How To Act Like A Writer With A Bad Cold #SundayBlogShare #WritersLife #Writer

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Have you ever wanted to know what it is like to be a writer?

Are you currently battling against a heavy cold?  Sneezing, coughing, shivering and feeling a bit grumpy?

Why not take this opportunity to act like a writer…. with a nasty cold?

The important thing to remember is that writers will still experience high levels of creativity whilst suffering with a heavy cold.

Here are my top tips on how to act like a writer with a bad cold:

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Useful People Watching Tips For Writers #AmWriting #Writers #Writing

 

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I LOVE people watching. It helps if you are either naturally nosey or you were the odd kid at the back of the class, in school, who sat staring at all the popular kids.

Sometimes I don’t think we appreciate how cool it is to be a writer. With ‘must do activities’ such as spying on people life is NEVER dull for us writers!  Choosing to lead a fun-filled creative life was one of the main reasons why I woke up one morning, a few years ago, with a big smile on my face and cried “I am going to become a writer!”  This passion of mine means I get to write nonsense, undertake some interesting Google searches, laugh at my own jokes, talk to imaginary folk and do hours of curtain twitching.

I am sure you can all imagine my excitement when I decided to write a post about all my people watching hints and tips!

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Author Interviews Julie Archer @julieoceanuk #Author #Writers

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Welcome to my weekly blog series – Author Interviews.

These interviews are fab! I get the chance to interview some amazing authors about the journey they went on with regards writing their book. I get to glean some insight into their writing life and find out what has worked or not worked for them during the creative process.

This week I am super thrilled as author Julie Archer has joined me. Her book is about the world of rock music and love triangles! As you can imagine I am beside myself with literary excitement over this book.

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Hey Julie!  Thank you for being here today. 

Tell my readers about yourself and the book / books you have written

Hello Lucy and all your readers!

I live in lovely Dartmouth in Devon with my husband and two cats. We moved here almost eighteen months ago and I still feel like I’m on holiday!

As well as writing, I also run my own business support services business, providing administration and recruitment for small to medium sized companies. Oh, and I work part time in a book shop!

Cocktails, Rock Tales & Betrayals is my first book. It is set is the work of rock music with a love triangle at the centre of it. But there is a happy ending!

When did you write your first book?

My first attempt was during my teenage years when inspired by the Sweet Dreams and Sweet Valley High books, I attempted my own take on that. I still have the rejection letter somewhere…

Julie – OMG I was obsessed about Sweet Valley High books for years during my youth! I couldn’t understand why my parents wouldn’t move us to America and let me live out my fantasy as Elizabeth. Good grief I had so many dreams about handsome ‘Todd Wilkins’. Sigh!

How long did it take to write your first book?

I have said that Cocktails was two years of hard work. Being totally honest, it was six months of hard work followed by a year of procrastination, then six months of hard work! Having said that, there are parts of Cocktails I wrote about ten years ago that were stripped out from a previously unpublished novel.

What was your motivation to write your first book?

I wanted to write a book that I would read. And I’ve always created characters and stories. Maybe that has something to do with being an only child and having imaginary friends…

When we moved, I found a bunch of notebooks with character sketches and possible plotlines. Lovely, but all of them written when I was about fifteen! And I’m a very different writer now.

Gasp! I had imaginary friends as a child too. I am lucky as mine have stayed with me though.

What writing issues did you encounter along the way and how did you overcome them?

Um, procrastination is definitely one. Like when cleaning the bathroom or having an empty washing basket is waaay more important than writing another 1000 words. And realising that everything I’ve written is utter rubbish. Or realising that my editor identified a totally unbelievable part of the plot and I had to completely rewrite a good quarter of the novel. I’m lucky that I have a pretty amazing support group in the Writer’s Playground and we can all share our issues. There’s usually another writer that has been through exactly the same thing and can give good advice. Or offer virtual cake.

Did you go through any bad writing patches during writing your book – what kept you going?

See above! My chums in the Playground are amazing!

Are you a plotter or do you just write / see what happens?

Probably a bit of both. I have an outline or an idea in my head and work with that. But I don’t plan to the nth degree when I start out, things tend to develop as I go along. Sometimes you end up changing characters in a scene because they work better than the original ones and you didn’t plan for that.

What is the best thing about being a writer?

