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 I don't mean just the published ones, but the unpublished pieces too.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?