If you want something done …

You’ll be aware of the paradoxical phrase, ‘If you want something done, ask a busy person’. There are variations but they all aim to suggest one thing, which is that a person with a heavy schedule is more likely to add and complete an additional task. That type of person is also more likely to either accept the extra work or say that they’re unable to help.

What is the main thrust of the phrase and the theory behind acceptance or refusal?

The busy person will not let you down by accepting and failing to complete. If they don’t believe that they can include the task into their schedule they’ll say so, rather than let you down by not succeeding.

Where does this fit in with being an author?

It depends to a fair extent on the type of person you are, and not the type of author. Writing, after all is one aspect of a lifestyle, even if that person is an author. Now, let’s look at this a bit more closely, and as authors do, I’ll use what I know best … my own case.

When I started out into the world of writing I got underway with a poem or short story, and I would labour over one piece at a time. I could stare at a notepad, or a screen, and yes, I would get the job done, but it was soul-destroying at times. When I moved on to writing novels I found a similar ‘block’ effect, whereby I would write three or perhaps four chapters and then … nothing.

My life as an author became more productive and therefore more enjoyable when I came up with the idea of ‘resting’ a piece of work if I got stuck.

How does that equate to productivity and enjoyment?

I saved and left the troublesome piece on file, and got underway with another story. Over the years I’ve become proficient at maintaining multiple Work in Progress. Apart from creating the choice of which story to work on, I believe that this method alleviates an issue that many authors learn to deal with in different ways.

Let’s say, for example, that you’re writing a story and at a certain stage you go off on a tangent or your mind wanders while you’re taking a break. For some writers, the natural response is to shrug off the thought, believing that it will come back to you later. Other writers might find themselves with something akin to an ear-worm which is ever present while they try to work. I don’t rely on remembering the passing idea. Attempting to work on a story with another firm idea on my mind would be distracting.

I open a new file and write the opening line, title, theme or whatever had presented itself. A good technique I’ve discovered for preserving a fresh idea and moving on, is to create a working title, and write a strap-line or brief blurb.

Giving an additional task to a ‘busy’ person is not an exact science, it is a notion based on human nature and personality types. I believe that most authors may consider themselves as that busy person, and therefore ought to try the method I’ve found successful. When you’re stuck for whatever reason, don’t procrastinate until the active piece of work becomes an irritation, try to relax and let your mind wander. You might come up with your next project.

As always, comments and suggestions are welcome, and thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts and theories.

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My Writing Year – 2022

For me, the start of a new year isn’t about reflecting on what has gone before, or organising my new (physical) diary, although setting that up does take a while. The first day of January for me, is a step forward from the day before, but it signals the need to have my creative house in order.

There’s something about a new diary, a new sketch pad, and, of course, for an author, a new book. I have three titles lined up and as I like to do, I’ll work through each steadily with no rush to finish anything too rapidly.

What have I got lined up?

Selena: Sea Nymph is intended to be a standalone, and however well it flows, if you’ll pardon the pun, I don’t intend to let the story tempt me into a sequel. I’m pleased to say that I have the first five chapters written and available for reading/comments in my Work in Progress menu. From Sunday, 6th February, only the first chapter will remain on view.

Crusader is a crime thriller, and will be worked on when the Selena manuscript is ‘resting’ for three or four weeks. The two books will take turns in commanding my attention. This is a system that has worked for me for a few years now.

The third proposed title for this year is Constance, which will be the sequel to Crusader. I wouldn’t normally suggest I was writing a sequel prior to the first story being written but on this occasion I’m confident that the premise will work. As you might expect, this second part will bring the story to a close.

Will I produce anything else this year?

I don’t intend any more novels during the year, and I’m still undecided about working on another anthology.

My wife and I have recently rejoined the camping fraternity with an updated set of wheels and a touring caravan. With luck and reasonable conditions I aim to spend more time mobile and on ‘research’ rather than writing.

My creative hands will continue to be full because I’ll be working for the brand produced for my pseudonym, which is seeing more attention than my work in recent times. It’s a strange feeling, to be successful anonymously. The stories are fun to write and when I last peeked at the website there was mention of a two-part novel, an anthology, and three novellas.

I’ll be reading widely as normal and beta reading for members of the IASD, but I might maintain a low profile on social media.

For now, from me, I hope you have a safe and prosperous year ahead and you read (and write), as much as you hope to.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, and as Bugs Bunny would say, That’s all folks.

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