Sunday, 26 March 2017

Happy Mother's Day

Here in the UK, today is Mother's Day.

I have noted over the years I have been a mother, that Mother's Day always falls on the Sunday of the weekend that the clocks go back an hour. Why is that? Are we not exhausted enough?

Anyway, I don't personally expect anything special. Maybe a chance to relax, watch films with the kids (would be ace), and just enjoy their company. I am very lucky to be a mother, and every day I am treated wonderfully by the two children who are at home with me.

The other morning, my youngest told me, unprompted, that I was the best mum in the world. She is always saying nice things to people. The first time she meets someone, she will always find something nice to say about them. When returning from school with her big brother and a friend of his, when his friend also said bye to her, she said that the friend was very kind.

My boy is just as wonderful. If I am stressed out, he will get the candles on. He may not say he loves me often, or that I am a great mum, but he shows me in the little things he does.

My children are very lovely. I will have a wonderful Mother's Day, simply because I am their mum.

I am also a mum of angels. I know there are many mums out there who do not get to hold their child. Or maybe they are one child missing. That is a pain that is indescribable. The what ifs, and if onlys. But those women still see themselves as mothers. It is possible to love a child no longer living. I remember my first born, who died at 20 weeks, most days. I look at my children who are here with me, and I am as grateful for them as I am for her.

So, no matter what kind of mother you are, Happy Mother's Day. Go put your feet up. You deserve it.

Sunday, 19 March 2017

How To Be A Better Reader

Do you want to read more? Be a better writer? Or just have a plan?

Then plan your reading!

Develop a reading strategy that will make the most of your time and help you develop as a writer.

Choose 24 Books

I had a 12 writing book goal at the beginning of the year. That is to read 12 books on the subject of writing. I am going to put another 12 on top of that, but fiction. You could choose 24 non-fiction or fiction, or just mash them up at whatever takes your fancy. That works out at roughly 2 per month - if we had started in January. But I am sure it is still doable.


Read some books in your genre, some outside your genre, read old books, read brank new books, read obscure books, read Pulitzer Prize books.

Don't Read

Don't read more than 2 books at a time. Any more than that, and whilst you might retain some info, if you want to check a fact or something, you might forget which book it was in.


Write a list of all the books you want to read. Pick 24 for 2017. Whenever a new book comes that you must read, add it to your long 'master' list, and you can read it in 2018 (or 2019 if your list is as long as mine no doubt will be!)

Imagine - do this every year and in 3 years time you will have read 72 books!! That is a lot of books.

Write down what you liked about a book. What you hated. Could you have written it better? How did it help you?

Then write your own story.

Now, don't think that 24 is the only number you can use. I know some who get through a book in a week. So add to it if you think you can. But remember that reading should be as much a joy as it is about learning.

And one tip I picked up, is to read 10 pages a day. I know, it sounds silly. But if I use the excuse 'I don't have time' (and we all know THAT excuse), I would never read again (well, I would but not as much as I'd like). So if you find yourself muttering those words when it comes to your reading, just read 10 pages. It doensn't take long, even for slow readers like me.

How do you go about reading? Anything to add? I would love to hear from you!

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Being Inspired

This week as I turned up at the computer to write this blog post, I was uninspired. So I read chapter three in 'On Being A Writer', which is about surrounding yourself with things that enrich the writing life that each of us lead. I felt overwhelmed at the idea. I came to the conclusion that what I need is lists and organisation.


I am a list person. I love two books by Simon Whaley: The Positively Productive Writer and Wunderlist for Writers. As you can tell, these probably hold the answers that I need. But I find that if I spend all my time writing and reading, I don't want to know about it any more!

I like to switch off. I find that I don't switch off when I read. My mind is always working. I am often inspired. I then find myself inundated with things to do. But if I just stopped a minute, and wrote a list, and organised myself, perhaps I could then see the wood for the trees.

I know that I have sort of rambled and veered off from what I originally intended. Perhaps I can make it full circle by saying that perhaps I need to surround myself with organised people and read organisation books, and then maybe my writing will be more organised. Because right now, all I know is that I turn up every day, without much time to mull over ideas beforehand, and just do my best.

Do you have any tips? Do you surround yourself with things that inspire you?

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Reality Check

A couple of weeks ago, I discussed what my ideal writing day would look like. I promised to tell you what my real writing day looks like, and you will see that it is rather different!

My days start with me pressing snooze on my alarm more times than I can count in that sleep deprived state. My alarm is set for 6:45am but you will unlikely see me before 7:15am. Then I stumble into the kitchen and switch the kettle on, whilst preparing smallest’s breakfast. I pour a cup of boiling water – intentionally, I haven’t forgotten to add coffee – and sit and attempt to hear the news over smallest’s incessant chatting between mouthfuls. If boy isn’t up by the end of the regional news, I go wake him. He gets up and gets his own breakfast before getting ready for school. Then I can get rid of him. Once he is gone it is time for coffee and to get dressed.

Then I clean, and just be mum to smallest. Then it is time for smallest to eat lunch and to get ready for nursery. When I have dropped her off, I get home and have my lunch, meaning I don’t sit to write until about 1:30pm. Then at 2:30pm I have to wrap it up and prepare to collect smallest from nursery. We get back about 4pm, then it is time for tea, bath and bed by 7pm. If I haven’t done all I need, or it is a Wednesday (which is #writingchat 8-9pm GMT on Twitter if you are interested), then I will get it down. I try and be fully finished no later than 8:30pm.

So I manage one or two hours writing a day. But you will be surprised just what can be achieved in that time!

Soon, my days will change slightly, as him indoors has a new job with a different working pattern. But I don’t think it will change too much.

So there you have it! You can see how my perfect and real days are very, very different. I must say, writing this has been a joy. I may not have much time to write, but I love my family, and they are worth it.