Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

I haven’t gone AWOL. I have been thinking of my followers, and there are so many posts I have in mind that will be put up in the next few weeks. But I have been exceptionally busy!



AWOL Helps our Enemies - NARA - 534638

Firstly, I have a job. Granted, it is only Monday’s, but I have been sorting out childcare. It is harder than it sounds! I have also been thinking and developing my Main Character for the current Novel. She now has her own blog. You can find her here.


I heard of character blogs through other writers, and I have heard that it is a good way to develop them. Although she is feeling pretty real to me now, I need to make her even more real. So this will be a fun challenge! I hope it doesn’t take me away from the actual writing of it though.

If you do head on over to my MC’s blog, please do let me know what you think of her first post! It is harder to ‘be’ someone else than it sounds.

Back to normal for me next week. See you all then!


It’s a new day, it’s a new week, and in my spare time I came across a kindle book about finding ideas for blog posts. I won’t name the book, because to be honest, I can’t rate it. There were too many spelling errors! But, I bought it not just for the blog, but for my articles.

I am really, well and truly struggling! Ideas for articles are like gold dust for me. I see fellow writers having no problems with it, but yet I do. Ideas for fiction, not a problem! Prompt or no prompt with fiction? Easy peasy.

But put a Writers’ Bureau Assignment in front of me, and my mind goes blank. As a kid, I wanted to be a Journalist. I even did work experience on The Shropshire Star (Telford’s local daily) but my Careers Advisor knocked the aspiration right out of me. I now think she did me a massive favour, as it seems I am pretty rubbish at it. Tell me ‘get a story on a woman who jumped out a plane and learned to fly’ and I could probably do it. But when I am given:

Pick a women’s magazine. Now write A personal experience type article or an interview with a local personality or someone who is likely to interest the readers of your chosen magazine or a humorous article

I come out in a cold sweat! Now, this means that either I pick the wrong magazines or I am not cut out for this writing lark.


I have thought that I could do a personal experience type article, but there is nothing really that I would willingly share with the whole world. And as the ultimate idea is that it will be published, I guess that means I am doomed!!!!


Do you have any ideas on how to come up with ideas for non fiction? Answers on a postcard (or the comments box below) please.


Firstly, I would like to forewarn: There may be typo’s that I see, but don’t see. Why? Because my brain is all awry after a migraine. This is why I didn’t post yesterday (and really, probably shouldn’t be posting today!)

Now, I have already explained yesterdays absence (migraine, come on, keep up!), so this is what I would have posted yesterday.

Some time in the last two weeks, I mentioned the Easter holidays. They are well and truly here! Someone (not mentioning any names) commented that I would probably have more time than I anticipated. I would like to know, where is it then?

Contemplating this lack of magically appearing time, I realised that not only was it the holidays but it was a brand new month. No, I didn’t conclude that it was an elaborate April Fool. It was simply this: I had no direction, goal, list.

Last month I blabbed about being more productive. On the whole, I succeeded. I had my lists. I had my direction. I had Goals! Because the first ‘work day’ coincided with the first day of the Easter holidays, I didn’t write down the month’s goals. This is totally my fault. I put importance on the house, not on the work. And now, I am totally imbalanced. Again.

The migraine I suffered over the past 2 days has, surprisingly, done me the world of good. I spent all the time in bed. When it started to ease, I didn’t get up, knowing that I may set it off again. So I stayed in bed. This led to me feeling much better and revived today, albeit slightly confused and disorientated. But I will get over it.

So, far from being a bad thing, I have learned a lot this past week.

I need to balance life more, and work out what is truly important.

Lists are good (and they need to be written, so I am still writing!)

A day off once in a while is a good thing.

And another thing that has helped kick me up the butt is a blog by a fellow writer Steven Chapman. He is doing some challenge to do with the letters of the alphabet, and he is writing about getting motivated. If you haven’t already read his blog, get over there now! Not only is it informative, it is very interesting too. And he is very clever, and knows about HTML and stuff, so it looks better than mine!


I am going to go and make a start on my list. Will this be my Positively Productive Month?

Hearing exam

It is evening now, and I have only just got around to writing this blog post.


I can’t say that it is because I have been tapping away at the computer, compiling a masterpiece. No, it is the first day of the Easter Holidays.


I have been so busy with motherly stuff today that no writing (other than this blog post) has been done.


So, in the spirit of straying from the Norm, I will talk about the troubles that have been happening surrounding my son.


Ever since he could talk, there has been something not quite right with my boy. He was supposed to be referred at 2 and a half to a paediatrician, but as we moved away, this never happened. Since then, health professionals and care providers have noticed issues with his speech, and his ability to make sense of words. A hearing test showed he could hear. He was branded a boy that doesn’t listen.


