Repost from @sallyhepworth using @RepostRegramApp - Today on #sallyswritingprocess i am talking about #bookclubs and running a HUGE #giveaway

One of my favourite things to do is visit book clubs, in person if you’re local to Melbourne, or via Skype. What can I say, it’s the combination of 🍷 , 🧀 and 📖 that gets me. ⠀

When I visit a book club as an author, it’s a fun casual affair. I arrive (or Skype in) around 30 minutes after everyone else, to give everyone a chance to catch up. Then i talk for about 5 minutes about my inspiration for the book before opening up for questions and discussions. ⠀

Now, here is the #GIVEAWAY

Anyone who chooses The Family Next Door (released March 13, 2018) for their book club, and books me to visit (via Skype or in person) between April - June in 2018, will go into the draw to win an ENTIRE book club set of copies*. You must DM me to book in a date in the next 2 weeks to go into the draw. ⠀
*up to ten copies⠀
*This competition is open worldwide *The books will be delivered to one address on publication.⠀

For more information on how i run my book club visits, see my Facebook page “for book clubs” link in profile.

The emotional evolution of a novelist (mood: currently starting the second draft)

WRITING FIRST CHAPTER ... 🙋This is the best book ever written. NYT bestseller for sure⠀

HALF WAY THROUGH FIRST DRAFT ... 🤷‍♀️ Hmm, this isn’t how I envisioned it, exactly⠀

END OF FIRST DRAFT ... 🤦‍♀️ My plot has more holes that an moth-ridden jumper⠀


END OF SECOND DRAFT ... 😭I can already see this book in the bargain bin outside the reject shop⠀

BOOK IS RELEASED ... 🍷🥂🍻🍺If you’re looking for me, I’ll be drunk⠀


Work / life balance ⠀

Does anyone ACTUALLY have it? If you do, I'd like to shake your hand.⠀

Whenever anyone asks me how I balance my life I have a little chuckle. The truth is, my life is like an episode of Gladiator (does anyone remember that show? Vulcan?) and I am just sprinting through the gauntlet praying things won't hit me in the head. ⠀

I have very little in the way of order or routine. Every day a different babysitter shows up and I go to a different library to write. My kids are generally dropped off where they need to be with most of the stuff they need. I respond to emails, mostly. I buy groceries, occasionally. I drop the ball constantly (heck, my ball just rolls along the floor these days and I kick it. It's soccer rather than juggling which is a legitimate-and perhaps more entertaining-sport).⠀

I used to worry that I was doing it wrong. But then I figured out this is just my system. Generally it works. There's something to be said for the thrill of wondering if I've forgotten anything important today or if i have any clean clothes to wear. If things get too much (read: more than two social commitments in a week), i just cancel everything and bunker down until the storm passes. Then i start again in much the same way. It's not perfect but it works for me.⠀

How do you balance your life? Are you running the gauntlet like me, wishing you'd shelled out for a helmet? Juggling? Playing soccer? ⠀

Today in #sallyswritingprocess
A Day in the life.⠀

One of the most common misconceptions about writers is that we sit at our desks all day, dreaming up words. I mean, we do that of course. But for me, more and more, being a writer is like running a business. My first priority is always the words but there are always other things vying for my attention - publicity, book club visits, public speaking, reader correspondence, newsletters, research trips. Last week I documented a day* so you can get an idea of how I spend my work day (note: Currently I write 5 short days a week but the hours vary depending on the day and babysitter availability. Typically I work between 3-6 hours per day).

8:30am / 8:45am / 9:00am - drop child 1, 2 & 3 at school, kinder, daycare⠀
9:10am - in the parking lot of the library - why does it not open until 10am? - drafted essay for Brides magazine feature.⠀
10am - library opens, find a space and set up laptop. 1st 1000 word sprint of my current novel⠀
11:00am - head to a meeting at Bayside Council to discuss upcoming speaker session⠀
12:00pm - Back at library 2nd 1000 word sprint⠀
12:45pm - eat lunch, respond to reader emails, update website with new book info.⠀
1:00pm - Draft newsletter. Plan and schedule upcoming giveaways.⠀
1:45pm - 3rd 1000 word sprint.⠀
2:30pm - read over what I’ve done. Move things around. Edit a little. Save. Back up.⠀
3:00pm - go to post office to send off audiobooks as competition prizes.
3:30pm / 3:45pm - pick up child 1, 2 & 3⠀
Homework, kids’ activities, dinner, bedtime.⠀

After hours: Pay babysitters. Enquire about getting a P.O. Box., fiddle with 3D book cover for my website, read book to potentially blurb for another author, fall asleep on the couch zzzzzzzzzz⠀

*my day varies A LOT depending on the time of year, so I might do them quarterly to give you an idea of how things change.⠀

Writers? Do your days look like this? Am I the only one who falls asleep with her face in a book most nights?

