Archive for the ‘doubt’ Category

Enough Is As Good As A Feast

Saturday, August 20th, 2011

I’ve decided to pack it in.

I’ve been blogging for four years (ish) now. I started because I wanted to have a place to link to the short stories I was beginning to publish in various web magazines and never expected that I would find such a welcoming community. Through this special kind of writing I’ve made friends, found work, been able to talk to my readers, hear what you think about my writing (Cheesy Peeps!) and I’ve been able, I hope, to let lots of people know about my writing who might not have heard about it otherwise.

While I’m NOT FROM MANCHESTER, the Manchester blogging and literary community in particular welcomed me with open arms, and long before A Kind of Intimacy was published I was attending reading nights, vomiting with fear, and testing out some of my earliest attempts at flash fiction and unreliable memoir. That wouldn’t have happened without blogging friends – there’s not a chance in cheese I would have plucked up the courage otherwise. There are too many of you to name, and this isn’t an Oscars speech – but you know who you are. Ta. (Not you.)

Despite my incurably sloppy spelling, tendency to post when tipsy even when I promised myself I wouldn’t, my ignorance of arcane blog etiquette and the occasional (pfft!) indiscretion, I have enjoyed blogging, and enjoyed reading other people’s blogs. A friend, Max, argued that blogging is an exhausted form and has been replaced by newer, briefer, more immediate forms of on-line communication. That newspapers have gobbled us all up. Maybe that’s not true for all of us bloggers, but I think it is for me and for Every Day I Lie A Little. The blog form might not be exhausted, but I am.

It’s always been a struggle for me, like all bloggers, to draw a line around my private and family life. I know you know my children aren’t really called Small Fry and McTiny, and my house isn’t really called Ashworth Towers. For those of you who are close to me in my real life as well as my online life, thank you, thank you so much, for indulging me and collaborating with me on keeping them apart from this world for all this time. For the persistent (two years, you weirdo) person who has been reaching this blog by trying to find out the real names of my children: I am not packing this in because of you.

I want to be more private, and the more private I am, the more insipid my blog posts become. I toyed with the idea of starting again  – anonymously, and saying what I really wanted to say. To write like I used to – without worrying about making a Career Limiting Move. But then I realised, I am saying what I really want to say. In the novel I am writing now, and in the writing projects I’m planning for the future, I am still communicating. My best writing is elsewhere. My blog writing was becoming something much less than second best. So in novels and stories and whatever else I get up to – that’s where you’ll find me from now on. Lying my head off, and letting more of the truth slip through than I’d probably like.

I’m also tired of the energy it can take to be a part of this community. To join in with the exuberant pissing contest that Manufacturing An Online Buzz about your work can be. No-one asked me to do it, and I’m sure many of you would rather that I didn’t. But I did, and now I’m finding that the energy needed to turn myself outwards, to sell and advertise and display, isn’t working well when I need to be quiet, and think, and type and delete and type some more.

And lets be honest, I can’t be the only one to notice that I’m fast running out of ways to make the writing life sound interesting. I get up, do a school run, type, do another school run, cook, eat, drink, type, read, sleep. Every Day. Sometimes it’s really hard, but you’re not allowed to say that because it’s not a proper job, and there’s lots of other people who could do it better than you, or would give their arms and legs to be in your shoes. And sometimes it’s brilliant. And you can’t say that either, because it sounds like bragging. So what is left? I type a lot. There it is.

Let’s not be melodramatic about this though.

I’m converting this part of my website to ‘News’ and will be updating, now and again, with details about events, readings, and gigs. If you want to carry on getting that sort of information, you can subscribe here. I’m hoping to move into book reviewing, and other kinds of online and print journalism. I’ll be reading and commenting on blogs, and writing posts for the Writing Smithy. If you’re wondering how you’ll get by without my ill-punctuated domestic ranting, refusal to be drawn on matters of national import, and puns about sandwiches, I’ll be on twitter and would love to carry on the conversation there.

But for Every Day I Lie A Little, it’s curtains.


To Cap it All

Sunday, July 17th, 2011

Irritated out of my blog silence by this article, in yesterday’s Guardian. I’ve heard it said that all British fiction engages with ideas and conflicts that spring from class – and that US fiction is similarly fascinated by race. Not irritated by the article, actually, but by this quotation within it. From Ian Haywood.

