Blog Archives

When Your Dreams Become A Burden

When Your Dreams Become A Burden

* Did you dream of being a famous and successful writer, when you were little? * By the time you reached the age you are now, how famous and successful did you imagine yourself being? * And when you really think about that last question, does it provoke an emotional or physical reaction? Tension in your body,  a sick feeling, a tightness in your throat, tears? Early talent – and the praise and encouragement that comes with it – can be a double-edged sword. At eight or nine years old, even as a teenager, it is easy for a gifted…

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The Revolution Will Be Emotional

The Revolution Will Be Emotional

I’ve touched on gender issues in writing before but here’s a slightly different take on the same subject.  What if the gender imbalance at the top of the literary tree – the higher proportions of men in the high-kudos publications and on the prize shortlists – is because women are more emotional? A prickly subject. Even as I type it I can envisage women across this glorious web of electrons getting ready to beat me down with a rolling pin (and I use the domestic imagery not to bait anyone further, but in an attempt to soften the ground with…

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Explanation for Absence

Explanation for Absence

No, we don’t have a sick note from our mothers.  But in case you were enjoying what we were up do, and hoping for a little more, a brief note about the silence. The immediate aftermath of my much-desired book deal – coupled not long after with the awarding of my doctorate – has been to take my foot off the gas.  I’ve been working long and relentless hours for four years now, and it was time to take stock, re-orient myself, and award myself a little time off for good behaviour. Kate, while usefully keeping us breathing through our…

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EFT for Writers

EFT for Writers

So what exactly is EFT?  Why do we think its a brilliant tool for writers and people who want to be writers? Let’s start with the basics. EFT stands for Emotional Freedom Technique.  It’s sometimes called ‘tapping’ and is sometimes described as “acupuncture without needles”.   From a personal familiarity with acupuncture, however, I would say it is massively more powerful in its effects – and the great bonus is, no needles or trained practitioners are required.   Of course you might want to use an EFT practitioner for really sticky problems, but it’s very simple to do and anyone…

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Does my gender affect my success?

Does my gender affect my success?

It would be wonderful, more than a decade into the 21st Century, to be able to answer this question in the negative, but recent figures released by VIDA demonstrate that one is much more likely to feature in the most respected literary journals if you are a man.  For many of us women, this is not exactly news.  My sister bought me a year’s subscription to the London Review of Books once and it began to dawn on me that, week after week, the two poem slots were invariably filled by men.   And then, that most of the reviews…

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What Stops You Getting Down To Writing?

What Stops You Getting Down To Writing?

Fancy being a guinea pig and getting free help with your writing?     We’ve been a little quiet on the website of late, for good reason: Kate  and I are recording the modules of our new “Breakthrough Writers Block” online programme. The aim is to clear the psychological blocks that get in the way of getting down to writing: not just “staring at the blank page/screen” syndrome but numerous other issues  such as: I don’t have time to write I don’t have space to write I don’t know where to start My partner is unsupportive What if my writing…

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The Causes of Procrastination – and the Cures

Most writers I know are, or have at some point been, Olympic-level procrastinators.  Many years ago, after University, I decided to take a year off to dedicate myself to writing. I spent many a long hour watering the plants, staring out of the windows, cleaning the windows, cutting my fringe, staring out of the windows again (clearer vision now, after the cleaning and fringe cutting) and finding it very, very difficult to write anything.  Why?  Well, the pressure. (Admittedly pressure I’d put on  myself.  No-one was waiting for a 21-year-old’s words of wisdom, that was for sure).   The fear…

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Jealousy of Other Writers and How it Sabotages Your Success

Jealousy of Other Writers and How it Sabotages Your Success

In her writer’s blog, The View from the Shed, Sally Quilford recently bemoaned the resentment of unpublished writers towards published ones.  The post received many comments, including one from a writer who had received unpleasant messages on Facebook and Twitter when she made a competition shortlist, from those who hadn’t. Author of A Secret Alchemy, Emma Darwin, contributed another article on the same subject. The fact is that jealousy between writers is rife – and it isn’t just the jealousy of unpublished writers towards published ones; any writer (published or not) can suffer jealousy of any other writer they perceive…

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Write Your Tagline and Logline

A tagline is a memorable phrase that sums up your book and makes people want to read it. A logline is a one- or two-sentence summary of your plot that does the same job.  Both have their uses. Writing your own tagline and logline is valuable because You have an instant answer to the irritating question ‘What is your book about?’  And you can answer it whilst adhering to the fundamental rule Never talk about your book!  When a friend or stranger asks you what you are working on, you can tell them succinctly, and with confidence. They build excitement…

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