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That fag's not lit btw....!

That fag’s not lit btw….!

 

*Please click image to enlarge.

COLUMN NUMBER TWO:

In case you don’t know, to celebrate the publication of my fourth book: THE STORY OF YOU, I’m revisiting the column that started my writing career. Think of it as a ‘retrospective’! (I think you have to be like,  Annie Liebowitz to have a ‘retrospective’ but who cares!)

The column was called “And then there were three…sort of” and it was about the fact I fell pregnant by my best friend (we remained friends, never becoming a couple) and it seemed to strike a chord with people whose journey into motherhood was somehow unconventional because that column ran for two years!

Anyway,  that baby in the column is now nearly ten (our son, Fergus) and so I thought what with THE STORY OF YOU coming out it would be lovely to do a retrospective of the biggest story of MY life. The first column is here:  https://katyregan.com/2014/10/05/662/ And this, above, is the second column in the series….

Just to re-cap, I’ve found out I’m pregnant by my best friend Egg about three weeks earlier so can’t tell anyone yet. Unfortunately, it’s now my 30th birthday party and I’ve sensibly arranged a ‘Pat and Frank Butcher fancy dress do – yay! f So yep, this is the one where I  attend my 30th birthday party, pregnant, dressed as Pat Butcher and crucially, SOBER.

 

The Story of You is out now in a Tesco or Waterstones store near you. It’s also available on Amazon here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Story-You-Katy-Regan/dp/0007237456/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1413289776&sr=8-1&keywords=katy+regan+-+the+story+of+you

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So my fourth novel, The Story of You found itself out in the world and hopefully, in a store near you last week. I had a launch party to celebrate. (here’s some pics!)

Book 4 baby!

Book 4 baby!

I Wasn’t going to. I felt like I had a lot on my plate with writing a new book (You can read how this is going here on the page: “How I wrote this novel”) not to mention my ever-challenging, never boring, unresolved personal life! But anyway, my fourth novel coming out feels quite momentous, I don’t know why. Perhaps because a friend of mine said you couldn’t say you were a novelist until you had written four books, or perhaps because the baby in the column above is about to be ten soon and that feels REALLY momentous not to mention unbelievable.

I really can’t believe it’s almost a decade since that little blue line appeared on a stick in the Starbucks of Blackfriars Bridge in London when i was on my way to work at Marie Claire magazine and my life was changed forever. And not just because I was well and truly up the duff with my friend, or about to have a little boy called Fergus (not that I knew this at the time of course) who would change my whole world in that way children have a knack of! But because falling pregnant unexpectedly started a chain of events I’d never have predicted or dreamt of: I was commissioned a column, this column above – And then there were three…sort of by my editor at Marie Claire and wrote all about my unexpected pregnancy with my friend, and then as the months went on, about motherhood in an unconventional situation. From the column came my first novel (aptly titled) One Thing Led to Another and then another novel and another until I find myself here: with a nearly ten year old son and my fourth novel THE STORY OF YOU out now!

If you’d have told me all this would happen all those years ago, when I was peeing on a stick in Starbucks with a hangover thinking no way am I gonna be preggers! I’d have laughed you into next week.

“You can’t plan life” Egg used to tell me when I was freaking out about being pregnant in the situation I found myself in. As an idealistic 29 yr old (he was 7 years older) I just didn’t buy this idea, I felt so entitled to happy ever after normality.

THE STORY OF YOU is what happens when someone’s life explodes, then sixteen years later comes back to bite her on the bum in a big way.

I guess these columns are a document of what happened when MY life exploded and the totally unexpected happened…..That’s why I thought it would be nice to revisit them and I intend to post one a week from herein.

I hope you enjoy them as much as you seemed to the first time around. For me? Honestly? I find it hard to read them. I want to say to the emotional, rather immature girl writing them who keeps asking (in her head if not on the page – but is it going to be alright?!): Of course it’s going to be ‘alright’ but what is ‘alright’ anyway? ‘Alright – you idiot – is what happens when you take what happens to you, and you MAKE it alright.

