Endangered Speechies: B

endangered speechiesThose of you who joined me last Tuesday will have no doubt been waiting, with bated breath I hope, for this week’s Endangered Speechies.  For new friends and casual visitors, Endangered Speechies are ickle bits of slang that have been lost in the fount of time.  I found them in the yummiest old book, tucked away in the Misc. section at  my favourite second-hand bookstore.  So I’m sharing them.  With you.  Just because.

Today’s Endangered Speechies are coming to you from the letter B

1: Baby Blimp: this is apparently an old American slang for a fat girl.  What I find most amusing about this book is the rather obvious political incorrectness of it all.  I am not sure that these days you could even publish a dictionary which had a listing for ‘fat girl’.  It might be more ‘overweight’, or weight challenged.  Anyway in 1955, it was perfectly reasonable apparently to use the terms ‘fat’ and ‘girl’ in explanation.  There you go – stuff changes!

example: Tess was not slim.  Billy whispered that his sister was a baby blimp, and his friends snickered.

2. Ballyhoo: Noisy and vulgar publicity.  Which is an absolutely fabulous word to resurrect in the age of social media and Youtube celebrity.

example: The Kardashians created some ballyhoo prior to the publication of their latest shoe range.

3: Battle Bowler: Tin helmet, made popular during WWI.  Love this, especially seeing as my latest novel is set post WWI.  Wonder if I could sneak it in there.  Not sure how to use this in an example, though…

4: Bean-Feast: A workmen’s collective day’s excursion, generally organised annually by the employer.  Do such things still happen or is it now a case of a work do with a free bar from the boss.  Would we all now feel cheated if our boss only treated us to beans.  Possibly… yes!

example: The Bean-feast this year was to be a bbq on the beach.  There would be a bouncy castle for the parents and a free bar fort he kids.

5: Barmy on the Crumpet: crazy, foolish to the point of mental deficiency.  This is the kind of classic slang that I love.  Everything about it.  And, in my eyes, any phrase that uses the word ‘crumpet’ has to be w inner.

example: Delilah stripped naked and danced in the fountain. “She’s barmy on the crumpet,” whispered one of her spectators before joining the round of applause.

6: Belly Timber: Food.  Apparently even in 1855 this was an obsolete phrase.  No idea why.  It has a rather wonderful piratical quality.  Could be a great name for a cafe r restaurant.

example:  Her stomach rumbled.  She needed belly timber and she needed it fast.

7: Bible-backed:  Round shouldered.  There is something rather comforting about this.  Perhaps a more modern equivalent would be ‘laptop-lurched’, or ‘cellphone-crouched’???

example.  Helena sat, bible-backed and tear-stained, waiting for him to call.

8: Blue Funk: A state of extreme fear.  Everything about this phrase is utterly wonderful.  It’s like the name of a really cool band, or some kind of dystopian party drug??

example: The phone rang again and her blue funk descended upon her.  WOuld it be the same silent caller?


So there you go my lovelies.  B to the B, and all that.  These are pretty cool ones today.  Prizes for the best examples posted in the comments.  What is your favourite Endangered Speechies?  Let me know and I could include them in future posts!!



How to juggle writing with real life

vintage jugglerThese last two days have been a struggle to stay on task with my month long writing challenge.  In fact, my word count has halved and there have been two days when I haven’t been able to write at all. Life gets in the way sometimes and I have realised that, when writing, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that what we create is not who we are.  We have real lives, real people to tend to.  We have meals to cook, difficult conversations to have, bodies to care for. As a writer, I am aware that self-care often gets shoved on a back-burner when I am in the midst of a project.  I get swept away by my mission.  I devote myself to my story.  In short, I have a habit of disappearing slightly up my own backside. This week, life poked me on the shoulder and shouted in my face: “PAY ATTENTION WOMAN.”  And I have.  And I am.

Here are five things to do when life gets in the way of your writing:

1. Be willing to stop your writing for a while.

It was John Lennon who said that life is what happens while we are busy making plans.  Or at least words to that effect.  Real life – the people, the animals, the plants, the oxygen of it all – this is the real reason why we are here on this planet.  Of course devote yourself to your art, but not at the expense of your real life connections.

