Waiting for "The Call"

“Honey, it’s always crap. Every book I write is crap. It’s my job to fix the crap afterwards,” according to Nora Roberts. Well, I've got it half right. Still working on the "fixing it" part. "Trust your characters to be complex enough and to have enough emotional baggage. Force them to make hard choices." Advice from Michelle Styles that might help!

I’m back (at last!) July 22, 2008

Filed under: Writing and Life — Autumn Macarthur @ 10:05 pm
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Thank God, the 70 hour a week work insanity that has consumed my life for the past six weeks is over. The 300+ page training manual is written, the first week long training using it has been delivered, and although it could have been better, there weren’t any major disasters either.  So now I can start getting my life back again.

Trouble is, it’s hard to even know where to start. I have gotten so out of the habit of doing what I want to do, of making any plans apart from just keeping on going on the project. My work role seems to have consumed my life. This week is vaction time, but spent at home  just to recover, but I’m still waking up in the middle of the night thinking how I can make the workbook or the training work even better. I’m even still working in my dreams. I want that dream space to be for my writing not for work! They are paying me for 37.5 hours a week, and getting me 24/7- that is definitely not what I want my life to be like!

It’s been a learning experience, that’s for sure, but not the sort of thing I ever want to have to do again.


  1. I know I can do work harder than I ever thought possible for an extended period. I know I can put in 70 hour weeks driven by nothing but pig headed determination to do a good job, and Diet Coke. May come in handy if I ever need to do a huge revision to a tight deadline.
  2. I got some useful practice working with an editor, as my work all had to be signed off by a senior collegue. She is a fabulous proof reader, which I really appreciated, but I didn’t agree with all the bigger changes she wanted me to make. Many of these gave me a lesson in gracefully letting go of what wasn’t worth fighting for, so that I could stand up for the few things that I felt were important and shouldn’t be changed.
  3. I know I have the focus needed to complete a huge project. I’d been worrying that I didn’t, that I had a grasshopper mind that wouldn’t stay with one thing but would always be chasing something new. The focus I maintained on this work has shown me that’s not true, but that if I’m not focused, I need to ask myself why not. What is it about what I’m working on that’s stopping me from committing to it fully?
  4. I have learned that I can only work hard for something I really belive in. I hadn’t realised just how values driven I am. I already had recognised the importance of writing in a way that is true to myself, I’d been told that we never really find our voice when we are writing what we think the editors want. I now also know that I have to believe passionately in what I am doing, and then that conviction will express itself in motivation. It will also shine through in the work that I produce.
  5. I can be a morning person! For years I believed that I was naturally a night owl, and recoiled in horror at the idea of getting up early to write before work. Half an hour earlier to do morning pages, okay, just maybe, but waking at five to put in two hours solid writing- no way! Except that last week, when I had to finish the workbook section for the following day in time to get it printed out, then complete my lesson plans and presentations for that day, I found my most productive time was between five am and nine am. I was too burned out from the day to be able to do much the night before, but waking early in the morning when I was as fresh as I was going to be all day, somehow worked for me. I’m going to give that a try when I’m back at work and see how making that early morning my wriitng time  goes. I found evenings after dinner were used socially- either spending a little time with my husband, writing my own blog posts, or going on the writing discussion boards and reading other writers’ blogs.

I’m just letting my mind be empty now, rather than rushing into a wrting project. I have lots of ideas, but none that have really grabbed me and said “You have to write me, not those other stories!” The first writer’s blog or discussion group I went on since I’ve been “back” was the I Heart Presents one yesterday, and they are running another competition, this time for Modern Heat (aka Presents Extra in North America or Sexy Sensation in Austrailia, I think). I’m not convinced I meet the requirements- but I can have fun trying!

Do you have a fresh, vibrant, sassy voice and a passion for sexy alpha heroes? Can you write sparky dialogue, create great sensual tension and hot love-scenes?

If so, then we want to hear from you!

Hmm, is that me? I’d been feeling inclined to try my hand at some hen lit- 40 something woman finds herself suddenly single again and discovers how fabulous and sassy she really is, and finds real love, after years of being unappreciated and downtrodden by the ex. The last two books I read and really enjoyed both fell into this category. Every Woman for Herself and Stage by Stage– both had me getting funny looks for laughing out loud on the train. And lets face it, I’m well and truly 40 something- I remember that first true love clearly, but it was a loooong time ago!

But there is that JanNo story about the mid-twenties twins that lost its way a bit and got mixed up with an Intrigue, but could edit up well. as a Modern Heat  Or a different version of the James and Cassie story that gets rid of a lot of the complicated sub-plots and focuses on the relationship. Hmmm,  it will be fun to play with some ideas and see what grabs me!