Whether you're joining me by writing a new book or simply following my progress, I thought I'd update my word count as proof that little and often is always a winner in writing! This morning, Saturday 9th, I've nearly hit the 13,000 mark for the new book. That's the result of a set amount of time each day and the pleasure of getting lost creativity - nothing more. Simply seeing progress gives a writer a boost; I've managed that without disrupting my main editing task - which feels like a bonus book. That feedback of positivity to the brain motivates us to complete the cycle again and again. I'm a person who always rewards myself on the successes of life, big or small. It might seem arrogant or superficial, but I frequently praise myself for a job well done! Why wouldn't I? I'm the first to praise others when they achieve!
I've started to edit for today so, have placed an asterisks beside the current figure for my manuscript. Editing is going well, it's not my favourite of tasks but I've learnt to embrace it, shall we say. I recognise the difference between my drafted manuscript and the book that it becomes after editing - which helps. That mindset was developed due to a retreat I attended held by Alison May and Janet Glover (excellent mentors by the way). I'd prefer to be writing on a blank page, that's where my joy lies, but editing is a must! In order to make my editing process enjoyable for me, I tend to edit outside of my writing room. I put a boxset on the TV downstairs, sit myself on a big cushion and surround myself like a carpet picnic with everything I need. A very different location and setting to my writing room where I perch at a desk. New task: new location - psychological, in many ways. Anyway, editing is going well. I'm stripping away the dead wood. Plotting works in a similar way too. I use the floor as a desk and literally play like a kid for hours by spreading out my post-it notes before collecting them and organising them into the manuscript book which I create for each new novel. Do you remember being a child and getting lost playing with Lego? Literally hours pass without you being aware of anything other than hunger! That's how I plan; reinforces I'm just a big kid at heart!
Once upon a time, I used to teach fitness classes and each yoga session ended with meditation. I still meditate each day as it benefits my wellbeing plus, I'm prepared to use anything that aids my creativity. After yesterday's meditation, two news ideas, just small plot points, pinged into my head. I wrote them down to prevent forgetting and today, I'll work them into the plot. What I'm saying is, I allow myself space away from daily life and work to simply be for ten minutes and its quite amazing what can result from that dedicated time. Now, I know some have just rolled their eyes, others might snigger - go ahead, but be open minded enough to try something new for a few days and argue for yourself whether it works in your world. It definitely works in mine. The same often occurs with any silent task: knitting, drawing, dog-walking or meditation. Try it, you might surprise yourself.
Right, I need to get back to my editing and my 'The Big Bang Theory' boxset but, should my agent or editor ask if I'm writing a new book, your answer is a steely 'no!' OK? This project is a secret book, they'll see it soon enough.
My working day is currently being split 75:25 between my editing task and writing this new book. My main task for the month is obviously my editing but I’m a creative person who needs to have an outlet - well, that’s my excuse anyway.
I’ve had a good few days. The editing has gone well as I have all the words needed but not necessarily in the right order. Though each hour I tend to it I can see a difference when I compare the manuscript to yesterday’s version. Whilst editing, the book literally emerges from the haze of words and takes on life as a book rather than a draft manuscript.
The new manuscript is behaving as it should. I’ve written the opening scenes for each of my three ladies. I always feel a bit sad for them at this stage; each has an issue/dilemma which she has no idea of how I’m going to resolve on her behalf. Two characters already have clear distinct voices while the third is a little weak at present, but she’ll develop in the coming weeks. She’s got a story to tell so, she’ll find her voice soon.
My new manuscript is a rainbow of pink, blue and green font split by chapter headings and my spreadsheet contains details of scene setting and a snippet of content – enough to jog my memory when looking at the overview. That said, my editing manuscript is also in stripes of coloured font – nothing has changed there.
In the new project, I’ve revised some of my males’ names as two of them simply didn’t feel right once I was writing. That happens to me a lot with minor characters. Some have numerous name changes during my drafting as my taste changes or something significant puts me off a specific name eg. a news story or event. For instance, Joel in my debut novel was called Declan for about a year before I switched his name. How anyone names a baby and keeps its name without changing it a million times is beyond my understanding!