2. Remind yourself that tomorrow is another day

If you miss a day on your month of writing, don’t beat yourself up and tell yourself that you are a quitter/ loser/ complete and utter failure ( feel free to swap in your favourite self loathing phrase here).  Instead, BE YOUR OWN BEST FRIEND, and remind yourself that you can just pick up the pen/ open the document tomorrow and carry on where you left off.  It’s all good.

3. Get back to basics

Do some exercise.  Go for a walk.  Listen to your friend.  When life gets in the way, don’t see it as an annoyance.  Try to focus on the fact that you have a life to get in the way.  How blessed you are.  Stop trying to juggle the whole caboodle and hone it down to the basic elements of self-care.  Take time out from creating your “art” and instead focus that creative energy on your own, and others’, healing.  This is the best investment you can make in your long-term writing career.

4. Have a digital hiatus

I mean no blogging, no social media, no internet browsing.  Man if you could ditch your phone too you would be flying.  Those great writers that you read and aspire to did not spend half their days on Facebook or twitter.  They did not stop mid sentence to answer a cellphone call.  They checked their mail when it was delivered.  Use their example.  Make the break from the net and you will experience profound benefits, even if it is just a once a week/month thing.  Just try it.

5. Rest

I mean it.  Just take a break.  Put your feet up.  Read a book.  Sleep, sleep, sleep.  Give your body the chance to heal you and recharge your juices.  If you have been writing a lot, you have been using vast stores of creative energy.  This needs rest to recoup itself.  Do yourself a favour.  Don’t reach for the coffee, reach for the pillow.

What do you do to recharge and recoup?  What do you do when life gets in the way of your writing?  Leave a comment.  Let’s talk!

5 Ways to get in the Writing Zone

the writing zoneI am flagging on my 30 day writing challenge today.  I woke up knowing that I need to fire up my writing engine but aware that I was painfully low on gas.

There is a lovely moment in the Keira Knightly/ Mark Ruffalo movie “Begin Again” where Keira, heart-broken and terribly drunk is struck by a great lyric for a new song.  Her lovelt flatmate hands her pen and paer and tells her to ‘get in the zone’.  She says “I am in the zone” in her perfectly clipped English accent and is admonished.  “You sound like a posh schoolgirl”.  Keira bounces back with a great impression of a Noo Yoike Cabbie. “Arm in tha zowen!”.

So today I am offering five fab ways to get IN THA ZOWEN as a writer:

Five fabulous ways to get in the writing zone:

1:  Revisit your outline

If you haven’t gone crazy nuts and thrown yourself into a month long pantsting challenge then you are probably using either a detailed plot outline or some story beats to get you through your story from one bank to t’other. If you want t6o get in the Writing Zone, revisiting your plan and getting excited about how far you have come and how close you are to that great, great scene that has been playing out in your head for days is a good way to motivate you to put your bottom in the chair and start writing.

2.  Gaze upon your novel vision board

I talked in a former post about how much I am loving Vision Boards for novels.  Though I have sworn off planning for this month, I was happy to bend my own rules and create a vision board for the novel on Day two of the month.  Having a good visual stimulus can really ignite your creative right brain and nudge the story to present itself.

3.  Create a writing soundtrack

I am a big 8Tracks.com  fan (user julsnolan if you want to see what I am listening to)  There are some wonderful playlists over there.  Some are designed for study and writing, some are created to correspond to a novel that is already published.  Finding some great tunes that really correlate with the mood and feel of your writing is a lovely add-on to your writing experience.  Listening to those tracks outside of your writing time can also be a great  way to keep in contact with that imaginative thread that you are creating.

4. Journal

I find that starting my writing session with a few minutes journaling can be a great method for clearing the mind and dumping any annoying thoughts and issues that could be hanging around.  Get it out.  Get it down on paper.  Then you are clear to let your story fill the gaps left behind by your emotional residue.  It works – believe me!

5. Breathe

Yes I mean meditate.  Spend just one minute breathing deeply and nothing else.  Visualise yourself writing and the words flowing from your fingers.  Imagine yourself turning the pages that you and only you have created.

