August ranks as the third most disappointing month of the year after February and January respectively. Which used to seem strange, given how much I love September. Then I figured it out.
September is supposed to be autumnal.
Nobody expects sunshine and beaches and ice-lollies. If I have to get a raincoat out in September, I’ll go with the flow. In August, that’s a disappointing summer. These days I’ve learned to embrace the cycle of nature a little more but I still notice the darkness creeping in every August.
My month has been about editing. Editing a 42,000 word (give or take) manuscript. It’s a strange old time – a triumph because I am putting in so much hard work and learning heaps about chapter and scene. In reality, many authors write three or four manuscripts before they are published (I’ve heard everything between 2 and 9). This perspective is important – too many people think novel-writing is a one-shot game – but it is also daunting. I will have to face the blank page many times over if I want to make this a reality.
What have you been up to this month? Is August your favourite time of year? Chat to me in the comments below and I promise to reply. Here are some of the things I’ve learned this August.
Old proofs are THERE to cut up
One of the highlights of book-blogging is getting to read books ahead of publication. Sometimes this happens in the form of a digital file. Sometimes a finished copy is sent weeks ahead of publication. Sometimes bloggers are set proof-copies.
A proof is essentially an unfinished copy of the text. That’s not to say the story isn’t finished, but details are allowed to change between the proof and the final version. Selling proof copies is blogger-sin No1 (Don’t. Just don’t.)
What do you do with a proof copy you don’t want to keep? Throwing away or burning them goes against everything I have ever been taught about respecting people’s hard work.
This month I found a solution – use them for craft.
Hang on a second – I won’t burn them but I’ll cut them up?
Craft is about creation over destruction. I think this act of creation means I’m treating the used proof with respect. The publishers don’t want those texts in circulation so using them for craft seems like a great answer. I’m partway through a Christmas decoration and can’t wait to share pictures online.
Collaborations = creativity.
This month I wrote a post in collaboration with the wonderful HelloBexa.
As much as I love my blog, there are times when I worry it gets a bit same-old. Those are the times to reach out to other people. When I suggested the collaboration, I wanted something which would suit both our blogs. By looking at Bexa’s niches, I brought something new to my blog.
The Scrapbook Memory Jar may be one of my favourite blog posts this year. I would love to collaborate with other bloggers, especially bloggers outside the bookish-sphere.
Heritage open days are my new hobby
Late in August, I was asked by a member of my poetry group to help with the heritage open day at the local church. I was happy to help … but little did I know how much I would LOVE it.
Seriously. Next year I am signing up for every single slot.
What’s so great about leading people up and down a church tower?
Firstly, I met people from all over. A group of cyclists from Amsterdam on their way to the Irish Sea. People from the local area who I’ve never met before. People from other parts of the country with interesting jobs and life-experience. As an aspiring author, the best thing I can do is get out and *listen*. Heritage open day offered people to listen to in abundance.
Secondly, I learned so much history. Our guides were incredibly knowledgeable about the local area as well as the church and one of our visitors talked about local sites of interest from different time-periods.
Dare you to sign up for something different. Netflix is fun but talking to people is better.
Fruit tastes better when it is fresh from the trees
I learn this every autumn and relearn it with every mouthful. There’s no denying it. Food is supposed to be fresh.
We picked apples and plums from the trees on the village green and were sent apples and pears by different neighbours. Now everybody has taken their first crop there are buckets of apples all around the village looking for good homes.
As well as eating some fresh, we freeze lots of apples to keep a stock for apple-pie.
What have you learned this September? Do you love autumn? Let me know in the comments below.