Tag Archives: writer’s block

NEW POST: Top five writing tips #amwriting

Welcome to my new post: Top 5 writing tips!top5

How’s you? You like change, right? Well, me too. And so to this new post. Top 5 writing tips is here to  replace my previous ‘Diary of a hopeful author’ a) because tis time for, you know, a change, and b) I’m so busy (disorganised) this is a quicker route to me still blogging to you.

The reason, though, for this change malarky, is good. Honest. My thriller book The Spider In The Corner Of The Room is due out next Spring/Summer 2015 around the world, and my head is absorbed in writing book 2 now of the trilogy. But not a lass to forget anyone, I had to rethink the blog thing so I could, well, keep in touch. And, ta-da! Enter the top 5 tips. See? Hmmm….

So, every Wednesday, I’ll attempt to post my top 5 writing tips of the week related to where I am in my own writing process, sort of. You get the idea. I’ll give each tip post a theme, basically, and hope it gives you a literary leg up, as it were. So, without further a do, here goes on the first one. Cue drum roll…

 

TOP 5 WRITING TIPS: Writer’s block

Stuck in a writing rut & can’t get out of your funk? Me too! Here’s my top 5 tips on how to get your writing mojo back….

  1. Get out! Go on. Go! Sometimes just getting some fresh air can reboot the brain, helps you think through ideas. I like a run…
  2. Tell yourself positive things. Keep saying ‘I can’t do this?’ Stop! Now. You hear? Now write down positive stuff that you can keep referring to, like ‘Yes, I can’ (thanks, Barack) or, ‘If others can, so can I’. You get the idea.
  3. Just write anything. And I mean anything. We try to get it right first time, but that’s not really required. It’s easy to edit a full page of words than a blank one. Who cares if it sucks first time round? Mine always does. So just get it out then edit later. That can sometimes kick start things.
  4. End the day in the middle of a scene. This will maintain momentum, even leaving an unfinished sentence can kickstart the next day’s writing.
  5. Give yourself a break. If all else fails, walk away, come back later. Just like an athlete, too much training will wear you out. Take a break, regroup, have a party – whatever it takes – then go back. You’ll feel refreshed. And perhaps slightly hungover. You’re welcome!

 

Any top tips on writer’s block? Great! Share them with the group!

 

 

**Out tomorrow “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my latest Gazette newspaper column to my blog…**

Diary of a hopeful author: Why I write with a TV series playing in the background

It’s “Wednesday Wafflings” when I post the latest entry in my Diary of a Hopeful Author…Photo of a Diary

Cor blimey moses, things are busy. The good news on the past few weeks is that the outline of my novel (book 1) has now been revised (all 50 odd pages of it), plus the full synopsis’ for books 2 and 3 in the series have been fully written and approved.

So, all that’s left over now is to do a pretty much final draft of the manuscript of book 1 and hey presto! It will be ready for publishers to read. So, you know, not a lot to do. To be honest, it is great. Now that the outline has been picked part by editors then put back together, the difference it is making when it comes to writing the actual manuscript is amazing.

If you are writing a novel my advice is this: do your outline first. Preferably, write it chapter by chapter, scene by scene. What this means is that when it comes to writing, you can just write because all the planning is already done. Sure, you may have to tweak along the way, stare blankly at that winking cursor on the screen, but seriously, it makes all the difference. And it will get you to the finish line faster, and that’s something we all love.

So, while I was writing, I thought of a post I did several months ago. See, my mind is odd. I cannot work in silence. If I do, my thoughts wander and, bizarrely, I get nothing done. At the moment, my background noise of choice is TV series The West Wing on my iPad. A few months ago, it was the TV programme, 24.  Writing & TV – not a bad working environment combo. Here’s the post…

How I write to episodes of 24 (March 2013)

How do you work? Or more’s the point – how do you write? It’s a subject of reasonably fevered discussion here and I’ll tell you why. Nine times out of ten, I can’t write in silence. It’s like time has stood still and my brain has frozen over. The reason I say all this is that the past week has seen me swimming in editing and writing. Sometimes it works out well, other, mah, not so much. But imagine my surprise when I realise that my best bouts of productivity come when I have 24 playing on my iPad in the background! It’s like having your cake and eating it. My friend thinks I’m nuts (don’t say it…) ‘Christ,’ she says, ‘how can you work with all that going on? If anyone so much as sneezes when I’m working at my desk, my mind implodes.’ Best not tell her then about the gun-shooting chase scenes in 24 then…

There is research out there that says that when a brain is multi-tasking, you know, lots of noise, activity, it can lock down on the task its owner needs to do.  Owner. It makes my brain sound like it’s a little puppy. Actually, that’s not a bad analogy…Anyway, of course, even though I am a woman, multi-tasking doesn’t always work out. I do find myself catching a scene of 24, for example, gauping at it then returning to my work and wondering what the hell I was writing about. And then it…Sorry, where was I?

