10 Similarities Between Heartbreak & Shelving A Half Finished Draft #SundayBlogShare

Similarities Between heartbreak

You will be surprised at how many similarities there are between relationship heartbreak and shelving a half-finished draft.

Splitting up with the love of your life can be upsetting and leave you feeling crushed.

Stopping work on a draft novel because you can’t take it any further or because it’s a big pile of literary wrongs can also be distressing. Trust me – this can also leave you feeling shattered and miserable!

If you think about how much time we spend with our draft novels, its similar to being in a relationship. Thrown into this are all the emotions that go with writing a novel. So, when a draft novel doesn’t work out and we are forced to walk away, it can feel like the end of a relationship.

Here are those similarities:

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

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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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10 Similarities Between Searching For A New Story & Dating #SundayBlogShare #AmWriting

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I am currently searching for a new story to work on. Story hunting is not easy. Just because you are a writer doesn’t mean you have a queue of ideas, all waiting patiently for you to do something with them. No, you have to spend ages feeling glum about not having anything to write about and then force yourself to go out and find new story ideas.

Things don’t run smoothly either when you do stumble upon a new story and get excited about it. You can quickly lose that ‘loving feeling’ for a story and it doesn’t take much for this to happen. 

After a few creative dalliances with a couple of new story ideas,  I can see some interesting similarities with dating.

Let me explain:

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Why Forgiveness Is So Important For Writers #MondayBlogs #Writers #AmWriting

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This past week I have learnt the importance of forgiveness in my creative life. It came to me after I read Spirit Junkie – A Radical Road To Discovering Self Love And Miracles by Gabrielle Bernstein. The book is excellent and really resonated with me. It is one of those wonderful self-help books where you read it and cringe a lot, as you can see yourself on the page.

There is an entire section of the book dedicated to forgiveness. I never thought about the importance of forgiveness until I read this book.

If I could rename myself I would be called Little Miss Bitterness.

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How To Keep Smiling Through Tough Writing Patches #MondayBlogs #MondayMotivation

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I’m currently going through a tough writing patch and to my amazement I am still smiling!

If I had endured this struggle last year I think I would have quit and thrown myself into hand painting egg shells with bits of watercress growing out of them. I can’t paint to save my life, nor can I grow any sort of plant, other than a good strong weed, but after experiencing the rigours of the literary world I feel this hobby would bring me some creative calmness. 

Here are some ideas on how to keep smiling through tough writing patches. These are currently working for me so they have been road tested.

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Author Interviews – Liz Tipping @LizTipping #Author #WeekendBlogShare

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Welcome to my weekly blog series – Author Interviews.

These interviews give me a glimpse into the writing life of an author. They share their book journey, the obstacles they have faced and their motivations. At the end of each interview I ask the big question – what do they wear whilst writing?

This week I am struggling to contain my excitement as one of my romantic comedy author heroines has agreed to sit in my red chair. I read her first book Five Go Glamping and liked it so much I travelled to Birmingham to hear her speak at a book event. She was so funny, charming and inspiring I found myself charging up to the front to talk to her afterwards. 

After a gin or tonic or two, I built up the courage to contact her before Christmas to ask whether she would appear on my blog and……she said YES!  Dreams can come true readers!

So please welcome Liz Tipping..

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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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The Diary of Roxy Collins – OMG He’s a Rat #romance #chicklit #MondayBlogs

 

 

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Saturday

8.45 A.M. Two things have come into my life; my ex-boyfriend Dan and my youngest son Toby’s new pet rat ‘Bob’.

I can’t say I am happy with the arrival of Bob and I can’t say my landlord Brian is thrilled either. However Bob has stopped Toby talking to his imaginary friend Malcolm. Big sigh of relief!

Brian, my 67 year old landlord, clutched his chest and went an odd grey colour at the sight of Toby’s new pet. I had no other choice but to leap into action and manoeuvre Brian out of the house before he thought too much about Bob. I promised him that Bob the rat will be properly cared for and will never be left unattended to roam free around the house.

Brian staggered off down the path muttering and shaking his head.

Just listening to Toby chat away to Bob in his cage. Its great for kids to have pets. Sigh!

8.47 A.M. I need to get a wriggle on and pack my overnight  case.

I am back with my ex Dan.

Jake and I were not really suited to each other. He seemed petrified of me the whole time. I never understood why. Dan is not scared. He likes my kind of crazy!

