Writer’s Block & Other Challenges

I’m a prolific writer! So, maybe I don’t suffer the dreaded ‘it shall not be named’. I do, though. It’s just I know how to get around it.

Writer’s block is a thing for every writer, even the biggest selling and most widely published, and I thought it might be helpful to other writers and my future self (when I hit a bad patch) to write about the dreaded BLOCK and other writerly challenges.

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I’ve already published ten books this year, some of which are novella-length, but trust me each book needs to make sense within itself and you don’t get away with half-done books, no matter what length. Some of the best novels of all time have been short in length and often a novella or short novel requires that extra bit of restraint to prevent yourself going off on a word spree/tangent.

You can imagine that after writing a few books as I have, it gets harder and harder to sound original, to achieve the same shock and awe in a reader after they’ve read a handful of your books. I don’t very often re-read my back catalogue, but I’m sure if I did, I’d discover a writer that doesn’t feel like the writer I am now. Because accepting the ever-changing thing that is life is the first rule of writing. The finished product can end up so different to how you imagined it in the beginning.

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Sometimes when I finish writing a book or series, I’ll get to the end and start to wonder how the hell I started writing this blessed/damned story in the first place. Inspirations can come from anywhere/everywhere. One of my biggest-selling series is Nightlong and I do wonder how the heck I came up with that story. Sometimes the origin harks back to a goal you wanted to achieve. With Nightlong, it was to write a femdom trilogy. Although it didn’t quite work out that Ciara was always in charge, are any of us? No matter how dominant we are, are any of us ever truly in control? Accepting there’s a lot in life we cannot control is a skill invaluable when it comes to novel-writing. Especially in overcoming the Block.

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Getting past writer’s block should be simple, right? It’s the ability to be able to recognise that we’re not always in charge. Right? Many writers will tell you the blank first page is their nightmare. That it taunts them. It represents to many that scary possibility that anything they put down might end up being absolute crap. The heightened sensitivity of a writer is what makes them so good at it but also undoes them. The blank page, empty and pale and fruitless, beckons us to fail? Or does it? What if the blank page scares us so much because it taunts the writer of the journey ahead . . . the hours you’ll spend hunched over a computer. It spells all the work you’ve yet to do . . . and humans are self-preserving creatures, after all. Every time I finish writing a novel I know I’ve done something many will never accomplish because the war against your own mind is EPIC.

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I’ve never quite been a subscriber to self-help, self-improvement, regimented living . . . I am an extreme creative who doesn’t like any rules or regulations. Some days I just don’t feel the urge to write. Other days, I’ll be typing until my fingers go numb and my eyes are about to give up on me. I don’t ever force myself to write unless there’s a pressing deadline.

Therein, lies my cure to writer’s block: don’t write according to rules. Or just wait until the urge to write comes back again, and once it does, prioritise the shit out of that over everything else. I can only liken it to this: it’s like a car with the wheels spinning out of control but the back end is still on bricks and you’re not moving anywhere. I’ve found my most productive writing sessions are after I’ve got the car off the bricks, having got to the point where the tyres are going to set on fire otherwise!

I often think back to my journalistic days when, present day, I’m faced with difficult literary hurdles. I could bash out 4,000-5,000 easily in a day back then, but that was different. That was copy designed for a customer. It was technical and regurgitative. It wasn’t me as I am now, facing the blank page, knowing it all has to come from me and nobody else can complete this singularly unique and individual task. With creative writing, anything can happen, and only in the rule-breaking can a writer achieve that thing they haven’t quite achieved yet. I also remind myself that as a journalist, I never turned up to work drunk and drink has never made me a more productive writer or more uninhibited. Over the years I’ve begun to shake my head a little when I see writers posting a picture of a bottle of scotch and the words: ‘writer fuel’. My writing is much better off for no alcohol involved, nor loud music in the background (husband differs on this). There’s meant to be all this glamour surrounding what it’s like to be a writer, but it couldn’t be different in reality. If you ever find yourself rolling up to the school run in mismatched clothes like you’re colour-blind, you’re wearing sunglasses even though it’s snowing and you have no tolerance for any other human being whatsoever, then it’s fairly safe to say you’re a writer.