“…the term working-class writer has always been something of an oxymoron because at the point at which this writer gets published, they must have moved away from their original circumstances.”

Which suggests what? Class is something you can publish or buy your way out of? You get an advance, move house and you are suddenly not interested in the things you used to be interested in? They must have moved away? Really? Must have? Didn’t work that way for me, and my experience isn’t unusual at all.

Mobility is a difficult thing, isn’t it? As if it’s bad to be working class, whatever that means, and as soon as possible you must ‘move away’ from it? It’s important to progress, to be aspirational, to get a semi detached house and send your children to piano lessons (or insert other silly stereotype of your choice here).

I like to write about ordinary people. Ordinary is a relative term, based on my own experience of ordinary, with loads of imagined stuff chucked in. Perhaps some of my readers find my characters exotic.Should I write a country house novel? I could, if I wanted to. And country-house man could write a council estate novel, if he wanted to. And people will buy and read what they find interesting, and its to do with stories and characters and not how much money those characters make, or where about in the country they live. Or at least I hope it is. I think it is.

I’m actually getting a bit bored by my own interest in all things class. Seems very old fashioned of me.

Tug O War

Monday, April 11th, 2011

Bad blogger again.

I am very deep into my first draft of the third book. As yet mainly un-named. Just over 50k words in. I want to get it written as fast as possible because I can already guess the sort of editing that it is going to need and I want to give myself plenty of time to do it.

I didn’t think writing to a deadline would suit me but imagining my editor drumming her fingers on her desk waiting for me to type a bit quicker is actually very helpful. Vanishing into the spaces between the words and the noise the keyboard makes is wonderful. I reckon if I could fully explain how happy it makes me I wouldn’t need to do it.

But there are other demands on my time. I am pulled out of my head and into the world and then the book makes me irritable and hauls me back again. I can only imagine how fun this, along with the anxiety about Cold Light’s imminent arrival, is making me to live with.

Tugs in the other direction include two recent interviews – journalists coming inside the house, which was new and strange. Both very nice and polite and complimentary about my domestic offerings (tea, fig rolls, a token amount of pre-visit hoovering up) but Strangers all the same, inside My House and with Tape Recorders.

I was naively unprepared and expected to be asked only about the books, but that wasn’t how it panned out. I’d really like to have a body double Jenn for interviews. Someone bubbly and cheery with thoughts like lasers instead of grumpy, inarticulate woolly me.

Something I have learned this week about being interviewed: the only way to deal with the thoughts about what an idiot you were, and what stupid things you said, is to refuse to think them at all. Type, instead. Drink tea. Get over yourself.

Teaching – busy at this time of year as I have one set hurtling towards the end of their first year, and the handing in of portfolios. I suspect they are still disbelieving when I tell them one of the most useful things they can train themselves to do for their writing is to read it out loud to themselves, look up words they’re not sure of and be consistent about italicising the names of books and computer games. It is true. Little things count. And the other lot, slowly losing themselves in longer short story collections and novels and forgetting that they’re going to get marked on this sort of thing, because merits and passes and distinctions are not that important when it comes to writing good books. It’s a tiring time, working with them, but the best time so far.

On the way home from Manchester there’s a man who has sat next to me twice now who does that legs wide apart thing. He opens a textbook to learn Chinese and then puts his head back against the seat and closes his eyes. I coughed a little and touched his arm (I thought he was sleeping) and I told him he was squashing me a little bit. He said, ‘I know love,’ and I laughed, feeling envious of that amount of confidence, and leg room.

More things tugging me away from the first draft, and the pleasure of becoming invisible:

My first event in a long time as part of my fellowship at Manchester University. I read a bit from Cold Light AND a very early drafted part of something from book three. Which I worry might have been a mistake. It’s like a new love right now. I want to talk about how brilliant it is all the time, but I’m experienced enough to know we’re heading for a fall out sometime soon and those sort of spats are better fought and won behind closed doors. I read it anyway, never heard it out loud before (that’s right, I don’t take my own advice you clever, close reading devil, you!) but I think it worked okay.

I don’t think I would do it again. It felt like taking off my clothes and pointing out my problem areas to a gathering composed of all the people who have ever dumped me. But it only seemed fair – the audience was stuffed with students who have been trusting and brave enough to show me their drafts and speak to me about their ideas. It felt right to return the favour.

