Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Writing in the doldrums

At the moment, I'm a maybe going-to-be professional author, because my book is still officially out with editors. On the other hand, I feel if they wanted it they would have said something, offered me money or at least sweets. At the same time I feel like a real bona fide author of my current book which seems so much more real than the shadowy draft doing the rounds. 

I'm at the finishing stages of producing a reasonable draft. I have set myself one month to write a thousand words a day of the historical strand. I know how it starts and ends and the middle is starting to fill in the pieces. I've just found myself quite nauseated by what someone has done to a pregnant cat. How is that, that we can summon such a real scene in our heads that we make ourselves (and our characters) feel sick? 

I'm reading a book at the moment that, for me, has overdone the nausea bit. I don't think I can read it. A Respectable Trade by Philippa Gregory contains some gruesome details of the slave trade that actually, I can't deal with. Of course, the stark facts are awful, and gruesome, but it's just not for me, especially as I mostly read before I go to sleep. 

I know it sounds as if I can dish it out, but not take it, but so far one of the slaves has been raped, tried to kill herself by eating soil, been fitted with a metal scold's bridle so she can't eat more, and has now died in agony. I just found the body of a tortured cat. It's well written, it's evocative, it's honest and I'll probably enjoy it more when I'm a bit more robust.

This is always a bad time of the year. My daughter died in August and I'm already dreaming of her ahead of the anniversary next week. I'm stressed out about other stuff, and the Secrets/ Borrowed Time book feels like it's just drifting about without me. Who knows where it will end up. Meanwhile one of the things that feels solid is Baby's Bones. Which I'm enjoying, and succeeding at. 

On another, more scary note. How do you back up? I've heard some sad tales of people's cloud storage being breached and wiped, especially if they don't use separate passwords for it. Hard storage like memory devices are great but not if you keep them with your computer, and definitely not if you keep them plugged in. If your house caught fire... I use a combination of a separate hard drive for regular backups, DVDs that aren't kept with the computer (normally for things like photographs) but the easiest backup I have found is to open a gmail account (or yahoo or whatever) and send myself drafts every day. I can access my gmail account from anywhere and open my inbox and pick up my latest draft. I regularly send myself a folder full of drafts, and so far I've only used up 2% of the available space. Sure, gmail could be compromised, but it's unlikely that my computer will die, and my house catch fire on the same day. Just a thought. 


  1. I cant leave a comment without saying I'm so sorry to hear about your daughter's death. I can't even begin to imagine how that feels (other than total emotional devastation). No wonder it's hard to write at the moment. So well done for persevering. I'm 103,000 words in now with 12 scenes left and DREADING writing the last, hugely brutal, scene. I don't know about you but I feel like I've been writing this novel forever (did I really only start it in March?) and can't wait to start pulling it together in the rewrite. P.s. Like you I back up by emailing the MS to myself. And you just reminded me, I haven't done it for a few days...

    1. I'm just so grateful for my other kids...I set myself 1000 words a day amd so far I'm on target, maybe a few words ahead, but I know next week is going to be awful so I just want to get ahead. I'm lucky, I wrote the end scene (brutal, too!)earlier, so I'm just hoping the beginning and middle join up seamlessly to the end, like the Channel tunnel. Hoping...Well done for 103k, brilliant progress.