Work! Work! Work! By Ann Evans

I'm always interested to know how other writers work, whether
they just concentrate on one piece of writing at a time, or if they
have half a dozen or more projects on the go at once. For me, it's
always been lots of irons in the fire, articles and stories at
different stages; things I'm just starting to think about, other work
that I'm trying to finish.

Articles get written a lot faster than the fiction - naturally, because
they're much shorter pieces and usually I'm eager to get the article
off to a magazine in the hope of getting published and paid. As we
all know, making money from fiction generally means that pay days are few and far between.

Toy Fair at Burton on Trent
So finding interesting topics to write an article on is something I spend quite a lot of time doing in my day to day life. Of course what I love best is getting out and about to research and visit the person or place that I'm hoping to write about. Okay, so it might look like a day trip out to the countryside, seaside or a different city is just a jolly day out, but honestly that trip to West Sussex to visit an animal sanctuary was work! And the evening attending that toy fair was work! And of course I had to go to the Good Food Show - it was work, yummy work, but work none the less! And the other Sunday when the sun was shining, I definitely had to make a trip out to see those special gardens in Warwick. it was work!

Of course when you find an interesting topic, you hope that the people involved are eager to talk to you about it and will speak passionately about their career, hobby or project so it's their words not just your own you're writing down.

Sometimes too, the research for the non-fiction article gets your fiction-writing juices flowing too. I think it was the little summer houses, gateways and archways that intrigued me about Hill Close Gardens in Warwick which I visited the other Sunday. They had been created back in 1845 but over the years had been left to become overgrown and unwanted. Then around 20 years ago a group of local people saw the hidden gem on their doorstep and set to work returning them to their former glory.

Summer House at Hill Close Gardens
I chatted to one of the people involved in this restoration and
discovered the perfect interviewee who spoke so logically yet poetically that it made writing the article afterwards such a joy. 
Here are just a few of his colourful quotes:

"The hedges had grown out and up all along here. It was like a dark tunnel you were bent double to go through but then there was a delightful summer house at the end. I remember pushing the door open and I could almost have imagined Bilbo Baggins sitting there with his feet up at the fire..."

"You never knew what you were going to find next, it was full of intrigue..."

"It is correct to say that one felt privileged to be there, uncovering the past, looking into a time capsule..."

"I recall in the autumn the beautiful smell of fallen fruit and seeing the migrant birds feasting in the winter time. Those memories are unforgettable."

Hill Close Victorian Gardens, Warwick

Thank you Michael Sheldon at Hill Close Victorian Leisure Gardens for sharing your memories with me this week and making my work such a delight.

How do you work? One thing at a time or a lots on the go at once? And are you ever surprised with the things people say to you when you're researching?

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Ann Evans said…
Sorry that some of the words look cut and pasted, they aren't. It's how Blogger has made it look. Been trying for ages to get it right but no joy!
madwippitt said…
As you say - sometimes you have several irons in the fire at once: although I feel stressed sometimes when I have a lot on, in truth I work best when there's a lot on my plate especially as deadlines loom. And it's nice to have the variety too, flitting between doing articles and books - plus of course, books take such an awfully long time to get out there that it's heartening to work on articles which are shorter and being read that bit sooner!
Research is always fun, and often means you get access to people and places you wouldn't normally otherwise have - but don't you find it sometimes spoils that fabulous day out when you know that pretty soon you have to sit down and write it all up?!
Ann Evans said…
Yes, I definitely agree, getting back to the computer and writing it all up is always the hardest thing, and worse if you don't do it straight away!

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