I ate frogs legs, that was new. And was very sad to wave goodbye to my fellow fellow, the poet Paul Batchelor who moves onto new things this month, and whose poems have restored me on more than one occasion, especially in the past few weeks when all my typing has left me emptied out and tearful by the end of the day.

This week there is lots of writing to look forward to and on Friday I am helping to make a book trailer for Cold Light.

(the picture is of Florence La Due who was a cowgirl and ‘champion roper’ and, I imagine, able to handle herself very well in a tug o war, thank you very much)

Station Stories + A Plea

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

I’ve not participated in a project since, I think, Bugged. Which was back at the start of the summer. Ages and ages ago, although – so I hear – the book is still selling very briskly thanks to Jo’s efforts in planning and performing in events up and down the country.

Still, for me it is time to take on something new to run alongside the endless typing of The First Draft and the terrifying approach to Cold Light’s arrival in the world.

The something new is Station Stories – a writing project run by David Gaffney and The Hamilton Project. The other writers involved, me, Tom Fletcher, Peter Wild, Nicholas Royle and Tom Jenks will all be writing stories set in and around Manchester Picadilly train station. Once we’ve written, edited and practiced our stories we will be performing them in the station across three days in late May. And the performace will be something very special.

We’ve already met up to be given a tour of all the station’s nooks and crannies in the hope that it would get our juices flowing. Brain storming has been happening via email. This isn’t a writing collaboration – we’re all responsible for our own words, but the performance needs to work as a whole and that means working together during the planning stages to ensure there isn’t too much overlap of story or tone, that we manage to cover, somehow, the life of the train station. 

Sadly, I am stumped. I normally like a commission and don’t have any problem with coming up with new ideas. But this week and the one before – nothing. I will pull it out of the bag in the end, promise. Most of my commissions are written in a bolt of white hot panic, against a deadline.

But in the mean time. tell me your train station stories and I may steal them and recycle them. Don’t worry if your train station isn’t Picadilly. Alk donations are welcome. Sorry for the imposition but it’s hard times for all of us.

Think of it as your donation to the Big Society.


Sunday, October 31st, 2010

People who are interested in knowing a bit about the thinking that goes into planning a novel might want to read the post I wrote during the summer here, as well as the comments. This post is a kind of reply or sequel to that post.

Thinking more about NaNoWriMo. The very reasonable comment from Paul that slapping down a load of words is more stunt than craft. Me being determined to be more thoughtful. To make decisions, to be less trial and error about it all. To make lists and chapter plans. And then finding I am paralysed and might need the stunt of an arbitrary word count to get the engine turning over.

I do have a plan. And I am anticipating the problems. Here they are:

Writing more autobiographically than I have done before – none of the characters are me or anyone I know, but two or three of the scenes come from my life, and I’m writing about a topic very close to my own upbringing. There are worries associated with this. And it triggers interesting thoughts. How even-handed do I have to be? What are my motivations? People who want to find things out about any topic won’t turn to a novel for it, so factual accuracy is less of a priority than authenticity. Authentic is really, really difficult. Especially as most of the time I’m unsure of my own opinions about anything. Hence, I think, the narrative vehicle of lots of narrators.

Five first person narrators. Possibly six. Each of them very different. Wanting to capture their voices. Wondering if I am up to the job. Wondering if this kind of ventriloquism is a cheap trick (Martin Amis mentioned something like this in his Paris Review Interview and reading it stung me a little). It feels (impersonation, inventing narrators, first persons) like it’s something worthwhile to do for me because it involves me forcing myself to grow empathy and understanding for points of view I don’t agree with. Very difficult.

That is where I am up to so far. I am looking forward to giving myself the room to bang out a short first draft and see what it looks like at the end of November. Posting might be erratic during the next four weeks.


Sunday, August 22nd, 2010

I’ve been working, as I might have mentioned once or twice (cough), on a final list of tweaks and edits to Cold Light – the last hurrah before it is off to Sceptre for them to work their magic and turn my story into a book.

The work hasn’t been extensive but it has been slow and painstaking – mainly because I want to check time-lines and continuities, (I have a chart and everything) and because it has helped me to look at the novel in an entirely different way which has involved lots more tweaking. And the fellow writers amongst you will know, once a novel is nearly finished altering one sentence in an early chapter has knock on effects and often means you need to rewrite a paragraph in a late chapter. Which is as it should be – it shows the whole thing is knitted together, is all of a piece.