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While there will always be slightly familiar patterns to my work (to be expected), I still try to find new stories. They say every story ever told derives from a handful of core plots that, over time, have been embellished to look different but are essentially the same. The mechanics are often the least important thing in the first draft – they can be sorted later – it’s the heart of the story you have to master first and foremost.

The Bad Series was published this year and it is the first series I didn’t go to town on editing. I wrote it straight through and hardly did any major re-writes. If it reads quite punchy, and light, that’s because I wanted it to come across that way – to give readers a chance to make up their own minds without the stories being too heavy on detail and the characters too fixed in place. I didn’t want anything so final about it all. The characters are incredibly real, almost to the point of exacerbation – but that’s what I wanted! I grew up on those types of stories.

The danger (or positive) of being so well written as I am is that you do tend to become extremely opinionated on the writing process and on the industry, because you’ve seen and done A LOT. What works for someone else does not always work for you – but what works for me IS LAW.

I personally don’t want to live on social media (I already give SO MUCH to my books, everything I want to say is in those). I also don’t believe social media is necessary to sell books. SM helps if people want to connect with you, it gives your readers access to the person behind the words, but what if you’re not interested in building a brand or being consistent or predictable to serve a commercial purpose? When you’re a writer who just writes and wants to reach the shy people who love to read books and don’t make an awful lot of fuss about it all (as I do), then you’re probably more likely to reach those readers through email marketing and ads that are delivered store-front.

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There have been a few stories I’ve written where I’ve felt certain only one or two people would really get it, and then I’ve been surprised, and vice versa I’ve written stories that I thought were for mass market and people didn’t like those as much. They started reading me because I’m different and they want to keep reading my work because it’s different. It is an absolute minefield out there, so what are you best off doing? You can only write what you feel you must write. If what you feel you must write is a story your publisher can get onboard with and you need sales to put food on the table, do that.

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All stories matter. I’ve written stories about some truly inexplicable people but at the end of the day, their stories mattered because they felt real to me and my readers. I don’t want to sugar-coat a story to make it seem more palatable, that would never be genuine or very writerly of me. Similarly, if you make a character too unlikeable, you might make a reader want to straight away unplug. But everyone always gets their reckoning . . . one way or another.

It’s been a rollercoaster this year for everyone out there, writers and non-writers included. My writing has felt a lot like a rollercoaster on more than one occasion. Some days I’ve been straight out of the blocks, other days I’ve just not had the impetus. During lockdown I largely buried myself in the stories, lay awake at night plotting and forming scenes before typing them up the next day. I would indulge in long lie-ins and write till late at night because the house was quiet and my mind in a more relaxed state. I’m no longer able to indulge now my husband and daughter are back at school and work. Sometimes I pine for those late nights and late mornings, while some days I am thankful for the routine of normal working hours again. While a lot of my stories are predominantly planned, I’ve also written some stuff completely by the seat of my pants. Sometimes you’ll do that and come back to it and be like WTF, other times you’ll realise you did need to pants it. It’s all about going with the flow, that’s it. It’s just that it is the damnedest thing.

I’ve often found that notebooks full of ideas haven’t always come to fruition. When you’re actually in the story, it takes you in another direction more often than not. Something in the plotting stage may have seemed like a totally great idea, but once you’re arcing and forming something more tangible, it just gets thrown out of the window and you end up writing something much more in line with the narrative. I had this terrible problem early on in my career where I really struggled to write things unless they were entirely factual and accurate (journo brain) and that took so long to shake off – to remind myself fiction is fiction and anything is possible. I also feel like the writer I am today is much more mature than the one I started out as and that, as before mentioned, some of the books I wrote seven or eight years ago would seem foreign to me now. The things that happen in our lives shape us. They can make us more tolerant or the opposite; bitter or accepting; honest or even more dishonest. Life shapes us and the writer changes. But what has always been evergreen about my stories is that the characters never needed to be reshaped. I always give them to you how they present themselves to me. Within the 40+ books I’ve written is a plethora of different people. But I never ever tried to promote my books on the diversity within. The unique stories are always what I hope people will remember. Stories are universal. The people I write about are real people, sometimes subversions of people I’ve known or know, sometimes they’re ugly people I try to make seem better, until there’s no denying they aren’t better. Strong characters can be kind or cruel, witty or dour, evil or good or plain and dark, beneath. The way they talk or treat people, love people, is the most important aspect of any heroine or hero.