I realised this morning that one of my descriptions is the interior of a local restaurant so I’ve rejigged some details and disguise that fact, but in my mind’s eye I can clearly see what I’m writing about. I know readers won’t ever suspect but it helps me to be specific regards layout and setting.
I’ve had to rejig a couple of business names as well as you want something realistic but not too twee. I ran the new names through ‘Google search’ just to be on the safe side. I do ‘Google’ checks quite a lot to ensure that I’m not including local business details that I subconsciously picked up whilst on a dog walk.
I think that is it; all that I’ve done in the past few days. I’ll continue the 75:25 split working on both projects each day.
If you’ve got a specific question or query which I’ve overlooked don’t hesitate to contact me either on Twitter @ErinGreenAuthor or email: ErinGreenAuthor@mail.com
The photo shows my word count spreadsheet. During editing, if the word count is reduced I don’t use minus figures as it distorts my monthly/annual word count – I insert a zero instead. I'm attempting to maintain a 1400 word daily target for the new project as I can't afford for it to take priority over my editing task; I have a deadline to meet!
Happy New year, folks! I’m hoping you had a glorious start to 2021 and are bursting with vitality for the days, weeks and months ahead. I’m totally ignoring the news and have locked myself into a creative bubble where I intend to stay for the foreseeable future.
My aim for the next 90 days is to finish editing the current Shetland book, deadline is 1st February, and begin a brand-new book. In fact, I tell a little lie there … I started writing a new book yesterday (for those who follow me on Twitter that won’t be a surprise).
Before I was published, I wanted to know exactly how an author wrote, planned and worked on a book. Despite many searches and media follows I rarely found authors who shared their time lines, working hours and the difficulties encountered. In this coming series of blogs, I’m going to share my progress as it happens. I’ll happily be honest about my progress and word count each time.
Two weeks ago, I created three new characters and made up a manuscript book in which I have stuck a glossy catalogue photo for each person. I’ve given each character their own page and filled it with specific details about them. This book becomes my sacred guide to this new book. I’ll write down any research questions, quirks or habits, plot details and even background history which comes to mind. I might not use it all but once its written down I can’t possibly forget an idea - which can come in handy when polishing a book or a little extra is needed.
I used post-it notes to plot the story arc obviously, on three different colours one for each character, and have ordered them into a feasible story line – which I’ve stuck into the manuscript book.
There’s no reason why I’ve waited two weeks to begin; it’s one of my quirks - I like specific dates!
On my laptop, I’ve now created a ms template, complete with dedication and coloured fonts relating to my character. I write in the first-person viewpoint so it’s easier keeping track plus, the bonus is I can feed my brain colour rather than the standard black font whilst I’m creating. I only switch the document to black font just before I send it to my agent and editor.
My manuscript prep includes creating an excel spreadsheet where I log chapter details as I write. Over the years, I’ve adapted my routines and records but this system is currently working for me so, why would I change? I know other authors don’t use additional documents but I like to know exact details while I create as it helps me when I am editing the book later in the process.
I also have a daily word count document which I complete purely as an inventory of my productivity. Again, I know many authors don’t keep such records but over the years I’ve been able to see my own development so, this document has proved invaluable. Last year 2020, I managed to write 315,675 words – I wouldn’t know that without my daily record!
Everything I do aims to improve my productivity and imagination – nothing more.
Anyway, 1st January 2021, I wrote ‘Chapter one’ of my new book. I haven’t got an official title as all my books barring two have changed their titles upon publication. I use a working title purely for my own benefit and discussing with friends as it gets confusing if you have several projects on the go, but I know my working title won’t make it to the front cover. I wrote 1406 words for the new book, edited a chapter of the Shetland book and did a little additional research.
I've already been on my dog-walk so, have pondered what I'll be writing later. Today, I’ll follow on with ‘Chapter two’ and edit more of my Shetland book – simple.
