean, perhaps I am wrong here.  Plenty of women (and a few men) write these sort of books, and plenty read them, and who I am I to judge?  It is probably fine for those people - but to me it just did not feel right.  So several times I deleted all the rude bits from my book, only to reinstate them because there was no story left without them (no story to speak of with them either).  I kept going round in circles, but I was determined to finish it.  I hate leaving things half-done, it feels like failure.

But anyway, this morning I have finally given up the ghost.  This is not the sort of book I want to write.  Even if it earned me a million pounds (and to be honest, it was so completely uninteresting that it might never have earned me a penny) I would not feel happy with myself about it.  So I deleted the thirty thousand words that I had hammered out over the last goodness-knows-how-long - two months?  Six weeks?  Four?  It's easy to write fast when you are writing trash...  It's gone. 

Well, it's in my recycle bin, I suppose, but it's not coming out.  I feel relieved to have given up on that particular money-making idea.  Life is about more than money - I have worked hard over the last fifteen years or so to find peace of mind, and I am not going to jeopardise that now.  I want to produce books that I can be proud of, that my children will be impressed with perhaps, hopefully, one day. 

So, it's back to the drawing board.  I think I am going to concentrate on finishing my 'recovery book' again, first of all.  I have a new story to put into it now, one that illustrates again the importance of remaining true to one's own self! 

But before I get started, I'm going to head up to the shops.  I have a random list of stuff to buy for the family, including new toothbrushes, wellington boots and cling film.  I may be some time... 

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