I was recently asked by Leyla from Women on the Road to take part in a writing related blog hop. I don't usually accept these invitations, but the topic and the questions intrigued me and seeing as this something I want to write more about, I thought answering these questions would be a good start.
Let me know if you have any more questions about my writing life - I'd be happy to answer them!
What am I working on/writing?
I'm working on my second book of short stories, a collection of fiction inspired by London, which I hope to publish in a few weeks. At the moment, I'm juggling a number of different tasks - waiting on feedback from beta readers, putting the finishing touches to more problematic stories and also working with my copyeditor and proofreader - and I'm also arguing with my boyfriend over the title and cover design. I both love and hate this stage of writing a book; so close, yet so far!
I'm also writing the first draft of a non-fiction book about the things you can do to make writing a book easier. So many people have said that they wish they could do what I've done and write and publish a book, but they're either too scared, don't have enough time or fear failure (or all the above!). I was and am exactly the same, but I also know that if I can do it YOU CAN TOO! So that book will be my letter to you. It will hopefully be released just before NaNoWriMo which is an initiative that has definitely helped me become an author.
And for my clients, I'm currently working on the usual tasks; writing and editing blog posts and newsletters, preparing website copy and scheduling social media posts. That's the stuff that pays my bills!
I'm also updating this blog regularly and writing for Travelettes.
How does my writing or work differ from others of its genre?
When it comes to my freelance work, my clients are mostly travel-related so a lot of what I write is based on my personal experiences in destinations, or I do a lot of research about places. My background is actually in research, so I really enjoy doing this. I also have clients who have nothing to do with travel and request different types of copy for their blogs, websites, marketing campaigns etc. so one day I could be writing about interior design trends and the next I'm writing about productivity apps. I feel very fortunate to have such a varied workload. I'm never bored!
I suppose my fiction writing differs from others because I'm an independent author of short stories. This means I publish my own books and sell them on a number of platforms including Amazon and Kobo. So once the writing and editing process is over (and the latter ALWAYS takes longer than the former) I then have to put on a differenet hat, that of publisher, which means I work with a developper to format the books for digital and print publication and I also liaise with my cover designer to get the perfect book cover. Once a book is published, I'm also responsible for marketing it, which I do find the most difficult part of being an indie author, but I'm learning to approach this with creativity rather than reluctance and to just do a little bit regularly, so I can keep writing too.
It's also a bit unusual to write short stories, which I explain in a bit more detail below.
As for my blog, I enjoy the freedom it gives me to write what I want, but I take the potential of this platform very seriously. My blog is one of the most effective ways I sell my books and get new copywriting clients, so I try to always write content that either entertains, inspires or informs and I'm currently running a reader survey to find out what people want to read more of. The results have been very interesting! You guys just love travel! (And I love that!)
Why do I write what I do?
I first started writing short stories because I saw it as a much more manageable model of fiction and I knew I had a lot to learn before I tackled a full-length novel. Upon reflection this was an even wiser decision than I initially thought. As well as learning so much about language, plot, character development, structure and dialogue, I have also discovered a genre that I really love. I genuinely didn't expect that I would love short stories as much as I do now - both reading and writing them - and I am now very passionate about introducing the genre to others. So, I think even if I go on to write novels (I already have 50,000 words of a first draft waiting for more attention) I will always continue to write and publish short stories because they have burrowed into my heart and show no signs of leaving. I also want to write a collection about my new home Amsterdam... next year.
How does my writing process work?
"Work" is a strong word because when it comes to my books, because I still feel like I'm figuring out most things as I go. Furthermore, because I'm still new to independent publishing I'm always learning that some of the things I do, aren't always as successful as I'd like. But that is the nature of any new business!
As for my copywriting work and blogging, I am quite strict about how much time I spend on each as I do want to keep the majority of my working time for working on my books and growing that side of my business. This means, I batch as much of this work as I can and normally spend 1 - 2 weeks in the beginning of each month working solely on client work and blog posts. Then, I have the rest of the month to focus on writing or editing my books. Because I travel a lot it doesn't always work out that I have exactly the amount of time I'd like, but it does help me prioritise client work and also ensure I have enough time to pursue my fiction writing.
On a day to day basis I work best sat at my desk, with a pot of tea, the internet off, some soothing music on Spotify and with my phone in the other room. I've come to think about writing as a muscle based activity and the more you do the easier it is, so I don't really get writer's block anymore but my daily 1-2 mile runs have become essential to help clear my mind, work out plot issues and find perspective. That, and reading for at least 20 minutes every day.
Here's some more info about Leyla - thanks for inviting me to take part!
Leyla Giray Alyanak from Women on the Road
Leyla Giray Alyanak is a former foreign correspondent with a passion for travel and improving people’s lives in developing countries. At 43 she made a major decision to reinvent herself and left to travel the world solo for six months. She was gone more than three years. Leyla now works for an international development agency in Geneva and she blogs at Women on the Road.
I'm now nominating three more bloggers and writers. I'm really curious about hearing their answers and learning about their writing processes so hope you check their blogs over the next few weeks to read all about them. Here are the three lovely ladies:
Amy from Ten Penny Dreams
Amy is a twenty-something reader, writer and blogger who hopes to publish her first novel soon. You can find her musings on writing, books and life in North East England on her blog Ten Penny Dreams.
Elle from A Bird in the Hand
Elle is a South African born, Aussie raised London dweller with a fondness for good coffee and vintage clothes. When she's not working as a social media marketer, Elle can be found blogging, copywriting and working on her first novel. She writes her own blog about stylish travel and has contributed to Cosmopolitan UK, The Sunday Times Travel and a number of online travel sites. Her favourite book is The Poisonwood Bible although she has a soft spot for Harry Potter too.
Clare from Need Another Holiday
Clare juggles a full-time job with a passion for travel and loves nothing more than writing all about it. She adores good food, good wine and good company, and enjoys both exploring new cities and rediscovering those that are familiar through new eyes. When she's not travelling or writing about it on her blog Need Another Holiday, she's either planning the next trip, or trying to justify why her home is filled with so many pairs of shoes.
And feel free to ask me any other writing related questions in the comments, or do share how you get your writing done. I love reading posts about how people tackle their writing goals.
Frances M. Thompson
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