The Story of You is out now in Tescos and Waterstones. It’s also available for order on Amazon

The story behind The Story of You

It’s but days until The Story of You (paperback) is published – 25th September in case you didn’t know! I’ve booked my launch party, I’m currently on a diet of broccoli and leaves….

I thought, at this point, you might like to know, why I decided to write this book and what I set out to achieve. I really, really hope you enjoy The Story of You! It’s a special book for me.

Love, Katy x

The story behind The Story of You

The Story of You is by far the hardest and darkest (in places) book I’ve ever written, and yet I hope it leaves the reader on a high – even if you feel like you’ve been through the mill! I was very interested in the concept of ‘love conquering all’. Damaged people can find relationships hard, but I wanted to explore, how even if someone has had a lot of pain in their life, they can overcome this and still find true love.

One way or another, mental illness isn’t far from most of us and I’ve always been interested in how it affects peoples’ lives. I spoke to a lot of mental health professionals for research for this book and one of the things that kept coming up, was that mental illness is often the result of unprocessed pain. I then asked myself the question: If one woman’s past came to bite her on the bum in a big way, how could and would, she deal with this to move on in her life? I was interested then, in making the main character a psychiatric nurse: Robyn is skilled at helping people deal with her demons, but what would happen if she was forced to deal with her own? If she was forced to tell the truth about her life?

This was the starting point of the book. Robyn has had a lot of things happen to her: dealing with the loss of her mother and her baby as well as the awful events of that summer. However, Joe is a constant: he is the one person who has stuck with her and accepts her for who she is with all her baggage. This seemed to me, the ultimate love story. The question then, was would she push him away when he came back in her life in a way that repeats the past, or overcome her personal obstacles to be with the person who has always been right for her; the one person who can make her happy?

I had this idea that the letters would be like a parallel world Robyn has created almost as a self-protection mechanism; a world where nothing bad happens, where there is always hope. When it came down to it, this was harder to pull this off than I thought! But I hope the letters show that whatever she’s been through, Robyn is still a hopeful, strong person. Deep down, she believes in love even if that belief is tested to its limits.

I really enjoyed writing the Grace character. I suppose she is a mirror. She is what might have happened to Robyn if she didn’t have the love of Joe and her family and this is why Robyn cares about her and her story so much. Robyn comes to realize that love really can heal us. Grace may never be ‘cured’ but by helping her to reconnect with her daughter, Robyn sets her on the path to a happier future.

The Story of You is out this Thursday, September 25th, but you can pre-order from Amazon

I talk food nostalgia, mental illness and The Story of You on Bookd

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Hey, so I’ve gone all multi-media! I usually say hello readers, but this time I can say, “Hello listeners” because for the first time on the history of this site, I am posting a podcast. An actual audio you can listen to.

Last week, when it was hot and sunny (hard to imagine now with it pissing it down outside) The lovely Tanya Brennand-Roper came to my house to interview me in my garden, amongst my washing and probably my knickers on the line, for her wonderful culture show, (if only you could see it too!) BookD! Bookd is like BBC 3 but better, with comedians and writers and artists and authors talking about all things literary and cultural. Tanya’s a fantastically creative and innovative interviewer, so it was a total pleasure. You can listen to my interview at the link above… I think I much prefer myself on radio to TV, no weird eye movements and crisis calls to the orthodontist! Much more bearable….

If you like the sound of THE STORY OF YOU, my latest novel, you can buy it on Kindle

BRILLIANT AUTHOR JON RANCE, TALKS MARRIAGE POST-BABY..

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Dear lovely readers, I’ve got a HUGE treat for you today, in manner of a guest post from the wonderful Jon Rance, author of THIS FAMILY LIFE. Taking off where THIS THIRTY-SOMETHING LIFE left, Jon’s new novel out now, THIS FAMILY LIFE is an hilarious, insightful and oh-so-true portrait of marriage post-baby and Jon can talk from experience in his brilliant blog post right here….!