The Zone is simply a mental place from which creativity and devotion can spring.  It is only a breath away, my friend.  Only a breath away.

How do you get in the writing zone?  Leave a comment with your tips and hints below.

about me

Inspiration for Writers

Seeing as it is Wednesday, I thought we all deserved a little bit of inspiration to get us through the week.  In the name of this blog and in humble service to all my gorgeous readers, I slavishly committed my evening to trawling for some scriberly inspiration on Vimeo.

I found lots, you will be pleased to hear.  So I am drip-feeding it to you.

And here is the first gem:


Endangered Speechies #1

endangered speechiesToday is Tuesday.  Tuesday is a difficult day.  Tuesday is the day that lacks an identity.  Or at least, it did until now.  Because I have decided to do my first ‘regular’ feature.  It will be a Tuesday thing.  I have decided.  And it will be a thing of fun for all the world to look forward to with bated breath.  Tuesday will now be Endangered Speechies day.  Every week…. right here.

What’s an Endangered Speechie?

Great question and I am so glad you asked.  An Endangered Speechie – ES for short – is, quite simply, a slang phrase or word usage that is no longer used in everyday parlance.  I discovered an outrageously fun Dictionary of Slang in my second hand book store.  Published in 1955 by ‘English Universities Press in the City of London’.  By Mr William Freeman.  I am not sure if Mr Freeman is still walking these earthly planes but wherever he is, I salute you Willy.  These things are priceless.

Today’s Endangered Speechies come to you from the Letter A

1. Abso – blooming-lutely:  Absolutely, entirely.  Love this.  Use it myself but I may have adapted the blooming part a bit, modernised it shall we say!

example: “She abso-blooming-lutely loved her new Moleskine.”

2. Adam and Eve on a raft:  Which is eggs on toast to you or I.

example:  “For breakfast, Bill often enjoyed Adam and Eve on a raft.”

3. Accounts for the milk in the coconut: Explains the reason.  Never quite sure about phrases using coconuts.  Are they politically correct or do they infer some kind of horrid slavery heritage.  Please advise…

example: “It was only reading the diary of her lover that accounted for the milk in the coconut.”

4. Addle-pated:  Foolish, with a muddled mind.  Because apparently an addled egg is one abandoned by the hen before hatching is completed.  So there you go.

example:  She had written 4000 words today and was now distinctly addle-pated.”

5. All of a doodah: In a state of bewilderment and confusion, overwrought.

example:  “After she had read her words for the day, she was all in a doodah”

6. All mops and brooms: semi-intoxicated.

example: “One whiff of the sherry and Auntie Wyn was all mops and brooms.”

7. Apple Pie Order: perfect order or condition

example: “This second print edition of the classic ‘Selkie’ by renowned and much critically acclaimed author, Juliette Nolan, is sold in apple pie order.” !!!!!

8. Aunt’s Sisters : Ancestors

example: “Amongst her Aunt’s Sisters, she could count two scientists, one writer, and a lunatic.”


So there is your treat for today.  The first of this brand new series, brought to you every Tuesday here at Radio SPC.

Any examples of sentences using the above phrases will earn you 25000 points and put you in the draw to win.  Enter the competition in the comments below.  Remember though it’s not the winning, it’s the taking part that counts.


Word count for today:  2800.  Not great but not bad either.  So-so.




The Ecstasy of the First Draft

the soul quoteI am now entering into the second week of my month long experiment.  This is the second quarter.  The enthusiasm of the starting whistle has faded and the end is not in sight.  This morning I found myself waning.

I blame Anne Lamott.  Yesterday, after my writing was done for the day, I kicked back into lazy town and read ‘Bird By Bird’ from cover to cover.  I would like to be able to tell you that by the end I was inspired, uplifted.  I would love to report that no sooner had I finished it than I grabbed my pen and whizzed off another 1000 words.

Actually, by the end of the book, I was feeling altogether depressed.  It is probably not fair that I blame Anne Lamott.  In fact, she seems like an all-round cool kind of gal.  I loved her.  And she shares a huge amount of wisdom in there.  Acres of it in fact.  For this reason alone I think that every writer must read it.