I’ve already blogged a little bit about the way the first glimmers of the story for Cold Light came to me. It was similar for A Kind of Intimacy – where I had the idea of neighbours and envy and tea parties right from the very start. I like this part of writing – the inventing part seems easier. I always have lots of tall tales up my sleeve. I can create a mess of a first draft in a couple of months.

Editing is very different though. By editing I mean anything from a second draft to a seventh, and the final tweaking which I am doing now. A Kind of Intimacy was seven drafts – Cold Light has been about the same although because I don’t tend to start at Chapter One and end at the Epilogue the lines between what counts as one draft and the next are always very blurred. Editing means turning the shapeless mass of the first draft into something that runs from page one to page – let me check… 337 at last count – with some kind of drive forwards and coherence.

What has helped me this time is to think of the novel as an attempt to solve problems that were thrown up by my original idea. In my mind, it works a bit like this:

What happens if you’re always the one left out and all the interesting things are taking place when you’re at home or distracted by other, more mundane events? What happens if you desperately want to be included, but almost never are?

This translates into a problem – of telling a story where the narrator didn’t witness any of the dramatic, plotty-type things that happened. Hmmm.

What happens if the effect of one winter in your teens totally derails the course of your life? And what if that life is stunted – if you grow into an adult who still acts like a fourteen year old? What if I want to write a story about people who get stuck, who don’t change?

One of the members of my fiction group translated this into a problem perfectly – the characterisation is static, the action in this part of the book is static (to be specific, adult Lola spends a LOT of her time alone in her flat watching television) and this works against narrative, which has forward motion, is about change and development.


So my editing this time around has been structured by me knowing I wanted to tell a gripping story about a crime with a few spanners thrown in the works (the narrator leads a life that would be boring to read too much about and is remembering a time and a series of events that she doesn’t funny understand and didn’t fully experience).

It isn’t up to me to judge how well Cold Light has solved those problems, but it has turned into the sort of book I’d like to read. I’m looking forward to seeing what people think. (Actually, that is an out and out lie. I’ve been composing scathing reviews for myself in my head for weeks).

I know this is itself a very partial, over simplified, craft-oriented way of thinking about writing and editing and checking if a novel ‘works’ or not. It is not dissimilar to the idea of ‘plot’ being nothing more than characters overcoming obstacles to get at something they want or get away from something they don’t want. ‘Story’ as problem solving for characters and structuring a ‘plot’ as problem solving for writers. Which works as a way of thinking about stories a lot of the time, but not always. And I don’t know if it would work like this for poets. It seems to be more of a way to think about how to do a plot than how to do language.

I’m looking forward to the next novel too (no working title yet. Just Number Three). I am wondering how my very specific requirements about structure: five first person narrators all narrating, partially and unreliably, the events of one twelve hour stretch of time are going to throw up problems for me, and what tricks I need to learn to solve those problems and tell the story. I’m excited to find out. I like the realist novel. I don’t think it is dead.

On Compromise and Stilton Jars

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

This is a kind of follow-on to my last post, which was about working within boundaries – both as a creative writer, and as someone who works on creative writing projects and teaches creative writing to others.

It was about the way I feel that boundaries can either shape or stifle the work, and me feeling a bit uncomfortable about setting other people boundaries – even though I know I can be very creative inside some rules myself and I know that sometimes writers appreciate a brief, a nudge in the right direction, a set of guidelines to bump up against.

I still haven’t found an answer to that one – still haven’t decided how I feel, other than ‘it depends’.

This post is about compromise, which is related, I think. Doing creative work might seem to be full of kicks and freedom and a world away from the 9-5 drudge you do for a boss, but in actual fact it is often a series of compromises between what I would like to do, and what the funders require – what I think is best or most effective, and what ticks the right boxes. Sometimes this means working really creatively on developing and delivering a project that ticks everyone’s boxes (that idea of boundaries being inspiring again) and sometimes, it doesn’t. Sometimes is means he who pays the piper calls the tune.

I’ve not been doing freelance work (writer-for-hire) long enough to be able to tell how these compromises are going to feel to me before I start, although I’m learning that the amount of compromise involved is important to me. Because when the compromise is too much, I start to feel bad. I feel dishonest, or like I don’t want to be associated with the product because it’s too far away from the way I think it should have been done. I’ve been mainly lucky so far with this.

