Writing My Book, 3 Chapters In (25,000 Words Down)
It’s been a while since I’ve shared an update on writing my book, Mumboss, mostly because I’ve, erm, been writing my book!
For those not aware (where’ve you been, people?) I got a book deal in December 2016 with Piatkus/Little Brown under the giants that are Hachette and my book’s out in March 2018!
As cheeseball as it is to write these next few words, getting the chance to write my debut book really is a DREAM COME TRUE for me. A forever goal, met. Squeal! I’m writing a freaking book amigos!
What Mumboss means to me
I adore the term ‘Mumboss’, I feel it define me completely. I find it truly empowering, with neither word diminishing the term as a whole. I’m equally proud of my roles as both a mum and a boss, each infinitely linked to one another.
I started my blog and business because I became a mum and I write about my family on my blog. I wouldn’t have this business if it wasn’t for my kids.
While the blog has evolved into a personal brand and online magazine, at it’s core, it always reflects my life as a mother and tech entrepreneur. There are many Dadbosses out there too of course, men writing and creating careers, inspired by fatherhood. And long may it continue…
Three Months On
So, three months on, it’s definitely sunk in that I’m writing a book. I’m knee-deep in the creative and love the focus writing each chapter requires, and how prolific I need to be in order to deliver the book by the summer ( I work at my optimum with a deadline). As with screenwriting, I relish the development process, working with my dream team, those who share my vision and keep me on track: Jillian my editor, Robyn my literary agent and Neil my manager.
Life is busy, as it is for all us parents, but there’s always a way to make your dreams work, if anything, that’s what parenthood’s taught me. Historically art has always been born from limitations in time, energy and resources and that applies when it comes to motherhood and business. There are never enough hours so you focus your energy and time on what matters.
I’m pretty much living in two cities at the moment, London and Leeds (until we move back down South in the summer), and it’s fair to say I have a crazy-busy schedule so I’m mostly burning the midnight oil when it comes to writing my book.
My favourite time to write is when the house sleeps, it’s allows me that window to think, and plough away without noise or interruption. I usually start at 9 or 10 pm after some escapist TV (hello Celebs Go Dating) and often work until 2, sometimes 4 am.
Yes, I miss sleep, but it’s bl**** worth it and weirdly, I rarely feel tired in the daytime. I think all that ‘sleep training’ my kids gave me as sleep-raiding babies, has meant I’m much more resilient and focused than I was pre-kids.
Those blighters have made me more productive and determined.
Plus, as my former TV Exec would always say, ‘If you want something done, you give it a busy person’.
Yes to that!
Vitally, what drives me is you guys and my book reflects my mission, on the blog. I’m passionate about helping parents rediscover their confidence, voice, and dream career.
Despite the inequalities of the workforce, my personal solution was Honest Mum, I found a new job in my blog, an accidental career really, which started on maternity leave in November 2010 when I shared my first post.
My blogging and vlogging career that developed since, has now given me the gift of creative and financial freedom in a flexible job with works around my family.
It’s a mother hustling juggle, of course it is, nothing is ever easy but it’s enriching, democratic and liberating. The best thing? Anyone can follow mine and the many other mumbossing women, out there, who want to do it all because of, and often, despite of, the little people in their lives.
I’ve reached out to entrepreneurial friends and collaborators, well known personalities and experts in their fields to also offer insight in the book and it promises to be fuel the fire in your bellies and make you take action.
Simply, I want to help other women, launch. To give them the tools, confidence and business know-how to fearlessly get their art out into the world.
I’m often moved to tears when I receive emails and messages from readers and followers saying they’ve started a blog or e-business because they’ve seen me do it, they’ve followed my journey and are ready.
Many say they felt they bereft of confidence and direction, as I did, after kids but my story of overcoming a traumatic birth, and building a business has given them the impetus to do the same. To buy a domain name and just crack the hell on with it.
It is honestly thanks to those women and to you all, that I’m even writing Mumboss. You lot remind me that my words count and make a difference and keep me trucking on. We are sisters, make that, mothers, holding each other up through life and work (it takes a village, huh?) and that courage and support, is contagious.
Together, we buoy each other up.
..The longest form piece I’ve written was a screenplay for a feature film, two in fact at 90 pages each (approx 1 1/2 hours screen time) and whilst I’ve probably written hundreds, maybe even thousands of posts here in the 6 1/2 years I’ve been blogging, this book at 70,000 words in total or thereabouts, will be the longest non-fiction piece I’ve ever written.
I won’t lie, whilst I was overcome with excitement initially, I also felt rather nervous and worried- that ugly veil of self-doubt fell over me and I started to question whether I had a book in me, if I could really write 70,000 words that would hopefully touch and inspire others.
My husband reminded myself of my own words when I shared my concerns to him, that embarking on anything new and out of my comfort zone would always feel s*** your pants scary, at the start.
I’ve never let that fear stop me before in my work as a filmmaker and lecturer so I promised I wouldn’t now.
So, I just got my head down and wrote, I pushed through the fear and I fought the imposter syndrome head on (it hates productivity).
Getting words on a page is better than none, and writing, is always about the rewriting. My screenwriting career taught me that. You write and polish, write and polish, but you need the words on the screen to work from, the clay to mould if you like.
Plus, fear can often be a sign of how much we want something.
A therapist I saw after Oliver’s difficult birth and more recently to help me deal with an unwell relative, wisely informed me that the mind often confuses excitement for fear.
Yes to that.
Now, having written three chapters, I’m excited. With each chapter at 6,000 words (one of those is currently double the word count so will be cut down), I truly feel I’m in full swing. It’s like learning to ride a bike and now I’m free styling, waiting to enter the championships (when the book’s out)!
That’s all being creative is, really. The formula of fighting the fear, making the art, putting it out there and not stopping that cycle, not disembarking from the race.
What’s in the Book?
I’m giving so much of myself to the book, I owe it to you all to do that, so you’ll read more about my story, (big brows and crippling body image) my upbringing and experiences as a filmmaker and TV director turned blogger and vlogger, as well as all the insight you need to launch your own digital business or equally return back to work after baby.
This book is for you: it’s a handbook to help you survive and thrive at work and at home. To be the badass mumboss you deserve to be.
To go boldly forward and make those scary goals a reality, safe in the knowledge that the internet has your back with its boundless, democratic ways and opportunity is waiting for you.
I’ll leave you with this. Before I started writing my book, I feared I might deprive my blog of as many heartfelt posts, now my time was being shared between both projects.
It’s rather like the worry of having a second baby as you question if you’ll have enough love to go around.
I can safely say as a mum of two, that with writing both the blog and the book, love never divides, it multiplies.
As with having two kids, my life, and my blog, has improved.
I used to tell my MA screenwriting students when I was a lecturer, that the more you write, the more you write and I’m reminded of that again now.
Exercising my creative muscles, and for longer periods of time and more frequently than before, means that all of my creative pursuits: writing, blogging and vlogging come more easily. I’m more inspired than ever, and rarely hesitate or over analyse before creating and posting.
So here’s to more late nights, and hopefully a book that will help create a movement. A movement of mumbosses ready to shine.
Buy my bestselling book in paperback or audio
My debut book is my guide to surviving and thriving at work and at home and offers insight into how to create a digital business or return to work with confidence.
Mumboss: The Honest Mum's Guide to Surviving and Thriving at Work and at Home (UK 2nd Edition)