Tag Archives: twitter

Writers’ Week, Adelaide style

writers week 1

Adelaide Writers’ Week (photo by me)

This week is Writers’ Week in my home town of Adelaide, part of the annual Adelaide Festival of Arts. It’s a week I always take off work so I can make the most of the opportunity it offers – surrounding myself with people who love reading and writing, and hearing straight from the authors’ mouths what makes them tick, where their ideas come from and how they turn those ideas into the books on offer in the book tent.

It’s autumn in Australia and this week the weather is fine and ranging from 24-34 degrees Celsius (75-93 Fahrenheit), which can be a little warm on the hotter days but there is plenty of shade to be had. And people are making the most of it – I’ve not been to other writers’ festivals but we do seem to be bursting at the seams here at times. Most of the authors offer book signings after their sessions and if you try to get into the book tent between sittings you’re fighting a hundred other people to find what you’re looking for. And you know what? It’s fantastic. While  I was lining up to meet Elizabeth Gilbert yesterday I found myself in conversation with a bookseller from Queensland who had come down for the week to see what all the fuss was about; the family days on the weekend were packed out with kids dying to hear Mem Fox or Andy Griffiths read their works aloud (and can I say there is very little more satisfying than seeing a hundred eight year olds with piles of well-thumbed books, hoping to meet the author); Hannah Kent was still signing copies of Burial Rites a good 45 minutes after her session ended; and Alexander McCall Smith was seen wandering around enjoying the atmosphere before his first session today. Yes, we have an embarrassment of riches here this week, and the best part is it’s all free. So everyone can come and enjoy a session under the trees, listening to some of the best authors the world has to offer.

(As an aside, this is Australia’s ONLY free literary festival. If you are interested in helping it stay free, then please buy some books from the book tent on site, or if you are not in Adelaide (which I expect is most of you) then please consider making a purchase or two at the online e-book retailer associated with the event, which can be found here. Funds raised from book sales are what enables the Festival to continue to offer this event at no cost.)

The west stage

The west stage

I’ll be able to offer more commentary on it next time because I’ll have seen more of the sessions by then, but in the meantime I urge anyone reading this, who has a writers’ festival anywhere near them during the year, to go check it out. It’s fascinating, it’s eye-opening, and you may just discover a new favourite author or two. :)

 

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Guest post: Why 140 Characters isn’t the Limit, by Liam O’Dell

Yes, I know, I’m a day late this week, but that’s just the way things have worked out. Anyway, better late than never, right? And I’m thrilled to be able to introduce Liam O’Dell, who is an aspiring writer who is starting up a site that provides tips to bloggers (like me). And we all could do with a hand, right? Well, I could, at least. :)

Without further ado, here he is:

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photo

Why 140 Characters Isn’t the Limit…

 

Ah, Twitter, the quick and to-the-point way of social-networking. The site where people can share opinions, comments and critical viewpoints, all under 140 characters. But we’ve all had to make one grammatical or spelling error in order to allow us to write what we need to write. However, when writing a tweet, have you ever felt like you could write more than 140 characters?

For those wondering why I have omitted Facebook from this, it is because there’s no such limit to what we write on Facebook, and as well as that, only Twitter allows us to post opinions to the big wide world, rather than Facebook only allows you to post to “friends”, who already know what you think. However, what I’m going to write about today can apply to both sites. In fact, it can apply to anything. What I’m going to write about today is the idea that anyone can blog, but in particular, those on social networks.

A post on Twitter, Facebook etc. starts with an idea, but everyone knows that an idea can be developed. This is where a blog comes in. If there is a topic or idea that you could write endlessly about, then blog about it! 140 characters isn’t the limit on a blog! So, start a blog, and feel free to write!

 

The Blog Event – imPRESSive:

Thanks for reading my guest post, I really appreciate it! In case you didn’t know, I’m running a blog event, called imPRESSive (see what I did there?). imPRESSive hopes to provide tips to bloggers, but also aims to inspire more people to set up blogs. For more information and to view the blog post, click here!

