Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Getting a life

One of the questions I'm often - no - one of the questions I'm always asked is the 'Where do you get your ideas from?' one.

Where do I get my ideas from? I dunno.

Usually I answer with something like 'Ideas are everywhere- all around, newspapers, magazines - TV - you know LIFE.' (I once tried to persuade my accountant that living/life was a viable expense for a novelist because it was after all research - where else did I get information from, experience relationships, learn about clothes, travel . . . Sadly, he wasn't having any of it.

But I'd still say that really life is research for a writer.

One of the most valuable lessons in being a writer was given to a friend of mine a long long time ago. With her first acceptance under her belt, her then editor asked her when she could expect the next book. Well, my friend said, if she missed her tennis club . . .. No, the editor said. You must go to the tennis clunb - do the other things you usually do - a writer needs to do more than write. You have to have a life to give you things to write about. (See Mr Accountant?)

It's true. A writer needs a life. And not just a working life. Because th writing isn't just what a writer does. At least it hasn't been this past year. Don't get me wrong - it's been a wonderful year - but it's been hectic and exhausting. The M&B centenary meant that the demands on authors for publicity, workshops, interviews have been huge. I've actually lost count of how many places I've been, talks or interviews I've given, people I've met. I'll count it all up soon when I put the details into my expenses for that accountant.

And while I've been doing that I've been writing as well - of course.

As you know, I've been busy with revisions. I got them done. Sent them back - then, still with fingers tightly crossed, I contemplated what I needed to do next. Of course one of the things was that I needed a new idea for a book. I didn't have one. I also had to catch up on the ordinary everyday things that get pushed to the side in the pressure of dreadlines, workshops, revsions . . . Things like connecting with the family, cleaning and organising my office (Still haven't done that - the visitors this weekend will have to wade through the piles of papers, but then they're used to that - they're writers too!) And someone started a nasty rumour that Christmas will be on 25th December and no one told me!

And I hadn't sat down, relaxed and read - really read for enjoyment in a l-o-n-g time. Writers should read to 'fill up the well' and feed their imagination.

If I wasn't going to feel like my brain had blown a fuse, something had to give. So that's where I've been. I've not been blogging, not been joining in on anything much on the internet. To be honest, I didn't have any ideas for a blog post anyway. Just for a while all my words seemed to have been written out and I couldn't find any more of them. So if you're one of the people I owe a message to - I apologise and I'll get to it soon.

And how have I spent my well-filling days? Sleeping a lot,doing really exciting things like the laundry and cleaning rooms ready for visitors, reading (not enough but enough to remind me how much I need it). Pottering. Wandering round shops thinking that maybe I should be thinking about Christmas.

And watching a couple of great dramas. Re-watching in one case. So there was the Life on Mars back to back orgy. Wonderful. My heartfelt thanks to The Offspring who loaned me the full set of DVDs

And then there's Spooks - now with added extra 'research' in the form of Richard Armitage as Lucas North. It's a tough job but someone has to do it.

And finally - with heartfelt thanks to Anne McAllister who brought the DVD of the complete first series with her on her recent visit - Life . I know it's now running on ITV 3 but thanks to Anne I can watch the whole series back to back and not have to wait till next week. Plus, I get to see the wonderful Damian Lewis over and over . . .
See - I told you it was all research.

So that's what I've been doing. I've been away filling up the well. Doing research. Getting a life. Interesting that two of the dramas I've been glomming have got 'LIFE' in the title - there's a message there.

I'm still not quite sure who my next hero will be. But at least I feel more as if there will be a next hero - an next idea. The dark intensity of Lucas North in Spooks will probably influence my thoughts there somewhere. As will the outward mask hiding the effects of the past of Charlie Crews in Life.

And Life on Mars? Gene Hunt as the Alpha Male anyone? (I'm talking about the original and brilliant UK version of this wonderful show - sorry, not the USA one. That's Philip Glenister not Harvey Keitel)

Actually, there's a lot of food for thought in that one - and I'll probably come back to it. But at least I am thinking . . .


Rachel said...

Good for you, Kate!

Lets hope you can get a little bit more reading in before things get hectic again.

I had a very nice spot of inspiration this morning in Tesco's of all places. An extremely tall and handsome Bulgarian was washing cars. Not quite a Presents hero I suppose (But then again what if..!) but I do wish someone would 'do'an eastern European hero.


Lots of love,


Michelle Styles said...

Yes, Philip Glenister in Life on Mars is an alpha hero. I used him for VWUW. Wonderfully inspiring uber alpha.

Donna Alward said...


Life is one of only TWO shows that I watch regularly. I LOVE IT. I love Charlie Crews. He's not quite as quirky in the second season on now but still has his penchant for fruit. And that wonderful wit.

Damian Lewis is FANTASTIC no matter what, and I don't even miss his accent as I cut my teeth on his acting in Band of Brothers.

FAB show.

And I'm glad you blogged. Paula Eykelhof told me once after she'd asked me what I do when I'm not writing that balance for a writer is key, so we have that well to draw upon. Hugs to you and hope you have a wonderful weekend with friends.

Nature Nut /JJ Loch said...

Wild wave and lots of {{{HUGS!!!}}}, Kate. It's time for me to catch up with your beautiful books. I've been going through a metamorphosis but always am think of you. There has been so much to learn in the last few months. My career is going well. :D

I have a doozy of an alpha hero on my blog in my last post. Can I beg you to take him off my hands? This guy needs to loosen up. :D

Love, Nancy/JJ


Home Bio Books USA Readers Writers Contests Events Blog Links

Join Kate's Newsletter

Email Kate

Modified and Maintained by HR Web Concepts