I was depressed rather because I realized how woefully lacking in confidence I am.  Confidence…. and experience.  I mean I should have both by my age.  I should be flipping through my Rolodex, and texting my agent, without even batting an eyelid.  But I am not.  And there is one simple reason for this.  I have spent the whole of my adult life running from the fact that the only real dream I have is to be a writer.

Why having one dream is rather difficult

Having only one dream is a terrible thing, I have concluded.  It means that I must face the fact that even if/when this whole thing fails miserably, it is all I have.  There are no reserve dreams in there.  Those were the ones I invested my 20s and 30s in.  Now I am down to the bottom of my Pandora Box of Dreaming.  If this one goes, the whole thing is coming down, baby.

So today found me in my writing spot, relishing my ‘process’.  Because this is all I have right now.  If I can focus only on the joy of this creative journey then perhaps, if disappointment follows, I will find some comfort in the fact that I loved the writing.  Forget outcomes.  Focus only on the process.

And that means that right now, I am reminding myself of the above quote by Dickinson.  I am standing ajar, ready to welcome in the ecstatic experience.  I am feeling joy when new characters introduce themselves and show me just how they can weave their strand through my story.  I am smiling softly when the narrative beckons to ‘shift perspective, zoom in on her now.’

This morning I am grateful that people like Anne Lamott are out there to remind us that really, when all is said and done, you’ve just got to love the writing and that is the reward.  If you dream of being a writer, then you should theoretically dread “The End”.  If you are a writer, you should crave the second quarter when you and your characters dig in together and they start to trust you just a little with some of their secrets and their darker thoughts.

I am a writer.  You are a writer.  We know this because the nature of our ecstatic experience lies in the formation of the sentence, not in the full stop at the end.

Today, relish the spaces between your words.  Leave your soul ajar my friend.  Leave your soul ajar.

With love x

PS  Wordcount today, in case you are interested…. 3100.  I thank yer…..

Book Marketing and the strange case of Ishiguro’s balloons

bookstore windowThere is cause for celebration at my local bookstore.  For the first time in a decade, Kazuo Ishiguro has released a new book.

From the blurb it seems to offer a mythical tale full of wonder and giants.  The cover is beautiful – a deep matt navy, rich as a midnight sky with a sacred tree winding its way from the rich soil of a perfectly fonted title.  The Buried Giant, it announces. By Kazuo Ishiguro – in gold lettering.  Gold lettering.  This is an important book, it calls to us.  It is simple but magical.  It will change you, shake the roots of your very existence.  It is a book to be talked about.

Imagine my surprise then when I entered the store and saw this:

ishiguros balloonsNot only are they balloons.  They are special Ishiguro balloons.  Regard how they match the colour of the cover.  Behold how they are emblazoned with the same minimal illustration.  Which is both marvelous and fabulous, whilst at the same time, deeply disturbing.

Is this what book marketing has come to?  Gone are the days when it was a discrete bookmark, or a tasteful postcard (though these were placed at BOTH counters!).  Now, to sell books, really good books, apparently we must also have balloons.

I am troubled by this.  Quite deeply.  Not only because I loathe balloons with all their squeaky- rubbery-tight-skinned-spitefulness, but also because I am not sure where the publishing world can go after this.

Is this what it has come to for those Luddites of the literary world – those authors who like me, want to write that most unsellable of things –  the epitome of genreless – literary fiction?  Must Indie publishers hoping to get their literary works noticed now offer such things to entice readers away from the safety of Paranormal-urban-fantasy-thrilleromance Genre Fiction?

If so, then here are my suggestions for

5 Inappropriate Marketing Ideas for Literary Fiction

1. Lollipops ; especially if you are selling something that is dangerously racy or perhaps touches on the subjects of child abuse, family trauma, or pedophilia.  Got to find a way to sweeten those topics for the punters, folks.

2. Beer Can holders:  You know those things made of strange, unnatural fabric that keep cans cold.  I thought that any novel that touched upon alcoholism – perfect.  Alternatively if your novel is set in a hot climate – this is good to go for you.

3. Big Hands:  Like they wave at games and other such sporting events.  If you got a jaunty little logo, people who buy the book could be given “a big hand” get it.  I mean it’s hilarious, right.  Challenging for page turning however.

