When can you call yourself a writer??

2000

I’ve often heard it said at writing conferences that if you write you are a writer. However I have never held with that view. I’ve always thought that I could only call myself a writer if I was being paid to do it. I mean I would love to call myself a model but no one is offering me cash to see me strut up and down the landing in my finery so I don’t see why I should be allowed that label!

I do however like the view put forward by two writers, Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Kate Tempest in this article for the Guardian, especially as I lurch desperately towards the end of my first draft of my latest novel. It’s all about finishing.  So enough of this putting off finishing by posting an extract about finishing and I’ll go back to being a writer and try and finish! Full article is attached in a link at the end. 

PWB Can I ask you, Kate, writer to writer: do you ever write something and go, “Smashed it, that’s brilliant, I’m keeping that, that’s amazing.” Does it get to the point where you can step back and go, “That’s a really good piece of writing” or, “That’s not such a good piece of writing.” Or do you just write it all down and not think of it critically?

KT It’s not like, “Wooh, I’m smashing this” but sometimes everything else disappears, and that happens very rarely. The rest of the time, it’s you writing when you don’t feel like writing, writing when you hate everything that’s coming out, forcing yourself to engage with the idea that it’s going to be shit no matter what you do, and trying to kind of break through that because of a deadline, or because you know that it’s very important to continue. This is what enables you to be a writer.

The difference between a writer and someone who dreams of being a writer is that the writer has finished. You’ve gone through the agony of taking an idea that is perfect – it’s soaring, it comes from this other place – then you’ve had to summon it down and process it through your shit brain. It’s coming out of your shit hands and you’ve ruined it completely. The finished thing is never going to be anywhere near as perfect as the idea, of course, because if it was, why would you ever do anything else? And then you have another idea. And then these finished things are like stepping stones towards being able to find your voice.

The thing is, everybody’s got an idea. Everybody wants to tell me about their ideas. Everybody is very quick to look down on your finished things, because of their great ideas. But until you finish something, I’ve got no time to have that discussion. Because living through that agony is what gives you the humility to understand what writing is about.

 

Read the full article here: https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2016/nov/26/phoebe-waller-bridge-kate-tempest-conversation-fleabag

When going to the cinema is research…not bunking off!

trainspotting2poster

So 10am yesterday morning finds me in a the cinema waiting for T2 Trainspotting to start. There’s me and a cool looking couple in their forties and a man in a mac. There’s always a man in a mac alone in the cinema  isn’t there? I’d convinced myself that I was there for research purposes. The themes in my current work-in-progress are also covered in the much anticipated sequel. Getting older, nostalgia, regret, screwing it up and friendship. But really I was just desperate to see it. To say I’d seen it is probably more accurate. I’ve thought long and hard afterwards about why it felt so good to see the ultimate losers of Renton, Sickboy, Spud and Begby again. It was my ten year old son who gave me the answer. I played Born Slippy by  Underworld to him, the highly recognisable theme tune from the original film. I was amazed he didn’t love it. “How can you not love it? I demanded. “This was the biggest song on the planet twenty years ago.” “Exactly,” he shrugged.  And that was when I realised that what all us forty somethings are really  excited about is the fact that Trainspotting  reminds us that we were cool once. Twenty years ago, we were at the cutting edge of a cultural phenomena – we were it – the generation that discovered and celebrated something new and different and shocking and brilliant. And no-one, not even a ten year old can take that away from me in my middle-age. So I will go and see the sequel and pretend I’m cool again and pretend it’s research for my latest novel and tell everyone that’s what I’ve have done.

What authors do to avoid writing…

So I’m at a really tricky bit in my latest novel. I’ve been here before and I know the only answer is to crack on and write through it. Don’t over think it just write and the answer will appear. Instead of following my own advice however I will typically  find anything possible to avoid the pain of sitting and staring at a screen when the words aren’t flowing. Today’s attractive distraction so far is this. img_1920

I am choosing to try and mend the dishwasher which hasn’t drained rather than trying to work out my protagonists husbands motivation in chapter 25!

Now I have walked away from the dishwasher and chosen to write about mending the dishwasher rather than work out my protagonists husbands motivation in chapter 25!

My prediction on how my day will go….I don’t see me solving either by the end of the day.

Hello – It’s me!

I know, I know, I haven’t written anything here for a while but in the interests of starting 2017 as I mean to go on, I have vowed to share more with those willing listen. So thank you if you are reading this. I will do my best to provide some nougats of entertainment and information.

2017 finds me half way through writing my sixth novel!!  Wowser – how did that happen?So today I have decided to share what I’ve learnt having written five and a half books.

  1. That the bit you thought was hilarious, no-one seems to notice, but something you thought wasn’t that funny, cracks people up. Comedy is weird, weird thing.
  2. Most 60+ yr old men I meet think I write erotic novels and make jokes about sex and Tuesdays. I will write the book they think I wrote one day!
  3. Nothing beats the thrill of receiving your book published in Serbia covered in pictures of bonking rabbits?
  4. The people who ask me how to get a book published but haven’t actually written anything yet, I know will never be published.
  5. A huge amount of television needs to be watched for research purposes.
  6. Social media is the time enemy of all writers but without it we’d be lonely during the day and would eat more biscuits. Facebook is my current diet of choice.
  7. Writers are the only workers on the planet who wish they could attend more meetings. Just let me talk please!
  8. Writing can make you so happy and full of joy when it’s going right and so cross and wretched when it isn’t, but you know it’s worth it in the end.  A bit like marriage really!

