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Lynne Milford’s (aka LM Milford’s) Monthly Guest Post – August 2018 ~ @LMMilford

It’s always a pleasure welcoming Lynne Milford back to my blog.  She has been writing a series of guest posts, having won my Twitter competition to feature on here for a whole year.  Last month Lynne took a well earned break and is now back nice and refreshed with a lovely post about why she loves writing.

 

Why I love writing

If you’ve been reading my monthly posts, you know that I love writing. I love reading too but I love writing more. It’s not easy and at times has me pulling my hair out, but I couldn’t live without it.

Imagination and creativity have always played a big part of my life. When I was a child I was always making up stories and wishing for Famous Five style adventures, although they were more likely to be played out in my head. Even now I can turn the slightest hint of a story into a game of ‘what if?’ and who knows where that may take me. (This is one of the best ways to generate ideas!)

It’s a small step from coming up with ideas to actually writing them down. The much bigger step is developing those ideas into a plot that works. It takes patience and a lot of determination to keep your bottom on the chair. It’s a bit like training for a marathon really, in that you have to put in the work, learn from your mistakes and be prepared to keep going even when the going starts to feel very tough.

But there is no feeling like looking up from your computer or notebook and realising that you’ve finished something. Of course, the act of writing itself is great, but finishing something – particularly something the length of a novel – gives a real sense of satisfaction.

Recently I suffered from a bout of exhaustion. It sounds silly and self-indulgent, but bear with me. I was so desperate to finish the latest round of edits on my second book that I’d bookmarked six or seven hours each weekend day for about six weeks to work on it. Add in my full time job and you can see why I was exhausted. Sadly I hadn’t listened to the warnings and niggles my body was giving me until it started to shout. Three days of aching head-to-toe was not a good sign. I was fortunate that I was going to Harrogate Crime Festival and so I had to step away from writing for three whole days*. I was completely away from home so I couldn’t take editing with me. I had the Monday off work and had planned to edit all day. Instead I took the morning off, pottered around, went to the library and sat in the garden to read. That meant when I went back to editing later that day I was refreshed.

But (the reason for this story) it gave me a chance to look at my life and see how I was using my time. It also gave me a look at what I would do without writing in my life.  I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t give up writing – I missed it too much even just after three days. It’s so much part of my life and something I enjoy too much to give it up.

So writing will always be a part of my life and there are so many things I want to accomplish through it. But, and this is a biggie, I’ll make sure it doesn’t completely take over – or at least, I promise to try!

