Monday, 11 June 2012

Shift Blog Tour: Author Em Bailey on her typical writing day!

Shift by Em Bailey
Publisher: Electric Monkey
Release date: May 7th 2012
Ages: 12+

There were two things everyone knew about Miranda Vaile before she'd even started at our school. The first was that she had no parents - they were dead. And the second was that they were dead because Miranda had killed them."

Olive used to be the school queen-bee. But that was before her breakdown. Now she's the class loner, and can only watch as new girl Miranda latches on to Olive's ex-best friend Katie. Soon Miranda is talking like Katie, dressing like Katie - even going out with Katie's boyfriend.

And then Katie dies. Everyone seems to believe it was a tragic accident, but OIive isn't so sure. What if the wild rumours are true? What if Miranda really is a killer...?

Guest Post: Author Em Bailey on her typical writing day: 

On weekdays I set my alarm for 6am so I can do some writing before everyone else wakes up. Then when it rings I turn it off, roll over and go back to sleep until my daughter wakes up an hour later. This basically happens every day. I guess I'm just not one of those authors – much as I long to be - who gets up at the crack of dawn and has a chapter completed before breakfast.

When I first started writing seven years ago it was more of a hobby than anything else – something that I did in the evenings after my 'real' job had finished, or on the weekends. Time was always limited, especially as I had a young daughter to care for as well. It was only when we moved to Germany three years ago that I started writing full-time. But even now there never seems to be enough time to get everything done (hence my constant attempts to get some writing done before breakfast).

I find I work between 9 am and 1 pm so I try to put my head down during this period and do as much as I can. This isn’t always easy. There are lots of great things about working at home, but I often find myself fighting the urge to go and rearrange the furniture rather than knuckle down and work. The internet is also a curse, of course, and I generally switch it off so I won't be tempted to read just one more blog...

I have a fairly short concentration span so after lunch my attention starts to wander. I try to do less demanding work then – re-reading drafts, doing chapter breakdowns or replying to work emails. I have a corner set up at home for working, but really, my 'office' is wherever my computer is. I often work in the library, just for a change of scenery. I'm also less likely to try and rearrange the furniture in there (although it's not entirely out of the question).

I try to go for a walk at some stage during the day. It's good to move after sitting for a few hours and I also find walking helps me think through any manuscript troubles I might be having. I did a lot of walking while writing Shift – attempting to nut out the twists and turns of the plots as I strode along.

Now that I write full-time I try not to work in the evenings or on the weekends, although this goes out the window when a deadline is looming. I think if you're a writer you're probably always working anyway. Even when I'm hanging out in the park with my kid or in the supermarket I find myself listening in on conversations, looking out for potential characters and watching the way people interact. In the evenings I read a lot – especially as I still can’t really understand the German TV shows. I try to read broadly – not just YA titles as I think that reading lots of different types of books brings a fresh perspective to my work.

Then there's sleep - which I think is a very important part of the writing process! On more than one occasion I've woken up with a solution to a plot dilemma which had seemed irresolvable the night before. That's how I justify the extra hour of sleep in the morning.


Thanks for the great guest post, Em!  

I'll be posting my review of Shift later this month, so keep an eye out for that! In the meantime, you can follow the rest of the Shift blog tour!


  1. Becky @ Stories & Sweeties11 June 2012 at 08:10

    Ah...the "good intention" alarm!  I do that, too! :)  What a great post, always inspiring to hear about a writer's creative process!

  2. I love reading about a writing day - totally get the short attention span!

  3. Ohh I came across this by trying to stalk Em Bailey and it's just not happening :(
    Excellent post though :) I can identify with the sleeping haha


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