50 Things A Writer Notices Whilst Procrastinating #SundayBlogShare #AmWriting

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The writer state of procrastinating is an interesting one and worthy of a blog post.

When a writer wants to write they crawl away into their cave and are not seen for hours, days and sometimes even months. The only things they notice are typos, adverbs and their word count.

When a writer is procrastinating they wander out of their cave and almost immediately become very productive. There are so many things a writer will notice when they are doing their best to avoid writing.

Here is a list of 50 things a writer notices whilst procrastinating:

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The Benefits of Creating a Playlist For Your Draft Novel #Writers #WritersLife

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Are you bored with your playlists?

Are you struggling to connect with your draft novel?

Why don’t you bring your draft novel to life with the help of a playlist?

This gem of a writing tip actually works and there are so many benefits.

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How an Act of Creative Kindness Can Turn Around a Bad Writing Day #MondayBlogs #Writers

 

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Photo Credit: Stocksnap.

Acts of creative kindness can be really powerful. They are great to receive but the feeling you get from helping another troubled creative soul is pretty special.

I recently experienced a bad writing day. It didn’t start well and turned into a day of battling against negativity and self-doubt. So I took immediate action. I stuffed some chocolate into my mouth, drew some dark shadowy figures in my diary, sulked on the loo and had a strong coffee.

I managed to recover some of the day, but I still wasn’t feeling the creative love. Half of me wanted to write the day off as a ‘bad day’ and just forget it.

Then I received a cry for help from one of my creative friends, who was struggling to make sense of a project. She was lost in the detail and desperately needed a fresh pair of eyes to help make sense of it.

So I put down my project and went to her aid.

I told myself “just because I am having a bad and unsalvageable writing day, it doesn’t mean I can’t help turn around someone else’s day!”

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10 Signs You Are Suffering From Second Draft Blues #writers #amwriting

Second Draft Blues

Photo Credit: Upsplash

I am suffering from what I am calling – the Second Draft Blues. 

As I am going through a lot of emotional turmoil with this terrible condition, I thought I would list out the tell-tale signs so other writers can be on guard.

I think this affliction is worse for those of us who:

  • Finished writing their first draft on a serious creative high.
  • Got totally carried away with their first draft.

Here are the signs:

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16 Reasons Why I Love Writing & Reading Romantic Comedy #MondayBlogs #romance #Chicklit

 

The Highs & Lows of Writing Romantic Comedy-2

I enjoy writing and reading romantic comedy. I have written The Diary of Roxy Collins series and turned it into a fictional comedy podcast (live on iTunes and SoundCloud) which has to be one of the most enjoyable things that I have done as a writer. Plus this week I am starting work on the second draft of my debut novel ‘Instructions For Falling In Love Again’ – which has gone down really well with my reviewers.

My bookshelves at home are filled mainly romantic comedy and chicklit novels. Whilst my loved one reads serious spy thrillers I settle down with a lighthearted romantic comedy and annoy him by giggling, sighing and occasionally blubbering (when the two main characters realise they love each other – always sets me off!)

So I thought it would be good to celebrate this fab literary genre and record all the reasons why I love writing and reading romantic comedies.

