Saturday, 30 April 2011

I Must be Mad

I have signed up for Sally Quillford’s 80,000 words in 80 days challenge, details here. Having enjoyed Nanowrimo’s 50,000 word challenge in November last year, I am hoping to recapture the writing discipline I found then. It was only when I looked at the calendar and realised how much is happening during the 80 days that I started to have a little panic. Not least there is Hubbie’s 50th birthday bash and all the food preparation, cleaning and other work that goes with it. I need to go and get him another pressie too.

What am I going to write? Well I think I am going to take the plot for one of my WIPs and write it in the way I originally intended. I shall allow myself to read the material I have already written, but I will be writing every word from scratch. Changes in writing technique and voice seem to creep up on me and I know I can make a much better job of this book the second time round. This plot is still milling around my head and is demanding to be written, so here goes….

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Falling in Love Again

So you’ve reached that point in your book where you start to think it isn’t good enough. You feel like ripping it up or pushing the delete button. You’ve hit the confidence wall most writers seem to find at some point in their WIP. How do you get through it?

Action Plan

I’d like to explore ways to fall in love with your hero all over again, which just might get you back into your story with renewed confidence.

1. Study his star sign and the predictions for it in the newspaper, magazines or online. You might find ‘A Writer's Guide to the Zodiac: How the Stars Can Help You Understand Your Characters’ by Giselle Green helpful.

2. Put photographs of actors or people from magazines that have ‘his look’ around your writing place.

3. Search for aspects of him in the men you meet in your daily life.

4. Cook his favourite meal and then imagine him eating it while you enjoy the food.

5. Dream about him. Put his photo under your pillow at night and see what happens.

6. Play music that you think he would like or else makes you think of him.

7. Go on a date with him. You can imagine this or even book a show or restaurant you think he would enjoy.

8. Think about things that would make him laugh and surround yourself with them. Have fun.

9. Buy magazines which reflect his hobbies or interests.

10. Put the aftershave you think he might wear on an old jumper or scarf and inhale him.

Let me know if any of these are helpful or if you have any other ideas for reconnecting with your hero.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Eating Praying and Loving

A friend and I (@EllieSwoop) watched the film Eat, Pray, Love, based on Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir, for the second time on Wednesday evening. We were reflecting on how you see different things in a film depending on your mood and state of mind. When we first saw this film I was worried that it would not be as good as the book. I need not have worried, it is very good, apart from my mental image of Philippe was not like the actor cast.

If you haven’t read the book, again called Eat, Pray, Love, then I would highly recommend it. Having read the work three times and gained something different from it each time, it has to go down as one of my all-time favourites.

Ellie and I were also quite excited to discover a video by Elizabeth Gilbert which can be found This is well worth watching, particularly if you are a writer. Elizabeth is as charismatic in person as in her books. Here she is talking about how to nurture and handle creativity and how creative ideas seem to arrive from nowhere.

I often have this experience when I feel stories and poems have been downloaded to my brain. Do you? Let me know what you think of the video.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Training my Mind

I was pondering some of the courses I have done over the years and how these might impact my writing.

Scarf tying – I took along a triangular silver mesh scarf and was told it would be best used in the bedroom with nothing else on!!! Maybe this will appear in an erotic scene at some point.

Tassel making – Boy did I get some comments about this one. It was actually to learn how to make curtain tie back tassels. Having said that the comments might come in useful again for erotic material.

Hypnotherapy – This was for two years and became my last career. I have noticed that most of my work is influenced by it, either in the obvious way of including a hypnosis scene or past life regression, or in more subtle ways with hypnotic language and reasoning techniques.

Family History – A thirty year plus hobby and such a rich source of ideas for stories. I am considering writing a non-fiction book on fiction from your family tree. What do you think about this? Would it appeal?

Bodhran (Irish drumming) – Not sure where this will come in to my novels yet, but I’m sure I’ll get it in there somewhere. It was a lovely weekend in the Cotswolds taking me right out of my comfort zone, but such fun.

Earth Energies – Inspiring for elemental beings, ghosts, standing stones, wells, ley lines, dowsing, archetypes and subtle energies.

Tuina – This is an acupressure massage technique. I actually won all £1000 worth of the course. Back to the erotic again, as one of my books will have to have a massage couch seduction (blushes over memory!)

I’m enjoying this and maybe I’ll continue it another time. Not sure where Victorian cards, ribbon weaving and rag rug making come in. I’ve also got a hankering to go on a barista course.

What strange course have you been on and how can you use it in your writing?

Monday, 11 April 2011

Climb Every Mountain

I have just spent a week in Cumbria with hubbie and little son. The holiday house was a 17th century farmhouse in Grasmere with wonderful views from every window and the sounds of rushing water from the stream and birdsong in the garden.

Hubbie has a special birthday coming up and requested an early birthday present of a hand held GPS unit. I saw a great postcard in the local newsagents with two women grumbling about a man holding one of these. It was titled Gadget Pratt Syndrome. Hubbie was not amused.

I suppose I should be grateful that it rained at the beginning of the week, because I was exhausted after several route marches across the fells. Strange that I seem to be able to walk miles on the flat or at low level, but as soon as you put steep ups or downs into the mix I slow down.

After Wednesdays 7.9 miles hike, up a fell so high Windermere looked like a map below, I went on strike. Hubbie and son went off to tackle Green Gable and I spent a day by myself.

I did a #1k1hr challenge on Twitter with @katylittlelady (her blog can be found here) and managed to write 1552 words in the hour. See Julia Broadbooks' blog here  for details of the challenge. I shall definitely be doing this again, as it was a focussed way of getting words written. No surprise to find my story was about a girl who had been route marched around the fells by her ex and was now taking things at a more gentle pace.

I then had a quiet amble through Grasmere and sat at a pavement table to drink latte, eat a toasted teacake and finish my story– bliss. The boys had a good day too without me trailing behind and there was a nice meal on the table when they got in. Maybe I should go on strike more often, as I felt so relaxed.

Have you tried the Twitter writing challenge #1k1hr?

Monday, 4 April 2011


Yes, I’ve done it! I’ve finished it!

For the past age, well 14 months, I have been struggling with a module of my distance learning creative writing course. I’ve at last completed it. I had begun to think that I never would. I am still not sure why I have struggled so much. Having completed so many courses in my time – O levels, AS and A levels, Degree, Professional Qualifications, Therapy qualifications (hypnotherapy, reiki, energy field therapy, tuina, anatomy and physiology), two other modules covering short stories, plays and poems and more, I have never has so much resistance to a course as with this one.

I was determined to finish it, even though it was like treading through glue. I’m quite pleased with some of my assignments, although whether I can leave them as a record or whether I should shred them is debatable. They deal with some quite challenging areas of my life, including my father’s impact on my spirituality and the day my first husband moved out. Anyway it is done.

What I have realised, is how this course has been stifling my creativity. It has been like a weight hanging around my neck. Since I finished it and sent off my last assignment the poetry and story ideas have begun to flow again and I have remembered how to breathe. So, watch this space.

What frees up your creative juices?