But wait, there’s more! You can do me a massive favour and do some of the following things:

  1. “Like” me on Facebook!
  2. “Follow” Me on Twitter
  3. Tweet the Hashtag: #DocPRESS
  4. Confirm that you are “going” to my Facebook event
  5. Let me spread the word by Guest Blogging on your blog!

Thanks!

Liam

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Thanks Liam! The blog certainly sounds like a great idea, so I urge everyone to go check it out. In the meantime, if you’re not blogging already, why not give it a go? It’s not hard (proven because even I can do it) and it can open up a whole new world to you. :)

 

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Happy birthday to me!

one hundred

one hundred (Photo credit: Violentz)

Well, it’s not exactly my birthday (which, in case you are interested, is later this month), but this is a momentous day for my blog – my 100th post! *cue balloons and streamers* Yes, yes, I know. It seems like I’ve been doing this forever – or, at least, it does for me, which I’m not sure is a good or a bad thing. Anyway, to mark the occasion I thought I’d talk about social media or, put another way, internet engagement. Appropriate, no? :)

I’m the first to admit that I don’t engage as well as I should. In many ways I’m a parasite on the net: I put stuff out there, but I don’t give back. In other words, I post but I don’t comment. Now, I have been trying to be better at that this year, but like all good intentions it has fallen by the wayside a little. My participation is dropping off.

Of course, as Linda Lee Greene discussed so eloquently on my blog a couple of weeks ago, participation in social media can be a slippery slope. It’s all too easy to get sucked in and burn out, or ignore what you’ve been working on. On the other side of the coin, though, is that if you are engaging with people then they are more likely to have positive feelings about you and are thus more likely to check out your work. Talking with people online, and making them feel important, can have direct – and beneficial – impacts on your profile hits, Facebook likes, blog follows and, most importantly, sales.

It might sound callous to think of it like that – these are, after all, people with whom you are engaging – but we all have to be entrepreneurs these days, don’t we? If this is a professional engagement (that is, if you are using a professional Facebook page, Twitter account or blog, for example) then it all comes down to marketing. That’s why we have these accounts, and why we use them. And maybe that’s why I don’t engage as well as I should, because, at this stage, I don’t have anything to market. I know that the more I get out there, the more my name will be known when novel #1 does come out, but part of me feels that I’m pushing  myself on people too much. Sigh. Like Linda, I’m not cut out to be a marketer.

I will, naturally, attempt to work on this. After all, that’s part of what my new years resolutions this year were all about. But I am also wary of the slippery slope of becoming too engaged in social media. If I spend too much time talking to people I’ve never met, I run the  risk of alienating my real life friends, colleagues and family members. If I spend my computer time posting on Goodreads and Facebook, then I’m not going to be writing my novel. And that’s what this is all about, isn’t it?

So today I am using my 100th blog post to think about how I’m using social media. I love to interact with everyone here, and I do intend to get better at it (comment, Emilydarn you!!) but I do think that finding that balance is what I should really be focusing on. Because after all, if I burn out like Linda did, then what’s the point of all this anyway?

 

PS I’m including forum participation in things I should be working on. Yes, Peter, you will hopefully be seeing me around again soon! :)

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New year’s resolutions

English: Two New Year's Resolutions postcards

English: Two New Year’s Resolutions postcards (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Happy new year! *clicks champagne glasses*

I hope you all had a great holiday season, whatever it meant to you, and that you and your family all made it through to the other side intact and in the same number of pieces in which you started it. :)

In honour of the new year, today I’m going to talk about new year’s resolutions.

You know, I’m not normally a resolution type of girl. I don’t see much point in making decisions to change my life just because the calendar has ticked over to a new day, nor waiting for such a time to implement any changes. If I want to do something, I just do it, rather than waiting till the next January. In addition, the normal kinds of new year’s resolutions – giving up smoking, cutting down on drinking, losing weight – don’t really work for someone who doesn’t smoke, barely drinks and is probably technically underweight as it is.

