Stop Moaning, Minnie

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Rachel Caldecott

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Nov 13, 2017
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Lodeve, France
By now over 200 Colonisers have read my moan. I apologise. Most of you are in the same or similar boats. Sometimes our families are not as supportive as we'd like, but we love them anyway. So, no more moaning from me today (although I can't guarantee that I'll never moan again). Your answers perked me up. I felt I had an army of indignant writers behind me, taking up pens against my little family of philistines. I could almost hear you chanting, "Long Live the Colony!" "Long Live the Writers Right to Write!" So thanks everyone! FYI, @AgentPete, joining the Colonly is the best thing I've done for a long time. Thank you.
 
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I feel for you, having been through something similar many years ago. But count one blessing: when you find the time you are able to write. At present I have the time, and don't have to earn money, but get a stress belly-ache every time I try to sort out the next step in an over-ambitious and complicated plot.
 
Sympathy, @Rachel Caldecott-Thornton. I joined a great conversation on Facebook some months back about how hard it is to find the time to write. Some single woman said they envy women who are subsidised by supportive husbands. A number of married women promptly responded by pointing out all the unpaid labour married women do in terms of housekeeping and caring for children, home-schooling etc. Others talked about taking poorly paid part-time jobs in order to make time to write. Some posted about the struggle to find time to write anything when they had fulltime jobs and families. Writers posted about writing despite having chronic illness and disabilities. Some who had published talked about not having time to write sequels because they had to do so much self-promotion and marketing of their work. The bottom line was that none of us could afford to really write!

And yet we do, and it is worth all the sacrifices and scrabbling for time, not so? Friends and family, in my experience, rarely understand anything about how long it takes and how mingy advances can be or how hard it is to achieve decent sales. Having a writer in the family is a learning curve for everyone.
 
Rachel, I feel for you. Just this morning I was having a rant myself, as in: 'Oh, for goodness sake, I just don't have time to work (day job).'

Here's a silly thought to silence your child: Suggest she contribute and take on a paper round...

By the way, I haven't forgotten about your Rosendale. I went through chapter 1 and 2 while I was in Switzerland visiting family, and I shall tackle chapter 3 today. I will then send over 1 to 3 as soon as I've done 3, since this is what one generally needs to find an agent. I'll then continue with the rest.

Oh, and, while I was visiting my family, my dad actually said: 'What? And now you want to be a writer?' Which was odd considering I'm on my third, albeit unpublished, book. He said something similar when I went to drama school. Back then, he said: 'What? You want to be an actress?'

We just have to ignore the lot, and follow our dreams.
 
I feel for you, having been through something similar many years ago. But count one blessing: when you find the time you are able to write. At present I have the time, and don't have to earn money, but get a stress belly-ache every time I try to sort out the next step in an over-ambitious and complicated plot.
I know what you mean about an over complicated plot. I've put a story aside precisely because of being scared of it. It was a strange blend of the historical, magical and the scientific. I was trying to create a story from my ancestor's real diary of her escape from the Austrians after the Hungarian revolution of 1848, flip it back to the present, and add a virtual reality dimension to it too. A sort of blend of Kate Mosse, Dan Brown and Michael Crichton... in my dreams, that is. But the sequel to my first completed novel is currently just writing itself. I created the world in the first book and I understand it. I know more or less what's going to happen, now it's just the labour of writing it, plus occasionally surprising myself. I like it so much better than my life right now. Still, as @MaryA says, we are all struggling in our own ways.
 
I feel for you Rachel. I am fortunate to have a very supportive partner who recognises that because I write, I have the freedom to also grow almost all our food, do most of the household chores, supervise kids after school and get them to and from extracurricular activities, etc. (It helps he realises that my first career was destroyed because I followed him to New Zealand...). I have to say, it's me who struggles to accept my lack of income. Until we came here, I had always made more money than my husband, and I never wanted anything beyond my career. To go from that to a self-employed writer was like tearing an arm off. A few years back, I had to tally up all the 'services' I provide and work out their monetary value to prove to myself I was a contributing member of our household. It helped a little. I know I work a lot more hours than my husband, and I know my work has value to the household, but I still struggle to not berate myself as a slacker because of the absence of a dependable income.
 
