Where’s the Oddest place you’ve done it?

Write I mean!

On trains and buses, boats and rooftops, beaches, balconies and the bottom of the sea, we writers will do it anywhere (get your minds out of the gutter please!) I’m sure you know what it’s like to have the Muse (or just the need to flex those writing muscles) strike at an unexpected moment.

Personally, the oddest place I’ve done it was a department store. Working 9-5, you can only re-arrange the cushions and lights and mirrors so many times before you start to feel a bit zombified. In the long periods between customers (because no-one buys lights on a Wednesday afternoon), I used scraps of paper we kept for customer notes to scribble out a ghost story set in, yes, a department store.

So, where’s the oddest place you’ve done your writing?

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4 Roadblocks to your Writing – And 4 ways to Steamroll them!

Image of steamroller


For every writing problem you have, there is an answer.

Not necessarily an easy answer that involves lamps and Genies but an answer nevertheless.

Here are four common roadblocks that stop you from writing – and four ways to steamroll them flat.

1) I don’t have time to write

When I was younger, there was a TV show about a boy with a watch who could stop time. I think everyone would kill for one of those, writer or not.

You’re allowed to have a busy life, a job, a family, kids, pets and all sorts of other commitments. You’re allowed to have days when you don’t write. Don’t feel bad about them.

But –

the fact remains that your book/short story/poem/screenplay isn’t going to write itself. So you’re going to have to make time. That might mean making a few little sacrifices; you wake up a bit earlier, you write in your lunch break or skip an evening TV show for a couple of hours of writing instead. If you don’t drive on your commute, you could fit in a few words then. Or even keep a notepad in the toilet – multi-tasking to the extreme!

2) I’m just not inspired

You can’t write without inspiration right? Well…actually, you can. People who write for a living don’t have a choice. It may sound mercenary but if you have to, you’ll find something to write about.

If you’re stuck on a scene, skip it and move on. Try editing something you’ve already written. Or go and write something completely different to keep your mind active until you’re ready to go back to your WiP. Blog posts are good!

Physical activity can also get the creative juices flowing. A simple walk can work wonders for the old noggin. A trip to the Library is even better. Grab a book to find your inspiration.

3) I’m not sure my writing is any good

Join the club, we’ve got jackets.

Every writer ever, in the history of writing, has doubted their work or their writing abilities. And not just once either. It’s completely natural. And it may be that what you’re writing on isn’t going to work out.

Step back. Let your work breathe. When you return to it, give it a the once over and, if you decide to scrap it, don’t chuck it entirely. Keep a copy so that if nothing else you can cannibalise it for ‘parts’.

You also need to remind yourself why you writeWhy do these characters dance through your through your head and onto paper? Because they need to. Because you need to. You may not be the next Charles Dickens (I know I’m not), but you will always have to write. 

4) I keep getting distrac-oh a butterfly!

The internet is a wonderful and terrible place. So are Netflix and Instagram  and all the other distractions of the digital age. When you turn on your computer to write, you open up world of procrastination right at your fingertips. I know this. I’ve already been distracted six times in the last paragraph.

Hmm…what was I saying?

You can try swapping your laptop for a pen and paper. But if you’re anything like me, you type faster than you can write anyway. Then you’ll need to get serious and unplug the internet. You can do this literally or by using handy apps from Chrome or Microsoft. Use them to block the Internet on your computer for as long as you need to get things done.
Or try a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, with or without music, to help you focus.

And hide the TV.

What are your top tips to get past major writing difficulties?

 

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An Explanation of the Continuous Necessity

string-lights-692348_1280
You write
so that when you fall,
your descent will be arrested,
by a silver net of words
tied in knots
onto the walls.

And you ask,
are they strong enough,
tough enough, tall enough,
what if they just break
so that you crash into
the floor?

So you write
and on you tie them
knots with bows
and knots with snarls,
knots with no one else around them,
knots fixed
into your soul.

For you know
the way you speak
in those tight,
serrated thoughts,
fingers stained with psychic ink,
so permanence
is taught.

And it never
ceases moving,
the story rolls forever,
blind and bullish,
never ending,
minds working
without a hold.

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Raised in the fantasy way

R2-D2 toy

I grew up surrounded by fantasy and sci-fi. Maybe that’s why it’s what I love to write now.  Bedtime stories were The Hobbit, Wind in the Willows, Roald Dahl. Daytime video viewing was Star Wars, Willow, Labyrinth and all the Disney films. It’s still seen as odd if you’re into fantasy and happen to be female. People assume you aren’t into it for the ‘right’ reasons, whatever they are. Sexist bollocks of course!

Anyway, all this leads to the fact I went to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens last week. I went with my boyfriend, who’s decently into fantasy but didn’t grow up with Star Wars like I did. We had the toys, the books, the games, you name it. I was the one at the screening with the Star Wars T-shirt! They’ll be no spoilers, but suffice to say both I and the boyfriend loved it. It brought back the feeling of watching the original films, with the added bonus of being on a very big (IMAX) screen that practicaly swallowed me into the story.

What did you think of the film?  And are you a fantasy fanatic?

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New Year Musings

New Years Eve fireworks

It’s all over. Both the year and my book.

Completing the book has been my biggest achievement and one I didn’t expect to happen. When I looked back at my New Years postfrom January 2015, I was surprised to find I’d gone beyond what I thought I could do.

I completed the 2nd edit on my book and started and completed the third. I never thought I would do that. I also continued with this blog and gathered 350 or so followers from the fellow bloggers (and a hello and thanks to all of you). It’s nice to have somewhere to share my work and my ramblings about books and places. And it’s great to follow other writers and gain all the insights I can.

