Words To Inspire

PhotopinEvery writer has those moments of doubt, when a few carefully chosen words of encouragement can make all the difference.  Writing is mostly a solitary experience and  it takes a certain kind of person, not only to live in this quiet place, but to silence their inner critic just long enough to produce something creative.  However, it is immeasurably helpful when someone who has already made the journey, lifts the veil on this little world of ours and whispers wise words that help to lift our spirits and see us through.  Sometimes you just need to hear that yes, your stories are worth telling.

Letters To A Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke

“Your doubt can become a good quality if you train it. It must become knowing, it must become criticism. Ask it, whenever it wants to spoil something for you, why something is ugly, demand proofs from it, test it, and you will find it perhaps bewildered and embarrased, perhaps also protesting. But don’t give in, insist on arguments, and act in this way, attentive and persistent, every single time, and the day will come when, instead of being a destroyer, it will become one of your best workers–perhaps the most intelligent of all the ones that are building your life.”

Rainer Maria Rilke

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron

“Rather than being taught to ask ourselves who we are, we are schooled to ask others. We are, in effect, trained to listen to others’ versions of ourselves. We are brought up in our life as told to us by someone else! When we survey our lives, seeking to fulfill our creativity, we often see we had a dream that went glimmering because we believed, and those around us believed, that the dream was beyond our reach.

No matter what your age or your life path, whether making art is your career or your hobby or your dream, it is not too late or too egotistical or too selfish or too silly to work on your creativity.”

Julia Cameron

The Maeve Binchy Writer’s Club  

“The most important thing to realise is that everyone is capable of telling a story.  It doesn’t matter where we were born or how we grew up.  I was the first writer in my family; all my relations were grocers or lawyers.  They read books by other people, but they thought it was a bit fancy to go and write them.  Also I was from a quiet suburb in Ireland, which is a small country.  Who would want to read my stories?  But the imagination has no limits.  Wherever you are is interesting if you know where to look.  Promise to take yourself seriously – well, seriously enough to do something about this sneaking belief that you can tell a story as well as the next person.”

Maeve Binchy

Neil Gaiman

“Tell your story. Don’t try and tell the stories that other people can tell. Because [as a] starting writer, you always start out with other people’s voices — you’ve been reading other people for years… But, as quickly as you can, start telling the stories that only you can tell — because there will always be better writers than you, there will always be smarter writers than you … but you are the only you.”

Neil Gaiman

Everything Is Possible


The New Year brings another glorious 12 months full of exciting new possibilities, but rather than making resolutions, which  have become little more than a novelty in my opinion, I am creating my intentions for 2015.  It is also the perfect time to take stock of the year gone by – acknowledging the challenges and personal triumphs of the last 12 months.  If you are a fan of journaling (which I am – although I must admit I’ve been a little rusty lately) you will already understand the power of the written word.  Writing your thoughts and more importantly, dreams, on paper can have a transformative effect – literally turning your dreams into a reality.

Two years ago, I found a great worksheet by Susannah Conway that really sparked my creative mind to plan the year ahead and the good news is, she has created another one for 2015.  ‘Unravelling The Year Ahead’ is an insightful worksheet (available to download here) that’s all about creativity and mindfulness – perfect for writers who need the space to dream and the motivation to follow through.  It’s a wonderful way to indulge your innermost thoughts on paper, to write, to dream.  And who knows, maybe some of those dreams will come true!

Wishing you all a very happy & creative 2015 🙂

The Importance of Blogger Reviews

So I asked myself the question… what made me pick up my latest book purchase (which was ‘Where’d You Go Bernadette’ by the way)?  Was it the cover?  Not really, it looks kind of cartooney and not really my thing.  Was it the title?  Nope, I can’t say it really grabbed me or begged to be read.  So what is it doing here, sitting upon my ‘to be read’ shelf as I type?  Why am I secure in the knowledge that I’m pretty sure I’m going to like this book?  What made me hit the ‘Buy’ button?  Reviews.  I ALWAYS google reviews on a book before I buy it – even if the blurb has my name written all over it and even if I’ve already read books by that author, I check out the reviews.

In fact, I do that with all my online shopping… if I’m buying a camera online, I want to know what other people thought of it first.  Is it a shoddy model that takes crappy pictures, but looks the biz on the outside?  Or is it a good value 16 mega pixel from a reputable brand?  I don’t mean to sound like I’m trying to reinvent the wheel here, but my point is I think we can underestimate the importance of reviews when it comes to self-publishing.

When someone comes across  your novel on Amazon or wherever, the first thing they are going to do is check out the reviews and so it’s time to get cracking on finding all those wonderful people out there who take the time to review books, free of charge, just because they love reading and want to offer their opinion.  Note:  they are opinions and as we all know, opinions can differ, so don’t be surprised to find some people less than enamoured by your book.  It’s life (let’s see if I’m so diplomatic when my turn comes….”What do you mean you don’t like it?!!!)

So how to connect with these valuable readers?  Well to be honest, I’ve been having a bit of a hard time finding bloggers – not because there aren’t enough of them, but because there are too many, and it’s hard to know where to begin.  So I came across an extremely helpful link that lists bloggers who reveiw self-published titles called  The Indie View.  It’s gonna take me a while to get through that list, because again I think it’s important to find reviewers who are interested in your genre.  A bit like sending out your submissions to publishers (ah, remember those heady days?!), you’ve got to send it to the right ones.

Anyone with any tips, advice, tales of woe to add – please do.  It’s a subject I will be coming back to, including Blog Tours – the joy of touring your book from home, woohoo!  I’ll put on the kettle 🙂

Advice To Writers

So I was just checking out one of my favourite author’s website – Kate Mosse – as she has a new novel coming out (today, I think) called Citadel.  I’ve always been a fan of her stories, not least because they are set in Carcassone, a medieval city where I spent one magical night as an Erasmus student, watching the amazing fireworks over the castle walls for ‘La Bastille’, or Bastille Day as we call it.  It is an area so rich in history and culture, and reading Mosses’ books takes me right back there.

Anyway, I found a fantastic resource on her website for authors – a 52 week writing guide, written by herself and her husband, who run creative writing classes in Sussex (as you do). It’s full of tips and advice, examples and insights into the writing process and the perfect companion for writers seeking inspiration.  

And the best part?  It’s free!  I know many authors have published ‘how-to’ books on writing, but how many have put their experience and expertise up on the old interwebby thing free of charge?  Out of the goodness of their hearts and a passion to give back to the creative community??  Well, I’m not sure, I’ll have to Google it.  But in the meantime, I’ll be delving into Kate Mosse’s Labyrinth of secrets (see what I did there?) on her website here.