#Sallyswritingprocess Getting published⠀⠀
One of the most common questions I’m asked is … How can I get published? ⠀⠀
My response? ⠀⠀
Google it.⠀⠀
It may sound uncharitable, but it’s good advice. I know, because when I decided to become an author, that's what I did. #truestory⠀⠀
There is a wealth of information out there, and if you’re serious, you’ll get immersed in it. Read publishing blogs. Sign up to author newsletters. Do online workshops (or in person workshops, I guess—spot the recluse 🙋) Sure, you could pick the brain of an author you know who wrote a YA science fiction book a few years back, but if you are writing a picture story book it’s probably not going to be very helpful. Likewise, speaking to a self published author if you want a traditional publishing deal might be wasting everyone's time. If you know someone who writes in exactly the same genre as you by all means chat to them, if they’re willing. But I’d hazard a guess that anything they tell you you can find online.⠀⠀
Now, I’m not suggesting that you don’t socialise in the writing world. Once you’ve got off the internet, go to author signings and events. During the Q & A ask them how they got published. But you’re far less likely to look silly, and ask better questions, if you’ve done your homework (on the internet).⠀⠀
A few things I can tell you that you may not find on the internet.⠀⠀
1) I am stunned by how many people say publishing is about who you know. In my (albeit meagre) experience, this is simply not true. I had no ‘in’ in the publishing world. I didn’t know a soul, no one put my name forward or vouched for me. I didn’t have any publishing credits, I hadn’t studied writing. I was a nobody from Down Under with a book and a dream.⠀⠀
2) I don’t think you should ever pay for someone to publish your book. If people are asking for money—even if it’s a small amount— they might be legit, but it’s more likely they’re a shyster. ⠀⠀
3) Publishers WANT to find the next great book. It’s easy to get despondent after a couple (thousand) rejections, but if you keep your head down and your internet browser open — you’ll get there. ⠀⠀
If I did, anyone can.⠀⠀

Today on #sallyswritingprocess ... I'm talking about being productive.⠀

This week a friend of mine commented on my productivity. "You're always producing things" she said. "Books, babies, houses". I found this comment interesting. I mulled it over a while and while I'm not sure these things will help with producing babies or houses, there ARE 3 things I do that really make me productive when it comes to writing.

1. I don't do other stuff. ⠀
I've never understood the appeal of "doing it all." I mean ... Why would you want to? There are only so many hours in the day and I like to spend a lot of them sleeping and watching rubbish television. So I don't even try to "do it all." I don't socialize (thank God), I don't volunteer, I don't garden or do cardio tennis (or any cardio, in fact). Heck, I don't even cook or do much laundry (we eat a lot of toast and wear a lot of semi clean clothes). I spend time with my family, my good friends and I write. And I sleep. And I watch a lot of rubbish TV.⠀#priorities
2. I set goals. I don't wonder how many words are going to flow out of my finger tips today. I set a word count goal and sit down and type until I reach it. I can't control if those words are any good, but I can get them written. ⠀

3. I pay attention to what works. Lately I've been logging how much I write, and I've come to a few realizations. I write better in the afternoon. I can write as much in 3 hours as I can in 6. I write more at the library than I do at home. So I've changed up my schedule a bit, and I'm getting a lot more done in less time. ⠀

Over to you. What are your tips? What do you do that makes you productive? ⠀

Ps. I wrote this post while sitting on the side of the tub during the kids' bath time #productive

I took this pic when I bumped into my friend Fran a few weeks ago at the library. As you can see I was pretty excited. Don't get out much, etc. So today in #sallyswritingprocess I'm talking about writing at the library, and I'm also asking for your HELP with a few library etiquette questions that I have 📚 📚 📚 ⠀

My local library has just been renovated and I'm telling you, it is all kinds of awesome. I mean, can we talk about how great libraries are for a minute? An amazing FREE resource that is heated, has WIFI, desks and a communal space that you can pop in and use whenever you like? Yes please. I also know several writers who work from the same library as me several days a week (social 👭), we are surrounded by books (inspiration 💡 ) and there is a great sushi place down the road (sushi 🍣 ).⠀Win win win.