You also have my sympathy, Rachel. It's hard when nobody around you gets it. I'm a stay-at-home dad, and I struggle with some of the same issues Robinne mentioned above, as well as those you've raised in your opening post. I also find it hard to justify my writing to my wife. Time at the keyboard is time away from her and the kids – and ours are very young and commensurately demanding. My wife works away a lot and, understandably, wants me around when she is. Nobody around me gets the writing thing. At best it's seen as a kind of man-in-the-shed hobby. But we juggle the things that matter to us, don't we? Even when they seem to be mutually exclusive. Being good at juggling is a fine skill. I reckon @Carol Rose is a zen master.

Anyway, we've got this place. Water cooler, bar and workshop. I'm very thankful.
 
All of the above. Maybe gently point out all that you actually do, because clearly it's been forgotten / missed etc.. Writing is no easy road, and certainly not a quick avenue to the riches of the world. Even J K Rowling took something like 7 years to write her first novel, and it's not that well written really. She like everyone else developed her skills in the following novels.
 
Hang on in there, Rachel. My mum would have smacked me round the head and said, "Oi! Watch your mouth!" :) Maybe you should have reminded your daughter of all the unpaid work you do for the family as well as all the standing at stalls trying to earn. Writers aren't alone in their creative frustrations and financial troubles. This lovely blog by textile artist Jane Hunter in Scotland is a moving account of her reaction to her daughter's realisation that they lived in relative poverty:
My Best Year as an Artist: Balancing the grim with the great.

I have nothing to suggest to you except to say don't give up because your teenage daughter got a bit stroppy. That's her job description, I guess. Note it and move on. And keep writing. Good luck!
 
Hang on in there, Rachel. My mum would have smacked me round the head and said, "Oi! Watch your mouth!" :) Maybe you should have reminded your daughter of all the unpaid work you do for the family as well as all the standing at stalls trying to earn. Writers aren't alone in their creative frustrations and financial troubles. This lovely blog by textile artist Jane Hunter in Scotland is a moving account of her reaction to her daughter's realisation that they lived in relative poverty:
My Best Year as an Artist: Balancing the grim with the great.

I have nothing to suggest to you except to say don't give up because your teenage daughter got a bit stroppy. That's her job description, I guess. Note it and move on. And keep writing. Good luck!
Teenage daughter and her father! But no, I'm not going to give up. Couldn't even if I wanted to. :)
 
I like Barbara's idea about a paper round. Actually any job would do. The lousier the better! Until your daughter earns her own money she has no right to judge.

The fact that you're not earning a living from writing puts you in the same camp as most of us on here. For what it's worth, I have faith in you and your writing. Oh and I just went and likebombed your Etsy shop. Your husband's attitude sucks but his glass is stunning. Although not as stunning as your writing. You stay on that bicicletta! :)
 
I like Barbara's idea about a paper round. Actually any job would do. The lousier the better! Until your daughter earns her own money she has no right to judge.

The fact that you're not earning a living from writing puts you in the same camp as most of us on here. For what it's worth, I have faith in you and your writing. Oh and I just went and likebombed your Etsy shop. Your husband's attitude sucks but his glass is stunning. Although not as stunning as your writing. You stay on that bicicletta! :)
I think I love you :)
 
I think I love you :)
Apart from loving you, I'd like to say that he is a very good glassmaker, that is true. He is, however, no good at making money or doing the housework, or speaking French... but his glass is lovely. Anyway, I shall shortly be uploading photos of my jewellery too (although so far the photos I've taken have been crappy).
 
Henri Matisse said, "Creativity takes courage", and you are obviously courageous. It's always better to be a warm-hearted encourager than a mean-spirited critic. A critic is a eunuch at an orgy: they know how it's done, but they can't do it!

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Okay ... so wait... I do believe I read this incorrectly at first, and I apologize.

You help with your husband's business. Right? And obviously you live there, so I assume you contribute to the household by doing washing, dishes, cooking, etc. Correct? But your daughter whined to you because you aren't yet making any money by writing? Have you explained to said daughter that this does not happen overnight for authors, if it happens at all? Have you told her that writing is your passion, and you're not doing it to rake in cash but because you love it? How old is this daughter? Too young or too old to smack upside the head? :)

Seriously, everyone needs something in their life that is just THEIRS, apart from what their spouse does, their partner does, their children do, their friends do, etc. If they can't back off and let you have that, either they don't understand what it means to you, or they're ... well ... I won't say because I don't know them. But it makes me angry.
 
