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Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

I would like to thank Elisabeth Zguta for nominating my blog. You can view her website here:

I do try to keep my blog varied and my posts have generated a lot of discussions over the past two years. So I am honoured my blog has been nominated.

Now I've got to tell you seven things about myself and also nominate other bloggers/authors to do the same. All they need to do is to link back to me, choose their nominees and answer 7 things about themselves and post links to their nominees.

So the seven things about me are:
  1. I may only be 27 but I have seen most of the world and some countries that some people would never even dream of. I started my travels in Ireland before backpacking Australia, New Zealand, Russia, Mongolia, America and Canada. I have also travelled extensively through Europe to places like Austria, Italy, Germany, Spain, France, and Poland.
  2. I own two dogs as the result of being a huge dog lover. I have a Border Collie and a Pomeranian I adopted from a friend.
  3. My favourite music artists are Chris Martin, Michael Jackson and Freddie Mercury as I love rock and indie music
  4. I have always written but have previously worked in a psychiatric setting which proved to be very colourful indeed.
  5. My favourite authors are Chris Manby and Sophie Kinsella.
  6. I love Indian and Nepalese food. My favourite cocktail is the Cosmopolitan.
  7. My favourite genre of film is comedy.
Now comes the list of bloggers who I nominate:

Anne R. Allen:

Ollin Morales:

Joanna Penn:

K.M. Weiland:

Joe Bunting:

Tony James Slater:

Dana Sitar:

Do We Need To Be Crazy To Be Creative?

This question has fascinated me for years. I am interested in psychiatric issues as I have worked in an acute mental health unit for three years, and I have always been creative so there have been more than a few occasions where I have wondered whether the two subjects can cross over. And of course there have been many case studies to prove this is true.

Some people picture the creative person as slightly eccentric. They may be dressed as a hippy and wear outrageous accessories. The music artist Jamiroquai is a fine example of someone who takes a piece of clothing to make him unique. No one can wear all those crazy hats and look as cool as he does.

But he's an example of someone eccentric who does not suffer mental health issues. He's part of the argument that goes against this particular question. He's an artist who has managed to lead a successful and fulfilling life.

Artists like Amy Winehouse prove that success and fame do not always provide guaranteed happiness. They still battle their demons and the results are sometimes tragic. How many people like this can you think of?

Many writers also battle depression, proving you don't always have to write song lyrics to fall into this category. Writers like Marian Keyes openly speak about their troubles, discussing in detail how they feel on a day to day basis. Mental illness can sometimes be the result of negative thinking patterns, and every writer knows that in order to produce books you have to do an awful lot of thinking. It just depends on whether you think mostly negative thoughts or positive ones.

I don't consider myself as someone who suffers from mental health issues as I have seen some severely ill people over my lifetime. However, I do recognise that I sometimes worry to excess and I put this down to my over active imagination. My brain seems to be lacking the switch which turns off thoughts before they snowball. And once I have a particular thought that troubles me I find getting rid of it very hard indeed.

So, what do you think? Do you have to be crazy in order to be creative? Do you suffer from the issues I have raised?

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Does The Weather Affect Your Writing?

If you're a British citizen like myself you'll know the problems the country has when faced with bad weather. In fact, I think it's likely we're the laughing-stock of the whole Northern hemisphere when it comes to dealing with snow. It doesn't take much to ground the entire country to a holt. But over the pond our American and Canadian friends bumble around quite easily - or so it seems to us - in ten foot of the stuff.

It's snowing again today, and while looking out of the window in my nice comfortable lounge, it gave me the inspiration to write this blog post.

In weather like this I like nothing better than to count my blessings that I don't have to go outside. I make myself a mug of Cadbury's hot chocolate, settle down under my blanket and curl up to write.
I suppose the majority of people hate going out when it's snowing or raining, or even blowing a gale, but does the weather really control our activities that much?

Some people suffer from the SAD sydrome - or Seasonal Affective Disorder. It is quite common for people to be depressed during the winter months and want nothing more than to hibernate away. And when the summer arrives they're the happiest people on earth.

But it seems to work the opposite for me. I seem to be happiest in the winter months. I love to spend the dark afternoons writing, tucked up under blankets with the fire on. And when the summer comes I'm often too hot to even think, let alone write. There seems to be more going on during the summer months so that distracts me away from my writing.

So, how much does the weather affect your writing? Do you write less or more during the winter months? Or do you write the same amount each day no matter what the weather is doing?

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

How To Become A More Efficient Writer

Most writers do not have the luxury of unlimited time to write their next novel as life in general gets in the way. Instead they have to battle with their kids, their other job and their spouse on a daily basis to get some time to write. And when you're a tired writer creativity does not come easily. At the end of the day when everything else is done you seem to have the time to write but your creative power is zero.

So, what's a writer to do?

  • Change the time you write. If you're a morning person just getting up half an hour earlier could be the key to writing more. Think of all the words you could get down in thirty minutes. Alternatively, if you're anything like me, you could designate certain tasks for each day of the week. This could mean that Monday's task is writing, Tuesday's task is blogging, Wednesday's task is typing up written notes and Thursday's task is researching. Just because you're a writer doesn't mean you have to write every single day. If you're that pressed for time assigning one particular task for each day could be a very effective thing to do. Don't feel like you have to do everything everyday. After all, you're a writer - not Superman.
  • Don't waste your time editing while writing. It's surprising how much this can slow you down. Set the clock for a cetain amount of time and just write. You can edit afterwards. Remember it's impossible to edit words that aren't there. Don't be a perfectionist at this early stage.
  • Do all your prep work at once. If your writing a crime book and you're dealing with a tricky murder scene, do all the forensic research for it at once. There's nothing more distracting than constantly clicking on the Internet while you're trying to write. If you find your need to do the research abandon your writing to focus on that. Alternatively, move on to writing the next scene.
  • Find your space to write. I like to work in different places depending on my mood in general. Sometimes it's a coffee shop and other times it's in my bedroom. It doesn't matter if you write best with music in the background or have complete silence. It's all about experimenting to find what suits you best.
  • Don't forget to have a life as well. Taking regular breaks is good for the soul but it's crucial to a writer. Writing is a solitary business so it's important to go out and visit the real world once in a while. I see my friends for coffee or take the dogs out. Just visiting a shop to buy something is helpful too. Don't forget you're so much more than just a writer.