Why I’d Be Really Crap At Having An Affair

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I’m trying to carry on three fairly intense relationships at the moment. Simultaneously. And it’s no fun, let me tell you. I don’t know how some reprobates can do it with ease. I think it’s way too much pressure, trying to do right by more than 1 loved one at the same time, and still have time to wash socks. Something’s got to give; and let’s face it, it’s never the socks.

To date, I’ve completed three novels, and each is now being as demanding as the other. I’m supposed to spend this year submitting the bejesus out of them, until I’ve exhausted every last option, before I even think about writing another one.

But I’ve been having some fairly hairy conversations with them of late.

First Novel: Hey. Psssst. Tara. Over here. C’mere ’til I tell you something.

Tara: Not now, First Novel. I’m still trying to fix the closing chapter on Third Novel and finish its synopsis, which is a pain in the arse.

Third Novel: Hey! You keep pinning everything on me, but I’ve been doing my best.

Tara: I know you have, love. It’s just that your last chapter absolutely sucks.

Third Novel: And whose fault is that?

Why I'd Be Really Crap At Having An Affair

Pick a random thought, and have a fight with it

First Novel: Stop hogging all the airtime, Third Novel. Shuddup. Listen, Tara. You need to send me out. Haven’t I already done right by you? You got me professionally edited. I did well in competition.

Tara: I know, I know. It’s just that you’re so – I dunno – 2010, or something. Can’t you try to be a bit more relevant?

First Novel: [sniffs] Who wrote the recession into me?

Tara: Yeah. Sorry about that.

Second Novel: Oi! Tara baby! Don’t listen to them. Look, you know I’m your best bet at that competition next week. Hands down. You should be concentrating on me.

Tara: Yeah, I do know that. But I don’t have the time to concentrate on you. You’ll have to wait your turn like everyone else.

Second Novel: Don’t you dare. I’ve been waiting patiently for 2 years now. All we have to do is lose weight around my middle, plug that gaping plot hole in Chapter 48, and I’m your ticket to greatness.

First Novel: No, I am!

Third Novel: Screw you!

Tara: Would you all stop shouting at me! I can’t do 3 submissions in one week.

First, Second and Third Novels [in unison]: COURSE YOU CAN, TARA! LOVE YOU TARA! WE WANT YOU TARA!

Tara: Oh, for God’s sake. What a load of sycophantic bollix. I have to go now. I have socks to wash.

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So that’s life at the moment. A catfight between me and, well, myself, and that’s not counting the day job, which always wins.

But the novels are getting really whiny. Cheesed off with being juggled, picked up, put down again, and not even being given a nice satiny piece of underwear to show for it.

Who else is juggling out there? Is any of your work fighting back?

  40 comments for “Why I’d Be Really Crap At Having An Affair

  1. March 20, 2015 at 10:03 am

    I have an editor who wimped out on me after getting me to split my one book into four. I haven’t got the first one of the four done yet. And another one I started while my first (big) one was resting has been making siren eyes at me. I’ve had two new ideas that I’ve put down in broad strokes, and would like to work on them because they’re new and fresh. But I have to finish the monstrosity in its four parts before any of the others get to see the light of day, and I’m getting sick of it. Not really, but it’s just work now. The siren eyes one, on the other hand, looks mighty appealing.


    • March 20, 2015 at 10:29 am

      I think you can cheat on your novels when they’re at different stages of wooing. Just maybe try not to take them all out (i.e. submit them) at the same time 😉

      Liked by 2 people

      • March 20, 2015 at 8:35 pm

        “I think you can cheat on your novels when they’re at different stages of wooing.”

        That’s a relief. My clone is ALMOST finished with one book (in fact, he may be working on it RIGHT NOW, judging from the “soundtrack” music I hear from the other side of the room), but he keeps wanting to work on something else instead: a novel for a different series. He needs to finish the first one, though, so I can start editing it. (Two previous novels are getting nice new cover art — I have no idea how that fits in with the whole novel-wooing thing, but I’m sure they’ll be happy. 🙂 )


  2. March 20, 2015 at 10:05 am

    Oh, what a tangled web we weave! What’s that American phrase: kick ’em on to the kerbwalk or something. I’d ditch them all and settle down with a nice subservient novel that’ll do everything you tell it to.

    But your post is timely. I’m contemplating writing two novels simultaneously, but your experience serves as a warning to those contemplating a menage a trois avec des novelles. (I think that’s how they say it in Belgium.)

