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Where Does All The Time Go?

November 2nd, 2018

Last week I promised that I’d try to give you some sound advice for ensuring that you actually find time to write. I know that many of you lead busy lives, but others use ‘lack of time’ as an excuse for not settling down and getting creative. So whichever category you fall into, read on….

Do you have days when all you seem to do is run around frantically and then collapse at the end of it all, wondering what you have achieved? There’s an important lesson to understand here:

Being busy doesn’t mean being productive.

Time management strategies are all about getting more done in less time. It’s about being more efficient with your time. In some ways, referring to these strategies as ‘Time Management’ strategies is a little misleading. We can’t manage time, but what we can do is manage ourselves better. Read the rest of this entry »




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NaNoWriMo Comes Round Again!

October 26th, 2018

First, thanks to Aileen for last week’s blog. I can’t imagine how difficult life would be if you struggled to read instructions, had difficulty filling in forms and didn’t have the amazing pleasure of sitting down to read a good book. So, I take my hat off to all the people who help those with literacy problems. And it’s lovely to hear of someone using their own writing to make this happen.

Every year, towards the end of October, I give a mention to NaNoWriMo the scheme by which would-be novelists are encouraged to write a complete novel in the month of November.  How time flies – it really seems to have come round quickly this year! I don’t think this is an easy challenge – and one not to be undertaken lightly. I suspect that you already need to have a pretty well-formed idea of your book’s plot before starting and you will definitely need the help of friends and family if you are to find enough time to get everything down in the month. One thing that makes it a little less daunting is that your novel doesn’t have to be perfect by the 30th November. It can be the first rough draft and then you can spend all the time you like polishing it to perfection. If you sign up at the official website you will get tips on how best to go about it and encouragement from like-minded people around the world – but it’s still up to you to make it happen. Read the rest of this entry »




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Engaging Learners Through Writing For Fun

October 19th, 2018

Most confident writers (I’m guessing the majority of people reading this) take these skills for granted. So it might surprise you that approximately one in five adults in the UK have less than functional literacy and struggle with tasks such as filling in forms, reading instructions or supplying correct information at the Doctors’.

Social Media often sees negative comments regarding spelling or misuse of English, with the implication that such mistakes suggest the writer is stupid and their opinions, therefore, of less value.  Poor spellers seem to be fair game. But in fact, the problem is seldom generated by stupidity but usually by interrupted schooling: elderly people removed from school to work or care for younger siblings, middle aged folk who were never identified as Dyslexic or had periods of absence due to illness, to teenagers who have dodged school or moved home frequently.  Of course, statistically speaking, there are strong links between other socio-economic factors and low literacy skills but affected people are not a ‘type’.  Sadly, more young people than ever are now leaving school with inadequate literacy skills. Read the rest of this entry »




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“Go West, Young Man”

October 12th, 2018

First, thanks to Lynn for last week’s blog. It’s always easy to imagine yourself as a professional writer, sitting at your desk with your ideas flowing through your fingertips. But you don’t always realise that if you want to earn your living from your writing you’ll have to do the boring admin as well as the creative bit. So, thanks for that timely reminder.

A few weeks ago, Colin Bulman wrote a piece which looked at how to write good openings for your stories, and one of the examples he used was True Grit by Charles Portis. That got me thinking.  I couldn’t remember the last time I’d read a Western and wasn’t even sure if it was still a genre that appeared on bookshelves.  So I started doing some research and I couldn’t have been more wrong. Read the rest of this entry »




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Treating Your Writing As A Business

October 5th, 2018

I self-publish a cosy crime series featuring amateur sleuth Lord James Harrington. I’ve now released eight books in the series and, prior to releasing the first one, I asked myself an important question: Am I going to write professionally?

Regardless of whether I would be successful or not, the answer was: Yes.

Confucius said: Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.

What he didn’t say was that you’ve still got to do the paperwork!!

Most creative people hate the admin that goes with running a business. I am no different. But, if you’re serious about writing, you have to treat it as a business and that means doing the grotty tasks. Failure to do so could get you in a mess further down the line, especially if the royalties start coming in. Read the rest of this entry »




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