E. Symes-Smith

Scribbler, Daydreamer, Drinker of Tea

Sixty Two Minutes

The last hour is always the longest, and an extra, unexpected hour is double. She told me she told me she was going to be  thirty minutes late but I couldn’t remember. I’m told so much so long ago, it’s impossible to keep it all inline. It doesn’t matter,  I told her. I’m being picked up later anyway. 

For writing,  I didn’t tell her. 

For myself. 

It doesn’t matter. Everyone knows I live in the store and I will die in the store. It’s a running joke. It was funny once, but it’s been told too many times. 

Oh good, she said. Then it all works out. 

I marked it read without response. 
It doesn’t matter: if I give thirty mins of myself, I’ll still have thirty left. Time is precious. I’m trying to hoard it but it’s like clutching at sand. 

I do everything I wanted and everything I needed to stay sane tomorrow, and every time I tap the till I see more minutes dying. My precious minutes that I’d hungered for since 7:30 this morning. I’m pitied by my team member who says she’d be mad if she were me. I tell her I’m too tired to be mad. It’s true. The last hour is the longest. She’s leaving soon for college, just as they all do, with their whole futures that aren’t here. That’s the real joke but I’m not about to explain the punchline. She’ll get it eventually. Hopefully. 

I did tell you, she says when she comes in an hour and two minutes into the Me Time I’d spent wiping yogurt streaks from the floor. And she shows me the text she’d sent a month ago, delighted not to be wrong. 

I tell her it doesn’t matter. I’m always here anyway. She laughs. 


Puppies, books and sunshine

It’s been way too long since I’ve updated this blog, and it’s got to the point where I have so much to say, I don’t know where to begin. So I shall start with today.

I have been neglecting my reading lately and that’s sad. We can blame the week I had my wisdom teeth out, just lying like a 17thC heroine on the couch, playing video games instead of being a productive member of society. So my goal for June is to spend my down-time on books and beta’ing. And I’ve got so many great projects to get through! It’s definitely true that writers have to read, and I certainly find that my own words flow better when I’m reading alongside. I also find myself pickier with books, not wanting to ‘waste’ time I could be spending on writing by reading a less-than-great book. But I think that’s because I never take of my writer’s hat and I need to learn to do that.

Plus it’s gorgeous and sunny, and spending a day on the balcony with a good book and a glass of wine is pretty effing ace.

Currently reading:


2017 So Far

Greetings! I know I’ve really dropped the ball on blogging, but I’ve been catching up with myself piece by piece and this is pretty much the final one.

2017 has been pretty intense so far. I can feel a lot of change in the air, though I’m not sure yet what form it’s going to take. I’ve felt very distracted, and it’s been difficult concentrating enough on the moment to sit down and work. But it’s been happening, and I’m pleased with what I’m doing.

Writing-wise, I’ve been making notes on New Book ready for draft two and working on a couple of shorts for an anthology I’m doing with my uni friends. I’m excited with that came out of the first short, and I’ve plans to expand into a novel. I expect that’ll become NaNo2017. Think ‘The Giver’ crossed with ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’. New Book is a constant source of nervousness to me! There are parts of it that I know needs a tonne of work and, surprisingly, they’re not the bits that worry me. There’s also a fair amount that I’m happy with, pretty much as-is, and I want to keep them as they are but I don’t know if that’s just me with my head in the sand? My usual method is to rewrite from scratch, but I don’t know if that’s the way I should go this time. My plan right now is to print it off, when I’m done with these notes, and consolidate all my feedback so far, then work on each chapter individually. It’s weird, it feels like a stronger book to me than MP ever did, but I’ve almost got more doubts of it because of that?

The second book, it turns out, is harder than the first.

Continue reading “2017 So Far”

NaNo and Puppers and Prepping

Wow it’s been… quite a long time! (I suppose this is going to be a theme for a while) So I suppose I’m just going to splurge on everything that’s been going on and hope I get everything!

First things first: NaNoWriMo 2016

Lasstatsnano2016t year’s NaNo frustrated me — I didn’t finish the novel, I didn’t write every day, and I didn’t really push myself — so this year’s theme was really making the best of it. I went in determined to break all my records. And I did. I can now comfortably do 2k an hour; I did a 15k day; I hit 50k by the 12th; I beat my monthly personal record and finished the story at 88k yesterday (the 25th) and validated that evening after my usual Black Friday Marathon. I’m still gunning for a 100k month, I just need to think of something to carry me the last 5 days!

Continue reading “NaNo and Puppers and Prepping”

November’s coming up fast! This is going to be Year 4 for me, and the first time I’ll be working on something really new since 2013. Gotta admit, I’m a little nervous. I’ve been pondering this story for about a year and a half, but it’s been drifting and changing, and really bears little resemblance to the initial idea at all (isn’t that always the way it goes?) Every November comes with nerves; niggling worries that this’ll be the year I fail. But the excitement is greater, and I’m so so ready for this novel!! Originally, I was going to pants it and just see where it took me, but circumstances have been such that I’m trying a new approach — I’m becoming a planner! And I have to say, it’s much more enjoyable than I thought it could be. I’ve just been telling myself the story and letting it just come, and it’s great to watch it grow in such a sketchy way. I’ve already caught some pit-falls that would’ve tripped me mid-story, and I have most of my Whats, just need to work through some Whys.