Back to the book, this year begins with the question ‘What now?’ I think the best idea is to have someone read it, someone who will give honest, constructive feedback that hopefully doesn’t just consist of ‘don’t give up your day job.’
Any advice about how to go about this will be gratefully received!

I hope you all had a good year and have a good one in 2016.

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Today

Woman looking out to sea

Today

I felt a moment

of sadness

flicked in from nothing

a moment given

for the mourning

of those who have no

other

I wondered

whose loss I had been assigned

who they had been

before the trap closed

whether they were always

anonymous

born and died with the

light touch

flying with dragging feet

Or were violently electric

bursting and

sputtering to the end

like a cardboard firework

I saluted

took the dip

waited it out

for the good of

life.

I’m still here

My apologies to anyone who follows me (you still there?) as I’ve been neglectful of this blog of late. It’s been two months (!) since I posted anything which is not good.

My main issue has been dun dun dun…the day job.  It’s been sucking up my time and energy like a sponge.  I’m sure many of you know how that feels.  The moments I do find for writing, I’ve been putting towards my WiP.  This has at least paid off and I’m on the very last page of the book, right the end of my 3rd edit.  I shall feel good once the last full stop is in place.  Of course, then I’ll have to look for feedback from er, somewhere out there but that’s a whole other blog post.

To end, hello to everyone out there and, as the Writers Secret Prayer goes, “May your words flow without blockage”.

A Tour of The British Library

Bust of Colin St John Wilson

Did you know you can go on a behind the scenes tour of The British Library? Well, you can and you can book tickets online too, for only £10 pounds each which I think is pretty reasonable.

The British Library

I booked the tickets beforehand to make sure we had a place but being a Tuesday morning there were only six of us on the tour anyway.

We started the tour with a trip outside to see the building and learn some interesting facts.

The British Library

The building was designed in the 1960s by Colin St John Wilson but due to delays and relocations, that design bares little resemblance to what was actually built.

Bust of Colin St John Wilson
Bust of Colin St John Wilson

It was meant to be built near to the British Museum where the library was first kept. In the end that wasn’t possible so it wound up across the city near to St Pancras Station.

The foundation stone was laid in 1982 and the building opened in 1997. The project went wildly over-budget until the government cut off funding at which point it just stopped being built, with unfinished bits left, well, unfinished.

The British Library internal structure
An unfinished bit of the library.

Below the library is the basement which goes down eight storeys and stores most of the libraries books. The film “Alien” was shot there whilst it was being built. We didn’t get to go down there but hopefully, no alien’s got left behind after they finished!

Model of the British Library
The basement of the library.

To store the new books it receives, the library is now having to build new premises in Boston Spa, outside of London. By law, every book published in the UK has to have a copy sent to the library. They receive about 8,000 a day. Even newspapers and magazines have to send copies in – including the pornographic ones!

As far as ‘behind-the-scenes’ goes, we didn’t see too much but our guide did show us how requested books are hand-picked then whizzed around the building. And we got an eagle-eye view of one of the reading rooms.

The British Library reading room
We see you!

We also learnt more about The King’s Library, donated by King George IV after he inherited it from his father. It’s kept in this rather snazzy area in the middle of the main atrium and can only be accessed by about 30 people.

The King's Library
The King’s Library

I also have to mention the gift shop because it’s like heaven for any lover of literature, with souvenir postcards, bags, badges, notebooks, pens etc as well as actual books both fiction and non-fiction.

The British Library gift shopThe British Library gift shop

All the pretty, pretty things. I wanted to jump in them and swim about, but that’s probably frowned upon.

Anyhoo, I know the question you want to ask which is “Wordlander, did you get a notebook?”

Alice in Wonderland notebook

Of course, I did – but more about that in another blog post!

I hope you enjoyed my ‘taster’ of my British Library tour. They only appear to be going on until 30th September this year so if you’re interested get in there quick!

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5 Inspiring Things to do in London

London

We’ve visited London quite a bit and so we’ve done most of the usual touristy things. Here are five different and interesting things to do in London. Maybe they’ll give you some ideas if you’re planning a visit or are a local!

  1. The British Library is offering behind-the-scenes tours this summer. I’ve never been that far into the building so I’m very excited about this one. It’s not too pricey either at £10 each for adults. I’m hoping they’ll let me take photos so I can share the experience on here.
  2. I’m hoping for some macabre inspiration from the Hunterian Museum. Attached to The Royal College of Surgeons, this free museum houses all manner of weird and wonderful things. Usually in jars.
  3. Next up a tour of the London Underground, £20 each for a two-hour tour (plus you have to pay for your tube travel). My boyfriend and I share a fascination for underground spaces like tunnels, caves and mines so we’re both intrigued by this one. The chance to view a disused platform should be a highlight – who knows what could be down there?
  4. On to Dennis Sever’s House, a rather unique bit of history. Dennis lived in the house from 1979 to 1999 and refurbished the place room by room. Each one is set up as if the family Huguenot silk-weavers who lived there have just stepped out.
  5. Lastly, you can’t go to London without taking in a show, but musicals aren’t my thing. Instead we’re going to see The Woman in Black. I can highly recommend the book if you’re a fan of ghost stories and, though different, the Daniel Radcliffe film was suitably moody. The reviews of the stage version are superb and it’s been going for twenty-five years so they must be doing something right!

I’d love to hear any other recommendations. Do you have an inspiring place in London or an activity there you’ve loved?

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The Perils of On-demand TV

TV zombie

I’ve neglected both my blog and my WiP recently. Life has been busy. Not having a bathroom hasn’t helped. You don’t really want to stay in the home with a wobbly toilet.

But now that’s nearly over and so I should be able to get back to work. Only Now TV has just added all of True Blood to its roster. I didn’t see season six or seven as we changed our TV package.

Last night I watched four episodes on the trot until I had to go to bed.

Oh dear…