I will end on a wine and book  recommendation since I have just been  on a trip to New Zealand and consumed much of both! My favourite novel was an oldie from Jojo Moyes, called The Last Letter From Your Lover. An absolute classic love story but with some superb twists. I couldn’t put it down. And this was drunk by this view. Both divine.

Back soon – Tracy x

 

 

Exciting New release: NO-ONE EVER HAS SEX IN THE SUBURBS

Hi Everyone – here’s some news on my new book which I thought I’d try to deliver to you in person…sort of.

NO-ONE EVER HAS SEX IN THE SUBURBS  is the sequel to NO-ONE EVER HAS SEX ON A TUESDAY but don’t worry if you haven’t read that one as no previous experience is necessary. It has been an utter joy to go back to characters I already know and love especially Daniel and Braindead! Somehow they wrote themselves which is something I’ve never experienced before as a writer. Both of their unique senses of humour came flooding back which I hope will ensure you find some laugh-out-loud moments.

You can pre-order for just £1.99 now if you like then it should land with you on the 23rd June. I’m very keen to hear what you think of it so don’t forget to get in touch and let me know or leave a review.

Have a great weekend.

Tracy xx

WORLD PREMIERE OF TROLL DESTRUCTION TRAILER

I’m a 44yr old mother of two and last week I spent two days on my hands and knees destroying toy trolls. It was brilliant!!! My children think I’m off my rocker which has to be code for “you are the coolest dude on the planet”….right? My mother did express concern when I announced I’d broken the blender because the the trolls were too hard but then calmly suggested I put them in the oven to soften them up a bit. She knows some stuff my mum. However, having admitted to the destruction of one kitchen implement my sister-in law was reticent to lend me her “cooks blowtorch thingy” that she finishes an excellent creme brûlée with. To her credit though when I explained that I would be flambéing a green haired troll she handed it over readily.

So here it is. Many trolls were lost during the creation of the trailer for the paperback launch of SINGLE WOMAN SEEKS REVENGE this Thursday. There was no risk assessment however I’m pleased to report that myself and the awesome Swainson Productions were not injured during filming. We were just left with grassy knees and aching bellies from laughing so much!

Hope you like it.

I WILL MARRY GEORGE CLOONEY

I Will marry George ClooneyWhat I’m struggling to get my head round this morning is that nearly three years ago I came up with the idea of writing a book called I WILL MARRY GEORGE CLOONEY about a chicken factory worker whose life is in tatters so she decides to try and achieve the impossible and marry George Clooney. Then 12 days….yes just 12 days before my novel is due to be released he only goes and gets married!!

The book was all done and dusted before he announced his engagement in April. My son informed me of George’s change of status sending me into a slight frenzy. Crisis talks were held between Derby and my publisher in London as we tried to decipher the impact of this shocking news. But then we calmed down. George Clooney is still George Clooney, irreplaceable as our modern day Prince Charming. The man most women fantasise will come and rescue them when the going gets tough. So what if he’s married!

So if you want to see how Michelle from Derby approaches the task of trying to marry George Clooney you can read an extract on the front page of my website. If you want to find out whether she manages it you can pre-order on Amazon or it will be in stores from the 9th October.

READ EXTRACT 

PRE-ORDER

Tracy xx (keeping the dream alive!)

 

Come on down ….. Jon Rance

So I’m a bit scared because I’ve never done this before. For the very first time I’m hosting another writer on my site and if you are reading this then maybe I’m not a muppet and I’ve actually managed to make it happen.

So welcome, welcome, welcome Jon Rance who write’s funny and honest stuff just like me and who is brave enough to be my first……!

 

NEW AUTHOR PHOTO

Hello Tracy Bloom fans and a HUGE thank you to Tracy for hosting what is the sixteenth and penultimate stop on my ‘This Family Life Blog Tour’. If you missed the last blog you can see it here http://23reviewstreet.blogspot.co.uk/

In this blog I want to talk about the importance of a good ending. I’ve always thought that the beginnings and endings of books were the most important. The beginning because you have to grab people, make them want to read on, and the ending because it’s what you leave them with. You need both to make a great novel – and obviously you need to have an exciting novel in-between too – but a brilliant opening and a good ending are essential. There’s no point having the best opening, but with a disappointing, flat ending because no matter how great the opening, people will only remember the ending. Endings are very important.

‘This Family Life’ is very much a diary of an ordinary couple trying their best to survive the first year of parenthood. Writing a diary style novel is very different than writing a normal novel. I spoke about this in a previous blog, but writing in the diary format lends itself perfectly to comedy and also the day-to-day reflections on life, but what’s difficult is turning this diary into a big story. Keeping the overall plot developing while making it read like a real diary is very tricky and this definitely impacts on the ending.