Hello Katy Regan fans and a big thank you to Katy for having me on her website. Katy was originally supposed to do blog number five on the tour, but she couldn’t and so now she’s the very last stop on the ‘This Family Life blog tour’. If you missed the last one you can find it here http://www.thebookgeekwearspajamas.co.uk/

In this blog I want to talk about marriage – post baby. It doesn’t matter how brilliant your marriage is, how close you and your partner are, whether you’re twenty-five or forty-five, heterosexual or gay, having a baby is going to test you to the limits of your relationship. So many things happen during the pregnancy, childbirth, and then after that life as you know it will never be the same again.

 

Like any new parents, Harry and Emily Spencer are having a hard time being new parents. Harry probably more than Emily. He’s trying his best to be understanding, but in typical Harry fashion he doesn’t always deal with the delicate moments with the greatest amount of sensitivity. I think one of the things that happens to couples post-baby is the sex life suffers. It has to. You’re both so tired, it’s hard to feel sexy when you’re covered in baby throw-up for most of the day, and honestly, at the end of a long day, sex is often the last thing on your mind. I decided to reverse the traditional roles in this book though, and it’s Harry who’s finding it difficult. I imagine that usually post-baby it’s the men who are more desperate to have sex again, but I thought it would interesting to make Harry the problem and so Harry loses his mojo and is convinced he’s having some sort of Manopause.

 

Sex is only one of the issues that Harry and Emily face as new parents, and their marriage definitely suffers because of baby William. Harry is feeling insecure and so when a handsome new neighbour moves in across the street, Harry’s anxious mind spirals out of control and it makes the situation a lot worse. I hope that like the rest of the book people will be able to relate to this part of the book. I realise that having a baby is different for every couple, but I hope there’s something you can relate to, laugh along with, and maybe you’ll even learn something – I’m speaking to the men here obviously. Below is an extract I chose because it’s one of those moments that happen in a marriage post-baby.

 

 

Thursday 7 February 7.15 a.m.

 

Eating breakfast. William breastfeeding opposite me. Emily nibbling on toast.

 

I don’t want to sound callous, but since we had William, Emily’s periods have been really heavy and so now she has to wear Mega-Pants (big undies and industrial sized sanitary towels). I sympathise, but this morning I walked in on her getting the Mega-Pants on and she wasn’t best pleased.

‘Is there no privacy in this bloody house?’ she screamed mid-squat, Mega-Pants half on.

‘Sorry, sorry, sorry,’ I said retreating out of the bathroom and back into the safety of the bedroom.

Emily walked in shortly after.

‘I realise that sexually things aren’t great between us,’ she said sitting down on the bed. ‘And seeing me like that doesn’t help. With the Mega-Pants.’

‘It’s fine,’ I said.

‘But I know since William you don’t find me as attractive and I don’t blame you,’ she started and I tried to intervene and tell her I did, but she stopped me. ‘And don’t try to deny it. I’ve seen the way you look at me and my horrible stretch marks -’

‘Em, honestly, it isn’t you,’ I tried to say something, but she wasn’t listening. She was crying. The thing was, I couldn’t tell her the truth because I wasn’t sure what the truth was. I was temporarily, and for the first time in my adult life, off sex. I wasn’t in the mood and it wasn’t Emily or the Mega-Pants. It was me. It was the metaphorical Mega-Pants in my mind.

‘Em, I love you just as you are,’ I said putting my arm around her. ‘I don’t care about the stretch marks or the Mega-Pants. It isn’t you, it’s -’ could I say me? ‘It’s everything. The tiredness, work, it’s hard. I’m sure all new parents go through this.’

‘Maybe we should try and go away for the night,’ blubbed Emily.

‘Definitely,’ I said. ‘We’ll have to do that.’

‘Maybe during half-term.’

