Listening to: Vivaldi and Bach
Reading: next on TBR
First, the proud mummy moment: daughter had a really stellar school report yesterday. (It was pretty much what I expected, actually, but it’s still nice to have your knowledge confirmed: she’s a kind, friendly and popular child, as well as being very good academically. And her teacher praised her creative writing.) Son’s report is due next week and I’m expecting his to be similar. (Well, not the writing. He does films.)
I’m off to the Romantic Novelists’ Association conference in Greenwich tomorrow – and I’m so looking forward to it! It’s going to be lovely to meet up with old friends, and also meet new friends (particularly blogging and FB ones – waves to Susan and Lizzie) in the flesh. It’s the RNA’s 50th anniversary this year, so it’s going to be especially good..
Did I mention that I’m a tad excited about this?
Apparently I have seventy people booked to hear my ‘planner’s guide to creativity’ talk on Sunday. Eep. It’s a mix of time management and creative brainstorming, so I’m hoping that people will join in and it will be a fun session. It has potential to be fun, as long as people keep an open mind and don’t feel that this is all about ticking boxes.
Planner vs Pantster? My view is, you do what works for you and don't worry about whether it's the "right way". There is no one right way, just the way that suits you. Experiment. If it doesn’t work for you, never mind; try something else in the future. If it does work for you, then great. At the end of the day, writers all have the same aim: to write a book that really delights their reader. They just go about the business of writing it in different ways, and I’m not sure readers are that bothered by whether you write the book in longhand with a fountain pen on A4 plain paper, in shorthand in pencil in a special lined notebook, or you dictate while lolling on a sofa eating bonbons and waving your feather boa (not that any of the writers I know do that last way - that's a lazy hack's cliché and completely untrue to life). The story’s the main thing.
So why am I a planner? Well, our son has ADHD and our paediatrician says I’m the genetic link. Hmm. I think I’m just a busy person (though one of my friends from uni always introduced me as someone who ‘does six impossible things before breakfast, and that’s at six o’clock’). However, if I don’t write things down, they don’t happen: hence the need for planning. Just because I know what’s going to happen before I write the book, it doesn’t mean that I’m bored with the story or that my characters are two-dimensional (because things change); but if I don’t have the plan to start with, nothing happens. So planning works for me. Plus I happen to like nerdy things, like spreadsheets. If you’re a pantster, kudos to you, because I can’t make it work for me; just as planning takes the freshness out for you. Vive la difference, because the story's the thing. (Am I channeling Hamlet today? No, because I'm not trying to catch anyone's conscience. But, on that topic, I would love to invent a "kindness" pill. Daughter says I would have to sprinkle it on people's food because you can't force people to take it. We both then had the same lightbulb - I have a feeling we'll end up collaborating on a story in the future.)
Things to do today:
- double-check PowerPoint presentation is on memory stick (and borrow son’s for backup)
- check have printed out presentation and put highlighter pen over notes and then pack notes
- pack notebook, teabags, iPad charger and conference details as well as clothes, shoes, toiletries etc
- charge phone
- charge camera
- charge iPad
- go to cashpoint
- try to persuade head NOT to work on new idea (agent loves it; editor will if I pitch it properly and don’t scare her the way I did with the reindeer in the Norway book – well, hey, if it’s a Kate Hardy book, everyone knows it will contain something quirky, some really interesting factoids, a weepy bit, and a dog, or at least my spaniel disguised as something else. Hmm. Now there’s an idea. Tell her that it’s about a dog in disguise…)
Busy day, then. And I sound a bit overexcited. Oh, dear. This is like the children, the day before a trip, when they refuse to go to bed because they’re too excited to sleep and they DON’T STOP TALKING. I'm doing the same thing, so I will shut up NOW.
Have a nice weekend, and I will be back next week with a report and piccies from the conference.