Category Archives: writing tips

World Book Day 2021

Standard
© National Literacy Trust 2017

4th March is World Book Day – and perhaps a day when Home-schooling parents in the UK breathe a sigh of relief at not having to find a last minute outfit, of course many schools may be encouraging the Home Learners to dress as favourite book characters and join in with the fun!

Many schools include activities to enhance the curriculum learning on Thursday. Here are some great websites and ideas from the UK:

World Book Day

Literacy Trust

Author & Illustrator Academy

It is the 24th year it has been held and is marked globally in over 100 countries.

Find out about the history of World Book Day here UNESCO on 23rd April 1995

In 2018, we were lucky enough to have Kevin Brooke as a Guest Writer at Inkspill. He writes for Young Adults and gave us a great workshop. Or maybe you have never read Kevin’s work and would like to buy a book.

Website: https://kevinbrooke.com/

Here’s Kevin’s You Tube Channel where you can listen to many extracts of his work.

You may want to write a story for the Worcestershire LitFest 2021 Competition, just 300 words on the theme of Gods and Monsters, entries are FREE. (Year Groups Y3 – Y12) Watch the video for more information.

INKSPILL 2018 ARCHIVE Open

Standard

INKSPILL GUESTS 1

Our Archive is open for the final time this weekend. Find articles, workshops. reviews, Interviews and writing to keep you busy for the next few hours before the exciting launch of the final WPL issue of Contour Poetry Magazine.

files-archive

From 2014 our Guest Writer William Gallagher talks to us about Making Time to Write.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/10/25/inkspill-making-time-to-write-guest-writer-williamgallagher/

 

 

Sticking with 2014 here is an exercise to help you write an article in 30 minutes.

INKSPILL WRITING 1

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/10/25/inkspill-speed-write-how-to-produce-an-article-in-less-than-30-minutes/

 

 

The next article comes from 2013 and was not part of INKSPILL but is gold dust for anyone attempting NaNoWriMo this Autumn.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2013/10/31/nanowrimo-survival-tips/

 

 

From INKSPILL 2013 another article from me about getting organised to write.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2013/10/27/inkspill-getting-organised/

people-woman-girl-writing.jpg

 

 

From INKSPILL 2015 our Guest Poet Interview with Daniel Sluman.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/10/25/inkspill-guest-poet-interview-with-daniel-sluman/

 

A write up of Daniel’s Book Launch in February 2016.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2016/02/15/daniel-slumans-book-launch-the-terrible/

 

This evening we are launching ISSUE 4 of Contour –

contour 4 celebration - Made with PosterMyWall

Read Issue 1 of Contour Poetry Magazine

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2017/10/29/inkspill-2017-closing-with-something-new/

 

 

From INKSPILL 2017 The Editors

medial-2720565_1920

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2017/10/29/inkspill-the-editors/

Finding your voice and what editors look for.

 

Hit a Writing Dip? Stay Motivated

Standard

We all find ourselves in the dreaded dip from time to time, unsurprisingly the pressure of a new year and new goals is enough to send the most sturdy writer over the edge… so I have put together this motivational post just for you.

person-woman-desk-laptop.jpg

Remember pursuing a writing career is a guarantee you will face rejection, find projects stall and possibly feel no confidence in your ability. But remember this is what you want to do, this is what you live for, this is enjoying work on those good days in a way you never could before. For those times when your world is rocking, it is all worth it and all part of this path you have chosen.

The best way to deal with it is to learn the tricks, keep the dream alive and know even the greatest feel this way from time to time.

 

2012 brighton 532

 

Rejection is not personal

Sometimes maybe the writing wasn’t up to scratch but more often than not it doesn’t fit alongside accepted work, may not be the taste of a particular editor, may be too similar to work which has already been published/accepted.

The main thing is – rejection – means you are submitting your work, which is an achievement in itself. If the writing is good it will find a place eventually and sometimes that place is a better match than the place you initially sought acceptance from.

