Loch Awe in spring - Photo courtesy of Neil Donald Photography






Sunday, 4 May 2014

WHEN YOUR MOJO GOES AWOL ....

WHEN YOUR MOJO GOES AWOL …. Life can get in the way of writing sometimes. And the longer you’re away from it, the harder it can be to get back into. A bit like riding a bicycle and swimming……if you haven’t done either for a while then you’ll be a bit wobbly getting back in the saddle and making your first strokes in the deep end. So, what’s to do? I’ve had to ask myself that lately because lots has been going on chez Mitchelmore. And I know agents, editors, and publishers are professionals too, with a living to make. As kind and understanding as most are, they still need their writers to, well, write.
Thank goodness, then, for what I call ‘my Blue Peter’ files. You know, some I made earlier. You don’t want to know how many short story files I have! There are things in there – often three versions of the same story at different lengths while I decide which magazine it would suit best – from way back then, before mobile phones and iPads and Tablets and the like. But when my Mojo goes Awol for a while I need to dig into them. I’ve recently found things in there I started but never finished. And things I finished but never got around to sending out anywhere. Somehow, it’s a lot easier to get back into something previously written, and I can see, almost instantly, where it needs updating or changing in some way – cutting here, adding there. A change of name often works wonders, as does a change of venue. So that’s what I’m doing. It’s served me well in the past. While I waited to see if my publisher, Choc Lit, liked book two of my trilogy (they did – phew!) I dug out something I’d written ages ago when I was in the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writers’ Scheme. There were a few glaring timing errors that, coming back to it, jumped out and hit me between the eyes. So I sorted those. I realised one character needed developing a bit more deeply, so I did that. A fortnight’s work, unlike the nine months or so it took me to write initially. And then I submitted it to my publisher. The reading panel loved it and now it's out as an e.book. RED IS FOR RUBIES is the title. If it sells well, then there is the whiff of a chance it could go to paperback and I truly hope it does as it’s the novel I’ve enjoyed writing the most – so far! And it is, I think, that hope that is in all writers that their work will be read and enjoyed that keeps us going. So, if you’ll excuse me…..I’ve just thought of something – there’s a serial I had published a while back which, with a bit of tweaking here and there, and another 5000 words or so, I could turn into a novella – novella being the buzzword of the moment in the writing world. And when I’ve done that – with luck – life will be less frantic around here and I might be able to start something new. I’d be interested to know how other writers get their Mojo back ….
Linda Mitchelmore

10 comments:

  1. Really interesting, Linda. I've just done exactly the same for a project - I can get really enthusiastic about somethng written years ago, while being really screwed up about the current series book.

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    1. Lovely to see you pop up here, Lesley....many thanks. When I started writing - many sleeps ago now - a well-published author told me to 'never throw anything away, even if you think it's rubbish at the time'.....and I am so glad I took her advice!

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  2. What an interesting post, Linda. I have quite a few 'Blue Peter' files, too, but I rarely look at them. When I'm struggling on one project I try to do something totally different. If I'm writing fiction I might stop and turn back to poetry until my subconscious has worked out the fiction problem - or told me to abandon hope and put it in another Blue Peter file. I must have a look through them to see if there are any bits of tarnished gold which could be polished up.

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    1. Tarnished gold? Gold doesn't tarnish.....they will all shine brightly!

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  3. Wow, you're really lucky to have such a gold mine at your fingertips! I have all sorts of notes and jottings, and newspaper and magazine cuttings too, but nothing I could so readily turn into something publishable.People keep asking when I'll get back to my number one novel - set in wartime India, if you recall - but I know there's SO much wrong with it, and more research that needs doing too! Still, it does nag me every so often.

    I seem to remember a story about sapphires - did they turn into rubies?

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    1. No, Sapphires didn't turn into Rubies.....two different books. Am thinking of a third jewel - emeralds perhaps? - and turning it into a series. What was that about mojos????

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  4. Love your post, Linda, as I have a bulging file of old short stories and half-written novels which I look at now and then! Like your cover.

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    1. Thank you, Rosemary......Choc Lit do seem to do really good covers for all their titles - I am blessed!

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  5. I also have quite a collection of old half-finished work, Linda. But what I did in January of this year to kickstart my writing was to set myself my own personal challenge to Write a Novel in a Month (based on NaNoWriMo). I didn't succeed but I did get over 20,000 words written and that was enough to set me on the road again!

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    1. Goodness, 20,000 words in a month is impressive....because we all have other lives, too. And it got your mojo working....:)

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