I’m not sure yet, I’m still trying to convince myself I am a real one! But seriously, when someone says they have enjoyed what I’ve written and want to read more, that feeling is amazing.

What is the worst thing about being a writer?

The insecurity. And by that, I mean constantly thinking that you’re not as good as everyone else, you don’t have as many five start reviews as they do, unfairly comparing yourself to other writers… Then I try to remember what I’ve achieved.

Have you ever considered quitting writing, and if so how have you worked through this?
Not yet…although as me again in about six months!

What does a typical writing day look like for you?

If I have a day when I’m solely writing and nothing else, I have a lovely writing desk in our spare room that was a Christmas present from my husband last year and that’s where I’ll be. I’ll start around 10am and work through until around 1pm, have some lunch and start again around 2pm. However, I’ve scribbled notes and plans while at work in the bookshop – and then had to make sense of them later!

Do you suffer from procrastination and if so how do you handle it?

Of course! Find me a writer who doesn’t… I try to set little targets or do small word races and then reward myself with some Instagram or online shopping time. Or if it really isn’t working, I’ll just give up and go and do something more constructive. Like ironing.

Which is more important – plot or characters and why?

Probably characters. As I’ve mentioned before, I have always created character sketches and I think they have shaped how a plot has gone because of their mannerisms or how they would react to a situation.

What have been your 3 biggest learnings during your writing career?

  • Just keep writing – no matter how hard it is sometimes, just write something. You can’t edit a blank page and even if it’s (to quote Charlie at Urban Writers) gloriously craptastic you can always work with it.
  • Get a good support network – sounds clichéd, but without my chums in the Writer’s Playground, the guys at the Six Month Novel programme, the Dartmouth author community, other writers I met on writing retreats or at literary festival workshops, I don’t think I would have got this far.
  • You can do it yourself – every writer dreams of the publishing deal and the big bang launch. When you start to get rejections, it’s hard to see past that. But, again through my network, I discovered that it’s totally possible to self-publish and get the recognition you deserve. I had a choice to go assisted or pure self-publishing. I chose the latter and, so far, don’t regret it.

How do you manage social media as a writer?

Badly! I’m coming to terms with using it for “Brand Me” rather than just posting pictures of my cats or the success of my football team (Spurs, in case you were wondering. And no, there hasn’t been a lot of success…). But also not being too “salesy” and just spamming my timelines and feeds with “Buy my book!” posts.

Do you have any tips or advice for budding aspiring authors?

I’d probably relate it back to the learnings – keep writing even if you find it tough and get a good network around you. Also, don’t be afraid to ask others for help and advice. Without that, I wouldn’t have self-published and I’d still be waiting for that big break. Write the things that you’d like to read, not necessarily what’s popular now.

Do you suffer from writer’s block and if so how do you overcome?

Yes. At the start of this year, I couldn’t write anything, I didn’t think I had the time or the inclination and anything I did write was rubbish! I ended up going on a bit of a writer’s detox with prompts and wrote something every day for a month. Some days it was ten minutes, some days it was half an hour. But it got me back into the habit of writing again and that helped.

Do you ever think of the next book whilst writing?

There are around nine book ideas floating around at the moment, some are just titles, some are vague plots, some are characters. I “try” to focus on one thing at a time though. So, yes!

What do you wear to write?

Now I can write at home whenever I want to, it varies. But mostly jeans and jumpers or t-shirts (depending on how cold it is in our house at the time!). One of my favourite t-shirts has “I just want to drink coffee, create stuff and sleep” on it. I try to wear that when I need inspiration! I have also said that I will channel my inner Barbara Cartland one day and wear a pink ruffled affair and have someone hand feed me chocolates as I dictate to them…

If readers want to get in touch how do they contact you?

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/juliearcherwrites
Twitter: @julieoceanuk
Website: http://www.juliearcherwrites.com
Or you can pop into the Dartmouth Bookseller on Foss Street and say hello!

Lucy, thanks so much for having me!

Fabulous interview Julie, I really enjoyed our chat!

  • I love how you say your book was ‘six months of hard work followed by a year of procrastination’. That made me smile! 
  • Your support network sounds great. Writing is hard and we all need people supporting and encouraging us. 
  • I can relate to the insecurity bit. I think you are right to look at what you have achieved!
  • Nine book ideas – you poor thing 🙂 
  • Yes channel your Barbara Cartland and come back to write me a guest blog about it – would be such a giggle to read! 