    If it all does fall apart you’ll have to tell us who got to keep the dog and the record collection.



    • March 20, 2015 at 10:36 am

      Thanks, Chris. I’m not sure, though. I think submissive novels have had their day (ask EL James). Maybe it’s all about the submissive author story, now. Picture the backstory headlines. “My novel whipped me black and blue” or “I woke up and my novel had chained me to a desk and was shouting abuse about my mother”, etc.

      Do take the warning, though. Learn from my mistakes. And if I don’t get Fido, I’m buying a shredder and an industrial magnet.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. johanna buchanan
    March 20, 2015 at 11:04 am

    I have these conversations with myself all the time. Not about novels because I can only concentrate on one at a time but about where I need to be putting my attention as I go about my day. ‘Tis always a struggle so I try to go with my intuition. So who’s your favorite Tara? Parents always say they never love one child over another but I’m always reading that parents have secret favorites. Is it the same with novels? Is there one that you really want to pick up more than the others for no other reason that you just do?


    • March 20, 2015 at 12:25 pm

      Conversations with myself? Absolutely not. These are conversations with the people in my head, Johanna. Some call them characters. Some call the doctor. But either way, I don’t have a favourite right now. They are ALL in the doghouse.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. March 20, 2015 at 11:15 am

    For me it’s always about the struggle between writing, family and work. I’ve been lucky that I’ve had days where I can concentrate on writing alone but needs must so I’ve had to do some paid work I know, I can hear the violins). Add in the demands of a young family and the guilt quotient steadily rises.
    I tend not to have issues between novels as once they are done, I publish. However, the ideas that have yet to be written continually demand attention, and having spent nearly 3 years on my current trilogy, some are becoming very impatient!

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 20, 2015 at 12:26 pm

      You should try just struggling to choose between the writing projects, Dylan. Makes all the rest seem so much easier 😉


  5. March 20, 2015 at 12:09 pm

    Lol! I have three half completed novels in my head all having conversations with each other. Great post – made me smile!


    • March 20, 2015 at 12:27 pm

      Great to hear that! My day’s work is done then! I can happily go back to…. oh, dear. All the other things…

      Liked by 3 people

  6. March 20, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    That was my 2013 and 2014 in a nutshell. I decided to self publish four old novels, but failed to do any real promotion. Today I will put out less, but dedicate a bit more time to each one.


    • March 20, 2015 at 2:49 pm

      It’s the trimming, icing and polishing that kill me. If I had to think about promotion, I’d turn into a puddle, so don’t be too hard on yourself. Remember too it’s never too late for promotion…

      Liked by 1 person

  7. March 20, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    Sounds like your problems all arise from your obsessive need for clean socks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 20, 2015 at 2:49 pm

      Really, Naptime? You think? Good grief. I’ll have to have a look at that. And I didn’t even mention the underpants.

      Liked by 2 people

      • March 22, 2015 at 10:07 pm

        It’s true. Think carefully. Is it REALLY that important to change your socks EVERY day? And then your underwear on top of that? Sounds like a lot of unnecessary work to me. Besides, you have a cubicle at work, right? Nobody will smell your stank feet and onion crotch unless they visit, and, really? How much do you want them to visit?


        • March 22, 2015 at 10:25 pm

          You are right of course. I love it when people take a stand, Naptime. Having said that, remind me to keep a wide berth if we meet in person.


          • March 22, 2015 at 10:29 pm

            I smell like roses and baby powder. Always.


            • March 22, 2015 at 10:32 pm

              Ah, I see. The old “make others pong so I come up smelling of roses” technique. I am humbled by your deviant genius.


              • March 22, 2015 at 10:40 pm

                Damn. Foiled again.
                You know, instead of washing so much underwear and so many pairs of socks, just buy more. It’s the American way.

                Liked by 1 person

  8. March 20, 2015 at 2:52 pm

    Hilarious! As one currently wrangling two “affairs” and having quite the exhausting time of it, I can’t imagine three!

    Book Wranglers. We need Book Wranglers. I believe one subset of those is called the Muse—that’s while writing the damn things. Once they’re done, those things called “agents,” or “managers,” or “publicity people,” are designed to wrangle them all and keep everybody happy.