It won’t make it hurt any less, but it is normal. Normal to be rejected and normal to feel a bit dejected by it.

pexels-photo-278312.jpeg

 

TLC

I do not reward myself when I get writing accepted, unless you count mentally doing the happy dance, but I do commiserate myself when I read a rejection.

Do something that refocuses or lifts you for a while. Go for a walk, read a chapter of a book (if you can still bear to hold one in your hands), try a few relaxation exercises, watch a comedy show, or even eat cake. Do something that makes you feel better. Just something between 10-30 minutes just to get your mindset shifted.

The best thing is to send something else out there (as long as your writing is ready) a flight of new hope, then move on.

woman-typing-writing-windows.jpg

 

Create Deadlines

Of course you know the actual submission deadline. We all miss them from time to time (learn to forgive yourself and let go). In Life Coaching* we always break goals down into smaller steps. Each chunk needs a deadline. These skills can be transferred to how you work as a writer.

*I qualified as a Life Coach in 2007.

 

Commitment

Allocate enough writing time to achieve your goals. Yes! I am well aware there is never enough writing time and few of us are lucky enough to fulfil a full-time writing career, but every dream needs commitment otherwise it is just a wish/ wishy washy.

So take yourself seriously and allow it.

Give priority to your writing time.

pexels-photo-280264.jpeg

Speaking of time…

Time 

Discover when the best time for your writing is. I tend to be best early in the morning both at the beginning of the day before lunchtime and now at 1 AM in the morning.

I organise my writing day so I am actually producing at my optimum times and fit the admin tasks and chores and everything else into the time that my writing brain isn’t in prime working mode.

We are all different. It takes a while to find out what is the best time for you, but it is worth bearing it in mind.

Note: A few hours before deadline is really not the best time for quality writing/editing.

Once you know when to write you can learn how to write. Allowing yourself 1 hour can be more productive than allocating an entire afternoon. Some people work in blocks of 25 minutes ‘The Pomodoro technique’, I tend to find that I need longer to write but I do take my breaks to do other things in blocks of 20 minutes.

 

Lists

pexels-photo-131979.jpeg

Mr G. used to laugh at my TO DO LISTS as they would always have wash hair, breakfast etc. on them. He knew these were not things I would forget to do. I explained they enabled me to tick something off before 10 AM.

My lists have come a long way since then, I rarely put shower/hair on them anymore. They will include a little box of chores that need attention to make sure I do not get too lost in the admin and the writing and there is an important point. It no longer amazes me, but for years it did – the amount of admin a writer has. You could easily fill whole days without actually getting any writing done and so when you are scheduling your time allow yourself the discipline of actually writing. I used to work on a laptop that didn’t recognise we have Internet.

Nowadays I am better on focusing on one job at a time and avoiding social media/internet distractions (don’t judge me, but I never needed the LOLCats).

pexels-photo-311268.jpeg

 

What alchemy is this? The magic of lists. I simply write 2 or 3 things at a time that need to be completed and keep adding. If you write a long list of everything your brain will freak out at the sight of it and this is not good for creativity and free flowing thoughts.

 

pexels-photo-597331.jpeg

Plan your time and reward yourself. 

 

RELATED LINKS: 

From INKSPILL (Our online Annual Writing Retreat) 2014

inkspill-how-to-get-rejected-guest-writer-william-Gallagher/

inkspill-making-time-to-write-guest-writer-williamgallagher/

inkspill-good-morning-come-and-watch/

INKSPILL SHARE BUTTON

From INKSPILL (Our online Annual Writing Retreat) 2017

inkspill-get-motivated-to-write/

From INKSPILL (Our online Annual Writing Retreat) 2016

inkspill-hugging-the-monster/

motivation ave

whats-the-point-keeping-motivation-alive/

the-ups-and-downs-of-creatives/

the-emotional-spectrum-of-writing/

turn-the-negatives-into-positives-how-to-look-at-your-writing-block-in-a-new-light/

INKSPILL Taster or Teaser

Standard

INKSPILL SHARE BUTTON

The full programme including this year’s Guest Writers will be revealed on the 27th. We have a new feature for 2017 – The INKSPILL Library where you will have instant access to selected archives from 2013 -2016 Writing Retreats.

