Thursday, 9 February 2017

Flexibility - A Guest Post by Emma Davies

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So the New Year is well under way, and like most writerly folk I’ve given some thought to my aspirations and plans for the coming year. But rather than going with an outright resolution, as in I will write 2000 words a day, or I will file all my tax receipts properly, and not just throw them on my desk, I decided I wanted to focus on something a little broader, something that was more a way of being in 2017. And I decided that I wanted to be more flexible…

So, as a writer, what does the word flexibility mean to you? Does it mean that thing you loose after spending far too many hours tapping away at the keyboard? Is it the thing you have to be when your editor says we really love it, but… and you say of course I’ll rewrite it from a completely different character’s point of view, and then you do it whilst editing another book entirely, making the dinner, repainting the bathroom and practising the hoola hoop… or is flexibility another thing entirely?

I had cause to ponder this very thing recently, when the hellish year that was 2016 drew to a close and I was presented with the relatively blank canvas that is 2017. You see just over a year ago, I signed my first publishing contract for two books, the second of which, Turn Towards The Sun is due out on February the 9th… which will bring my current contract to a close. Of course there are things in the pipeline, but for the first couple of months of this year, until the details are worked out, there are no deadlines in place, or certainties to mark in my diary. But what there is, apart from my expectations, is a whole heap of possibilities.

You see, among the calamitous events of 2016, just before Christmas another thing happened. Of course, just at the moment, I’m not able to tell you what the thing is, but suffice to say that it could very well bring opportunities for 2017 that a few months ago I wasn’t even planning for. And then I realised that if I am really going to benefit from these possibilities, what I need most is to be flexible…

When I first started to write, I knew instinctively the kind of books that were going to flow across my pages, and by and large that’s exactly what happened. No bad thing as it happens, and indeed there is every argument for keeping the status quo, it does after all pay the bills. But now there exists a little temptation, some bright shiny new possibilities, and if I continue to think that I can only write a particular type of book, or publish them a certain way, there’s a good chance that I might miss out… so I’m flexing my fingers … I’m learning to be flexible, because it’s a changing market out there, a hugely competitive one, and if I’m going to make the most of my career and every opportunity I can, I need to be nimble. I need to be flexible over what I write and how I write, because apart from the things I expect to happen, if those opportunities really do come my way, I’d like to be ready, I’d like to have a little something up my sleeve just in case. It will mean dipping my toe outside of my comfort zone, trusting my instincts, and testing my limits, but I’m going to have enormous fun doing it.

So flexibility is definitely going to be my watchword for 2017, what’s yours?

About the author

Before we go any further there are two things you need to know: One - I love singing loudly in the car, and Two - I have a passion for Pringles. If you're happy with both these things then please feel free to read on .... 

Once upon a time I worked in a design agency where I was asked to write an amusing caption to go beside my details on their website. I wrote 'I am a bestselling novelist currently masquerading as a thirty something mother of three.' Well I'm now a forty something mother of three and am currently working on the rest. I'm a member of The Romantic Novelists' Association, and live with my husband, three children, and two guinea pigs in rural Shropshire. I write during the gaps in between real life.


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