Writing Blogger Challenge Day 4


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Day 4’s prompt is:

Profile 3 to 5 top writing craft books

Ok, I’m going to talk about the ones I’ve read.

My favourite all time writing book is The Writers Book Of Days by Judy Reeves. What can I say about this book that I haven’t already said (see my prompt a day 2012 tab above). This book is an excellent companion for any writer, but especially for those just starting out who need practice. I’m a big believer in the the more you write the better you write. This book helped me improve my writing ten fold πŸ™‚

The 5 Minute Writer by Margret Geraghty was the first writing book I ever read. I loved this because it showed me that there is no such thing as “I don’t have time to write” πŸ˜‰ The exercises are thought provoking and can be done in 5 minutes.

And lastly, no writers collection would be complete without at least one book by Natalie Goldberg. I have read Writing Down The Bones and then recently Wild Mind which were both inspiring. Ms Goldberg is a huge believer in writing practice (as are the other 2 writers above) and her books tell of her personal writing journey interspersed with exercises.

I’m a journal writer, it’s what started me on my writing journey (thanks Julia Cameron), so at the moment I’m reading A Voice of Her Own (Women and the journal writing journey) by Marlene A. Schiwy which is absolutely fascinating, and includes extracts from famous female authors journals/diaries. I think it’s important to keep writing, even if you’re not in the mood to write fiction, even if you’re suffering from writers block. Forming the habit of writing every single day is the best piece of advice I’ve ever been given πŸ™‚

So tell me, what is your favourite writing book? Do you tend to go for a certain type, like I do?

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Inspiring? Moi?


Firstly, a HUGE apology….I’m behind with blog reading (haven’t read any this week. But, at the moment I just can’t focus). Today, as you read this, I’ll be in London, doingl my pitch at Faber & Faber to a room full of agents. I’ve been a nervous wreck all week! Will catch up with what you’ve all been up to over the weekend, I promise πŸ™‚

The lovely Katie over at The Intrinsic Writer has nominated me for the Inspiring Blog Award. Thank you so much honey πŸ™‚

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The rules are:
1. Display award image on your blog page
2. Link back to the person who nominated you
3. State what inspires you
4. Nominate 5 others for this award
5. Notify said bloggers

So what inspires me?
Talking to other writers.
Art galleries & museums.
Sitting on the sand/pebbles at the beach and staring out to sea.
Walking in the woods surrounded by trees.
Using brightly coloured pens in my notebooks.
YouTube!
Visiting historic houses.
Sunny days.
Natalie Goldberg, Judy Reeves & Julia Cameron.
Reading great books/writers.
New experiences.
People watching in coffee shops.
Great cpnversation.

The blogs I nominate for this award are:
Sarah Potter
Linda King
Edith at In A Room Of My Own
Sara Kjeldsen
The Write Romantics

Then the wonderful Rustic Recluse nominated me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award….thank you πŸ™‚

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This one is where I have to state 7 things about myself, but, I’m gunna ask you guys to do the work…..Ask me a question…if there’s more than 7 I’ll still answer, promise πŸ˜‰

And the 7 bloggers I nominate for this one are:

Rose Anderson
Magdalena Vandenberg
Nicky Wells
Karen at Karcherry
Catherine Johnson
Debbie at The Wicked Queens Mirror
Sue at Sassy Speaks

Please take a moment to check out all these wonderful bloggers. Now, who has the first question? Ooooo, I’m nervous lol

Mini Writing Retreats


The hubster plays a lot of chess. Matches for his club and our County which often take him to exotic destinations such as Hastings! Lol. My overseas readers probably won’t get that joke so I apologise…just Google Hastings πŸ˜‰

I’ve been going through the calendar and it seems that on the following dates I will be home alone all day!

Saturday 12th January
Saturday 26th January
Saturday 2nd March
Saturday 24th March

I could just potter around, do a bit of housework, scrub the bath, catch up with some decluttering perhaps? Nah! Sod that! I’m going to have some Mini Writing Retreats πŸ™‚ Ok, when you think of a writing retreat you think about going away somewhere, but, there’s nothing to stop you having one at home πŸ™‚ As Judy Reeves says “Consider that a writing retreat is not necessarily a place, but a concept.” Good old Judy, I love her πŸ™‚

A mini retreat can just be a day out of your normal life, where you just do what you want to do (writing wise), without all the pressure of home and family stuff. Ok, yes, I know I’m lucky. My kids aren’t little, they don’t need my constant care and attention. So if you have little kids get their dad to take them out, for the whole day! πŸ˜‰

I did a couple last year and they’re great fun! Here’s what you do:

1. Gather together supplies. We’re talking chocolate, cake, Pringles, hot chocolate (these are just some of my faves by the way, but you’ve probably got your own). Alcohol is probably strumming it a bit, you don’t want to end up falling asleep at the keyboard πŸ˜‰

2. Plan in advance what you’re going to write. Personally I like to use prompts. Why? Because I use my mini retreat days almost like a day of practice. A chance to get away from the project I’ve been working on for the last 3 months, allowing my creative juices to flow and my muse to be inspired.

