I’m not one for making New Year’s resolutions because, as everyone knows, they famously never stand for more than a couple of days. I am, however, consciously determined to be more organised from now on. We’re ten days into the year and so far it’s going well – Hey! it’s a start. All of my paperwork, barring the imminent tax return, is done and up to date, as is my diary and calendar. I have a few writing deadlines stretching out before me but there are no worries there as everything is coming along nicely.
I love writing and being a writer and can’t think
of anything I would rather do. I love being able to work from home creating
stories, poems and rhymes. I love seeing rough illustrations and final artwork
and the way it all comes together as a finished book. I love visiting schools
and libraries to share stories and to work with children on their own writing.
Making a living at this writing business can be tricky though - there’s lots of
things that need to be balanced in order to make it work. In terms of the work
itself I need to balance writing and school visits – both essential to me if I
want to make some sort of living and avoid the need to “get a proper job”. It
can be tempting to fill the diary with school and library work to bring in some
money but that means there’s not much time left for the writing.
moment I’m working on a little series of short, non-fiction books. The first
couple of books have been written, a draft of the third is almost ready to send
off, research is underway for the fourth, the contract has been signed and part
payment will be coming soon. It’s all exciting stuff and very comforting
knowing that I’m actually getting paid for the work I’m doing as opposed to the
more usual ‘writing and hoping’. I’m really enjoying writing the books and
doing the research for them but I’m also very conscious of a problem. A problem that can be summed up with one word
– procrastination. I am very aware that
I have a inclination to procrastinate,
or monkey around doing things that could, and invariably should, be done later
– emails, tweets, website tweaks, sorting out my sock drawer and just about
anything else. Hence the determination to be more organised, focused, and on
Before undertaking this non-fiction project I was
working on a couple of picture books and a novel for older readers. The novel
was coming along nicely but I had to set it to one side so I could concentrate
on meeting the deadlines for the non-fiction texts. At first I worried that the
novel might wither and die without me there to nurture it, but that concern has
all but gone… The characters are flitting around in my head like butterflies
trapped in a jar. The problem is that they’ve been joined by other fluttering
ideas too – some bright and exciting, and all vying for my immediate attention.
For now though I’m placating them all by jotting down notes and I’m
determinedly avoiding the urge to take the lid of the jar and go chasing after
every idea that catches my interest – another picture book, a pop-up book, a
book of poems, a young reader book and lots more. Sadly, I know only too well
what will happen if I succumb to the temptation of these enticing creatures –
lots of unfinished stories, nothing to show for it and the ever frightening
need to ‘get a proper job’.
resolutions from me this year – just a little focus.
can be found procrastinating on twitter @damianjharvey
latest book (an OUP Treetops Chuckler)
Smelly Socks and Terrible Tangles comes