Tag Archives: motivation

Dissertation Disaster?

I guess you could say it’s all gone to pot a little. Work on my dissertation is moving along ever so slowly and I really should be picking up the pace. I went from wrestling with a creative non-fiction book to turning it into a historical novel. What a switch!


It’s not that I don’t want to write the non-fiction book, and I like to think that I will actually write it. It’s just the deadline for my dissertation is in May and I need to get words on paper. It seems writing fiction comes more naturally to me. This could be down to the fact I read so little non-fiction and maybe I should change this if I am going to write a non-fiction book.


Can ya guess what it is yet?

Can ya guess what it is yet?

These are a few of the books I am submerging myself in at the moment which may give you a clue as to what I am writing about. I like to keep the mystery a little so I won’t divulge my idea completely but I am sure some of my readers might be able to guess (or if you know me, you probably know the subject area anyway).



So as well as writing this dissertation I am also getting involved in other creative projects too. I have recently been appointed the Secretary for York Writers which is a local writing group who meet up once/twice a month and share their work, enjoy listening to guest speakers and sometimes engage in workshops. I have also just co-edited the poetry for Indigo Rising UK and that was fun. I enjoyed reading such a mix of poetry, a lot of which was excellent. Issue three will be released very soon so I will keep you posted.


So all in all it’s been a busy start to the year. I haven’t written half as much as I would have liked but I plan to make sure I set aside time in the week to get things down on paper or to work on this novel. The kids can fend for themselves…right?


T’is the season to be sparkly

I feel I can officially say it now…


I am surrounded by fairy lights and sparkle as that is my kind of Christmas.

Some enjoy the traditional festive décor with greenery and red ribbons hanging round the mantelpiece. A slight shimmer of gold might give a soft glow next to an advent candle. There may even be dried circles of orange hung from the tree alongside simple white lights and pinecones.

Others prefer a more uniform Christmas with a colour theme that ties in nicely with the existing décor of the room. In the corner of the room stands a white tree, white to fully show off the colour displays; silver and blue, or silver and pink, or gold and red, or maybe gold and silver (no harm in a bit of bling at Christmas).

Me? Give me full on colour! I want red, green, pink, purple, silver, blue, orange. Yes, if it’s in the rainbow and beyond then put it in my room.

I will be honest, I do tend to sway towards the cooler end of the colour spectrum with purple, blue and pink taking pride of place but I’ll chuck a bit of anything in to make the living room festive and fun for the kids.

I like things to be bright at Christmas and I think it’s because I find my creativity tends to come forth more at this time of year. The lights have to shine with the intensity of this tree I saw at Centerparcs earlier this year.

Sparkly tree!!

Though in a single colour it really sparked off my excitement for Christmas and finally having the time away from Uni to write what I want to write.

I don’t tend to write ‘happy’ at Christmas though, despite my bubbling burst of excitement at this time of year. It’s almost like I need to balance out my extreme happiness with a little of that shadow that lurks in the deepest corners of our minds.

Lines like;

On calm days she’d stay inside as the river

slid by, mourning the torrents of rain

yet to clag the banks in clods of mud.


I never flinched

at your words, or fist. The quilt

mountained around us as silk


both taken from new poems I have written recently reflect the happiness I am feeling inside simply due to the fact that they are of a sombre tone.

How do you reflect your emotions through your writing? Do you write the opposite of what you feel or do you prefer to feel that emotion at the time and get it down on paper? Maybe it’s a bit of both?

Why not pop by the comment box and share? I’d love to hear your views.

Researching Non-Fiction

As some of you may know I am studying Creative Writing and English Language at University and as I have now started my 3rd year I am tackling the scariest thing known to all undergraduates…The Dissertation!

After debating whether or not to write a collection of poetry I was encouraged by a number of tutors to follow an idea I came up with in my 2nd year. I agreed and am now looking at writing a book (not the entire book for my dissertation of course) about the conception and history of the vibrator.

My plan is to write a book proposal for my dissertation so that I will have something to send to a publisher once I have finished.

