Friday, 24 July 2015

Back to Brantome

I am so excited that in a couple of hours I will be merrily sailing across the Channel on my way to the South of France.  If you follow me at all on social media, or regularly read this blog then you will know I have been harping on forever about this holiday and it's about more than just the sheer joy of knowing I will have nothing more complex to do than lie by the pool and read a book.

We first went to the Dordogne a couple of years ago and it was where I was inspired to start writing my first novel, Secrets of the River.  There was a particular commune (or as I like to think of it, village) called Brantome which ended up being the place the book was set.

I am really excited to be back there and although we aren't staying in Brantome itself this time, we have set aside a day or two to travel over so I can capture and share some of the places which feature in the book and perhaps get some further inspiration for a sequel which I know some people have been asking for.

This is me in 2013, being inspired...

Perhaps I will see it all through different eyes now that SOTR is based there or perhaps it will be just the same.  I really have no clue but I am hoping that it will, for the most part, remain unchanged.

If you've read the book you will get the relevance of a random man fishing in the river and if you haven't then you now have no excuse as to honour the fact that I will be in Brantome within the week, Secrets of the River will be just 99p from today until Tuesday and then will be £1.99 for the duration of the holiday.  I would love to see people downloading and perhaps hopping over to Instagram which is where I will be sharing most of my photos from the trip (I'm not 100% certain about internet access but I am hoping to share photos on here too if you don't have an IG account)

As ever if you do read the book I would appreciate it if you could leave me a review on Amazon and tell your friends and thank you to all those who have supported me so far.  I really appreciate it!

But for now...I'm headed back to Brantome.

This post contains an affiliate link to Amazon.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

How To Beat Writer's Block

Writer's block gets us all at some point, whether we can't find that word we are searching for or just have no inclination to sit down and scribble our thoughts for the day.

I know that my goal for this month was to perfect my synopsis so I could send it out to agents in September...have I done this?  Have I heck!  I am finding it particularly challenging and so I have just put it to one side.  The trouble is that because I know I'm supposed to be writing my synopsis I don't feel like working on my current manuscript either.  

When writer's block sets in there are loads of ways you can try to help beat it.  I recently wrote about how to spend quality time with yourself when you work from home and that can be a really important way of dealing with a dead end; spend some time away from your desk with just yourself and you might find everything begins to flow again.

Of course, there are some other tried and tested ways of boosting your creative thought and getting those writing juices flowing again:-

Get outside
Whether it's just a brisk walk around the block, a jog around the park or a three hour trek through the nearby forest, being outside in the fresh air and not thinking about writing is my favourite way of rejuvenating my brain.  Not only does the physical exercise stop me from panicking about how much I'm not getting done but I also come back with plenty of endorphins whizzing round my system which can help with feelings of positivity and happiness.

Write badly
Another thing I have learned over time is that sometimes just writing something is better than writing nothing.  I certainly discovered this when I was trying to get to the end of writing Secrets of the River and I forced myself to sit each day and come up with 1,000 words.  Often I would read back over them the next day and think 'huh?' with huge sections getting scratched out but other days I would be so inspired that I would write well over the 1,000 words.  If you are working to a deadline, be prepared to write out anything that comes to mind.  You can always come back and refine it later or if things are really bad then there are plenty of professional writing service companies such as ABCEssays who can tweak things into shape for you.

Write something else
I know this doesn't always work if you are working to a deadline and feeling the pressure but sometimes walking away from your current project and writing something totally different can be a great way to unlocking new thoughts and ideas.  I know when I am drowning in my freelance work and writing that 100th article about London it can be really hard to come up with new and dynamic material.  Stepping away and creating something else, either a poem or a creative piece of writing, is sometimes so helpful in refreshing and regenerating my ideas.

Rejig your working space
It is so important to have a proper working space when you are writing.  Overflowing piles of paper, being surrounded by mess and chaos or trying to work on your knee in a busy coffee shop can all detract from what you are trying to accomplish.  Set some time aside to make yourself a real, practical and comfortable working space.

Stay positive
When you are stressed you tend to freeze up so worrying about your writer's block is the number one way to ensure that it hangs around.  Try not to get stressed out and instead focus on the reasons you started writing in the first place; what was it that you loved?  What are your favourite pieces that you've written?  Perhaps go over some original work and be reminded of what made you start scribbling in the first place.  Once you keep in mind the reason why you love writing it might make the process easier.

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