  1. As a writer getting two emotionally incomplete characters to overcome comedy obstacles, endure testing personal situations and unite romantically by the end of a novel can be a pleasurable challenge.
  2. Romantic comedies are a form of escapism. For a couple of hours I get to dive into a story filled with laughter, tears, waves of delicious sexual tension and a guaranteed happy ending. Sigh!
  3. They bring out the inner hopeless romantic in me.
  4. I hate surprises. So I like knowing when I start writing or reading a romantic comedy that love will triumph at the end and the right two people will get together.
  5. I love the sexual chemistry between the two main characters. I like the way the characters try to deny their feelings for each other, keep a lid on their secret desires and cast some smouldering gazes.
  6. I like the ‘feel good’ factor they bring. After a bad day where nothing has gone to plan, my hair has not looked right, I have felt fat, frumpy and my hormone levels are off the scale I can read or watch a romantic comedy and feel a lot better.
  7. I love reading and writing comedy situations. I love crying with laughter at a character’s mishaps. I think its because my life seems to be full of unexpected  comedy situations where I do or say the wrong thing. I think this is why I love my character Roxy Collins so much. The episode where she goes on a date with Kevin plumber and has some unexpected issues with her contact lenses mid date, which brings on absolute chaos, is fab!
  8. Romantic comedies make you believe that anything is possible.
  9. Life changing romantic moments always happen in the rain or the snow. I was on the edge of my seat when Bridget Jones ran after Mark Darcy in the snow.
  10. They are cheesy and riddled with cliches! As a reader and a writer I am attracted to cheesy stuff and cliches!
  11. Romantic comedies are the modern fairytale.
  12. They have pretty book covers. Sigh!
  13. I love reading about others experiencing mayhem and chaos.
  14. I love the ‘post romantic comedy’ daydream where you stare into space and wonder what the new fictional couple are doing now. Did their relationship work? What was married life like? I have had many messages from my  Wattpad Roxy fans telling me that they are suffering from these daydreams and are keen to know how Roxy and Marcus are doing.
  15. I love how you can get totally carried away with reading and writing a romantic comedy and find yourself in floods of tears. There is nothing quite like a good tear jerker!
  16. As a writer I love how I slowly start to morph into my female characters. You would not believe how many fake tan disasters I have had since Roxy hit iTunes.

Think I need to go lie down in a darkened room after creating this list.

Have a fabulous day all 🙂

The Diary of Roxy Collins Podcast-2

How To Connect With Your Inner Biker Chick #MondayBlogs #bikergirl #Motivation

 

Connecting With Your Inner Biker Chick-2

I have been wanting to connect with my inner biker chick for sometime. If I am honest I don’t have the time to connect with my inner biker chick what with being a mother, a wife, a pet owner, working full-time, being a writer, a blogger and now a podcaster. There are not enough hours in the day. Anyway you will all be glad to know that I have now resolved this situation.

Your inner biker chick is your wild, leather clad, rebellious side which sometimes needs to come out to shake things up a bit.

We all have an inner bike chick inside of us and sometimes we get a powerful urge to connect with her, even though there might not be a motorbike in sight.

Through my writing I have connected with my inner biker chick. My fictional character Roxy Collins, in the latest episode of the ‘Diary of Roxy Collins Podcast’ on iTunes and here on SoundCloud has a date with Gordon; a biker and the lead singer of a rock band. Her best mate Shaz advises that she should use this dating opportunity to connect with her inner biker chick. I would like to point out that I had a lot of fun with this episode. Useful Kim has to be one of my favourite new characters for 2016. I can’t wait for listener feedback on Useful Kim!

After writing it I felt like my inner bike chick and I were much closer. Within an hour of finishing the podcast I was hot footing it down my local department store’s makeup counter asking to be taught how to do smokey eyeshadow, I browsed leather jackets in the Women’s Clothing department and I declared to my family that I wasn’t planning to do any ironing or sock matching for the rest of the weekend as I was a free spirit. (Rebellious huh!).

So, I thought I would do a blog post on how you can connect with your inner biker chick:

Biker Chick Mindset:

  • Take action!  Biker chicks don’t sit around waiting for something to happen – they do it themselves. So start writing that book, launch that blog or record that podcast TODAY!
  • Shun the expectations! Strong badass biker chicks don’t worry about what others think of them. So lose the concern over what people expect you to do or be in life. Focus that concern on being you and defining who you are!
  • Think confidently and act confidently. Imagine you are leather clad and sat on a monstrous bike – you can’t look uncertain and troubled in this scenario. Get that badass biker chick look in your eye, take some deep breaths, wear a stern smile and look like you ready for anything!
  • Exercise your free spirit. Practice freeing yourself from daily drudgery – in my book this means housework!

