Writing Resolutions


Hi Everyone

Happy New Year.

As the new year has just begun, it’s time to reflect on your writing journey throughout 2012 and think about how you can improve your writing or how you can make more time for your writing, or both. You need to consider:

  • How much you write?
  • When you write?
  • What you write about?
  • How long it takes you to write?
  • What things you could give up or do less of to spend more time writing?
  • How can you find ‘spare’ moments to write?

If you are writing vast amounts but not seeing an outcome, in other words you are not seeing a story forming, it could be that quantity has taken over quality and you need to have a re-think and focus on practicing writing shorter pieces in order to develop the quality of your work.

If on the other hand, you found it hard to get started on your writing and you hadn’t written much in 2012, then it’s time to get creative.

Grab a pen and ten sheets of paper. On each sheet write one of the following category titles:

  1. Animals
  2. Birds
  3. People
  4. Family
  5. Jobs
  6. Hobbies
  7. Locations
  8. Foods
  9. Objects
  10. Magic

You should have a total of ten pages, each with a title from the above list.

Next, you need to write anything that springs to mind under each title. For example, for animals you may write dog, cat, horse, pig or sheep.

For Birds you could write, emu, peacock, sparrow, finch, duck, chicken.

For family you could write, mum, dad, sister, brother, uncle, cousin.

For people you could write anything from a detective to a boy called Peter.

Write whatever comes to your mind for each title. Go crazy if you want to, the more absurd and weird the better. This exercise is not only good for unleashing your creativity and to get you thinking differently but when you get writer’s block or just crave for fresh story ideas, you can get inspiration from these pieces of paper and can make a story out of one or more of the things you have listed for each category or from just a few categories. This means you will have no excuses for not having a new year’s resolution to either write more or to improve the quality of your writing.

My new year’s resolution is to change my quirkybooks.net site into a much more sophisticated and attractive design, incorporating an e-Book store, so watch this space for future details.

Whatever your writing resolution ensure you have one because without setting any goals you won’t take action and nothing will be achieved. If you want to progress with your writing, you need a resolution. Good luck and let me know how you get on.

Write soon

Sandra

 

quirkybooks Awarded Blog of the Year 2012


Hi Everyone

It has been such a busy award time for me lately, both receiving and giving and now it is time to do it all over again. I am so grateful to:

http://utesmile.wordpress.com for nominating me for the first Blog of the Year 2012 Award. This means such a lot.

https://catnipoflife.wordpress.com for my second Blog of the Year 2012 Award, that means I am up to two stars, mega awesome.

It feels such an honour to be given awards and to know that people love reading my writing. Your support is a pillar of strength and I welcome the awards with open arms and accept with gratitude.

So here is what you need to know about:

‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award

(This has been copied word for word for accuracy. It is suggested you do the same…makes posting easy!)

Do you know a blog that deserves an award?

Do you have special blogs that you love to read?

Which blogs do you bookmark and follow?

Would you like to give them an award this year?

Then the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award is for you!

The ‘rules’ for this award are simple:

1 Select the blog(s) you think deserve the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award.

2 Write a blog post and name/tell us about the blog(s) you have chosen – there’s no minimum or maximum number of blogs required – and ‘present’ them with their award.

3 Please include a link back to this page, quirkybooks Awarded Blog of the Year 2012 and include these ‘rules’ in your post (please don’t alter the rules or the badges!)

4 Let the blog(s) you have chosen know that you have given them this award and share the ‘rules’ with them

5 You can now also join The Facebook group – click ‘like’ on this page ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award Facebook group and then you can share your blog with an even wider audience

6 As a winner of the award – please add a link back to the blog that presented you with the award – and then proudly display the award on your blog and sidebar … and start collecting stars…

Yes – that’s right – there are stars to collect!

Unlike other awards which you can only add to your blog once – this award is different!

When you begin you will receive the ‘1 star’ award – and every time you are given the award by another blog – you can add another star!

There are a total of 6 stars to collect.

Which means that you can check out your favorite blogs – and even if they have already been given the award by someone else – you can still bestow it on them again and help them to reach the maximum 6 stars!

‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award Badges

There are six badges for you to collect – you can either ‘swap’ your badge for the next one each time you are given the award – or even proudly display all six badges if you are lucky enough to be presented with the award six times!

Need to know more? Check out the FAQ page

And Congratulations! on being chosen for the ‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award!

‘Blog of the Year 2012’ Award – thumbnails

Here are the 6 awards in thumbnail size for your sidebar – feel free to Right Click and save any of the images on this page:

        

          

So there you go those are the rules and the name of the game.

For those of you who want to play, the ball is in your court!

 And my nominees for the award are as follows:
Enjoy your award, I look forward to seeing the logo on your blog and reading more inspirational blog posts from you.
Write soon
Sandra
Related articles

Quirky Shine On Award


Hi Everyone

I was recently nominated for the Shine On award by Sharla from http://catnipoflife.wordpress.com

As always, with any award, there are rules to follow, so here they are:

1.) Show appreciation of the blogger who nominated you and link back to them in your post.  Done.

2.) Add the award logo to your blog. Done.

3.) Share 7 things about yourself.

  1. Besides writing, I love going to the cinema.
  2. My favourite type of movies are dance, action or thriller. I also like Disney/Pixar movies.
  3. I prefer writing to reading.
  4. I have an Apple Imac computer that I use loads and I adore.
  5. I hold a PTTLS Level 4 Teacher/Trainer qualification that I got this year.
  6. I have an IAG Diploma (Information, Advice and Guidance) Level 4 that I achieved this year.
  7. I believe dreams can come true.

4.) Nominate 5 – 10 or so bloggers you admire. Here I go:

http://ohshineon.com

http://liveblissful.wordpress.com

http://kattermonran.com

http://utesmile.wordpress.com

http://inspire1life.com

http://motivatingdaily.com

http://russelrayphotos2.com

http://searchingforthehappiness.wordpress.com

http://hutchagoodlife.wordpress.com

http://hamsterdiaries.wordpress.com

5.) Contact your chosen bloggers to let them know. Will do.

6.) Optional questions – Here are my 7.

  1. Do you prefer art or literature?
  2. What is your favourite film and why?
  3. Would you prefer to read to a child or for them to read to you?
  4. What makes you happy?
  5. What are your wisest words?
  6. What is your favourite insect and why?
  7. If you could choose any words to be your last, what would they be?

I look forward to reading the answers to my 7 questions from the above nominees. Congratulations to all of you and may your blogs continue to Shine On.

Write soon

Sandra

Shine On Award

 

Have Fun with National Novel Writing Month


Hi Everyone

In order to keep the momentum of NaNoWriMo to a peak, I asked Author and Writing Coach Rochelle Melander, if she could do a guest blog post on how to stay motivated during this event and this is what she wrote.

I rocked NaNoWriMo on November 1. By the end of my first writing session, I had nearly twice the amount of words I needed. When I woke up on November 2—a Friday—I felt a sense of foreboding, “You mean I have to do this again?” By the end of that first busy weekend in November, I was thousands of words behind and worried about catching up. And I wasn’t enjoying creating scenes. Instead, I was worrying about whether the scene was realistic, thinking about how this should be easier, and wondering how long it was going to take me to revise this quickly drafted book. All the time, I had my eye on the counter: how many words had I written. (And I’m a professional writer!)

But recently, I’ve had a brilliant, game-changing aha moment: oh yeah, National Novel Writing Month is supposed to be fun. That tiny thought was all I needed to jump back into NaNoWriMo project with some joy. If you’re struggling with NaNoWriMo and need to add a little fun to your work, here are five ways to rock your story:

1.   Add a pop of color. I hear that advice a lot on clothing shows (as well as in nearly every magazine I read). In order to make an outfit compatible with the season, we can add a pop of color with our nails, shoes, or jewelry. Well, why not add a pop of color to our novels? A few weeks ago, I heard a story on the radio about a guy who had invented a working gun that could be printed on plastic using a 3-dimensional printer. My mind went right to fiction: imagine what would happen if a character could print a gun? Now that would add a pop and maybe even a pop of color. Try it: give your character a printable gun or some other unusual 3-dimensional prop to make and use. See what happens next.