*(I should add that I was a bit naughty while away at Harrogate and I did start on a new piece of writing with a new character – and not in Allensbury where my novels are set. But don’t tell anyone because I told them I was resting!)

~~~~~

A Deadly Rejection is available in ebook and paperback from Amazon. UK address is https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0768WP1SB

Catch up with me on Twitter @lmmilford or visit my website www.lmmilford.wordpress.com

 

Previous Guest Posts

First guest post (January 2018) – My writing journey

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2018/01/31/lynne-milfords-monthly-guest-post/

Second guest post (February 2018) – Where did A Deadly Rejection come from?

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2018/02/27/lynne-milfords-aka-lm-milfords-monthly-guest-post/

Third guest post (March 2018) – Creating the perfect cast for A Deadly Rejection

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2018/03/28/lynne-milfords-aka-lm-milfords-monthly-guest-post-march-2018/

Fourth guest post (April 2018) – Why you should write a series

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2018/04/29/lynne-milfords-aka-lm-milfords-monthly-guest-post-april-2018/

Fifth guest post (May 2018) – What I do when I’m not writing

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2018/05/29/lynne-milfords-aka-lm-milfords-monthly-guest-post-may-2018/

Sixth guest post (June 2018) – Extract + Competition

https://aloverofbooks.wordpress.com/2018/06/29/lynne-milfords-aka-lm-milfords-monthly-guest-post-june-2018/

Lynne Milford’s Monthly Guest Post

Last year I ran a competition on Twitter, the prize being for an author to feature on my blog for a whole year.  The lucky winner was Lynne Milford aka LM Milford.  During the course of this year Lynne will be writing a variety of guest posts which I hope you all enjoy.

 

My writing journey

If you’d asked me as a child what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer would, without any thought, have been ‘a writer’. By that, I meant a published author with a shelf groaning with my books. I think I was about seven or eight-years-old when I developed this ambition. It was last year, at the age of 36 and a half, that I finally achieved that aim. That should tell you just how long my writing journey has been!

But in actual fact, I’ve been a writer since the day I picked up a pencil at the age of seven or eight and started to try and write a story. When I look back at my work it’s clear what I was reading at the time because my writing very much mirrors it. When I was in my Famous Five phase, it was always children having adventures without the problem of parents stopping you from having fun. When I hit my teens and moved on to Sweet Valley High and other romantic fiction, I tried my hand at that but soon realised it wasn’t for me. I simply couldn’t create a heroine who wasn’t a carbon copy of any other heroines out there. Maybe it was that I didn’t really believe in romance – it was something that hadn’t really touched me and so I couldn’t express it.

Then I met (figuratively speaking) a nice lady called Agatha Christie. Suddenly reading, and writing, took on a new dimension. I’d found my home – my genre – in the tightly plotted mystery. I recently said to a friend that Agatha Christie was one of my major influencers and she said you can see it in my book – what a compliment! So it’s clear that you learn to write by reading extensively in your genre.

It was an exercise in a Year 9 English literature class that really set me off on my journey to being a crime writer. We were told to write the opening scene of a novel, using a number of set words. Mine turned into a private detective heading down to a country house party to tackle a mysterious circumstance. You can see Agatha Christie’s influence there, can’t you? I never finished that book (I may one day, who knows) but it gave me the taste for sitting down and creating people and a mystery that my main character had to solve. And, of course, he would be the only person who could solve it!

I’ve always been aware that a career as a full-time writer is a long way off – if not out of my grasp – and so I’ve always had a full-time job. I started out in journalism and it was during a very dull council meeting that the book that became A Deadly Rejection started to develop. That was in about 2007, so that will also tell you how long the writing journey is (or can be). Over the next two years I poured the unplanned story onto the page and then learned, the hard way, that a novel needs to be plotted out before you start writing. Otherwise you spend ages going up blind alleys and wasting a lot of time. At the end of the two years I was quite pleased with the story and after a bit of tinkering sent it out to a few agents. I now recognise this was a bit of a mistake because the book was nowhere near ready, but I have a very nice rejection letter from one agent which I’ve kept all these years.

When nothing happened with Book One, I decided to sit down and write another. Again it took two years, thanks to my full time job and a period of illness. It was also unplanned. However, this gave me the confidence that I could do it again – by which I mean finish something. That’s a big challenge in writing – to not decide that what you’re writing is a load of rubbish (it probably isn’t) and give up.

Since then, I’ve learned a lot. I revised A Deadly Rejection over and over again, learning more and more about the plotting and editing process as I went along. It’s been slow progress and has taken longer than it took to write to kick the book into shape. It’s taken blood, sweat and tears (literally in some cases) to get the book to where it is, but it’s been worth every second. To stand there holding your paperback, knowing that you did it all yourself (it’s self-published) is a feeling that’s second to none.

Publishing the first book is fantastic, but it’s not the end – it’s only the beginning. I’m currently kicking Book Two into shape and am hoping to publish it later this year. Then it’s onto writing Book Three and editing the novella that I’ve already written.

Sometimes writing is hard work. Just getting into the writing chair feels impossible. But it’s worth it for the end result!

A Deadly Rejection is available in paperback and ebook through Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0768WP1SB

 

About Lynne Milford

By day, I work in PR and communications; by night (and at weekends) I write crime fiction (as well as baking pies and chocolate brownies).

In a previous life I worked as a local newspaper reporter. This gave me the inspiration for the story that has become my first novel, A Deadly Rejection.

I live in Kent and spend far too much time on trains commuting into London for work, which does however give me time to work on plotting and writing my books.

You can keep tabs on what I’m up to by following me on Twitter @lmmilford or by checking out my blog www.lmmilford.wordpress.com. I write about what I’m working on, advice on what I’ve learned through my work and how to move forward with writing.

 

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