    I dunno. My Muse is kind and helpful, and I’ve got a pub team currently (and for only a brief period) keeping Second Novel’s drink filled, but ultimately it will all revert back to me when that crew pulls out their umbrellas to fly away (I did a Mary Poppins thing there, did you see that?:), and then I will be alone again, naturally. And feeling as pulled at as you are with your three.

    But if loving them is wrong, I don’t wanna be right. Right? 🙂


    • March 20, 2015 at 4:42 pm

      The moment I heard “Book Wranglers” I thought… wait, isn’t that already a thing…?! It should definitely be a thing. I’ll get the business cards printed, you get someone to actually do it, and we’ll be in clover.

      You’re right, of course. I know love is grand. But forbidden love… well, that’s a book all by itself, isn’t it 😀


  9. March 20, 2015 at 7:25 pm

    Too funny. Tell them to grow up and start pulling their own weight. Good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 20, 2015 at 8:03 pm

      I never thought of that. It’s just when they’re crying, and clinging to my skirts, I feel so sorry for them.

      Liked by 1 person

      • March 20, 2015 at 8:12 pm

        Oh my! I feel for you. Amazing how after a while we forget the pain of it all and want more and more of them.


  10. March 20, 2015 at 7:43 pm

    Loved the post. I smiled too. But you do have a predicament. I have never written a novel let alone submitted one to a publisher. You have an embarrassment of riches. Each one is special and deserves its chance in the real world. Sit back; take time out and decide on a schedule to give all three the time they deserve in the coming months. Then sit them down and tell them. Make a promise to each and all of them. Then just get on with it and deliver on your promise to them and the promise you undoubtedly have.

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 20, 2015 at 8:05 pm

      Beautiful advice, Adrian. And you had me right up until you told me I had to deliver on my promises. Because isn’t that just the thing with bad affairs? Broken promises all over the shop. Come to think of it though, if it was a bookshop, I’d probably be doing all right…


  11. March 20, 2015 at 7:45 pm

    I have two books waiting patiently and I am killing myself with my diary on here every day. I’m going to have to stop, or just go weekly or something. but honestly Tara, if I don’t do something sensible about this I shall eat an entire box of chocolates. They are there and they are calling to me. Although luckily, I have so far resisted on account of sock pairing. Give me some advice, dear auntie Tara.


    • March 20, 2015 at 8:11 pm

      I want desperately to help you, Elaine. I want to soothe your woes and give you the advice you need, both to continue your utterly beguiling and fascinating China diary, and get out those books I’m dying to read into the world (it usually involves a good kick up the arse, I find). But then you said sock pairing… and I saw all the green ones with purple toes and the black ones with red dots and the grey disappointments that used to be white… sorry. I kind of went somewhere else there.


  12. March 20, 2015 at 10:58 pm

    You’re so damn right; it’s the bloody socks that win every time! Market novel no 3, make some kind of peace with never-ending the non-fiction project and just submit it. Then here’s the leeks, lettuces and tomatoes, if I want fact (eat, spellcheck, eat) them, I must sow them…


    • March 21, 2015 at 11:05 pm

      Perhaps if you concentrate on raising the leeks, when they’re tall enough, they can raise the lettuces and the tomatoes for you? Just a thought. You can thank me later. 😉


  13. March 21, 2015 at 9:15 pm

    I’m working on a trilogy. Writing and rewriting the entire thing on every revision. But thanks goodness, I work chronologically, so now the first novel is done and trying to find its place in the world. I hear the second one calling…

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 21, 2015 at 10:09 pm

      As long as it’s not yelling at you, Sarah, you’re doing pretty well 😉


  14. March 23, 2015 at 8:04 am

    You only have three finished novels looking for homes? You don’t know you’re born! I have so much finished, half-finished, just started, embryonic stuff that I can’t sleep at night for the racket in my head. They don’t have conversations with me; there are too many of them. Now it’s outright war. I’m querying three of them, polishing up another one, half-way through another, ignoring three more and pretending I never started yet another because it keeps popping up and sniping at the rest of them. That’s not including the poems and short fiction that I’m stock piling as if they’re going to be rationed soon. I’d be glad of a few more socks to wash.

    Liked by 1 person

    • March 23, 2015 at 3:57 pm

      Sounds like an absolute battlefield, Jane. Either that, or the pre-school from hell. Perhaps you need to call in the cavalry? A nice bottle of red usually works for me 😉

      Liked by 1 person

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