Head Spaces & Time Shares

I’m away again, Paris one week and SCBWI Writers' retreat at Dunford House the next - what a gadabout I am! This weekend I'm planning on making headway with my latest story. It’s been a tricky one to find in the first place. There were so many possibilities. I originally planned to have it finished in February, before all the wonderful hullaballoo that is Words & Pictures but I didn’t have enough headspace.

I pride myself on the ability to multi-task, which is second only to a teenager on the Internet. So in January, when Candy asserted that multitasking and novel writing don’t go I said ‘yeah, yeah, yeah I’ve done it before I can do again. I write best when I’m busiest.’

Enough room to stretch out, or too many cushions?
But she was right; novels need space and freedom to stretch out on the sofa of your imagination. To feel at home without the risk of another rhino sized project squishing them up in the corner or worse plonking themselves on top.

The solution I hope, is timesharing. Many thought full activities do have a right to my head space, but not at the same time. Timeshares work if the timesharers respect the others’ allotted time - if the last lot don’t keep nipping back to look for a lost sock and the next lot don't arrive a week early. So as you read this, I'm 'retreating' with other SCBWI writers, determined to nurture my delicate bloom of a story. The WIP has the run of my head for the next few days.

A bloom is easily crushed
Last week we had some killer first lines from Alex English, great tips on how to do represent dialect from KM Lockwood, brilliant agent insight from Gemma Cooper and Molly Ker Hawn, best of the blogs from Nick and news from Central West.

Plus, although it's Thursday for me, I have that editory timey wimey gift of being able to look into my future, but your past, and see the fabulous report from Bridget and Anne Marie on the launch of Flying Eye Books and some talented SCWBIs, including Words & Pictures' own John Shelley, celebrating on Saturday!

Next week, with all the usuals we have:
  • Celia Anderson on competitions and why they're a good idea
  • A guest blog from Undiscovered Voices' very own Sara Grant
  • A report on the Highlights Foundation from SCBWI BI Illustration Coordinator, Anne-Marie Perks
I hope you're having a lovely weekend. I'm sure I will be.
Jan Carr

Jan Carr is the editor of Words & Pictures. Her fiction is older middle grade, she blogs occasionally and loves to write in magenta.


  1. I did have a lovely weekend, Jan. And was so thrilled to hear your moving piece on Sunday night.
    Totally blown away by what's been happening on Words and Pictures while we've been away. Three Cheers for Captain Jan for steering a steady ship even in absentia.
    By the way for anyone who was NOT on the retreat, the quality of the writing read out in pyjamas and tiaras on Sunday night was totally amazing. Diverse, original, funny and heartstopping. If any of those pieces end up in Undiscovered Voices, then it's going to be an amazing competition this year.

  2. Replies
    1. Lovely piece, Jan! Twas great to see you (and hear your brilliant writing) at the retreat!

    2. Always a joy to see you, Candy!


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