The Book of Me, Written by You


If you’re into journaling, writing memoir or genealogy then perhaps this might interest you…

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Good luck to Julie at Anglers Rest with this project. I’ll be taking part when I can πŸ™‚

If you want to join, you’ll need to be quick…it starts today!

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Insecure Writers Support Day – March


It’s the first Wednesday of the month, and you know what that means don’t you πŸ˜‰

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Many thanks, again, to the wonderful Alex J Cavanagh who created and hosts the blog hop πŸ™‚

Ok, so last month I was in a real state, suffering from Writers Block, big time! And, although I was able to establish why I was struggling (because it just wasn’t working), I couldn’t see a way out of it. Thank you so much for all your kind words of advice and support. It really helped me make the decision to start rewriting the WIP again (scrubbing the 25,000 words of rewrite number 2 and starting rewrite number 3) and it was the rewritten first 5000 words that I submitted for critique to my fellow students at Faber last Monday night.

At this point I’d just like to add that my class are 11 fellow students (plus my tutor) who are all, in my opinion, very talented writers. They come from different backgrounds (and countries in 3 cases), are different ages, different sexes, and write different genres. I value their opinions so much and respect their judgements. It’s probably one of the best parts of the course (although it doesn’t feel like it when you’re being critiqued lol), a pure emotional roller coaster, and possibly one of the bravest things I’ve ever done!

Anyway, back to my critique and how I’m feeling today… I had some very positive responses to my piece, but also lots of comments on the structure. When I started rewrite number 2 I decided that, as it was really Ruby and Laura’s story, I had to find a way to have Laura’s story from the past, running along side Ruby’s story from the present. I thought about doing part one then part two…..nah, boring. Then i thought about just having different chapters in a different time frame…..nah, that can be annoying lol. So i decided to go for the idea of having Laura’s journal. Cliched? Probably, but, I like reading novels that include letters and diary entries.

But there are a few problems in doing that.
1. Making sure that the two voices of Ruby and Laura are different (the journal is a younger Laura and then an older Laura appears later on, which complicates things even further).
2. Making the journal entries believable and not just sound like the narration of another story.
3. Deciding on how reliable Laura’s version of events really is.

So, yep, you guessed it….I failed on numbers 1 and 2 and hadn’t even considered number 3! Lol…back to the drawing board.

So now I have a page full of notes and ideas from class and 7,000 words that need sorting out (again) lol. But I’m ok about that. Everything they said made sense, and I can see a way forward now. I’ve just got to decide exactly how to structure it, and iron out the problems with voice (which I think is going to be the hardest! Haven’t I always said that I think all my characters sound like me lol). Lots to think about, decisions to be made, a new Synopsis to be written and then…..back to page one! (Which also needs to start somewhere else) Lol

Not good when I have so many deadlines looming 😦

So I guess today I’m feeling stressed…Stressed, but optimistic, panicked but positive. I beleive in this story. I believe in these characters. Perhaps I’m just not a good enough writer to give it the justice it deserves? My insecurities are what they’ve always been, am I good enough? Can I really do this?

And the hardest part is trying to kick those self doubts in to touch (you’ve all been there I know) and actually start writing again. Knuckle down and actually get on with it!

One day I’ll look back at all this and laugh….hopefully πŸ™‚

Are you feeling insecure about your writing today? Please share so that I know I’m not alone lol πŸ˜‰

IWSG – February – Confronting Writers Block


It’s Insecure Writers Support Group Day….and this month I really need a day to wallow πŸ˜‰

Huge thanks as ever to Alex J Cavanaugh for starting the group.

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I’m not a bragger…never have been, never will be…But, I have often said on my blog, and on others, that I don’t suffer from writers block (don’t you just hate writers who say that?) and I’m still of the opinion that it’s true, I don’t. I can always find something to write about. I’m never completely without words. But, I’ve recently discovered that there are several types of writers block (thank you Fred White) which has made me realise that actually, perhaps I do!

1. Procedural Blocks: Where you get to a point in your story and think what do I do now? And can’t figure out where to take the plot next.

2. Creativity Blocks: Lack of ideas (Mr White says this is the hardest to overcome, but I disagree – see above lol).

3. Psychological Blocks: Your inner critic is telling you you’re not good enough, your writing is crap and that you’ll never be published.

4. Distraction Blocks: Chores, friends, commitments, resulting in not being able to focus.

5. Procrastination Blocks: You find every excuse under the sun to put off the writing (probably because of number 3!).

So at the moment I seem to be suffering from number 3 😦 Mr Squiggle is definitely winning (you’ll need to read a previous post to know what I’m on about with Mr Squiggle lol).

The last week of January I was editing like a lunatic (the first 5000 words which will be my next submission for class) and I’ve subsequently discovered that I can’t write and edit at the same time, thats fair enough, lesson learnt. But…then I stopped editing, and I’ve hardly touched the WIP since. It’s like I’ve come up against a brick wall 😦

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I have over 25,000 words written now of The Last Word Cafe and I’m stuck! Good and proppa! It’s not that I don’t know where the story’s going, I do. It’s not because I’ve got to a hard bit, I haven’t. So what’s the problem? I have a synopsis, I know exactly where the story needs to go. So why can’t I write the damn thing? Is it because its a rewrite of the Nano 2010 novel that I started working on, then stuck in a drawer, then got out again, so I’m bored with it? Or does there just come a point when working on the same “story” for however many years just makes you worn out? And yes, I’m worn out. I have deadlines looming and need to have it completed by June (edited!).

