Cutting the Cloth to Suit the Coat

November 30, 2011 at 8:04 pm | Posted in Mental Health, Writing, Writing and Life | Leave a comment
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It is the evening of the last day of November today here in Australia (though it may just be starting in other parts of the world).  And it is the last day of NaNoWriMo.

Many people, all over the world have thrown themselves into their manuscripts, aiming for that 50,000-word jackpot. They have scrimped and saved their time so they can write. They have gone without and pushed aside temptation in order to write more words, get the characters and the setting and the plot outlined and moving towards a completed work.

Just to commit oneself to such a goal is a big thing, and I wonder how many of them have made it. However many it was, I hope that they are satisfied with their output, whether it was 20,000 or 60,000 words. I also hope that those who wanted to commit but didn’t don’t feel like failures.

I didn’t commit, although I wanted to give myself that push to write more than I have ever done before in such a short time. I knew I couldn’t make it – post-cancer medications and regular bouts of depression would see to that, so I didn’t even try.

However, I did accomplish something I have been trying to do for the last six months. As well as more regular blog entries, I have written two more chapters (about 3,000 words) in my follow-up novel to Ben’s Challenge. And I have also begun another chapter.

To me, that is a real achievement, and I am pleased with what I have done this November. We have to cut the coat to suit the cloth.

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Battling Through

July 19, 2011 at 9:49 am | Posted in Writing | 1 Comment
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I received fifty copies of my novel today – I never imagined being able to say that, but now, I can see them in the box I just picked up from the Post Office.

It took me four years to write Ben’s Challenge. All the way through, from the idea (it was originally going to be a short story) to the completion I had to battle to get it done. No, it’s not that I can’t write, or that it took many revisions, or that I didn’t know where the story was going and what I wanted it to do. And it’s not that I don’t know my grammar, punctuation and spelling either – I grew up in an era when schools taught that kind of thing. No, the problem was deeper than any or all of those.

My problem was a lack of confidence in myself, which manifested itself in many ways. The main issue I had to overcome was procrastination; after all, if I didn’t write, nobody could say it was rubbish, could they – and that included myself.

A life-long struggle with depression also helped make my self doubts into mountains I was certain I couldn’t climb. Even when my critique group expressed admiration for my style of writing and for the story, I wasn’t able to relax and go with the flow.

Funnily enough, it was during my eighteen months of treatments for breast cancer that I wrote the most easily and with the most confidence. I suppose my writing was no longer my sole focus, so I took the pressure off myself. My self doubts became background noise, which I could often ignore.

My book will be launched at a Writers’ Expo that my writing group is holding on the 6th of August. Two other members will be launching their maiden books too, so I will not be the whole centre of attention. I can handle that. And I am looking forward to seeing my creation in the hands of my readers. It took effort and tears, but I battled through.

“Ben’s Challenge” by L.M. Visman is a story for Middle Grades to Young Adult. It tells the story of a boy’s desire to discover who was responsible for his father’s death; his struggle to come to terms with his loss; how he finds friendship and learns to trust again.

It is available as a Print-on-Demand publication from www.createspace.com

© Linda Visman 2011

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