Work in progress

I’ve always been wary of talking about what I’m working on. It’s not the fear that someone else will pinch my ideas – they won’t, and even if they did they’d end up creating something totally different. Some of it is the fear of being told what I should be writing. However, there’s no one in my life now with the kind of power over me to feel entitled to tell me what my books and stories should be about. I can afford to let that go. There’s the fear of losing something of the concentration of a project, diluting it by speaking of it – a magical taboo against sharing. I’ve come to the conclusion I can afford to let that go as well.

So, what am I working on?

I started a novel back in the summer, and it’s crawling along very slowly, in no small part because I’ve not made much time for it. The thing I’m most interested in at this stage is the way people change over time. I’m influenced particularly by Anthony Nanson’s ‘Deep Time’ in wanting to talk about people who are personifications of place. I’m trying to make it a bit funny, and I’m trying for some less conventional structures, because I really enjoyed that with Letters Between Gentlemen. Pared down story telling created by focusing on what people might choose to record, or tell each other.

I’m a bit stuck around Pagan books. In three months, Pagan Dreaming has sold 147 copies, which left me feeling like I should give up on non-fiction titles. Some of my other titles have done better than this, and books are often slow to sell, and my publisher has kept making encouraging noises and refused to write me off as not worth it. This is the second time I’ve nearly lost my nerve and he’s encouraged me not to quit. So, I’m contemplating two projects. One is a Pagan Portal (under 30,000 words) on working with the elements – that should be easy to write and I think there’s enough people who might be interested in it. The other thought, is that I want to write a book about walking, pilgrimage and Paganism. I want to write something soulful and poetic, which automatically means I’m looking at a not-commercial sort of book. I’m going to do it through the blog, probably not writing in a coherent order, just putting things down when I think of them and keeping those blogs in one file. It means you get the first draft, and because I am more reliable about writing the blog than about anything else, there’s a fighting chance I will eventually write the book if I do this.

Next year, my other half is starting a graphic novel version of Mallory’s Le Morte D’Arthur, adapted by John Matthews. Four books over four years, and Hopeless Maine being finished off in the same time frame. This will be pretty intensive. I’m going to be helping out with the colouring. My first job was to go through the script and look at the named characters – there are a good 50 speaking parts in the first book alone, many of whom need to be recognisable as people. That would be a lot of faces for an artist to imagine into existence, so we’ve settled on a cheat. We’re casting people we know into various of the roles. It’s quite an entertaining process.

Aside from that, I’ve got a monthly column at Sage Woman, I contribute content to the Moon Books blog, I’ve been asked to write comedy Druid poetry for Aontacht, and Pendle Craft Magazine are going to serialise my novel Fast Food at the Centre of the World (originally a podcast at and still available from there).

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, wife to the most amazing artist -Tom Brown. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

6 responses to “Work in progress

  • Sheila North

    Writing is good for the soul, and for your readers! Crossing fingers it becomes a bit better for the pocket book / purse, as well.

  • Christopher Blackwell

    Ah what will you be doing in your spare time? [Grin] Looks like a lot to me.

    Life is quite a it slower for me in my old age. My shop is rarely busy, but I can spend a hour or two with potential customers, mostly on anything besides doing business. I spend most of my time on the internet. I have time to do my nightly meditations for forty minutes, or more.

    If my cat decides he wants to be on my lap for five, ten, or fifteen minutes, I can usually make time for that, petting, or not petting, as needed This is besides getting up several times day or night to put out more snacks for him, or open the front door for him to go out o to come in, or to decide that he is not certain just yet.

    I take naps as needed, but sleep much less at night, now five to seven hours. I watch a movie once a week, and I am known to read a book from time to time, at very varied speeds.

    It is tough being seventy, but someone has to do it. [Grin] Laughter helps a lot each day, hence the reason for the seventeen pound of bird seed I put out each morning for the desert wild critters.

    • Nimue Brown

      I’m doing less than I sued to do – not quite so manic and obsessive as I was… I’m also not very good at the concept of ‘spare time’ – I don’t really know how to stop unless I fall over.

      • Christopher Blackwell

        Maybe some day you will have to learn about spare time and doing things just because they are fun to do. I have often said the difference between living and survival is the amount of fun that you have in the process. That includes thinking about yourself as well as others. Best of luck with your lighter schedule.

  • Terra

    I’m sorry you’re feeling stuck about your pagan books. I really liked your ancestors book, and now I’m about halfway through your prayer book, which I also like. I would recommend your ancestors book to anyone interested in druidry. To identify as a druid means identifying a sense of connection with some ancient people, or with some mythology made up about some ancient people, and I think it’s worthwhile for anyone who looks to the past in such a way to reflect on the ideas in your ancestors book.

    I understand about not wanting to be told what you should be writing. I find that there are certain people who try to tell me what to do any time I bring up certain topics, so I just don’t talk to those people about those topics.

    So, I don’t mean to tell you what you should be writing, but I’ve noticed some things in your blog posts which have caused me to think that if you wrote a book about such things, I would like to read it. That would be a book about the social and psychological impacts of chronic illness. We tend to think just about the specific physical symptoms, but there are other things that tend to happen to. For example, people may derive their sense of self from their career, and then upon becoming ill, they lose the ability to pursue that career, and feel like they’ve lost their sense of self. This book would be for ill people, to show them that others go through the same issues, and it would be for healthy people with ill loved ones, to help them understand their ill loved ones. And it would include something about how ill people feel about all the things people say to them, how negatively advice affects them (you wrote ” Faced with a ‘your life would be great if you just made the effort and did this thing’ what I feel, invariably, is despair. I don’t feel inspired, or encouraged or uplifted, it feels like a swift kicking”) and what helps (your post “Compassionate Listening”).

    So in conclusion, what I’m trying to say is that for me, what you’ve written in your pagan books and what you’ve written in your blog posts is quite worthwhile.

    • Nimue Brown

      Thank you for this. I think you’re right that this book needs writing. I’m not sure if I could do it – pretty sure I couldn’t do it on my own, but, I have some thoughts and will keep pondering that, thank you!

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