Thank you so much for a great interview!

 

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For most amazing interviews please click here.

If you are an author and wish to be interviewed please get in touch!

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If an Online Dating Site For Writers Existed… #WritersLife #Writers

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Photo Credit: StockSnap.

Have you ever found yourself wondering how an online dating site for writers could work? Don’t worry – I got this topic covered!

I think an online dating site for writers is a great idea. Luckily for me, my loved one has not yet traded me in for a younger model, grown tired of my emotional breakdowns, creative tantrums, hormonal fluctuations, frequent use of a shrill voice and my inability to reduce the ironing pile to a more manageable level. However, that doesn’t stop my mind from thinking through this gem of a business idea!

I am sure writers would want to date other writers. Can you imagine dating someone who understands your editing pain, lets you off the housework when you need to focus on your first chapter and gives you constructive literary criticism during pillow talk?  I know…it sounds like the making of relationship bliss!

An online dating site for writers probably exists somewhere in the world, but here is how I think an online dating site for writers could work:

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5 Stages of Writer Procrastination #writer #writers

5 Stages of Writer Procrastination

 

  1. Bold Statement. The writer announces to the world that they intend to spend tomorrow writing. They set themselves a target based on either word count or a number of chapters to be completed. As the writer finishes their speech they will let out a loud sigh of contentment and stare out of the window with a dreamy expression on their face. The thought of writing all day tomorrow fills them with such joy.
  2. False Expectations. In the run up to spending tomorrow writing the writer will reveal a number of false expectations. This will involve saying stuff like “I will hammer out that first chapter in no time tomorrow!” and “by this time tomorrow I will have 2,000 words under my belt and I will be cracking open the fizz to celebrate!”
  3.  Swift Change of Priorities. Tomorrow arrives and the writer leaps out of bed ready to spend the entire day writing. As they sit down at their writing desk and stare at a blank screen they suddenly get a powerful urge to go do something more important. Writing is no longer a priority when the garage needs clearing out, the leaves in the street need sweeping, a couple of motivational quotes need to be tweeted, the cutlery drawer tray needs rearranging and fluff in the carpet needs to be plucked out by hand.
  4. Deep Procrastination. The writer is in deep procrastination mode, whilst on their hands and knees, plucking out bits of fluff from their carpet. They might be overheard muttering “I am so glad I have the time to do this pressing job!”  If a loved one enters the room and questions the writer on what they are doing they might receive a sarcastic comment, an angry glare or even a teary outburst. You see the writer knows exactly what they are doing – NOT WRITING!  A writer suffers with writer guilt and admitting to their loved one that they are performing a meaningless and pointless task instead of writing would bring on a huge bout of guilt. So, its best for the writer to make out that plucking out bits of fluff from the carpet is a job that needs to be done….by hand.
  5. Day Write Off. The day is written off by about mid afternoon. No writing was going to be done after the writer declared that the the attic needed a makeover. They leapt into action, whipping up some arty decorations, for a room that none of the family inhabit on a regular basis. Their laptop screen will have remained blank all day. They reassured themselves with phrases like “I wasn’t in the mood for writing today!” and “I think I am a bit tired!”

All the best with today’s writing! 

Have a great day!

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The Writer’s Book Turned into a Film Daydream #AmWriting #WritersLife

 

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There are several stages to this wonderful daydream:

Stage 1. Writing Euphoria. The Writer’s Book Turned into a Film Daydream usually follows a writing high. You are crazy nuts about your current story. Every time you read through your draft you see [enter currency of your choice] signs go dancing in front of your eyes. Your writing sounds amazing. Whilst giving loved ones a literary treat, by reading out a chapter or two, you have to pause, blink away tears of joy and catch your breath. You have produced a literary game changer….which could very well be turned into a film – gasp!

Stage 2. Publishing Daydream Upgrade. With any book you write you spend a fair amount of time daydreaming about literary agents and publishers hunting you down and begging for your business. However with your current draft it feels like the standard publishing daydream is not enough. This literary gem deserves something bigger and better! Cue your daydream upgrade – your book is going to be turned into a film – huzzah!