 

Biker Chick Wardrobe:

  • You want to be rocking the classy / edgy biker style.
  • Aim for the iconic black leather biker jacket, white t-shirt and skin-tight leather trousers. Roxy struggled with this look but fair play she gave it a go!
  • Finish off with some black shades and killer heels (in my head killer heels sound fab but in reality I will be crippled within half an hour).
  • Here are some celebs channelling their inner biker chick:

Biker Chick Makeup:

  • It is all about the smokey eyes for biker chicks. So check out this fab tutorial. 
  • For nails I love these black studded nail creations.

 

Have a great day!

Just going to get my leathers on and then have a nice soothing cup of tea whilst doing a gentle crossword.

Image: Adobe.

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

 

Reasons Why I Created the Character of Roxy Collins #chicklit #romcom #writer

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Roxy Collins is the main character of my Wattpad novel and fictional podcast The Diary of Roxy Collins. 

She’s a thirty something, single mother of three unruly children, who is in a dead-end job, gets no help from her ex-partners and is living in a run down rented house.

Here are the reasons why I created the character of Roxy Collins:

  1. After years of reading Chicklit and romantic fiction I wanted to read about a realistic heroine. I was tired of reading about skinny, rich and glamorous ChickLit heroines. I wanted someone who I could relate to. Someone who had kids, struggled in a dead-end job and had useful ex partners.
  2. Roxy is one of life’s survivors. She has not had much luck with relationships; pregnant as a teenager, her first partner Jon confessed he was gay soon after she fell pregnant. Her second partner and father of the boys, Rob, left her for the blonde barmaid. Despite all this she still has her humour.
  3. She’s a character who I warm to; she’s crazy, loves singing Cher songs, when she’s drunk and struggles to control her three spirited children.
  4. She makes me laugh whenever I write her.
  5. I wanted a character who never gave up on looking for love.
  6. She reminds me of an older version of Bridget Jones.
  7. I wanted a character who could explore the comedy of family life.

 

She’s my best fictional friend ever and she’s done me proud on Wattpad and iTunes.

The Diary of Roxy Collins – Part 1 – Office Life #comedy #motherhood #Chicklit

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Monday

8.46 a.m. – I am staggering into my office, carrying a gigantic bag of sweets (the obligatory post holiday office gift) and crying out “I’m back everyone…I am back!”

Silence.

No one has acknowledged my return to work after my holiday.

Plonk sweets on desk and notice ladder in my posh glossy tights and seeping blood from a painful blister on my ankle.

This morning I had to totter at speed, in my new stilettos, to catch my bus. I am just asking myself why I didn’t cover my feet in plasters before leaving the house.

Try to block out throbbing pain from foot. I am now regretting getting carried away with an article I found on Facebook, which claimed wearing giant stilettos makes you look slimmer.

8.47 a.m. I have received a text from Matilda, my daughter. Oh…she informs me that hates her school, hates the fact that we now live in, what she calls, a rough area, hates me for not letting her live with her Dad who she thinks is loaded and hates life in general. I am also given a collection of devil faced emojis.

8.49 a.m. Try to ignore the fact that I am bathed in a light sweat from my journey into work and there is pain emanating from my left wrist.

Last week I bought myself a new handbag. I opted for a tiny handbag, as the magazine article about the body slimming stilettos also advised that the fashion trend this season is for minuscule accessories. I went home with my purchase and, what can only be described, as tiny handbag excitement.

In a kind of euphoric high I filled it with everything from my tiny handbag with my large handbag; makeup, headache tablets, hairbrush, tissues, phone, mints, body spray, emergency deodorant, spare knickers, panty liners, book of positive thoughts, my diary, some keepsakes and a toothbrush. Hey presto – a tiny but heavy handbag!

9.08 a.m. Looking around at my office colleagues who have failed to notice my return from a week’s camping holiday. Nobody has looked up from their screens or spoken to me. They are all busy tapping away, or sat sipping coffee.

