Dark Mode Off / On

NEWSLETTER

Idle Thoughts

The World’s Longest Writer’s Block

Once upon a time… I had the world’s longest writer’s block. As a child and teenager, I wrote a lot. So many (crappy) stories in so many notebooks. Then I paused as I got busy moving to another country and starting my career. After a little while, I started again. More seriously this time, and I wrote two novels.

I started my third and… I stalled. Not just a little bit, but I couldn’t seem to find the words to write at all. I wrote fourteen different drafts of the first chapter, and none of them worked for me. Nothing else came to me either. I was a writer without words.

Around the same time, and quite possibly related, I had a massive burnout and suffered from my first depression. I had time off my job in a UN Organisation, and once I realised I wasn’t getting better any time soon, I made the difficult decision to resign and move back to my home country. I definitely didn’t feel great.

Eventually, after many tests and meetings, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. While it didn’t fix me, knowing why I felt the way I did, helped. But I still couldn’t write. I couldn’t even read more than a few pages without needing a nap. Brain fog was a thing.

A few years in, I played the game Dragon Age, and for the first time in ages, I felt inspired. I started a fanfiction story. Then another. I didn’t finish either of them but just writing–no matter how little, felt amazing. I moved countries again, and writing fell to the wayside as I started working full-time again for the first time in ten years (I had only managed part-time up until that point since I was diagnosed). With limited energy, I could only do one thing; work or enjoy life in my spare time. I worked and did little but sleep once I was home.

Then I had a child. A little tiny tyrant who never slept. (Her sleep still isn’t good, but at least it’s better than it was.) In early 2020 I heard about Wattpad, a writing platform where writers could put their stories and hopefully find readers who liked it. Finally having the odd evening here and there free (or semi-free), I decided it was time to get back to writing. I always missed it and it has always been something I’d like to be doing professionally.

So I signed up to Wattpad.

I released my first few chapters to crickets. Then I joined a writing group on the forums (that have since been removed), and I met like-minded writers. It was probably the best thing I could ever have done. Not only did some of them read my story, but we clicked really well and we’re all still in contact on Discord where we have a server.

Since those early days in 2020, I’ve written consistently. I finished the first round of revisions on the two novels from back in the day, and I’ve written one novel and four novellas. I’m currently working on my fourth novel.

If it wasn’t for Wattpad and the group of amazing writers I met through it, I don’t know that I would have broken my writer’s block. I’m so grateful to them. They’re an amazing bunch of people.

So, how long was my writer’s block? If I ignore the random bits of fanfiction (which was rare with long times between updates), the time between finishing my second novel and when I started writing on Wattpad was… 13 years.

Yes, you read that right. I had writer’s block for 13 years. Hopefully, that’s enough to fulfil my quota for a lifetime and I will never suffer from it again!

Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? How did you get past it?

Melancholy Mummy

I Wonder What It’s Like To Have a Child That Sleeps

As I lie in bed awake at 2.30 in the morning with my child half-asleep (but not quite there) next to me, I can’t help but wonder what it must be like to have a child that sleeps. To get a full night’s sleep in one chunk. To maybe—dare I think it—have an entire evening to yourself?

It’s been just over three-and-a-half years now.

Three-and-a-half years of interrupted evenings. Of nights with plenty of wake-ups. Some longer (like tonight, when she did not fully fall back asleep until three hours later, being awake from midnight to around 3 am), some shorter where she will fall back asleep relatively quickly. I prefer the latter but even those make sleeping harder for me. I don’t fall asleep as quickly and easily as she (sometimes) does. Or my partner, who is capable of falling asleep in seconds. Sometimes mid-conversation. (And I swear, I’m not that boring!)

The lack of sleep makes the daytime difficult as well. I already suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), and the bad sleep isn’t helping. Daily chores that should be easily doable suddenly seem insurmountable. Leaving the house to do grocery shopping? Might as well ask me to go hiking in the wilderness. That laundry mountain could just as well be Kilimanjaro.

