Uncategorized, writing

Tick Tock

Pocket watches on chain isolated

There’s a line in Andrew Marvell’s poem To His Coy Mistress that I love: ‘But at my back I always hear / Time’s winged chariot hurrying near’.  The voice in the poem is that of a man persuading a woman to consummate their relationship and it always enabled some great classroom discussions when I taught it.

However, it is one of those images that sticks in your mind so much that they become part of your own language.  Like many people trying to cram as much as they can into life, I am very conscious of the sound of that winged chariot.  As a teacher, my daily work life is split into units of time, all of which have responsibilities allocated to them.  At home, my husband works shifts which also dictate how certain pockets of time need to be spent.  Inevitably, and as I’ve blogged before, the only flexibility my time often has is my writing.  I took a break a few months ago to help give me more time for the things that were more pressing then.

But, this summer break, my writing life has been put to the top of the to-do list.  We are not taking a lengthy summer break, I have not over-committed myself socially as I usually do, and I’ve made myself sit and write before doing anything else.

And guess what?  I’ve finished the draft of Fault!  That is only the start of the release process though and there are now many deadlines and dates to add into the calendar.  Once I have had feedback from my beta readers, I will return to my manuscript and try to make it as good as it can be.  I have to send it to my editor in early September, work on their suggested changes, and then send to my formatter in early October.  And, fingers crossed that the above stages go without a hitch, Fault will be ready to be released on 21st October!

Thank you to everyone who has patiently waited for Fault, who has supported me during the dark days when writing wasn’t happening, who has kept their faith in me.  I hope you feel that 21st October brings you enough in return.

xx

 

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writing

Looking Into The Light

Light bulb

The last time I posted was to share that I was taking a break from being an author.  My new non-writing job had taken over an even bigger share of my life and I was struggling to keep up with the book-world.  It had become stressful which is ironic, given that the reason I started writing was as a coping mechanism at a tough point in my life.

A few months have passed and I now have a slightly different perspective on the role of writing in my life.  You see those light bulbs in the photo?  Imagine all of them are on; that’s what my day to day work-life is like.  I love my job but it’s mentally and emotionally challenging.  The voices in my head are incessant, chattering away about every different decision that has to be made.  Keeping those bulbs lit meant I hadn’t got the energy to power the one that represented me as an author.  The character’s voices were the only ones I could allow myself to switch off.  So, how has this changed?

Over the Christmas break, I allowed myself to open up the Word document of my current work in progress (that’s been in progress for almost eighteen months!) and re-read it.  All of a sudden, I was transported back into the world I had created.  I stayed at home for a couple of days and wrote, just for the joy of it.  And do you know what?  Those work voices shut up.  For the first time in six months, I could hear myself think about something other than work.  It was wonderful.

And that’s when I realised that now, more than ever, I need to write.  I need to give my brain a break from the stress of work and the decisions that affect other people’s lives.  I need to give myself the time to be creative, to inhabit a space where the decisions I make don’t have consequences for real people in real life.

I’m sure someone would be able to explain the process that means, by switching on that one bulb, the others go off.  From my Physics GCSE days, I’m sure there’s a circuit involved in the explanation.  But what I do know is that, by switching to that one bulb, the room gets a little darker, more relaxed and the buzz of electricity quiets to a gentle hum.  And, although the opportunities are infrequent, I’m determined to grasp them.

I’m writing for me again.  And it feels good.

Uncategorized

Making a Wish

I can remember my mum telling me that, whatever else I could do, I couldn’t find more than twenty-four hours in a day.  She wasn’t trying to limit me; she was trying to stop me burning out.  As someone who was a Girl Guide, played a musical instrument, worked hard at school, had a morning newspaper round, spent two or three evenings a week babysitting for neighbours, had a Saturday job, etc., time was a precious commodity that I manipulated and twisted with the recklessness of youthful naivete. I would wind myself so tight that, inevitably, I would snap.

Despite the years which have passed, I still fill my time to the brim.  My primary job is one that I very rarely switch off from; it is an indelible part of my psyche.  For years I have given the majority of my evenings and weekends to doing that job in the best way possible.  I am thankful to have a sense of vocation and to spend my time in the pursuit of making others’ lives better.

And then I started writing.

Over the last three years I have found myself in the enviable position of having a second vocation.  I love writing: the craft, the creativity and the community.  There is nothing like hearing from readers about how much my words, my characters have touched them.  Even forcing my naturally introverted self to attend signings has resulted in some of the most joyous moments of my life.

But, as my career in education grows, I am finding it ever more difficult to find the time and mental capacity to continue being an author.  I have always kept a clear sense of separation between these two worlds and have been honest about the fact that my job in education has to take priority as it pays my bills.

I’m at one of those points where, if she were still alive, Mum would be repeating her reminder about the number of hours in the day.  My husband has recently become my self-appointed time manager, forcing me to take rest time and I know that means he’s worried.

So what is the answer?  As easy as it would be to say I solely commit to the world of education, it would hurt me so much to stop writing that any gain in time would be outweighed by the sadness.  What I can try is to stop being an author.  To stop the time spent on social media.  To stop the time spent trying to develop my profile within the book community.  To stop the time spent not-writing.  I know that this will mean less publicity and fewer sales but that doesn’t concern me.  Losing time with readers does.

