January 12th, 2017
As I write this, I’m watching the snow come down, settle and then melt away. It’s a very half-hearted attempt! But it’s certainly miserable for anyone out in it and it’s times like this that tempt even the most industrious writer to have a ‘duvet day’.
My advice is: don’t fight it. The odd day’s loss of production can soon be made up and it’s the ideal time to curl up and have a good read. Most successful authors agree that if you don’t read, you’ll never by a competent writer. Stephen King is quoted as saying: If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Read the rest of this entry »
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December 9th, 2016
With Christmas just around the corner and many people considering new laptops, the additional price of purchasing and installing Microsoft Home office can be considerable (from about £99 upward). So I was interested to see a reply to a reader’s query in the December issue of Writing Magazine.
The reader asked if there was a reliable, free substitute for Microsoft. Obviously there’s a lot of free software out there but this varies considerably in compatibility and ease of use. The suggestion they gave was Apache OpenOffice. It’s certainly not a new kid on the block so it has a track record of being stable and reliable. It offers similar software to Microsoft: word processing, graphics, spreadsheets, presentation software. It also looks similar, which is helpful if you are already familiar with Microsoft,and the big plus is that it also allows you to open and save Word docs! Read the rest of this entry »
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October 21st, 2016
First thanks to Sophia for last week’s blog. I found her list of online tools fascinating, but confess to being a bit worried by Write or Die. When I came to have a closer look, however, it wasn’t as bad as I’d expected. They’ve even introduced a ‘Reward Mode’. A picture of a cuddly kitten? Images of the designer shoes you’re lusting after? Mug-shot of your favourite author? You choose if you hit your word target. That sounds decidedly less scary than the ‘consequenses’ which they originally threatened if you dared to procrastinate!
This week I’m going to revisit a subject I’ve mentioned before – literary festivals. According to a London Book Fair report there are now more than 340 of them held each year in Britain and Ireland alone. It makes you wonder whether some authors are now spending longer attending literary festivals and beavering away on social media to drum up sales than they are on their writing. If you’re considering giving up the day job to become a full time writer it might be worth considering all the other ‘obligations’ that you’ll need to fulfil. With publishers’ promotional budgets being slashed there’s definitely more required of an author than just being able to turn a good phrase. Read the rest of this entry »
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September 28th, 2016
First, thanks to Jacqueline for her blog earlier this month. I must apologise for the lack of posts over the last couple of weeks, but I’ve been away on holiday. I love the Italian lakes and having already visited the three most well-known ones – Garda, Maggiore and Como – we decided to try Iseo. It’s quieter and less geared up to English tourists but the scenery is fantastic, the walking/cycling is great and there’s so much to see and do using the local trains.
But I had to smile when we arrived at a little station, in the middle of nowhere, after a long walk. The train was delayed, the man in the ticket office had gone off to lunch (obligatory in Italy) and the ticket machine was broken. But there, in pride of place, was a stand containing lots of books with a notice asking readers to leave the books they’d read and feel free to take a replacement. The UK’s obviously not the only country pushing this scheme! Read the rest of this entry »
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August 19th, 2016
Last week I promised to let you know the winners of our Limerick Competition that closed at the end of July. So, ta-dah! Here they are.
First place was taken by Anthony Watts (pictured) from Somerset.
A scone is a scone is a scon,
Depending on whose side you’re on.
When writing in verse
This can prove a real curse
(Should you rhyme it with Joan or with John?) Read the rest of this entry »
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