INKSPILL Library

The Library will be open on Saturday afternoon and again on Sunday when it features additional archived material. 

We are featuring 2 Guest Writers this year.

digital-tablet-2872958_1280

They will be revealed on the 27th. 

There will be short writing tasks, exercises and workshop activities, creative tests, exclusive interviews with our Guest Writers, book promotion (the INKSPILL Bookshop will be open all weekend), monologues, Inspiring Women Writers, a look at Thomas Hardy, Rupert Brooke, Wilfred Owen & Siegfried Sassoon, Goal Setting, an interview with Zadie Smith, writing advice from Novelist Jill Dawson, an interview with Lee Child, editors discussing modern writing and the Launch of Contour WPL Magazine. As well as rich pickings from the archive featuring previous guests: Charlie Jordan, William Gallagher, Heather Wastie, David Calcutt, Alison May, Deanne Gist, Daniel Sluman, Gaia Harper & Roy McFarlane and more. 

 

 

Writing & Productivity

Standard

I have noticed that some of the most read posts on AWF are those that help others. Advice, encouragement and motivation are all things writers seek. I am a trained Life Coach and a Writer, so I’m in a pretty good position to help.

As it is January and we are all thinking about new beginnings, let’s crack on and see what we can do for you.

This is the first in a new series of posts about WRITING & PRODUCTIVITY.

workstation-336369_1280

Invest some time in this, I promise it will be worth it!


The Plan – Getting the most out of your To DO Lists

  1. First, look at your lifestyle and needs. Many of us have family, jobs and a plethora of chores and tasks that stand in the way of our writing time. If you are living as I do with lots of fingers in lots of pies the writing chances will change daily. The ideal may be that you manage a dedicated writing day, or you may still only have evenings free.

It has taken me 4 years, but I now have a 3 day working week (sometimes more) and 4 days, 2 of which can usually be used for writing. The other learning curves are the time submissions take, even when the writing is ready and the amount of time admin and background tasks (necessary) take. This needs to be factored in.

My most productive advice is:

a) use the days your brain won’t play to get ahead on all these tasks.

b) Try your best to stay on top of everything. I write a daily list. Doing a little often is far easier than sifting through mountains of paperwork and entries trying to find the information afterwards.

clock-1274699_1280

2. Accept that what you can do is all you can do, we may dream of having more time, but work with what you have and try to avoid the wishing, pondering time can be important but not when it involves trying to obtain the impossible.

3. Once you have established when you have time to write think about how you feel. Most of us are aware than our energy levels change throughout the course of the day but we forget that we have can use this to our advantage. Bear this in mind when you look at your list, (I missed a step) – make a list. All the writing tasks that need to be completed today.

So now you have a list of today’s tasks. Most people treat a list like a gauntlet and just battle through it, this method is fine if it is a list of chores or something. This is your passion, you are writing because you are or want to be a writer, productivity shouldn’t hurt.

Step back, think about which are the most important tasks and number them. Next tap into your energy and tackle the biggest or most challenging tasks when your energy is high. Anything with a deadline needs to be prioritised.

I am better first thing in the morning, tea-time and late at night. So I would tackle the hardest or longest tasks before 11am or around 6pm or after 9pm.

Now re-order those numbers to fit around you and your energy levels.

4. Forgive yourself if you do not complete the list. Especially if other factors have prevented it – family crisis etc. Do try to carve time for your writing and let others know it is your time.

I turn the mobile phone to silent and check it when I take a break in case of some emergency, likewise there are people who do not answer the door, or leave the house to write elsewhere, making themselves unavailable.

