When one of my favourite bloggers contacted me to say she had a cracking guest post up her sleeve, I was so excited I did some high leg kicks and cartwheels in the garden. Sadly there is no photo evidence of this great celebration.
Rita Bhatha from www.butismileanyway.com not only has a great blog but she is also one of the most supportive bloggers out there. Her comments have given me a lot of encouragement over the past few months and at times a chuckle or two.
So let me introduce to you – Ritu!
Firstly, can I just say a huge thank you to Lucy for letting me loose on her blog today!
I have loved reading her posts, relating entirely to the procrastination ones in particular, and I count the days to her fictional morsels!!!
And she was happy for me to take charge of BlondeWriteMore for a post!
Who am I?
My name is Ritu, and I am a blogger at www.butismileanyway.com, writer, mother, wife, and teacher.
Today, I would like to talk about one of my babies. It’s not quite at the baby stage now, more like a teenager though.
Way back, when we were just about getting used to writing 2000 as a year, rather than adding the 19 prefix to any year, something was born.
An idea was conceived, in my mind.
It was all there, the main characters, the skeleton of the idea, a hint at where the story would go and a possible ending.
I sat at my parent’s ancient PC and started to type.
Then stopped. And started. And stopped again. And started. And stopped… again.
This has continued for the last 16 years! And I am not as far into it as I would like to tell you I am.
But why has it taken so long, and why is it still not finished?
Where do I start?
Okay, let’s start at the beginning.
- November 2000 – I felt an idea bubbling and started to write! Then we set our wedding date. So, I tried to write a bit but got caught up in wedding planning, and all that jazz… Baby WIP took a back seat.
- September 2003 – I found my file with my saved WIP. Only 5,000 words written, but so much potential! I had to get writing again! Trying for a (real) baby was taking its toll, but surely living in the world of my character for a while each day would help detract from the pain of not conceiving. Hubby Dearest bought me a laptop of my very own for my birthday so I could sit and write! Wonderful! But the call of being a live-in daughter in law was also strong. A few thousand words later, poor toddler WIP was forgotten again.
- June 2005 – OMG I am a mum! Lil Man was born! Seriously, do you think that after a few years of trying, that I could spend any time on anything other than my little bundle of joy? Sorry, Little WIP, but life just got in the way again…
- February 2008 – my Lil Princess was born, along with another idea… something that overtook my poor Young WIP. Rhyming children’s fiction! One completed piece… but I fell flat when it came to illustrators, and two others started…
- October 2009 – Sitting on my PC, I scrolled across the files that were saved on my hard drive… and a little yellow folder named Wedded Stress caught my eye! My WIP was nearing double figures in age now. I felt myself get excited again! I printed the 9,000 words that I had already written and showed them to a couple of my colleagues. The reactions were amazing. Why had I not continued? So with a renewed fervour I invested in a special notebook and started writing novel based notes. Character profiles, timelines, ideas. Oooh! This was what it felt like to be really writing! About 12,000 words in, being a mum of two and working started to interfere… again.
- 2010 to 2014 – I revisited my Tween WIP many times. I started to write, then the writer’s block would hit. WIP became a teenager, yet seemed severely stunted in growth. Would I have to bury my poor WIP early?
- November 2014 – Something happened. I discovered blogging! Oh, the joy I felt at allowing my fingers to run across the keyboard, typing word after beautiful word, and finding out that there were people out there who were liking what I was writing! I posted a few questions regarding writing a book.
- August 2015 – I made the decision to make what I had written public. I wanted to get the feedback from those I considered real readers and writers, so I embarked upon a 7-week serialisation of my Teenage WIP. And the feedback was good! I was pumped! The only thing was I hadn’t figured my life into this new thirst to finish my story! I had recently been given a new position at work, as a full-time teacher, and the exhaustion I would feel every night was unreal. I would be able to write a quick blog post, and complete a prompt, but to sit down and just be able to write. That luxury really wasn’t mine. I considered signing up for #NaNoWriMo…but November was not a good month for me, when I put school into the equation…
- September 2015 to August 2016 – I had never expected my first full year of teaching to be easy, but it was a true baptism of fire! One of the hardest classes I had encountered, and I needed the summer break to actually recuperate!
- July 2016 – Somehow I was able to publish my very own book of poems, myBook.to/PoeticRITUals , but not a fiction novel…
- October 2016 – I managed to open my file and write a few words more… My teenage WIP grew by another 1.000 words or so. And that was with the prompting of Sacha Black! She tried to crack her whip, to encourage me, but the words flowed in dribs and drabs…
- April 2017 – Whilst being a member of the Big Up Your Blog group on Facebook, I came upon a blogger Gary Jefferies, from Fiction Is Food, a writer who I seemed to gel with on many levels. The joke hashtag #GaTu was born! Gary…Ritu…GaTu, see! And Gary took the time out to read my chapters. Boy, was my backside firmly kicked! Again, he had enjoyed what he had read, and he was flabbergasted at how old my WIP was now! Time to make plans!
Reading the journey of my Teenage WIP has made me realise I have to make time to do this!
So now it is May. And I have made a tentative decision. Unless anything major happens between now and then, I am going to attempt to dedicate my summer holiday, the month of August, to writing!
#RiNoWriMo – Ritu’s Novel Writing Month!
I may need to be a little less available on the blog… or at least be able to devote a couple of hours a day to write. I need to really create my storyboard again from scratch. I need to plan and be prepared. I need some writer buddies to gee me along and be there to constructively criticise me, and be able to remotely kick my butt as needed!
But one thing is for sure, this WIP needs to grow. I need to complete it before it reaches adulthood, or I may be known as the writer with the oldest WIP in history! Feel free to visit my legendary WIP over here!
And thank you for reading!
Ritu Bhathal was born in Birmingham in the mid-1970’s to migrant parents, hailing from Kenya but with Indian origin. This colourful background has been a constant source of inspiration to her.
From childhood, she always enjoyed reading. This love of books is mostly credited to her mother. The joy of reading spurred her on to become creative in her own writing, from fiction to poetry. Winning little writing competitions at school and locally gave her the encouragement to continue writing.
As a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and teacher, she has drawn on inspiration from many avenues to create the poems that she writes. A qualified teacher, having studied at Kingston University, she now deals with classes of children as a sideline to her writing!
Ritu also writes a blog, http://www.butismileanyway.com, a mixture of life and creativity, thoughts and opinions, which was awarded second place in the Best Overall Blog Category at the Annual Bloggers Bash Awards in 2016. Ritu is happily married and living in Kent, with her Hubby Dearest, and two children, not forgetting the furbaby Sonu Singh. She has published a volume of poetry, Poetic RITUals, and is currently working on some short stories, and a novel, to be published in the near future.
She can be found on her blog or on Twitter at @PhantomGiggler
If you haven’t cast your vote in this year’s Annual Bloggers Bash Awards there is still time. Click here and I will transport you to the voting page.
Have a wonderful day folks!
photo credit: Adobe.