It makes me a bad mother. I lack the energy to do all of the things I’d like to do with the tiny tyrant. Mum guilt hits me bad. But even the weight of the massive guilt can’t always force me out the door. Some days we just have to stay home, and it breaks my heart when she asks me if we can go to a playground and I just can’t bring myself to do it. We don’t have one in easy walking distance. It always requires a car trip. Fortunately, she enjoys quite a few things to do at home as well. She loves setting up little homes for her Sylvanian families and Barbies. I find them everywhere. (And if I try to tidy them up I get yelled at.)

Evenings after bedtime is meant to be a time to relax. And I’d like to. I try to do my writing in the evenings, as well as anything else I can’t really do during the days while the tiny tyrant is around. But I do it all with an eye and ear towards the bedroom, waiting for that dreaded wake-up. Rarely, there’s none. More commonly there’s between 1-4 before I go to bed.

I don’t know why she won’t sleep. Maybe it just doesn’t agree with her. Whether she’s had a busy day and is tired appears to have little to no impact. (Putting this out there since I know a lot of people like to tell me a tired child will sleep. Well, not this one.) All I know is that I’m desperate for some sleep myself. On a regular basis. And some evenings when I can relax. Is that too much to ask?

Apparently, it is.

And so I will continue to lie here in the middle of the night, with my child who won’t sleep. I will dream of days to come when she might—hopefully—sleep and all the things I might finally have the time and energy to do.

I will continue to wonder what is it like to have a child that sleeps.

The Not-so-Peculiar Life of Emily

My Week in Bullet Points (w21)

Another rundown of what my week has been like… in bullet points! Because, why not?

This week, I have:

  • Had workmen in to start our patio in the back garden. Something that we’ve wanted for years, and finally got around to doing. Rain delayed the work for about… four weeks, but it’s finally happening! They should be finished early next week.
  • Started the rewrite of my Fantasy Romance book.
  • Continued the struggles in getting the tiny tyrant to wear her new glasses. So far, the toddler is winning.
  • Started re-watching Rick & Morty because I couldn’t decide on what else I wanted to watch after finishing watching The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
  • Messed about with potential book covers for stories I shouldn’t even be writing.
  • Stared at the chaos that is my home (this is a running theme these days).
Scribbles

Corresponding with your Characters (4/4)

(A bit of silliness I wrote during a writer’s block when working on book two of the Howerty series. Part 1 can be found here, part 2 here and part 3 here.)

Dear Writer,

Understood and complied.

Yours (ever so faithfully),
{list of characters}

*complete silence*

1 minute has passed…

2 minutes…

3…

Jacob (in a theatrical whisper), “Why hasn’t she started writing yet?”

Bonk… Bonk… Bonk… (<— writer banging head against desk in frustration)

Scribbles

Corresponding with your Characters (3/4)

(A bit of silliness I wrote when I had a writer’s block when working on book two of the Howerty series. Part 1 can be found here, and part 2 here.)

Dear Characters,

As the writer, I would like to believe that it is my prerogative whether I’m writing or not. At the current time, I am not writing since I have had other things to deal with, and I am also trying to decide on the best course of action to get this particular story finished.

However, I am having troubles concentrating because I have all these annoying characters inside my head—who all want their own story told—and I have therefore been busy writing these ideas down before they disappear. I think you should know though, that it is giving me a headache. I feel you should learn to be quiet when I’m not asking you for your help, and you should keep your noses from where they don’t belong (the actual planning process of the writing).

When I have several characters whining about their stories, I cannot get anything done, so I would highly appreciate it if you would all just shut up for some time and mind your own business. Then I can get back to writing and everything will be well.

Signed,
A very tired writer

Behind the Scenes

Did You Know I’m on Ko-fi?

I took the plunge recently and signed up to Ko-fi. It’s something of a simpler version of Patreon, which was the other option I looked at. Out of the two I went for Ko-fi since it offers the possibility for supporters to just do a one-off show of support by buying me a cup of coffee.

Patreon does have the advantage of the tiers where you can explain exactly what you offer for each one. Like, I would love to offer copies of my books once they are published to supporters, but Ko-fi doesn’t really have an easy way to do that. However, Patreon has other parts I don’t like, so for now, at least – I’m on Ko-fi.

