Sunday, 24 September 2017

When is a word, not a word?

I envy writers who know how many words they have written over their career. I don't mean just the published ones, but the unpublished pieces too.

I often wonder how many I have written. Have I hit 1 million yet? Am I anywhere near that number?

There is no way of knowing, as I haven't ever kept a good enough log of my work.

But this is something I want to change. I am creating a spreadsheet, which I have copied from Simon Whaley and his book 'The Positively Productive Writer'. I will start being studious and filling it in every single day. My first goal? 1000 words. I will let you know when I hit that number!

On another note, The Positively Productive Writer is a must read. I highly recommend it, especially if you feel like you are not focusing. Mine is dog-eared now because I keep returning to it, and have been known to carry it in my handbag to keep me motivated!

But then the next question to ask is, when should a word be counted? For instance, typing this sentence, I deleted another one which was irrelevant. So that is minus. Now these sentences are plus. Once a word is written though, it is written, whether it gets deleted or not. In the end, it is all writing. And part of writing is editing. And editing is cutting, replacing, refining. So I may end up with less words than what I wrote originally, but they still count.

How many words have you written? Do you keep track?

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Successfully Failing

Writing is a tough business. Many overnight successes have been working hard at it for years, sometimes even decades.

Rejection is hard to take. However, I haven't been rejected recently. This isn't a good thing.

You see, to be rejected, you need to be sending work out into the world. I have had one success, which in all honesty wasn't down to hard work. It was down to a character pestering me to write about her. So I did. That piece of flash fiction is being published in an Anthology. (Get your copy here)

But I haven't been rejected in a long, long time. Because quite simply, I haven't been producing the work enough.

Now the kids are back at school, it can be a fresh start for me. My youngest is in school full time now, leaving me with 6 hours a day to write. I will build up slowly. I won't expect much from myself. But I will set goals. And maybe, just maybe, I will be rejected by Christmas.

Of course, I don't want my work to be rejected. I want everything I write to be accepted, published and paid for, but despite what you may have heard, I am totally insane! I know I will be rejected, and I hope I have the intelligence to learn from my mistakes.

But the only way to make it in this crazy writing world is to write. Because that is, after all, what writers do.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

The Notebook

Notebooks. Something that fills cupboards in my house, but rarely get used to their full potential.

As writers, we are told to carry a notebook on us at all times, so that we can capture ideas as and when they come to us. Now, there have been times where I have been caught out and needed to write something down, but generally, my notebook stays in my handbag, untouched. And when I do want to retrieve it, it is often covered in something sticky and funny coloured, and I end up throwing it away. Oh the joys of young children!

Perhaps this post should have been about how to transport your notebook. Any ideas for good ways, that keep them clean and free from sticky stuff?

Anyway, there are many different types of notebooks. I prefer hard backed, lined ones. Apparently Moleskine are supposed to be the best for us creative types, but I have never got on with them. I find the ink doesn't settle on the page well enough. Recently a Paperchase opened near me. I haven't had chance to visit yet, but I will! I want to have a look at their notebooks!

But for now, my notebook is a 69p one from Home Bargains. I will upgrade one day. I just need to get in the habit of recording ideas when they come to me. This is a practice I really want to learn.

Do you have any favourite notebooks? Are you good at writing in them? Or do they collect dust in a cupboard?

Wednesday, 6 September 2017


Today I am taking part in a Blog Hop, as part of the Insecure Writer's Support Group. If you would like to take part you can click on the image in the side bar, or click here.

The question is:

Have you ever surprised yourself with your writing? For example, by trying a new genre you didn't think you'd be comfortable in??

Yes. Very recently. As mentioned in my last blog post, I am being published in the Third Word Anthology, which is still available to buy here.

The piece that will be published is an 80 word piece of flash fiction. I wrote it as part of their free to enter competition. I didn't win the competition and thought nothing of it. I had never written flash fiction before that point.

However, on returning home from holiday, I went through all the e-mails that had accumulated. You know how it is.

I very nearly deleted the email from Third Word, but opened it. The subject was 'Congratulations'. That e-mail told me that the piece I had submitted had been chosen to be included in their next Anthology, and to send my bank details across for payment!

I re-read that e-mail about ten times. What? I am being published? And PAID for it?? Seriously, no!

I showed my fiancé, who said yes, most definitely I am being published AND paid for it!!

Cue a very ecstatic me.

Now, whenever I doubt the path I am taking as a writer, I have that acceptance e-mail to remind me that I am a writer, one that has something to say. And who knows? I might just have another go at writing Flash Fiction.

How about you? Have you surprised yourself? 

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Transformative Writing Challenge #1

Well it has been a few weeks since I last posted, and I am very sorry about that.

Anyway, I am here now.

