Friday, May 26, 2006

"Useful Sites For Writers"

I just read the snippet below from E-Zee Writer - see I'm still ploughing through un-read writing-related material, both electronic and hard-copy - and thought it would make a quick blog entry!

"You may find this site incredibly useful for re-directing you out of a writer's dead-end. Or you may just find it an entertaining way to pass an hour when you really should be getting some serious writing done! Either way, it's a good site to bookmark.
On a similar note, Phrase Thesaurus is an, 'online phrase thesaurus. Enter a word and it will generate a list of phrases and sayings related to that word – often including interesting selections that you may not have anticipated.' This is a paid-for service but there is an online demo to give you an idea of what you can expect from the service."

- Taken from November 2005 edition of E-Zee Writer (I am an inactive student of The Writers Bureau)

Friday, May 19, 2006

Writing To Dos

Oh dear, I'm still at the stage of writing my to do list.

Here goes:
  1. Read writing ezines
  2. Read newspapers and magazines looking for potential writing ideas, images of characters etc.
  3. Write entries in my various blogs
  4. "Next" item in my plan to write a novel (e.g. book myself on a writing course)
  5. Write 1000 words
All in a day's work, in theory.

But it hasn't happened today, and I will instead have to do the above tomorrow, Saturday.


Friday, May 12, 2006

Writing Blogs...

As I read my E-zee Writer ezines I come across some excellent online writing resources. I've subscribed to a few new ezines (I prefer the word newsletter to ezine, actually) and will consider adding this blog to the mixed bag of random ramblings found at this writers' blogging forum

More links to come soon, I'm sure.

First Day...

Today is the first day, or rather first full week-day, dedicated to writing my novel.

It's started a little late, my first day - I should be typing this at 9am, rather than 10.40am - as I'm not quite as rid of the shackles of work, as I'd like to be. (Reminder: I work at home, for myself, and make money from my websites. This is also known as affiliate marketing, and if it appeals to you then I can highly recommend - you see how the affiliate marketer has taken over me, here - I can highly recommend learning more, on this make money online page.)

But this is what I intend to do today:

  1. Read my writing notes (Yes, I scribble down ideas on pieces of paper, in notebooks (more than one, unhelpfully so)
  2. Read the backlog ezines/newsletters I've subscribed to related to writing
  3. Read one of my magazines or newspapers (from the pile shown below) and maybe update my list of clippings
  4. Remind myself what my writing targets are for the months of May and June, and write down a Friday Target sheet (or something)
  5. Write 1000 words. (Hmm, probably won't do this one - don't laugh! But I will at least plan to do it next week!)
  6. Update all of my diaries (journals, to you) and blogs So even though I haven't started writing yet, I do feel I have got started.
And I've already written this blog entry.

I just wish it weren't so sunny outside...

Newspapers and Magazines still to read:

Sunday, May 07, 2006

A Novel in a Year

Has someone got the same idea as me?


I don't think so.

But I like this idea by writer Louise Doughty, and I shall keep on returning to her website to check on her progress. (She has written a novel, several novels, so can talk with some authority, I guess, on the process of writing a novel!)

Reading List

This is my current reading list (see below).

It changed, recently, when I realised that the novels I was reading were not the types of novels I wanted to write. So, out goes Mike Gayle (His n Hers, My Perfect Girlfriend, Mr Commitment) and in comes this far more literate and impressive list of novels:

  • Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Márquez
  • Slaughter House Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  • The Time Travellers Wife by Audrey Niffenegger (I haven't read this yet, but I know it will be what I call a good book.)
  • The History of Love by Nicole Krauss (reading this right now)
Other novels that I've bought but may well consign to the Mike Gayle Slush Pile include:

  • A Long Way Down by Nick Hornby
  • Inconceivable by Ben Elton
  • Whatever Love Means by David Baddiel (I've met David once. Well, I didn't meet him but he used to hang out in a pokey 'night-club' in Bristol called The Tropic, at the same time I did.)
By the way, I hope you realise that to be a writer you should be a reader, an avid reader.

