Sit at your desk writing and all you’ve got is a book about a desk.

A game of squash

A game of squash, if this was a photo of me, I’d be on the floor, sweating and purple (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A double yellow squash ball.

A double yellow squash ball. These are slow balls and we play with the blue……(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have been killing myself, learning something new over the past few weeks. I have learned how to run around a squash court. I’ve learned that puce is the colour I turn just before I get to full purple and I’ve learned that a desk job and sedentary lifestyle is to blame for a complete inability to move with real pace and grace.

The day after the first match, my legs felt like someone had driven a steam roller over them and as I had fallen over trying to hit a couple of shots, I also had the bruises to show exactly which part of this frame, hit which part of the court when I went down. My legs now resemble a rainbow of yellow greens.

Laying in bed, nursing both bruises and dented pride, I got to thinking about how good I felt after the exercise and how competitive my nature truly is. I knew I was never going to win as my lovely husband used to play Squash for a county up North. Out on that court, I just didn’t care. For every four points in a row he got, I won one back and it was hard-earned, it was hard-won and I rejoiced inside.

My husbands not the type to let me win either and whilst the sensitive are thinking, “how mean!” He knows damn well, I’d hate it any other way.

So a sense of competition and running around doing something to stimulate oxygen to my brain has had an unexpected impact that I think was missing before.

I used to think the hard part was sitting down and writing and continuing to write until it’s finished. That is what everyone tells you isn’t it? A thousand blogs telling you to sit down and write until those digits bleed, until your sick of the sounds of the keys and the cold coffee your nursing.

I don’t think that’s a productive way to produce quality work. I think to write about what you know, if all you do is sit at a desk, well, that’s all you know. The pain and frustration of trying your very best and still sounding stilted, contrived and wondering why you’re not as creative as other people just sucks as a strategy.

You need to get out and smell the roses, do something that you enjoy and like doing. Meet some new people in real life. Do something that stimulates your emotions and your creativity is not going to be far behind.

Make the minutes you spend writing count, by filling the rest of your time with things that matter. I’m not giving you a license to procrastinate but sitting at a desk torturing yourself doesn’t help you achieve your goals. Living life in a full and authentic way is the best and most rewarding road to writing well..

The absolute best thing about doing this from a writing perspective, is a speech impediment I noticed that one of the receptionists had and an incident with a small child and their parent at a roller-disco they host in the sports hall. I’d never have the exact quirks or nuances of those situations – if I hadn’t been going to do something I enjoyed.

Live well, write well. In my eyes – they are intrinsically linked.

Comments, as always, – welcome.

Finding a Niche – Writing to read not writing for readers.

Niche Syndrome

Niche Syndrome (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I started writing again because no one was writing what I wanted to read. There are some amazing books that I really enjoyed but there were no books that really hit what I wanted and that’s why I picked up my creativity and got cracking again.

I was away for the holiday this weekend and I took my net-book and whilst thinking out some plotlines, I realised I was falling into a bit of a trap. The snare of thinking about the reader too much. I was trying to craft situations that I thought the readers would want to read and not remaining true to my original vision of the story.

It’s quite easy when you’re a newbie writer to do this because you are often second guessing what you think. Whilst it’s okay to think about plausibility and originality and to make sure your story is authentic, the minute you begin thinking about the end-user just take a moment.

Writing for other readers doesn’t work if it did then there would be a magic formula that all writers would follow that would result in endless bestsellers and residuals. Don’t believe the hype and all the books that promise just that.. Are savvy (if immoral) authors getting rich off your naïvety rather than any original novels they’ve written.

By thinking too long and hard about the reader and not the story, you’re sure to end up with a confused and stilted mess. The minute, I reset my expectations and began again, with what I wanted to read, the niche that no one else inhabits and the story that makes me light up in dark moments, my flow and my creativity raced back in.

Trust yourself and your story and your future readers will too.

So what do you think?

Comments, as always, welcome.

 

Why have I never heard of half of the people who give writing advice?

Advice

Advice (Photo credit: mpclemens)

I always used to imagine that writing (if you do it properly) is a free and easy creative rapture, where I sit and the words effortlessly flow from every pore like some sort of wordsmith disease. I have discovered Dear Reader that anything worth doing is difficult. Now, I’m not talking brain surgery here, I am talking about effort….

I’ve also discovered a direct correlation between how difficult it is and how likely I am to complete it. Is half of this about showing up and writing stuff down? Stuff that isn’t just about how hard it is to write stuff. I’ve tried that tactic recently and I have managed to complete 3/4 of my novel.  It’s still not finished and nowhere near a publishable or ship-able format but it is 3/4 done and I’m patting myself on the back for that.

It also resulted in a six month gap in my blog writing. I love blogging due to instant gratification, I press the little publish button and voilà someone is potentially going to skim read the first few lines.  However, I have noticed how much writing blogs  and a lot of the advice being extolled,  is from people who have no more right to give advice than I do…

Have they written a bestseller, maybe but not one that I’ve ever read….

So is that what happens when your novels don’t make it? Do you just write about writing instead…..

Your thoughts are welcome friends…

P.S If you fancy a very commercial laugh. Try #danceponydance

P.S.S Do not drink any kind of liquid whilst doing this.

P.S.S.S The Findus one is genius! For all my American friends – Google recent press in the UK regarding Findus after watching. It will make perfect sense.

The Joy of Writing – Because sometimes it actually feels good…

We all talk on the blog about the pain and suffering of writing and of how we must knock our head against metaphorical writers blocks or how we are well versed at procrastination and indecision. When do we talk about the joy of it?

Joy I hear you cry! – Can I not hear your suffering and torment, how can I talk about joy when it comes to this mutual addiction of words on paper. Put quite simply  – because it is true!

Yes writing is hard and you can go from feeling you have reached a pinnacle of desperate craftiness to sizzling mediocrity – depending on how it is going. But there are days when you get lost in the story and when the story gets lost in you. When your fingers can’t keep up with the voices and you are left holding your breath and hanging on for dear life as your darlings sweep you away.

I feel like this now and no, none of it is perfect. It will need tortuous re-writes and endless re-structuring. A certain comma, needs moving or a word gets repeated or it is slipping into a turn of phrase that seem like weeds in the well-balanced prose. Or I keep saying that a character turned towards something or looked at something, some basic mistakes.

I urge you to just get that wip of yours out now and let it go, relax, let the words they speak in your head hit the paper and whilst you’re doing that just imagine not being able to do it. Imagine they have taken the gift of being god (for that is what you are in whichever world your building, the situations you craft) away from you.. That you could never do it again. Pretty scary stuff – right.

There are days when it feels like the mountain is too tall and you left a lonesome spirit at the bottom gazing into the distance, feeling small. Then there are the days where you stand at the top of the world you have built and feel, dare I say, a trifle pleased with yourself at what you have created.

It is a gift to create. Enjoy it.

Of course tomorrow is a different story… One with a much less joyous ending. So whatever you are doing, reading your emails, spending time on social media – just stop – that page aint gonna fill itself and if you feel a trite pissed off at having to do it. Just imagine that you could never do it again, and then smile and get on with it….

Comments, as always, welcome.