‘Definitely,’ I said. ‘And Em, I love the Mega-Pants, they’re endearing.’

‘Oh, stop it,’ she said sniffing up tears and playfully hitting me on the arm.

I gave Emily a kiss, but I’m worried. What’s happening to me? To us? Has the spark gone for good? Can I have a sexless life? A sexless marriage? When was the last time we even had sex? We did it that once just before she had William and that was in August – six months ago. Before that, and because of my nearly but not quite affair with Jamie, who knows? A few months before? Could it really have been eight months or longer since we had proper sex? At what point are we just really good friends who happen to live under the same roof and share child-rearing duties?

 

Synopsis

 

Things that might happen during your first year of parenthood:

1. You’ll get covered in a ‘nuclear’ poo.

2. You’ll be convinced your son is talking with a Japanese accent.

3. You’ll worry that when your son waves, it looks like a Nazi salute.

Of course, this might just be Harry Spencer.

 

Taking up where This Thirtysomething Life left off, Harry Spencer and is wife Emily are back and trying to survive their first year of parenthood. It has its ups and downs (and a few bits in the middle), but along the way they begin to understand the true meaning of family and what it takes to be a parent.

 

Featuring a hilarious cast of extras including Harry’s father-in-law Derek, who has a unique problem with Scotch, Steve and Fiona, the parents from children’s entertainment hell, and a yoga instructor with a prominent camel-toe, This Family Life is the ultimate comedy for anyone who is a parent, has a parent, or is thinking about becoming one.

 

 

 

 

 

IT’S NATIONAL STORYTELLING WEEK THIS WEEK. Sit down, take a pew, tell a story: It’s good for the soul. It’s official.

My nanna (furthest left) and her great-great grandson (in arms!) Five generations.

My nanna (furthest left) and her great-great grandson (in arms!) Five generations.

My lovely nanna passed away recently. She was 89.

89! She did so well! Fergus wrote in the card he made for his great-grandmother’s funeral (she was also a great-GREAT-grandmother. We should have made the local press at least!) There was also a little drawing on his card of a signpost that said, ‘HEAVEN: ONE MILE!’ And behind it a stick man and an arrow saying ‘YOUR HUSBAND!” (she was widowed thirty years ago).

(I’d like to point out, I had absolutely no input in this card-making, he went up to his room and did it himself!)

There was something about all those exclamation marks, the childlike propensity to automatically look on the bright side that totally cheered me up. Because she DID do well; she lived well. She was a wonderful lady who inspired me so much with her stoicism and positivity and although it is terribly sad that she’s no longer here; at 89, I think you can celebrate that life rather than feel cheated.

And that’s what I felt we did at her funeral a couple of weeks ago. Obviously it was very emotional and sad  – I don’t care if you’re 89 or 109, death is always a shock because it’s so finite and we will all miss her terribly – But also, it was uplifting.  It was grounding. I came away feeling comforted; rooted with my family and really grateful that I had her in my life for so long.

I’ve been thinking why this was and I think the reason is THE STORIES. So many stories were shared at the funeral!  It’s unfortunate, maybe, that it takes a person to die to really learn about them, to share how much you loved them, but I guess that is how life works: you show the person you love them when they’re alive, you talk about how much you love them once they’re gone (Especially if you’re northern and don’t go talking about them things called feelings that often.)

Maybe once we get old, people will have pre-funeral parties where they can hear all the amazing eulogies written about them whilst they’re still here! (I am JOKING. Although this is done in John Green’s wonderful book / soon-to-be-film The Fault in Our Stars to great, tear-jerking effect. But then, the characters, Hazel and Gus are teenagers

Here’s the trailer. I can’t wait… But read the book first. You HAVE to read the book first.

