Blog Entries
This Week - Monday 16th October 2017
Category: Site News
Tags: Blog Monday Muse

I’m going to pretend (please play along) that the reason “This Week” is up so late is because I wanted to wait for the blog/muses to be published first. The real reason is obviously that I forgot. Apologies to you all.

Well and truly on the Bragging Stool this week is Alyson who was not only Highly Commended with ‘Left Behind’ in the Morgen Freeman monthly comp, but also won the Mags4Dorset short story competition. And, if that wasn’t enough, her crime story ‘Sweet Revenge’ made it onto Writing Magazine’s short list. Congratulations!

Adhocers this week are Sue (on page one!), Angela, Chris, Maggie and myself.  

Monday Muse

Nicola has provided some scary muses for us this week. Here they are:

  1. You’re driving on a country road. It is late at night. You are far from home. You realize, as you check your mirrors, there is a man hiding on the floor of your back seat.
  2. You are falling. The 737 is 100 meters above you. You hear the rush of the wind, and it’s so cold. You realize you are still holding your…
  3. Something in the closet was making a strange noise, so I opened the door and…
  4. Write a story or poem that includes a church, a pumpkin and a black cat.
  5. Write a story or poem that takes place on a mortuary late at night


Jill has written a very interesting blog about what age people are when they start writing. I often think that I wish I’d started earlier, but I also think that you bring a lot more to your writing when you have experienced life a little. I’m sure it’s different for different people. Certainly interesting to think about whether your age affects your output.

October Challenges and Opportunities

Jill and I have pieces up in this section, but it’s certainly not too late to pen something for critiquing.

Meetings, etc.

The next Poetry Project (1) is scheduled for Friday October 27th 3pm.

The next Formal meeting is scheduled for Sunday October 29th with Sue in the chair.


Hope you all have a great, and productive, writing week! 

Why Do We Read?
Category: Writing
Tags: Writing reading books

Stephen King says: “If you want to be a writer, you must do two things above all others: read a lot and write a lot.” No doubt this is excellent advice, but what exactly does he mean?

How much is ‘a lot’. I read every day and feel strange if I haven’t managed to read anything all day. Reading is such an ingrained habit that it feels akin to brushing my teeth. I nearly always read before going to bed, sometimes it’s an hour, sometimes only ten minutes depending on how tired I am. I used to read on my commute to work (and was always disappointed to note how many people were playing on their phones rather than reading on the underground). On average I read a book a week. Some people I know find this a lot, but I know of many others who read much more than I do.

And what should you read? Some people advise that you should read exclusively within your genre so that you get a feel for the pace, style, vocabulary, etc. Subconsciously you absorb aspects of others’ writing that will make yours better. Others say you should read as widely as possible, from Classics and literature to trashy novels and everything in between. This gives you a ‘bigger picture’ concept and you learn from other writers’ positives as well as negatives.

And what should you do with that book once you’ve finished reading it? I used to have a blog and write extensive book reviews for the book I’d read. This made me read more ‘actively’ as I was searching for quotes to use in my reviews and looking closely at style, sentence structure and vocabulary. I also used to find out information about the author. This was also very useful; it was always interesting to learn how many books the author had written and how his or her journey to publication had evolved. Now, because my time is more limited and I’m focussing on writing, I no longer write long reviews. I do, however, have a goodreads account and write short reviews for the books I’ve read. This still makes me think about the book and it’s good for fellow authors to have reviews online for their books.

The question I’d like to leave you with is this one: do you read solely for pleasure, or do you read more actively?  

A Change is as Good as a Rest
Category: Writing
Tags: writing routine habits

If, like me, you seek routine in your daily life and claim not to be able to function without certain things in place (i.e. coffee in a certain cup, writing with the right pen, etc.), then think again. Sometimes what you need is to shake things up a bit.

Habit is described in the dictionary as: a settled or regular tendency or practice, especially one that is hard to give up. As writers we often talk about ‘making writing a habit’. More often than not people will tell you to write every day, preferably at the same time every day. This supposedly helps your mind to relax in order to let the creative juices flow more easily.

But, what if you can’t write at the same time every day? Or what if you’ve just moved country and your favourite coffee cup is in a box on a ship and your favourite pen has just run out and you haven’t got a clue where to find one exactly the same? The answer: you improvise.

In an ideal world writing would be my job. I would get up at the same time, start writing at the same time and have countless other little things in place that would (supposedly) help me create my masterpiece. The reality is somewhat different. I have a young child who is not yet in school and a husband starting a new job. My son goes to bed at the same time every night, so I try to do writing three to four evenings a week, but sometimes that’s just not possible. Life gets in the way.

And over the last couple of weeks I’ve surprised myself. I’ve often read about people who snatch ten minutes here and fifteen minutes there and thought to myself: that wouldn’t suit me at all. But that is what I do now. And I may not be producing anywhere near as much as I’d like, but at least it’s something and something is better than nothing.

Not that I wholeheartedly agree, but I’ll leave you with this…

What do you think?


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