Ok so I wasn’t expecting:

  • A small crowd waving ‘Welcome Back Roxy’ banners as I emerge from the lift.
  • The Managing Director of the company, clearing her diary and popping by my desk to ask me whether my holiday photos are uploaded on Facebook yet, as she is desperate to browse through them and a thought-provoking comments.

All I want is someone to register that I am back at work. I would be more than happy to accept one of the following greetings:

  • “Hello Roxy!”
  • “Hey Roxy, how was the holiday?”
  • “Hey Roxy what was it like on your own in a tent with your three spirited  (polite term for nightmare) kids?”

I wonder whether this is like the film ‘Sixth Sense’ and I have actually died. Perhaps my kids finished me off in the tent after I forced them to go without wi-fi for 5 days and I am struggling with passing over?

Seriously, this office situation is giving me an early Monday morning complex.

This is the last time I wrestle with a giant bag sweets for this ungrateful office.

9.35 a.m. – I am busy shuffling a few bits of papers and a folder around my desk to give the impression that I am bright-eyed and bushy-tailed on my return to work. In reality I am suffering from extreme physical and mental exhaustion, after a week’s camping holiday with my children. Trying to put up a tent single-handedly, in a violent gale, whilst my kids sit in the car and argue about crisp packet flavours, nearly to sent me to an early grave.

My attention turns to Martin (52 yrs) who sits opposite me. He is busy on the phone to his mother confirming that he would like beef stew with extra dumplings for his tea.

After five minutes of mother trivia, about what he has to collect from the supermarket on his way home from work (toilet bleach, toilet roll, prunes, dates, cabbage and some lavender-scented air freshener), he replaces the phone receiver and looks up at me.

“It’s nice to have you back Roxy.” He gives me a sickly smile and flashes his yellow stained teeth.

I cannot believe Martin is the only person in this office to acknowledge the fact that I have not been here for the last seven days.

“Did you have a nice break?” asks Martin, reaching for his stapler.

“Oh I did, it was lovely thanks!”  I turn away whilst lying through my teeth.

I notice that Martin’s eyes are honed into my orange fake bake arms.

“Did you have Mediterranean weather in Scarborough Roxy?”

“It was warm” I say, once again lying through my teeth and making a mental note of ‘one can of fake tan is more than enough for one arm!’

Martin smiles. “Whilst you were away Marcus asked me to go for promotion, has he said anything to you?” he asks slyly, his beady eyes resembling those of a snake we saw at the zoo on holiday.

I don’t answer him. My blood is boiling.

Martin and I both know the career train is unlikely to be stopping at my station for some time. I am the wrong side of thirty, I have three kids, two useless ex-partners, I regularly have to take time off to cover childcare, I have recently had ‘personal issues’ after a messy relationship breakup, I am considered ‘noisy’ in the office and I….drunkenly snogged Marcus, our Senior Manager, over a photocopier, at a Christmas party.

10.34 a.m. My phone bleeps.  It is a message from Richard, the guy that I have been chatting to on my dating app. He looks amazing on his photo and reminds me of the Ken doll that I used to play Barbie weddings with as a child. Oh no – he doesn’t want to date me as I have three kids and two ex partners. He doesn’t want anything complicated. What is complicated about my situation? I mean we are all talking to each other…well just.

10.35 a.m. I am blinking away hot stinging tears and praying to God that my mascara doesn’t decide to run. I don’t think I will ever find love.

Pop a soothing mint and ask Google to tell me the chances of a thirty something, single mother of three children with two ex-partners finding love again. Google fails to give me an answer.

That’s it I am un-datable. More tears are welling up inside my eyes. I am doing well to contain them as I don’t like the office knowing my business.

10.40 a.m. I watch Martin rise from his chair and creep off to a meeting.
Receive personal call from Great Aunt Vera. She’s eighty nine and getting used to a new nursing home. Her old nursing home asked her to leave. Nobody knows why.

“ROXY!” she yells. Great Aunt Vera hates hearing aids.