I have never written non-fiction before, other than a few music/event reviews and this is the scariest thing I have faced yet. I will have to learn how to research my subject area, how to sort the interesting bits from the dull and how to construct the book itself; the voice, style and angle.

At the moment I am at the extensive reading phase of the research. All my books look like beautiful orange and pink butterflies with all the mini post-its I have adorned the pages with. It does make me feel like I have got a lot of work done. But in truth, I haven’t as yet. I need to write. Get things down on paper. Find a narrative angle and find a voice for the book. This makes me scared to try to put anything down on paper…which is silly.

I know that this is what I must do though, to start the process off properly and to get the creative chaos flowing.

If any of you are non-fiction writers or avid readers of non-fiction then I would love to hear what you think about the writing process, or what you like best about reading non-fiction? Your thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you.

A Poem A Day

I read a blog earlier this year (can’t remember who or where) where a poet was attempting to build up material for a new collection but was struggling with the task of getting enough together. She decided to try to write a poem a day. Some days she banged out stonking good poetry (she said) and others she managed a few lines and ideas. But by the end of the 365 days she had, in raw form, over 200 poems. Some days were missed due to unforseen circumstances but she kept plugging away and made it to that number.

Her obvious next step would be the editing process but I think I agree with her when she claimed that half the battle was getting the ideas down.

So, because I don’t think I have enough to do with the kids, the housework, Uni research, Interning with Stairwell Books, open mic nights, helping with the Ryedale Book Festival and the York Literature Festival…I have decided to write a poem a day!

I think this will be good for me. It will give me a goal. Maybe it will help me focus more on writing my ideas down rather than thinking up something and then forgetting it 30 minutes later.

I have been trying to write short stories recently. It’s where I started out after all. But I think my head and my heart wants to write poetry. It needs the ‘instant’ and the ‘heartfelt’. It’s where I belong right now.

So tomorrow will be day one. I would like to post them up here but I fear there will be some tripe that I don’t want you…yes YOU, my readers, to see. If I just so happen to write something awesome then there is no point putting it here as I may want to send it for publication. Hmmmm…maybe I will tempt you with snippets, trailers, teasers…to keep you interested.

Wish me luck! 365 poems this year.

Yeah Baby!!!

Writing and Running

I get a lot of my inspiration when out running. Running is quite new in my life as I only started last year in the hope of completing a 5k Race For Life. I did complete the race but I had to walk on a couple of occasions. No big deal. I didn’t take it seriously back then, running in a £5 pair of Matalan trainers!

After christmas though, I realised I missed being outside, that feeling of freedom when out in the countryside. I missed the wind in my hair and the peace and quiet it brings. I missed the me time and the high after beating my PB. All clichéd, I know. But true.

So since January I have been getting back on track with a Couch to 5K (C25K) program. Today I ran my first 5k distance without stopping to walk. It’s a great feeling. Such a high.

It reminded me of writing. Writing can be like running. Sometimes it’s hard work to get going. You can spend so much time getting ready to get out there, thinking about making a move, fiddling with your laces…and never actually getting out the door and running.

I can sit for ages in front of my computer or notebook without ever actually getting something down.

So annoying.

I never intended to run the 5k today. Never expected it in a million years. But, I did. I just stepped out of my door and ran (after a brief warm up of course). I got to a point where I would normally stop, but I felt good so kept on going. Only once did I think I should stop. A few deep breaths cured that and I just kept going.

I think it is the way forward with writing. Don’t be afraid. Don’t over-think it. Just step out that door in your mind and go for it. Feel that wind in your hair. Have that you time, that time between you and your characters/plot/story/poem. When you feel like you should stop, breath deep and keep going. You can do it. I did.

Last week I had a great story idea that came to me while running through a wooded area. I won’t say too much about it as it is a work-in-progress. But I would never have had that idea if I hadn’t gone for a run.

So, I guess what I am saying is, for me running and writing go hand-in-hand, in so many ways.

I am thankful for them both in my life.

Happy writing/reading everyone.