With that said, I've been wondering a bit about library etiquette lately. My default position (which is from childhood and perhaps out of date) is that you must whisper, you cannot talk in the communal area and you may not eat or drink. If your phone rings, you may only answer it to whisper furiously "I can't talk I'm at the LIBRARY!" and then you must apologize to everyone within a ten metre radius. You must keep your eyes down, your face blank and your phones (and vocal chords) on silent.⠀

But, at least at my library, it feels like the times are changing. Some days people chat, take calls, eat lunch. There is often the sounds of toddlers singing at baby and me reading time. (It's quite lovely and always makes me miss my babies.) But other days, people are silent. If you open your mouth ... cue the glares. Heaven forbid you munch on an apple. It's tense. ⠀

Which means I'm stuck. I'm ready to evolve. But I fear glares. ⠀

So I'm asking for your HELP. What constitutes good library etiquette these days? ⠀
Can you speak at regular volume? Eat and drink? Take phone calls? Make them? ⠀
And, most importantly ... when am I expected to glare? ⠀

Today in #sallyswritingprocess I’m talking about the first draft. 📚 📝 📖 ⠀
Ahhh ... first drafts how I love thee. I’m writing the first draft of my new novel, Mother In Law, right now, and I'm telling you ... I'm in my happy place. Watching the book populate with living breathing (except not living or breathing) humans, is just about as exciting as it gets for me. I know that some writers fear the blank page, but for me, that blank page is nirvana. So much potential. So little bad writing. (Once the page is full of terrible writing, now THAT is something to be terrified of IMO). 😱

As I'm in this space, I thought I'd share with you how I do it. So, without further ado, here is how I draft, in 4 easy steps. ⠀

1) I write a 5-page planned, structured and developed synopsis for my editor to approve.

2) I put the synopsis down, and promptly lose it.⠀

3) I write the book with the synopsis in mind, but remaining open to any unexpected changes that happen along the way. ⠀

4) I finish the first draft, I immediately (sometimes the same day) go back to the start the rewriting. And that’s when the real work begins.⠀

Other things to note:⠀
--While drafting I write 3000-5000 words per day. This number seems to remain in this range whether I work 3 hours or 8 hours.⠀ .
--I write fast and messy, and I rarely go back and re-read what I’ve written, even to tidy it up. If I introduce a character half way through, or change a storyline, or cut a subplot, that all gets fixed in the second draft. Basically it all comes out as one giant vomit of a book. If pause to look back, I tend to lose the thrust, so I try not to pause. (Fear and self-loathing, I’ve also noticed, loves a pause which is another reason I try not to do it.)⠀ .
--I spend at least twice as long editing as I do writing ⠀
To see how I edit, please refer to my previous #sallyswritingprocess How I Edit.⠀

Writers: over to you. How do you write first drafts? Fast and messy? Slow and methodical? Do you plan? Do you fear the blank page??⠀
⠀ ⠀

Cold winter morning writing essentials ❄️ 💻 ☕️ 🎂#sallyhepworth #sallyswritingprocess #bookstagram #authorsofinstagram #author #winter #winterishere

In today's episode of #sallyswritingprocess I talk about ... being a recluse.⠀
Yep. I’m a recluse. ⠀
. ⠀
Seriously. I am. Why doesn't anyone ever believe me when I say this? It's true. I'm a writer after all. We are famous for it. ⠀
. ⠀
Here’s the deal. I’ve never gone out dancing and never plan to. I’d take waterboarding over a stand up cocktail party. Groups of more than five people make me twitch. Generally, if i see anyone I know in public, I'll dive behind the nearest telephone pole to avoid them. For reals. Including people I like. (True story: I once saw my mum in the street and crossed the road. I called her later and told her. She was not offended in the least. She would have crossed the road too, she admitted. And we are very close.) The fact is, I come from a solid line of reclusive types. My Dad lives a two hour drive from everyone he knows, including my mum, to whom he is still happily married. We are not socially inept, in fact, some might say we are reasonably skilled in the art of conversation. We simply value solitude, comfort and familiarity. Night out dancing? 🤢 Night on the couch, with a blanket, a book and a hot chocolate? 🎉 ⠀
Interesting exception: I will (and often do) happily talk in front of a packed room of strangers about books and writing. In fact, that stuff is totally MY JAM.⠀
Now, I do know a few wildly extroverted writers so I'm not suggesting that you have to be a recluse to write. I do, however, wonder if there is a link between the recluse and the creative ... something about us needing time and space to process things? Maybe the way we absorb the world is exhausting and overwhelming? Maybe we're just a bunch of lazy intolerants who only want to engage on our own terms? Not sure. If nothing else, all that staying home really helps us to crank out those words.⠀
Recluses, raise your little emoji hands (writers and just general recluses). Do you think there's a link between being creative and bring a recluse? Do you have any weird exceptions? ⠀

#bookstagram #authorconfessions #authorlife

A lot of people have misconceptions about how the editing process works. They think it works like this.⠀