It might only be 2pm, but I’ve cracked open the bubbles! Seriously, I have. That’s because I’m celebrating on this final day of 2020! I have just queued for 10 minutes to enter a Tesco store at Coalville to witness my book baby sitting on their shelf surrounded by other lovely authors. It seems very strange to refuse a basket or trolley and head straight for the book section knowing you won’t be buying a single item in such a huge store. But that’s what I do each time I go on sale in a superstore; the food shop can wait.
As an author, it feels strange entering and seeking out your own book in their aisle. It’s even funnier when you scan the shelves and spy your book then proceed to snap photographs amidst other customers who are busy browsing and reading blurbs. They're not watching you at all! Once you’ve snapped a suitable #Shelfie for use on social media you then stand amidst the said book browsers posting on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook before heading straight for the exit knowing you put a bottle of bubbles in the fridge before driving to the store.
So, there it is, my end to 2020! I couldn’t have asked for better. I know the entire planet has hated this year, but I haven’t. I’ll be honest, this year was always going to be a difficult year due to a personal tragedy in 2001/2002, but I’m eternally grateful to 2020 for every minute she’s awarded me. Back in 2002, I’d never dreamt I’d see this date, but I have! I’m still here. And, I’m so incredibly proud to be able to write that last sentence.
I wish you all the happiest, the merriest and more importantly, if 2020 has been your ‘bad’ year just know how resilient she has made you ready for a fabulous future!
Love Erin x
Not the year I was expecting but hey, it has enabled me to hibernate, read and write till my heart is content so, I can’t complain. If anything, I am very grateful for the experience and time awarded to me.
My original goal in January 2020 was to read 25 books but I managed 37 in total. I tend to have multiple books on the go at the same time: an epic read, usually a classic and various books ranging in genre/format. Others claim it’s a ‘bad habit’ but for me, it maintains my interest as I can wantonly move from genre to genre as the mood takes me. I love the fact that I can enjoy Eliot in the morning, Mansell by mid-afternoon and settle with Christie by bedtime. Isn’t that bliss?
During 2020, I have reread numerous books from my youth as I think I needed the comfort of old friend around me. I love how books are just like music in transporting you to a specific age and time.
I listen to audiobooks during dog-walks, gardening and cleaning but don’t count these in my annual reading list. My book total would be more than double if I did, funny that.
Anyway, I have no plans to change my ‘bad’ reading habits or tastes so look forward to 2021. Again, I’ll choose 25 books as my annual goal.
During 2021, I might share my current reads more than I previously have. My choices are somewhat eclectic in nature as I tend to drift between genres and interests. My GoodReads tally for 2020: reading books
My current reads are:
Mill on the Floss – Eliot (classic read)
Cranford – Gaskell (bookclub challenge read)
French Kissing – Shelby (ebook read)
Wishing you health and happiness for the year ahead plus, plenty of reading time!
It is 2:20am and I should be going to bed, but I can't. I literally couldn't sleep if I tried. I have just waved goodbye to the month of November - which has been the most productive month of my writing career. Seriously.
Firstly, for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) I managed a staggering 72,900 words in relation to the expected challenge of 50,000. Those 72,900 words are my Christmas book for 2021. I just need 25,000 words to complete draft one! My deadline is 1st February 2021.
Secondly, three weeks ago, my structural edits arrived back for the book I'd completed in October. My deadline for completion: today. I've just sent the amended manuscript back to my editor and agent.
I'm chuffed to bits with how much I've accomplished in 30 days. Tomorrow, I will celebrate with a bottle of bubbles!
For the next three days, I'm officially taking holiday away from my screen, but I'll see back here on Friday morning when I'll crack on with those final 25,000 words for the Christmas book 2021.
Night, night x
I'm as surprised as anyone, believe me. I literally started the month with my usual NaNo plan and something else took over but I'm delighted with the results. Every book I've written has had a life of its own and this current project is no exception. I have a few more chapters to write until I finish the Christmas book, but I also have structural edits to complete for my October book. Now that I've reached my 50,000 goal I intend to switch my main focus to my edits as my deadline is 30th November.
I'll continue with my NaNoWriMo updates every few days.