What us wrong with us writers eh? We spend hours and days and weeks in isolation, hammering away at a keyboard and for what? Surely, after a few months we should have at least banged out a best seller or two? Let's face it, it really isn't difficult is it? We can't be much good if we haven't been shortlisted for a Man Booker Prize in our first year of writing.

Seriously though, I took a couple of months off work and just wrote, wrote and wrote which has resulted in a hefty manuscript, completed last month, hence my virtual absence from Litopia. I have attracted an Agent and am in dialogue with him as to changes required, but where this might go who knows? I am very superstitious so I don't like telling anyone about it, but when I did, I got a shrug of the shoulders, a pat on the head, and that was it. Fine, I did expect a little more, but there you go Since then, if I ever bring it up again, I am apparently going on a bit.

I actually think people don't understand what we put into it our work, hence the lack, in some cases, of support. They don't see what we are doing, I can't show someone my raw work as it won't mean anything. An artist, a sculptor, musician or a glassmaker has something tangible to show as progress, even if it unfinished.
So all we, the great unpublished, can do is carry on, smile benignly and write. One day, I am sure we will all walk into a bookshop, point to a shelf and say, 'there, that's what my hours and days produced, right there on the third shelf.'
 
What us wrong with us writers eh? We spend hours and days and weeks in isolation, hammering away at a keyboard and for what? Surely, after a few months we should have at least banged out a best seller or two? Let's face it, it really isn't difficult is it? We can't be much good if we haven't been shortlisted for a Man Booker Prize in our first year of writing.

Seriously though, I took a couple of months off work and just wrote, wrote and wrote which has resulted in a hefty manuscript, completed last month, hence my virtual absence from Litopia. I have attracted an Agent and am in dialogue with him as to changes required, but where this might go who knows? I am very superstitious so I don't like telling anyone about it, but when I did, I got a shrug of the shoulders, a pat on the head, and that was it. Fine, I did expect a little more, but there you go Since then, if I ever bring it up again, I am apparently going on a bit.

I actually think people don't understand what we put into it our work, hence the lack, in some cases, of support. They don't see what we are doing, I can't show someone my raw work as it won't mean anything. An artist, a sculptor, musician or a glassmaker has something tangible to show as progress, even if it unfinished.
So all we, the great unpublished, can do is carry on, smile benignly and write. One day, I am sure we will all walk into a bookshop, point to a shelf and say, 'there, that's what my hours and days produced, right there on the third shelf.'

Hey @Geoff , great to hear that you have attracted an agent. Big hurdle number 1, done. Congrats. Onward and upwards.
 
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What us wrong with us writers eh? We spend hours and days and weeks in isolation, hammering away at a keyboard and for what? Surely, after a few months we should have at least banged out a best seller or two? Let's face it, it really isn't difficult is it? We can't be much good if we haven't been shortlisted for a Man Booker Prize in our first year of writing.

Seriously though, I took a couple of months off work and just wrote, wrote and wrote which has resulted in a hefty manuscript, completed last month, hence my virtual absence from Litopia. I have attracted an Agent and am in dialogue with him as to changes required, but where this might go who knows? I am very superstitious so I don't like telling anyone about it, but when I did, I got a shrug of the shoulders, a pat on the head, and that was it. Fine, I did expect a little more, but there you go Since then, if I ever bring it up again, I am apparently going on a bit.

I actually think people don't understand what we put into it our work, hence the lack, in some cases, of support. They don't see what we are doing, I can't show someone my raw work as it won't mean anything. An artist, a sculptor, musician or a glassmaker has something tangible to show as progress, even if it unfinished.
So all we, the great unpublished, can do is carry on, smile benignly and write. One day, I am sure we will all walk into a bookshop, point to a shelf and say, 'there, that's what my hours and days produced, right there on the third shelf.'
My Mother was a writer (lucky woman had about 30 books published over the years). One day her cleaning lady knocked on her study door and came straight in. "Ah good, you're not doing anything," she said, before settling down with a cup of tea for a good 'chin wag'. It didn't matter how often my mum told her that actually she was 'writing', the cleaner never considered it as 'something'.
 
Okay ... so wait... I do believe I read this incorrectly at first, and I apologize.