1. You write the book⠀
2. Your editor edits it.⠀
3. They publish it ⠀

Do you hear that? That is the sound of all the authors laughing HYSTERICALLY. ⠀


Sadly no, it doesn't work like that. Here is what the actual process looks like. ⠀

1. You write the book 📝 ,⠀
2. You rewrite the book 📖,⠀
3. You repeat step 2 several (thousand) times ⠀
4. You share with your first readers, your critique partners, your dog 🐶 ⠀
5. You repeat step 2, several more (thousand) times⠀
6. You share with your editor 🙏🏻⠀
7. Your editor responds to your manuscript with suggestions 😱⠀
8. You repeat step 2 several more times (with alcohol 🍺)⠀
9. You send book back to editor 🙏🏻⠀
10. Repeat step 2 again if necessary (with alcohol 🍺 and / or valium) ⠀
11. Your editor accepts book 💃⠀
12. Book goes to copy-editor (a different editor) who makes notes on spelling and grammar, style, continuity … the on the line stuff, then returns it to author 😖⠀
12. Author goes through and accepts or declines copyeditors changes. Author also decides he / she hates the book’s GUTS but it’s too late because IT IS GOING TO BE PUBLISHED AND SHE”S GOING TO LOOK LIKE A FOOL IN FRONT OF THE WORLD (Alcohol is also advisable at this stage) 😩 🍺 ⠀
13. Book goes back to publisher⠀
14. Book is typeset⠀
15. Author gets one last 👀 at the pages / proofread (author is just so happy she doesn’t have to look at the freaking book anymore that she doesn’t care its a pile of UTTER garbage 💃⠀
16. Book is published. 🎉 ⠀

So that's it ... 16 steps of #sallyswritingprocess Though, I’ve been pretty conservative with the rewrite estimates. ⠀

Have I missed anything (authors chime in here)? What do you think readers? Is it what you expected?

By demand: today's post of #sallyswritingprocess is Do I treat writing like a REAL job?

I used to give people major side-eye when they asked me this, but lately I have come to realise that people are genuinely confused. After all, I work alone, often in my pyjamas, and regularly from bed. There is no one (apart from, occasionally, my kids) standing over me, cracking the whip. And there is a lovely, whimsical feeling about being a writer that simply feels at odds with the word 'job.' Right?

And yet, I do treat writing novels like a real job. Here are three reasons why:

1) I don't have another job (unless you count being a mum, which, of course, is a full-time job. But I, like any other working mum, have childcare.) Last year I was working 4 days a week, and since Clementine was born I've dropped it down to 3. Next year when Clementine is older I'll go back to 4, and eventually, I'll work 5 days.

2. I have deadlines. While I still find this astonishing, people are waiting for my books. My editor, my agent, potentially even some readers. If I didn't meet those deadlines, my writing career would be short.

3. Finally, and perhaps most unspeakably (because for some reason, in the creative field 💵 should never be spoken about)... writing pays me money. And as romantic as it sounds to live on reader love and ramen noodles (I actually really love ramen noodles so no shade being thrown here) I also like money. Ramen noodles 🍜 taste better in a house. With the heater on (especially today). Over to you. Do you treat your job like a REAL job?
My husband says his accountancy job is a cover for his real identity as a budding professional golfer 🏌 🙄 #dadjokes

Welcome to #sallyswritingprocess where I'll be sharing the odd snippet of my writing process / writing life. Today's post is about plot.
Do I plot? This is probably the question I'm asked the most (alongside "Do you treat writing like a REAL job? 😏) The answer (to both questions) is yes, I suppose I do. Back when I was writing my first book, I plotted my little ❤️ out. I mean, check out exhibit A, B & C ⬆️! Charts, index cards, my wall of scenes and notes. You'd think I was a classic type A, instead of the quintessential type All-over-the-place 🤡. But now, five books into my six book contract, I don't plot so much. I write a synopsis for my editor before I start a new novel so I'm not completely footloose and fancy-free ... but my days of giant wall maps seem to be behind me (at least for now). This might be because I'm following my instincts more, or maybe after writing a few books I've become so familiar with plotting that I do it in my head without having to write it down. Who knows? Every writer is different, and all processes evolve. Being a type All-over-the-place, ask me again in a year. I'll probably have the index cards out again.

#bookclub #goodreads #bookworm #bibliofile #ilovereading #bookaddict #bookishlove #booklover #fortheloveofreading #bookshelfie #mustread #themotherspromise #thethingswekeep #thesecretsofmidwives #bookstagram #booksofinstagram #aussieauthor #authorlife #books #greatreads #australianauthors

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