This year, though, I’m making some, and they’re all writing related. Why? Well, it’s not because it’s suddenly 2013 and my life has started flashing before my eyes, or because I have a sudden recognition of my own mortality. No, it’s more because I’ve been at home these last two weeks and had time to think about where I want to be this time next year. So, without further ado, here they are (in no particular order):

  1. Get novel #1 edited to a point where I’m happy with it, and send it out to my trusty beta readers.
  2. Write the bulk of novel #2. I had the plot bunny for it suddenly attack me late last year, so I’ve written out a bunch of notes that just need to be put in some kind of order and fleshed out. If I can get the first draft done that will be incredible, but I’m not holding my breath.
  3. Get better at answering comments on my blog. If you’re taking the trouble to comment on it, then the least I can do is acknowledge that, right?
  4. In that vein, get better at commenting on other people’s blogs. I read them, but it’s normally on my phone and I have a really bad habit of not getting around to getting on my computer and actually writing out a comment. I’ll try to improve on that this year.
  5. Keep up to date with my reviewing and remember to cross-post reviews on Goodreads and Amazon. Again, it’s a bad habit I have of forgetting to do it and then I get to the point I’m at now of having about a dozen that need to be done. *adds it to her to-do list*
  6. Try to be more active on social media. It’s my own fault – for example, I have three Twitter accounts, all for different purposes, and in trying to keep up with them all I tend to keep up with none. But if I’m going to be professional about this writing thing then I probably need to have a bit more of a profile and really work on that. I’m not sure how hard I’m going to work at it this year (the full-on thing isn’t going to happen, for instance), but just making a point of paying more attention and posting more often isn’t a bad idea, right?
  7. Do more guest posts for other blogs, and participate in things like the Third Sunday Blog Carnival. I’ve been meaning to do it for months but just never got around to it. Better now than never, I figure. :)

So, those are my resolutions for 2013. The idea is that if I put them out in the open like this, rather than just on a piece of paper stuck to my fridge door, then I’m more likely to keep to them. (Though the fridge door isn’t a bad idea either, in that it will be something I see every day.) And if I look like lagging behind in anything, then feel free to beat me about the head a little bit. I’m not averse to a little encouragement if I’m going astray.

What about you? Are you doing resolutions for the new year, or just plodding on as usual without worrying about it? What works best for you? I’d love to hear about it. :)

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The joys of being plagiarised

 

Plagiarism

Plagiarism (Photo credit: Kalexanderson)

 

Ah, the joy of it all. Discovering (before breakfast, even) that a story you have published online has been re-posted by someone else on another site, as their own work.

Yes, you guessed it, that happened to me. Today, actually. I was going to post about how last week I had a brilliant idea for my next novel (main story, subplot and hero and heroine conflicts all worked out) but this has stayed my hand, so to speak, as I’ve been running around doing what needs to be done – reporting it to the site, posting on Twitter to warn others, etc etc.

I found out through a vanity search. I’ve got Google alerts set up for all sorts of things – my name, my pen name, this story title, you name it. I got the idea from my husband, who does it too: apparently he’s both a professional soccer player in England and a techie in the movie industry who worked on the Lord of the Rings movies. But I digress. Through this vanity search I have found things like the video someone made in honour of my story, and the blog of the person who wants to make a movie out of it. I’ve also found some less than complimentary comments on it, but you have to take the bad with the good, don’t you?

The story in question is on another site under another name and, within a certain genre, is rather popular. As such, I’ve had this problem before – people have posted it on other sites under their own names. I think this is the third time it’s happened, but there could be more and I’ve just blocked it from my subconscious. After all, there’s not much that makes me feel sicker than knowing that someone out there in cyberspace is willing to steal my work.

As such, this blog is intended to be a warning. I know that I’ve talked about this risk before, especially when discussing posting your work online, but in reality everyone thinks that it’s not going to happen to them. Even when it’s happened before, there’s something in your mind that says that you’ve had your share of bad luck, and it’ll be someone else’s turn. (This sucks for the someone else, but when they’re nameless faceless people in cyberspace they seem a lot less human and therefore you feel less guilty about subjecting them to the risk.)

So take note. If you do publish original work online, make sure that you check up on it. Do a Google alert for the story title or a character name or something, and do a manual search occasionally as well. Because there are people out there who don’t have the same sort of scruples you and I have, and they’re willing to pass off your original work as their own. It’s not on, but unless we stay vigilant and report every instance we find, it will continue to happen.