Obviously, I’m not going to tell you the ending – that would be like a magician telling you how he does a trick before performing it – but I love the ending of ‘This Family Life’. Endings came be very different, and have very different impacts on the rest of the book. You can have a dramatic ending, a funny ending, a sad one, a happy one, but what I think is important is that the ending fits in perfectly with the rest of the book, and I think the ending I chose did that.

I suppose the thing about my ‘This Life’ books (This Twentysomething Life, This Thirtysomething Life, and This Family Life) is that they’re snippets of life. There isn’t an ending because you know that after you’ve stopped reading that life goes on – just like real life. So I had to find an ending that fit in with this idea and what I wanted to leave you with was a feeling. A feeling of happiness that the characters had been through a difficult, funny, heartwarming, and incredible year, but that it was obvious that a lot more was still to come. The ending is hopefully funny sweet, and like the rest of the book, a moment that other parents will be able to relate to. As I said, I can’t reveal the ending, so I’ve chosen an excerpt to include from another part of the book. In this short excerpt Harry learns that his wife is going away for the night and leaving him alone with their baby for the first time – a truly terrifying thing for any new parent!

Sunday 3 February 7.30 p.m.

William asleep. Watching TV with Emily. Starving and busting for a cigarette.

Tonight Emily announced she’s going away next weekend with Stella from Kingston-upon-Thames. They’re going to a spa in Oxford which means I have William by myself for the whole weekend. Emily tried to make it seem not so bad by telling me that technically, it’s just one night, but I’m terrified because it’s the first time I’ll be alone with him overnight. Already the cogs of panic are beginning to turn and crank out their irrational nuggets of fear. It doesn’t matter that they’re only an hour away or that Emily will have her phone, and the iPad, and I have the number for the spa, because what if something goes wrong? What if he needs something I can’t or don’t know how to provide? What if he starts crying and doesn’t stop? It sounds crazy, but sometimes William scares the living crap out of me.

 

BeFunky_NEW-JACKET-FOR-AMAZON.jpg

Synopsis

Things that might happen during your first year of parenthood:

1. You’ll get covered in a ‘nuclear’ poo.

2. You’ll be convinced your son is talking with a Japanese accent.

3. You’ll worry that when your son waves, it looks like a Nazi salute.

Of course, this might just be Harry Spencer.

Taking up where This Thirtysomething Life left off, Harry Spencer and is wife Emily are back and trying to survive their first year of parenthood. It has its ups and downs (and a few bits in the middle), but along the way they begin to understand the true meaning of family and what it takes to be a parent.

Featuring a hilarious cast of extras including Harry’s father-in-law Derek, who has a unique problem with Scotch, Steve and Fiona, the parents from children’s entertainment hell, and a yoga instructor with a prominent camel-toe, This Family Life is the ultimate comedy for anyone who is a parent, has a parent, or is thinking about becoming one.

THANK YOU JON – Will definitely be taking a look at this as it all sounds very familiar! This Family Life is currently available on Amazon for just 99p.

HANDBAGS, GLADRAGS & FORWARD ROLLS

Photo on 19-02-2014 at 11.26 #5I’m overjoyed to share with you that this writing malarkey finally presented me with a serious retail challenge. My agent called to tell me that a publisher was interested in meeting me. And not just any old publisher at that, a biggie. See if you can guess which one from my cryptic clue. Antarctic bird lives in pink igloo! Read on to see if you’re right.

My immediate reaction was yippee – at last an excuse to buy something to wear, given my life as a mum/writer has depressingly little requirement for purchasing clothes to impress. Such was my excitement I drove straight past my adjacent city and headed a good forty minutes further to an even bigger city and trawled the shops whilst trendy young sales assistants sneered at my audacity to enter their establishments in an …anorak!

New outfit, handbag and crucially a new notebook purchased, I felt prepared to face the big guns in London. Requesting last minute advice from my son at school drop off on the way to the station, he advised four forward rolls followed by a bit of ‘Strictly’. Now I was knew I was armed and quite possibly dangerous.

On arrival at Penguin Random House (did you get it?) I struggled to suppress my excitement at the sight of a large bronze plaque on the building which had the words Random House on it. In totally over excited mode, I found this hysterically funny that we were visiting … a random house! I considered sharing this hilarity with my agent but she already had her serious face on so I decided I should pull myself together.

Sadly the room we had our meeting in was far too small for forward rolls and so I sat down politely, got out my new red notebook (Random House colours. Do you see what I did there?) and declined biscuits. I know! How professional can you get? And they were chocolate chip.

An hour or so later I left completely drained. The other members of the meeting bore the brunt of the fact that I spend most of my days in solitary confinement shouting the occasional swear word at my computer. The opportunity for prolonged adult conversation left me with a severe case of verbal diarrhoea as I explained my publishing journey in minute detail.

However I’m glad to say there must have been some glimmers of intelligence that shone through as not long afterwards they offered me a four-book deal, which I couldn’t be more excited about.

So I’m just left with thinking that I maybe could have got away with having a biscuit after all!