Why Returning To A Failed Creative Project Has Been One Of The Best Things I have Ever Done! #MondayBlogs


Failure. It can give you sweaty nightmares, awful sinking feelings, clammy hands and a feeling of doom. This year I have learnt that failure also gives you a golden chance to try again and do things differently.

Take it from me – the buzz you get from seeing  success out of something you previously thought had failed is a game changer!

Returning to a failed creative project has been one of the best things I have ever done.

Here is my story and my reasons:

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How To Make Lemonade When Writing Gives You Lemons #MondayMotivation #MondayBlogs


Photo Credit: Stocksnap.

When writing gives me lemons; painful episodes of writer’s block, dull characters, sagging plots, confidence issues, negative feedback and a head full of creative demons – I make lemonade!

I have made so much lemonade recently with my writing lemons that I am actually getting quite good at it.

Here is how I make lemonade when writing gives me a bitter taste of lemon:

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11 Unexpected Sounds Encountered Whilst Recording Podcast #SundayBlogShare #Podcasting

Unexpected Sounds Encountered Whilst Recording Podcast

Last week I launched my own podcast! 

The Diary of Roxy Collins, a fictional romantic comedy podcast, bit like Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones, is now on iTunes and Soundcloud

If anyone fancies helping me increase my downloads / listener statistics – please click on the links in this post.

Creating this podcast has been a blast (apart from the mild irritation encountered with some technical issues and the post-launch ‘OMG what have I done?” emotional breakdown).

The rewriting of Roxy Collins and the actual recordings have been enjoyable and very useful. For me, the writer, bringing a character to life through audio has been invaluable. I have learnt so much about characterisation in terms of mannerisms, dialogue and flow of speech. It is only when you become that character and stand in front of a microphone do you actually start to understand them as a person. So regardless of how the podcast performs I have already learnt tons.

Recording the podcasts in my kitchen, daughter’s bedroom, the living room and in our rented holiday cottage bathroom has been interesting. Obviously I don’t have the luxury of a fancy recording studio so I have had to work with what I have around me.

During the recording sessions I have encountered some unexpected sounds, and at times annoying, which I never planned for. 

They resulted in my doing an eye roll, letting out a sigh, slamming the stop button, hitting rewind and re-recording. After the 13th time of re-recording one tiny clip the enjoyment does start to wear off.

I thought I would share these unexpected sounds with you:

  1. Church bells. You don’t know how many times I yelled ‘STOP RINGING!’ from my kitchen one Sunday morning. No one took any notice lol!
  2. Low flying aircraft. There is nothing like a fighter jet screaming overhead just as you are trying to record a heart warming kissing scene.
  3. Ticking clock. I had to take it down and remove the battery. V annoying with its loud tick tock!
  4. Cats keen to show off their acting skills. Our oldest cat ‘Harry Potter’ thinks he’s destined for the stage as every time I have started to record he starts meowing like crazy and purring extra loud.
  5. My noisy gut. Never record whilst hungry – I have learnt this the hard way.
  6. Washing machine. Me and my washing machine have fallen out on many an occasion during a recording. It’s ‘quiet spin’ is not what I would call quiet.
  7. Neighbours enjoying themselves. Every time I start to record some of my neighbours start to shriek with laughter or erupt into a loud cackle. At one point I felt like delivering some leaflets which said ‘can everyone stop enjoying themselves whilst I record this podcast?’
  8. Toilet sounds from upstairs. There was one occasion where a loved one had come back from the pub and they had clearly drank a lot of liquid. I was forced to sit and wait for the noise to stop. Sorry readers for raising this but it just went on and on..
  9. Kids squabbling. It did make me laugh as I was covering arguing children on the podcast and in real life there were kids squabbling in the background.
  10. Burp. I will not be recording again after drinking something fizzy…that’s all I am going to say readers!
  11. Wind. I will be cutting down on the fibre during recording months. Again that is all I am going to say readers! 

I hope you have enjoyed reading about the unexpected sounds I encountered whilst recording my podcast.

Please share some of your own if you have had similar experiences.

Have a fabulous day!

The Diary of Roxy Collins Podcast-2


If We Were Having Coffee #WeekendCoffeeShare #SundayBlogShare #writers

If We Were Having Coffee..

I would start off our chat by diving into a huge slice of cake. You would have to give me five minutes as it is against my religion to leave cake untouched. After a couple of giant mouthfuls and some soft moans of cake pleasure from me, I would start to tell you all about the book which has changed my writing life. I am a messy eater so you would have to watch out for crumb spray.

This book ‘The War of Art’ has been a writing game changer for me. I used to have huge battles against resistance and lose. My projects would be stopped or shelved as resistance would win every time. Since reading this book I have found a new inner strength which means I now fight resistance and send it scurrying into its hole. I write everyday now and I finish stuff!  This is an indication of how good this book is!

What I love about this book is that he writes from experience. He knows all the crap you tell yourself when you are an aspiring writer and he understands your thought processes. He also labours the point that writing is a craft which needs to be learnt and this WILL take years. You have just got to keep writing and fighting resistance.

By the end of our coffee session I would be licking the cake plate clean and you would be busy checking out the reviews online.