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The End of Summer

So I gave myself a summer vacation through August. Basically an excuse to relax and recharge. I feel like I’ve been gunning on full-blast for… Crikey, at least a year! And when I haven’t been pushing forwards, I’ve been beating myself up about not pushing forwards. So yes, I decided I would zen out for a month. And it was wonderful.

I still wrote plenty, but staying in the moment and just really enjoying the words as they came. A couple of blips, but the story is moving forwards and my characters are working with me more than they’re fighting me. I predict I’m about a quarter of the way through this draft (at 40k) so it’s gonna be hefty and I seriously doubt I’ll be done by November, but if I can get to the end of Part One, I’ll be happy.

Continue reading “The End of Summer”

Onwards and Nowhere!

Well, it’s been a little while since I last updated, and it’s a weird mixture of lots happening and nothing happening, mostly in that things are moving at pretty much the same pace as they have been for a while.

Draft 7 is back out after some awesome, stomach-squiggling feedback from T. I just want to jump up and down about this because anyone who’s been around me at all for the last year or so knows how much this Ch.1 problem has been plaguing me. AND IT’S BEEN FIXED!!! I FINALLY HAVE A FIRST CHAPTER THAT NOT ONLY FEELS LIKE IT’S NOT PART OF A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT BOOK BUT I’M SATISFIED WITH IT TOO!! Honestly, I went backwards to get what I ended up with. It’s very similar to what I had a couple of drafts ago, but I didn’t have enough faith in it or myself to commit. But now I can and — as ever — trusting yourself is 99% of the time the best way to go.

Anyhoo, after adjusting the two sentences suggested (yes, two sentences) and doing another full run through, I sent it back across the interwebs to London. And now I’m trying not to think about it. I’m giving myself until September before I think about it again (unless I hear back sooner) and in the mean time, I’m dedicating myself to Book 2.

It’s going well. Chaotic, but well. I’m back in a muddle of drafts and rewrites and half hand-written scenes. Not very conducive to NaNo, but hey ho. I’m learning new things about my characters, which is the most thrilling part of writing for me, and they’re surprising me. This book has a very different focus to the first, I feel. And whilst the shape of the story is pretty much the same, the details are all different. I had an epiphany on the ending yesterday which I’m very excited about. It’s a big game changer. A bit scary as it changes the direction of Book 3 rather drastically (I think) but for the better (I hope???) But now I can see where I’m going, it’s becoming easier to direct the story and development towards it. Just gotta type up all these pages and wrangle everything back into order 😛 Oh, and Carpal Tunnel’s a bitch. My hands are weaklings.

Other than all that, it’s hot and I’m waiting for Autumn/Winter. I’m done with this heat, though the storms are pretty cool. I want everything to smell like pumpkin spice and vanilla, and for it to be lovely and eery and dark in the mornings and snow. Gimme snow!! I feel like I’m in a sticky flux right now.


Well, it’s been a productive couple of weeks since coming home. I feel like our trip away recharged me and gave me a new sense of ‘hrrrgh! purpose!’.

Draft 7 has been tackled and wrangled (yes, even Ch.1) Going into it, even with all my notes from T and the feedback from Ink & Insights, my expectation was still a quick tidy up — nothing substantial.

But holy crap it feels like a whole new book. Not in the sense that anything’s drastically different, just that it feels more complete in a way that I had no idea it could be, if that makes sense? I get very jittery when I think about the book as a whole, and it’s a good jittery. It’s more than I ever expected it to be, so thank you everyone who’s had a hand in Draft 7! (Lucky 7!)

Continue reading “Progress!”

Jet Lag and Draft Zillion

Jet Lag’s a bitch — there can be no denying. It was worth it though! Our flying trip to Britland was amazing (though we spend so little time in each place, there was really no room for it to go wrong!) It was great to catch up with people — family and friends and places — and we saw almost everyone we wanted to.

Highlights include:

  • Meeting the Earl of Devon at Powderham Castle (we don’t talk about the awful sunburn of that day!)
  • Come Along Reunion and new plans for a second anthology.
  • BETH AND RUTH’S ENGAGEMENT! (Their flat/life/relationship is the cutest thing I’ve ever seen)
  • A full spectrum of British weather
  • Tea with T. Okay, so this was the penultimate day of the trip, so I spent pretty much the whole holiday trying not to be nervous and failing dismally. It was amazing though, and came away with a tonne more confidence and lots of awesome notes for Draft Zillion. The changes suggested are not even slightly scary (I had nightmares of huge overhauls and complete rewrites and other such awful things) and I’ve a good plan of action along with a purpose for them.


Continue reading “Jet Lag and Draft Zillion”

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