research rabbit-holes

One of the things I find most difficult about writing in a period or place I don’t know all that well is research. Not because I find research hard… although it can be. My issue is that I find I get sucked down rabbit-holes and dead ends in to fascinating articles on subjects I have no need to know about in depth.

Image by ardilladecolores from Pixabay

Today for example… Himalayan mountain sheep, Argali, which led me in to an article about Himalayan grass populations. Then eighteenth century shoes, which morphed in to three articles on seventeenth century Civil War uniforms. And I am still digesting this fascinating article about the eighteenth century garden flower seed trade.

My work in progress is a whole new era and location for me – the Himalayas in the 1780s – and it’s taking me ages to get to grips with the setting of the story. I was going to spend April doing Camp Nano and get the first draft sorted by the end of the month. That is not happening – life, children, chickens, all that good stuff has pretty much overwhelmed me. But I’m plodding along now, back in my thousand-word-a-day groove, or close to it and it’s just a matter of time.

I’m also working on my serialized sequel to The Gate, the continuing adventures of Matty and Rob, that will be released to newsletter subscribers as I go. (Please do sign up if you’d like to be included in this!). This doesn’t require quite so much research because I am already comfortable writing in that era after two full-length books and the short story, so fingers crossed I can keep it going.

#WritersLife

I had a bit of a panic attack this morning when I realised I hadn’t updated my blog for ages. And then another bout of anxiety over what to write. What should a Writers Life blog actually cover?

Alex Beecroft pondered that perhaps I could write about managing stress as a writer? But I’m so, so, sooooo bad at doing that, that I think it would be a lesson in how not to do it, rather than at all helpful.

Instead, I think I am going to chatter about my life generally. That’s complicated in itself because my kids are nine and ten now; and I don’t want to expose their lives too much on Teh Interwebs… but on the other hand a lot of my comedy chaos comes from having high-need children and a stressful family. So it’s going to be a bit of a two-steps forward, one step back effort as I feel my way.

I blogged for about a decade about smallholding and family things, years and years ago now at the dawn of time, and I enjoyed it. So perhaps using this space for something similar rather than just rather pushy posts about my writing will be good for me.

At the moment I’m sat in the garden for a rare couple of hours with no-one else about. It’s sunny and I’m watching the rabbits make friends (VERY GOOD FRIENDS) and listening to the hens grumble that it’s nearly feeding time and the dog whinging that he wants to go and murder the pheasant that’s cracking in the field over the hedge. It’s all very bucolic and English Country Garden-ish and really I should have a cup of tea beside me.

Watch this space. It’s a blank page, about to be filled.

the different lives we live

I’ve been pondering all the different lives we live, recently. I’m in my mid forties and so far I’ve done and been lots of things:

Student, of archaeology, history, GIS, sci-fi; IT professional doing GIS, which was pretty cutting edge at the time; IT teacher, to retired people mostly, or to the long term unemployed; Audio Visual technician – a trainee, really, helping my OH in our business. Continue reading “the different lives we live”