And this is where I am tempted to veer into 'how to write a novel' mode, but when I have not written a novel and so am therefore not an expert on writing a novel, I feel it would be, to say the least, in appropriate.

I shall include excerpts from the various 'how to' books that I think are relevant and helpful to me.

The above is the first excerpt, that everyone advocates: want to write, then read!

So why the above reading list?

I'm interested in the themes of communication, commitment, fear so you can see why Mike Gayle appealed to me. I must say, however, that whilst I enjoyed Mike's books and think he is an able writer, I also found them to be lacking depth. As was the case with Bridget Jones' Diary (Mike is meant to be the male Bridget Jones, which realy doesn't make sense!)

But more than those themes, I prefer to read books that challenge my mind or provoke me in some way, or books that are written from a clever perspective, or books that are just damn good!

Hence the new list, above.

If I'm going to write one novel I might as well model my efforts on the best rather than just the saleable! No?

I was also going to read Man and Boy by Tony Parsons, but I just couldn't face it (don't know why! Maybe it's because I love the barbed words of his ex- too much).

I tried Andrew Collins' Where Did It All Go Right?, and whilst I appreciate his attempt at revisiting his own happy 70s and 80s from a happy perspective, I found it at best smug and at worst very very put-downabble. (Add it to the list of did not finish books that include Nelson Mandela's autobiography, Zadie Smith's White Teeth, and Umberto Eco's turgid Foucault's Pendulum. Yes, I plead guilty.)

The reasons I started this blog...

(1) To get myself going with this. To 'get started'.

(2) To get myself organised with this. To 'get started'

(3) To promote what I write (when I write it). To 'get started'

So, I've decided to just write, to just get started with this, but it will mean that my entries will be somewhat 'all over the place', as I try and organise all of the scraps of paper, the 'to do' lists, the wrting ideas etc. into one an actionable whole (if actionable whole is a valid expression).

This blog will not get reorganised, however.

But I will use it as an aide-memoire, and as the basis for a website I'm going to create called... Write Your 1st Novel


'Procrastination is practicing to die' or 'there is no such thing as procrastination, just wrong actions'.

The above are misquoted interprations on what procrastination is.

Sometimes I get 'lots done' in a day, but other days I actively do anything but the task I should be doing.

My main worry concerning procrastination, however, is when I'm procrastinating but not realising that I'm procrastinating.


Well, I've been meaning to write a novel for nearly twenty years now, but for some reason or other I just never got round to writing it. I did finish a home-study writing course but that did not result in writing a novel (I did get some writing confidence, however. And I did write a journal when I lived in Africa for two years, which gave me some practice and more confidence!)

Even when I decided to 'get serious' and take another writing course - The Writer's Bureau - I only managed to complete one assignment. (I think that this is probably quite common, however.)

It was only in 2004 when my NLP-practicing friend confronted me with questions about why I had not written a novel (and why I had not started to learn Spanish), that I decided to face up to the fact that I had better start to write this novel soon, otherwise it just won't happen.

Time was not a problem

I didn't have the excuse of not having enough time. I work for myself as an affiliate marketer, and could easily have worked four days a week rather than five days a week for several years (that is what I have now started doing, in May 2006).

You will always find excuses not to do something.

I guess published writers belong to the same group of people that include successful business owners or successful athletes: those that take focussed action, over and over until they achieve their goal; those that have excuses but still find a way.

I have my own excuses, but they're not important.

All of the 'how to write a novel' books make much about the simple fact that 'to be a writer, you must write'.

I think you'll find that your life is much less complicated than you realise. (And I do not talk as one who has no problems to overcome, or situations to improve, or words still to write. I talk as one who knows that anyone can make excuses, that procrastination is the easiest hobby to take up, that life would be a lot easier, if... )

If you want to write, write! Let others come up with excuses.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


I refiled my 'clippings', yesterday. Those scraps of information, photographs, etc. that are supposed to be the source of every writer's inspiration.

Now if that isn't a classic "do anything but write" activity, I don't know what is!

Actually, I found some of my clippings quite interesting. And I am hoping that they'll play a more active role in my growth as a writer.