Any good writer can convince themselves and others of anything. You just have to have a narrative that is watertight. But imperfections are the parts of us that allow other people in, so should that go for literature, too?

I know lockdown and everything going on in the world has made sitting down to concentrate so hard for so many people. I recognise the energy it takes for someone to sit down and really give themselves up to a story and let it take over and it’s not easy. It’s so HARD. The brain is a muscle, it needs to be exercised, but if you allow it to burn-out, what do you think is going to happen? It’s going to rebel.

The point of this blog is that, even I, Sarah Michelle, with all my techniques and tried-and-tested mantras have still found it hard this year (at times) to write. I think after I finished writing the Bad Series, I thought I might never write again. I wasn’t exhausted physically, but emotionally and mentally. I had to take a few weeks before I could even think about promoting it. It is the single most challenging piece of work I ever undertook and somehow, lockdown helped me complete it. I had somewhere to venture, to escape. I allowed myself the luxury to write when I wanted. It just seemed to work. A few months have passed and I’ve had to readjust my settings all over again – and will probably have to once more if Lockdown 2.0 happens!

All I know is that everything – and I mean everything – that has ever happened in my life has led me right up to now. To enable me to pull off a piece of work like this nine-book series. In the past I did used to force myself to write and maybe that was the best thing for me, then. If I hadn’t have forced myself, might I not have got further down the line, to the more mature, wiser and experienced writer I am now?

When I get writer’s block, what do you think I always say to myself? “This is leading somewhere, this is my journey . . . it’s taking me somewhere.”

And boy, is it . . .

Stay tuned,

S x

P.s. I won’t re-read this blog – https://sarahmichellelynch.com/2013/02/04/the-loneliness-of-the-long-distance-writer/ – but you might be interested what I said on writing years ago… and how it compares to now! 😉

Catching Up . . .

Has 2020 been all about Covid? In a way, yes. In many ways, no.

For a lot of people it’s been about re-evaluating. It’s been a wake-up call.

Do I need to commute so far every day? Do I love this person I’m living with? What’s the point of continuing in this job I hate? Why am I putting up with so much outside of my control? I could go on… the list is endless. Everyone has been forced to stop and THINK.

2020 has been a shit year for many. There we are. In the words of Mad-Eye Moody, “End of story. Goodbye. The End…”

But it hasn’t all been about Covid.

For instance, among my family and extended family three people are living with cancer at the moment. The worst moments of some people’s lives have taken place, all while Covid exists as an annoying accomplice in the background. Cancer hasn’t gone away. Nor have any of the other ailments killing people every day.

My husband’s work has changed completely. He’s adapted and is a podcaster now and wants to do a Masters for himself, because as he put it, “You just sometimes realise if you want to do something for yourself, you’ve got to do it now. There’s no time.”

We had a major financial scare at the beginning of this year. Suffice to say, there are some dodgy, dodgy companies out there… and they will still be doing what they do post-Covid, because some things never change.

I’ve heard numerous times from my daughter, the words, “I hate coronavirus!” All she sees is that she cannot meet her friends in the same way. She can’t stay over at Grandma’s. She couldn’t go to school. She hates seeing her parents in the scary masks and doesn’t understand why so many people are angry and impatient everywhere. And all the adults ever seem to talk about is fucking coronavirus. LOL.

I started writing a series of books last winter, almost a year ago now. I put fingers to keys to create the Bad Series well before any of this kicked off.

I wrote this series during some of the worst times of my life, but I worked SO HARD throughout to stick to the brief I set out a year ago – to write it as it was meant to be written from concept to completion. I oftentimes write my books real-time and that’s why more often than not, I write in first-person present tense because I want it to have the feel of “happening right now” – that you’re living the story alongside the characters. The epilogue of the Bad Series brings the characters right up to about now (2020 – the year which in future shall not be named). However, I am no way going to ever mention the C-word in any of my books. WHY? Because it doesn’t have a place. Not right now. Maybe not ever. The issues I chose to write about and have been detailing for ten years are, to me, much more prevalent, evergreen and pressing. Issues such as family, relationships, friendships, mental health, overcoming trauma, acceptance of one another and love.

