Wow! It’s Wednesday already. I don’t know about you, but it has snuck up on me. And I totally forgot that I am adding posts on a Wednesday as well, so I am unprepared and this will be, quite literally, first thing on my mind kind of stuff.


So far this week, I haven’t been doing to bad. I haven’t written a word of my novel, but I have done a lot of editing. I came across the issues of copyright. When can you safely use something that another has created, after trying to contact them for permission and getting no reply? You have to do everything in your power. It is frowned upon if you use something without permission, obviously. But if they do not respond to phone calls, letters, e-mails, and where possible turning up on their doorstep, this could be seen as enough. Don’t take my word for it though! I am not a lawyer. But those rules seem pretty fair.



Also, editors! They say us writers are a bane of their life, well! They are becoming the bane of mine. I am trying to determine whether a publication accepts freelance work (I am thinking not, but still, better to ask) and they are not replying to my request! I will be interviewing a friend of mine for this publication (or another if the answer is no) so I need to know which publication to aim it at! The questions asked will be very different.



Unfortunately, I still have no work out there trying to earn some money. I hope to rectify this very very soon!



New patio roof is about a third done 03.30.2008


The sun is shining and I am sat at my patio set in the back garden. This is the joy of working at home, right?


Then why do I not feel so full of the joys of spring?


On Friday, I didn’t get chance to write today’s to do list, so I have had to do it just now. It seems to get longer every time, and I wonder: Am I ever going to achieve any of my goals?

Is it because I am working on too much stuff?

At the moment I have the novel (and I want to edit my first novel), 2 articles, and 3 short stories to work on. Or am I just not efficient enough?

I know many writers who have lots of things on the go at once, but I am not sure I can hack it. I only have one more week left, and if I am to be on target, 2 of those stories need to be completed by the end of the month, as they are competition entries. I also know I have a lot of smaller, but nevertheless important tasks to complete at the end of the week.


Which brings me back to a question I asked not long ago. When to stop? Not that I have any fear of worrying about that. I have plenty to keep on with.

My house is tidy now, so I am not going to be worrying too much about stopping to get chores done. Of course, they still need to be done, if I want to keep a tidy house. But that is one less stress, today at least.


On another note: I planted my first potatoes over the weekend. I am a total novice at vegetable gardening, and with only a patio to grow on, I need to have bags and containers. The information out there that I have found so far seems to be geared towards people who know something about vegetables and growing them. Maybe I will create a blog about it, and maybe help other vegetable gardening dunces, just like me.


Enjoy the sunshine! This is England, it is probably all we’ll get………

The typical, but counter productive educationa...

The end of Week 2 has snuck up on me.


Now I have to reflect on whether I have been productive or not the past week. And again, I would have to say……..not.


My Wunderlist is telling me that I have 7 overdue tasks. Then I also have 5 to do today. I know that I have the weekend to catch up, but writing takes a back seat when the family is home.


So I need to work harder today. And I need to try harder next week.


I am finally getting to grips of what I need to do to become positively productive. Some of you may know that recently I suffered a bereavement, and I am having difficulties with my son. As a result, my mental state is suffering. I am hoping that now I have recognised my issues, I can deal with them, and as a result, become more productive. I am going to do this by relaxing every day, doing something that I enjoy.


I am off now, to prepare the goals for next week. I doubt I will hit my monthly targets, as I started halfway through the month, but I hope to be close. The end of the month is only a week away!


How are you doing? Are you becoming positively productive?

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.

Monday Morning Minis II

(Photo credit: bornazombie)


So, week one of me trying to become a positively productive writer has been and gone and we are on Monday again. Today, I will have to review goals for the week, which also means looking at what I achieved – or not – over the past seven days.


I feel that, on the whole, I succeeded, but time will tell. My biggest problem at the moment is keeping on with the Novel, now that I feel I have started too early on in the story. I also think the whole premise is wrong. The advice ‘Don’t get it right, get it written’ is my mantra as I push through this tough part.


The other question I asked myself is: When to stop?


I have daily to-do’s. If I foresee a busy day ahead in the week, I will try and do more on another day. But if my week is pretty empty as far as other commitments go, when do I stop? This will be a case of trial and error I guess.


I like a tidy house. I don’t have one at the moment, I have been writing a lot. This is a good thing, but I am very stressed at the fact that my house is a mess. Then I re-read this, and I will most definitely be using some of her tips. Again, it will be trial and error.


There are no hard and fast rules in life, but we all get through it, one day at a time.

What works for you?

This could be a bit of a mish mash post.

Firstly, I might up the ante to 3 blog posts a week! Wow! Why? Because whenever I come her on a Friday to add a new one, I notice my stats are flat-lining. So, to increase the stats, I might just post once more every week. Please stay with me and don’t vanish!

It’s been a busy day, and this post is going to be incredibly rushed. In fact, I doubt I will publicise it immediately, due to the fact I have had a busy day! And my mobile phone network has gone down. Not that it is a major issue, but I am a control freak and can’t function unless things are going the way I want them to.

Which brings me, ever so neatly, to the main topic of this post. On Monday I said I had bought the Positively Productive Writer by Simon Whaley (Which is now £4.95 on Kindle, so if you haven’t bought it yet, what are you waiting for?).

I’d done my goals, and in the main, I have achieved a lot of them. But I don’t feel any more productive. I have had a very hectic week though.

The next point Simon makes in his book is about rewards. Now, he doesn’t say when to take these rewards. I do them instantly! I am a bit of a Pavlovian dog in that respect. Today, I have had a manicure, because that was my reward for writing 1000 words of the novel (yes, I did it! 1300 actually.)

Do the rewards help me? Sometimes, yes. Perhaps my rewards are the wrong sort. I also think that I have too many goals. Keeping up with them all is a job in itself. So, I may have to goal each project individually. Yes, my long term goal could be 9 stories. but when it comes to rewards and goals, it should at least be specific to the story. At the end of the time limit, I can see if I have achieved that long term goal.

Next week, I am going to change how I work. I am going to do the chores before I write, as this is something else that I feel is making my writing life pretty chaotic.  Maybe the rewards will be more enjoyable in a clean, organised household. I can all but try!


Do you reward yourself?

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?