Have you ever wondered why you seem to be so busy yet you have nothing to show for all your hyperactivity?
Even a child will stop to smell the flowers.
As a writer, it’s easy to get way-laid with inspiration, this is what I believe is the REAL writers block. Not a lack of ideas but too many you loose focus. Each one bringing its own excitement and reason for going down that path.
By taking a minute to evaluate and ‘smell the roses’ see what you have accomplished so far, then stand back and look at the whole garden. You didn’t plant everything in a day, you focused on one area then moved on the next.
The same needs to happen with your writing projects.
Focus on one at a time. Set your goals to complete the project, then treat yourself.
You deserve it!
Then start on the next area, you can still go back and tend (edit and revise) your garden later.
Like all successful gardens it’s about the preparation work, and making sure you take the time to enjoy you achievements once finished.
This way you have a year round garden to enjoy, with completed projects blooming!
Finally, don’t forget gardeners look after themselves too, so take a leaf (sorry!) from their book, enjoy the process of writing, then sit back and relax.
Ps. If you want to remain focused trying sniffing fresh rosemary or rosemary oil, it works wonders!
For more information about 1-1 mentoring and goal setting email : firstname.lastname@example.org
The idea of sitting home alone, with just a cat for company is the image most people have of life as a writer.
Indeed this is my life! Juggling family life, teaching and time to write can be hard, but why do we feel the need to add to that by doing it on our own?
When I first started attending writing groups, it was hard to share my work, soon the feedback I was receiving from others encouraged me to dip a toe into sharing my private thoughts.
I got a mixture of love and suggestions to improve, some I took on board, others I felt were not right. After considering why a suggestion was made I understood better my weaknesses.
Motivated and encouraged I became a more confident writer and also I started to give feedback, improving my own writing as I understoof the processes better.
As a new writer, feedback from others is probably the best tool in our writers toolkit.
Belonging to a writing group is about taking strength from that group and giving it back.
Motivation, discussions on early drafts, putting heads together to solve character and plot difficulties, a shoulder to support the many rejections received and someone to celebrate the wins with.
Whatever you write, support of a good writing circle is priceless.
The Coffeehouse Writing Group starts on Wednesday 19th June 2019, 7pm at The Potting Shed, Beverley East Yorkshire. £5 on the door or £25 for a years membership. Includes an hours lesson, writing and an hour socialising with occasional Guest speakers.
For further details email: email@example.com
Well I thought I had finally ended my academic life as a student when I recently submitted my Major Project for my Ma in Writing for Script and Screen. The next week I returned to teaching feeling accomplished. Not only had I, as in me, completed a Masters but I had written a feature length film on one of my literary idols Mary Davys, based on a collaboration of her plays, novel and biography. Part of my project was to add a critical essay which led me in a new direction of Adaptation Theory. For me it looks like I’m heading straight back to uni, a PhD in the cards, as long as I can continue to teach creative writing.
But for others the decisions are not so easy to make or clear.
Here are my tips to discovering what you want to do next.
Spend time on your OWN.
As a mum of four, I know how difficult and yet important this can be. You NEED, yes need, to be able to hear your own thoughts. How else can you work out what exactly you want to do, if you don’t? Go for a walk, my go-to is a beach walk. Do it as aften as you can.
2. Recall when you were last happy.
This doesn’t mean to say you are miserable and unhappy now, but think back to the happiest days. What were you doing and who with? The who is just as important as the what. Let your past help solve your future.
3. Write down your dreams you remember.
This is when your brain is sorting out those quirks and issues you have had when awake and been unable to solve. Reflect on what you see, symbols, people, places or situations.
4. Keep a journal.
This does not have to be daily, so don’t feel guilty of you forget. Write how you are feeling, if you feel unmotivated at work, put that, and if you can why. If you find yourself randomly doing something else, or googling new jobs, hobbies , ask yourself if you could change one thing now what would it be and why?
Write about what your love about yourself, be honest, no-one is going to see this, its not bragging, OWN IT. Ask friends and family what they see as you talents?
5. Spend time with inspirational people.
Who in your circle of friends and family that inspires you? What have they got or done differently to you? Don’t be afraid to ask them, chances are they have been where you are now. Instead of asking for advice, ask how they would do something.
6. Explore your passions!
Take a beginners class or the next level. What really brings a smile to your face. Meet like-minded people and widen your circle, if this is where you want to be, then these are the people who will be able to help. Does your passion offer you the potential for happieness now and growth tomorrow?
7. Keep your mental and physical health in check.
No matter what you decide to do, your well-being is important! Get that check-up, take that walk, talk about how you are feeling. There is no point in doing anything that sucks the life and soul from you! I can whole-heartedly promise you that. Yes, we all need to work and pay the bills, but check what you are spedning you money on now to make life bearable. if you did something else, would your downtime be the same?
Remember: Focus on the best case, plan for the worst. That way when things work out, you will have it covered!
I can honestly say, I had hoped I would get it done sooner.
