Today’s Blog for the BlogBlitz is a little different. I am not writing a review, instead, the author has written a Guest Blog.
Blog Post My Virtual Life
My Writing Life
The beauty and the torment of being a writer means that no two days are the same. Some days the words trip over themselves to be heard and other days, well, let’s just say some days are actually like work!
My Virtual Life is my third novel and by this stage, I think, I can safely say that I recognise the bad days as fleeting. They come and go but when they descend I can feel the horror of believing I will never be able to form an interesting sentence again. It’s so easy to doubt your abilities if you think beyond the page. For me, the key is to stay in the story. Try not to think about the bigger picture, the publisher waiting on the finished manuscript, your friends asking when’s the next one out or your other half wondering what it is you actually do all day.
The truth is, some days you hit the keyboard hard, sparks fly and you feel the buzz of the story taking on a life of its own. Other days require head work, time when you simply allow scenes and dialogue to play out in your head.
On the days when nothing works, read. It’s the best cure I know of lacking in inspiration and motivation. If I read a great book I am instantly fired up. Some writers I know feel a little intimidated by books they love. They fear the ‘not being good enough’ but maybe it’s my age, I am at the stage where I know I can only do what I do and as long as I make it the best I can, I’m satisfied. Sort of.
Here’s my advice on how to get started and keep going.
- Read all the time. Read across genre and be aware of what works and what doesn’t, or in other words, read like a writer.
- Take time away from your work in progress to think about it. Try to see the overall story arc and think of how it is working.
- Train yourself to write on the go. I swear by this. I use my iPhone and email myself whole sections of writing or just notes. It is great for when inspiration strikes and if you have children you’ll find as they grow older there’s a lot of waiting around time either at school pick up or after school clubs. Don’t shout at me and say you’ve no time. I’ve been there. I know there are periods when real life gets in the way. Reassure yourself that dealing with all the messy stuff of life, is all great source material. If you really want to write, you’ll find a way to carve that time out.
- Inspiration is everywhere. Listen to conversations on buses and coffee shops. Note the cadence and rhythms of speech. Squirrel away interesting snippets and funny expressions.
- Keep a folder of unusual or interesting news features to trawl through when you are running dry on ideas.
- Be prepared for rejection. It is part of the job. Virtually no one gets it right first time so rewriting and editing is essential.
- Surround yourself with like-minded people. Go to writer events, book launches, writing workshops and writing groups. You pick up so much information by talking about the writing process and the business of publishing to others who have experience. Writers are largely a friendly bunch and we only too keen to talk about our experiences.
Finally, keep going. If you love writing, it’s not an option to stop. The voices in your heard will keep on annoying you until you give them a story.
About Sharon Dempsey:
My Virtual Life is Sharon Dempsey’s second contemporary women’s fiction novel. Sharon is a Belfast-based writer of three fiction titles with four non-fiction health books published. Her crime debut Little Bird was released in July 2017 with Bloodhound Books. A Posy of Promises is the first in a trilogy and published by Bombshell Books.
She facilitates therapeutic creative writing classes for people affected by cancer and other health challenges and runs a creative writing group for young people, called Young Scribblers, at the Crescent Arts Centre. She is a creative writing tutor at Queen’s University and Stranmillis College. Sharon studied Politics and English at Queen’s University and undertook a newspaper journalism post grad at City University, London. She has written for a variety of publications and newspapers, including the Irish Times. She regularly reviews books for BBC Radio Ulster. Sharon is working on the follow up to Little Bird and a collection of dark short stories.
Sharon’s Social Media Links:
Twitter: https://twitter.com/svjdempz @svjdempz