Here it is visually.

list

list-2

I then just rewrite a quick scribbled order underneath so I can just follow a simple list down the page. I have written this example for an ‘evening of writing’. It may look fairly unrealistic and I would advise that you start with a shorter task list, maybe 4 or 5 items.

Just to clarify ‘check emails’ doesn’t mean the 500 unread ones or forwards of cats being funny, it refers to specifically targeted emails that I need to keep an eye on and may only take a minute if no further response is necessary.

It is just an example to show this method. We all know blog posts take an incredible amount of time to write. But here’s the secret… it is Sunday evening and I am scheduling this post for tomorrow (here you are reading it on Monday). Monday is a much busier for traffic on the blog AND if I don’t get it finished there are more hours tomorrow. Point 4 is important. FORGIVE YOURSELF.

Good writing targets are all about false deadlines and safety nets.

time-430625_1280

INKSPILL Guest Writer Deeanne Gist Two Minute Tips

Standard

gw

Deeanne Gist

When we contacted Deeanne she gave us the following advice;

As for words of advice, I think the best advice I can give is:
1) Learn your craft. (And you’re off to a good start if you’re attending this retreat!)
2) Finish the book. (Truly. You wouldn’t believe how many people never finish their book. You can always go back and edit, but that book needs to be finished before you can proceed to the next step … publishing!)

apr9_deeanne_gist-artfix-daily

© Artfix Daily

We are sharing some of Deeanne’s tips with you this evening from this wonderful sequence of videos she has produced on the craft of writing.

 

 

The introduction to Deeanne’s video blog. Write the book you are excited about.

 

What to Leave Out

Deeanne talks about judging contests, editing, writing and advises us on what to leave out and why in this Two Minute Tip video.

 

 

 

 

In our second video Deeanne explores how to write conflict and drive your book forward. This video includes great advice from this International Best Selling Author.

How to Write Conflict

 

Our final tip for aspiring writers is about character. This is a really interesting way of working and beats my index card system. Advice on how to give your protagonists depth.

 

How to Give Your Character Depth

 

We hope to bring you more from Deeanne Gist next year.

 

INKSPILL – Fiction Rules for Writers

Standard

Fiction Rules for Writers. We all need to know this, we are always curious to discover people’s thoughts on this area. As far as people go this list of established writers is not to be sniffed at.

Follow the link to 10 Rules for Writing Fiction published in The Guardian (2010)

Writers include; Elmore Leonard, Diana Athill, Margaret Atwood, Roddy Doyle, Helen Dunmore, Geoff Dyer, Anne Enright, Richard Ford, Jonathan Franzen, Esther Freud, Neil Gaiman, David Hare, PD James & AL Kennedy.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2010/feb/20/ten-rules-for-writing-fiction-part-one

The second part of the article includes; Hilary Mantel, Michael Moorcock, Michael Morpurgo, Andrew Motion, Joyce Carol Oates, Annie Proulx, Philip Pullman, Ian Rankin, Will Self, Helen Simpson, Zadie Smith, Colm Tóibín, Rose Tremain, Sarah Waters and Jeanette Winterson

and can be found here https://www.theguardian.com/books/2010/feb/20/10-rules-for-writing-fiction-part-two

typewriter-671413_1280

ENJOY! Happy writing x

 

NANO: No Time for NaNoWriMo? Try FLASH NANO instead

Standard

I did NaNoWriMo in 2013, the year I started writing again, the year I started blogging. I completed the Spring and Summer Camps as well as the main event. 2013-Winner-Vertical-Banner

This year I thought about dipping my toes in again, but I am working on several poetry projects and know that I don’t have time to complete 50,000 words. Tonight I decided to spend some time browsing my reader as it has been 10 months since I looked at blogs out here. I discovered a post and a challenge that might match my schedule and give me more to work with in the future.1 nb

Nancy Stohlman is posting prompts for flash fiction, which I do have time for. http://nancystohlman.com/flashnano/

Imagination Rain.eps I headed over to http://nanowrimo.org and signed back in. I headed to the Pep Talk page which has a lot of good advice and encouragement for a positive mental attitude, which believe me all NaNo-ers need! See what Gene Luen Yang has to say here

I am unlikely to reach the 50,000 word count by writing incredibly short, short stories but I will hopefully end the month with 30 new pieces and if I can I might mix it up with some poetry too.

