The Agony of Choice

I have realised this week how much I love to have people to 'do' for me. We have someone to do the garden it's not very big but I am rubbish at it and someone to decorate the hall - so much woodwork - and when we had to record all the telly we wanted to watch, I often appreciated the video recorder watching it for me too.

One of those services I especially appreciate is choosing. Choosing is one of the most difficult things I do. This is why I need seven bookcases plus various odd bits of shelves for the overflow and a room (ok it's a small one) to house my fabric stash. Tasting menus in restaurants, those what to-have-for-tea recipe cards in Sainsbury's and Nick's Blog break all relieve me of a load of angst.

I even have trouble choosing nail colour in 5 minutes distraction from WIP

However I still have to do some, and I've been doing a lot this week - the words and the order, in which to write them, to finish my WIP draft. I am so near the end of the draft, but not quite (so hope it's not that old 80/20 rule *) but I feel I have something that, one day, will be complete whether or not anyone gets to read it. Some has been easy but much has been agonising. So much of creation is making the right choices. Is there only one set of right choices? There's the angst.  I suppose I've been experiencing some of what Candy talked about in her guest author post How to be an Author on Monday. I know that no-one else could have chosen for me and, a lot like being pregnant,  you no choice, you just have to get on with it, get that story out or creatively die.

Katrina gave us some sound reasons for taking part in the month long novel writing silliness that is Nanowrimo which started on Friday. Having to keep up the 1667 words a day pace means you have no time to agonise over story choices. I so admire the choice Sally's made to get her stories down when to do that she has so many more hurdles to jump than those of us who are not struggling with Dyslexia. One really good choice the case study subjects made in Gill's Network News piece on Thursday was to join SCBWI and go along to a network activity and on Friday John presented some excellent guidelines to help character choices for new picture book illustrators in the third of his Picture Book Basics. Great choices were obviously made by picture book authors Julie Fulton and Alice Hemmings whose new books Tanya celebrated on Saturday.

That was last week.

Next Week... 

  • Sara O' Connor is here with Ask a Publisher
  • Lesley Moss & Rowena House has interviewed Editor & Author Lil Chase on crafting a great book
  • Celia Anderson has some tips on how to get the most out of the conference
  • Network News is from the North East and the news is that Maureen Lynas has permission from Sara Grant to share one of her editing exercises (Sara recently visited the NE Network in York) 
  • And we have a new Featured Illustrator

We 'd love to see you at the conference if you can make it - bookings close Friday 8th November,

Ok, off to finish that draft,

Jan Carr

*That old 80/20 rule is the one which states that 20% of the job takes 80% of the time.

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


  1. Choosing is hard, isn't it? I spent some time at the weekend reordering my DVDs and Blu-rays by certificate, to make it easier for my daughter and me to choose a film. But it just made me realise how many there are to watch! And right now I'm trying to choose the posts for this week's Blog Break and that's really hard too! Maybe the Slush Pile Challenge random selection idea is the way to go...

    1. There's a lot to be said for 'ip dip sky blue…' and I've just realised I can't remember what comes next!


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