Welcome Guest Blogger Jackie Buxton!!!

I’m having so much fun this month inviting other writers to blog here. I’m learning about how different we all are and how despite any differences, we are united by this massive-overwhelming-insanity-producing need to write! I love that connection with other writers and I’m still smiling at how both of those (differences/binding ties)  hold true with my newest writer-gal-pal Jackie. I’m thrilled she’s here and I’m stoked to be sharing her post with you…Confessions of a Christmas Writer. Enjoy!

Confessions of a Christmas Writer

Not everybody likes Christmas starting in November.  I respect such frustration, understand the logic but don’t count myself among these protestors.  The anticipation, the decoration, the spendification just can’t start early enough for me.  I’m the dreadful mother who allows her children to play the Christmas CD in the car in September, actively encourages letter writing to Father Christmas and Mother Wrapalot in October and remembers she should have made the Christmas cake in November.  (I write Christmas cards two days before Christmas but that’s another story.)

It’s best when the children break up from school a week early so we can wrap presents together in front of Wife Swap USA, make another batch of mince pies as soon as the next pack of pre-rolled pastry has defrosted and play Winter Wonderland on the piano pretending not to notice the unintentional rhythmical alterations.

I tend to have a tear at the school’s Nativity, even when I can only hear every second word and my own children have long since graduated.  There’s something just so appealing about a three foot Mary.  And I even like the slightly over zealous Vicar pleading with us to stop and think.

I like snowy walks with my family, meeting friends in the pub en route.  I like my presents, scant in number certainly, perhaps not of the highest quality but chosen so very much with me in mind.  I’m wearing those pink USB heated slippers now, for example, reluctant as I am to put on the heating when it’s only me in the house.

I even ‘get’ turkey; fifth day turkey, curried turkey. I read that 86% of people eat turkey only because they feel they ought. I read a tweet about eating duck instead.  I eat duck but I’m not so keen on it curried.  I like, no I love, people coming to stay, leaving late morning after two jugs of coffee and more chat after the chat and wine and food and chocolates of the night before, the children all playing dutifully on the Wii, still in their pyjamas.

Then it’s back to normality.  They all go back – back to work, back to school and I go back to my desk, to starting writing again at 11pm, to going to bed late and waking four hours later with a sense of foggy satisfaction about the volume of words written when the house was quiet.

I miss them all on their first day back: hubbie with his cold, eldest with her hormones, youngest with her scruffy old pinafore when I can’t coax her into one of the skirts which hangs pristine in her wardrobe.

But I have to admit to a small smile as I wave goodbye to the last to leave at 8.45.

And so I run.  I stuff the remaining breakfast items in the dishwasher, yank some sopping clothes from the washer and toss them over the drier, flick on the kettle, write a cheque for the milk, trip over the forgotten PE kit and make my way upstairs to my desk.  I switch on the computer – an unusual phenomenon caught as it is in a perpetual energy loop over the holidays.  I remove plastic heart shaped key rings, miniature playing cards, screwdrivers and whoopee cushions from my desk and replace them with 344 pages of A4 manuscript.

Then I start.  Without interruption.  And slowly but surely, I input all the amendments I’d made on the hard copy of my novel.   I’m changing it around you see.  An agent made some fantastic suggestions after reading the full manuscript and I get the chance to see what I can do with it and send it back to her.  It’s a terrific opportunity and one I mustn’t squander.

After an hour or two I make tea.  I take a few pages of the manuscript with me to read through as the kettle boils and luxuriate in the lack of a call to find the recycled batteries, the guinea pigs’ spare water bottle, the Christmas cake.  After forgetting to eat lunch I set the alarm on my desk to 3.20 to remind me to return to this world before my children get home.

When they’re all back, I smother them with ridiculously large bear hugs.  I’ve missed them, you see, I really have – almost as much as I’d missed my writing over the past couple of weeks.

Happy 2011 everyone!  May it be packed with happy times and chunks of everything you like.

About Jackie:

“One day I woke up and realised that fairies weren’t ever going to pluck my first novel, Misguidance, from my pc, and edit, proof and submit it to agents on my behalf (whilst sprinkling a good dose of influence over my covering letter).  So I took a residential Arvon Course in Novel Writing in May 2006.  Nobody was more surprised than I was to find me writing the beginning and end of my second novel, Glass Houses during the week, spurred on by the course leader, Kathryn Heyman and my peers.

I went home, spoke nicely to my husband, handed in my notice and got properly stuck into Glass Houses.

Kathy Page (Alphabet, The Story of My Face) mentored me through the initial writing stages.  I exchange critiques with Jane Rusbridge (The Devil’s Music) and benefit from the huge friendship and guidance of the writers I met in my time at Authonomy and latterly at Litopia.

My short story, Time to Push, was published in, ‘They Lied!’ by Viva Voce Press, Canada, in March 2004 and Glass Houses was the winner of the Writers’ Billboard First Chapter competition in July.  I’ve won a couple of blogging competitions (honest!) and Glass Houses reached the final 30 of the Brits Unpublished Awards last summer.

After an overload of copywriting work (my bread and butter) and a period of intense editing, I’ve recently re-started submitting Glass Houses to agents.  I’m playing the frustrating, and terrifying, waiting game as one agent is reading the full manuscript and another has given me some great feedback, promising to re-read my offerings once I’ve worked on them.  When I’m not tinkering with Glass Houses, you can frequently find me sobbing at my desk as I delete characters in my massive re-write of Misguidance.

When I’m not writing, I’m running, cycling , singing or sneaking in a few minutes on the piano.  When I’m not doing any of those, I’m doing anything other than cleaning.  I also read, generally in the small hours in a hot, bubbly bath while the rest of my family sleeps.  It’s the ultimate escapism but the books do sometimes fall in.”

You can find Jackie tweeting @jaxbees and read more o f her writing at her blog Jackie Buxton Blogspot .Get to know Jackie, you’ll be so glad you did!

7 comments to Welcome Guest Blogger Jackie Buxton!!!

  • Love your British style, Jackie – the best writing I’ve seen in a long time!

    I suspect we will be hearing a lot about your writing, going forward.

    All the best!

    Thanks for posting this Julie.

  • Julie, I was truly honoured to be asked to blog on your site – I’d already coverted it before you got in touch :-) Thanks so much for the opportunity and you’re welcome to come over and blog at my site any day!

  • Thanks so much, Cynthia, first for reading but also for the lovely comment. I shall bask in the compliments for a moment before returning to that familiar old place of self-doubt. Wouldn’t it be great if good things happened to all our writing in 2011?? Sending lots of positive vibes for us all!

  • Hey! I just wanted to let you know that I’m awarding you the ‘Stylish Blogger Award!’ :)
    You can go to this link on my blog for all the info.


  • Jackie. I so wish you the best with Glass Houses. I’m right there with you, waiting for word from an agent on one of my novels. Your post was inspiring to a fellow mother, wife, blogger,and writer, who is forever torn between family and story.

  • Gosh, thanks so much TheBookAngel, so glad you liked it and I’m seriously happy about my shiny new Stylish Blogger Award :-) I’m off to post it now – bless you!

  • Margaret, we clearly understand each other!! Here’s to publishing deals aplenty for both of us in 2011 – to make our families proud and give us justification to keep at it! Thanks for reading.

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