The stories about my nanna and family started a week or so before the funeral when all her grandchildren – my cousins – put together all our memories for a reading.  There were so many funny, sweet things I didn’t know but also lots of shared thoughts too. I put how I used to go and stay at her house when I was seven or eight and we’d get fish and chips, then we’d settle down to watch that well-known children’s bedtime programme: Hammer House of Horrors…(just brilliant!) There were stories of Christmases and blackberry picking and playing funny games and teaching rude rhymes from my cousins and sisters that I’d never heard, but also lots of shared thoughts and memories that made me feel closer to my family, closer to her.

The night before the funeral, my sister, parents and I went through all my nanna’s old photos that my dad had collected from her house….And out of that box, as well as the photos and the old birthday cards and the anniversary cards, the paraphernalia of eighty-nine great years lived, toppled of course, the accompanying stories: the holidays (LOTS of those! In fact I’d say at least half were of my nanna dancing in some Spanish taverna, half a lager and maybe a fag on the go..)  And the funny relatives and how she met my grandad and how he was a POW for the whole of WW2 and pictures of our ancestors we’d never seen, stories we’d never heard……And that was all before the funeral.

At the funeral, my dad gave a beautiful eulogy telling us about his idyllic childhood I knew not much of before, and then at the wake were her friends (my nanna had a social life to rival mine with her group of friends who called themselves The Golden Girls) and nephews and nieces and great nephews and nieces who of course had their own stories and ideas of what she meant to them. There were her neighbours, and in particular, one friend she’d known for over sixty years, since they lived in the same block of flats with their husbands in their twenties. Talking to Eunice was basically like talking to my nanna: she spoke the same, she had the same wit, the same naughty sense of humour. “Nobody’ll be at my funeral ‘cause all my mates’ll have popped off’ Eunice lamented in that no frills northern way. But I thought how bloody amazing it would be to still be friends with my friends when I was 89, to have them come to my funeral,or go to theirs because it’s not just the fact they’re there , it’s the fact that they can tell the stories, they can pass them on, they can help you then, to live on….and what is left of us except those precious memories and stories?

It seems I’m not alone in finding storytelling and sharing memories so therapeutic (given, it’s what I do for a living, but I think people are telling stories and hearing them all the time even if they’re not published in a magazine or a book). This week is National Storytelling Week and wearing my other hat as a journalist, I’ve had a few relevant stories from PRs land in my inbox. One particular one that struck me, especially after attending my nanna’s funeral and thinking so much about stories was one from LifeBook. This is an organization where by you can pay to have your own, or a loved ones’ life story published in an autobiography. Someone comes to your home, interviews you at length then writes it up – a lovely idea for a present and apparently a huge boost to elderly people who are lonely (in research it was found that after they’d finished being interviewed for LIFEBOOK they didn’t go back to crushing loneliness, but sought out friendship and relationships because they felt better about themselves, they felt they had something to offer.)

Lifebook commissioned a survey recently called The Value Of Memory to find out what sort of value we place on stories and memories as opposed to material goods. Perhaps unsurprisingly, it revealed that most of us, in the event of a house fire would run for the family photo album rather than our wallet and apparently, we’d put a value of half a million pounds on the memory of holding our newborn baby! (I would have thought you couldn’t put a price on that or that you know, you’d prefer it when they’d cleaned ‘em up a bit and you’d got over the trauma but maybe that’s just me…!) Interesting stuff, but there was more….Apparently, there is evidence to support that storytelling IS therapeutic and good for our health and could even stimulate the brain enough to slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s (there is differing evidence on this.)

Lynda Green is a psychologist specializing in the psychology of ageing and was quoted in the email from LifeBook. I was so interested I rang her up. I wanted to know why storytelling did feel so therapeutic and what she said certainly made sense: that storytelling and sharing memories can combat not just Alzheimer’s, but depression and low self-esteem:

“When you do all this wonderful reminiscing and remembering, all these fantastic things you or your loved one has done, come back. But importantly, you talk about the hard things in life too, the things you’ve fought against and got over, and this means you are able to put the events of your life into perspective and realize you come out the other side, you survive.” She said. You see that they survived, so you can too.

