Wednesday, 30 September 2015

So I stopped writing...

And so it begins. What? I hear you ask along with where have you been? Well I have been on a writing break. When I say that to people I feel like I am talking about a lover or something. A 'break' sounds like something was wrong, that I needed space. Well, I didn't realise it but I did need space. A couple of months ago someone suggested to me that I take a writing break. I didn't comprehend then, when I did, I laughed. "A break?" I asked incredulously. I had a list of things to do. For starters I had Under the Coconut Tree to promote (we'll get to that in a minute), a penultimate draft of Poison in the Water to finish (I was midway), The Body in the Bath to edit and Jetty Jalousie to write...all by the end of the year.
"Just for a couple of weeks," this do-gooder said. I thought nothing more of it and then later, much later, when I referred back to the mindfulness course I have been doing and realised my books were just words - a sense of the ego that only I was stroking, I realised that a break may do me good. So I did it.

It didn't start well. I felt lost without writing, I felt anxious having left Poison half way through an edit and I felt like I had deserted Under the Coconut Tree like a bad friend. But as the days progressed I found that I had been in desperate need of a break all along, I had just failed to see it. People used to ask me 'How do you fit in writing with a full time job etc.'  I always responded that if you want to do something you'll find a way. I said that writing was an addiction (It was, still is although I'm 2 months clean). I said I found the time when H was watching the football, working late, blah, blah, blah. It was true I was writing at every possible moment I could find and it was turning me anti-social. I favoured my characters to people, I valued the written word above speech. It was wrong. I had become consumed by my passion of writing and when I thought about it what was it all for? Why was I putting so much pressure on myself to finish edits, books and so forth. No one was making me do this I was doing it for myself. Was my irrational fear of failing to achieve driving me? Was it fear that if I stopped I would lose momentum? It was probably a bit of both of those things.

But I'm glad I did stop and put it all on the back burner.  I needed to stop and enjoy life by watching Devious Maids and the likes mindlessly, because you know what that is living too. You need down time. You can't continually keep going without stopping or you will burn out.

If you recognise yourself in the above perhaps you too need to take a break from your favourite hobby. I love writing and yes it has pulled me back in starting with this blog post. But this time I am going to set some ground rules:
1) No more crazy deadlines - although I haven't lost all sanity I will have some vague ones like publish Poison next year.
2) Only write on your writing day per week - not every spare hour you find.

I feel refreshed! Which brings me back to the start of this blog: And so it begins... It is time that I start marketing Under the Coconut Tree. The book that I am most proud of, the first in The Chupplejeep Mystery series so this is where I'll start. I find that I am a little rusty in the marketing stakes and social media has moved on at speed since Goa Traffic was released. That book, is still doing well all on its own. Was it all in the name?

So, now that marketing is my thing (it has to be - I owe it to Chupplejeep) I will keep you up to date with my efforts. I know a lot of writers out there struggle with this and I am no different. This week I am targeting Goan Social clubs - after all, Under the Coconut Tree is set in rural Goa. I am also writing to a few travel bloggers. I found a fab travel blog on India just yesterday called Hippie in Heels. It's fascinating how blogging seems to be a career in itself now. Is travel journalism still viable? Is it dying?  IS it just called blogging? I don't know, but I guess the written word is losing it's value when there is so much out there on-line.

Anyway, I digress... the point is my new marketing journey begins and  next week I start back on completing Poison in the Water. Perhaps after a break I can look at it with fresh eyes, perhaps my writing will have changed.

Under the Coconut Tree: A Chupplejeep Mystery is available as an ebook (A delicious £1.99 at the mo.) and paperback here! You can't blame me for a bit of marketing, can you.