3. Wave bye to the kids/husband/wife, shut the door and turn off the phone and computer. As far as the world is concerned you’re on retreat so don’t use it as a day for surfing the web, catching up with blogs or FaceBooking. No no no. If you really were on retreat, with no internet access, no phone reception, people wouldn’t be able to get hold of you then would they? So don’t let them now. Remember, mentally you are un-contactable πŸ˜‰

4. Dress comfortably and start writing! And munching πŸ˜‰ Simples!

My final tip for a mini retreat is to get yourself a copy of this baby!

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Inside is a selection of cards each listing 20 prompts on different themes πŸ™‚

Nooooo, don’t be silly, I’m not going to list some of them here, that wouldn’t be very fair on Judy now would it. But, if you really do fancy giving it a go, e mail me and I’ll help you out with some ideas….but I won’t reply today as I’m on retreat πŸ˜‰

And that’s it! πŸ™‚ I’m excited already! Poor hubby, he feels bad leaving me on my own all day on a weekend. I’ll cope I say with pouting lip as I push him out the door *sniggers* πŸ˜‰

Fancy joining me? Have you ever had mini retreats?

The Daily Writer & A New Challenge


Firstly, my apologies…..I am so behind with blog reading (about 3 days) but I will catch up over the weekend, I promise πŸ™‚

On the 31st December I am due to finish using Judy Reeves book, A Writers Book Of Days which has been my companion throughout 2012. I’m a firm believer in a daily writing practice and I have no hesitation in saying that using Judy’s book has improved my writing ten fold. Yes, it’s been hard work at times. There have been days when I really haven’t felt like writing, there have been days when the prompt given didn’t really inspire me. But I still did it, and have written a piece for every single prompt in the book (well, ok, it’s not the 31st yet, but do you honestly think I’ll give up now? Lol). There are about 400 prompts in the book (the 365 plus bonus ones) and if you average it out as 500 words per prompt, plus my Nano work I reckon that in 2012 I wrote, approximately….220,000 words! πŸ™‚

It was only after Nano that I realised that the book was actually coming to an end. When I turned that page and saw December. Now, I could just start all over again on January the 1st, but that’s not really a challenge is it? I want something new, something different. So, I’ve decided that during 2013 I will be working with this.

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The Daily Writer by Fred White looks brilliant! I’m so excited to be starting another year round challenge (I don’t make life easy for myself do I?). I’m hoping there will be lots of inspiring ideas in this one that I can share πŸ™‚

But to keep me on track with the WIP (The Last Word Cafe) I’ve joined Sally Quilfords 100K in 100 Days challenge. Which is to write 1000 words a day every day…piece of cake after Nano right? πŸ˜‰ I did it last year but didn’t keep track of how many words I wrote every day, (and this year Sallys set up a FaceBook group!) so I’ll be more aware of my word count πŸ™‚ It’s so hard when you hand write a lot though….so 2013 will see me using the MacBook Air for all my writing. I will kind of miss my notebooks, but I’m sure I’ll be able to fill them with lots of other stuff πŸ™‚

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Fancy joining me this year? committing to writing daily?

Beautiful Blogger = Beautiful Books


Happy Halloween by the way πŸ™‚

I’ve been nominated by Pat Wood and by Marina at Writing is Hard Work for the Beautiful Blogger Award πŸ™‚ Thank you both, so much! πŸ™‚

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So the rules are that I share 7 things about myself and then pass this award on…. Ok, well, you know me, I do like to break the rules, so, I’m going to recommend 7 books that I think should be on every writers book shelf πŸ™‚

I apologise now that all these links are for the UK.

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The Artists Way by Julia Cameron is the book that started me on my writing journey.

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The Writers Book of Days has been brilliant. I can’t tell you how much I’ve loved this book! It’s been my bible and constant companion since the 1st January of this year. It has encouraged me to write every single day and I will feel bereft without it come the 1st January 2013

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The 5 Minute Writer by Margaret Geraghty was the first ever “writing” book I used. I loved all the exercises, and the concept that you only need 5 minutes.

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The Writers Treasury of Ideas by Linda Lewis is fabulous for generating story ideas. Trust me, if you have this book, you will never be stumped for a story idea, ever again!

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Writing Down The Bones by Natalie Goldberg. I’m reading it now and loving it! Actually, any Natalie Goldberg you can get your hands on is a great investment.