Dan is taking me away for the night to a fancy hotel. It is a chance for us to celebrate getting back together. Shaz, my best mate, says second time around relationships are great.

I am a bit nervous. I don’t know why but I always end up getting into some sort of drama at fancy hotels. In the past I have avoided them. Rob, my ex, refused to take me to a nice hotel as he said I would end up causing a scene.

Mystic Clive, my favourite astrologer, told me that I had to take a risk this week so I accepted Dan’s gift of a night away with him in a fancy hotel.

10.15 A.M. Still not packed my overnight case. Its lying open on the kitchen table, half full with an assortment of clothes and underwear. I can’t decide what to wear for a posh dinner in a fancy hotel so I am packing at least 4 outfits. Decision will be made later.

Arguing with Matilda, my teenage daughter, about her choice of outfit to the local shopping centre with her friends.

‘It looks like a belt [her skirt] Matilda!’ I shriek pointing in horror at the miniscule strip of denim around her waist.

‘Mam its called fashion!’ Matilda yells back at me.

‘You are NOT wearing THAT and those HUGE heels – NO!’ I scream back at her.

‘I HATE YOU RIGHT NOW!’ screeches Matilda.

‘Mam’ says Toby tugging at my arm.

‘Not now Toby’ I say striding after Matilda who is tottering towards the front door.

‘COME BACK HERE!’ I scream at her as she gives me a wink and opens the door.

‘Mam!’ urges Toby.

‘What?’ I snap, still glaring at Matilda.

‘Bob’s gone missing’ whispers Toby.

10.17 A.M. Time grinds to a halt as I flick my head to stare in horror at Toby.

‘Better dash Mam!’ says Matilda seizing her opportunity and slipping out of the door.

‘You promised me he wouldn’t escape’ I say to my nine year old.

‘He was anxious and needed a cuddle’ says Toby.

‘Toby he’s a RAT!’ I scream, ‘rats don’t suffer with anxiety!’

Speaking of anxiety here comes Brian, my landlord, up the path. OMG!

10.19 A.M. Brian has come to fix the loo.

‘How’s the pet Toby?’ he asks as he starts to climb the stairs.

‘He’s asleep in his cage’ I say quickly.

10.23 A.M. Toby and I are on our hands and knees searching the conservatory, whilst calling ‘Bob!’

10.32 A.M. Brian, the landlord wants to see Bob in his cage in the conservatory. My whole body is trembling. If he finds out there is a rat loose in the house the kids and I could be finding another place to rent.

Time for Roxy the actress to make an appearance!

‘Oh Brian I don’t feel very well’ I say putting my hand to my forehead.

‘You do look a bit peaky’ says Brian looking concerned.

‘Think I need to sit down’ I say slumping into a chair, whilst praying Brian will leave the kitchen and not go out into the conservatory to see the empty cage.

I place my head in my hands for maximum impact.

‘Good grief – what is that?’ exclaims Brian.

I can feel the blood drain from my face as I lift my head up, half expecting him to have found Bob the rat in the kitchen.

Brian is stood clutching his chest, looking an odd shade of grey and staring at my overnight case.

To my relief its just my choice of underwear hanging out of the case.

For the second time in a week I quietly manoeuvre my landlord out of my house and watch him walk down the path muttering and shaking his head.

11.10 A.M  Brian has left. We still haven’t found Bob the rat.

Toby is crying at the kitchen table.

Harry my other son is on the floor in the kitchen, waving bits of lettuce and shouting ‘BOB!’

2.00 P.M. Still no sign of Bob the rat.

We have been around the house shouting ‘Bob’. I haven’t even had chance to question whether rats answer to their name.

Toby and Harry are being led away snivelling by their father Rob.

3.00 P.M. Dan is outside in the car. I am off for a fancy night in a hotel.

As we pass Brian in his garden I give him a little wave and he looks away.

4.00 P.M. Whilst Dan is getting our room key I decide to head for the bar. I need a little glass of wine to take the edge off my frazzled mental state.

It has been an emotional day with Matilda’s skirt choices and the disappearance of Bob the rat.

I am also worried about my night in this beautiful hotel. It seems far too posh for me and there is always drama where I am concerned.

If anything goes wrong I will blame Mystic Clive.

4.10 P.M. Dan has joined me in the hotel bar. He gives me a kiss on the cheek and asks me whether there is anything wrong.

I explain that things never go right for me in posh hotels. Dan gives me a cuddle and tells me that we will have a wonderful night.

