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Where Do You Get Your Ideas?

September 8th, 2017

Writers are often asked where they get their ideas. In the past I’ve found this difficult to answer, because sometimes ideas seem to come from nowhere. When this happens, it’s great, but it’s not always the case. What about the times when the well feels empty and as if it may have dried up forever?

Sitting around and waiting for the muse to visit is probably not a very practical approach. I find that reading often spurs me into writing – sometimes a powerful short story, or a particular author’s voice, will provoke a strong urge to write. The potential problem here is that you may inadvertently end up copying another writer too closely, something that Dorothea Brande mentions in her seminal work Becoming a Writer. In fact, she turns this into a writing exercise, in which you deliberately spend time reading a writer with a strong voice, write something straight afterwards, and then observe how they have influenced your own style. Read the rest of this entry »




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Bored With Football?

June 17th, 2016

football-blogLove it or hate it, the football is with us until 10th July! For some of you out there it will be the perfect excuse to put your writing to one side and not think about it again until the final penalties (if it goes to penalties) have been taken. For others, it’s the perfect opportunity to read more and write more. Let’s be honest,  there’s not much on the other TV channels to grab your interest – especially if you’re old-fashioned like me and don’t have Sky, Now TV, Netflix or any of the other subscription packages.

So, I’ve stocked up with lots of great books, bought myself some new gardening gloves and plenty of insect repellent for when I’m working outside in the evening. I’ve also got one or two ‘outings’ planned – without my husband, who’ll be glued to the TV. And it’s this ‘me time’ that I hope will provide some inspiration. Often it’s getting away from the normal routine and trying something different (even if it’s only a local trip) that gives you the inspiration you need to move forward with your writing. If you’re a football widow (or widower) for the next couple of weeks, why not try it? Read the rest of this entry »




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War And Peace In The New Year

January 8th, 2016

war-and-peace-blogI’d like to wish you a healthy, prosperous and happy New Year, but before we go any further just let me reassure you that, despite the title, I’m not going to spend this post trying to put the world to rights. Though after watching international news over the past few days many places could certainly do with a helping hand!

No, I’m thinking of the BBC’s new, six-part adaptation of War and Peace which started last Sunday. I talked before Christmas about the Instapoets and last week Neill mentioned the way social media, and its short forms, is impacting on language (thanks, Neill, for your humorous take on life), but we still seem to be suckers for a good, long read.   I know I certainly am. Read the rest of this entry »




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Was Yours a Dickensian Christmas?

January 4th, 2016

charles-dickens-blogAs a resident of flood-hit Rochdale my Christmas was definitely Dickensian. We were luckier than many in that we’re on a hill so our house wasn’t flooded. But on Boxing Day there was no power for 15 hours so we sat huddled round our open fire reading by candlelight. Listening to the rain beating down and the wind wuthering around the chimney, it was really quite cosy. Then the next day the water went off without any notice until late at night – perhaps a blessing in disguise as it meant no washing up!

But it really brought home to me what it must have been like before all the modern comforts of life that we’ve come to expect.  A roaring fire and candlelight are great for a limited period but life outside that little bubble must have been hard. Read the rest of this entry »




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Is Social Media Changing The Way We Write?

December 31st, 2015

neill-weatherill.blogIt seems to me that the downward slide towards illiteracy started amongst the texting classes in the mid-90s. That probably sounds a little harsh and maybe part of it is down to jealousy, I never did get the hang of predictive texting. I’d take 10 minutes asking my daughter(s) a simple question and would get a novel back in 30 seconds. Must be an age thing?

Let’s roll forward a few years and the little book of faces. To everyone’s kids’ horror, when it ‘went viral’, parents joined in. The accusation was that we were checking up on them but speaking on our behalf, it was a realisation that it was set to be the only means of cross-generational communication left open to us. Interestingly, I used the term ‘went viral’, a term associated with social networks but one that almost describes how they came to be so popular. Life imitating art, you could say. Read the rest of this entry »




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About The Author: Diana Nadin

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