It doesn’t just have to be episodes of 24 for me. In the past few months of writing and editing various projects I have got through: The entire series of My So Called Life (I learnt so much!); Series 1-4 of Prison Break (tattoos as maps – who knew?); over 10 films; 5 BBC documentaries; and one episode of Dennis the Menace (my daughter was off ill…). I’m like the hungry catapillar of box sets. Sometimes, when on the rare occasions TV and film on loop doesn’t boost my brain, I switch to music. We’re talking a bit of classical, jazz mainly. Sometimes only talking will do, so I go to BBC radio 5 or 4. If I’m feeling really with it, I’ll go to radio 1, but, as I am not below 25, this has literally only happened once.

As I shuffle through the rest of this week, I shall be watching 24 on loop. In fact, as I write this at, let’s see, 5.40 a.m., Episode 16 of Season 3 is playing on my iPad. It does make me feel quite sneaky, watching programmes when a) I am working and b) everyone else is still asleep. It’s like sneaking out of class at school without permission and going down the shops. Whether I’ll get a load of work done this week is still to be seen. But hey, at least I’ll know what’s happening to Jack Bauer and his team. Him and Denice the Menace.

So, how do you work or write? Which camp are you on: Is it total silence or a little bit of noise?

Out tomorrow “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my latest Gazette newspaper column to my blog…**

Diary of a hopeful author: My top 10 writing scares this Halloween…Woooo!

It’s “Wednesday Wafflings” when I post the latest entry in my Diary of a Hopeful Author…Photo of a Diary

Sometimes, I don’t know what to write. In fact, I’m sitting here now, and I haven’t a clue what to say. Well, okay, not exactly not a clue, but…Oh crap. See?

Not knowing what to write is something that scares me. Rather like used boxer shorts or two old people kissing, it’s something that gives me the heeby jeebies. It’s got me to thinking this week, therefore, about all things scary.

Today, of course, you lovely person you, is Halloween, that annual event where the expectation is that things scare you (as opposed to regular day scary stuff like, I don’t know, selfish politicians or iceberg lettuce) on a normalised scale. And so, I ask, what scares you? Indeed, let me take that one step further, if I may, and ask, what scares me?

In writing terms, I’d say everything scares the pants off me. I mean every-ruddy-thing. Not finishing a story. Not having any news ideas. Running out of ink. No juice left in my iPad when I need it TO EDIT!! You name it, there it is. And so, what I’ve decided to do this week, let’s say for fun, is compile a short, yet I like to think, comprehensive list of writing things that spook me right up. I may know what to do about them, I may not. You may have the same freak outs as me, you may not. But either way, it fills the page. Because, let’s face it, a blank page, writers, is the scariest thing of all…

My top ten scary writing things…

10. No pens – Yes, the laptop maybe the new pen, but no pens just scares me senseless. I need to feel the page, the glide of ink on paper. Call me old-fashioned. Or just call me old (my kids do…)

9. Being cold – Okay, I admit, an odd one this, but hear me out. I work at home. In the UK (one for the international folk. Hi!) In the winter it gets COLD. I mean shiver-to-your-bone-freezing. Trouble is, when you are sitting in one room in the house, it seems like a crime to put the heating on for just one person. So, I come armed with: a) a hot water bottle, b) furry slippers, and c) blankets. As I said, call me old…

8. Running out of coffee – Oh dear Lord, right. I ran out of coffee the other day and oh sweet Jesus, I couldn’t keep awake. It was 5 am and believe me, you don’t get much done when your eyes are clamping shut and your head is lolling on the key pad. My forehead, it turns out, can’t type that well. So coffee. Need it!

7. Running out of chocolate – as per above but in a different way. I don’t actually eat too much during the day as it sends me on a sleepy sugar low 20 mins later and all I want to do is crawl into bed and ignore everything. But, other times, chocolate is all you need. It can help me feel better! It has serotonins! It tastes so, so good! So if I’m out and I need it, well, god help me.