And what about my own writing? I can write what I like, and most of the time I do. When I was writing A Kind of Intimacy I hoped but did not expect to get it published, and that gave me a lot of freedom to write about things I didn’t think anyone else but me would be interested in. It just turned out that they were. It was lucky. I liked it. I hope it will happen again like that.

I can write what I want, please no-one but myself, and refuse to compromise. I can be playful, and I am allowed to write badly or oddly and I am allowed to write things that won’t ever be significant to anyone other than me. I’ve noticed the more I need to budge in my professional life, the more independent and wilful I need to be in my own writing.

But. But. But.

But if I want other people to read my writing, or I want it to be published, or I want to make a living doing it, or I want to win something, or if I want it reviewed, or if I want to go to festivals, or I want to get more work teaching (or any combination of these, some of which I do and don’t want in varying degrees of importance that change from day to day) there are also compromises to be made.

So far, these compromises have been small and have been the creative kind of boundaries that have felt inspiring. So I might write a story to a theme I hadn’t thought about before, or stick to a word count when if left to my own devices I’d give the story a bit longer, or take into account the submission deadlines of a competition when planning my work for the week… these things are basic. They are things that influence my creative decisions and I am fine with that.

But what about bigger compromises? How do I balance that? How do I balance being able to earn enough to pay the rent against being able to write something that feels okay to me, and feels like what I wanted to say? I could always get a real job, and write what I like without compromise. That is always open to me.

This is connected, again, to my half-hearted planning for novel number three. Annie says she’s a minority interest, like ‘folding paper birds or collecting stilton jars’.

I think my writing is a bit like that.

Dippy Egg + Blog Crisis

Saturday, March 13th, 2010

I met Kate Feld in Manchester for tea and dippy eggs yesterday. Kate is the brain behind the Manchester Blog Awards, among many other things. We chatted, as you’d expect, about blogs and blogging. I’ve been working with beginner bloggers a lot more than I used to and recently taught a workshop on Blogging for Beginners to a creative writing group in Ormskirk, West Lancashire.

I said, both during this workshop and later on to Kate, that I thought the best blogs had a focus and were specialised – and that when I write my blog I try to remember that most of the people reading it are writers, or bookworms, or people who want to be writers. They don’t really care about the other stuff I get up to. So I try to stick to posts about writing and research and editing and The Writing Life (such as it is) even though there are lots of other things that I do and think about.

It’s also important to me that most of my private life is private – so I don’t blog too much about my family or the conversations I have with other people – and when I do (like now) I stick to what I say and leave out what they say. I don’t put pictures of Small Fry and Mr on here because they wouldn’t like it and I generally don’t blog too much or too specifically about my freelance work because that effects other people too.

And, of course, I make quite a lot of this up. I had a couple of questions from the students at Edge Hill about my blogging and there was an audible gasp when I ‘confessed’ to a lot of the fiction and artifice contained in these posts. Eeep. May I refer you back to the title of this blog? I’ve got a diary for when I want to do my confessional writing. I never forget that this is public.

All this has got me thinking, and I might almost be on the cusp of changing my mind. I used to blog a lot more about my not-writing life than I used to, and I think one of the reasons why I stopped was because I suddenly started getting lots more hits and didn’t feel that I was speaking to a group of people I knew anymore. Readers became audience, and this became more performed than I intended it to be. Maybe.

What do you think? Is there an ideal balance between specialism and individuality on a blog? What’s your experience about the line you draw between your public written life and your private one? I am curious if the people reading my blog have extra things they would like to find out about me and my not-writing-life (such as it is)

Teachy McTeach

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

This has been a week for going out into the world and talking about writing. I’ve been preparing all week for the second instalment of my fortnightly intermediate creative writing class which happens on Saturday morning, out on Monday night to give a workshop on blogging to a creative writing group in Ormskirk, giving a workshop in the prison on Wednesday morning and tomorrow I’ll be teaching a workshop in Burnley as part of the Inspire Burnley project. Phew.

My favourite workshop so far has been at the prison. I know the men, they know me and they’re used to working with each other, writing together and giving each other feedback. It’s exhausting but I like it so much it doesn’t feel like work. My aim this time was to have them work on editing the autobiographical flash pieces we’d been working on before Christmas. I noticed a memey thing going around on a couple of my favourite blogs last week – a creative writing prompt that I decided to try with the men.

