Writing Talk NOT MENU 1

Resources For Writers 23 November 2014

The publishing industry is changing quicker than the speed of light, there are multiple platforms on which to launch your work, and some days it’s hard enough just keeping yourself motivated and getting the words on the page – let alone keeping up to date with all the nitty-gritty goings-on of the indie world.

But what’s so nice about the independent community is the mindset that information is for sharing, which means there are some great resources out there for writers, written by writers. They’ve tried it and worn the t-shirt,and they’re happy to share the gruesome details.

One of my newest discoveries is written by Rachel Aaron, it’s a short and sweet little gem that literally does what it says on the cover. I doubled my word count. That’s worth 5 stars.

2k to 10k: Writing Faster, Writing Better, and Writing More of What You Love

My next little gem is currently being sold as a boxed set, and it’s so much cheaper than buying the books individually – The set is written by a group of people who I follow through twitter and blogging, and in truth I bought the boxed set because it was so well priced and I was curious about their product. Their product is good. Very good – the advice is current, the writing style is slick and crisp, and they are working hard to understand the independent industry and pass that knowledge along. (this book is no longer available as boxed set, and must be bought individually)

Write. Publish. Repeat. (The No-Luck-Required Guide to Self-Publishing Success) (The Smarter Artist Book 1)

Business For Authors. How To Be An Author Entrepreneur

Let’s Get Digital: How To Self-Publish, And Why You Should: Updated Second Edition (Let’s Get Publishing Book 1)

Now, I’m a big advocate of podcasts – I like how the conversation centres on writing, (I listen to them when the house is empty as I tend to mutter along like a crazy-person, but that’s ok. I think.)

If you’re looking for concise, professional information, delivered with a smile and a personal touch Joanne Penn is for you. She’s been podcasting for over 200 episodes and her website is fantastic, full of hints and tips.


Similar to Joanna is the Rocking Self Publishing Podcast, voiced by the equally British Simon Whistler. His website has brilliant video’s (via youtube), on creating an author platform and super podcasts that are on topic. Both Simon and Joanna always have guests from within the writing world.


Joanna and Simon are great, I can’t recommend them enough. However… if you fancy something a little more sweary, hosted by 3 grown men that can act a little like naughty boys, then Johnny, Sean and Dave will be perfect for you. I love their podcast, it takes them 20 minutes (sometimes more) to get ‘on topic’, and they’re friends, so there’s a fair amount of slapstick between them – but, and it’s a big but – they are grafting, hard – turning out hundreds of thousands of words. They are writing across genres, sharing every triumph and mistake – and it’s entertaining.


Although all of these podcasters are Independent authors, there is invaluable information for writers of all walks. But for those that are more focused on the algorithms of Amazon and how to launch your first book, then Lindsay Buroker’s blog will have a glut of fact. (Lindsay has just written a new line of books under a pen name and done a cold launch – her write-up is full of interesting facts and stats.)


Happy listening & reading.

A Writers (re)Treat    9th September 2014

On friday I went on my first writers retreat. My first one – I shouldn’t have waited so long.The Witterings

I programmed the address into my satnav, and only got lost once – this is a self-congratulatory event for me; i’m geographically challenged. I was battling stress at running late as the school run was more fraught than normal – I shouldn’t have worried at all. I arrived to find the familiar faces of some of my Writer’s group comfortably sat round a lovely big table, stacked with brewing tea and delicious treats, with a vacant seat that waited for me. The weather had been kind and was warm, so all the windows were open letting the scent of the sea fill the room. Our host, Philippa, was happy and friendly, and nothing was too much trouble. She organised us — not any easy thing to do with a gaggle of writers — and took us on a walk of discovery. The Witterings is a beautiful place, one of my favourites, and I couldn’t wait for the wide open land and seascapes to fire my imagination. . .

We went on a twisty turney walk down to the shore, with pens and notepads in hand. Seagulls, waves, and dog walkers with wet dogs littered the beach. We moseyed back to the house and were left to wallow in our thoughts. We were watered, fed and inspired. We shared our words, and our laughter and I cannot imagine a better way to spend time.

For my own writing, I found myself dazzled by the sea. My mind was swept away by the rhythmical ocean. I clicked away with my camera, and enjoyed soaking up the buzz that is generated when surrounded by writers.

A day in the life of a Writer 11th August 2014

(This blog is also available as audio, via Soundcloud)

I get the children up,

I must write.

I go to work,

I must write.

I cook diner,

I shower,

I make phone calls, sort paperwork,

And still, I must write.

On goes the mantra; I have no time, I have no time, I have no time.


You know when you’re sailing along, with everything falling into place. You’re little people are all where they’re supposed to be, you’re parking at work early — Not barely making it – but early. The shopping is ordered on-line, it arrives on time, and your precious hours that you’ve earmarked for writing are safe, because everything else is ticking along as it should?

No, I have no idea what that feels like either. And after an interesting session with my fellow scribes at Lovedean Writers I can say, with certainty, and a great sense of relief, that i’m not the only one. As it turns out the sense of panic, guilt and frustration that I carry around all day everyday is normal. (Who knew?)

So I offer a little back-story, in hopes that it may bring comfort to other crazy writer-types.

We arrived in our different modes of transport to begin our weekly writers meet. We all came expecting a session on the pro’s and con’s of mind mapping. Sounded safe enough. We start with coloured paper and a beautifully decorated example, and a choice of two topics. One of which, was Your Writing Day.

Now there was no way I was going anywhere near that. Reveal my insane superstitions and even crazier habits to a room of dedicated writers?! I don’t think so. But, one by one they all shared their hints and tips for getting the words on the page. And as it turns out, I needn’t have worried about keeping my habits hidden…


A day in the life of a gaggle of writers,

My day begins I have time.