 

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Looking for guest bloggers!

Blog Machine

Blog Machine (Photo credit: digitalrob70)

I don’t normally do straight-up call outs like this, at least not actually on my blog (Twitter is another thing entirely, haha), but I thought I’d give it a go today. Why? Because my Friday slots between now and the end of the year are looking very sad and empty.

Therefore, I’m now actively looking for guest bloggers – people who want to write guest posts, novel excerpts or author interviews. I post one of these (or a book review – which reminds me, I have spots open for those too if you have a book you’d like me to review) every Friday my time, which is probably Thursday in much of the rest of the world. Full information can be found here, but essentially my rules are, try to keep it family friendly and to 1000 words or less. If you manage to do that, then chances are I’ll be happy to post it.

Therefore, if you have a book coming out or just want to get the word out about one that’s been out for a while, then maybe we can help each other. I’ll post an excerpt or do an interview or something, or you can write your own post about it, which helps you in your publicity campaign, and helps me in filling my Friday spots.

I’ll add here that I’m specifically looking for authors to blog, rather than freelance bloggers, not because I have anything against freelancers but because they often want to link to sites that seem to have absolutely nothing to do with what they were blogging about. If you’re a freelancer and have a writing-related site, then by all means contact me. If you’re wanting to promote something completely unrelated, though, then I’m likely to turn you down. It’s nothing personal, it’s just what I see as being relevant. Besides, from a marketing perspective you’re much more likely to get business from readers of a writing blog if what you’re marketing has something to do with writing. :)

So, are you interested? Can you see yourself on this blog as a guest contributor? If so, please drop me an email at emily[dot]wheeler02[at]yahoo[dot]com and we’ll get something organised. Thanks!

 

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Working with distractions

distractions and arguments

distractions and arguments (Photo credit: Will Lion)

Who, me? Distracted? Never! Oh, look, a bird ….

We’ve all been there, surrounded by distractions when we’re trying to work. It doesn’t even matter what the work is, it’s just impossible to concentrate on it. Well, that’s me at the moment.

Of course, it’s largely self-inflicted, which I suspect is the same for a lot of people. For me, it’s the start of the international cricket season in the southern hemisphere. I have a real weakness for sport, which I alluded to when the Olympic Games were on, and it’s impossible for me to sit in a room with a television or a radio without keeping an ear on the score. Heck, even if there is no television or radio, that’s what the internet is for, right? I’m far more likely to be distracted by a sporting event than I am by Facebook or Twitter, and while the white noise that is the commentary doesn’t necessarily take too much of my attention, if something happens in the game then I’m going to turn around and watch it. During the winter it’s not such an issue, as a football match is over in a couple of hours, but Test cricket goes for five days. Hence, the distractions.

Of course, that’s not the only thing that’s keeping my mind from my work. The kids are getting excited about Christmas and much of our spare time is taken up making sure that all the shopping has been done. (Thank goodness for internet shopping, let me tell you. I’ve never bought so much at 9 o’clock at night.) Plus of course there are the usual school commitments, weekend sporting commitments and the like, and of course the sanity-saving gatherings with friends. Writing time? What writing time? It’s a good thing I’ve only committed to 500 words a day.

The good news, for me at least, is that I’m keeping to my schedule. 500 words a day hasn’t proven too onerous, even with everything else going on. I may be distracted but I’m managing to stay on target, so with any luck this manuscript will be done before I know it. I started reading it from the start the other day and didn’t want to stop, so I figure that’s a good thing. Now I just need these final bits to be done – fingers crossed by the end of the month – and that all-important first hurdle will have been overcome.

So tell me, is it just me, or is this just a generally distracting time of year? I’m trying to work out how I did the last two NaNos in November and won both, with all that’s going on. Of course, not everyone will have the same distractions as I do, but I’m sure that everyone has something that keeps them from being more productive, no matter what they’re trying to achieve. Sure, it comes down to priorities, but that’s something we all have to juggle all the time. It just seems, to me at least, that at the moment there are more competing priorities than usual.