4: Steak Knives:  I mean who doesn’t need more steak knives?  These babies have been the solid stuff of marketing strategies for years.  Why, I ask you, has it taken publishing so long to catch up?  So, ‘buy this novel and get a free set of steak knives’.  It’s just got a ring to it….

5: Sun Visors:  I am sure that most literary fiction readers are possibly low in their quota of free sun visors.  I might be wrong, but what better than the new Amis novel having a Go Amis Go baseball cap, or  The Liz Gilbert Visor.  It makes sense.  Literary Fiction readers don’t go out in the sun very often after all.  We need to protect our paper-like pale complexions.  Plus, how jaunty would that be?

I mean these are just some initial suggestions that I am throwing out there.  I am sure you have some of your own, so be a sport and pop them in the comments.  If we get enough of them we can bundle them up into an eBook called “Crazy Marketing Ideas for Indie Authors ”  or , if we want to go a little Seth Godin/ Malcolm Gladwell, my title vote goes with “Ishiguro’s Balloons”, just for its outstanding SEO potential alone.

Oh, and word count for the day? 

Another 3000.  Thanks for asking.

See you tomorrow, now back to your writing, You!  Yes – You!!!

Why every writer loves a library

novel choices

After a shaky start to my writing day, I was ready for a break this afternoon.  Where better than the library for a chance to indulge myself in fantasies that one day, my novel might find a home on those shelves.

What writer does not love a library?  Upon every shelf is another idea for your next novel.  Need to do some research – forget Wikipedia, get thyself to the library my friend.  And it’s all free.  Free, I say.  With book prices here in New Zealand through the roof, it makes more than sense to avail yourself of this most lovely of all public services.

Before I talk you through my haul, I should just mention my word count.  For those of you who are following my Month of Pantsting challenge with bated breath.

Today’s Word Count:  3200

Total Word count since the challenge began: 14 750

Which is, you know, not too bad for five days work.  I have noticed that I am taking a slowly, slowly approach.  Tackling it Pomodoro style, I suppose.  You know, the Pomodoro method where you set a timer for 25 minutes and then write solidly for that time with a five minute break at the end?  Only I don’t have a timer, I have my stomach which is kind enough to rumble loudly at about the right interval level!

Any way, my writing was done, the rain had put a mocker on my beach walk plan, so library it was.

Today’s haul:

As you can see from the above photo, I always like to issue far more novels than is humanly possible to read in the time given.

The Novel Choices:

  1.  This is Life by Dan Rhodes:  I was attracted by the cover because I am a sucker for whimsical little watercolours of cityscapes.  Not a book I had heard of but the blurb promises a rip-rollicking tale set in Paris with a rather charming sounding cast of characters.  Could be fun.
  2. The Light Behind the Window by Lucinda Riley.  This is the first of the two novels by Riley that I picked up today.  I adore novels that slip between the past and the present.  This is such a novel, the past being 1943 Occupied France.  It is described as a ‘breathtaking and intense story of love, war, and, above all, forgiveness.  Sounds good. (Note that this is called The Lavender Garden on US Amazon – go figure!)
  3. The Midnight Rose by Lucinda Riley.  Another ‘time slip’ novel where the past weaves into the present.    This one encompasses India and a remote estate in England.  I just finished writing a novel set in Raj India, so this could be a nice way to revive my passion for that manuscript.  Dark secrets and  a family’s past – all the ingredients of a good read, I hope.
  4. The Collector of Lost Things by Jeremy Page.  Gorgeous cover which reminded me of my novel vision board.  The Year is 1845 and a young researcher is sent to the Arctic to find the remains of the Great Auk.  It’s a love story and a quest ‘whose protagonists are driven by obsession, love, and ghosts.  I have a passion for ghost stories so this looks like it could be very good.
  5. The Sealed Letter by Emma Donaghue.  Haven’t read anything by her but hear lots of grand things so this is the first of two novels by her to read.  This is set in Victorian times which is just about my favourite literary period.  It’s about affairs and marriage culminating in a courtroom drama.  The blurb reminds me of  Mrs Robinson’s Disgrace by Kate Summerscale, which I read, and loved, last month.
  6. Frog Music by Emma Donaghue. San Francisco 1876.  Smallpox, Chinatown and exotic dancing.  Sounds like a fabulous mix for a novel.  Inspired by true events which makes it all the more beguiling.
  7. The Son by Philipp Meyer.  Bit of a wildcard choice.  Sweeping western epic which is not normally my bag but I seem to remember reading a good review of it about a year ago so, if I have the time, why not give it a chance.  It’s got over 100 reviews on Amazon and 4 stars so it must be quite good!

