Editors and the East End

Today is MANIC! I had to write the moment I woke up and only stopping or I won’t get my morning pages (that are once again afternoon pages) done and I’m too OCD to leave it even just the teeny tiny one little time. I think this is the hardest I’ve been hit with the urge to write – I literally haven’t done anything else all day and even the synopsis I found so difficult to write I’m really pleased with. And so was K! She told me that she believes in it, that my story is ‘sound’ and my style of writing ‘engaging’ – yay! Who knows what the editor might come back with (they’re there to criticise rather than praise I guess, so naturally what they say tend to be things that need fixing), but today’s been one big victory.

Synopsis and first three chapters are now with the editor – eeeeeesh! Excited and a bit scared too!

Not looking forward to this evening, but hey ho. Whatever makes Monkey happy. Even when what makes him happy is football practice at the other end of town. My Ex moved to east London, you see. I find that a little crazy and a tad irresponsible, as it means Monkey has a school journey of an hour and a half on the days he’s with his dad – each way. Three hours per day in a car or on trains. But Monkey seems OK, so who am I to kick up a fuss. And I haven’t. I just sometimes mutter under my breath or on my morning pages. Anyway, my Ex got him signed up with a local team and Monkey loves it, so I’ll be heading over to bandit country in a couple of hours when I’ve collected Monkey from school. Not a fan of the East End though.

It’s really difficult to focus on this today. All I want to do is get back to Alice and shower her with TLC, so many gaps I’m in the process of filling and the ideas are coming thick and fast. Funny, really – morning pages was an exercise initially suggested to get me in the flow from the moment I woke up, designed to be just a brain dump every morning. And they are, as anyone reading this can clearly see – my random thoughts and musings without pressure, guide- or deadlines. And today I find myself in the flow when working on the novel and struggling when I’m on here.

I’m toying with the idea of leaving an online community I’ve been writing for. As nice as it is to be able to get your articles published with no editorial requirements beyond a basic spell check, I’m no longer sure I want to have my writing displayed amongst what seems to be an ocean of half cooked work. I’m not saying mine are any better (to be honest, I’ve removed some of them as I didn’t even find them publishing worthy myself!), but only this morning I popped in on there to read the articles by some new writers as recommended by the manager on their Facebook page. Gosh, what a disappointment! The first one I clicked on had severe spelling mistakes already in the first paragraph, so it seems that the spell check requirement isn’t even needed anymore. And I just don’t want my work associated with poor quality.

It’s a shame really, because I think the idea was sound in its infancy – a community for women by women. Great! And I do at the same time like the inclusive spirit where all and sundry can get their writing published and read by the wider masses. If it were me, though, I’d be a hell of a lot stricter. Some of the articles almost read like that type of personal blogs where a writer talks about stuff that you’d only ever find mildly interesting if you knew them, and probably not even then. And given I’m on the cusp of landing some really exciting writing gigs, perhaps now is the time to say adieu. I feel it’s served its purpose – just like these morning pages it was a launch pad to get me into the flow, and now that I am I don’t feel the same enthusiasm anymore.

Not chucking these morning pages in though – never! As much as I’m itching to get back to Alice today, this little blog I have come to really value and it’s worked a treat. Still does. Most of the time I really look forward to my little morning pages moment – after breakfast with B, dropping Monkey at school, brewing some coffee and then sitting down to let my thoughts spill out on here. Never once have I planned what to write, not once. I set the timer to 20 minutes and just bash out whatever pops into my mind. That’s probably the reason why I find it amusing to read afterwards – because I just let go and write without really thinking about it, it’s like reading something for the first time. I never edit either, even when I find spelling mistakes – because I’m just writing what’s in my head without really thinking about it, I end up typing much faster than normal (and I was a PA for many years so I type pretty damn fast as it is – 80 words per minute the last time I registered with a recruitment agency) – and that means it sometimes comes out phonetically.

I’m a stickler for spelling and grammar, so when I read these pages back and see mistakes, it does make my eyes sting, but I refuse to do anything about it – the whole point of this was to write away with no thought for the end product, so I’m allowing this to be a flawed space that only serves its purpose: getting me into the flow.

Thank God! The timer’s just beeped so I’m back off to my love-in with Alice! Yippie!

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