Browsed by
Category: Productivity

Do You … Evernote?

Do You … Evernote?

As writers, we’re constantly collecting ideas, undertaking research, and filing useful website addresses for future use. What we need is a big bucket. However, no matter how big your bucket is, we need to be able to get stuff out again for it to be of any use. My bucket is Evernote (https://evernote.com), which I’ve been using for more than a year now. It allows users to create notebooks, and put as many sheets, or notes, inside each of those…

Read More Read More

Crystal Clear

Crystal Clear

Making A Point: The Pernickety Story of English Punctuation, by David Crystal Crystal clear: thats what the rules of punctuation are not. But David Crystal’s journey through the history of punctuation is, and this guide not only clarifies when is the right time to use a specific punctuation mark but it also explains the history of how these marks came into existence. It also clarifies why confusion reigns about usage. Do you remember being taught that you used a comma…

Read More Read More

Creative Equilibrium

Creative Equilibrium

I’ve just come back from a week’s break in the Lake District, and now I’m raring to go (which is good, because I’ve lots to do). But it reminded me of a comment I heard in a podcast by author Joanna Penn, who spoke about Creative Equilibrium. The idea behind it is a simple one: balance.

The Geology of Writing

The Geology of Writing

What’s writing got to do with geology? Well, it’s all to do with prioritisation and focus. I did this as an exercise, last week, at one of the writers’ groups I go to, and it’s a great way of showing how important it is having your writing projects correctly prioritised. First you have time, represented by this jar:

Products

Products

Two weeks ago I mentioned that the follow up to my short story collection (Ten Teatime Tales) was in production, now that some of the stories I wanted to include in it are now out of their exclusivity period. Well, I’m pleased to say that Ten Teatime Tales 2 (it took me months to come up with that title) is now available. (Just in time for all of those new electronic reading devices that will be unwrapped in a couple of weeks…

Read More Read More

Curveballs

Curveballs

Sometimes, things don’t always go to plan. Last week, having been on a press trip for a magazine on the Saturday, I had planned on spending the week writing up my notes and transcribing the audio interview, as well as processing the photos and creating the first draft of the article. But that’s not quite how things panned out … My left eye didn’t feel quite right on Monday morning, so I saw my GP. He referred me to an…

Read More Read More

OctoWriMo?

OctoWriMo?

Has anyone signed up for NaNoWriMo yet (National Novel Writing Month)? For those of you who don’t know, this is where writers set themselves the challenge of writing 50,000 words of their novel during the month of November. (That’s an average of 1,667 words a day.) If you’re not used to writing big projects, this can be a great way to get started. Your aim is just to get 50,000 words written. They don’t have to be great words. They’re not perfect…

Read More Read More

Avoiding Predictability

Avoiding Predictability

Caroline recently got in touch with me enquiring about how to improve the endings of her short stories. She says she often gets great comments about her stories, but her endings let her down. They are too predictable. This is a common theme found in many rejection letters. In fact, it could be argued that editors need to come up with a less predictable way of saying our stories have predictable endings!

Creative Hoarding

Creative Hoarding

Are you a creative hoarder? At this year’s Writers’ Holiday, in Fishguard, novelist Marina Oliver gave an interesting talk about why writers shouldn’t throw anything away. She explained how she’s developed ideas for certain markets, only for them to disappear, for one reason or another, leaving her with a piece of writing she’d created but nowhere to place it. But then, several years later, often when she least expected it, an opportunity arose and she was able to dust it…

Read More Read More

Thinking Time

Thinking Time

Do you take time out to think? I don’t mean sitting around waiting for the Muse to strike. I mean making the effort to sit down, with a project or idea in mind, and working out how to develop it? I think writers get used to thinking all of the time, and so we become blasé about it. It develops into one of those activities we do while doing something else: washing up, cutting the grass, going for a walk…

Read More Read More

Twenty Words

Twenty Words

“Do you write every day?” a student asked, when they emailed their latest assignment. “Yes,” I replied. “I wish I had the time to sit down and write every day. But some days I barely get ten minutes to myself.”

Writers’ Groups

Writers’ Groups

Two weeks’ ago I blogged about Rowling’s Rejections (I’m making the most of this blog post, aren’t I?). And, if I’m honest, there’s one comment in one of her rejection letters that really annoys me. It’s a phrase I’ve seen in many publisher and literary agent rejection letters (and I’ve certainly had a few of those over the years). It usually goes along the lines of recommending the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook, and then suggests joining a writers’ group. There…

Read More Read More

Giving Up

Giving Up

Last week I blogged about JK Rowling’s rejection letters and her (and the rejecting publisher’s) encouragement to never give up. My post fell into the timeline of a writing facebook friend who was currently in a ‘giving up’ mood. It was interesting reading the comments and support from her other friends. One mentioned how she too felt like giving up, but hadn’t and had just won a national writing competition. Another explained how only we are capable of telling our…

Read More Read More

Rowling’s Rejections

Rowling’s Rejections

On 25th March, JK Rowling tweeted a photo of two rejections she received , when writing as Robert Galbraith. She’d already had her Harry Potter success, so this was her starting again from scratch, in a completely different market. (As she mentions in her tweet, she’s removed the names from the letters to save embarrassment, and because she’s not publishing them for revenge, but to answer a request from a writer asking to see some of her rejection letters http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-35899243.)

Testing, Testing, 1 … 2 … 3

Testing, Testing, 1 … 2 … 3

Good morning, everyone. I do hope you can hear me okay. Yes, you read that correctly. I am talking to you. Or rather, I am sitting here at my desk talking to my computer. (The best thing about this is it doesn’t answer me back!) And, I have to say, I am impressed by the accuracy of the dictation software. I have always known that my computer has dictation software pre-installed, but I have never had a need to use…

Read More Read More