4.15 P.M. My phone bleeps. Its Rob, my ex, telling me that Toby is inconsolable about Bob the rat.

Here comes the mother guilt. I am sat drinking wine with handsome man whilst youngest son is having a breakdown about a lost pet!’

7.23 P.M. Doing my makeup in our hotel room. Dan has already commented how beautiful I look in my dress. He looks very handsome too.

I am stood in the bathroom trying to recreate Kim Kardashian’s contouring look but failing miserably.

‘Good grief what is that?’ screeches Dan from the bedroom.

I groan. What is it with men and my choice of underwear?

Why can’t a girl (woman in her thirties) have nice….colourful…tiny underwear garments?

I drop my makeup brush and race out of the bathroom. Dan is stood white faced by the door.

My eyes fall upon Bob the rat, sticking up out of my case and sniffing the air.

‘OMG it’s BOB!’ I scream!

‘What?? You know the RAT sticking it’s head out of your knickers ROXY?’ shrieks Dan.

I blame Mystic Clive for everything.

 

For more Roxy please click here

 

Things To Do Before Leaping Out Of Your Comfort Zone #MondayBlogs #Podcasting #Writers

Things To Do Before Leaping Out Of Your Comfort Zone

In the next few weeks I will be leaping out of my comfort zone with the launch of my comedy fictional podcast.

I have never done anything like this before. It took me a long time to share my writing on my blog and when I did it felt like a leap out of my comfort zone. Then I took another jump outside my warm and coxy comfort zone by sticking my stuff on Wattpad. Now it feels like I am going to be flinging myself into the air yet again by taking my work onto iTunes and putting my own voice to it, as opposed to hiding behind a blog post.

So I thought it would be a good idea to do a preparation style blog post, which will run through all the things you need to do before leaping outside of your comfort zone.

Things to do before leaping out of your comfort zone:

  1. Focus on the why. Think about why you are leaping out of your comfort zone and the benefits that it will bring. These benefits will help you fight your way through fear. Ok so I am just running through my reasons for this…I am nutsdeluded and have a screw loose. There is one reason and that it is – I want to perform a bit of magic. I want to see whether I can lift my Roxy Collins comedy off the page and bring my character and her world to life via a weekly podcast. This for me is what being a writer is really about; making people, worlds and stories come alive.
  2. Enjoy the build up experience. Have some fun along the way and the enjoy the build up to leaping out of your comfort zone. I can’t say that listening to my own voice again and again has been fun but teaching myself how to use GarageBand has been really enjoyable. Celebrating my success on joining up the podcast intro music, the voice intro, the narration and end music in GarageBand resulted in me doing an energetic celebratory dance around the kitchen. I know some of you out there will be now eye rolling your laptop / tablet screen whilst muttering “that is soooo easy!” I struggle with simple things. Rewriting parts of Roxy and adapting it for a podcast has brought me closer to my characters. I feel like I am starting to get under the skin of Roxy and hearing her talk, in the voice that I am using, is quite surreal.
  3. Start a diary. Use a diary to record your feelings as you prepare to journey into the unknown. A diary is useful for working through the huge bouts of self-doubt which go hand in hand with taking a leap out of your comfort zone. A diary takes away some of the pressure from friends and family as you can turn to it day or night.
  4. Listen to upbeat and motivational music. Do everything you can to remain positive.  I have created a new playlist full of pop classics and 80’s movie soundtracks.
  5. Embrace the idea of making a fool of yourself. Ditch the perfect image of yourself!  In order to bring my character Roxy to life I am going to have to make a fool of myself. But the urge to do something magical is stronger than the fear of people laughing at me.
  6. Create a list of powerful quotes for the final days before you jump out of your comfort zone. Steven Pressfield in his book ‘The War of Art’ talks about how the fight against resistance is worse at the end of a project when your energy levels are low and you are vulnerable.  So here are the quotes that are keeping me going:

 

More often than not, being brave means doing it scared – Michael Hyatt.

 

The more important an activity is to your soul’s evolution, the more resistance you will feel to it – the more fear you will feel – Steven Pressfield

 

Until you are ready to look foolish, you’ll never have the possibility of being great – Cher

 

Wish me luck readers!

Stay tuned for news of my gigantic leap into the unknown; the world of podcasting!

Have a fabulous day and virtual hugs to all those currently thinking about taking a leap out of their comfort zone!

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!

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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 😉

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