No? Just me then? Oh well. I shall just keep juggling them like I always do and plod away with my 500 words. And to everyone else out there who is struggling to find time for everything, don’t worry. It’s just that time of year, and you’re not alone. :)

 

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Author interview and novel excerpt: Chris Ward

Today I’m very happy to welcome Chris Ward, a native of Cornwall, England, who currently lives and works in Nagano, Japan. He is the author of 33 published short stories and the novels The Tube Riders and The Man Who Built the World. Chris has very kindly offered to answer a few questions for me and even given a preview of his novel, to whet the appetite of all who read it. So, let’s find out what the fuss is about!

Chris Ward

Tell me about the book. What inspired you to write it? What has the response been like?

I always had a rule in my writing never to write the same book twice.  While it looks like this is going to leave me poor and unknown forever, when I came to write Tube Riders I decided I wanted to write a big, epic sci-fi adventure because, while I had often written short stories in that genre, my novels had always been more mainstream.  I didn’t have much inspiration, so I looked through my short stories and came across one about a group of kids who hang from the side of trains for fun and get in trouble with a rival gang.  A couple of hours of brainstorming later I had expanded it into a sprawling dystopian novel.

The response … well, the handful of people who have read it have loved it.  I’ve had rave reviews, and I’ve even had fan mail.  However, so much stuff is being self-published that it’s been utterly buried under a slag heap of junk.  I’ve sold perhaps 40 copies.  I’m hoping it’ll be a slow burner and that by the time the second and third parts come out (tentatively summers of 2013 and 2014) it will be starting to catch on.  I guess time will tell.

How did you go about creating the dystopian landscape and atmosphere for The Tube Riders? Is it cautionary – it could happen if we take a couple of wrong steps along the way – or purely fictional?

Parts of it are very fictional, such as the scientific advances made by Mega Britain’s scientists.  I’ve very aware that it is impossible to cross a dog with a human due to the difference in number of chromosomes, but this is where it goes into Star Wars/X-Men territory and suspension of belief.  However, the world itself, with the perimeter walls, the restrictions on travel, the secret police, is very much based on real situations.  I live in Japan and am very influenced by the situation in North Korea.  We in the West can barely imagine living in a society where you fear for your life every moment of every day or are born into slavery because your grandparents dared to criticise the government, but there are hundreds of thousands of people currently in that situation.  Mega Britain is a kind of reflection of that and I tried to make it as realistic as possible.  That’s also why everything is in a state of disrepair – the Huntsmen don’t work properly, practically everyone is corrupt … I wanted readers to see beyond all the jumping on and off of moving trains to the dark underbelly of the world beneath, to understand what life is like in a failing society.

When did you know that you wanted to be a writer? How long had you been writing before you began to take it seriously?

I was about eight years old the first time I remember writing anything.  Through my early teens I dreamed of being a young sensation, but I was eighteen before I finished a novel.  It wasn’t very good and has never been edited.  Nor has my second or third.  I started collecting rejections on my fourth novel, written when I was 22.  By that time it was my dream to be a famous writer, however I’ve always been someone who liked trying new things so I kept my options open.  That’s how I ended up living and working overseas.

Why did you decide to self publish? How has your experience been?

It was pretty much a last resort.  I’d been collecting agent/publisher rejection letters for fifteen years and always saw self-publishing as a vanity way out.  I was at the point where my writing was good enough to sell to professional magazines and it was this that gave me the confidence in my work to try self-publishing, and the belief that had I been born thirty years earlier I would probably have broken through.  I still feel strange about it, because for me it was always about walking into a bookshop and seeing my books on a shelf.  That might never happen now.

As for my experience, it’s been slow.  I don’t sell much.  One thing I’ve learned is that quality has very little to do with what sells and what doesn’t.  Luck, coupled with a marketing brain seems to be far more important.  I’ve read poorly written rubbish that’s selling hundreds of copies a week.  A lot of the bigger selling authors I come across are retired or don’t work, meaning they have the hours to put into all the boring stuff.  As someone who works full and part time I have time for the writing but not much else.  Plus, I enjoy the writing whereas spending an hour trawling through Twitter kills me.  I’d much rather write five pages of another book than bust my gut trying to get one person somewhere to click on my book link.