So let’s get started!

Good luck to everyone making NaNo part of their November.

nano-postcard

INKSPILL How Not to Waste Time – Article and Discussion

Standard

inkspill pink

13:30 How not to Waste Time – Article & discussion

coollogo_com-29508195

Wasting time – we all do it… we all know we shouldn’t do it… some of us can come up with strategies for time management others need some support with this discipline.

It is a subject I have blogged about before and something that I am always trying to improve on.

These posts may be of interest to you.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/06/09/monday-monday-on-writing-and-time-management/

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2013/09/22/a-new-method-of-time-management/

owl

This article helps us focus on writing time and it is definitely not a waste of your time to read it.

The secret is finding your rhythm. Wishing we had time to finish our novel, write more, begging for more hours in a day are all common laments of the writer. We chase time as an entity rather than attempting to bond, we need to build up a relationship with time. Firstly consider how it can move your writing activity forward or how it is holding you back. If you think you’ll never have enough time, you never will. We cannot play with time, but we can give it less power over us by managing it.

  • I use a writing schedule, which starts as a TO DO list (based on chronological deadlines).
  • I estimate how long each task is likely to take.
  • I avoid social media throughout this time, the entire internet in fact, unless I am in need of research.
  • I am someone who cannot write with distraction, there is no TV, music, people around my writing space and if I am seriously working towards a deadline, I even switch my phone off. I wouldn’t be available on it if I was at work and if it is urgent, people leave voicemails.
  • I build in breaks every hour or so, mini ones. To check the phone, stretch, manage those household tasks that need doing. It is amazing what you accomplish when only given 5 or 6 minutes.

Forgiveness is another tool you need. It gets to the end of the working day and you have writing that still needs to exist.

  • Push it onto the next TO DO list and praise yourself, celebrate what you have managed to accomplish, rather than worry about what isn’t yet real.
  • Unless you miss a deadline (which happens from time to time in the world of open submissions, but should never happen when working with editors with conversing about the schedule), give yourself a good talking to and learn from it.
  • How can you schedule your writing with gaps to manage the task in time?
  • I even use a polar cup so I avoid the kitchen and kettle for several hours.
WLF Polar cup This particular one was bought for me by my writer friend Andrew Owens, in 2014 I wrote a collaborative performance poem about Moustaches.

There are lots of books out there about time management, here is a link to an article by Rachel Scheller in which she uses an excerpt from The Productive Writer by Sage Cohen to explore Managing Time further.

TIME IS A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD

We all get the same twenty-four hours in a day. What you do with yours is up to you. You may believe that you have “no time,” but the fact is, you have just as much time as anyone else. What varies for every writer is our unique mix of work and family responsibilities, financial commitments, sleep requirements, physical and emotional space for writing, and perhaps most importantly, our ability and willingness to prioritize writing in this mix.

http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/there-are-no-rules/make-more-time-for-your-writing

DAlma Please leave your comments below.

INKSPILL 2015 COMING SOON – SAVE THE DATE

Standard

cooltext140879502596718

INKSPILL 15

24th – 25th October

 

For the 3rd year running AWF is hosting INKSPILL, a free online writing retreat. Come and join us and our Guest Writers for a weekend of writing and motivation.

There is NO SIGN UP, NO FEE.

Just read the posts, share links to your work, comment and LIKE the posts.

AWF offers this retreat to you for FREE, in return all we ask is you LIKE, reblog or share our blog posts.

cooltext140879352864113

We have several Guest Writers this year – to be announced soon!

SMALL INKSPILL 15

Spread the word! INKSPILL

SHARE THE TAG INKSPILL2015