Writing lists of the things you like, and don’t like to write felt like a good way to warm up after a too-long gap between workshops (damn snow, again) and sharing the pieces opened up into a discussion between the men and me about voice, and style, and priorities. I know editing is about making a piece of writing better, but it’s really hard to explain what better means – especially to group of writers diverse in their tastes and experience. I think we decided ‘better’ meant closer to your own ambition for the piece, and Sarah Salway’s writing prompt helped us all to get a bit closer to what our ambitions for our writing were – what we liked to write, and how we’d like to be helped to do it better. That’s something handy to keep at the front of your mind when editing, and seeing as I’m doing a lot of my own editing now – it helped me too.

I don’t talk very much about my teaching on here, even though sometimes I spend half of my week doing it, and even though I like it very much. I’ve no qualifications to be a teacher, which makes me nervous, and my spelling is pretty atrocious, and although it’s never my intention to talk about myself or my own work, so much of my teaching method is to say something like this:

Look, here’s how I’d do it. Here are some other ways to do it. I’ve noticed this… and when I’ve done this, that sort of thing has happened. Now here’s a pen, you try, and I’ll sit here and cheer you on until you’re finished then we can have a look at it and a chat afterwards. Don’t worry.

Someone told me that wasn’t teaching, that was facilitating. I don’t know what that means. I’ve felt a bit nervous about what I do ever since. Some of my ‘students’ know a lot more than I do, and many of them are certainly better read. But I like it a lot, and seeing as the last great idea I had for a workshop was stolen from Sarah’s blog, I thought I’d throw-open the blog door and invite you all to tell me about your experiences with teaching.

Have you any tips for me?

So, Teachy McTeach with the teach-hat on this week. And in-between, there’s been interviews with old and new friends for Preston FM, busying myself with preparations for the launch of the very new Lancashire Writing Hub website, preparing posters, publicity and arranging tour dates for the show
and editing Cold Light. I’m looking forward to a quiet week. It seems like months and months and months ago since Christmas.


Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

I’m home again, with a bit of the anti-climatic feeling you always get after a very nice holiday which included kippers, Dracula, the Vampire Prawns, scrambling up a rock face in wellies and a wedding dress, and lots of lazing about reading.

I was so busy before the holiday: scrambling to finish the last chapter of Cold Light and rewrite the final scenes in the light of some last minute research I did about water cooled power stations and their effect on sea-temperature, that coming back from Whitby to my bomb-site desk with its row of mouldy mugs and keyboard decorated with orange peel feels a bit like waking up from a dream.

Here are some of the things I was too busy to tell you about before I went away.

An article in the Swedish Daily News about Annie and me.

Writing an introduction for the anthology ‘Mostly Truthful’ published by Flax, available to read on-line and featuring the work of North-West writers Katherine Woodfine, Jane Routh, Adrian Slatcher and Kate Feld.

Getting a sneak preview of the U.S book cover for A Kind of Intimacy – appearing on this blog very soon.

Being an on-line writer in residence and teaching creative writing workshops in libraries across Lancashire for the Learning Festival Revolution – including one workshop in Lancashire Record Office where we used old Wanted Posters as prompts and inspirations for writing. if you’re from Lancashire, you can join in. Click on the link and tell me a story.

Here are some of the things I’ll be doing during November:

Planning a creative writing project working with prisoners starting very soon. Can’t say more about this yet, but it is one of the most exciting things I’m doing with my time right now and I can’t wait to get going with it.

Planning, with my mentor, how I’m going to spend my time next year. Am I going to be a full-time writer forever? What kinds of things do I need to do to earn money? What sort of projects do I like doing best? How do I go about getting the kind of work that I want, and still being able to write and have time with the SmallFry? How much time do I want to spend writing novels and stories, and how much time do I want to spend working outside my house?

Since I left the prison in August, I’ve been saying yes to almost everything because I want the experience and I want to find out what sort of work I enjoy doing, and what I’m good at (and no good at). I’ve been very, very lucky in that I’ve had more work than I know what to do with and have still had to turn down a few things. Now I want to start choosing what I do more carefully.

And of course, I’ll be writing down all those post-sending-the-novel-to-be-looked-at niggles and too-late ideas for the next edit I’ll no doubt be doing very late this year or early next.

I’m kicking myself that I forgot to put the knitted dog into the last chapter.

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