But I didn’t. It wasn’t a total fail, after all I HAVE a finished novel, it’s just life got in the way, and you feel guilty. At least, I did.
I have nothing but great admiration for best-selling authors who can knock out top-selling amazing novels each month, pose for a pic looking awesome, while I struggle to achieve anything resembling human until at least midday. Okay, I have a long-term health issue to contend with, and I am completing a PhD, but I only have two kids at home now, so I should have more free-time for writing, most importantly, I have an incredibly supportive husband.
Finally, I have finished my novel, all in all, it has taken me the best the part of a year. The release date has been put back, but at last it’s ready to rock!
I found that having the right support has been vital to my process. Without that I would still be thrashing away at my very old and battered Mac, doubting my writing, in fact doubting my very existence. That is the effect being a writer has on you.
Such a small word that will eat you from deep inside, and gnaw away at your self- worth and your time. When you write, it’s rare that you know others at the start who have been in your position, and who have shared experiences. Yet they exist. Take a look at all the writers memes available, or maybe don’t, save it for when you have time to procrastinate.
Who is your support network? Do you have one? You family, might be there for you for so long, but when you shove endless reams of paper at them, demanding their thoughts and approval, they might get bored. Having a group of people who know exactly what you need, how and when is so important. Take time to find the right support for you. These are not the people who agree with everything you say, but will challenge you to WHY you said it.
FINDING THE RIGHT PATH
After years of prior research, taking writing courses and reading as many ‘How to’ books on creative writing as I did novel’s I gathered it all up and formatted a plan of action.
Over the the last two years I have been teaching aspects of this course in ten week chunks. Now, as an author not just a writing coach, I feel confident that what I have been developing and refining is ready to roll as a one year experience. It’s more than just a course.
For the next twelve months, I will take a small group of individuals along on a journey of self discovery as they write their first novel. Support is paramount to achieving, along with motivation. I will be there with you each step of the way. I will guide you over hurdles, I have fallen at help; you are concerned of putting things off, don#t worry! I am the Queen of that and help you to avoid it by changing your mindset.
The EUPHORIA of finishing that first draft is what I want all of you to feel.
I am still smiling at the thought that I, little old me, completed a novel. WOW! Not only that but have started the next ones, and now have a list of more planned projects.
Even if you stop at one, you have completed something, A LOT of people give up on. It’s something to be proud of. I know I am.
We all make resolutions , promises to ourselves to make changes for the better, whether its eat healthier, exercise more or change job. How about “start that novel I’ve been meaning to”. Sound familiar?
WHY WAIT UNTIL JANUARY?
Why not make that commitment now?
Yes, it’s a busy time of year, but if that is your excuse, then your story will NEVER get written. Life will always take priority.
By working with a mentor and coach on a one to one basis and in small groups you can set those goals and have someone hold you accountable. With the new NOVEL IN A YEAR one year course, you will be taken from the conception of an idea to a finished draft, as well as learn the tools needed to be an author
As a mentor and coach (yes there is a difference; a coach is a professional who can guide your through the process and a mentor is there to support your personal development), my job is to guide you through the process step by step. Starting with your idea.
Let’s see how much thought you have put into it. Do you know the ending? Like with any journey it’s always good to know where you want to end up. Having an assessment of your abilities will help to set your goals and see what I can do to help you personally.
It’s not just your characters who need to develop!
What’s the difference between going to university and learning with a writing coach?
Well to be honest, quite a lot of money and a certificate! I’m not talking anyone out of going to university to study creative writing, its a great degree that can be useful in numerous careers. But you need to look at why you want to go. Do you need the qualification or do you just want to learn HOW to write that first novel?
Check out your coach first and have a chat with them to make sure they are the right person for you. You will be spending some serious time with your mentor!
Want to know more about me, just ask.
I have a Masters in Writing for Script and Screen, and have been teaching English for nearly twenty years and creative writing for adults for two years. I’m currently completing my PhD in Screenwriting, working in adaptations and transmedia storytelling.
Express what you want to achieve clearly.
Your coach will ask you questions to understand clearly what you want to achieve and the best way to motivate you. They will work with you and set smaller goals, making your overall goal less daunting. The idea is to help you NOT scare you off!
Don’t be afraid to ASK QUESTIONS!
Ask away! Don’t be embarrassed, you can guarantee it has been asked before!
Most importantly, enjoy yourself, for now this might be a hobby, there are no guarantees you will become the next James Patterson or J.K. Rowling, just make sure you have fun on the way, meet new friends and develop new skills.
As a tutor, I always remind my students of the importance of reading. Whether you are writing novels, blogs, scripts for film, tv radio, game or theatre as well as non-fiction even for work, you should be reading what everyone else is doing. So I’ve put together some writing tips, 5 reasons why reasons is important as a writer.
It’s give you an idea what is out there. The chances are if you by your book from a store, it is more likely to be from a publishing house. Meaning a team of experts have deemed that this book fitted in with current trends of what the reading public want. If you intend to sell you book, then this is a huge help. Not just in knowing what is fashionable, but where you book could fit in and with which publisher.
