Wednesday, 17 September 2008

My Writing Life - By Lynn Huggins-Cooper

I love my writing life. Friends say to me they don’t know how I can bear it. They think I must get lonely. A house in the middle of a field, staying home all day in my study, scribbling away...but I love it. It’s not that I don’t like people – I just like silence. When I enter the internal world of my current story, I don’t take kindly to interruptions. Other writers recognise this. Of course, that doesn’t mean I don’t manage to find a million-and-one other things to do instead of write when I am in procrastination mode. Filling the bird table becomes imperative. Jam making eats up a whole day with its sumptuous smells and sticky surfaces. Then there’s my craft room calling to me, because I have that new silver clay to work with...and all that’s as well as the usual smallholder tasks of animal husbandry, DIY and digging. Oh yes, and the family to be taken care of.

I do see friends, but they are (fortunately) used to me disappearing for weeks on end when I have a work in progress. That’s where my virtual friends kick in! Now, I don’t mean I am addicted to The Sims or Petz – I mean the people I am connected to on the Net. I belong to several online writing groups, and they are a mine of information and advice. They listen when I cheer and when I moan, and support me when I’m feeling flat. I do reciprocate, of course! Now, without my virtual friends, I would be lost. They are writers too, and they understand the things I feel. They are unerringly generous with help and advice and keep me going when things are tough and the editors bite. About a week ago, I took the plunge and went to a lunch with some of my online friends (some on this very blog!) and had a wonderful time! This could get addictive...

Now, it’s not just lunch that pries me out of the house. By a strange quirk of fate and the vagaries of the publishing world, I have three new books coming out in the next couple of months. That means a couple of parties, lots of events in schools and libraries, at an appearance at the wonderful Northern Children’s Book Festival ( It’s like a totally different life. For a few weeks there are interviews and events and I have to smile a lot and actually dress in nice clothes (most of my wardrobe is muddy and covered in ahem, varying types of manure). Here’s a weird frenzy and then it all goes quiet again and I’m alone in the study. The two different facets of my writing life complement each other – and I wouldn’t have it any other way!

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