Be kind to yourself

It’s a phrase that’s quite in vogue at the moment.  We see someone having a tough time and we instruct them to be kind to themselves.  I look back a decade to me with small children and wish someone had explained what that meant.  That it’s okay to put your own needs first sometimes, without…

People-watcher by profession

I’m a people-watcher.  I’ve spent the majority of my adult life and a significant proportion of my childhood being a people-watcher, or more specifically a people-analyser.  On the occasions I find myself in a park or at a train station I play a game; make up a story about someone who walks past (stick with…

In the wake of reading

I’ve just finished reading The Explorer by Katherine Rundell and it was exactly as the bookshop lady said: magical.  Achingly magical.  It is one of those books that when it’s time to do a thing, you justify doing the thing later and decide instead to read one more chapter.  Then another and another.  The feeling…

Playing the long game

‘Play the long game’ is my new mantra; I have it pinned above my desk.  When I feel as if I’m falling behind where I think I should be, I remind myself of this.  There is no rush.  It is not a race. I started writing seriously several years ago, and by seriously I mean…

Finding the balance

On the road to publication there are several phases that come and go like seasons – drafting, editing, waiting, rejection and procrastination.  I find myself wrestling with each one when I’m in the throes of it, but afterwards I can often see the benefits.  My aim now is to try and balance the downsides with…

Blackberrying

When I get stuck on a project, or bothered by the news, or I’m in between ideas or I just want to have some fun with writing, I pick an image off the internet and write a story.  Here’s one inspired by the image at the end.  I love how one minute there’s nothing, then…

Writing with baggage

Unless you are a brand new writer writing your very first story, you will always approach a new idea with some baggage.  Whether it’s an enthusiastic email from a beta reader, or an agent saying that they love your writing style but that particular story isn’t for them, or while you wait on submission, or…