Writing stories is something I have done for as long as I can remember. Originally, I
wanted to be a children’s writer because they were the only books I knew (I was eight at
the time!). By my teens my best friend and I were writing sci fi soap operas set in space.
Eventually, I settled on what I write today, commercial women’s fiction concentrating on
relationships with a touch of romantic suspense.
For years I struggled to find my voice. I wasn’t even sure what people meant when they
talked about the need to find it and then one day it all seemed to fall into place. The
writing didn’t become easier – writing is never easy – but it became more natural. I was
no longer a square peg in a round hole. I had found my voice.
Now I write both full length novels and novellas in the commercial women’s fiction and
romantic suspense genre.
If you’d like to know more about how I create my books or for tips on writing please read
For a long time I kept my writing to myself, scribbling away in notebooks and on A4
sheets of paper. I started various stories, even finished some but nothing seemed to quite hit the spot. Then I came up with an idea which was initially going to be a short story but took a leap to the side and demanded to be a full length piece. The Flower Seller was born. I joined the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s invaluable New Writers’ Scheme, went to one of their conferences and many of their meetings and events and became a proper writer.
Writing is a tough gig. Anyone who starts a book with a view to garnering plaudits, fame and fortune is likely to be in for a nasty shock. It happens for a few but for the vast majority we plug away at the coal face because we love creating and inhabiting a world of our own making. Whilst it’s probably best not to divulge to family and friends that you hear the voices of your characters talking in your head, fellow writers will nod sagely and understand.
Writing is a lonely business. That is why it is essential to make contact with other writers either through a local writer’s group or an on line forum. Only people who write can truly understand the traumas, trouble and angst that we writers go through. They can appreciate the highs too. In so many walks of life success is often met by the green eyed monster of jealousy rearing its ugly head and marring what should be a joyous event. Writers are a different breed, certainly the ones I have come across anyway. They are willing to support and encourage you and celebrate success with you rather than trying to do you down.
My writing is important but it has to co-exist with my day job and a busy home life. We all have choices. I chose to become an expert juggler. Do I drop the balls occasionally? More than my perfectionist self would like but it’s the only way to get things done. It took me years to find a writing regime that works for me. If I’m rough writing a first draft I will aim to write 1,000 words five days a week. If I am editing I aim for 14 hours a week. We all have the same twenty-four hours in a day. Make them count. Have a plan. Stick to it. Be dedicated.
Where do I get my ideas from? Everywhere, is the answer. I might see an article in the newspaper or a documentary on TV. I might be inspired by a photograph or a place I have visited. I might hear a snatch of conversation on the bus or in the park. I might see someone walking down the street whilst I am on my daily commute and invent their story whilst I am stuck in traffic. Inspiration is all around us. Soak it up. You never know when an idea might spring to life from a kernel of information you ingested long ago.
My top five writing tips:-
1.Do something writing related every day.
2.Experiment with writing styles and genres until you find the one that suits you best.
3.Make contact with other writers.
4.Ask for constructive criticism from fellow writers and well-read friends.
5.Grow a thick skin.
My top five tips for not writing successfully:-
1.Wait for the muse to descend.
2.Wait until you have the perfect study/office/work space.
3.Wait until you have more time.
4.Wait for the perfect idea.
5.Ask for criticism and then reject everything you are told. (Hey you may be an undiscovered genius but the chances are you can always learn something from constructive critiques but you have to be willing for your ego to take a hit first).
If you are a writer, you will write. Nothing and no one will stop you. And whilst it can be painful and terrifying, isolating and heart breaking, it can also be uplifting, invigorating, entertaining and joyous. If you were born to write, you will.
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