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If you’re into writing romance you can’t go far wrong with Mary Wibberly’s To Writers With Love which, unfortunately is out of print now. It’s a little bit dated, but still very valuable. I love it! We said to Mary at Swanwick in August that she should urge the publishers to republish it. We’ll work on her next year πŸ˜‰

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Last, but by no means least (and for all you Kindle lovers) The Emotion Thesaurus by Angela Ackerman & Becca Puglisi. What can I say about this book….BRILLIANT! I am almost tempted to tell you to buy a Kindle for this book alone! But it’s fine on an iPad, or PC/Laptop. An invaluable guide for all fiction writers πŸ™‚

So there we have it. My top 7 writing books πŸ™‚ I’m sure there are many other great books out there, but these are the ones I own and love πŸ™‚ If you have a favourite writing book that’s not on my list please let me know, I’m always open to recommendations. *whispers* I can hear hubby grinding his teeth and thinking more books…more money he he he πŸ˜‰

Now, onto the nominations! πŸ™‚

I’m going to nominate…..
Heather James
Marina at Finding Time To Write
Bridget Whelan
Bel Anderson
Debbie at The Wicked Queens Mirror
Katherine at The Intrinsic Writer
Lanise at The Timekeepers Journal

Please check out all these lovely bloggers πŸ™‚

Sooooo, tomorrow is the 1st of November *gulp* and the start of Nano!!!!! Good luck to everyone who’s participating! πŸ™‚

The Booker Award


The lovely Whitney over at A Serendipitous Happenstance and the lovely Anneli at Words From Anneli have both nominated me for The Booker Award πŸ™‚

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This is a new one I’ve only started seeing recently so I’ll give it a go πŸ˜‰

The rules for the booker are to list your 5 favourite books:

1. Emotional Geology by Linda Gillard

2. Into The Darkest Corner by Elizabeth Haynes

3. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

4. Slammerkin by Emma Donoghue

5. The Writers Book of Days by Judy Reeves

And then pass it on…..

Liz at Libro Full Time
Rebecca at Novel Girl
Ali at HeavelAli
Nicky Wells
Joanne Phillips

If I didn’t tag you, but you want to take part, please feel free πŸ™‚ Tell me in the comments, what are your favourite books?

I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar


I read a book entitled that once, but anyway…

Thanks to Amy at Tao Te Ching Daily who posted a comment on my Celebrating Bloggers post a couple of days ago, there will be 2 posts today πŸ™‚

Now, I don’t normally, as you know, but, I really enjoy these Blog Hops, I love the whole idea that people all around the world are blogging about the same thing, on the same day. So if you ever hear of any others, do let me know πŸ™‚

Today’s Blog Hop is Celebrating Womanhood and is being hosted by the Living, Learning and Loving Life Blog which I’ve never come across before. What a great title for a Blog eh? πŸ˜‰ I’ll definitely be subscribing!

Celebrating

So the whole idea is that you can write about anything, as long as it celebrates women. So after some thought I decided to tell you about a woman who inspired me πŸ™‚

There have been many woman who have inspired me over the years (unfortunately NOT a mother or big sister, but we wont go down that road lol). The first two who spring to mind are Julia Cameron, (it was thanks to discovering Julia’s work that I picked up a pen after, ooooo, I won’t tell you how many years lol) and Judy Reeves (who is most undoubtedly responsible for my love of writing at this present moment in time). But, one woman, who’s story truly captivated me when I first heard about it (just as i was embarking on my writing journey) was Erin Gruwell.

Name not familiar? Ok, what about The Freedom Writers Foundation or The Freedom Writers Diary ? No? Ok, my last attempt to jog your memory…. Freedom Writers the film starring Hilary Swank, with me now? Finally lol πŸ˜‰

If none of the above makes any sense whatsoever please do check out the links. In the meantime, I’ll fill in the details…..

In 1994 Erin Gruwell was a new English teacher at a High School in California, assigned a class of “unteachable, at-risk” students. One day in class she discovered a note on which had been scribbled a racial insult and told her class that it was the kind of thing that led to the Holocaust (which most of the kids had never heard of!). The class then embarked on a study of Anne Franks diary, which led to the students seeing the parallels to their own lives. Gruwell gave them notebooks to use as journals, where they could record their own thoughts and feelings and they dubbed themselves “The Freedom Writers” after the civil rights activists the Freedom Riders. With funds the class raised themselves they managed to arrange for Miep Gies, the brave Dutch woman who sheltered the Frank family, to visit them in California.

Gruwell’s troubled teens turned into productive adults, some of them going into the teaching profession themselves. They now have the Freedom Writers Foundation to help share the methods Gruwell used with her students to other teachers and they have toured the world sharing the message of writing, which can lead to tolerance and empowerment.

It’s an inspiring story of “how a teacher and 150 teens used writing to change themselves and the world around them.” I was so captivated by the whole thing that I joined the web site, made a donation, and bought a handful of pens πŸ™‚

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I have one pen left now *sobs* but every time I write with it I think about those kids, inspired by one woman. Erin Gruwell, I wish I’d had a teacher like you, perhaps I would have started writing in my teens πŸ™‚ I’m so glad there are women, teachers like Erin Gruwell out there who are encouraging kids to write, and that my friends is awesome! πŸ™‚

Who are the women that you take inspiration from?