What advice would you give to any aspiring authors out there?

Write and publish, but don’t get all whiny when it doesn’t work out.  Quit complaining about not selling and getting bad reviews.  The only way to make sales is to work hard to get your book noticed, and the only way to get good reviews is to get better.  Even then, you’ll occasionally get canned.  One of the best books I’ve ever read, The Time Traveller’s Wife by Audrey Niffeneger, has something like 500 one-star reviews.  That book brought me to tears and the story broke my heart.  I thought it was a masterpiece, but clearly at least 500 people strongly disagreed.  Now, with self-publishing, you get people publishing five or six years before they can even write properly, then jumping up and down and having a fit if they get anything less than a four-star review.  It’s very childish.  Along the same lines, it’s really poor form to be jealous of someone else’s success.  Some of the arguing I see on author’s forums borders on playground behaviour.  These are supposed to be grown adults attempting to be professionals and they’re writing bad reviews of each others’ work, arguing, stalking, and basically acting like little kids fighting over who gets to go first on the slide.  Just don’t do it.  Switch off the internet, grow up, and use your time to write more, write better.

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Excerpt from The Tube Riders:

As the others said their goodbyes and left, Marta stood for a moment, looking out across the park towards the huge elevated highway overpass that rose above the city to the south. Half finished, it arched up out of the terraces and housing blocks to the east, rising steadily to a height of five hundred feet. There, at the point where it should have begun its gradual decent to the west, it just ended, sawn off, amputated.

Years ago, she remembered her father standing here with her, telling her about the future. Things had been better then. She’d still been going to school, still believed the world was good, still had dreams about getting a good job like a lawyer or an architect and hadn’t started to do the deplorable things that made her wake up shivering, just to get food or the items she needed to survive.

He had taken her hand and given it a little squeeze. She still remembered the warmth of his skin, the strength and assurance in those fingers. With his other arm he had pointed up at the overpass, in those days busy with scaffolding, cranes and ant-like construction workers, and told her how one day they would take their car, and drive right up over it and out of the city. The government was going to open up London Greater Urban Area again, he said. Let the city people out, and the people from the Greater Forest Areas back in. The smoggy, grey skies of London GUA would clear, the sirens would stop wailing all night, and people would be able to take the chains and the deadlocks off their doors. She remembered how happy she’d felt with her father’s arms around her, holding her close, protecting her.

But something had happened. She didn’t know everything – no one did – but things had changed. The government hadn’t done any of those things. The construction stopped, the skies remained grey, and life got even worse. Riots waited around every street corner. People disappeared without warning amid tearful rumours that the Huntsmen were set to return.

Marta sighed, biting her lip. Her parents and her brother were gone. Marta was just twenty-one, but St. Cannerwells Park was the closest she would ever get to seeing the countryside, and the euphoria of tube riding was the closest she would ever get to happiness.

She gripped the fence with both hands and gritted her teeth, trying not to cry. She was tough. She had adjusted to Mega Britain’s harshness, was accustomed to looking after herself, but just sometimes, life became too much to bear.

—————

Thanks Chris! If people are interested in reading more, you can find The Tube Riders (and Chris’ other works) at Amazon. Chris himself can be found on Twitter as @ChrisWardWriter, on Facebook, and (naturally) his own blog.

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Assorted writing tips #6 – dealing with writer’s block

When struck with writer's block...

When struck with writer’s block… (Photo credit: kaniths)

 

We’ve all done it. Finally managed to get a couple of hours that will be free of interruptions, only to sit down at the computer and stare at the screen, unable to type because we have absolutely no idea what to say. The ideas are there, but the words just aren’t coming. We have writer’s block.There are a number of ways to try to get past this. What I want to do today is list some of the methods that – for me at least – work best, and also those that work worst.