During our coffee session I would tell you that I am very close to coming out of my creative comfort zone. In August I will be putting ‘The Diary of Roxy Collins’ fictional, chicklit podcast live on iTunes. *Deep breaths*

You might not have heard of Roxy so I would explain that this is a comedy blog series that I wrote last year. In her diary Roxy records her dating highs and lows. She also reveals the challenges she faces with three spirited kids, two useless ex-partners and the wobbly bits on her hips and thighs which no diet can eliminate.

Roxy is looking for love third time around!


My reasons for doing a fictional podcast are:

  • I am a huge fan of serialised fiction.
  • I listen to hundreds of free podcasts.
  • I feel like doing something crazy.
  • Roxy is funny, I know this because of my Wattpad experience. The challenge is whether I can bring that humour to life through a podcast.
  • I know a few people already podcasting so I know what I need to do to make it happen. Don’t worry I will be writing posts on how to make a podcast as it has been an eye opener for me.

I am currently rewriting and lengthening the story of Roxy. You will notice that she has disappeared from my blog. Going back to something you wrote 10 months ago is certainly interesting!

Luckily the readers of Wattpad have given me clear instructions on what works and what doesn’t work. Certain characters have been given bigger roles; surprisingly Roxy’s 90-year-old Great Aunt Vera has been a real hit with my Wattpad readers so I am busy wheeling her back out.

I was going to get someone professional to voice the narration but that became very complicated and as I am interested in comedy I thought… “what the hell – I will do it myself!”  *nervous look* followed by me *shoehorning huge piece of cake into mouth*

You will be glad to know that I have got someone professional to voice the introduction to the podcasts. I will ignore the look of relief passing across your face. If all else fails at least it will have a good opening!  If you attended the Annual Bloggers Awards Bash you might recognise a familar voice.

Attempting this podcast feels so good I feel lightheaded, but it is also incredibly gut clenching scary. There is a great quote from Steven Pressfield’s book which is keeping me going.

Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it. Steven Pressfield

As we order a second round of hot drinks I would also tell you that my first draft of ‘Instructions For Falling In Love Again‘ is out with beta readers. I am already excited about working on the second draft. Just need to stop feeling emotional and precious about it.

With each revision a story gets stronger and more refined. Love the revision  process!

Once Roxy is doing her thing on iTunes I will see if I am ready to start my second draft.

I will end our coffee session by giving you a hug and thanking you for paying the bill πŸ˜‰

These Coffee Share posts are the idea of Part Time Monster Blog. 

We must meet up for coffee again – this was really fun!

Psst. Steven Pressfield’s latest book ‘Nobody Wants To Read Your Sh*T” is also AMAZING!

Photo: StockSnap

Useful Podcasts For Writers #writers #writerslife


Useful Podcasts For Writers

Podcasts are a wonderful free resource for writers. Over the past few months I have overhauled my writing life and my newfound love of podcasts has played a key role in this transformation.

Below are the podcasts that have helped me reach a happier creative place:

  1. MWF Motivation. Rob Dial, motivational author, speaker and coach presents this podcast and he has had a huge impact on my creative life. In the past I have struggled with writing motivation and wasted a lot of time whining about how tired I feel, how I have not achieved any of my goals and how I have been working on the wrong stuff. Rob has changed me!  I liken this podcast to a ‘stern talking to!” – you know when someone takes you aside, tells you to get a grip of yourself , to stop moaning and just get on with it?  This is basically what Rob does to me every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I need someone to do this to me or I will just end up lying on the sofa, stuffing Oreo biscuits into my mouth and whining! Its not a pretty sight!  
  2. How To Be Amazing With Michael Ian Black.  This is a fab podcast. Michael Ian Black interviews some of the most fascinating celebrities and asks them how they became amazing. The Elizabeth Gilbert interview is brilliant. It is a good podcast for writers because all these celebrities have overcome challenges, worked through their self doubt and put in the graft to become amazing. They never gave up on their dream. Good life lessons for writers.
  3. Beautiful Writers by Danielle LaPorte & Linda Sivertsen.  I love this podcast. Danielle and Linda interview some inspirational writers and there are some great writing best practices discussed. I love how they say a creative prayer before they start the interviews and the podcast sounds like we are all having coffee. This was the podcast which introduced me to Steven Pressfield and his book ‘The War of Art’ – a game changing book! So will always be grateful.
  4. The Creative Penn. I am so grateful to Sacha Black for recommending this podcast to me. It is such a valuable resource for writers. Joanna Penn is a warm and bubbly host who has so much writing experience to share. She also interviews some interesting writers. Well worth a listen to!
  5. The Lively Show by Jess Lively. This podcast is like a little burst of sunshine. It is not aimed specifically at writers but is designed to uplift and inspire. The episode about ‘when the flowing gets tough’ is good and useful for us writers when we are blocked creatively or are frustrated with our work.
  6. Writing Excuses by Brandon Sanderson, Mary Robinette Kowal, Dan Wells, and Howard Tayler.  I could listen to this all day!  It is funny, insightful and full of useful writing stuff. The episode on ‘Stakes’ is really good and makes you think about what keeps your character in the game. The best thing about this podcast is that they give literary examples to support their ideas and techniques.
  7. BleedingInk with J.S Leonard.  This podcast is aimed at the indie author and is packed full of useful info, tips and interviews. Some good marketing tips on this podcast.

I hope you will find the time to check out one of two of these podcasts.

Let me know if you are listening to any great podcasts?

Have a great day!

Photo: Unsplash.