Thursday, 29 December 2011


"Logic will get you from A to B. Imagination will take you everywhere." - Albert Einstein

Thursday, 14 July 2011

The habits of writers

The Habits of Writers

What do you need to do in order to be able to write?

Some people are flexible and can write anywhere, whilst others need a specific scenario or set of conditions to get going.  Many experienced writers tend to get writers block and can't seem get going at all, even for weeks or months on end.

  I, personally, find writing flows easily once I start.  It's the stopping that the issue and finding enough, undisturbed time to get it done.   If I could, I would write every day.  There are always triggers for me.  Just trying to keep track of all the concepts is a challenge.

“I was recently working on a very useful interface program - it’s called "Thought-2-Laptop Projection v1" - only it backfired and fried my hard-drive.  Rubbery slime spewed out of the rear vent and it smelt like the smouldering, overused belt on my upright vacuum cleaner.  Not the right time to take a deep breath.

"NEVER give up!" I screamed.  Then another though blasted through my head…

"Variety is the spice of life," I chanted to the doubting witches who creep about the streets, with their binoculars and spin tales to trap lives in.

That afternoon, I fed my visitors to the flesh eating griffin under the stairs and waited patiently for my luck dragon to return.  In the end I had to set out on a perilous journey to retrieve him and I have only just returned, penniless and without some of my luggage but I did recover least mostly.”

There's an article I read on the way and you can just click on the link to read it yourself.

It seems many writers need to DRINK large quantities of alcohol and smoke a lot during writing.

Others write at an empty desk facing a blank wall.  Others need to lie down in bed and write with a specific pencil and their choice of paper.


“I get ideas all the time. 

You might think that’s useful but it’s really tiresome and insane.

I need to jot them down or else I forget.  I have a notepad handy all the time.  Even in the middle of the night.  If I can't sleep I need to write it all out and it’s not always possible to get up and write a whole book in the middle of the night :) No its not!

Ideally I need to just write it all out when I get an idea and I can just sit and finish the whole thing in one go,, not matter how uncomfortable I am I just switch the complaining limb off.    I do my editing the next day.  If I edit too much on the get it all down day then it just muddies the water.  Sometimes I have to if my fingers were on the wrong keys of the keyboard because others don't seem to be able to understand the mush.

 A word of warning - Never "replace all" it quite simply does not work the way you intend and you find yourself regretting it.  I do like to get my guinea pigs to read it in instalments.  It thrills me if they like it and ask questions but if I get rushed to do too many instalments and I get too many interruptions like chores and invited guests, it does not always work.  I have been known to shape-change without a moments warning with unexpectedly messy results.  Screams and running footsteps accompanied by winging usually occur and the neighbours sigh loudly.

Staying up all night gazing at sunsets and rising moon normally makes my eyelids droop and that hinders the progression.   YAWN

Occasionally I need to give a story time to mature like a fine wine and I put it in the underground cellar for a while.  A suitable event or concept will develop in time.  It better!

Forcing oneself to write everyday is difficult as we all have daily life to contend with.  Kids, husbands, pets, visitors.

I definitely don't like to be interrupted whilst I am working but it’s not possible to have it like that.  So being grump can sometimes get you the space you need.

Its much easier to smile happily at recent acquaintances that the regular members of your family that clutter your kitchen floor with carelessly dropped teabags and litter the passages with dirty, stinking socks and other unmentionable things.

I definitely get inspirations all the time though and I used to carry a small recording machine with me so I could get my thoughts down as I was driving in the traffic etc.  Until I misplaced it, that is.   Each scenario has its limitations though.  If possible a writing desk next to your bed might work, clear of clutter is good.  A sunny spot is good.  Sometimes a clutter free area is nice but in our house not possible ;)

Shape changing and realm hopping works for me.  It also catches people by surprise and then they don't bother you so much.  If I get the spell wrong it might attract an army of space invaders but the only way to deal with that is to simple stop time entirely until you find you are able to breathe.

Distractions and interruptions ruin things for me.  I can survive a couple of them, but usually someone demands I have to go out immediately somewhere, or I have chores to do like clean the fish tank!  My muse will keep hounding me to write out my stuff but I don't get the opportunity.  Sometimes this happens for ages in a row and it makes me turn into a dragon :/

By the time I do get the chance I have lost my thoughts.

Saying all that, I don't think that alcohol is the key to relaxation.

So, some time ago, I decided to invent a magical time warp.  Yes!  I sort of need to slip away unnoticed into my magical world:  Some days it might be a hot cup of tea, some nummy snacks, inspiring music that are all created / changed by mind control.  Magnificent colour combinations, heady aromatherapy oils and my favourite furniture (which I don't actually own).  A lot of personal space with NO interruptions.

Yes I really do enter another realm to write.  I totally leave this particular space in time and enter something entirely magical.  Its all in the mind and imagination.

NO ringing phones, no bills, not barking dogs, no meowing scratching cats, no dirty dishes, no messy kids rooms, no worries, no cars - and yet sometimes real life can add interest to a story.  Just a glimpse of reality.

A few cups of hops, passionflower and valerian root tea, I have been told, might help.  Honestly I just don't have the time.

So I have instead invented a switch for brief moments, I zap back unnoticed and glean my greedy eyes and feast my mind.  I snatch up a publication or a brightly coloured rubber ball and throw it off the neighbour’s roof.

