Friday, 31 December 2010

It's almost here

Christmas is over. I've eaten my chocolates. The new toys are put away. Life is on the way back to relative normality. There's just one more thing to do before the children return to school next week.

I'd like to wish you all the very best of new year celebrations and a truly joyful 2011.

May it bring you what you wish for, but more importantly, what you need.

Here we go again!

Friday, 24 December 2010

Just one more day to go

before I can watch my children rip off the wrapping on their presents and I can sit down with my family to enjoy a Christmas lunch. We put so much stake on this one day and then it's over so quickly and we return to our normal routine for a few days until the new year celebrations begin.

For many of us, the day is all about our children. For others it is a time to bring family together, especially if we've lost touch with them over the year. For us, Christmas Day is about both of those things. The morning is for our children. The afternoon is for visiting family. The evening will be a time to relax with a glass of wine and think of loved ones who aren't with us this Christmas, or at least not in body. If that sounds like a sad end to the day, please be assured that it isn't. Remembering those who loved us and shaped our world is always a cause for celebration.

So with less than twenty four hours until it all begins, I would like to wish everyone a wonderful Christmas. May it be all that you wish it to be.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

7 ways to give to your writer friends at Christmas

1. Magazine Subscription

I'm a firm believer that staying informed on not only your craft but also your industry is important for all writers. There are various writing related magazines that can serve this purpose and that also run competitions. A good choice for all writers is Writing Magazine which incorporates Writers News. A similar publication is Writers Forum. For women writers, there's also Mslexia.

2. Writing Software

There are all kind of writing related software packages that you can buy for your writer friend. New Novelist provide a package that I've found quite useful in compiling the details of my novel and constructing a chapter plan. For help with creating your characters Character Writer provides what looks like an in depth approach that includes an enneagram based character generator. Storybook provides an open source (free) novel writing programme that can be downloaded from their site.

3. Books on writing

I personally feel that there is an unnecessary glut of how to books on writing that often give identical advice. Having said that, there are certain gems in there. The Writers and Artists Yearbook is my bible providing up to date information on publishers, agents and excellent advice from the industry. Stephen King's On Writing isn't so much a 'how to' as a 'how I did' book that makes for an entertaining and informative read. Writer Mama and Get Known Before The Book Deal by Christina Katz are mainly aimed at non  fiction writers but provide information that can also be helpful to fiction writers. The first seeks to help parents fit a writing career in with their family life. The second describes how to build a platform for publicising your work.

4. Blog

Not every online presence has to cost a fortune. Show how much you appreciate your friend's writing, by setting up a blog for them to discuss and display their writing. Blogger provides a free blog service with a variety of designs that you can personalise to their taste.

5. Pens and pads

There aren't many writers that I know who don't turn into a child when faced with a stationery shop. Typing our creative expression onto a computer can be an efficient way to record our writing but having an ideas pad to carry around with us and beautiful pens to write those ideas down with is an indulgent joy that can be treasured.

6. Writing Slot

Any writer's internal editor offers more than sufficient reasons to delay our writing. Add those to the day to day routine (work, house chores, children, social life) and it can often seem that there isn't enough time in the day to get any writing done. If your partner is a writer, then giving them an hour a day when you won't disturb them or expect them to do anything but write can be a wonderful gift. If your writer friend is a parent, then offering to take their children to the park for an hour so they can write will be tremendously appreciated too.

7. Recognition

This may sound silly but one of the best gifts you can give to a writer, published or not, is your recognition of them as a writer.

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

A new writing record

As you know, the month of November saw me taking part in National Novel Writing Month, the aim being to write 50,000 words. I started off well, remaining on target until the middle of the month when life intervened in the form of ill children and work commitments. Still, I broke my writing record from past NaNoWriMos and managed just over 26,000 words.

I may not be an official NaNoWriMo 'winner' (the term used for those who have achieved the full 50,000 words) but I feel like a winner none the less. For the entire month, I sent my internal editor on holiday and just kept on writing. The resulting prize are several chapters of first draft quality which I'll look back over next week.

Writing in this way, without editing, felt risky at times and stumped me at others. The world of my story grew, the  details and colours gradually sketching themselves in. My characters fleshed out in often surprising ways. A couple of minor characters became more important and a new villain was introduced into the mix.

I'll definitely take part in NaNoWriMo next year. Now I just have to keep the impetus running and finish this novel.