Stage 3. The Writer’s Book Turned into a Film Daydream. In your head this is how the whole thing plays out. Your BFF literary agent passes manuscript draft to some film contact in Los Angeles. This person passes it onto some producer chums who spew coffee / go very pale with shock or shriek with joy – your story translates very well into film and has blockbuster written all over it. You knew this after the first draft! Sigh! There will be some deal struck and you will be on cloud nine. In your head there is no time for screen writing stress so you will move on quickly to production. Even though in reality casting for the main roles will not be down to you, in your head you will be in charge of running the show when it comes to getting some acting talent to appear in your film. This part of the daydream will go on for a quite a bit as you perv over the attractive stars who will feature in the film. The daydream ends with your red carpet walk at the premiere and then a win at the Oscars.

Stage 4 Reality Check. This is the painful stage where you come back to Earth or reality with a bump. You realise that your draft is a long way from completion and there is a long road ahead of you. There is no literary agent or publisher in place. Doubt starts to creep in and before you know it (ten minutes later) you are telling yourself that your draft is a stinking pile of literary wrong. It’s amazing how fast things can change in writer world.

Stage 5 Hope. The daydream is well and truly over. You are up to your eyeballs in rewriting chunks of your story and film casting feels like a distant memory. Until one of your reviewers says within their comments….’I could see this being turned into a film!’ Gasp!

Have a great day!

 

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Similarities Between Writing a Book & Having a Baby #writers #writerslife

 

Similarities Between Writing a Book &amp; Having a Baby

There are so many similarities between having a baby and writing a book. I am currently experiencing book labour myself. Check out the similarities below and can someone get me some hot towels – the story’s head can be seen!

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20 Ways To Describe Your Imperfect First Draft #writers #writerslife

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First drafts rarely turn out to be literary masterpieces.

Normally you are left scratching your head whilst asking yourself  ‘what have I written?’

You are then faced with the prospect of enduring a number of painful re-drafts to get your novel to its final polished state.

Here are some suggestions on how you might describe your first draft’s imperfect state:

  1. Could be better!
  2. Needs a lot more work!
  3. It’s highlighted a lot of my writing weaknesses.
  4. Its bad!
  5. Oh my goodness it’s naff!
  6. It has potential although I can’t see it at the moment.
  7. It reads very different to the story I had in my head.
  8. Oh my goodness it’s so stinky!
  9. A pile of literary wrong!
  10. A load of literary boo boo!
  11. Yuk!
  12. It’s not pretty!
  13. It’s very rough!
  14. A load of pants!
  15. It sucks!
  16. Useful material for a bonfire!
  17. Makes me want to cry!
  18. Dire!
  19. Sh&tty!
  20. Silence / look away.

If anyone has any other ways of describing a first draft please let me know and I will add to my list 🙂

Hang in there writers!

Remember imperfect first drafts rock! Great things happen once you start to work on them :-))

photo credit: adobe.

Emotional Hurdles for the Newbie Writer #writers #amwriting

 

Emotional Hurdles For The Newbie Writer

As a newbie writer I am constantly trying to jump over emotional hurdles in order to progress.

I am calling them hurdles  because if you don’t jump them you will end up falling down and hurting your writer self.

They are emotional  because each one has the potential to bring on tears / sobbing / a low mood / a spot of soul searching.

