The Joy

I’m getting better, but it’s very slow. I’m still too tired to do much, still in pain, still with difficulties. As someone who is used to – and likes – being independent and active, this is all very frustrating. The worst thing is, it all beginning to make me a bit depressed. I’m a bit miserable, I have to admit. There have been crying sessions.

Apparently this is normal for someone in my position, and I’ve had counselling and anti-depressants suggested to me – but I have a better way.

You see, two weeks ago, something finally happened. I felt ready to write again. I have some editing to do – lots of editing to do, for both my agent and my editor, and I was ready to do it.

It’s only when you don’t write for a while that you forget the utter joy of it. I was utterly excited when I opened up my computer, and started those first few edits. I felt enormous pleasure in feeling my mind work again, and my imagination stretch, and my fingers flying across the keyboard.

I felt better when writing. If I was in pain, I forgot it. The exhaustion went away. The depression disappeared entirely. When I stopped, the pain and exhaustion came back, but I stayed happy. I sat back, worn out, but repeating to myself ‘I wrote today’.

Writing can be difficult and frustrating and tiring sometimes. Sometimes I just don’t want to do it. But in the end, it always brings me immense joy, and I must never forget that.

Audio Anyone? by Christine Duncan

Michelle wrote about how audio books helped her through her recent illness, although she hadn’t loved them before. I really love audio books. They help me through long runs, when I just have no more mantras left to keep me going and the voice in my head is telling me to stop.
They are wonderful to get me through that long list of tiresome chores when all I want to do is read. I can tell you exactly where I was in Margaret Maron’s Killer Market as I painted the living room ceiling. And that ceiling needs painting again. It’s wonderful for those times when I have rushed to some appointment only to be told to wait. It’s also a way I have tried out many new to me writers that I wasn’t sure about.
I just haven’t figured out how to get MY books in audio. I know of some people who hired studios and recorded the books themselves. I can read, obviously, but I’m not say, Barbara Rosenblatt who does all those wonderful voices. Or maybe I’m too self conscious to try that. I need to figure out how to do this.

That’s the cool thing about writing. There’s always something to try for.

I’m Back Again

And finally, I’m back. Thanks for all your good wishes. I have to admit, it’s been a difficult time. The operation was more complicated than expected, I was too ill when I came home to do anything, then I had to be re admitted to hospital – it all got a bit traumatic.

I certainly haven’t been able to write. And what with one thing and another, I was too exhausted to even think. I couldn’t read, I was too worn out to concentrate on the page. I couldn’t even watch TV – well, not the complex dramas and intensive documentaries I normally like, I could just about cope with Pets Do The Funniest Things.

What saved me was audio books. I loaded up my iPod with radio comedies, and all the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy and Sherlock Holmes and lots of classic books on audio, and they were wonderful. Plug myself in, sit back, and lose myself, no effort required. They took me away from the hospital and the noise and people around me, and took me into the wonderful world of books and needed no effort of my part. They calmed me down and soothed me and saved me and sent me off to sleep. Without them I would have lain in bed, staring at the ceiling, worrying myself sick.

I’ve never really liked audio books before. I don’t like to be read to. But this time, in hospital, tired and scared and sick, they were wonderful.

Happy Father’s Day by Christine Duncan

It’s officially summer, and I’d bet heavily that even Facebook doesn’t get as many Hits on summer holidays as it does during dreary winter weather.  Not that I think blog writing should take a hiatus but I am starting to appreciate writers who keep it short and sweet.  Or maybe it’s just that I’ve finally figured out what the acronym tl dr means.

Whatever.  I’m spending time checking out writing sites like Inkitt (anybody fmiliar with that one? Is it worth it to do their contests?) and planning what I want to get done when I get a moment.  It seems like a good time to plan fall promo too.  How are you making this summer work for your writing?

How Do You Choose a Book? By Christine Duncan

It’s been a tiring weekend with chores never ending.  All I want to do is read something good. The problem is I don’t know what I want. I can tell you what I don’t want.

I don’t want a heroine who is a gorgeous  actress. I don’t want an historical. I don’t want to read noire, I want something funny, but not over the top. I want one that  will take my mind off my worries but will still seem like real life.  I want one that is fun and complicated without making me look back to figure out who is who in the cast.

I wouldn’t share this whine with except that I think it is at the heart of how we SELL our books.   I am not one for the synopsis.  I don’t care about your cover–unless it helps me decide if I’ve read the book before.   I tend to read the beginning of the book.

I want a page that takes me into the book right away–with people I like and a plot I care about.  And as an author, I know how hard it is to do that all in the first page. Still it gives me something to work on, when I can’t find what I want to read.

Title Matters by Christine Duncan

I’ve blogged before on how important I believe titles to be.  Not that I’m always great at them, myself.  But I hadn’t given much consideration to the title of advertising.

I recently received an email from the temporary agency where I have been working for months now.  The subject of the email?  “Christine, you messed up.” My stomach sank.   Yes, I am a nervous Nelly, but I defy anyone who has been dependent on temporary employment for any length of time to not get a tad nervous with that subject line. Why had they emailed me?  Why hadn’t they called me?  What was wrong?

When I clicked on it, I saw the entire title was : “Christine you messed up at work, now what?” They were advertising a blog post on the company website.  It was really nothing to do with me. After scanning the link to make sure, I trashed the email.  I had no interest in the post, although I might have liked it before this. All I wanted after that fright was some serious chocolate.

But I wonder, how often do we turn people off from reading our stuff in just that way? Do we get too short with our tweets ?  Let email truncate things? It’s worth looking into.

Bits and Pieces by Christine Duncan

I want to start off by telling you that Michelle has been unwell. Please keep her in your thoughts.

I’ve learned a great deal from writing. Some of what I’ve learned has carried over to the rest of my life.  One thing  in particular comes to mind: sometimes life is just too crazy for me to do everything I’d like.  I’ve learned to make do with  writing just a page, frequently, long hand,  and many times on my way to somewhere else. It adds up.

My husband and I have  been trying a version of this lately to our house remodeling project.  We do just an hour or two a weekend, sometimes, other times we have more time and money and energy, so we go full guns. It adds up. The important thing writing has taught me is not to quit.