Showing posts from March, 2018

Naming the Day

The question, “What day is it?” used to have seven obvious answers to choose from. Social media hashtags have increased the number beyond imagination. There are innumerable days for one cause or another. Just a few I have noticed in recent months are #NationalRobinDay, #PenguinAwarenessDay ( both for wildlife), #WinniethePoohDay (for fun?), #NationalPoetryDay, #CumbriaDay, #AustraliaDay, (all to raise awareness). Others I have known about for some time include #TimeToTalkDay (for mental health awareness) #BlogActionDay (for activism) #WorldBookDay for children’s books
Sometimes these hashtags appear in the Trending lists. (For those of you, who do not use Twitter, these are the most popular hashtags or topics at a particular time.)
I have used some of these hashtags in the past, but for very popular ones, such as #NationalPoetryDay, I wondered whether my tweets were lost in the multitude of tweets from prominent poets and Twitter users with thousands or tens of thousands of follower…

Writing Diaries

Do you have one of these? Nope, neither do I.

There are writers who keep a personal diary of events in their lives, others who keep one with ideas for future stories. The idea being that they can refer to it should they run out of ideas or need a way to describe something. Others use it for practice.

I've tried keeping a diary, but have never managed to get enough enthusiasm to keep it properly. I've looked at my previous attempt and the last entry was in June 2014.

What I do instead is sit down, lights out, eyes closed, enjoy the peace and let my mind wander. I remember the days gone past, what I did well, badly or failed to do at all. I tell myself jokes that make me smile, try out comedy routines, run through hypothetical situations or mentally puncture a voodoo doll of someone who's annoyed me.

These then become part of my mind, which is not always a good thing as in the case of the doll.

I find that, after a while, these become part of my writing in a way that writte…

Real Writing = Real Character

I've mentioned before my favourite disciples are Peter and Thomas. The Bible doesn't mince its words about their failings. It is blunt about all of our weaknesses.

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4 v 12 NIV).

This is what I love about the Bible - there is no hiding from God as to what we are yet it is also clear God loves us.

Are you like this with your characters? I loathe some of mine, while others if I could meet them in the flesh, well, we'd get along famously.

I guess this confirms my love of real characters coming through from the page, audio book or what have you. It is typical of our human nature that so often it is our characters' failings which are the big "draw".
Sometimes that is due to our sympathising with those faults; sometimes it is relief, maybe pride, we are nothing like th…

‘Hosanna’ to ‘Crucify’: Why? by Trevor Thorn

I have often wondered why the people of Jerusalem turned from ‘Hosanna’ to ‘Crucify’ in the inside of a week. There will, of course be many reasons, some personal, many, many more I suspect, political.

But this imagined rant might be among them - and what an ideal day to publish it - Wednesday in Holy Week! And, guess what - it has money at its root.

Credit: Image found on  'Word On Fire website.

A Temple Trader’s Rant
'I've always loathed those Galileans: Rough lot from up north. Uncouth, stroppy. Ought to stay in their own territory. And this one: well, he came from Nazareth. Nazareth! I ask you. Anything good ever come out of there? You could tell by his accent. Not pure like those brung up in Jerusalem. Yes! Even us temple traders talk nicer than that.
It was trouble from the moment he appeared. He sort of strode in With a glint in his eye and his jaw set. Came determined to make trouble if you ask me.
Now, we the Jerusalem Shekelovers have been Temple traders for generations. Father, …

The search for inspiration

Sometimes finding inspiration can be so hard!  If I am in a 'blank' mode I panic and use every delaying tactic possible to avoid having to sit in front of my screen not knowing what to type.  The irony is that I love new notebooks and journals and when in a stationers may pick up one beautifully bound journal after another exulting in the clean unblemished pages, imagining the words that might soon adorn them.      

Words that might be powerful to inspire others, release laughter, bring comfort, move to tears, encourage, thrill, excite or challenge...How exciting to think that as I write (or type) one letter after another, forming words, sentences and paragraphs, that those who ultimately read them might be so changed - What a privilege?
So why then do I go blank just when I need to write and where can I find my inspiration?  Beating my brain up just gives me a headache, staring at the screen makes me cross eyed. I search frantically within, thinking how can I say I'm a wr…

Making Money as a Writer

By FionaVeitch Smith
Sixteen years ago I left my full-time job as a journalist with the intention of taking up a career as a creative writer. What I naively didn’t realise was that I would never again earn a full-time salary with pension, holiday or sick leave. My earnings now – enough to keep the wolf from the door - are cobbled together from multiple sources and, like every other freelance I know, a good chunk of my time is spent sourcing income streams and pitching for paying work.
Now I understand that not all writers expect to or need to earn a living wage from their writing. Some of you reading this might have alternative income sources, are supported by a partner, or write only as a hobby or ‘ministry’. But for others like me, and new writers starting out, wondering how at all they can survive financially, here are some of the many ways I try to earn money from my writing:

AdvancesMost commercial publishers offer an advance once a book has been accepted for publication. If you are…

Monster Taming for Writers, by Fiona Lloyd

When I first started writing, I hadn’t realised what a dangerous occupation it can be. Having spent some time researching this issue, I feel it now my duty to warn you of some of the scarier creatures you are likely to encounter at some stage in your writing career.
The Deadline Dragon likes it best when he can sneak up on you undetected. His favourite ploy is to lull his victim into a false sense of security by waiting at a safe distance and pretending to be harmless. The unsuspecting writer may be aware of the deadline dragon lurking on the periphery of his calendar, but reasons that he is so far away that there is no need to worry about it. As soon as the poor writer relaxes his guard, however, the deadline dragon pounces, causing terror, panic and sleepless nights. For some malevolent reason known only to themselves, deadline dragons often prefer to work in twos or threes, thus exponentially increasing the fear level.
The deadline dragon can be alarming even for the most experienced…

Aggressive lemons and divine reassurances - by Helen Murray

I had an idea the other day.  I was in the middle of writing something and an additional idea at that moment was inconvenient.  I was completely focused, and then this idea sneaked up and wanted my attention. I swiped it away, fobbing it off with 'In a minute...' and it was so offended that it disappeared and hasn't been back.

I knew I should have written it down. I should have humoured it. I should have made a mental (better still physical) note of what I was doing, suspended that thought process for a moment or two and scribbled down the idea before resuming task one.

Silly me.

Now I'm left with a nagging sense that it was A Great Idea. One of the best. And now it's gone.

Two ideas came at the same time, you see, and I was flummoxed. Like waiting for ages and ages at a bus stop and then two buses come at once. As I clamber on the first, fumbling for my bus pass, the second sails on by. I will never know what it might have been like to ride on that bus; who I migh…

Psalm 121 Glasses by Emily Owen

My six year old niece and I were chatting recently, mostly about books. I’m pleased to say the family has a budding bookworm. Then she said something I didn’t quite catch (I am deaf and need to lip-read). “Pardon?” She looked at me and said, “Aunty Emily, you need to put your glasses on so you can read me.”

She hadn’t noticed I wasn’t wearing my glasses until something went a bit wrong.
She’s not the only one. I think I sometimes forget I’m not wearing my glasses, too. Not my real glasses – if I’m not chatting to six year olds about books, my real glasses are usually firmly on my nose – but my Psalm 121 glasses. My ‘lift your eyes up’ glasses. I forget. As I sit, frustrated, staring at a blank screen, not quite catching the words I reach for, I forget. Forget to put those glasses on, so I can read Him. What is God asking me to write?
I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? Certainly not from a blank screen. My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. The One w…

"What is God saying to His People?"

"The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon, planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God, They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, 'The Lord is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.'"    Ps.92:12-15