Research for my novel:

research for my novelMy novel is set on a remote Scottish Island so it made sense to get a few visual books to get the literary juices going.  These three are full of sweeping photographs and will I am sure prove really useful for helping to bring a more enhanced sense of place to my writing.

Fairy Tales:

myths and legends booksI have always had a weakness for fairy tales and my novel draws upon myths and legends so I thought it would be nice to reconnect with some old, and new, favourites.

Virago is hands down the best source of fairy tales in the modern canon so I was delighted to see The Virago Book of Erotic Myths and Legends by Shahrukh Husain.  Soon I might talk a little about my brief foray into the murky world of erotica writing but suffice to say that I rather enjoy reading something saucy but WELL WRITTEN.  This looks to deliver on both fronts.

I also picked up The Maid of the North – Feminist Folk Tales From Around the World by Ethel Johnston Phelps.  A real mix of stories here and I love getting ideas and inspiration for my next novel, or the one after that.  I am entertaining the idea of writing my own volume of fairy tales so this might give me some inspiration to try some short fiction once this novel is done.

Angela Carter’s Book of Fairy Tales.  Picked this up but when I came home, I realise that I already have one of her fairy tale book.  Absolutely in awe of everything this woman ever wrote.  Love love love Carter.  Nights at the Circus is my hands-down favourite book.  Inspirational writing guaranteed.

Mermaids – an anthology by Steve Dobell.  Illustrated collection of verse and prose.  My novel is not about Mermaids per se, but I am fascinated by these creatures of myth (or are they????)  The cover is beautiful and this will be a lovely little book to dip into for some mermaid love.

Writing Craft

the craft of writing

Two books to keep me on the straight and narrow with my writing:

  1. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott.  It’s a writing classic.  You can’t read a writing blog without coming across this one somewhere.  Time I found out what she has to say.
  2. How not to write a novel by Sandra Newman and Howard Mittelmark.  This looks like its a fun read because I confess to finding some writing books just a little bit dry and , dare I say it, boring.  I will review this later on once I have read it.

So there you have it.  Not a bad haul, eh?  I will review some of these if I enjoy them.  If not, then I won’t – it’s really that simple.  And hopefully, I have inspired some of you to get yourself down to the library for a literary feast.

What are you reading at the moment?  Care to share, I would love to hear.

And all of the titles that appear in red are linked to the Amazon store.  Not affiliate links, just for your own reference, okay?

See you tomorrow xxx

5 reasons why writing is good for your health

5 reasons why writing is good for your health

As I was walking along the beach this morning between slot one and slot two of my writing for the day, I began to think about the health benefits of writing. I mean, I get it – it is true that we writers are not the most athletic of demographics.  Out art is, after all,  sedentary – bum on seat, fingers on keyboard or pen.  Even painters get to stand for hours which is apparently much better for you than sitting down to work ( – though of course they are all alcoholics so the benefits are probably cancelled out.)

But I maintain that writing is actually marvelous for your health and here are my top 5 reasons why writing is good for you:

1: Writers are more likely to take themselves on long walks

When  in the middle of a hefty chapter, or having written your hero into an inescapable cul-de-sac, there is nothing that clears the cobwebs better than a good walk.  Take away the pain of running and the annoyance of having to get changed to leave the house, a good walk allows you to lose yourself in your body’s natural rhythms and think about your story in a leisurely and clear-headed way.  With the added advantage of doing some exercise too which gets your juices flowing again.

2: Meeting your writing goals enhances self esteem

Ask any writer and they will probably tell you that they go a little bit mad if they don’t get their daily writing done.  From personal experience, I know that once I have done my word count, I feel much more positive about my day.  By keeping a record of my writing for the day, I am able to really feel that I am working towards my goals, which is an essential element of self-esteem.