Good ideas

  • Read through what you’ve already got. Do some edits here and there and maybe extend a scene or two. Just immersing yourself in your story
  • Jot down some ideas in freeform mode. It might be a whole scene, it might be a line of snappy dialogue, it might be an impression or an emotion. Even if it doesn’t make sense, write it down. You may find inspiration in your jottings at a later date.
  • If you’re a linear writer (ie, you start at the beginning and write in order till you get to the end), perhaps think about writing a scene that you haven’t got to yet. Most people have ideas about key points in their stories, and how they want them to go. Write them down. Construct the scene. Sure, when you get to it you might change bits of it (or lots of it), but it will get you writing again. (If you’re not a linear writer and simply don’t know where to start, do this too. Get those key scenes down in print. You can always change them later if you need to.)
  • Try free writing. Open a blank document and just type words (or, if you prefer longhand, open a new page of your notebook). Don’t think about the words, don’t try to modify them, and don’t worry if they don’t make any sense. Just the act of writing can be what you need to get back into it. (Also, free writing can sometimes free things from your subconscious. Don’t discount what you see on the paper once you’re done.)
  • Read something similar to what you’re trying to write to get your head in the right space for that genre.

Bad ideas

  • Opening Facebook or Twitter and scrolling through, telling yourself you’re looking for inspiration. Chances are you’ll just get distracted, start trolling through blogs and the like, and two hours later you’ll have achieved precisely nothing.
  • Letting yourself get bogged down in a particular scene. If there’s something you can’t seem to get past, just ignore it for the time being and come back to it when you’ve had a bit of a break.
  • Getting another coffee. Then noticing the kitchen bench needs wiping down, so getting out a dishcloth to do that. Then thinking that the dishcloth needs washing so putting a load of laundry on. Then noticing that the kids have tracked mud through the laundry so mopping the floor. Then thinking that since you’ve got the mop out you might as well do the bathroom and kitchen floors as well. Then noticing there’s a ring around the bath so cleaning that. Then remembering you haven’t brushed your teeth today so doing that. Then noticing that the toothpaste tastes odd because it’s not combined with the taste of coffee like it normally is, so going back to the kitchen to drink the coffee you made. Then realising you’ve taken so long to do everything else that your coffee is now cold, so tipping it out and making some more. Then noticing that the dishes need doing …

Of course, what works for me isn’t necessarily going to be what works for other people, but from what I can tell a lot of what works for me is almost universal. Naturally, sometimes writer’s block isn’t going to respond to anything listed above, whether recommended or not, but often – I find at least – it will. It’s just a matter of trying things out and seeing how you go.

Good luck!

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Guess what? I’ve been published!!

In a real book that you can buy and everything!  How exciting is that?

As you can tell, I’m rather stoked by this. It’s all of six months since I decided to really start taking this writing malarkey seriously, and so far I’ve submitted a grand total of one story to be published. This makes my success rate 100%, which is rather unusual in writing circles. Don’t worry, I’m not under any illusions whatsoever about maintaining this rate, but I might as well enjoy it while I can, right?

100 RPM

The book is a collection of flash fiction, all inspired by music, and it’s called 100 RPM. It’s the brainchild of Caroline Smailes, and features one hundred stories (all 100 words long) inspired by music. Intrigued? I was, which was why I submitted a (somewhat gruesome) story. My contribution was inspired by DOA by the Foo Fighters, which was chosen because (a) they’re one of the only bands I listen to who are known worldwide, and (b) it’s one of those songs that just sticks in my mind whether I want it to or not, so it seemed a logical choice.

All proceeds from the book go to the UK charity One in Four, which raises money to help victims of sexual violence. On top of that, the book is CHEAP – but only for the first week of release. It came out on Thursday so you’ve got till this Thursday to get it at the discounted price, which is 99p (UK) or $1.55 (US). After that the price will rise (though not by a huge amount), which means more cash per book to One in Four, but possibly less sales because it’s dearer.

So, please go out and buy the book. This isn’t to line my pockets because I make absolutely nothing from it (I bought the book myself, even though as a contributing author I could have had a free copy), but to help out a very worthy charity – and read some great stories in the meantime! If you could leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads (or both) that would be awesome too, as we’d like as many people to find out about this as possible. Other ways you could help are tweeting using the hashtag #100RPM or liking the Facebook page.

Besides, you’re curious as to whether I can actually write, aren’t you? :)

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For more information about 100 RPM, please check out Caroline Smailes’ blog entry from last week.

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