Novel Writing Winter (NWW) 2013 — my first week: battling with self-doubt and procrastination

Now what did I say in a earlier post avoiding showing your work in progress to anyone, especially friends or family, and trusting in your own judgement?

A couple of days ago, while participating in the English custom of afternoon tea with my family, my grown-up son, Joshua, gave me a ticking off. Our conversation went something like this:

S : What if I write my novel and everybody hates it?
J : You’ve only been working on it for a week and you’re already doubting yourself.
S: Could you have a look at what I’ve written so far, to see if it works?
J: You said you weren’t going to show it to anyone until you finished it.
S: But it’s such a strange novel. What if people don’t understand it, or find it boring?
J: You know if I look at it and pass my opinion, you’ll want to know all the whys and wherefores.
S: I don’t want an in-depth critique. I just want to know if you find it in the least interesting.
J: Do you find it interesting?
S: Yes, but I’m feeling overwhelmed by how difficult it is to write.
J: Well then, write a bit each day, even if it’s only a few paragraphs, and see where it leads.

Yesterday, I wrote a few paragraphs, the quality of which pleased me, but then I spoiled everything by checking my word count so far. And what did I say in my earlier post about not obsessing over the word count and just getting the bare bones of the story down? To check a word count on a daily basis can prove as unedifying as weighing yourself too often when you’re on a diet. From now on, it’s once a week only.

Today, I dared compare my novel to those of the award-winning novelist Rose Tremain. Yes, and yet again I’m not following my own advice. The result of this comparison was that I temporarily abandoned my latest ambitious project and spent all morning reworking a few pages of my first rather mediocre novel (written twenty years ago), having decided myself incapable of writing a literary masterpiece like Rose Tremain.

At three o’clock this afternoon, I found myself floundering with the old work and  returned to the novel I’m meant to be working on. Casting my eye over it, I decided it really wasn’t that bad — not as brilliant as Rose Tremain’s novels, but not as bad as some others.

Onward, I say…

P.S. By the way, I’ve started a page listing participants’ links so you can find each other. Please check out the page and let me know if any information needs updating, including adding any further relevant links.

“Mini Blogathon” for those of lesser stamina.

I can’t believe three weeks have passed by, since one of my very dear wordpressing friends tagged me for the blogathon. Aurora HSP is a beautiful, creative, brave and honest  person, who fights valiantly for what is right and good in life.

Thank you for tagging me, Aurora HSP, and for your wonderfully kind words. I hope you’ll forgive me for opting out of the full race and designing a mini version of the blogathon.

So here it is below

Here are the rules:

1.  Each person tagged must post 5 things about themselves.
2.  They must also answer the 5 questions the ‘tagger’ has set for them.
3.  They must create 5 more questions to ask bloggers they have decided to tag.
4.  They must then choose 5 bloggers and tag them in their post.
5.  These lucky bloggers must then be told.
6.  There are no tag backs.

Five things about me:

1.  I collect ornaments of strange birds.

2. I love the impressive architecture of trees.

3. The best novel I’ve read this year is ‘Music and Silence‘ by Rose Tremain, which won the Whitbread Novel Award in 1999, and is set in 17th century Denmark. You can read a review at

4. My favourite television drama of the year is ‘The Paradise’, which the BBC describes as “An intoxicating love story set in England’s first department store in the 1870s”. The story is based on the classic French novel Au Bonheur des Dames by Émile Zola.

5.  I refuse to engage with the commercialism and materialism of Christmas–especially glittery decorations and  false expectations of a magical outcome. Such can lead to family arguments, disappointment, debt, and even mental illness, as well as being an unacceptable drain on the world’s resources. I would rather go outside and contemplate a holly tree.

My answers to the tagger’s questions:

For this part of the blogathon I’ve gone for the full eleven questions, as I couldn’t choose which five I wanted to answer the most.  Aurora HSP must have loved these particular questions set by her tagger ( as she passed them on to me, rather than posing some questions of her own 😉

1. All right, so you’re on a cloud up in the sky. You look down. What do you see?
My feet being enveloped by cloud.

2. What is that one thing that triggers your admiration for someone?
Unconditional positive regard for others.

3. What is the purpose of your blog?
Creative engagement with people from around the World.

4. What is your dream job?
A published novelist.

5. What is the song that you just can’t stop listening too at the moment?

6. How would you spend your very last day on Earth?

7. It’s my birthday. What gift do you send to me?
For you, dear Aurora HSP — healing and happiness enfolded in blue light

8. What are you most afraid of?
War fuelled by ideological extremism.

9. Computer/laptop or smartphone?

10. Tell me what you eat for breakfast.
Porridge oats made with goat’s milk and sprinkled with ground nuts.

11. And finally, give me a nickname!
“Takchawee” — Sioux Indian for doe, in all her beauty and gentleness.

My questions for my “taggees”:

1.  What’s your favourite opening sentence to a novel or short story?

2.  Have you ever read a self-published novel, and enjoyed it?

3.  What’s your favourite quote of all time?

4.  When you look in the mirror, do you like what you see?

5.  Do you believe extraterrestrials have visited our world?

The lucky bloggers tagged (well, I hope you think you’re lucky!):

Tea with a Pirate at is an errant gypsy who roams the seven seas searching for a home to call his own.

Gloria the Poet at  is a hopeless romantic poet who can’t help but be in love.

Patrick Latter at  likes hiking and photography.

Phil at is master of the random and eccentric.

Ralphie at is the proprietor of a home to the zany and whacky dodo.
On an earlier occasion, while fired up with exceptional mental energy, I did run the full blogathon. You can check this out by sprinting over to
If any of my five taggees of today would rather go for the long haul, please feel free to answer the eleven questions I asked of my “victims “on that earlier occasion. Of course, there is no obligation to take part in either the blogathon or the mini blogathon, but, if you do, I would very much appreciate you copying and pasting the relevant emblem into your post.