2.  Take a page from fan fiction. Many of the students I am working with during NaNoWriMo this year write fan fiction. They borrow the best elements from their favorite novels and television shows, add new characters and plots, and write forward. When they talk about writing their NaNoWriMo book, they get all giddy because it gives them an opportunity to spend the month with characters they are curious about in a setting they have long admired. Try it: list 5-10 elements you like from your favorite television shows and novels. Don’t limit yourself—write down characters, setting, plot points, props, and anything else you can think of. Once you have your list, add one or more element to your NaNoWriMo project.

3.  Make worry work for you. I’ve been a worrier my whole life. Even happy events leave me worrying about what might go wrong. On the other hand, if you’re a worrier, you can harness your imagination and make it work for your writing. In Josip Novakovich’s Fiction Writer’s Workshop, he invites readers to make use of their worries by listing events that could have happened but didn’t (p. 23). These could be events you feared or hoped might happened. Try it: Make a list of at least five of these events and use one or more in your novel.

4.  Phone a friend. On the popular television quiz show, Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, participants could get help by reaching for three lifelines: 50-50, ask the audience, or phone a friend. Often both the audience and the friend were not just wrong, they were wildly wrong. In NaNoWriMo, we might get some interesting answers if we ask a friend or acquaintance for help with our novel. And in the world of NaNo, interesting means more fun for us. Try this: ask your friends on Facebook to give you a fun character or situation to add into your novel. Then do it—put in the zombie librarian or the flying pig, even if they have nothing to do with what you are writing about. Trying to add a unique element to your book will puzzle your brain in the best possible way.

5.  Use Found Passages. I’m enamored of artists who can take old materials and shape them into new items. In Paper Made: 101 Exceptional Projects to Make Out of Everyday Paper, author Kayte Terry teaches readers how to make purses out of old book covers and bracelets out of scraps of paper. As a writer, you can take found passages of writing and incorporate them into your book as well. Jonathan Safran Foer created his book Tree of Codes by cutting into his favorite book, The Street of Crocodiles by Bruno Schulz. What emerged is a novel that is part story, part sculpture. Try this: review favorite books, journal entries, magazine articles, and your old drafts of articles and novels for snippets to mix and match and revise into a part of your book.

Your turn: What tools and techniques do you suggest for letting go and having fun? Comment below! We need your advice!

Rochelle Melander is an author, speaker, and certified professional coach. She is the author of ten books, including the National Novel Writing Month guide—Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days (and Live to Tell About It) Rochelle teaches professionals how to write good books fast, use writing to transform their lives, navigate the publishing world, and get published! For more tips and a complementary download of the first two chapters of Write-A-Thon, visit her online at www.writenowcoach.com

Rochelle Y. Melander 
Author and Writing Coach 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Author of the book,
Write-A-Thon: Write Your Book in 26 Days 
(And Live to Tell About It)
(Writers Digest Books, October 2011)
A 2011 ForeWord Book of the Year Finalist
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
http://www.writenowcoach.com
http://www.writenowmastermind.com
rochelle@WriteNowCoach.com

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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Whose Birthday Is It Today?


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It’s Peaches and Snuggles’ Birthday today. Happy first birthday to you. xx

10 Reasons why I love my pigs:

1 They are great company
2 Their cuddles make me feel happy
3 Their hay munching is very therapeautic
4 Their gentle nature makes them very approachable
5 They are inspirational
6 They are motivational
7 They are fascinating to watch
8 Every day I feel blessed to have such beauty with me
9 They are funny
10 They are energetic

And they can be noisy – Which I love.

What do you love about your pets?

Write soon
Sandra

B is for Brainstorm (A-Z of Writing)


 

Hi Everyone

Whether you are writing a lot about a variety of things or you haven’t picked up a pen in ages, sometimes it’s difficult for your brain to come up with what to write next. Some may refer to this as writer’s block. I prefer to think of it as creative block

The answer to this is to brainstorm. Pick any topic, place, phrase, thing, season, time and start brainstorming. That is, write everything that springs to mind relating to that one particular thing and that should give you ideas for plot, characters, setting and scenery.