I think there is definitely something in that. My nanna lost her husband at 59 meaning she lived thirty years on her own but never let it stop her enjoying herself: she went out, she danced, she holidayed, she made friends… that’s impressive and something I can take inspiration from. She survived thirty years, it’s the least I can do to put up with a few years of singledom!

In this way, it’s not just elderly people who benefit from sharing stories, but younger people too – because as Dr Shaw says, “it’s all the same propblems and emotions just dressed up in a different fashion. We learn that what we go though in 2014 is no different to what our relative went through fifty, sixty years ago.”

I loved hearing all of my nanna’s life stories, and sort of regret not asking her more when she was here to tell me herself. Since the funeral, I’ve made a point of talking to Fergus more about my childhood and telling him more stories (and oddly, he’s not sighed and rolled his eyes as much as I thought ‘oh God mum not the one about how you refused to do P.E. for several weeks when you were 8 because you pretended you were pregnant again…..”

It’s the centenary of the First World War this year and pretty much all those veterans are gone. Soon, those who lived through WW2 will be gone too. So listen to your grandparents’ stories, tell them to your children.  After all, when you’re gone, they’re gone. Unlike money, you do take them with you.

My new novel, THE STORY OF YOU will be out on July 3rd and is available for pre-order here.

My latest novel, out now is HOW WE MET

Follow me @katyreganwrites  / or come and like my official author Facebook page. I’d like that!

The Clean Up Effort

Do you want to know how you can tell that I’ve finally finished (I mean edits and all) my fourth novel after *winces* eighteen months? Besides a 107,000 word manuscript and a bad back?

If you were a psychologist studying the habits of (some, i.e. me i.e. crap-at multi-tasking)-authors from behind a glass screen) you would know simply by observing that this week – and it’s only Wednesday –  I have done the following:

 

  • Clean my bedroom
  • Clean my office (which is also my bedroom) hoovering weeks’ worth of toast crumbs from under my swivel chair and removing manky old tea mugs, of which two had the beginnings of a whole new universe in them they’d been there so long.
  • Clean my car, a full inside and out Gold valet! (There was an actual mushroom growing in the boot)
  • Shaved my armpits
  • Done some exercise
  • Dyed my hair
  • Had a guilt-free coffee with a friend
  • Written this blog!

 

And so…. the end-of-book clean up effort begins

 

It’s like this at the end of every book I’ve written so far. At the beginning of the book, your life is still fairly balanced (i.e. you do many other things apart from write the book; like socialize (as opposed to attend events and tip wine down your throat) be a proper parent, attend to personal hygiene, pay bills, answer emails. You may even have an exercise programme or take your make-up off before you go to sleep). The deeper into the book you go, the more life becomes weighted towards writing (and away from most other things) until the deadline is upon you and life is not just weighted towards writing the book, but that’s ALL your life consists of. Your car turns into a rubbish dump, your body turns to lard, your child is as sick of your book as you are and your house, well your house (if you still have one and haven’t been repossessed or eaten by Alsatians) is not fit for public viewing.

 

So, how lovely it feels to have mental space for something other than writing, to resume one’s life, to not bite the head off anyone within a five mile radius, or burst into tears because the toothpaste has run out; to feel like you can be a half-decent mother again and actually play Lego if son so desires rather than stare into middle distance whilst pretending to play Lego, until you just see a face milimetres from yours and a voice shouting MUM. HAVE YOU BEEN LISTENING AT ALL??

 

Ah (sighs contentedly, thinking fondly of how lovely my car outside looks after I was able to remove the rotting wood and the mushroom and the sour-milk-filled Costa cup and give it a once over with the Henry Hoover.)

