Saturday, 3 March 2012

Boasting Over - Back to Work

Actually, that's the transition I have to make, to work. Writing used to be a major part of my job. You may have come across my leaflets: What to do when Someone Dies? and my favourite, Living with an Indwelling Catheter. Alternatively, I wrote handouts - seemingly thousands of them. I realised a few years ago I was turning out 150-200k words a year just for work, then about the same in my hobby writing. Last year I wrote almost half a million words, some of them here. That's a whole book, half a new one, a children's book, twenty odd poems and a blog. The hour a day spent tapping on the computer has progressed through the MA to 5+ hours a day writing, editing, or sketching out scenes or poetry. Add a couple of hours research and reading, and I've got a work day. The problem is, because I've been thinking of it as 'hobby writing' I haven't taken proper time off, which is why I keep getting repetitive strain injuries.

I need to think of it as a job, like I did during the MA. I had strict deadlines (assignments), strict word counts, and five days a week completely alone, from 8.30am to 6pm. This novel/agent thing has suggested to me that I need someone to give me deadlines and set me challenges, and that will help me get something of a work mindset.

The Mslexia competitions for poetry collections and children's novel are very inviting, especially as I have so much ready from the MA. Looks good!


  1. I should think the MA is enough in itself. Didn't know that mslexia held competitions for children's books. Interesting.

  2. They've just started, they're going to run one every 3 years or so, by the looks of it. Worth a go!

  3. Doesn't look like you need much in the way of additional motivation. Your output is pretty impressive by any standard.

    I did blog about not entering another competition, but I do have a YA novel in the drawer, and, you're right, it is tempting. I've been trying to resist ever since I heard about it. I did put some short stories in for the latest competition, but I did it before I announced that I didn't plan to become a professional contestant.

    Sorry to hear about the RSI. I'm grateful that I've never suffered, but I do wonder if the fact that I can touch type keeps me at least a little more immune than others.

  4. Hi Nicola, I'm sure touch typing would be very helpful! I'm working on trying to vary the way I work. I'm not sure about the competition either, I feel like I could be pulled in too many directions and do none justice, especially as I have almost all of a poetry collection together. But, Like you, I do have a kids book on the hard drive... There's no rush to make up your mind, September's a long way off and I suspect big and exciting changes will come along this year for us.