Monday, 16 February 2009


Apologies to those of you who lovely people who commented or contacted me personally to say they really liked my idea of doing online one-to-one tuition: I'm afraid it's not going to happen, or at least not in the foreseeable future. I was going to do it, really: I spent the weekend planning it, creating a new blog to give you all the info, working everything out in huge detail. The blog was all ready to go live. Just needed to click a button, though first I was going to ask lovely Jane Smith of How Publishing Really Works to say what she thought. While I was doing it, I admit that a major part of me was screaming NO! You see, although I love teaching and would have enjoyed so many aspects of this idea, I have a habit of doing too much, spending too long at my computer and not enough time getting a life, and I know that I am supposed to be writing books, doing talks, and all the other paraphernalia of being an author (including this blog, which I really enjoy doing), all of which would be enough even if I didn't have a husband, dog and occasionally two daughters. Not to mention the chocolate habit.

But I wanted to do it, and I'm an idiot, so I was ploughing on. Then, yesterday evening, my husband and I were going to the cinema, just about to leave the house, when the phone rang. It was a friend to say that a good friend of ours had died. Just like that. Out of the so-called blue.

I don't believe in signs, but I do believe in listening to yourself. And my first rational and coherent thought was a cliché: life's too short. Then another one: you only get one life. And finally a line from my favourite film, The Life of Brian: "Life's a piece of shit, when you look at it."

But life isn't a piece of shit - life's good, mostly. Life is for living and loving and so I'm going to live it and love it, and that means making time for myself, family and friends, chocolate, novels, the best words I can produce in the best order I can design. And that means no new and possibly exhausting projects like an on-line writing school, at least for now. Even though I'd have got a lot of satisfaction from it, it's not what I know I should be doing and I know this is the right decision. I hope you understand.

What I will do is include some posts about the various things I'd have taught you if you had signed up for my mad idea. This blog started as purely advice about getting published, but since the most important step towards getting published is writing the best possible book, I should and will include some advice about that, and I'll focus especially on the most common things people do wrong in their writing.

Meanwhile, I am myself learning the brutal reality of writer's block. It does feel as though something physical is sticking there, that if I tried to get back to the novel in progress today it just wouldn't work. Creativity needs space and there's no space in there right now. If I sit at my desk and stare at the screen, nothing will come and the more nothing comes the worse it feels. So, I'm going to switch the computer off and I'm going for a long walk with the dog. She won't be pleased, as it's raining and she's not stupid, but we're going. Walking and fresh air - even wet fresh air - always work for me.

Normal service and "crabbit old bat" sense of humour will be resumed. Just don't go away and please do take care.


Nicola Morgan said...

Sorry - originally, I disabled comments for this, simply because I didn't want all you lovely people to feel you had to say something. But then a lovely person emailed me (thanks, Suzanne!) so kindly but cautiously and then when I looked I saw that a very abrupt "No comments allowed" message had appeared beneath the post, which made me sound very rude. So, I've technically enabled comments but PLEASE don't feel you have to say anything. I'm sure most of you have dealt with similar things. And I know that you're all lovely, so you'll be thinking kind thoughts anyway.

Sarah said...

We're thinking of you today. Take care.

behlerblog said...

Then another one: you only get one life. And finally a line from my favourite film, The Life of Brian: "Life's a piece of shit, when you look at it."
No wonder I like you so much. A classic. Good for you on getting a life. I should try that myself sometime. You give me hope!

Jane Smith said...

Nicola. You should have just blamed me for your change of heart, and sent everyone over to my blog to unload!

If it's any consolation I think you've probably made the right, but difficult, choice. Meanwhile, don't write anything for a couple of days and with any luck you'll be back to full speed when you next try.

Condolences on the loss of your friend.

Anonymous said...

I've followed your blog for a few weeks now - love it! - and was going to express interest in taking up your online tuition but for some reason didn't post.

I'm glad you've made the decision you have (although obviously sad about the circumstances in which you came to it) - you already give so much of yourself in your blog (as do some of the others whose links on your pages I frequently follow)- never underestimate how much people are already learning from you.

Only as I write this am I realising that you probably aren't aware how many people there are like me, reading, learning and enjoying your blog but not giving feedback or indication that we are doing so - so THANK YOU from someone who is happy that you are not going to try and spread yourself too thin, who is happy for you that you are going to live as well as give.

You'll still be in shock at the moment so go easy on yourself - ditch apologies, guilt, regrets and surround yourself with your loved ones (and isn't it great your dog still loves you even though you made her walk in the rain!) and things that make you feel better.

Virtual chocolate and virtual hugs coming your way from a virtual stranger.
Take care,
Clare x

Nicola Morgan said...

Clare, that's a very lovely message - thank you SO much.

Thank you to all you others too, including those who emailed. And I found another Life of Brian fan through this post!

You're all very kind. If kindness was a recipe for publication, you'd all be best-sellers.

Donna Hosie said...

My deepest sympathies on the loss of your friend, Nicola.

Sarah Hilary said...

Thinking of you and your family, Nicola. Take care. xx

morphine-moniza said...

<3 take care of yourself! And your blog really is lovely and funny. I visit obsessively and am glad every time you WAS because I get to ignore my schoolwork and WAS with you.