So, between now and Christmas, I’m going to put my author life on hiatus.  I will still be writing whenever time allows.  Both Curve and Heart will only be available via Amazon as part of my determination to keep things simple.  I may check in on social media occasionally but, if anyone needs to contact me, my email address can be found on the Contact Me tab above.

As I blow out one end of the candle I’m burning at both ends, I’m making a wish: to be able to relight it in a few months’ time so that it will burn brighter and stronger.

Speak soon.

Nic

x

Curve, Heart, writing

London Calling

London love - heart with many vector icons

In a few days’ time I will be attending the British Book Affair signing in London AS AN AUTHOR!  To say I’m feeling apprehensive is like saying that Edward Cullen was a little interested in blood, or Mr Darcy has a small cottage known as Pemberley…well, you get the idea.

I’ve blogged before about being a natural introvert and finding the whole concept of talking to people I don’t know challenging.  I know, I spend much of my time talking to groups of thirty young people – but that is a completely different beast.  Trust me!

I love social media; and the security of communicating from behind the safety of my laptop or iPad.  And I would never have got to this point as a writer (see, I still struggle with using the word author!) if it wasn’t for the online Indie community.  Possibly the best feeling is receiving a message or email from a reader and chatting with them about Curve or Heart – and inevitably more!  But every time I have to step away from the screen and talk face to face, I freeze, wishing that I could just click my heels three times and find myself back home.

When I went to the Edinburgh signing, it was lovely to meet up with a couple of people I’d got to know online, one of whom has become a very good friend since then.  But I could count on one hand the number of non-authors I spoke to – and that’s because it’s very difficult to ask them to sign a book without talking to them!  At the Peterborough signing, I spoke to a couple of bloggers and a number of authors about the signing experience as London was weighing heavy on my mind – and my lovely sister-in-law was making me talk to people. Everyone was friendly, some amazingly so, and my troubled mind was temporarily stilled.  But starting every single one of those conversations was so difficult.

Since then, I’ve channeled my nervous energy into swag designing / making and writing my third book, trying to pretend that the London signing is ages away.

I can hide no more.

If you’re coming to London, please do come over and say hello.  Talk to me about books (they don’t even have to be mine), the other authors, yourself, anything really.  Please.  And if we’ve had any sort of communication online, tell me – it will make it easier if I feel I know you already!

I hope to blog again, after the signing, about how wonderful the experience was and how much I enjoyed talking to people…

Wish me luck!

xx

writing

Backwards and Forwards

2014-15

In my other life, I am a teacher and there is a fantastic blogging trend called #nurture1415.  Each year many educators use the same structure to reflect on five positives from the year that has passed, and to share five hopes for the year ahead.  I’m going to blatantly steal the concept for my obligatory end of year blog…

2014:

  1. Writing.  In notebooks, in pencil. This turned out to be the only way I could draft Jake’s sections of Heart and, thanks to him, I have rediscovered the joy of writing longhand. Hmm, notebooks with tactile covers. If you’re ever wondering what to get a writer..!
  2. Books. Maybe Someday and The Law of Moses: best reads of the year.  Both made me want to be a better writer but also think the bar was maybe beyond my reach.
  3. Critique partners. Writing doesn’t get any easier.  Seriously, there were moments when, if I felt I had any choice, I would have given up on writing.  However, my wonderful critique partner Karli got me through, and helped to make Heart so much better than it started out.
  4. Hearts. Forget rats and goats…this has been the year of the Heart for me.  From publishing my second book to my themed Christmas tree to my endlessly supportive husband, I’m thankful for every heart of the last year.
  5. Online friends. Through my writing, I’ve made some fantastic friends who mean so much to me. Social media at its best.

2015:

  1. Signings. I am attending my first signing as a writer (well, two actually!).  As scared as I am that I will be the only writer at her table, being studiously ignored by hundreds of attendees, all of who are fangirling over everyone else, I know that I need to push myself out of my comfort zone.  I am naturally reserved and the idea of having to be so sociable freaks me out!
  2. Writing. I want to finish the third novel in the Define series and then try something different.  I fancy trying a historical novel, but am worried that it will be a step too far for the small but loyal fanbase I am growing.
  3. Time. I don’t believe in resolutions but I aim to spend less time lurking on social media and more time writing…are you laughing at me?!
  4. Reading. I want to read books which challenge and inspire me, not more of the same.  If I’m going to push myself as a writer, I need to do the same as a reader. This may mean moving away from Goodreads to broaden my recommendations.
  5. People. I hope that I can give back to friends (and I include my husband in this!) as much as I get from them.  Friendship makes the world go round, don’t you know?

 

Much love.

xx

Uncategorized

Happy Release Day to Me!

release promo day

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Heart-Nicola-Hudson-ebook/dp/B00Q4WNY9M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1416934498&sr=8-1&keywords=heart+nicola+hudson&pebp=1416934510295

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Heart-Nicola-Hudson-ebook/dp/B00Q4WNY9M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1416934563&sr=8-1&keywords=heart+nicola+hudson

iTunes:  https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/id944791804