Notes From A Lockdown Author

We have been in lockdown for nine days already and people are becoming restless. As a writer, I have relished the opportunity to have some time for reflection, keeping fit and generally catching up on reading, TV series and healthy eating. It is beyond me how I have managed to avoid snacking and increased the amount of fruit and veg that I have eaten. There is, of course, one thing that I haven’t managed to get round to doing… and that is writing. I haven’t written a single thing, despite spending most of my time wishing for a chance to write and indulge my imagination.

Remembering my Swiss holiday is therapeutic and inspiring.

I now feel relaxed and used to my new situation as somebody who works from home and today is the first day that I am attempting to get back my writing Mojo. After today, I hope to continue reinvigorating my blog and engaging with readers and writers out there who must also be in the same predicament. From this day onwards, I am going to write a minimum of three hundred words a day. It doesn’t matter if that is simply blogging, being anecdotal on Twitter or creating new stories. Hopefully I can exceed this target and start to build on my writing, working towards a variety of projects.

So please, engage with me, share ideas with me and by all means invite me to co-write with you. I want to explore different genres, scriptwriting and children’s fiction. Today I am going to begin by returning to a kids’ book that I first conceived last summer and one which has been sitting in my documents ever since. It is Christmas based which will definitely make me cheery as I absolutely love Winter, snow and all things festive.

Let me know what you are up to. I look forward to seeing how the writing community thrive during this period of challenge.

Writing For Readers

After a winter of dreary weather it seems right to get back to reading and blogging. Currently I am reading five books at once and I love transitioning between each one. Some fiction to feed my imagination and some biographies to warm my heart a bit during this wet and windy season. Still I long for the snowy days when I could look out of my window and adore the beauty of a real wintry scene, whilst sipping tea and writing happily.

This week I decided to write 5 tips that I would give to any new or developing writers based on my experience as both a reader and writer, years of teaching English and an appreciation of the art of forming prose which might resonate.

If nothing else, it is always good to share ideas and this may help someone who is currently stuck in a writer’s block cave.

1) Threads.

I regularly read threads on twitter and it made me aware of how important it is to needle particular elements of a story into a text as if you were knitting a jumper. Whereas, on twitter you tick the part of the thread you want to read next, in a story they can be scattered around and not always easy to predict. The important thing is that they keep emerging, slice by slice, one spoonful at a time.

By this (thread) I mean perhaps a smaller element of the character’s life or perhaps even a hobby that they mention. In my latest story one of them loves cricket and I kept dispersing nuggets linked to cricket throughout the story to ensure they stayed true to their passions. If you describe a character early on with lots of traits and then fail to recognise or illuminate these traits later on, you are missing some of the needlework needed to stick a story together properly.

A story on twitter made of a series of tweets that run in sequence, would be a mess if one tweet within the thread were deleted. Similarly, if a thread is begun within a novel, it is awfully sad to not see it continued later on. You begin to wonder why the author mentioned it to start with. Too many unanswered questions may leave a reader off-put.

I am editing my current book with a view to trying not to miss any opportunities to connect the dots and ensure that all of the threads are maintained, appropriate to the storyline, useful in some way, and make sense. It is a tough job but somebody has to do it.

Later in the week I will be presenting you with Tip Number Two. I hope this was of some help.

Snowy winters

After days of feeling ill

Must have caught a winter chill,

Suddenly I start to think,

Are we really on the brink?

Of winters where we see no snow?

I really hope not. But if so…

Then I will miss the snowball fights,

The glistening plants when I turn on the lights

The wonderful feeling of wrapping up warm,

A snowy old winter was always the norm,

But now we are stuck with an endless parade,

Of rain and wind and clouds throwing shade.

Bring back the winters like when I was a kid,

When I’d run around squelching, and doing a skid,

When my mum made hot chocolate and marshmallow bits,

Without snowy winters, it’s really the pits.

Happy Holidays

In the mountains snow is falling,

In the villages, bells are calling,

In the country, reindeer run,

In the houses, so much fun.

In the evening carrots and milk,

Presents wrapped and lined with silk,

In the morning, radiant faces,

People locked in warm embraces,

Merry Christmas everyone,

May your day be lined with fun,

Have a drink and eat mince pies,

May Christmas be bursting with surprise.

Merry Jollity

Jingle bells, roast chestnuts,

Warm your hands on the fire,

Unwrap presents, Eat huge meals,

All of these things will transpire.

Be together, share a hug,

Forget work and hassle and news,

Watch the Queen speak, drink mulled wine,

Argue with family who have different views.

Play silly games, act out fave films,

Eat Christmas pudding and cover it with booze,

Sing karaoke and dance round the room,

Then lie on the sofa and have a long snooze.

Perhaps for five minutes, reflect and consider,

Those who are not lucky enough to enjoy Christmas day,

Whether religious or just conscious of society,

For a little while think about them who can’t play.

Consider the burning of forests and heatwaves,

Dwell on the cutting of millions of trees,

Imagine the pollution of smelting and jet planes,

Make a choice to save the planet, acknowledge climate change, please.