We have struggled with this for so many years, and it was only a chance conversation that led me to the possibility of Auditory Processing Disorder. Yeah, I never heard of it either.

So off I went, back to the doctors. He commissioned a hearing test. My son passed. That was that. My son can hear, so he is just seeking attention.


I cried. For days. APD is not an inability to hear, more a processing issue (the clue is in the name!). Thinking I was imagining all the problems, I looked through his red book. There, in black and white, aged 2 years and 1 month, my son is noted as having a problem. At 2 years and 5 months, a note saying ‘plan to refer for full assessment’. We moved. At 3 years, noted an issue with comprehension.


At school, aged 4, the Special Needs teacher came and said that he was struggling hearing. First test came back okay. Two years later, the same test came back okay. I asked the teachers for backup. They say there isn’t a problem any more. He just doesn’t listen. This is despite the fact that during a meeting not that long ago they said they experienced the same issues I do……..


So now, I am left wondering….what next? Do I fight? Or do I hope he grows out of it?

If you are struggling, just like me, visit this site. It has helped me no end so far.


Nederlands: deeg (nog te bakken)

As promised, here is the additional blog! Expect to see one every Wednesday from now on.

Today, I am going to talk about something a little bit different. It isn’t writing related, though I am sure that it could be used in someone’s writing some time.

I am going to be telling you about my new friend ‘Herman the German’.

He is a cake, and he was given to me by my friend. He is also known as a German Friendship cake. If you google it, you will get many hits.

He came up in conversation one day. I have German roots, so my friend asked me if I had ever heard of the German Friendship Cake before. I said that I hadn’t, but as I came to England when I was 6 months old, this wasn’t overly surprising. So I said I would ask my mother when I spoke to her next, as she spent 27 years of her life in Germany and has returned there. Before I spoke to my mother, I googled it, disappointed that I wasn’t aware of this wonderful thing from half of my culture. It turned out it was actually Amish. Now, I don’t think the Amish are German, but I could be wrong.

But anyway, I still asked my mum. This is how the conversation went (kind of):

Me: Hi mum, do you know what a German Friendship Cake is?

Mum: No, never heard of it. Probably some strange thing.

Me: Well, it is called Herman the German. Does that ring any bells?

Mum: Oh, Nikki (My sister Nicole, also German) used to know a Herman in Paderborn or Lippstadt. Somewhere round there. Maybe that’s where it came from.

Me: Okay, thanks mum. Bye.

Later, I got a call from my mother, and it went like this:

Me: Hello?

Mum: Hello, it’s only me. I know where Herman is from. Detmold!

Me: Mum, it is not named after Nikki’s friend.

Mum: Well, Herman is a very German name.

So, you can see, if Herman the German is truly from Germany, he probably originated in Detmold.

But if you look on the internet, you will see that most people think it was the Amish, who gave food to the poor and needy.

I have my little bowl of mixture, and in 5 days time, I will be dividing him into 4, and giving 3 away to friends. I look forward to having a taste of him. He is a sour dough mixture, and if you want to start your own, you can find out how on the internet too!

I will let you know if I kill him. Yes, he can be killed. The instructions say that if he stops bubbling he is dead.

If you want to know more about the Friendship Cake, you can click here.

I did it! I bought a copy of Simon Whaley’s ‘The Positively Productive Writer’ (available on kindle too!). It inspired me, and spurred me into action.

There is so much sound advice in there, and the main thread of it is to think positively. Okay, so it is going to be tough going, but it will be worth it.

At least now I have something worthy to say. Go buy a copy of the book, have a read, and join me on my journey to being a Positively Productive Writer! I have never wanted rejection so much! (Simon, if you read this, I won’t say no to an advertising fee 😉  )

Any way, I have made a good start, but you probably haven’t. There was something in the book which rung incredibly true for me. I have just been reminded of this as I hear voices on the street outside. When I am working, I am at home. This doesn’t mean that I am available. Sometimes, I welcome distraction, but most the time, I don’t. Does it not annoy you, that because you are ‘only writing’ people think they can bother you? Bother them next time they are at work, see how they like it!

I digress, I have made a good start on the tips and advice in the book, but you probably haven’t. Perhaps you do them already, you just don’t realise that it is a step towards being a positively productive writer.

For those who don’t, I will go slow, by starting off with goals. Yes, everyone has them on some level, but do they work for you? Probably not, if you feel disheartened and unmotivated.

Goals need to be measurable, and obtainable. I have long, medium and short term goals. My long term goals are the biggies, like write a novel, write 12 short stories etc. It’s easy to see why at the end of a week, or even a month, I get disheartened and think I am a useless writer who should give up now. So I broke them down into my medium term goals: Write 11111 words a month on the novel. That is a helluva lot of words! And it isn’t any wonder I would get disheartened after a day or a week. So then, I broke it down into a short term goal. Something to aim for by the end of the week, if not the day. Write 335 words a day! Wow! I can actually do that! I really can!

