June 17th, 2016
Love 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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January 8th, 2016
I’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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January 4th, 2016
As 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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December 31st, 2015
It 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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October 12th, 2015
The idea of ‘Writer’s block’ sits hunched, but menacing at the back of many authors’ minds. ‘I might not have it now, but what if it strikes in the future?’ I hear you cry.
We give good advice about overcoming writer’s block in the course but I think that what the following YouTube clip tells you is both concise and effective – it really makes sense.
The first, and most important, point it makes is: Give yourself permission to write garbage! I know, it doesn’t sound very promising, does it? But stick with it and you’ll see where the speaker is coming from. The other two steps are equally important, though: (1) Have confidence in yourself and (2) Silence your inner critic (at least until you’ve got over the block). Read the rest of this entry »
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