You help with your husband's business. Right? And obviously you live there, so I assume you contribute to the household by doing washing, dishes, cooking, etc. Correct? But your daughter whined to you because you aren't yet making any money by writing? Have you explained to said daughter that this does not happen overnight for authors, if it happens at all? Have you told her that writing is your passion, and you're not doing it to rake in cash but because you love it? How old is this daughter? Too young or too old to smack upside the head? :)

Seriously, everyone needs something in their life that is just THEIRS, apart from what their spouse does, their partner does, their children do, their friends do, etc. If they can't back off and let you have that, either they don't understand what it means to you, or they're ... well ... I won't say because I don't know them. But it makes me angry.
The writing is for me to be me! I just wish they could understand how I feel about writing. And, more importantly, how the publishing process works. I have tried to explain.
 
Okay ... so wait... I do believe I read this incorrectly at first, and I apologize.

You help with your husband's business. Right? And obviously you live there, so I assume you contribute to the household by doing washing, dishes, cooking, etc. Correct? But your daughter whined to you because you aren't yet making any money by writing? Have you explained to said daughter that this does not happen overnight for authors, if it happens at all? Have you told her that writing is your passion, and you're not doing it to rake in cash but because you love it? How old is this daughter? Too young or too old to smack upside the head? :)

Seriously, everyone needs something in their life that is just THEIRS, apart from what their spouse does, their partner does, their children do, their friends do, etc. If they can't back off and let you have that, either they don't understand what it means to you, or they're ... well ... I won't say because I don't know them. But it makes me angry.
The writing is for me to be me! I just wish they could understand how I feel about writing. And, more importantly, how the publishing process works. I have tried to explain.
What us wrong with us writers eh? We spend hours and days and weeks in isolation, hammering away at a keyboard and for what? Surely, after a few months we should have at least banged out a best seller or two? Let's face it, it really isn't difficult is it? We can't be much good if we haven't been shortlisted for a Man Booker Prize in our first year of writing.

Seriously though, I took a couple of months off work and just wrote, wrote and wrote which has resulted in a hefty manuscript, completed last month, hence my virtual absence from Litopia. I have attracted an Agent and am in dialogue with him as to changes required, but where this might go who knows? I am very superstitious so I don't like telling anyone about it, but when I did, I got a shrug of the shoulders, a pat on the head, and that was it. Fine, I did expect a little more, but there you go Since then, if I ever bring it up again, I am apparently going on a bit.

I actually think people don't understand what we put into it our work, hence the lack, in some cases, of support. They don't see what we are doing, I can't show someone my raw work as it won't mean anything. An artist, a sculptor, musician or a glassmaker has something tangible to show as progress, even if it unfinished.
So all we, the great unpublished, can do is carry on, smile benignly and write. One day, I am sure we will all walk into a bookshop, point to a shelf and say, 'there, that's what my hours and days produced, right there on the third shelf.'
That it is such brilliant news. Well done!!
 
What us wrong with us writers eh? We spend hours and days and weeks in isolation, hammering away at a keyboard and for what? Surely, after a few months we should have at least banged out a best seller or two? Let's face it, it really isn't difficult is it? We can't be much good if we haven't been shortlisted for a Man Booker Prize in our first year of writing.

Seriously though, I took a couple of months off work and just wrote, wrote and wrote which has resulted in a hefty manuscript, completed last month, hence my virtual absence from Litopia. I have attracted an Agent and am in dialogue with him as to changes required, but where this might go who knows? I am very superstitious so I don't like telling anyone about it, but when I did, I got a shrug of the shoulders, a pat on the head, and that was it. Fine, I did expect a little more, but there you go Since then, if I ever bring it up again, I am apparently going on a bit.

I actually think people don't understand what we put into it our work, hence the lack, in some cases, of support. They don't see what we are doing, I can't show someone my raw work as it won't mean anything. An artist, a sculptor, musician or a glassmaker has something tangible to show as progress, even if it unfinished.
So all we, the great unpublished, can do is carry on, smile benignly and write. One day, I am sure we will all walk into a bookshop, point to a shelf and say, 'there, that's what my hours and days produced, right there on the third shelf.'

Congrats @Geoff! Best of luck! Hope you had a nice glass of wine to celebrate. This is a great milestone for your writing even if no-one else quite appreciates it in the same way. :)
 
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