Friday, February 1, 2013


Long time, no see!

The crew here at ATWOP are still slightly on hiatus, by which I mean, concentrating hard on all kinds of important work, like writing, revising and publishing novels, or raising future storytellers, or that sort of thing- and still a little short on time to do the blogging we'd like to do as well.

We all hope to be more connected this year, and one of my aims is to spend a little more time both here and at my new blog for WWI research and all things Between the Lines.

So in that spirit, I'm moved to talk today about the theory of abundance. A good friend of mine was talking about this recently, and put it in my mind- she's a professional cake-and-sweet-treat maker, and she has the most enthusiastic and giving personality- just being around her makes you want to get up and work harder at being useful and positive.

And that's where the theory of abundance comes into things, because she believes that connecting with like-minded people, and moreover, always giving freely of your enthusiasm and your creativity, does not take away your time or your energy. It has the opposite effect- it brings energy and creativity back to you, because for all you give, you receive these things in return.

Since the start of 2013, I've already revised 30,000 words of Between the Lines. This is huge, for someone who hadn't touched her writing seriously in well over a year. I have a lot of demands on my time, but I am absolutely determined to finish this book this year and move on to the next stage, and my determination is carrying me through.

With the need to focus hard on my writing, you'd think that reconnecting with the Compuserve Books and Writers Forum, plus Facebook, plus blogging again, might not be a really advisable thing to do. After all, surely all that is going to take time and energy away from my main focus?

But as ever, I've immediately discovered that abundance applies here, too. Not to Facebook, that's still the devil. But to everything else- connecting with other writers. Sharing your work. Taking the time to read and comment on other peoples' work. Emailing writing buddies to talk shop. Telling the world what you're up to. All these things don't end up detracting, if you get the balance right- they end up adding fuel to the fire, revitalising creative energy and supporting your drive to get somewhere significant.

I've been a Compuserve Forum member for seven years now, and in that time, the periods where I haven't written a thing- have coincided exactly with the periods during which I have *not* been an active member there. The times when I've been most productive are the times where I've been in the community, giving and receiving.

It's tricky, though. There is a major balance you need to strike, and it's not all helpful. As much as Facebook and Twitter can connect you to the rest of the world, they can also distract you and suck your energy if you give them too much. And sharing your work is fantastic, especially if you get good feedback- but I've hit major problems before by letting opinions lead me down different paths, and, worst of all, by believing my own press- something you just can't do until you're proven, and you're not proven til you're holding your own book in your hands.

So, more giving, in the aim of more receiving. And at all times, keeping my perspective. That's my underlying theme for 2013 as I drive on toward the finish line one more time.


  1. Claire,
    Great to see you back here and at B&W forum. We've miss you all. I recently reconnected with them also. I've been a member there for over 20 years! Sometimes you just need a break from all the stuff you do. I look at blogging and B&W forum the same way. You get so caught up in what you are doing the creative sparks dim a bit making it harder to do what you need to do.

    I realized last year that FB was evilly stealing my productivity time and now only go there when I receive a message or have something to say or to update.

    I've got a suggestion for you, Jenn, Susan, Rachel, and Kristen. Take turns blogging even if it's once a week. Fifteen or twenty minutes tops at the beginning. Yours was one of the first blogs I followed because their were varying points of views. You had something great going for a while there. That way each of you would blog once a month to keep everyone updated on your progress or nonprogress with you on maternity leave.

  2. Welcome back, Claire! I'm delighted to see you here and at B&W. There's nothing like the camaraderie among writers.

  3. Thanks for the suggestion Jo! It would be great to manage that, but it's easier said than done- or it has been this past year. But we shall see how we go juggling all the various deadlines and life demands- you never know. One way or the other, I hope to be around more, and I've made a good start to it this year. Great to be back in touch with all of you at B&W and here :)

  4. It's wonderful to see you get your groove back! And, boy, howdy, 30,000 words is quite some groove!

    It's definitely a fine line. I find B&W and social media can be inspiring...but, for me, it can also be horribly intimidating.

    Yay, you! Can't wait to see more of BtL!

    1. Amara, Just curious why is B&W intimidating? You're among friends.

  5. You're certainly right, Claire - if nothing else, keeping in touch with other writers reminds me that mine isn't the only path, and that there are myriad ways to get a book done.
    I love my new schedule for that, which allows for reading time and procrastination time but also structures in days for editing (writing is easy; if I'm drafting I can do it every day. It's editing that's hard...).
    I try not to switch the days around too much, because then the whole house of cards collapses. But this way, my internet time is limited, and devoted mostly to blogging and Twitter.
    No time left for FB - I've found if you label someone a 'close friend' their activity shows up in your email. So now I can just scroll through my email at leisure, and don't have to log in to FB until I have time to reply to specific things. Haven't played FarmVille since August, yay!

  6. JL--Oh, it's just a matter of my internal editor. I know the forumites are all open and supportive. It's just that, in weak and insecure moments, seeing the excellent writing produced at B&W can end up with my internal editor getting vicious ("You'll NEVER write as well as _____. You can't possibly plot/characterize/write as poetically as _____."). So it's nothing anyone at B&W's all in my own head.

    So when I've got control over my inner editor, I find B&W tremendously energizing and motivating. When she's in control, it can be a little overwhelming to see the brilliance of the Forumites en masse. :)

  7. Hey, ATWOPers--I've nominated you for a Liebster blogger award. Here's a link to my blog with the award and the guidelines:

    I hope you'll play along!

  8. Abundance? No bloody doubt, dear.
    Follow me Home to Seventh-Heaven
    and thar'll be a
    God bless you.