If you want to discover what my post-natal brain conjured eight or nine years ago about the future (2023) then read my predictions in the Unity Series. If you’d like a window into what my highly sensitive nerve endings picked up on as being our future, Unity comes very close in a lot of (interpretational) ways. If there was a message in the Unity Series, it was to think for yourself. To not allow ourselves to be pushed apart. Broken, we can be divided; together, we’re unbreakable.

Fiction, as it turns out, is more important than ever. To me. To you. To the world. A safe space in which to translate and work through everything going on around us.

I know how lucky I am every day to be able to venture into my own private domain. To have the skill to be able to knit my concerns about the world within good stories. To have my safe space.

I recognise, now more than ever, there is pain out there which goes far beyond the virus and it is being squashed away because of this C-word thing going on and interrupting our lives.

Domestic abuse is up. Cancer patients are waiting. Many elderly are suffering because they simply cannot get out. They are missing that VITAL chance to be around the younger generation and feel connected to the world. People are telling themselves their suffering is small and therefore they aren’t going to the doctor with that ache or pain or lump they’d normally get checked out. And MONEY still isn’t being placed where it is needed most. And the WRONG sectors are benefiting from this crisis while the pre-existing and various struggles of millions are ongoing and far outweigh some people’s reluctance to don a mask.

And the very fine balance of people’s mental health is being tested like never before. Those of us who have never had a mental health issue – are wondering if it’s coming for us next. Because sometimes, some days, you just wake up and think, “What the fuck next…?”

For someone who processes events slowly, and then all at once, the next writings from me might be very interesting indeed.

Is 2020 a write-off?

I don’t know.

Personally, this year has taught me that I am there for a heck of a lot of people. And I will always be. But stepping back sometimes is something I have to do. Trying to save people is something I can’t accomplish. Even when I can see what they’re doing is causing damage only to themselves, I can’t step in. But maybe somebody reading one of my books might read it… and be moved to see things clearer than if someone in their lives had sat them down and told them.

For some, lockdown was their saviour. It was finally their chance to take stock. To catch up on sleep. No more boarding a flight every week. No more sardine-in-a-can train journeys. Time spent catching up with their partner and/or kids. Time to spruce up the house or driveway or back garden, or front – maybe all the above. Time to grow out your hair and/or nails. Time to breathe. Time to actually speak to your neighbour. A chance to buy local. A chance to sell local. A chance to be local.

If I’m anything to go by, let me tell you, one thing is for certain.

Post-2020, creativity is going to be UP!

Things are going to change, and it is going to hurt, but through the enormous amount of creativity that is coming – because nothing can come from nothing and who we are, the experiences we’ve had and the hearts we own are everything – we can be together.

Watch this space…

Autumn and Other Things

483c0dc1ddc26f93d3952375b208c964How has this happened? How is it autumn already? I asked myself this when I looked at the calendar this morning. Life seems very busy and rushing by at the speed of light right now. It was yesterday when I was selling stuff at a car boot sale that my husband said, “You’re really good at selling.” I had to take a moment to think about that. Yes, I may have only been selling tat, but evidently I can sell tat! Anyway, what is one man’s junk may well be another’s treasure.

We say it every year, but this year it seems more true than any other: the past few months have zoomed by. I find myself sitting here wondering what I have achieved in the past nine months. So instead of thinking, “Oh god, no, it’s already October and I haven’t done half the things I wanted to do this year…” I have instead decided to think about the things I have achieved. Like for instance, selling loads of tat at yesterday’s car boot sale – result! I also sold our house this year – result! I’ve lost count of the amount of books I’ve published this year and the amount I’ve currently got in the queue to write. I think the point is, it is just so easy to let time pass you by without reflecting on your achievements and progress. Many of us have probably looked at the calendar this morning and thought, “Oh, god,” while many others – like me – are reminded October is our favourite month, even if it does bring us closer to the dreaded C word. LOL. (CHRISTMAS!)