6. No internet access – What on earth did we do before the Internet? I mean, what? I cannot imagine researching my novel/column/where to go on holiday by library alone. The internet is so quick! So instant! And I don’t have to move. That gives me more time for chocolate.

5. Running out of ideas – Arrrggg! ARRRRRGGGG! Please! NEVER LET THIS HAPPEN OR I’M STUFFED! Enough said.

4. Writer’s block – Holy crap. Holy, holy crap. This scares us all, doesn’t it? Does it scare you? It scares the bejesus out of me. Usually, I can cut short a lull in writing by doing something else then coming back to the writing. Which leads me on to my next scare…

3. Not being able to run – It’s how I overcome a scribe’s blockage, if you will. Yup, got writer’s block? Go for a run. Or a walk. Or a cycle, whatever, just get out. Works for me so much that I cannot cope without it. And, it also means I can keep eating all that chocolate, so you know, every cloud…

2. My laptop breaking – Nope. Sorry. Just cannot contemplate this one. Uh-uh. No. NO!

1. Never getting a chance to write – It’s the number 1 and boy, what would I do without writing. I love writing. Love it. It’s my (cringe alert!) passion. It really, really is. It’s all I want to do for a job. It’s like a job that doesn’t feel like a job, and if you can achieve that, when you have to, as a grown up, work for a living, then you’re on to a winner, right? It might be hard at times, low paid for a looooong time – you may even start talking to yourself (hello, me!). Heck, people may say along the way that it’s a dream this writing lark, but I ain’t giving it up. Nope. No way. Because that really would scare me.

What scares you about writing? Or about, hey, anything else for that matter? Tell it to me.

 Out tomorrow “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my latest Gazette newspaper column to my blog. This week I’m talking about the wrongness of the objection to the solar panels in Thornbury’s Castle Street…**

Diary of a hopeful author: How I write to episodes of 24…

It’s “Wednesday Wafflings” when I post the latest entry in my Diary of a Hopeful Author…Photo of a Diary

How do you work? Or more’s the point – how do you write? It’s a subject of reasonably fevered discussion here and I’ll tell you why. Nine times out of ten, I can’t write in silence. It’s like time has stood still and my brain has frozen over. The reason I say all this is that the past week has seen me swimming in editing and writing. Sometimes it works out well, other, mah, not so much. But imagine my surprise when I realise that my best bouts of productivity come when I have 24 playing on my iPad in the background! It’s like having your cake and eating it. My friend thinks I’m nuts (don’t say it…) ‘Christ,’ she says, ‘how can you work with all that going on? If anyone so much as sneezes when I’m working at my desk, my mind implodes.’ Best not tell her then about the gun-shooting chase scenes in 24 then…

There is research out there that says that when a brain is multi-tasking, you know, lots of noise, activity, it can lock down on the task its owner needs to do.  Owner. It makes my brain sound like it’s a little puppy. Actually, that’s not a bad analogy…Anyway, of course, even though I am a woman, multi-tasking doesn’t always work out. I do find myself catching a scene of 24, for example, gauping at it then returning to my work and wondering what the hell I was writing about. And then it…Sorry, where was I?

It doesn’t just have to be episodes of 24 for me. In the past few months of writing and editing various projects I have got through: The entire series of My So Called Life (I learnt so much!); Series 1-4 of Prison Break (tattoos as maps – who knew?); over 10 films; 5 BBC documentaries; and one episode of Dennis the Menace (my daughter was off ill…). I’m like the hungry catapillar of box sets. Sometimes, when on the rare occasions TV and film on loop doesn’t boost my brain, I switch to music. We’re talking a bit of classical, jazz mainly. Sometimes only talking will do, so I go to BBC radio 5 or 4. If I’m feeling really with it, I’ll go to radio 1, but, as I am not below 25, this has literally only happened once.

As I shuffle through the rest of this week, I shall be watching 24 on loop. In fact, as I write this at, let’s see, 5.40 a.m., Episode 16 of Season 3 is playing on my iPad. It does make me feel quite sneaky, watching programmes when a) I am working and b) everyone else is still asleep. It’s like sneaking out of class at school without permission and going down the shops. Whether I’ll get a load of work done this week is still to be seen. But hey, at least I’ll know what’s happening to Jack Bauer and his team. Him and Denice the Menace.

So, how do you work or write? Which camp are you on: Is it total silence or a little bit of noise?

 Out tomorrow “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my latest Gazette newspaper column to my blog. This week it’s all about speed cameras…**