Reading helps you to develop you own style. Like when as a child you watched a parent or adult cook, you learn how to do the basics. As an adult in your own kitchen you add your own twist to the recipe. That’s exactly what reading as a writer does.
When you start out writing, you just write what comes into your head. No thought is out into what ingredients you need and the quantity, , you simply throw is all in!
The more you read you will pick up on nuances of dialogue, delve deeper into characters, notice the plot turns and twists and where they start to develop. It improves you grammar and language skills. Never a bad thing!
Each writer has their own Writer’s DNA, it comes from who you are and how you got there, making it pretty unique stuff!
That same DNA, effects our interpretation of books. This is what makes up your writing style, so keeping reading!
This one is my favourite, RESEARCH.
For any writer, you SHOULD be researching. It doesn’t matter what you are writing there should be an element of looking stuff up.
Let’s start with location. You decide to set your story in a place you have never been. So how do you it’s suitable for your story? How will the characters react to their environment? How will it help your story progress? Science dictions writers haven’t been to the moon, but they can read about temperatures and conditions, they can read science and technology journals to understand what we can currently achieve and what we hope to achieve, with a writers imagination you can take this further!
I love to read up on psychology, I find it a great way of developing intriguing characters with realistic flaws, such as the habits of a stalker.
Don’t let NOT researching limit what you write!
Reading is one of the best tools for doing this. Whether you want to learn a new skill such as writing for film or learn about Restoration Theatre (my current expansion project), there is always an expert on the subject who has already written the book. Not sure where to start? Your local library can help or try a social media group will probably have lots of recommendations or you.
Reading a novel as a writer should make you want to ask questions.
Did you enjoy the story and why?
Where all the characters believable? Did you empathise with them and their situation?
Where all the loose ends tied up when the story ended?
How did the story make you feel? Were you eager to turn the next page?
Would you recommend this book to someone else and why?
I’m sure you can think of lots more questions, your readers will.
So start thinking like a reader when you write and keep asking questions of your own work.
Location. It’s not just a place, it’s a character.
As a child did you have that special place where you hid out in a thunder storm? Or a place you returned to at every opportunity for adventure?
I did. Back in my hometown there is a man-made lake, with a wooden bridge that takes you over from one to the other.
It wasn’t the bridge but what I called the islands. Back in the late 70’s/ early 80’s these where overgrown with bushes and shrubs, that had natural hollow dens inside them. Perfect for the young girl seeking an adventure with her trusty bearded collie.
I convinced myself there were mine, collecting the rare piece of litter that had the audacity to spoil the landscape, hiding from adults and families in the summer, like some lost runaway, with a book under my arm.
I don’t have my own private island (maybe one day!) but the importance of that location is till with me.
We were partners in crime. It held my secrets. It was a huge part of my life every opportunity I had.
When writing location in your stories you need to add the relevance to the main characters., what is it and why are we here.
Make your place feel real, dynamic thinks of the great fiction canon’s, from Wuthering Heights and the moody moors reflecting that of Heathcliffe. The moors set the tone throughout.
The landscape of Modor and the Shire are at odds with each other as they should be because each one involves a different part of the hero’s journey.
Your characters need to react to their location, inhale their surroundings, watch how it challenges them and sense when it’s safe and able to protect them. Location is personal.
Like with every part of your story, flip it! Make it unique!
Not only will your setting change over distance but the same one will change over time.
Has the place you grew up in remained the same? I know mine hasn’t, parts that were important to me have disappeared become shops and fast-food restaurants.
Research an area, notice the changes and think how has this affected your character? What stories do they have to tell. Has it changed their opinions, their outlook?
Most importantly see the landscape through their eyes.
It doesn’t matter if your place is real or totally made-up. The attention to detail needs to be there. Take a page from Tolkien, and draw out a map for your setting. Add important features or prominent places.
For the August challenge Day Two, think of a place that holds a special meaning to you. Write it down in great detail. Now do the same with your story location, through the eyes of your character.
Whether it’s the moon or Mordor make it memorable.
Finding inspiration to write can come from anywhere. Today I set my writing group the challenge to find it lurking in their fridge along with the half tin of baked beans and the over-soft grapefruit (that might just be my fridge). But something as simple as this can reveal a lot about a character. Do they live alone? Do they have simple tastes or adventurous and like to try something new (that reduced block of Italian sheep’s cheese you wouldn’t have bought at full price)? Are they organised, the shelves neat and tidy with the raw meat on the lower shelf and the dairy at the top or is it all just thrown in! What about junk food or ready meals? What would this tell you, is your character, lazy, always rushing or can they simply not cook?
What about the outside? Can you see the door or is it covered in kids artwork or magnet reminders of past events and to-do lists?
At first glance it’s just another kitchen appliance.
Yet with your writers cap on it’s a world of character building and engagement.
Have a go and let me know who you find lurking in your salad drawer!