Tag Archives: motivation

ten motivational posts to kickstart your writing – #WhatImWriting

We’re approaching the end of the summer holidays and autumn beckons… and I’m actually quite excited about it! Although summer has been lovely and I’ve had some great times with my boys (hours of playing french cricket and some fab days out) I’ve missed the term-time routine. I’ve missed having more time to write and our weekly writerly check-in on our #WhatImWriting linky.

I’ve been meaning to do a roundup for June/July but got sidetracked by boys and icecream and snails and beaches. So, I’ve decided to do the roundup in a different way: out of all the posts shared on the linky this (early) summer I’m going to pick the ten that I think will best motivate us with our writing as we go into the new season. So here goes:

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The #WhatImWriting ten top motivational posts:

1) Sometimes the mundanity of day to day life can start to suffocate creativity – don’t let it! As a way to keep her creative muse healthy, Tara Borin writes ‘morning pages’. The idea of journalling every morning does appeal to me but I like sleep too much and have to be dragged kicking and screaming from my bed most days. The way Tara writes this post is so beautiful though it almost had me setting my alarm early to get some writing done before the kids wake up. (Almost). If you’re even slightly less of a bed addict than me I bet it will get you motivated!

2) Ever felt like you can’t call yourself an ‘author’… or even a writer? Chrissie can identify – in this hilarious post she labels herself a ‘dabbler’ and has all sorts of advice for us fellow dabbling types. (Clue – it’s useful advice regardless of how you label yourself).

3) When you’re struggling with writer’s block you can sometimes question why you write at all. If this is familiar then this post from Iona might strike a chord, particularly if you’re female. Don’t give up! We need lots of force to crash through the glass ceiling that unfortunately still seems to exist in the world of publishing.

4) Lost your mojo this autumn? Sophie had, but then she found a “bolt of pure inspiring awesomeness” in the form of some powerful performance poetry which she urges us to watch. I (finally!) just got round to it and totally agree with Sophie! They’re still available on BBC iplayer so go on, have a listen.

5) Ideas still not flowing? How about looking at your own life for inspiration? In Is your story the stuff of Fairytales? Rachael inspires us to consider how we might write our past as a fairy-story (complete with wicked witches and trails of breadcrumbs!). When I read the post’s title I thought ‘nope –  my life is too boring’ but Rachael got me convinced that actually, even things that seem mundane to us can be re-written into something exciting and magical. So go on, use your own history and get storytelling!

6) But if you’re writing your own ‘story’, how much could or should you share? Reneé tells us why she puts her life online in a post that shows the benefits of writing from the heart.

7) Do you have an idea for a novel but you you’re not sure how to develop it? Nicola has some great ideas about story structure and character development in this post.

8) Maybe you’ve spent your summer writing, editing and polishing your work and now you want to send it out… except, ARGH! SCARY! My post on building confidence might help give you the extra shove. Go on – make some submissions (I’ve entered a writing competition and am gearing up to submit to agents – eek!)

9) Submitting is great and feedback is fantastic but as writers we will all meet our fair share of criticism along the way. In fact we NEED criticism – of a constructive type at least – in order to develop and improve. And yet, no matter how helpful, criticism can still hurt our delicate writerly souls. But help is at hand! In this post Becky talks about various ways of dealing with it – onwards and upwards!

10) Self promotion is something that tends to make writers cringe – but we need to get better at it in order to succeed. Aimee feels our pain and I found this post about how she really feels when she’s tweeting about her book inspirational – she’s achieved so much!

10… because I can’t count) As writers it’s lovely to be able to rejoice in others’ successes (even if we might be feeling a teensy bit envious too). I’ve been following Emily for nearly a year now and in that time she’s published her second novel and gone from strength to strength. This post made me smile and I found it massively motivating too.

So there you have it – get inspired, get writing, get promoting, get going! #WhatImWriting will be back next Tuesday so you can link up and tell us all about how it’s going. Woo hoo!

getting somewhere – #whatImwriting

It’s Tuesday! It’s time for ‘What I’m Writing’! Chrissie is hosting this week so pop over to Muddled Manuscript if you’re wanting to link up – we’d love to hear all about what you’re writing at the moment. Having said that, Chrissie’s suggested a ‘what I’m NOT writing’ theme this week for all those of us who are struggling to find the time/energy or motivation. It’s optional though, luckily for me…

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A clue about one of my picture books… also evidence of why I’m not illustrating them myself!