It’s so important to reflect and to acknowledge all the little things we do on a daily basis as achievements in themselves. There are still three months of this year left and maybe the ground work we lay down earlier in the year will soon bear fruit. Even though I have got a lot going on right now, both personally and professionally, I will try to take time for myself and stop awhile to admire the beauty all around. After a summer I couldn’t wait to be shot of (too hot and sticky!), I felt a little sad with the onset of the cooler weather, but only because I’d wished the summer away, dreaming of that cooler weather. It’s a paradox, I know! It feels like I’ve experienced a little bit of lost time this year – and I am sure I am not the only one.

Anyway, my response to my husband when he said I’m good at marketing is that I must have picked it up since becoming an author. I have learnt a lot from publishing books, possibly more than I have from any other career… The broad range of skills you develop, the all-rounder you have to become … it is a never-ending learning curve, it really is. Being an author isn’t just sitting on your bum writing, it involves so much else, and for that I am thankful. So as we pass into this thankful phase of the year, I will keep reminding myself how lucky I am to be doing something with my life so challenging, yet so fulfilling.

With all this in mind, I thought I’d let you know what I have coming up in the next few months:

  • Leticia, a vampire novella, publishing around Halloween
  • Deadly Virtues, a collection of poetry – TBC
  • The Awoken, a YA science fiction novel – TBC
  • Illicit (working title) – TBC
  • Panacea – TBC
  • Assassin – TBC

There’s a lot to be thankful for!

Sarah x

The Journey Here

As another writing year draws to a close, I better put some words down while I still have chance, so here’s what I’ve learned this year . . .

Having been writing religiously for four years now, I can confidently acknowledge that the writer’s journey is never smooth and the true writer doesn’t always write what’s right, either. They write what’s in their heart at the moment, what’s true and good to them at a certain point in time. So when I look back on my work up until now, it’s clear some of my words have become alien to me, because I’ve moved on. Some of my stuff still feels very raw, and other things I’ve become so much less precious about.

They say first-time writers should write the book they want to read if they want to get a book deal. I say, PAH! Sometimes starting out writing at all is a feat so whatever idea you’ve got, go with it. Also, not all of us are out for a so-called book deal. (Incidentally, many deals that publishers offer you are not pro-writer.) I’ve spoken to many a fellow writer, so I know there are good deals and bad ones out there, and it’s when you get a good one that you cling on. Seriously – I’ve heard about lost royalties, not being able to publish future books until being out of your current contract – and worse – having no say when it comes to your cover and content. Some publishers have ripped the heart from books and left them soulless.

This year I’ve gone from virtually being a full-time mum to now being a full-time writer and editor. When I say full-time, I don’t mean 9-5. I work hours most people could not imagine suffering through, but the truth is, I never suffer, because I love it. Full days of writing (in between editing jobs) has transformed my routine, my work ethic, my writing. Being able to write a book straight has improved the whole experience tenfold. I have always had a game plan and I’m getting closer to the fruition of this plan all the time. I’ve been biding my time and it’s my firm belief that time is not your enemy, but your one, true friend if you utilise it properly. I know how much I love writing therefore I know I’m good, because it’s not painful for me – this writing thing – it’s getting easy now. I liken it to physical training and the more practise you put in, the more you naturally get right first time, without all those hundreds of redrafts. The more positive feedback you get, the more your confidence grows too. Nonetheless, the most devastating thing for me would be if I were to become a one-hit wonder, forever leaning on that for future successes. Thankfully a lot of creative people around me have recognised and congratulated me on building a foundation rather than writing a one-trick pony to appeal to the masses. I am a writer. I want to be a writer forever.

A lot of people have come and gone from my life since I started out writing. The main reason for this is that a lot of people say they want to work with me but don’t show the same dedication and commitment I’ve got. Which doesn’t really work for me. Some people seem to think that the publishing world is a game to play whereas I very much feel like it’s a starting stone to self-fulfilment.

I realised this self-fulfilment thing means Sarah Michelle doesn’t write books to pretty something up. I write to provoke and challenge.

So, to clear up this year and what I’ve learned, here’s the spaghetti in a more orderly manner:-

1) Some people think good writing is plot twists, crash, bangs and wallops. Literally, sticking as many big OMGs in one book and letting the audience digest it all at the rate of 50 miles a second. There’s some really great commercial fiction out there and I hold my hands up to the authors who master it. But walloping fiction isn’t the be all and end all. Some of us start out feeling like good books MUST have shocks galore in order for them to be good. NOT TRUE. Sure, a page turner must hook the reader at the end of every chapter, but other readers are just as happy to sit back and relax, too.