“Hello Great Aunt Vera.”

“I was just telling my new friend Ivy about you. I told her you were getting desperate for a man!”

My neck and shoulders stiffen.

“I am not getting desperate for a man Great Aunt Vera!” I snap, noticing a couple of office colleagues raise their heads in my direction.

“Ivy wants to know whether you have tried online dating? Her grandson was desperate like you and he had a few online dates with a woman from the South East. He’s now engaged and they have a baby on the way!”

“I am giving it a try!” I mumble.

“What did you say?” shrieks Great Aunt Vera, making my ears hurt.

“I am giving ONLINE DATING a try!” I snap, noticing more raised heads from my colleagues. I have also just caught sight of Marcus grimacing at me by the office recycling bins.

“How is that wild daughter of yours?” asks Great Aunt Vera.

“Matilda is sixteen and is not wild!” I say, picturing my daughter in a white angel outfit, with huge white wings and a sugary sweet expression on her face. I hear Great Aunt Vera cackle. “You do make your old Aunt laugh Roxy. I have got to go have my meds, good-bye!”

“Goodbye Great Vera!” I replace the receiver and hope no one heard my conversation.

11.02 a.m. Martin returns from his meeting. I try to look busy; this involves stapling some random bits of paper whilst looking thoughtful at something on my computer screen.

“Marcus says that he wants you to work on this project,” instructs Martin, handing me a pile of papers which makes me let out a groan.

“What does he want me to do with it?” I ask, shaking my head in dismay.

“He wants a report on his desk by the end of the day,” informs Martin.

“But its my first day back after holiday?” I whimper.

11.57 a.m. Receive personal call from an upset best friend Shaz.

“He’s dumped me Roxy!” she wails loudly.

“The postman has dumped you?” I watch Martin raise his black monobrow at me.

Martin doesn’t like personal calls in the office. He says ‘every call in the office should be work related and not personal Roxy’. The calls he makes to his mother every morning from his desk are not counted as they are different. I have checked.

Shaz continues. ”Yea, the postman is seeing a girl from that posh new housing estate. How could he do this to me?” I can hear her snivelling.

“Forget him Shaz!” I snap.

“I can’t Roxy!”  Shaz sniffs down the phone.

“Look – walk away and be thankful you have not got carried away with this one. You moved to the other end of the country for the last scumbag and then had to move back when it all went wrong two and half weeks later!”

“Oh Roxy I gave up my job in the bakery so that I could be there for the postman when he was on his parcel delivery shift!” she wails.

“Oh Shaz why did you do that?” I shriek, making Martin drop his pencil on the floor. “Didn’t you learn anything from your last relationship?”

I am waving frantically at Martin. He is rising from his desk with the plastic drinks tray in his hand. I need a coffee. Sometimes I wonder why I get so desperate for a machine generated, bitter tasting coffee which will stain my teeth and ruin my breath for hours.

“I can’t forget about this one” wails Shaz, before snorting loudly down the phone.

My mobile is bleeping.

It’s a text from Matilda apologising for her earlier text outburst. She doesn’t hate me. In fact she loves me very much and has even added a couple of heart emojis. At the end of the text she asks whether she can go out on Saturday night with her new sixth form boyfriend who has a car.

I can’t type ‘NO!’ fast enough. Quickly I press send and try to soothe my thudding heart.

I then realise Shaz is still sobbing down the phone.

“Walk away from the postman and don’t look back” I say, turning away as Martin returns with our coffee.

My phone bleeps again. It’s another text from Matilda. She hates me. No emojis.

Shaz sniffs loudly down the phone before wailing “He made too many deliveries Roxy, I think I am PREGNANT!”

“Oh Shaz!” I say reaching over to my giant bag of sweets which no one has thanked me for. Whilst Shaz sobs I rip it open and stuff a handful in my mouth and give Martin a filthy look as he points at the pile of papers on my desk. Its going to be a long day!

 

For part 2 click here