Thursday, July 09, 2015

Getting back to writing

Just for some eye candy. My Zeeland view

The year to date has been full of challenges and there has been quite a bit of stress involved that has distracted me from writing. But now at last I am pleased to be getting back into it. It's not easy, though. I find I lack energy for very much and the old flow is difficult to regain. Doing my Master's took a lot out of me; I also lost my beloved dog to old age and a very, very dear friend to cancer. None of these has been easy to deal with.

But back to the writing: my current books will never achieve best seller status. I know that. The idealistic dream was just that - idealism in its most optimistic, but unrealistic form - lovely while it lasted, but that was about as long as it took to press the publish button on Kindle. The English speaking market here in NL is relatively small; there are few shops stocking English books, but there such readers as there are usually have the internet,  so native speaking readers have a huge selection to choose via the multitude of online bookstores.

The result is that I only have steady sales via Kindle books, mostly through, but…telling enough...I've only sold one on in the last six months! Of the Kindle sales, the majority are my memoirs. My fiction doesn't do well despite winning an award for my teen novel, so I've come to accept that memoirs are the best area for me in terms of selling, but is that what I want to keep writing? And why do I write anyway?

A bit more of my view. Writing inspiration

At the moment I'm busy working on the account of the three years we lived part time in Belgium. By that, I mean we were weekend residents on our barge in Brussels. It was a period rich in experiences and recollections, so I am writing about those and hoping to publish them as an e-book later this year. I've also got an African story in the pipeline. Light hearted and hopefully humorous, but nothing of great literary value.

What I really want is to write a 'real' novel and that's what I'm aiming for. I enjoy writing the non-fictional narratives, but I miss the freedom of creativity that fiction gives.

I loved writing The Skipper's Child, which was set in the 1960s, but I'd like to go back just a bit further in time and write a novel about war time on the Dutch waterways. It's going to take a lot of research and I've been buying books about the period, all of which are in Dutch - quite a challenge for me still. My plan is that this one will be for adults, and not a YA book. It will also be part thriller, part history, part family life and relationships. Again, Koos' father has been something of an inspiration. I never knew him, but I feel he was a courageous man of great principle and he would not have baulked at doing what he knew to be right. I'm really excited about the idea of this writing project, but I know I've got to do the reading first, so….

For the next year, I'll be finishing my Belgian memoir and the story set in South Africa (which I confess I started months ago). These two are easy to write. They will be my outlet until I'm ready for the big one. I just have to keep at it and get my writing flow back again!

In the interim, I'm busy with boats (as always), gardens (I prefer to look, but they don't do themselves) and travelling (a trip to Romania coming up), so life is pretty full despite my apathy. Maybe it's not that bad, hey?

My favorite plants of all time - Hollyhocks
known as Stokrozen here
Have a wonderful sunny weekend everyone…(okay, I know I'm starting early, but that makes a change) xxx


Patricia said...

I am sorry to hear you have had a sad, and difficult, time this year, Val. It sounds like your writing inspiration is coming back though, and I for one look forward to hearing about your 3 years in Belgium. I even have a Kindle these days :) The African adventure is sure to be good too. Hollyhocks are very special, and always make me think of Beatrix Potter books - too bad I can't grow them here in the heat.

JO said...

They are tough, these times when Life gets in the way.

And I think the only reason for writing has to be because we love it. The market is fickle so if we dream of prizes we are setting ourselves up to fail. But if we want to tell stories, and love that feeling of words coming out to play when we sit down with the computer or blank page, then it's all worth while.

Vallypee said...

Thank you, Patricia. I thought Hollyhocks liked the heat, but maybe not so very hot!

Vallypee said...

You are so right, Jo. I should really have said that too. That's what is really important, and in the end, that is what inspires me too.

Lynn M. said...

Loss is never easy, Val. But after the tears dry, we have grown like your beautiful garden. Looking forward to reading your new works. Lynn

Anonymous said...

Hi Val, I'm sorry you've had such a sad and difficult time this year, but glad to read about all the good things you're doing, not least lots of books in the pipeline. That doesn't sound like apathy to me!

Making a living as a writer has always been difficult and while it's now easy to self-publish, getting a book noticed amongst the millions of others means things haven't really changed. Anyway, when I read your post I remembered a great article by Lionel Shriver I thought you might like, especially the following lines, which remind us we should be careful what we wish for...

"I have grown perversely nostalgic for my previous commercial failure—when my focus was pure, and the books were still fun to write, even if nobody read them."

Good luck with all your projects, writing and otherwise, and allow yourself a little apathy now and again. Corinna

Anne Mackle said...

I love your idea for a new fiction book. Maybe you need to come to the UK to promote your books,yes I know,if only you had the time. Our heads can only hold so much Val and yours has been pretty full lately so give it time to empty then the writing process will begin again.