Firstly, some good news! I will have a piece of flash fiction published in an anthology. You can order yours here, but hurry, they are only available to buy until August 21st 2017.

Now, I am going to explore something different. I found a blog recently and signed up to transform my writing. It is an 8 step process, which I joined after it finished, but it is on the blog so anyone can revisit. The first prompt is:

"In addition to writing, what else is important in your life?"

Well, as it turns out, quite a bit actually! As I write this, we are halfway through the Summer holidays. We have had a week away, and getting back into the swing of things. But this means that my children are not at school. They will not be back at school for another 4 weeks!! But they are important to me. I am their mum and I try to be the best I can be. A lot of the time, I fall short of that, but I'll always try.
Then there is my fiancé. We are getting married in about 11 weeks. Life is busy with wedding plans and trying to stay excited about it. Why is it that you lose the excitement? When did it become so stressful?
I enjoy a few crafty hobbies - knitting, crochet and cross stitch - but I haven't been doing much of any of those lately.
Lastly, I like running. I find it meditative. I have been unable to run for some time due to an excessively fast heart rate. Tomorrow I am going to see if it has calmed down. I am hoping so as I am missing the freedom running gives me. It is half an hour of pure me time. I don't think of anything else but the way my feet hit the ground and keeping my breathing steady.

These are the things that spring to mind in response to that prompt. How about you? What else is important to you besides writing?

Monday, 10 July 2017

This is MINE!

So I am still on the quest to find the perfect blogging style. Okay, maybe I am setting the bar too high, but seriously, I need to get this figured out!

So I have done some reading up on it. No, I am not SEO Optimising or anything like that. No adverts - at least not until my book is out!

But one thing I realised is that my reader engagement is low.

So, we either got off on the wrong foot, or I talk about me too much. Sadly, this post is going to be about me, but as a conversation starter, because I have no idea who 'you' are until you comment.

I read that blogging is like meeting a stranger in the street (or wherever you choose!). A stranger whom you have to talk to. The stranger has somehow come across your path, and you are trying to engage with them. Now, the thing about strangers is you don't know anything about them. Do they like sweet romance? Or bloody murder? Do they turn the air blue or say darn it?

In my experience, unless you are at a party or somewhere similar where you can't easily escape, a simple 'Hi' doesn't suffice. Now, this is the Internet. I could go all weird and say 'you have brown hair, a red top and a black Labrador panting in the sun on your patio in the background' - and undoubtedly one person will say 'Holy crap! How does she know that!' - but I can't see you, just like you can't see me. In the real world, when I come across a stranger (or they me) that I am willing to engage in conversation with, I pick something we can talk about. Their dog for instance, or how I have the exact same issue burying bodies in that spot but I can take you to a more suitable place, or where they get their hair done. You know, every day topics.

If you are here, you are either into writing, reading or both.

Over the coming months, I will be developing my true sense of voice. I hope it is quirky, mysterious and fun. But I don't know yet. But I haven't been 'myself'. That is both because of the medication and the rules.

So now, I am claiming this blog as my own. And I really would like you to say hi! And please, tell me why you came here, what interests you, and what you would like to read more of. I do aim to please, just don't ask me to kill your husband - that is always too obvious.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Branches and Roots

This is a very, very late post. Maybe the content will enlighten you.

I am a Christian who goes to church on an almost weekly basis. A couple of Sunday's ago, we had a visiting preacher from a nearby church. Having not heard her before, except once and I couldn't quite remember, I was dubious about the sermon.

She couldn't have had more of my attention! I could have sat and listened for hours as it seemed she spoke to me, and only me. With her talking, I was the only one in the room!

This is what she had to say, and it is relevant to Christians and non-Christians alike.

There is a group who write and perform songs based on our religion. The singer is called Mark Hall and he has written a book called 'Thrive'. I have yet to read this book, but what that preacher told us has made me want to buy it.

In the book he talks about a tree. There is a tree he takes his youth group to, and discusses how the tree has branches and leaves, and how the roots below the ground, those that we cannot see, are as deep and wide as the tree. The reason for this is that if they weren't, the tree would topple over in the breeze. Makes sense, right?

He then goes on to talk about OUR roots and branches. He describes our branches as us reaching out to others, doing things for others, and basically being selfless. The roots are us looking after ourselves, reading His Word, and just renewing ourselves. As for the tree, if we don't take care of our roots, the smallest thing could knock us over flat on our face. But if we don't reach out, what would be the point in those roots?

Like the tree, where the beautiful green pleases us and helps us live, we have to show the world we are here, and support each other. Like the tree frequently drinks the water, so we must frequently renew our spirit.

I guess it is a poetic way of talking about a life balance. But it really spoke to me. And made me realise my roots are in desperate need of watering!

How about you? Are you roots and branches doing just great? Or does some of your tree need attention?