  1. Showcasing your writing to strangers. This was a tough one for me. Its such a scary thing to do when you first start out. Starting a writing blog helped me jump this emotional hurdle.
  2. Getting your first piece of negative feedback. Fall at this hurdle and you may never get back up. You have to overcome this and see the feedback as a learning. Some reviewers have never been on the ‘how to give feedback constructively’  training course so you have to put your emotions aside and look for the learnings. This hurdle is definitely one you can jump. You just need to be brave.
  3. Overcoming your first period of writer’s block. The first real period of writer’s block was really difficult for me. I think this can either make or break you when you first start out. Keep turning up everyday and praise yourself for squeezing out a few wordsYou will clear this jump, may take a bit of time though.
  4. Announcing to family and friends that you are a writer. I struggled with this and still try to keep my writing separate from friends and family. Its a tough one because careless comments from them can make you fall at this hurdle. I still get careless comments from people close to me but I am learning to sigh loudly and mentally cross their names off my book signing list. A huge ‘I don’t care what you all think’  leap is needed for this one.
  5. Coming to terms with the fact that writing is subjective and not everyone will like your writing / story / novel. A biggie for any newbie writer. This goes against your daydream where everyone in your street is praising you after reading your book. Once you have come to terms with this its easy to jump.
  6. Coming to terms with the fact that your first draft is yuk. I have written 80,000 words of literary wrong on a first draft. I know how it feels when you read it back and it doesn’t sound like the best selling novel in your head. You need to dig deep and find your inner writer strength. You either start work on the second draft or shelve it for a bit. You can jump this hurdle.
  7. Fitting your life around your writing. This is a tough one. You realise that to make writing work you need to have some discipline and dedicate some time to it. A tricky one to jump if you have an amazing social life.
  8. Accepting that you have weaknesses as a writer. Its not easy coming to terms with this as we newbies start out thinking we are amazing writers with no weaknesses or faults. Pierce that newbie bubble, move on and jump! We all have weaknesses.
  9. Not winning your first writing competition. A tough one as you will use it as a yard stick on how you are progressing. As you didn’t win you will see it as a huge failure on your part. Best to pick yourself up from the literary floor and leap over this one.
  10. Realising that you need social media to help you promote your work. If you are going to get serious about writing you will need to promote yourself on social media. Its time to take a deep breath and get yourself onto social media my newbie writer friend! Get jumping!

You can clear these emotional writing hurdles. They are all achievable. Good luck out there newbie writers 🙂

I get the feeling there are new hurdles to jump once you get your first book out there!

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That magical moment when you decide NOT to quit writing #writing #writers

 

That Magical Moment When You Decide Not To Quit Writing...

This is such a magical moment in the life of a writer and it warrants a blog post.

Being a writer means that you will probably experience quite a few of these special moments during your career.

Some of us writers are lucky enough to endure what I call the ‘I quit / I’m not quitting’ revolving door  which basically means on a regular basis (monthly / weekly / every couple of days) we go through the ‘I’m giving up / no I am not giving up’ motions. This is BAU (business as usual) to some of us.

Events leading up to the magical moment where you decide NOT to quit may include:

  • Some writer suffering – general insecurities, nagging doubts about whether your writing is any good, asking yourself whether it’s worth it, a lack of confidence and painful bouts of writer’s block.
  • An emotional outpouring – tears, snotty nose, sobbing etc.
  • An email outpouring to writing friend – long drawn out email listing out all of your writing frustrations for the past 12 months. Some of us just send through a detailed spreadsheet of all our issues. A good writer friend will never tell you to give up and will just offer sensible advice.
  • The ‘I am going to quit and do something else’ pipe dream – after happily ignoring all advice from the writing friend you move onto ‘quitting’. The thought of quitting feels so good, like a huge weight is being lifted off your shoulders. Cue the smiles, winks and “I am so over this writing lark” comments to uninterested loved ones. Now you can crack on with a less stressful and more rewarding hobby such as growing watercress out of hand painted egg shells. You make a ‘knee jerk reaction’ shopping expedition and happily buy (waste a lot of money) on new hobby equipment (cress seeds, brushes, coloured paints, eggs), reassuring yourself that your writing hobby has been binned.
  • The ‘I can’t live without my writing’ realisation – it soon dawns on you that you can’t give up writing, you are a slave to it! Your attempts at another hobby failed miserably (a loved one laughed at your hand painted egg shells perhaps or asked you whether your children had painted them). You can’t stop thinking about writing, its like a form of self torture, stories start to fly round and round in your head and your old characters shout your name like long lost friends.

Cue the magical moment!

Its a magical moment because:

  •  In heroic fashion you wipe away your tears, wipe your snotty nose, stand tall and with gritted teeth say to yourself “I am not quitting!” and “you won’t beat me!” – maybe even with a clenched fist!
  •  You attack your writing with a new energy and vigour. You feel like an eager newbie writer again.
  •  You feel elated because you are back and you are not a quitter!
  •  All your past writing problems no longer seem as big and some even seem solvable
  •  Hope is restored
  •  All writing dreams are pencilled back in!
  •  The sun comes out in Writing Land!

I love this (weekly) moment 🙂

Happy writing readers!

photo credit: Pexel