2) I’ve had to come to terms with stuff I don’t like in books. Personally I cannot write what I don’t believe is possible/and or true, so I will never write characters that are weak but somehow end up getting everything they want. I don’t believe beautiful language can excuse a murderer their sins. I despise cliche. I don’t think even the most beautiful poetry or prose can hide flawed structure in a book. Likewise heroines with no gumption have no chance getting airtime in one of my books, whether under my pseudonym or my real name! (YES I HAVE A PSEUDONYM AND YOU WILL NEVER KNOW SHE/HE IS ME.) Sarah Michelle doesn’t exactly write what you would call Book Boyfriend books, either. My stories mainly centre around mysteries and psychological issues so the Boyfriend is just one element of the bigger picture. Personally, when I used to read as a kid, I read for enlightenment, and to gain knowledge. That’s not changed. I like to be challenged by a book but also require some basis in reality. I can’t read nice little heart-warming reads myself, but for someone else, I can write them if I am really in the mood.

3) A good enough writer can write about real life and make it a fantastic story, too. A lot of friends over the years have often accused me of pulling their leg with some of the things I’ve seen and done but I don’t tell lies and I have seen and done some crazy shit, which is probably why I can write the stories I do! I got told years and years ago that words aren’t enough. You have to live before you can be a writer. I took that onboard, trust me. For instance, I know a real-life chambermaid. I know a girl who lost her mother young. Myself and Chloe Matthews could be twins.

4) Less is more. But this is the hardest writerly lesson you will ever learn. Less means you have to put faith in your audience that they will read between the lines. Less means you have to give over control to someone else!! EEEPPP! NO!!! I hear so many writers scream. This is so subjective because readers vary as widely as writers do. Some readers love details, others just cannot be bothered and like a bit of wham, bam, thank you ma’am.

5) Sometimes a story just comes to you which is a gift. Angel Avenue and its sequel, Beyond Angel Avenue, are tales gifted to me from some place in the stratosphere – either that – or my subconscious instructed me because my consciousness refuses to admit I am soppy at heart!! HA-HA! (Yes, all writers are crazy.) So, these are tales I would call fantastical, sometimes even whimsical, but still rooted deep in reality. They are the stories I wrote without even breaking a sweat and they are the stories I feel most engaged with. My husband read these and continually laughed and got frustrated with Jules and Warrick, murmuring helplessly, “They’re just such strong characters.” Suspension of disbelief with these books IS A MUST but they are so plausible, too. The ANGEL AVENUE series – overall – is a testament to the power of the human mind and how it protects and preserves itself. Sometimes, among the canon of your work, you produce something universal and engaging not because you made the choice to write a book that is marketable or profitable or fits a current trend – but because it’s real and relatable and the idea for the book wouldn’t cease until you had it out there on a page. Writing has its ups and downs but the downs can sometimes lead to the mega highs of something like these two books – which I wrote not for myself – but the heroes and heroines out there doing things in their daily lives which they don’t decree as fabulous but which I do. When a reviewer said recently that these characters aren’t charming – they were right – Jules and Warrick are real people. Jaded people. But the love they share is what counts.

6) There are deeds you do for others which mean more than deeds you do for yourself.

7) 2016 is going to be interesting. Since my husband started working in marketing, we’ve learned a lot together about what works and what doesn’t. My husband speaks to a social media expert on a daily basis who’s in charge of building the social media platforms of several billion-euro companies. So maybe SML’s pseudonym will be the one-trick pony that allows me – Sarah, the person – to write what makes her heart happy. Because the tricks I’m learning about marketing are enough to make the common consumer cringe. So you might be hearing a lot less from SML and I’ll leave you to ponder what my nom de plume might be.

I love everyone who reads my words. I think you’re all insane, but I love you. I love the people who’ve got to the end of this blog but most of all I love writing and I know I’m unlikely to give it up very soon.

Please do check out Angel Avenue and Beyond Angel Avenue, my most recent AND BEST novel yet. I can sing my way through these last few days of the year because I’m so fulfilled and so pleasantly surprised with how the journey has so far turned out.