I’m offering weekly chapters of my current WIP to supporters; a historical romance that is the third in my Howerty series. There will also be sneak peeks for other stories, and maybe some deleted scenes and similar. If anyone has any suggestions for what they’d like to see, I’m all ears!

If you’d like to check out my Ko-fi page, it’s here:

http://ko-fi.com/emilymorgans

Have you ever tried Ko-fi, Patreon or any of those sites? What do you think about them?

The Not-so-Peculiar Life of Emily

My Week in Bullet Points (w19)

A summary of what I’ve been up to the last week in bullet points. Because, why not?

What I’ve done in the past week:

  • Stared at a blank page while it stared back at me. Taunting me.
  • Pulled my hair because the EU Settlement Scheme after Brexit is giving me a headache. How can it not see that I’ve been here over five years? Do I really have to start searching for all these papers? Ugh!
  • Argued with a toddler about whether or not she needs to wear her new glasses.
  • Argued with a toddler about whether or not she should go to preschool.
  • Argued with a toddler about everything else.
  • Went to IKEA and was disappointed when I realised we’re a few days off their restaurant opening (due to lockdown restrictions). No meatballs for this poor, hungry writer.
  • Wrote the first chapter of a Paranormal Romance I shouldn’t be starting because I already have three WIPs and several in the pipeline. Oh, and several to rewrite/edit. So, naturally, I wrote something new. I blame the minor writer’s block. Sometimes starting something completely different helps me. (It did, I’ve since written a chapter for my actual WIP!)
  • Watched the whole first season of Jupiter’s Legacy on Netflix.

What have you been up to lately?

Scribbles

Corresponding with your Characters (2/4)

(A bit of silliness I wrote while having a little writer’s block writing book two of the Howerty series. Part 1 can be found here.)

Dear Writer,

We have become aware as of late that you are not effectively working on the story of Jessica and Jacob, and we feel we must express our concern in this regard. The story is so close to being done, you must only re-write some of the scenes and do revisions and proofreading. We cannot understand what is causing this delay in your efforts. The longer it takes the more difficult it will become, and we are worried about your commitment to our cause.

Also, we would like to make you aware of the discord between ourselves this is creating. You cannot imagine the bickering this is causing about the reasons for your delay. We understand you are busy writing down ideas for other stories, but would very much appreciate your immediate attention to the story at hand, after which you will be able to start the next one. We believe this is a solution that would suit everyone’s needs.

Yours Sincerely,

Lady Jessica Howerty

on behalf of
Nathaniel Howerty, the Marquess of Pensington (who wants Jacob to pay for what he did)
Jacob Hurst, the Earl of Wortham (who wants Nathaniel off his back)
Lady Miranda Howerty (who wants Nick to shut up about getting her story)
Lady Nicola Howerty (who won’t stop talking about getting her story – partly just to annoy Rain)

Behind the Scenes

Mini Introduction

I saw this somewhere and decided to steal it. Because apparently I’m a thief?

1. What I write: Romance all the way! Fantasy Romance, and Historical Romance (Regency). Sometimes I try something different, and I have a contemporary novella.

2. My go-to genre to read/write: Romance in multiple sub-genres, but I also enjoy a good horror or thriller. And some general fiction?

3. Favorite characters: All of them! I try to vary the type I write. My favourites are probably the broody and sarcastic ones though.

4. Happily ever after ending: In my writing, always. But I generally prefer it in most of what I read. There’s enough gloominess in the real world.

5. Plotter or pantser: I’m a plantser? Probably more of a pantser than plotter though.

6. Writing tools: I write mainly in Scrivener these days. Love it!

7. What readers can expect from my stories: Humour, sparks flying and a happily ever after (eventually).

8. Publishing goals: Most likely self-publishing on Amazon. Hopefully, the first book will come out this year!

9. Fave authors: Julia Quinn, Teresa Medeiros, Lisa Kleypas, Torey Hayden, Dean Koontz, Stephen King

10. Writing personality: Not quite disciplined enough… Organised chaos, basically. Like the rest of my life.