Word count update: 72,900/50,000
November 6th - I'm delighted to say that NaNoWriMo 2020 is the best NaNo project I have ever had. I'm chuffed to bits that I've written 25,033 words since 1st November. Half the monthly goal in a week!
My daily writing routine has been like any previous NaNo project with three writing sessions spread throughout the day.
I'm writing next year's Christmas book 'From Shetland, With Love At Christmas' and the words are like a tsunami each time I sit at my laptop. Though I have fallen in love with the plot line which helps immensely for any author.
Update: Monday, 9th November. The structural edits for the book I finished in October have arrived back for completion. It'll mean a little juggling is needed to accommodate these during NaNo month, but it'll be grand!
Update: Wednesday, 11th Nov. I've averaged 4,114 words each day so I'm hoping to reach 50,000 by this Friday. Given the arrival of my structural edits, I'll continue to work on my NaNo project but lessen the pace as I've nearly finished writing the story.
Current word count: 50,290/50,000
Seriously, I'm that excited for NaNo 2020; it is the first event since March which has remained on my calendar even, my birthday was scraped!
My 'To-do list' is complete:
A freezer full of food ✅
A stock pile of tea bags ✅
All essential tasks cleared for the whole month ✅
New eye drops purchased - just in case the late nights/screen use plays havoc with my eyes ✅
New stationery pad, pencils and pens - as if I haven't enough already! ✅
Downtime reading books chosen ✅
Freshly painted writing room - I know, I went the extra mile! ✅
It's official: I'm ready to start.
Below is a snap shot of my NaNo progress chart - I'll change that day by day!
Update: a second lockdown has been announced - it appears that everyone will be living like an author doing NaNoWriMo! Make the most of it and invent your own month long creative venture`:: read, write, draw, paint, sing, photograph, knit, dance or craft in any way you can.
NaNo started at midnight and so did I, but you knew that! I'll update my progress photo at regular intervals but this year I'll be saving the words for NaNo rather than posting a daily blog update.
Word count: 25,033/50,000
Good morning, if you're a regular visitor you'll have realised weeks ago, that I have a new publishing contract with Headline Publishing Group. I have two brand new books being released in May 2021 and September 2021! Both books are set in Shetland, which I was lucky enough to visit during 2019. For the first time, I've written a series linked by a beautiful setting and loveable characters.
Amazon links: For pre-orders
From Shetland, With Love
When Jemima loses her beloved grandfather, keeping his allotment alive seems like ideal way to feel close to him. She's never fitted in before - is this her chance to find where she really belongs?
Finally Melissa has the allotment she's been longing for to distract her while her husband works away - even if it is chest-high in weeds. But when she looks for help in the wrong place, she finds she's the hottest topic of gossip.
For Dottie, her allotment and part-time job of 'a little light dusting' at Lerwick Manor keeps a spring in her eighty-year-old step - and her ears open for secrets.
Though generations apart, these three women are about to find a common bond in a new-found passion and that true friendship can grow anywhere.
From Shetland, With Love At Christmas
Verity is embarking on a better-late-than-never gap year now that her sons have flown the nest, and dreams of turning a lifetime's hobby of knitting and crocheting into a profitable new enterprise at Lerwick Manor's gallery.
Nessie has returned to Shetland after two years spent retraining as a blacksmith on the Scottish mainland. She's determined to do whatever it takes to reignite the traditional craft and prove that gender is no obstacle taking on her family's heritage.
Isla is fresh out of catering college, but she is desperate to prove she has what it takes to run Lerwick Manor's artisan café. Focused on perfecting her grandmother's traditional recipes, Isla has no time for anything else - especially not her pesky ex.
With the island's Yule Day celebration fast approaching, it's the ideal moment for their crafts to shine. But they can't do it alone - and their friendship might turn out to be their greatest creation yet...
More exciting news for 2021!
I can't believe I have more news, but I'm greedy like that!
Four of my books are being released in audio format which means you can listen whilst you're on the move. I'm never without an audio book on dog walks or cleaning duties so, it's exciting to imagine others listening to my stories whilst plodding about.
Plus, slightly secret news ... so shhhh, but "the February book", you know the one, is heading into a big supermarket ready for the new year 2021!