Blog

Managing Social Media without sacrificing writing time

I am not going to claim to be any expert on social media, but thought I would just share with you some of my ideas about managing social media without it affecting your writing time. Firstly I hardly ever post something spontaneous. All my tweets and posts for my writing facebook page are actually posted by an app called Buffer. There are other apps out there – tweetdeck and hoot suite are also available – but I’ve just got used to buffer. You’re allowed to queue 10 tweets and 10 facebook posts on a free account – any more and…

Five best ‘how to write’ books

I do love books about writing. I’ve never picked one up and not found something that speaks to me. Maybe I’m just a terribly slow learner, and  information falls out of my brain all the time which I have to keep stuffing it back in. But never mind my deficiencies. What I’m saying is that any book about writing is probably a useful one, and reading it more than once is not a bad idea. Here are my favourite books about writing – the ones I return to time and time again. 1. The Jane Austen Writers’ Club. This book walks…

Best books read in 2018

When you’ve read more than eighty books in a year, narrowing down the best reads is quite a job, but I’ll give it a go. This year’s reading has brought home to me how writers are really pushing at genre boundaries. Now if you pick up a crime book, it is not necessarily going to be either “cosy crime” in the tradition of Agatha Christie, a jigsaw puzzle of clues to fit together with the culprit coming quietly at the end (no court room necessary) nor does it have to be modern noir, usually with a few nasty, arguably gratuitously…

Nanowrimo

November is over. For those who write, this means the end of another Nanowrimo.  A chance to splurge out a first draft of a novel in thirty days. I haven’t participated in Nanowrimo every year, but I always find it an interesting experience. Twice I  tried ‘just writing,’  starting out with no more than an idea and maybe a couple of characters, and on both those occasions I got to 25,000 words and ‘hit the wall’. While that might sound disappointing, looking back now I realise it was a positive experience. It gave me something to work with, and both those projects are much…

How to hook an agent

I have just signed with an agent, and what I have to say about the process might contradict other advice out there, but I think it’s worth considering. Those who did not know me BC (before children) might find it surprising to know that I used to sell life insurance for a living. In fact I was pretty good at it – not only did I earn a heap of money, I even won prizes. I only stayed in ‘the field’ for about three years before I was promoted to sales manager, but the principles of how to sell stuff have stayed with me, and…

Films about writers

One of the most misunderstood professions has to be writing. Everyone seems to think you don’t need to spend any time doing it, that as soon as you have a book published you’ll be a millionaire, that it’s easy to get said book published in the first place, and that ‘they’ could/should/will write a book any day now, they just haven’t bothered yet, but they have ‘lots of ideas for books’ as if coming up with the idea is the hardest part of writing. Where oh where do these misconceptions come from? Maybe Hollywood doesn’t help? Seven Psychopaths is about a writer who is…

Are ‘how to write’ books any help?

I will admit that I am a sucker for books. Any excuse. I never pass by a bookshop. And although I primarily read fiction, I do have quite a large collection of “how to write” books. So… are they any help? I think so. When my writing gets stuck, I often reach for a “how to” book. I don’t always find the answer but I do often get some insight into something which just helps me find a new way forward. What is particularly interesting is that I can read the same book on different occasions and each time something…

My August in Edinburgh

August is over… and I feel like I’ve been in a marathon. Feet pounding pavements en route to events, dodging flyers, groups of tourists, etc.  2,839,000 tickets were sold or issued for free for more than 3,500 shows, and it feels as if I might have been to most of them.  I did try to pace myself by giving myself festival free days, but once the book festival opened its doors, it all became harder to limit my time. I’ve added it up. I saw sixteen and a half hours of fringe and sixteen hours of book festival events in…

Best books of 2017

When Goodreads asked readers to set themselves a reading challenge for 2017, I thought why not make it a round figure? 100 seemed plausible at the time. But as it turned out, not quite achievable, although I’m not far off.The challenge did mean keeping better track of what I have read, and it’s fun – at least for me – to look back on the year and consider what I read and why. Non fiction  Only a couple to mention this year, but really worth while. Into the Blizzard by Michael Winter is the human story behind the fate of the Newfoundland regiment…

Writing is not always solitary

Anyone who knows me is well aware that I lurve events to do with books, authors, writing. Usually these also involve visits to illustrious places. Last year I drove all the way to Wigtown (which, believe me, is a LONG way from most places) just to catch the last day of their annual book festival, and to soak up the beauty of Scotland’s premier book town. This May I spent a long weekend in Ullapool, sitting inside their village hall – despite the glorious weather outside – experiencing back to back writers talking about their books and the craft, although…

Menu