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What’s YOUR Motivation?

May 18th, 2018

First, thanks to Vicki for last week’s post. I think she’s right when she says that nearly everyone who has had a burning desire to write probably remembers the motivation that first prompted them to pursue their dream.

But for some people, it’s maintaining that motivation when things don’t seem to be going right that’s a problem. Your cherished novel has been rejected…and rejected…and rejected. That fascinating article about your trip to the saffron fields of Morocco just doesn’t seem to be catching the eye of a travel editor. Your carefully crafted short story hasn’t been short-listed in yet another competition.  At some point, any writer can start to feel that perhaps they just haven’t got what it takes. Read the rest of this entry »




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What’s My Motivation?

May 11th, 2018

I would imagine everyone who’s tried to produce something more than a coherent piece of writing remembers the event or reason which inspired them to make a conscious effort to give words to the ideas in their head. Until recently I thought I knew what prompted me to pursue my dream of being an author but it turns out things were far more complex than I realised.

I’d always wanted to write and over the years had made a few stabs at it, but nothing really serious; mostly attempts to entertain my family and amuse my friends.

It was the sudden and untimely death of my sister that finally gave me the jolt I needed to stop procrastinating and write.  She’d been a teacher for thirty-seven years and had given her life to the profession. I was following in her footsteps and had been teaching for seventeen years when she died. But education was changing.  What had started as an enjoyable and satisfying vocation focusing on pupils’ wellbeing had become all about targets and league tables.  This had been exacerbated for me because I was the Director of Humanities in a particularly challenging school. Read the rest of this entry »




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Getting Your Writing Ready to Self-Publish

May 4th, 2018

First, thanks to Jackie for last week’s blog. Self-publishing is turning out to be the preferred option for many writers these days and over the next couple of months we’ll be looking at others who have made this choice, not because they couldn’t get a mainstream publisher, but because they preferred the freedom and control it offers.

But if you are going to publish your own work then you need to employ a first-class proofreader/copy-editor or be very confident that you have the skills needed to do the work properly yourself. There’s nothing puts people off more than buying a book (whether online or a print copy) and finding it full of typos, stilted sentences and inconsistencies. I borrowed a book recently from the library (produced by a reputable publisher). There were lots of typos and someone who had read it before me had marked each one lightly in pencil. I don’t condone defacing books but I could understand the irritation that had prompted the previous reader to action. Read the rest of this entry »




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A Bit Of History

April 27th, 2018

It’s 17 years since I completed the Writers Bureau course. Much has happened in those 17 years. I have become a Writers Bureau tutor myself, I have ghost written one book, published a couple of my own, and as of this month, I have finally, after all these years, published the book I worked on for Assignment 20 of the course.

As a tutor I enjoy reading the book proposals people write as part of the final non-fiction assignment. I like to encourage students to take their plan forward and give them advice based on my own experiences. I hope that a few months, or even years, down the line they will come back to me with the news that their book has, in fact, been published.

My own journey to publication of my book – The King with the Iron Belt – has been a slow one. While I had the idea firmly in my head long before I had reached assignment 20, life got in the way, as it often does. Within a year of completing the course I was making a living from writing, mostly journalism. Finding the time to write a book was not easy. Read the rest of this entry »




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Limerick Competition Open For Entries

April 20th, 2018

First, thanks to Claire for last week’s blog. For me, it demonstrates two things. First, that writing isn’t an easy option. You really have to work at it if you hope to succeed. And second, if you feel you’re working on something good, you should follow your own path and not just go with the flow.

We’ve been hearing for ages that novels should be a minimum of 70,000 words, or they are hard to market, and that novellas and collections of short stories don’t sell unless they are written by someone famous. But Claire’s experience disproves this – they will sell if you persevere and find the right way to get your message to the reading public.

While we’re on the subject of novellas, I’ve just read that ‘Nightflyers’, by George RR Martin is being turned into a ten-part TV series to debut on Syfy (and Netflix) later this year. I’m a great fan of Game of Thrones and can’t wait for the final series to be ready. But I have to admit that since production outran the actual writing of the novels episodes do seem more run-of-the-mill and less riveting. Read the rest of this entry »




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