3:  Expressing yourself improves your blood pressure

If you keep things bottled up, your poor ticker starts to feel the pressure.  Whether it be ideas, thoughts, characters, or stories, keeping things locked inside your mind rather than giving them a  manifested form on the page, is actually a form of repression that can lead to all sorts of problems in the human body.  We are designed to find a means of expressing ourselves in order to release tension.  If writing is your means of expression then practice daily.  See it as a healthy means of decreasing pressure build-up in the body.

4: Writing develops your brain power and can help treat Alzheimer’s

Did you know that there are those who treat Alzheimer patients with Memoir writing classes?  The theory is that by using the brain’s linguistic function and bridging the gap between memory and language, we create stronger neural pathways and keep those parts of our brains functioning in a healthier and more revitalized way.  So when you are using your brain and searching for the right word or phrase, you are actually giving your brain a really great, personalized work-out, that is just as good as doing crosswords, or logic puzzles.

5: Writing is fun and so brings a renewed sense of positivity to our day

Yes, you heard it right, my dear!  Writing is … FUN.  Capital letters fun. I know, I know –   we would love to think that writing is hard work and that we are all suffering for our art, but the reality is that writers have inordinate amounts of fun in their work.  They get to play God, make up whole worlds, and tell stories for a living.  When things get a bit tough, why not remind yourself of this essential fact and find the fun in what you do.  Play with your story.  Throw in a curve ball.  Do something completely outlandish just to remind yourself that this is fun.  That mind shift will be just the thing to kick-start the story once again.

Or at least, these are the five things that I am telling myself as I go through my month long writing challenge.

Update on the Pantster challenge: 

Another 3000 words today which brings my up to about 12 000 words so far this month.  If you don’t know what I am on about then you can hop back to the first post here, where I explain the challenge and why the blinking heck I am doing it anyway.

I am having a lot of fun with this.  It is amazing what reveals itself when you start to write.  I hesitate to say that the Muse is with me but…. The Muse Is With Me.  I can feel her.


 Leave a comment to tell me why you think that writing is good for your health… or not!  How are you nurturing your Muse?

In fact that, my friends, may well be the title of tomorrow’s blog post.

Until then, my lovelies, have a write good day!





How a vision board can help your writing

novel the first draft

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that having a vision board can really help jump-start your writing when you hit a lull.  Something about feasting your eyes on color and image and beauty, rather than words on words on words, is deeply replenishing to your, by now, rather sparse stores of creative energy.

To be honest, making vision boards (along with designing mock-up covers) is one of my favorite forms of Productive Procrastination.  It makes me feel all designerish, like I should be working in an open-plan office and wearing designer specs and having salad wraps for lunch whilst listening to some trendy toons with my friends Todd, and Lena, and Sven.

I am not however a trendy designer.  I don’t even wear glasses, if you don’t count the very cheap reading glasses that I occasionally wear for reading if I want to look a bit more clever.  I do quite like salad wraps though.  So maybe I am on my way.

However, what I do like is looking at pretty pictures on Pinterest, creativemarket.com, and Tumblr.  I find that having a visual stimulus is a great way to motivate me to write, to try and translate those images into words.  That is the art of the writer – painting with words.

Of course when I set out on my Month of Pantsting, I had no vision board available.  I started anyway.  But here I am on Day three and I am craving some visuals.  I pulled out a board I had done for another novel (planned but yet to be written) and decided that hey bajingo, that will do for now.

It is stuck in the notebook and ready to reignite my passion should it wear a little thin.

Which it hasn’t.  As yet.  Though I am only on Day three of course.

WORD COUNT TODAY?  3300 words

Total Wordcount for the Month so far?  9500 which is not too shabby if I say so myself.

I am loving the spontaneity of it all but glad to have my vision board to fall back on when the words don’t want to be extracted from the fog of my mind.

How do you use visual stimulation to help your writing? Would love to hear some thoughts and see some pictures if you have links?

See you tomorrow for another update


PS:  Does anyone know of a widget thingie that I can put in my sidebar to show my project progress?  Any thoughts???