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28 February 2012

Tuesday Tea with Naomi Clark ~ Finding Focus ( #SO @naomi_jay @evernightpub )

Hi all! Grab a cup of tea – or whatever it is you like to drink – and join in the discussion. Today we have Naomi Clark giving us a look into her writing process. Welcome Naomi!

I was about thirteen when I first got serious about novel-writing (as opposed to short stories and poetry, which I had been writing), I was the most disciplined writer you can imagine. I had a thick notebook that I took everywhere with me and every free second I had was spent working on my epic fantasy novel. Lunch breaks at school, on the bus, in bed at night...I was a fiend. And I was single-minded. I worked on that novel and nothing else. No poems, no short stories. Just that novel. I wasn't going to be distracted until it was finished.
    Some fifteen years later I'm a published author (although that fantasy novel is long buried and best forgotten!). So you'd think I'd be even more disciplined and focused than I was when I first started. And yet somehow, I've gone from focused to scatty. I'm usually working on at least two projects, sometimes more, as well as various freelance editing assignments. So how does that work?
    I think the answer is, when I was thirteen and scribbling away in my notepad way past my bedtime, I was afraid. I was afraid I'd never finish anything so big as an actual novel, and I was afraid I'd never be able to write anything else after that, that all I had was this one idea. Now I know I can finish an entire novel and – if I'm lucky – have other people read it. I know I've got more ideas than I'll ever have time for, and I want to write every single one of them! That makes it nearly impossible for me to stick with just one project at a time. I want to explore my imagination to the limits and every new idea demands my time immediately.
    Of course, you can't afford to be completely unfocused if you want to finish a novel, so I've learned to corral my enthusiasm somewhat. My week nights are usually spent on whichever project is calling me the loudest, whereas my weekends are dedicated to editing. I set myself a minimum daily word count each day and a minimum number of hours for editing. If I hit those goals I can reward myself by working on whatever takes my fancy. It's taken a while to get the rhythm right – I've started and abandoned so many projects that seemed like the most amazing idea ever at the time – but it's been worth working at. I've had to learn which ideas are actually worth turning into a full novel.
    Working this way, I've managed to find a balance between the single-minded determination of my teenage self (which meant I was disciplined but also terrified to try anything new) and the more fancy-free self I was a few years ago (which meant I was trying everything and finishing nothing). Every writer's way of working is totally individual and you'll never find the right method for you if you don't experiment!

Her book Shadow Cursed is available at Evernight Publishing! Click ---> Blurb/Excerpt/Purchase <--- for info!

Author bio:
Naomi Clark lives in Cambridge and is a mild-mannered office worker by day, but a slightly crazed writer by night. She has a perfectly healthy obsession with giant sea creatures and a preference for vodka-based cocktails. When she's not writing, Naomi is probably either reading or watching 80s cartoon shows, and sometimes she manages to do all three at once.

***Find Naomi here***
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