At the weekend i printed off the whole lot and I’m reading through it. Trying to do a bit of planning, in the hopes that it inspires me. In the meantime, come on guys, I need a kick up the arse….how do I get back into it? It seems that I’ve had such a love/hate relationship with this novel over the last 2.2 years…I need to get it finished and put to bed for my own sanity lol

A Prompt A Day…..


A couple of months back I had the chance to see Ros Barber talk about her new book, The Marlowe Papers and hear her read some of her poetry. Wow! :o)

Ros runs a website with fellow writer Kate Marillat called Be The Writer You Dream Of Being and together they run writing courses and do talks. I can highly recommend it πŸ™‚

So when Kate requested that readers submit articles, I jumped at the chance (you know me, I do like to waffle on about writing stuff lol).

Head on over to Ros & Kate’s website to read my article, A Prompt A Day Keeps Writers Block Away where I talk about my experience of using writing prompts.

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Please leave a comment. Oh, and let me know what you thought of the article? πŸ™‚

The Secret to Generating New Ideas is Streetcombing


An e mail recently from Daring to Live Fully had me jumping up and down! Ok, not literally but you get the gist πŸ˜‰

The post talks about “Streetcombing” a system created/developed by Richard Stomp which is based on beach combing. Remember beach combing? You must have done that when you were a kid, hell, I still do it now! πŸ˜‰

Anyway, it’s aimed at the business world, but in my opinion, it works very well for us writers. But I’m afraid you will need to actually go out. That’s right, leave your desk! Yeah, I see ya, looking out of the window and shivering (well, thats you and me both here in the UK!). I wish I’d stumbled across this in the summer, sorry about that, but, if I’m game, I hope you are πŸ™‚

So once you’ve put your jumper on, got your brolley, get your camera and we’ll begin πŸ™‚

1. Go for a walk. Find an interesting street, preferably one with shops on.

2. Watch for anything that catches your eye. Have the mind of a child, be curious in everything.

3. Take photos of things you find interesting. Take lots of photos. Don’t ask yourself why you’re attracted to taking the photo of that old milk crate, not yet.

4. Go home, have a nice warm drink and upload your photos to your PC.

5. Look through the photos and ask yourself the following questions of each one:
What is the concept behind this photo?
Why did I take it?
What makes it interesting?

6. Take the concept you found and use it to start generating ideas, orrrrr for us writers, use the photo itself to generate a story/character idea.

If you’re not too sure what Mr Stomp means about concept, watch this video. It’s only 7 minutes long. I found the sound to be very quiet so you might have to max your volume.

Mr Stomp suggests you do this once a week, but I’m thinking once a month would be better for me πŸ™‚

Right at the end Mr Stomp says that the idea could be adapted into “Museumcombing” or “Supermarketcombing” etc. I’m just loving those ideas, the possibilities are endless!

So I will be Streetcombing at some stage when this rain stops (and after Nano lol) How about you? Fancy it?

The Long & The Short Of It – How Learning My Craft Has Changed My Life


Today, I’m guesting over at Sue Howe’s blog The Long and The Short Of It πŸ™‚

Sue asked me if I could do an article about writing workshops, classes and residential schools. I’m trying to convince her to come along to Swanwick you see πŸ˜‰

So here’s the start of the article…..to read more you’ll have to nip over to Sue’s gaff πŸ™‚

A huge thank you to Sue for inviting me onto her Blog today….I don’t think she realised that when I’m enthusiastic about something, I can ramble for hours!

So Sue’s asked me to convince her of the merits of creative writing courses, classes and workshops. I’m hoping that by the time she reads this she’ll be enrolling on everything she comes across!

My first experience of “creative writing” was a baptism of fire. I decided (through madness or stupidity, I still don’t know which) to accompany a friend to a course at our local Adult Education centre. I hadn’t written any fiction since leaving school (many, ahem, years ago) although I had been journal writing for several years. That was exactly 2 years ago this month, and it was one of the best decisions of my life! I’ll be honest; the course itself was a little boring. I found myself nodding off in several sessions! But somehow, through all the yawning something clicked. Something happened to me during that short course, and it’s been driving me on ever since.

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Please pop over to Sues blog to read the rest of the article, and leave a comment. Tell her Sue, you have to go to Swanwick next year! πŸ˜‰ Actually, thinking about it, you all have to come! πŸ˜‰

My Writers Block – I Love It!


I’ve found it, I’ve found it!

Ok, I guess I better explain πŸ˜‰

Do any of you remember my post back in May about Writers Block ? Well, the interesting thing about that post was where Laurie commented about her “writers block” πŸ™‚

I fell in love with this idea, and ever since I’ve had an eye out for something similar.

On my recent trip to Hay on Wye, I walked into a shop and there it was! A large piece of Welsh slate engraved with letters of the alphabet. The artist is Caitriona Cartwright who is a trained stone mason.

So I am now the proud owner of a “writers block” my “writers block” and it now sits with pride of place on my desk πŸ™‚

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I chose this particular design because I liked the way the letters looked like they were about to fall off the cube. It reminds me of how my mind feels sometimes lol. I have been picking it up and turning it over and over every time I need to think. It’s already become one of my favourite things πŸ™‚

Is there anything you like to have around you when you write?