#Writinganovel : Getting Started

It’s almost two years now since I published ‘The Black Hours’. A year and a half since ‘Blackwater’. Since then I’ve carried on with my freelance writing, worked with my husband with his communications consultancy, developed and expanded a successful editing business and judged a playwriting competition.

Not bad you might think. And this is only my work life. I’ve also got two children through GCSE’s and A levels, waved one off to Uni and another to college, got a new puppy and undertaken several home improvement projects.

Now I’m really not blowing my own trumpet here – I’m actually honestly frustrated with myself for what I’ve failed to achieve in those two years. I’ve hardly written a word of fiction. I started a second full length novel and abandoned it. It just didn’t feel right. I then went back to an idea that had been buzzing round my head for a fair few years. It’s a story I know I want to write. It’s also a story that’s going to take a lot of research, based as it is on the life of 19th Century French Painter Eugene Delacroix and this rather wonderful painting:


So, how is this new novel progressing? Well, it isn’t. I keep making excuses. Yes, there’s lots of research. And I have started on that research. But it’s slow, slow going. Not a single word of actual novel have I written.

I’m very busy. I’m incredibly busy. But so are other people. Other people have jobs, or businesses. Other people have husbands and children and dogs and stuff. And they manage. Some manage to write prolifically.

There is no excuse.

I just need to get off my arse.

procrastinate 2

So, I have a whole new determination to get going. And hopefully by getting this out there, on my blog for all to see, I shall actually do it. I’ve made plans to write a blog post about how I’m doing or about some aspect of research or the story behind the novel once a fortnight. I’m a bit anally retentive about schedules, so now I’ll have to stick to it.

I know what I have to do. I have to turn off Facebook. I have to stop reading the Guardian website every morning and getting angry about the comments sections. I have to stop stalking Johnny Marr on Twitter. I have to stop thinking – ‘One more coffee and I’ll get going’. In short, I need to take my own advice from this blog post.

It’s all this man’s fault:

Eugene Delacroix

Eugene Delacroix

And his:


Johnny Marr and stalker

And yes, that is me looking inordinately pleased with myself!

Any tips on how to motivate myself a bit more?


  1. Hey Alison, I’m going to help you get started! Have you Googled “The Death of Sardanapalus”. There is a video about the painting which explains it very nicely. When I first looked at the painting it looked like a big mess with all the bodies and violence. It makes me wonder if the Assyrian king at the top is a portrait of someone Delacroix wanted to get even with for some wrongdoing. How else could he have spent years painting this huge depressing painting. That’s my take on it—what’s yours? Elizabeth Calwell from North Carolina, USA.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Elizabeth – I’ll have a look for the video. The painting certainly caused a great deal of controversy – the government (who successful artists needed to sell to) refused to buy it and Delacroix was slated. But that’s what I love about it – he completely ignored all the rules and conventions and painted in the way he wanted to. My kind of artist 🙂


  2. Only just found this, Alison, re our conversations of the weekend. All I can do is echo the first comment. Facebook is rubbish and a timewaster, and as for getting angry about Guardian comments – I know that so well!!! But if you just don’t look…

    I know I have far more free time than you, but it really is just a matter of stopping doing the other things and writing instead!!! Something I’m currently having to tell myself, too… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I can really not offer any suggestions. I know Facebook and Twitter are rubbish, but I have another problem, almost bigger than FB and Twitter – my family. I can’t start even think about writing until everyone fell asleep. You might know how that looks like.
    But to be honest I don’t care if I don’t write every day. That’s is one of the reasons – perhaps even the main one – why I don’t do NaNoWriMo.
    When you feel like writing, sit down and write, if you don’t – don’t push yourself. That’s my only sensible advice.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I have decided to do NaNoWriMo this year………again. I lasted 2 days last year. I’ve wanted to be a writer for as long as I can remember and have contributed to a couple of things but I need to write that book thats been in my head………..there’s at least another 4 buzzing around there too. But, like you I can never find the time. I find some excuse. And I do a really weird thing………..I keep giving myself extra stuff to do, except write! I think I am subconsciously sabotaging myself! Fear of failure! Eeeek! Good luck. Great blog post. x

    Liked by 1 person

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