Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Welcome Harlequin author, Nina Harrington

I am thrilled to have Nina Harrington here today - Nina gave a fantastic talk on Procrastination at the Romantic Novelists Association conference a couple of weekends ago and was nice enough to summarise it for me to feature on my blog. Procrastination....oh, how we love you!!

I'm ready and a-listening, Nina - over to you :D

For those of you who don’t know me, I write for Harlequin under the pen name Nina Harrington. 

I came to Mills and Boon through the RNA New Writers Scheme and had my first book accepted in 2008. 16 books later I still feel that I learning something new every day.
But one of the biggest learning curves for me has happened over the past 6 months.
Because in February this year I pitched a romantic suspense story to Carina UK – the new digital imprint out of Richmond.  I met my editor at the RNA award ceremony and she loved my book and offered me a 3 book contract for Carina UK.

Brilliant! At last I had found a home for my quirky crime book which had been in the back of my head for years. I was finally writing romance and crime!
But there was a problem. I already had a contract with Mills and Boon to write 3 Harlequin KISS books this year. And now I had just agreed…DEEP BREATH …to write 3 single title crime books in the next 12 months.

6 books. 12 months.

And I am a slow writer, not because I don’t have the words but I was the queen of PROCRASTINATION. I had to do something   - FAST!

How did I break through this procrastination barrier and stop putting things off?

By studying the topic in detail and working on a five step routine. In a snapshot it involves:

1. Clarity. You have to know precisely what it is that you want and what you are trying to achieve – in life and art. Which means digging deep and understanding your real motivation. Why do you really, really, really want to write? This is the power and energy which is going 
to keep you going through the tough times.

2. Getting it done is better than having it perfect. Perfectionism is a killer. Accept that the first draft is only for you and will always be a ‘discovery draft.’

3. Commit to making it happen. Make a plan of what you want to achieve, by week and by month. For some people it is a daily target word-count. For others it is a time window.  Use psychological tricks such as setting a target of 1000 words a day which you know you can achieve [ 4 sides of A4 paper… you can do that.] Then write more.

4. The power of habit. Turn up to the same place or time each day and use the same emotional and sensual triggers to tune into your writing brain.

5. Timed writing routine. Use a timer and set yourself 20 or 30 minute focused writing slots. You can build up to longer but always allow 5 or 10 minutes to set very precise goals for that specific writing session.

I am pleased to say that the process seems to be working and to date I have delivered 3 of those 6 books and ahead of deadline.

My first Carina romantic mystery book. ‘A Recipe for Disaster’ is released on July 31st and my next Harlequin KISS contemporary romance, ‘Last-Minute Bridesmaid’ is out in August.
So there is hope for procrastinators!

To discover even more about Nina Harrington, and to keep up with her latest projects and shenanigans, you can visit her at:
Facebook     Twitter     Website


  1. Nina's talk was so inspirational, I am definitely writing more efficiently thanks to her tips. (Though 6 books per year would still be beyond me...)

  2. I do wish I'd been at the conference to hear Nina's talk - but thank you for allowing Rachel to put this on her blog. Fantastic advice which I very badly need!

  3. I echo Johanna's comment.

    If Nina gives the talk again - sign up!

  4. This shows what can be done if we put our minds to it and it has made me think I must allocate my energy accordingly. An excellent blog. Thank you to Nina and to Rachel.

  5. Brilliant post, Nina and Rachel. And thank you very much for sharing those very simple but, I'm sure, very effective steps to avoid procrastinating. I'm going to print them out and stick then on my noticeboard :-)

  6. Hi, Rachel, nice to meet you at the conference. I missed Nina's session, so thanks you so much for repeating it here. Now I'd better get on with my writing!!