I said on Sunday that my reading this week would be textbooks and guides to help me get back on the writing track. It’s a little like studying, only without a set book list…

I am currently reading a book called ‘Plot and Structure‘ by James Scott Bell. I have read it before but as planning is where I need to focus my writing development it seemed a good place to start. I clearly need to take more from it this time!

There is of course no way to review it in the usual sense, and I haven’t finished revisiting it, but so far it seems very practical, which I need.

This type of reading will replace novels for a little while – but I am happy to share my views of the writing guides instead, if you are interested – just let me know in the comments.

Happy reading,

Planning Ahead

This week has been a little less about writing, and a little more about realistic goals – but over the course of the evening a writing plan has started to emerge, and it’s given my literary spirits a boost.

I happened to pop onto my twitter account for the first time in about a week, to see a message there from a writing group friend of mine.

I won’t give you all the details but the upshot was that we are both languishing in writing limbo, and need a nudge in the right direction.

So the starting point of the plan is for us to agree some writing dates when we meet up at group this week coming. On those afternoons/evenings we meet up, we will write. Maybe talk about what we’re writing too, of course, but primarily sit and write.

It’ll be like having a gym friend who makes you exercise when you want to stay in and eat chocolate! Plus when I’m writing I can eat chocolate😉

My phase two is to acknowledge that I have the tools I need to write, and to use them. That means my reading materials this week are going to be textbooks, guides, exercises etc – all to get me thinking about how to reboot my work.

Phase three is to set myself a target of 10,000 words to get me to the end of Fred’s story so I can finish it and put it aside for later editing.

Phase four is to review all the crime novel work I have done, archive the unsuccessful bits and pull together the best so I can build a new story with more confidence in it – a story I hope will be planned (not written; I need to get back to basics I think) by Christmas.

However, the most important element of my new plan is to relax about my output.  I need to stop putting pressure on myself and focus on why writing is a joy and I love doing it; to let myself have a bit of fun with it.

Expectations can have benefits, or they can undermine your confidence when you don’t meet them.  When everything in life is a little crowded it is too easy to feel I haven’t done what I should.  I make it worse by telling you what I’ll do, too!

But there is no agent phoning me, no editor demanding my time.  I am my own timekeeper so I can set my own rules.  And for now, my rules are to be a little more kind to myself and to enjoy the process of putting pen to paper.

Happy writing,

Getting Back to Normality

It’s been a funny old year, so far. My job has got busier, my health has been problematic, my writing has been erratic, my personal life has been massively busy, with occasional blank spots.

Nothing has really been on an even keel.

I was talking to someone recently about when I will get back to normal following my illness in the summer, and I realised that I may never get back to that normal because it no longer exists.

Not that life is abnormal, you understand, but that life is changeable.  This is something I have commented on before but every so often something pops up to forcibly remind me!

I have so many different factors making up my experiences now that it is almost impossible to know how things will look from one month to the next.

This is, for the most part, a very good thing.  The occasional banana skin has probably been easier to manage because in life terms, it affects a smaller percentage of my world. I guess my ill health in the summer was a plantain skin because it was a bigger impact, but you get the idea!

So I am not getting back to normality exactly, but as work calms down and I pick up dropped hobbies and activities, as I get more routine around my writing, I will create a new normal from which I can launch the next.

And you will finally have some posts about writing. That’ll be a nice change…

Happy Writing,



Sleepy = Dopey

Yes, I am channelling a couple of the seven dwarves today: I am really tired and not thinking very well as a result.
Because of this I am going to post tomorrow when I can share actual thoughts and make coherent sentences.
Hope to see you then!
Happy Writing,

Challenge Tuesday – Bookless

I said at the weekend I hadn’t done any reading so you will no doubt be utterly amazed to find out there is no book review this week.

I can give you all sorts of detail on public surveys, newspaper editing, food fads and project planning but it’s not quite what this blog is supposed to be about…

I really am off target with my reading and writing life right now. I need to sit down and have a good strong word with myself because I haven’t come this far to let it slide into the background.

So this week I need your advice. How do you keep your creative life on track when the realities of work and community or social life leave your time slipping away from you?

How can I get back to where I should be?

Any help gratefully received!

Happy reading,

Snail’s Pace

This week, my writing progress has been pretty rubbish. I have done some writing, and although Fred is no longer languishing in the fierce desert sun, he hasn’t made it onto his next trip either.

In the spirit of honesty, I haven’t picked up a book to read at all this week either.

I have not been managing my time too well really; I have too many plates spinning to want to add any more. My down time was wasted, this week at least. That’s not to say I haven’t done useful things but I haven’t focussed where I should have done. And I have let hours go by with nothing achieved at all.

But this week is over: I have a new one from tomorrow, where I will get myself into a better pattern, waste less time and focus my energies.  Planning starts now.

If you don’t try, you don’t succeed.  I want to get back to succeeding at meeting my targets, so I better try harder!

Happy writing,

Yesterday I said I had lots going on, and I just added something else…

My new challenge is some research and discussion about a possible community project, which is really exciting – and even if it transpires it is not possible it’s a good opportunity to meet some new people and learn about something new.

Living in a small village, you realise quite quickly that the more you get involved, the more you get out of life.

There have been a number of times when I have been particularly glad for my community, living where I do. The time we ran out of heating fuel, for example; or when we were snowed in for days. It’s far more fun to be sociable when you’re cut off from normality; it’s even better to pool food and share a few meals!

There are drawbacks to country living but it’s definitely got its benefits as far as I am concerned.

As for the new challenge, I expect I will step back once the research is done – but I still have enough going on to keep me busily engaged in life here for quite some time!

Happy Writing,




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