Don't let time be a thief...
Category: Writing

How is it possible we are approaching the end of 2017? Where did the time go?

This year has not been the best health wise. Nothing life threatening but just as we cleared one hurdle, another appeared! We are not out of the woods yet as Rod has one more appointment coming up next Thursday to check his coronary arteries. It might be a four hour hospital stint or it could be an overnight stay for a medical procedure to be carried out. So hope it turns out to be the former.

This is not going to be a medical blog, folks, just thinking how such a year could have made me somewhat more productive rather than less. Could it be the need to achieve is strong during times of doubt creeping in whether the moment might come when one truly doesn't have the time to do those things?

From my writing vision posted in July, (I can't find it on the forum now) I have achieved one of my goals of creating a paper file of all my poetry. Also, my blog is up, and almost running! I need to try and get it 'out there' more successfully. I haven't quite got the hang of navigating the Wordpress site so I need to work on that. An example is last Friday's poem, Time, which I thought I'd published. When I took a look earlier, it was in drafts. I have no idea what I did, or didn't do, but it is definitely published for all to read now - I think that amounts to 7 people!

As 2018 fast approaches I want to be ready to hit January running. Firstly, my NaNo script is not quite finished but I have over 51,000 words and it is close to being ready for editing. I need to start that as soon as possible or it will go the way of a couple of other 'novels that languish in the depths of this laptop, and partially in paper files. As I edit, I will post each chapter on the site for some constructive critiquing which WA members are so good at. Hopefully, I will have a viable manuscript by the spring.

Secondly, I will work at becoming more adept at the technology required to enable me to create more of an online presence. It isn't where my interest lies but I am very aware of its importance if you are a writer and want to be read.  

To each of my friends on here, I wish you a healthy, happy, and peaceful New Year. May 2018 be kind to us all and allow us to make our wishes come true.





Get Ready to Nano
Category: Writing
Tags: writing nano

It’s that time of year again. Nano is fast approaching, and we must decide if we’re going to participate and what we plan on writing.

So how do we prepare for this yearly ritual? This will be my seventh year of nanoing and by now I’ve (sort of) worked out what works best for me. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that’s the way I’ll do things, but here’s what I think needs to happen…

First of all, convince yourself that 50000 words isn’t actually that many. You have a whole month to write them. That’s only 1667 words a day. Keep telling yourself that. I’m a really slow typist, strictly two fingers, and I can do that in two hours. Most people type much faster than me. So less than two hours a day. You can do it!

Next: decide what to write – always the hard part for me – I’m still not sure what this year’s nano story will be. I’d better make up my mind fast!

Plot that story before the 1st November. I’m a total plotter – I’ve tried plotting and pantsing, and the latter just doesn’t work for me. Plotting is especially important if you want to write fast. If you know what’s going to happen next, you don’t have to keep stopping to try and work it out. Or going back because what you’ve written isn’t getting you where you need to go. So, even if it’s just the beginning, end, and a few turning points—plot that story.

Most important rule: don’t edit, just write.  There’s a freedom when you decide not to edit, when you accept, and even embrace, the idea that your words are rubbish. It liberates your mind to just write and get immersed in the story. I read a very interesting article by Kazuo Ishiguro recently, about how he essentially wrote the first draft of The Remains of the Day in four weeks. You can read it here:


If it’s good enough for a noble prize winner, it’s good enough for me.

And finally, remember: winning isn’t everything. If you don’t make it—just be pleased that you got some words down (that’s presuming you did get some words and didn’t give up before you started.)

And just a last word – it’s not over at the end of November. Get ready for editing!

If you’ve not participated before, here’s the site link. There’s usually lots of great inspirational writing posts throughout the month.


So which of you are joining me? I’m Nikki C on the site so make sure you buddy me up.

Never Too Early Never Too Late
Category: Writing
Tags: writing publication success

Never Too Early Never Too Late

In just about everything, I fall into the latter category, starting everything late in life. I got married at 47, started writing at 50, and only felt any desire to have children when being a grandmother was more appropriate. Luckily with writing it is never too early, or too late.

Alexander Pope penned his first poem ‘Ode to Solitude’ when he was 12, although his real fame came when ‘Pastorals’ was published in 1709, when he was 21. He suffered childhood illnesses: asthma, a curved spine and headaches. Was this the reason he began writing?

Dorothy Straight holds the record for the ‘youngest published author ever’. At four years old she wrote a story for her grandmother, which pleased Pantheon Books so much they published it when she was six – an extraordinary achievement. The story was in response to her mother’s question: ‘How did the world begin?’

The Guinness Book of Records cites Christopher Beale as the youngest-ever male author. His five-chapter story about his favourite stuffed animals was published in 2006, when he was exactly six years and 118 days old.

The youngest author to reach the New York Times best-seller list is Christopher Paolini who had the first book of his ‘Inheritance Cycle’ published in 2002, when he was 19. His success continues.

And we must not forget Mary Shelley, who completed ‘Frankenstein’ at the age of 20.

I imagine most published authors – including successful self-published authors as well as those taking the traditional route – start writing in their 20s or 30s, with or without a university degree or a creative writing certificate. Kazuo Ishiguro once said that writers were at their peak in their 30s. Others disagree, saying older authors have a wider life experience to draw on.

It’s interesting to note how many find success somewhat older. Raymond Chandler was 51 when he was first published with ‘The Big Sleep’. Frank McCourt didn’t become a published author until the age of 66 with ‘Angela’s Ashes’, going on to become a best seller and a Pulitzer Prize winner.

The oldest author to have her first book published was Bertha Wood. At 100 years old, ‘Fresh Air and Fun; The Story of a Blackpool Holiday Camp’ was published just before her 105th birthday. She began writing this memoir at the age of 90.

On par with that record, the world’s ‘oldest-ever published author’ was Ida Pollock, who died at 105 in 2013, just before her 125th book was published. Makes me tired just thinking about it.

I suspect elderly authors are less sought-after by publishers due to their assumed slower output and lack of social media skills (by no means always the case) and the simple fact that time is running out to keep more books coming. But it’s good to see it’s far from hopeless. Self-publishing can also help.

I wonder what prompted you to write. Perhaps being an expat? Or was it something going back to your childhood? Or retirement? Early or late, something triggered it. And as you can see, there is no particular age for success.

My biggest dread as a late starter (tongue very much in cheek) is to become a best-selling author posthumously, which means I may need to live to well over 100!




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