18 Feb 2015

Don’t Be Bonkers – Backup!

How often should we backup our work?  Obviously businesses tend to take this seriously and have backup systems in place.  But what about those of us who work at home?  Do we have good backup routines?  Do we take the value of our work seriously enough? I’ve never quite sussed my personal backup plan.  After all, it’s *just* my writing, isn’t it?  For awhile I got into a habit of copying…

04 Feb 2015

Competitions – Everyone’s A Winner!

Competitions.  I’ve never been a big fan of them.  Mainly, I think, because hundreds or even thousands of people can enter them, but there’s (usually) only one winner.  So, you have one person who’s feeling on top of the world and another 99+ who feel like losers.  So imagine my surprise to find myself spending most of January preparing my WIP for not one, but two, competitions. If you approach…

22 Jan 2015

The Three Rules For Writing A Novel

So, having thought about and dreamt about being a writer for weeks/months/years, you finally decide to get on and do it.   But once you’ve decided to write, how do you decide what and how to write? "There are three rules for writing a novel. Unfortunately, no one knows what they are.”  W. Somerset Maugham Much as I love this quote – and its underlying message that writing rules can be vague…

07 Jan 2015

STOP Dreaming About Being A Writer

Happy 2015!  I bet that within the millions of New Year’s Resolutions made so far this new year, there are at least some that go like this: “This year I will start writing that book I’ve been thinking about.” “This year I will write more of that book I made a bit of a start on last year/the year before last/several years ago.” My advice to anyone who nods in…

16 Dec 2014

Going Off-Piste and Getting Dramatic

When you’re pursuing a goal it’s important to focus and press on hard towards it.  But sometimes going slightly off-piste on the journey can also be valuable. Unsurprisingly, my ADD tendencies are very happy with this approach, as is my contrary nature!  In order to improve my Young Adult writing, I could just pursue opportunities and courses related to YA.  However, that’s not always the best way to move forward….

02 Dec 2014

The Waiting Game

Waiting.  When people talk about the skills you need as a writer, the ability to wait well is never mentioned. I HATE waiting.  Like really hate it.  There aren’t many things in life I hate.  Liquorice is the only other one that comes to mind. *shudder* Waiting in queues is a particular nightmare.  I can feel my life slipping away when I’m standing there.  And I have an uncanny ability…

25 Nov 2014

Finally, the Tale of my Self-Diagnosed Attention Deficit Disorder!

I love personality quizzes.  They’re fun and although most aren't scientifically sound, they can be quite enlightening. The most serious one I’ve done is Belbin’s Team Roles.  How liberating it was to discover that I wasn’t supposed to be great at ALL those functions!  I can’t remember exactly what I did come out as (Monitor Evaluator and Co-ordinator probably), but I know that I definitely wasn’t  a Completer Finisher.  The…

18 Nov 2014

Beta-Readers and the Feedback Balancing Act

As soon as you tell people that you’ve finished the first draft of a manuscript, their inevitable question is “when can I read it?”.  The truthful answer – which always seems to surprise them – is “when it’s published” which still won't be for months/years.  Most people seem to think that as soon as a book is written, it’s ready. If only that were true!  The editing process almost always takes…

11 Nov 2014

Take A Break If You Want To Create

Holidays are usually the highlight of my year.  That’s not to suggest my life in between holidays is anything less than interesting, fun and challenging (in a good way!), but holidays are awesome. No matter what you can afford in terms of time or money, holidays – breaks from “normality” – are incredibly important.  Even just the act of getting on a train or plane and going anywhere is like…

27 Oct 2014

The Magic of Books – Inspiring and Instructing

“What an astonishing thing a book is. It's a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles. But one glance at it and you're inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you. Writing is perhaps the greatest of human…