So now, I don’t feel as overwhelmed. And I face each day more motivated. I feel more productive, and more positive.

What are your goals?

It’s strange. I think up an idea for a blog post, and all of a sudden, that topic is everywhere!


Today, I want to talk about motivation. The whys and wherefores of it. I have a desk, where I sit and be the writer of the household. But today, I am writing about motivation from the sofa.


I am motivated to write this post, as I feel a sense of duty to my readers. I know that if I don’t post, I’ll lose all, or at least some of you. So I make it a regular thing. But that is about it.


Life gets in the way. For some, the motivation is money. For most, it is a need. To not write, is to not breathe. But this need doesn’t necessarily bring you to your desk day in and day out. It doesn’t necessarily make you productive.  Money does.


So what if you want your motivation to be money, but right now all it is is a need? How do you get yourself to the desk and write, as if you are being paid for it? I don’t have the answers yet. I hope that when I purchase The Positively Productive Writer by Simon Whalley, I will be getting somewhere. I have heard it is a good book, and it is most definitely on my ‘to read’ list.

Another good thing, which is helping me a little bit is Wunderlist. You can add lists for different things too. I have Short Stories, Competitions, Articles and Assignments. And at the click of a button, if I have added a deadline, I can see what deadlines I have coming up in the near future.


Will I be more productive for it? I certainly hope so. But I need to get to the desk first.


How do you motivate yourself, and does it work?


Is organisation a trait writers should have?


For me, it is that time of the month, where I tally up my expenses against my income. There is a lot of expenses, and no income. I find this a helpful exercise, not only for the tax man, when I need it, but to see how I have fared in terms of productivity. Considering I haven’t finished another story since the one in January, I think you can say I haven’t done all good at all!


It is fair to say, that productivity plummeted, due to a personal issue, but I have done a hell of a lot of writing. Just not enough. So I thought about what it is I was doing. What am I writing? About 10 different fictional pieces and 3 non fic. Why? What is their purpose? The novel, for competitions, publication and the cause.


Then I am doing too much. Then I think to the unwritten novel, my ultimate writing aim. But that could take years.


I read of other writers getting so much more done. I don’t know how. I miss competition deadlines, or send flimsy stories in because I am so disorganised! It pains me to admit it, but I really am! But I have no idea how to organise myself.


One idea I have had is getting a pad, and writing down each months competition deadlines down, and not starting the next piece until I have finished the last. But then, when would I write the novel?


I will give it a go anyway, when I can organise myself. I do have a list, but that doesn’t seem to be working out so well. Feel free to put suggestions below! I need them!


I just hope you are more organised – and more successful than I am.


After a recent rejection of a short story, I put it to my peers for review and critique. I learned a lot.


It wasn’t clear what the problem was, or who it was that had the problem. As writers of fiction, we know that conflict is what makes a story, and resolution of conflict is what keeps the reader happy. Although in my mind there was conflict, it wasn’t clear to the reader.


Everyone has a problem of sorts. It may be big, or it may be small. But it is essential to story. It could be anything.


So I sat with my story, picked who was going to have the problem, wrote what the problem was and thought how it may be solved. I may still have got it wrong. But I have learned something. And I will learn more.


So, next time you are stuck, and your story feels flat, sit your character down and ask: What’s Your Problem?

Writer in Training?

Posted: February 20, 2012 in Uncategorized, Writing
Tags: , ,

I am pleased to see the response my last post got!

So following on, I think I will explore the teaching of a writer.

Patsy Collins commented on my last post, saying that ‘of course writers are taught’, and mentioning the very first ‘writes’ as a baby holding a crayon.

This is a valid, albeit literal answer.

But what about becoming a ‘proper writer’, one who can sell their work, and maybe even pay a bill or two? Can that writer be taught?

I often wonder the answer to that. I think I know how to put a story together, what elements are needed, how to create character. So either I don’t know it well enough or I do and I cannot be taught. I am learning how to write articles at the moment. Or am I? Can I be taught?

I will continue to try and learn and practice. But the question always is: when to give up?

The Writers Bureau claim they can make you become a writer. I have read some of the testimonials, and it seems that becoming a writer can be taught. But then I wonder, do they enjoy wA bit riting what it is they write that makes money?

So what is more important? Being happy and writing what you want, and perhaps it pays the bills, and perhaps it don’t? Or writing commercially, whether you want to write it or not, but paying the bills?

Can you write something saleable, if your heart isn’t in what it is that you are writing?

A bit pants, I know. I seem to ask more questions than I answer. But I am at the very beginning of learning how to become a writer – that is, if I can be taught.