Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Guest Blog: Jane Wenham-Jones

Me Wants Food welcome Jane Wenham-Jones to the blog. Today, Jane talks about a subject close to all authors' hearts: finding time to write! Scroll below for links to buy her latest book.

Jane Wenham-Jones is a novelist, journalist and presenter and the author of the Wannabe Books - two how-to manuals on getting published and becoming well-known. Below is an extract from Wannabe a Writer?, available on Amazon or through all good bookshops. For more on Jane see http://www.janewenham-jones.com.

How to write when there’s no time:

1) Think about getting up an hour earlier when everyone else is asleep. When I’m getting to the end of a book (which always takes longer than planned) I sometimes rise at four a.m to guarantee three hours of non-interruption and have stayed up all night on occasion. I do not, however, recommend you consider any of these options if you have very small children because you must be totally exhausted already. Wendy Holden says, when looking back at her early writing days of doing just that, “compared to having two children under three…. it seems like a holiday now.”

2) Think about going to bed later and write while everyone else is asleep. NB if you like a drink in the evenings you might find you don’t understand any of it in the morning but at least your word count will be up.

3) Be alert for all chances to write. Get yourself a nice notebook and carry it around with you, jotting down thoughts and snatches of dialogue, sentences that spring to mind or how you are feeling at a particular time, whenever you get the chance. In the dentist’s waiting-room, for example, outside the school gates or when you have to stand around in a queue. Remind yourself that there’s nothing like being prevented from writing to make you really productive when you finally get the chance.

4) Join a local writing group so someone else is forced to look after the kids and you have a guaranteed evening a week to focus on your desire to write. Meet others who share your difficulties and can give you support.

5) Pretend you’ve joined a writing group and go and write in the pub.

6) Swap childcare with a friend. If he or she writes too, so much the better but strike a pact in any case. Have her kids round to play while she does her embroidery or car maintenance, in return for her having yours while you bash out a short story.

7) Forget all that talk about the perils of too much TV and embrace the video machine as the greatest of childcare inventions. Tell the children you’re all going to watch a favourite film and once they’re absorbed, you can scribble things on your lap and make the right noises at the exciting bits.

8) Write during Sports days and school plays. The moment your own offspring leave track or stage, whip out your pen. Put it round the playground that you are a freelance journalist and nobody will think you rude. On the contrary, they will be delighted, assuming you are taking copious notes on the feats of their little darlings.

9) When your spouse asks what you’d like for your birthday, request a day to yourself. Earmark a weekend where they take the kids out and leave you in blissful solitude at your desk (NB this is unlikely to go down well on your wedding anniversary).

10) Establish the ground-rule that writing is just as important as Golf or Going Shopping for Shoes. Drum this into the kids too. Remember that being bored is character-forming. Let them get a feel for it.

Finally, comfort yourself with the thought that if you write ALL the time you won’t have anything to write about.

It is part of the process that you need to reflect and recharge, wander and ponder, see people, live life a little - otherwise you’ll have nothing to say.

Talking to the postman is a crucial part of a writer’s day’s work. And all airing cupboards need a tidy sometimes.

Practical, personal and honest advice on how to get published with contributions from over a hundred authors, agents, publishers and journalists. Hear from the professionals on how to sell your articles, write a synopsis, find an agent, get your novel accepted and much, much more. With insights, anecdotes and hot tips from Frederick Forsyth, Jilly Cooper, Ian Rankin, Katie Fforde, Jill Mansell, Adele Parks, Lesley Pearse, Michael Buerk, Carole Matthews, Erica James, Mil Millington, Miles Kington, Michael Bywater, Rosie Millard, Robert Crampton, Richard Morrison, Simon Trewin, Jonathan Lloyd, Teresa Chris and Jane Judd as well as publishers Harper Collins, Hodder Headline, Transworld, Orion and Simon & Schuster. A must-have handbook for anyone who's ever wanted to write or just wants to hear how others to do it... Where do you start? How do you finish? And will anyone ever publish it when you have? Drawing on her own experiences as a novelist and journalist, Writing Magazine's agony aunt Jane Wenham-Jones takes you through the minefield of the writing process, giving advice on everything from how to avoid Writers' Bottom to what to wear to your launch party. Wannabe a Writer? tells you everything you ever wanted to know about the book world - and a few things you didn't...

Wannabe a Writer Site

Buy links:

Amazon UK (paperback)

Amazon UK (Kindle)

Amazon US (paperback)

Amazon US (Kindle)

The Book Depository

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