Monday 19 March 2018

Blog Tour: Hold My Hand by M.J Ford

The Hold My Hand tour continues today on my blog. M.J. Ford is sharing their writing process as part of the tour. Very interesting for all you budding writers out there!

My writing routine

My writing routine is STRICT. I normally have several projects underway, and the deadlines I'm contracted to are always tight. For instance, at the moment I'm working on the second Jo Masters detective story, the latest fantasy title in a series for 6+ kids, and I'm at different stages in two trilogies for tweens. I also work part-time as an editor. It sounds terribly unromantic, this means my writing life often comes down to arithmetic. I have, at some point in the next eight months, to write approximately 250,000 words, in x many days. If I don't hit my word count, something has to give elsewhere, be it time with my family, weekend fun, or sleep. The words I write don't have to be great, of course. The old age of 'get is written, don't get it right' couldn't be more apposite. It's much easier to tweak something rubbish later on than it is to create from scratch. If it's a writing day, I normally try to get out of the house. One day I hope to have my own office, but for the moment, if I decide to work in the house, I have to find a quiet corner. My kids are six and two, so quiet corners are hard to come by. So I'll tend to take myself off to the local library, with occasional excursions to coffee shops. I don't find the ambient noise of such places any sort of issue. Normally, if writing is going well, I'm quite immersed.

            I often switch between the various projects I'm working on. A couple of hours in this, a couple on that. There are always pinch points, though. Despite my best efforts, two or three times a year I'll find myself writing until very late at night in order to finish something. Sleep quality really affects my ability to write. Without a clear mind, I find it very hard not to get distracted. If I recognise I’m struggling, I head out for a while, for a run with the dogs. It’s a conscious effort to clear my mind, and even though exercise is fatiguing, I find it gives me a short-term kick up the backside.

            Normally, after I finish a piece of work, the routine goes out of the window for a week. It’s not particularly helpful but I need it. There’s nothing better than sending a script to your editor and knowing you don’t have to look at it for a while.   At the moment, there are extra responsibilities. I’m publishing my first adult novel, and the world of publicity and marketing are a mystery to me. With children’s books, the ability to engage with one’s readership directly in minimal. The odd school visit. But for grown-ups, with social media, the possibilities are endless. The days of a book receiving national press are past; there are simply too many titles vying for attention. A lot of the success will probably depend on the leg-work I do promoting. It’s slightly nerve-racking. One can’t hide behind one’s book and hope for the best!

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