are authors really having their last (w)rites?

I had a few minutes to spare on Sunday, and wandered into WHSmith where I lost myself in reading the blurb on the back of many of the paperbacks in the bestseller chart. It’s a while since I checked out what kind of literature is captivating the public, and it does bring out some competitiveness in me.

However, I may be rather too late to win the race to the bookshelves, if I’m to believe the bleak vision of the future of publishing painted by Ewan Morrison in his Guardian article Are books dead, and can authors survive? He gloomily predicts that “writing, as a profession, will cease to exist”, because writers will offer their work for free in a digital environment that increasingly provides free content. He argues that in the future writers “will labour under the delusion that Continue reading

The quote that ALWAYS gets me writing

When I realise I’ve been procrastinating or avoiding writing my novel – finding distractions in my fridge, my garden or online, – I take a peek at a quote I have pinned up on my wall that reminds me there’s only so much fiddling about I can do. I can either get on with it, or spend the rest of my life wondering and wishing. I can pretend I’m not inspired, or wait for it to strike, or I can sit at my desk and write – and that in itself is inspiration.

This quote sticks a lump to my throat, trickles tears down my cheeks, and triggers my existential concerns. It also gives me a twist of guilt, and a wistful motivation to write the next chapter. Because time is ticking and I haven’t yet achieved by  long-held dream of being a published author.

“The song I came to sing
remains unsung to this day.
I have spent my days in stringing
and in unstringing my instrument.

The time has not come true,
the words have not been rightly set;
only there is the agony
of wishing in my heart.”

Rabindranath Tagore


confessions of a notebook addict who’s at a loss for words

I’m a notebook addict. I can barely pass a stationery store without looking in and seeing if my perfect notebook is out there that can hold my thoughts, ideas, inspirations (which often happen just as I’m about to fall asleep), and that will help me act on the brilliance of those insights. As a writer, I always have one of my many notebooks to hand. What happens with my plethora of pages is that I intend to have different notebooks for different moods, circumstances and surroundings. I therefore have:

  • brightly coloured folios in hardback for uplifting spiritual thoughts
  • a ‘gratitude book’ for the end of the day, to thank the universe for my blessings
  • my ‘observations’ book, where I log the conversations, mannerisms, annoyances and joys of the day
  • my ‘train book’, where I like to scribble whatever comes to mind, especially to rant about Continue reading

does writing always improve with age and experience?

As I tussle with my novel that’s been in progress for the past five years, and berate myself for not having finished it yet, I take heart from a musician who has been writing songs for 19 years before releasing them. OK so Charlie Simpson – currently with Fightstar and formerly with Busted – is only 26, but he felt that he needed to accumulate enough ‘life experience’ to do those songs justice. Any earlier, and he wouldn’t have been in the right place for the lyrics to have meaning.

I admit to being a little concerned that my own novel, when it is finished, may be a little out of touch with where and who I am now. I wish I had written the Continue reading

the healing power of a grief journal

Tears streamed down my face when I read about a woman who had lost her only child chart her journey through journaling. This post is really worth reading on Life Goes Strong, entitled Writing for Life: How Journal Writing Helps Heal One Mother’s Grief.

Writing really was therapy in this case, for Tamara Thomas, and the process took her through the stages of grief – denial, anger, bargaining and acceptance – and the tasks of mourning: to accept the reality of loss; to work through the feelings about that loss; to learn to live without the person you’ve lost; and to Continue reading

rap star feels the therapeutic benefits of writing his life story

Writing down my ‘stuff’ – letting it flow on the page and then close the book on it – has long been my therapeutic secret. While it’s great to have a therapist with whom to share  and pick over the darkest, most uncomfortable aspects of one’s character, there’s something about the easy availability and non-judgemental nature of pages in a notebook that are all-ears all times of the day.

Which is why it’s inspiring to hear how rapper Dizzee Rascal, in writing his autobiography with the aid of a ghostwriter, felt the process of telling his story was ‘like therapy’. He told the Evening Standard that he had lots of Continue reading