Beyond Angel Avenue is out tomorrow.

Have a magical Christmas and a wonderful new year.

Sarah x

2015’s books:

#NaNoWriMo – #NoNoWriMo

Every year I see writers coming together for National November Writing Month, which challenges all writers to write 50,000 words in one month. Let it be known, I have never actually (I mean officially) signed up for this challenge and I think I know why…

I’ve never signed up and yet, something about writers coming together to avoid social media and JUST WRITE always tugs me in and makes me think you can do this, too! However, the thing is… you really have to write the equivalent of 1,667 words a day, every day, for thirty days – and it is just not as easy as you think. If you don’t have the ideas pre-formed, I think pantsing that amount in such a time has got to be hard. If you’ve also just finished one project and are working on a new one for #NaNoWriMo, that’s going to be testing because there is only so much creativity one can produce. You have to have breaks between projects no matter what anyone says. There’s only so much in the tanks.

For me, November is busy enough. Everyone wants their books edited in November because they want to give people books as Christmas presents. In the past, I was a journalist wife’s, a widow of sorts, waiting for him to emerge from the 14-hour days of November and the night shifts spent getting the Christmas magazines out of the door – so I might have had time to write every night back then. However, since he’s changed careers, we actually have date nights now in November, and it’s GREAT!

Another thing about November is that it is one of the darkest months of the year!! Truly. Everybody in the northern hemisphere is on a bit of a downer, because the seasons are changing and the jumpers are coming out. Maybe writing is the escape some people need in November, or maybe 1,667 words a day is the stress you could just do without. I personally don’t believe you can force yourself to write a structured amount every day. I either get 5,000 words out in one day, or I get nothing at all. I have to be desperate to write in order to write, that’s how it works for me.

However I do love the idea that all writers are beavering away at once and magic is multiplying across the land with all these writers casting their writerly spells everywhere. However, I just never find it practical to write like this in November. It just never works for me. Last year I did write 50,000 words in a month but it was 30,000 on one project and 20,000 on another.

This year, I’m up to my eyeballs in edits and just cannot manage it. It’s just not happening. My instinct tells me the words I’d splutter would end up scrapped in a later edit. That happened last year with Unfurl. I was trying to use #NaNoWriMo to complete this book and 75% of what I wrote got scrapped because I just didn’t have the uuuummmmppphhhh there. I was forcing words.

Goodbye NaNo, maybe next year. We do have a strange relationship, don’t we? 😉

But hey ho, while I’m not writing on the laptop, my mind is still conjuring the next projects to come…

Has it really been this long…?

Just checked the date of my last blog post and it was quite a while ago! I’ve certainly been busy… editing this and writing a new book, Unbind. I also get books sent to me all the time, either to review them or for advice from other authors on what to do with their own work! So it’s been a hectic few months! Then there was this review of THE RADICAL which blew me away: click here to read it. This was great because it was a difficult move to re-edit the Ravage Trilogy into what is now the UNITY QUADRILOGY – but I know I undoubtedly made the right choice to do this. After all, I wrote the trilogy with a job and a small baby in my arms! Sometimes I still don’t understand how I did it! It’s been a good lesson in editing to go back to that volume of work.

Alas, a trip to Vegas is on the horizon and it’ll soon be time for me to PARTY! I am really hoping the trip will give me time to relax and unwind and let my brain stew on my current WIPs.

So, I can reveal the first draft of Unbind is completed and soon it will be time to work on getting that second draft done. I have the cover and will be revealing it over on my FB page tomorrow! So come over to www.facebook.com/SarahMLynch and like the page to keep up to date with all the latest.

Also, add March 14th 2015 to your calendars. If you’d like to meet me and have me sign your book(s) I’ll be at the Orchard Book Club event in Peterborough. I’d love to be part of more events and depending on what happens with Unbind, we may have a book launch on our hands at some point.

So please come on over to Facebook tomorrow or follow me on @SarahMichelleLy

There’ll be plenty of teasers coming your way soon enough…

Also, I recently did an interview with Stevie Turner and the answers might surprise you!

Watch this space!

Sarah 🙂

Check out all my books here: http://author.to/sarahmichellelynch