Last week I said I was going to knuckle down and do some writing. Guess what? *trumpet fanfare* I managed it! Yes, for the first time in weeks (or is it months?) I’ve actually achieved something with my picture book manuscripts.

The key to making progress was not just having a bit more time this week but also some extra motivation. Having decided I need some professional feedback on my work, I made the decision to submit some work to a manuscript appraisal service. I figured if I’m going to submit my books to agents and/or publishers, it makes sense to get expert advice first.

When I mentioned my three manuscripts to one such service they said they could do a ‘3 for 2′ offer (“like with shampoo!” as a friend of mine said) as long as I submitted all three at the same time. So, all at once, I needed to get the three of them to a point where I was happy to send them off. The third one was in shoddy-first-draft-form so I’ve put a lot of time into that, and I’ve also done a fair bit editing work on my first story. Manuscript Two could do with more attention but one of the main problems I have with it is being unable to decide if the long version or the shorter version (yes, I somehow have two!) works best. So perhaps I should just send it as is, and get advice there…

Anyway, I’ve loved getting my teeth back into the books again and have become a bit obsessed, writing in any spare moment I have. I was up for two hours in the night with my toddler the other night (groan) and found myself leaning against his door frame in the dark, making shushing noises while the better part of my brain was thinking “does ‘exquisite’ rhyme well enough with ‘fillet’?”. By the time I staggered back to bed my brain was whirring with ridiculous rhymes!

So, all in all, a good week! And I even managed a couple of blog posts too – if you haven’t seen it, my interview with Renee Davis, mummy blogger extraordinaire and author of Become The Best You’ is well worth a read. Reneé is inspirational!

I hope you’ve had good weeks too – I’m looking forward to finding out!

Muddled Manuscript

catharsis – #WhatImWriting

DSC_0169There are many reasons why writers write: the urge to create, to find an outlet for a headful of ideas, a desire to connect with others, to make your mark, capture a moment, to explore, invent, imagine or just because you HAVE to.

One of the most powerful writing experiences I have found though, is writing for catharsis. I don’t necessarily do this often, as I’ve been lucky enough not to need to, but when I do it honestly feels like some sort of therapy.

I definitely wrote for cathartic reasons after giving birth to my third son twenty-one months ago. Not (thankfully) that anything too terrible happened – he was born healthy and (eventually) had a natural delivery – but, man, it was such an ordeal to get there. Nine days of stop-start labour (that meant I barely slept), followed by endless hours of contractions so strong they should have prompted a baby to shoot out across the room not simply lie around wriggling contentedly!

Anyway, once my bundle of beauty had finally emerged, even though I was so happy I could have exploded with it, I still felt I had a lot to process. My births have never gone to plan despite me being convinced each time that ‘this time it will be fine!’ so I think there was a frustration there that I needed to address. So, with baby firmly attached to the milk supply (i.e me) and a never ending pile of cakes, biscuits and hot-cross buns at my elbow (I looked so terrible that everyone who visited felt the immediate urge to feed me sweet things) I set about writing about my experience.

I’ve recently read what I wrote. There’s a prose piece written when he was a week old which alternates between ‘then’ and ‘now’ quite effectively (I was trying to capture the amazing difference a week can make, so it leaps from the intensity of contractions to the peacefulness of breastfeeding in bed by the glow of a nightlight). There’s also a poem that goes through the whole labour describing it as an approaching storm that sucks me in and nearly drowns me. Powerful stuff.

I remember writing both these pieces, then reading them back and it making an immense difference to me. Like a big release of emotion that made me feel both lighter and like I had more energy. Plus I felt like I’d captured something for later. Birth is such an epic experience I’m glad I managed to store it somewhere outside of my own head, even if I never show what I’ve written to anyone.

How about you? What motivates you to write? Do you (or have you) found writing to be a cathartic experience?

Writing Bubble