Other times, I try to clear my mind by chanting a spell.   I vaporise my Facebook, explode my postbox, demolish my street and shatter my dressing table.  Then I compact it all into a little grey beetle, who sets out and returns a vivid metallic sheen of rare magical creature never seen before and suddenly it will start playing a fiddlecordion very loudly.  I make it happen.  I fly out into the hills, dive along the coastline, bask in the backing heat of the desert and return inspired with real life experiences.

PC based writing is definitely preferable and I can really zoom along and get it all out before I burst.  Taking breaks is necessary but wastes time as I then need to refocus.  I even forget to drink anything at all for days at a time and start to resemble a raisin.  Once I was rushed to hospital and had to be reclassified by the home office as "Dried Fruit". 

I definitely need my magical hideout that I can go into at any time - no matter what my family is doing and ZAP it closed and off I go.  Its all in my head and my muse eggs me on.

How many writers plan what they write?  You get perfectionists and gramaticists who take all the joy out of a spontaneous story.

 Think of all your favourite story's - you might notice the odd mistake or gap in the plot BUT if the story grips you and you can't put it down until your finished THEN that's a real story no matter what anyone says.

That’s what I want to write...eyecatchers, finger stickers and gaping mouths.  Mild giggling, but no drooling, as I can't abide it.  All the prissy people who have so much to say are just so boring and fuddy-duddy that they can't even write a poem without frowning :)

I often have a beginning but not an end. A middle with no beginning and that where magic comes in.  Don't limit yourself.  Anything can happen.  You are in control.  If your not then your in trouble.  That’s a week point.  It has something to do with life.  Life happens everyday and it has not end until it’s over and how is that?  Do books have to end with a sudden death or just that tomorrow is the next day and we are just not going to write about it?  Really life is just a series of never ending books.  Its the ones we chose to forget about that remain unrecorded?  Soap operas often write out a character and then you are left with this void?

Generally a wand is very useful but can singe the pages when used instead of a spell-checker.

Research is good, I like doing research.  But be wary, it can suck you into the black hole of nothingness and I once found that I had aged quite a few years and sprouted some grey hairs doing constant research.   Wrinkles too.  It made me shudder for a while then I clicked on the undo button.  I also shattered all the mirrors in the house and replaced them with magnificently fragrant bowls of flowers and chanting candles.

Must go, I have been putting off trampling down the 32 flights of stairs to the alleyway outside my back door.  That’s where you will find my smoking den.  I recently decorated it with poisonous plants, scallop shells and loud ringing bells and chimes.  I have colourful shards of glass embedded on the walls to discourage visitors.  But it’s a pleasant enough place to be and the high picket fence encourages the cats to prance up and down on it.  If they fall they land at my feet, suddenly demanding to be fed.  Nothing is as disconcerting as a loud knock on the backdoor.  A back door is NOBODY's business.  A front door can be ignored.  A ringing telephone levitated and rotated.

g2g...  and then a quick nap before the monsters come home.  I shall today enchant them and put them to sleep, I think.


Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Happy Summer Solstice

Imagine pony trekking to the top of the Island hills and gazing down on the sun over the sea.

Waves breaking on the beach in bright  sunlight.  Its 11pm going towards midnight.  This is the Summer solstice.  For once the wind is still, the midges not yet out.  Though its not very warm, we are only wearing light jumpers.  We are very far north and this is a good as it gets.  From now on the days get shorter until in mid winter there are barely 5 hours of dimmed light.

Though it feels as if summer only arrived last week, we hope it stays a while before it travels south again.

Interesting to note that the Full Lunar Eclipse was so near to the Summer Solstice!  The last full Lunar Eclipse was on the Winter Solstice.....

Any thoughts on that?

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

FULL LUNAR ECLIPSE auspiciously on the Winter Solstice

The most magical FULL LUNAR ECLIPSE auspiciously on the Winter Solstice, this morning, proved it was worth braving a frozen landscape to find the best viewing spot.

Surfing icy roads, we ended perched high up on the snow covered sea cliff just in time to peer at the orangy-redish the moonshadow slowing creep over the moon, through our telescope.

The shimer of the moons reflection over the calm ocean and the sound of the waves crashing far below made it an unforgettable experience!  WOW

Total Lunar Eclipse - Winter Solstice 21 Dec 2010

*weak reflection of the moon out from the sea cliffs over the ocean waters

Total Lunar Eclipse - Winter Solstice 21 Dec 2010

Total Lunar Eclipse - Winter Solstice 21 Dec 2010

Total Lunar Eclipse - Winter Solstice 21 Dec 2010

Total Lunar Eclipse - Winter Solstice 21 Dec 2010

This is the total eclipse hence no moon. It did actually leave a sort of redish, orangish moon behind but our frozen digital camera refused to record the 'moon shadow at all' - still we have our memories.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Looking at fonts

This is a great front for headings:

The Shire

An auspicious time

Total Lunar Eclipse on the Winter Solstice 6.32am - 8.53 UK time. (Total Eclipse at 7.40am)

The Moon will be very low in the west-north-western sky, close to the horizon and in a rapidly brightening sky.

From locations in Scotland and Northern Ireland, totality will be visible in its entirety, but the Moon will be low down after the time of greatest eclipse.

Workshops: Creative writing for 'homeschoolers'

Busy with some workshops for homeschoolers on creative writing...lots of fun

Where am I?