 

It’s funny, last weekend I met several other authors for afternoon tea at The Soho Hotel.  (Here we are)! Image(because we do that sort of thing ALL the time, honest)  and I can’t tell you how much fun it was, but also how heartening it was to realize that I am not alone in my post-book-finishing madness, or the subsequent clean up effort and grandiose big ideas about how life will be WHEN I’ve finished the novel (given, I have to start the next one next week, so really there’s only a window of a few days)

 

“Oh yes, I spend ages fantasizing about what I’ll do when I finish” said one lovely author, “all the manicures I’ll have, how I’ll get fit, go shopping, write short stories, a comedy, a crime novel, do a triathlon …”   (she didn’t actually say that last bit but I KNOW it will have crossed her mind!) It’s like you think you were emerge from this book a superhuman, a different person, someone who is suddenly able to take on the world.

 

Some of us (including me) at the tea had just delivered a book or finished edits and it was obvious who these writers were, by their slightly sweaty pallor (result of weeks of caffeine dependency and never going outside), and tangential ramblings / general over-excitement at talking to so many other actual human beings rather than imagined ones.

 

One writer friend said she was worried that she had over-shared or chosen inappropriate conversation for an afternoon tea but I assure you, I didn’t notice, or else I was doing exactly the same, because when you spend so much time alone, in your head, your gauge as to what is reasonable and appropriate gets lost, very quickly. In fact I think the first thing I said when I arrived, before even ‘hello’ was “does anyone have any sort of emollient on them?” (One’s skin can also get very dry after weeks spent in a heater-blasted attic room writing.)

 

Then there were those who had delivered a little time ago, or were only at the beginning of their new book. These were perfectly relaxed, still in the ‘I have hot water and lemon on awakening and then run 10K and write solidly with no social media activity until 3pm’ zone, which occurs at the beginning stages when you still have all your faculties some control over your life.

 

I came away thinking that the life of the writer is basically an ongoing New Year’s Resolution-making-and-breaking cycle.  You start off all guns blazing “I will never get that stressed / write a novel like that again. Ever!! It’ll kill me! I shall never do sixteen hours straight in bed, let the weight creep on, ignore my children, get in debt, never!” Only several months down the line to find yourself in the same sweaty heap.

 

Let’s hope this time, I really have learnt my lesson, which brings me onto my next bit: It’s still January and therefore I feel that this post should have some New Year’s Rejuvenation-type theme to it.

 

I thought I might share with you my New Year’s resolutions, until I realized I don’t have any (I can’t even remember which ones I’ve made, let alone keep them up) and that the only resolutions I did make, were writing ones. So, here they are. Lets’ see how long I go before I fall off the wagon.

 

Writing Resolutions 2014

 

  • Stop, or at least reduce the use of words and phrases such as: ‘slightly’ ‘basically’ ‘kind of’ and ‘sort of’ (as in “she felt sort of deflated”) when writing.  It either is, or it isn’t right? Have more confidence.
  • Continue to work on more original ways of expressing fear and panic: “her heart beat furiously inside her” and “she felt her neck run icy cold” are fine, but used too often.
  • Start to keep a log book of funny / interesting anecdotes and happenings. You could put these into categories if you were really organized (ways people have met, interesting jobs, embarrassing / comic moments – things like that). Sounds a bit writing-by-numbers but I’ve found that sometimes, especially near the end of the book when you’re exhaustedyou’re your imagination just isn’t cutting it anymore, if you could just look into your special book, ‘steal, like an artist’ as Austin Kleon says, in his brilliant little book! It would be a life saver.
  • Stop refreshing, refreshing, refreshing Facebook. Either you’re on it or you’re not: Keep writing in that library with no Internet access.
  • PLAN YOUR NOVEL before setting pen to paper do not ‘blind write’  No, no. no. “Working organically” (someone shoot me), is SO last year.
  • Try not to write a book about something you know absolutely nothing about. You will have to do research and that will take a lot of time (especially if it’s about several things you know nothing about).
  • Do not write at the expense of everything else you do in your life because you will have to pay for it later (double the parking fine, because you didn’t pay the first one within a week, for example…)
  • Go to bed earlier. Your writing will thank you for it.

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HOW WE MET, my latest novel is out now