Writer’s Retreats and Courses

October 31, 2014

I have attended a number of these over the years and will go to The Lakes’ Writers’ Course in a few weeks time. It gives an opportunity for a few days quiet reflection and training away from the busyness of life and in the company of experienced and published writers who can inspire and critique my work. This course is also run by professional publishers so that there will be the chance to rub shoulders with people who know the publishing industry from the inside and do the networking that is vital to a success in writing and publishing. You can find out more about this course at its Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/events/213575828693910/ but you may well know of others too. It is expensive to go to these things but I regard my being there as an investment in my writing. So give it a thought!


Make it Daily!

May 14, 2014

I am rediscovering the importance of writing something – anything! – at least once a day. Keeping a journal is probably the best way to do this on an informal basis, but getting even a few hundred words down on your latest project is vital too. One of my problems is that I suffer from chronic pain associated with a serious medical condition that I have been battling with for over 18 years and it restricts the length of time I can spend at the keyboard in one session.  But I can overcome this by pacing myself and setting a timer so that every 20 minutes or so I get up and stretch or move around.  It is disruptive to the flow of inspiration – if there is any – but without this I won’t get what I want to say down anyway.  So, whatever gets in the way of you spending a little time writing each day, get over it!

My Ghost writing book cover

May 14, 2014

My Ghost writing book cover

This is how my first ghost writing project looks on Amazon

Ghosting is a Good Idea

October 31, 2011

After a long period of inactivity forced upon me by ill health I am now contemplating more serious writing. My most recent project, and one which may see the light of day next year, is to ghost write the biography of a friend who has an amazing life story to tell. With my advice, he is just about to secure a publishing deal with a major UK and international publisher, and if he gets it, he has asked me to ghost-write his book.

Now there is nothing ethically wrong with this process. The book’s title will show him as author with the strap-line ‘as told to…’. I found inspiration for this in the wonderful book ‘Ghostwriting’ by Andrew Crofts. The great thing about this is that you get to write about a terrific tale and you don’t have to do any of the marketing stuff that can be such hard work afterwards, as the author does all that. Also, you have the joy of seeing your work in print even though you may not have the kind of high-profile with the general public that is so often required by publishers. You ride, quite literally, on the back of your subject’s success.

A good idea? Ask Andrew Crofts. He seems to know.

Enjoy your writing!

My Latest Book!

March 25, 2009

Easter 2009 and my latest paperback book is being published by Authentic Media in the UK, India and the USA.  It’s called ‘Storm Force: winning the battle for the mind’ and it deals with many of the issues and lessons that have come into my life as a result of being seriously ill for the last 13 years.

If you would like to know more, visit my dedicated website http://www.storm-force.info  Thanks.

Beating the Dreaded Writers’ Block

October 13, 2008

Writers’ block is that discouraging condition of the author’s mind when there just doesn’t seem to be anything left to write about.  It can strike at any moment, whether early in the life of a manuscript after the intial flush of ideas is down in print, or later when so much has been said and yet the word count is simply not high enough. 

Beating writers’ block is an art, not a science, and very much depends upon your personality.  There are, however, ceratin simple steps you can take to overcome this perennial enemy:

  • keep a small notebook with you at all times to jot down ideas that might make good short stories or illustrations to supply ideas to keep you writing
  • write regularly – daily if at all possible – anything at all but keep on writing
  • have a set place for writing, that is well lit, comfortable and above all secluded and private
  • some find it helpful to listen to soft music while they write
  • don’t get bogged down – get up and do something else then come back to the task in hand.

The above ideas will not prevent the dreaded wwriters’ block, but may well give you some resources to overcome it.  At the end of the day it is something that affects all writers face from time to time – so maybe it is a sign of your true calling!

Enjoy your writing.

Potential for Pain

September 4, 2008

I’ve got a great editor.  She works hard and tells me every fault that she can see in my book manuscripts before they go to Production.  Which is fine – except that she takes no prisoners, and if she sees any hint of inconsistency or error in my work she tears at it like a lioness at her prey.  The result is painful, but if I will allow it, can be highly productive.

I think a lot of writers struggle with being edited.  I don’t – usually!  This most recent manuscript for ‘Storm Force: winning the battle for the mind’ due out in January 2009 with Authentic, has had its moments.  The editor was searingly honest with me about one or two places where I had, frankly, lost the plot.  I was feeling very unwell, in fact just after sending off the corrected manuscript I got carted off to hospital in an ambulance.  So I got all touchy and wrongly presumed that she had given up on the project.  This was simply not the case at all.  She was just doing her job and doing it well.

My counsel, for what it is worth, is that good editors are worth their weight in gold.  Work with them; cooperate with them; appreciate them.  Touchiness and posessiveness about our writing will probably only mean that it will end up in the waste bin.  Avoid that danger.  Make your words count – get yourself a good editor!

Writing for the Web (2)

August 4, 2008

The attention span of the average reader on the Web is short, so your paragraphs need to be short too.  Your words and sentences also need to be short and punchy.  Here are some ‘writing for the Web’ tips from me:

  • Find some catchy title for each paragraph, especially the first one
  • Keep those paragraphs really short – especially the first one!
  • Even one sentence can make a paragraph for the Web
  • To avoid scrolling keep your word count down to 200 per page
  • Use bullets to emphasise your main points.

There is no point in spending time using flowery prose and vivid description on the Net.  It’s all about communication and it’s all happening fast!

Keep posting – and let me have your tips too.

Back soon.

Writing for the Web

June 11, 2008

I write copy for the Web.  It’s a whole new world.  Being paid to write for the Internet is great – but very demanding!  There are just so many differences from any other form of published writing:

  • The attention span of the reader is much shorter
  • Sentence construction must be short and simple
  • Choice of words must clear, relevant and catchy
  • Titles must spell out the real message in any paragraph
  • Serious self-editing is the name of the game!

I usually edit my words in three seperate stages.  They are each important and progressively more difficult.  Next time I’ll let you know what the first one is.  Keep ’em scrolling!

The Relief of Finishing

May 17, 2008

Following six months of battling with writers’ cramp, writers’ block and most other scribing ailments, I finally managed to send in the draft first manuscript of my next book Storm Force at the end of April.  The publishers (Authentic Media) had given me a deadline in May, so I was glad to beat it, even if only by a couple of short weeks.  What a relief!  Despite the feeling that I was sending off my third-born child to a complete stranger, and the misgivings about what the editor will do to my precious work when she gets hold of it, I was elated at the development.  I made certain decisions then which I think were important:

  • Go on holiday straight away – as far away as possible!
  • Take neither mobile phone nor laptop with you
  • Avoid all serious reading – read rubbish!
  • Get into nature – the sea, the mountains and lakes, fresh air
  • Don’t worry about it!  That will all come later.
  • Stay off the bottle – you know it really makes sense

Now I am just waiting for that awful moment known as ‘the editor’s first report’ when I probably will hit the bottle big time!