Stay True To Yourself

I was recently featured on the wonderful online magazine – the home of Irish writing online.  Whether you are a writer or a reader, this should be your go-to online resource, as it’s jam packed with everything from reviews, submission opportunities, workshops and book launches.

I wrote an article for ‘Writing & Me’ and discussed my own experience of becoming a writer, what inspired/influenced me and how that journey led to the publication of my first novel ‘The Cross Of Santiago‘.  

As Oscar Wilde once said, “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken”.   It’s a common pitfall for newbie writers to try and emulate their favourite authors, and so it was for me at the beginning of my own writing journey.  I began my first attempt at writing a novel when I was living in Montreal, Canada during the noughties.  I was extremely homesick for Ireland and began devouring novels by  Maeve Binchy and Marian Keyes at the local library.  I couldn’t have found two greater sources of inspiration for my writing aspirations and began to tap away at my old computer every night after work – basically trying to re-create the magic I had read in their books.

Read more…


Writer’s Workshop

Well who’d a thunk?  I just finished my first online writing workshop with which was (a) free of charge and (b) brilliant!  Hosted by Vanessa O’Loughlin of, the workshop featured top selling authors Monica McInerney, Sinead Moriarty and Paul Carson at an undisclosed location in Dublin.  Actually it was disclosed, but that’s neither here nor there.

Firstly, anything I can achieve from the comfort of my own office is a plus in my book, so we were on a winner from the start.  Secondly, you forget how wonderful it is to just be in a group conversation about books, writing and the unfathomable world of publishing.  It was a great opportunity to tweet questions to writers who have been where you are.  I asked the authors whether or not they would have kept on writing, even if they hadn’t received a publishing deal.  They answered yes, proving my own theory that no matter how much the odds may seem stacked against you, if you like writing, you just do it anyway.  

Top tips:  


Then while you’re at it, read Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’.  

Practice using the 5 senses in your writing (eg. What can I hear?  What can I taste?).  

A great opening line can grab your reader’s attention.

Edit, edit, edit.  Then re-draft! 

Finally, show don’t tell, that old chestnut that can be so hard to crack! (ahem)  Monica suggested turning the pictures in your head into words that create pictures in the reader’s mind.  

So even if you’ve done your research and read all the how-to books, it’s great to participate in a refresher course for the motivation alone.  Writing can be such a solitary experience, so it’s great to ‘meet up’ with other writers for advice and support.  It has definitely given me a kick-start to begin playing around with some new ideas and the curiosity to experiment with writing exercises and tricks.  

Online workshops – it’s the future people!