My day begins, I can write.

My day begins I need biscuits.

My day begins I need tea.

My day begins with Twitter,

With Facebook,

With emails.

I’m out of biscuits.

I’ll be good, I’ll eat fruit.

I’ll be good, rise early, clear the decks first.

I don’t rise early. I’ve eaten the fruit.

I need biscuits.

The bird whistles – more twitter.

I’ll read yesterday’s words. It will motivate me.

I won’t edit, just read.

I edit. Yesterday’s words were terrible.

How can I work in this clutter?

I need sharper pencils, a clean desk.

A clean house — clean windows!

I’ll stop for a cuppa.

I love this song.

I’ll just have a little dance,

I’ll just

I’ll just

I’ll just
Well, it is National Poetry Day.   4th October 2012

When The Shoe Fits by Chuang-Tzu  Where earth meets sky

Ch’ui the draftsman

Could draw more perfect circles freehand

Than with a compass

His fingers brought forth

Spontaneous forms from nowhere.

His mind

Was meanwhile free and without concern

With what he was doing.

No application was needed

His mind was perfectly simple

And knew no obstacle

So, when the shoe fits

The foot is forgotten,

When the belt fits

The belly is forgotten,

When the heart is right

“For” and “against” are forgotten.

No drives no compulsions,

No needs, no attractions:

Then your affairs

Are under control.

You are a free man.

Easy is right. Begin right

And you are easy.

Continue easy and you are right.

The right way to go easy

Is to forget the right way

And forget that the going is easy.

Write Everyday, No Matter What  3rd September 2012

In April 2011 I wrote a story; a short piece about a village we visited while on holiday. I was so unbelievably proud of it, (not because I thought it was the next Bridport Prize winner. But) it came together in a few short drafts. And I knew exactly where it was going, and what I wanted it to show before my pen even hit the page. It was one of those rare occasions where everything came together. . .

Write your memories everydayWell, late this August we came back. And it was just as beautiful as the last time – maybe more so. And I was full of expectancy – I was so ready to feel warm and connected to this place, and the story that I’d written here.

You see, that story, and that time, was the moment when I committed to being, ‘A Writer’. It was the moment when my writing was no longer a guilty secret – it was no longer something I did for myself as just a release. That was the moment when I said out loud; I want to write. I’m actually going to submit work. I want to be a writer.

And revisiting that place bought a confusing mix of emotion; I did still feel connected to that original piece of writing, and the memories were fond. But all I could think was, that I should have said so much more. What I’d written wasn’t enough. It didn’t do justice, it didn’t say enough. . . It just didn’t.

And my writing – although much further along on its journey could be in such a different place if I had written every single day – religiously, like a job. Come hell or high water, or even *gasp* without inspiration.

So I suppose this is a pledge of sorts, to get my bum in the seat and write. No matter what. Because what this return visit has taught me is simple; Write. Write everyday. Even if all you do is write the same word over and over – do it. Do it until different words come. Because fifty bad words are still fifty words. And no words it still that – nothing. It is nothing, a blank page, an empty space. There is no work to be tweaked, because nothing has been started.

So start.

Writer Brain Vs Sleep Brain       25th July 2012

My writer-brain woke me this morning; at 3am – three o’clock in the blessed morning. It wouldn’t give up – writer-brain kept telling sleep-brain that I needed to get up and write – and i needed to do it NOW!

And despite the fact that sleep-brain kept telling writer-brain to get lost, and that it wasn’t even a good idea anyway, writer-brain won. So there I sat in the darkness, and wrote until the sun set off the blasted dawn chorus – never have I been so miffed to hear the birds start what promises to be a fabulously sunny day. . .

I’ve scheduled in a quick coffee and a re-read this afternoon – who knows? Writer-brain might be onto something.

Yes, I am a wee bit tired, and yes I am having a little whinge about writer-brain. But on the whole I feel pretty smug with myself for having accomplished new words before the sun was even up.

Writers On A Mission       5th April 2012

We had the pleasure of the very entertaining Calum Kerr at writers club today – you really might want to check him out on twitter; @calumkerr – he is championing Flash Fiction and all the wonderful emotions a short, sharp piece of writing can evoke.

We listened, we chatted, (we even had cake; it was delicious) and then we had to try it ourselves. Take a piece of paper and write a word you love and a word you hate he said, then pass it to the left. Then do it again, he said. Then pass it to the left (he said…It felt like I should add that in.) Now use one word in the title, and use the other three in your story – you have ten minutes. It reminded me a little of the stress I feel when I watch masterchef, waiting to see if they can turn out something amazing…and it never ceases to amaze me what a person can pull out of the bag when they’re under pressure – which is exactly what Calum was trying to say; write under pressure, it makes you stick to your guns (instead of getting sidetracked by things like – oh i don’t know – Twitter for instance)

Well, it seemed to us like he’s onto a good thing – so our lovely group (www.thewriterslovedean.co.uk) decided we might have a go at 7 days of flash – a flash fiction piece a day for 7 days. So here is day 1, from this morning…

Oh, and I feel I must tell you that my 4 words were Lingerie, Chocolate, Testicles and Anger…and I take no responsibility for those sat to my right passing the page to me… (you know who you are x)

Definition of Anger

It’s our anniversary today. Our 14th Anniversary, not the first or the tenth. Just a run of the mill steak dinner at home anniversary.

But the pretty box on my side of the bed has been carefully placed while I was in the shower. Pretty lingerie, a body brush and a pot of chocolate, all wrapped in tissue and sprinkled with sparkly testicle confetti sit before me.

She just doesn’t get it. It’s not that I don’t want to, not that I don’t think she’s the prettiest lass in town; I do. I do want to, and I do want her. But I just can’t, I can’t. I don’t know why, and I hate myself for it.

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