For example, if I choose a hot summer’s day, I have already got the weather, the season, as well as the fact it’s daytime. I could also have any of the following:

  • Picnic
  • Stream
  • Grass
  • Children playing
  • Swimming
  • Sunbathing
  • Butterflies
  • Flowers
  • Bees
  • Magic
  • Seagull
  • Beach
  • Pebbles
  • Sand
  • Rocks
  • Sea
  • Surfing
  • Drowning
  • Man saved a boy
  • Long lost son but didn’t know it
  • Became friends with boy
  • Lifeguards sacked after ignoring warning signs
  • Newspaper
  • Media attention
  • Publicity
  • Journalist
  • Story
  • Money
  • Fame
  • Fortune
  • Tragedy
  • Boy dies in car crash
  • Organ donor

I could go on and on, you see how one idea can lead to another and indeed I went away from the initial thought and my story began to take shape. I didn’t pre-empt that, I just let it flow.

So when you are feeling a bit down, get pen and paper and just go with the flow, it’s amazing what you can come up with and if you are still not happy because you cannot see the bigger picture from your ideas that have been flowing, store them up to be used at a later date. A good place to store them, is in a notepad that you will refer to over again or on index cards, that way you can mix and match them.

Good luck with the writing and let me know how you get on.

Write soon

Sandra

 

One Lovely Blog Award


One Lovely Blog Award

Thank you to everyone who has liked my blog posts, left a comment, joined my blog or Liked my Facebook page. Your support is hugely appreciated and I thoroughly enjoy interacting with you and reading your blogs too.

You may have heard that last week I was awarded the One Lovely Blog Award by Dan Balva from hurdlestohappiness, here is the Link to his site http://hurdlestohappiness.wordpress.com/2012/07/18/one-lovely-blog-award

I am extremely pleased to received this award, which is my second award to date. It is a wonderful feeling that people are enjoying my writing and that makes me feel very happy and excited about what the future holds. Dan has a great blog so you should check it out.

Oh, yes! There are a few rules which come with the receipt of this award and they are as follows:

ONE LOVELY BLOG AWARD RULES: 

1. I need to thank the person who nominated me.

2. Share 7 things about myself that you still may not know

3. Nominate 15 bloggers.

4. Notify the nominees that I have done so.

5. Put the logo of the award on my blog site.

Having already completed steps 1 and 5, that leaves me with 2,3, and 4. So 7 things about me that you still may not know:

  1. I appeared as an extra in the thirteenth episode of Torchwood, at the end of series one. My character had to scream and run away from a monster. I was paid for the work I did and it was filmed in the city centre of Cardiff in front of a live street audience. I was also shown in the trailer wearing a short white jacket and yes, I still have the jacket.
  2. I have a bronze award for Freestyle Disco dancing.
  3. I used to do Irish and Appalachian dancing.
  4. I did Ballroom dancing classes when I was younger.
  5. I have been a volunteer Hospital Radio Presenter since 1995. I currently present a show on Hospital Radio Exeter on a Monday night. My show is called Dreamboat and is aired from 10pm – 11pm. Here is a link to my radio show profile page:http://www.hospitalradioexeter.com/Members/SandraBellamy
  6. When I was young I had a golden cocker-spaniel called Purdy, she was the runt of the litter but she was also my best friend.
  7. I am an only child, I have no brothers or sisters.
  8. (Bonus) I have a wonderful grandma who is 94 and still living in her own home in Dawlish in Devon.

I hope you feel you know me a little better now. If you have any questions or comments about the above, please feel free to share them.

Now to nominate the One Lovely Blog Award to some other well deserving bloggers:

  1. hutchagoodlife  This is my personal favourite, having 4 guineapigs myself, I find this blogger extremely funny and insightful. She is able to get into the mind of a guineapig and make the reader believe they are in the guineapigs’ situation, truly incredible.
  2. marthareynoldswrites.com
  3. margekatherine.com
  4. dorothystacy.wordpress.com
  5. feelgoodtribe.com
  6. hurtlingtowards60.wordpress.com
  7. lesleycarter.wordpress.com
  8. jenowenby.wordpress.com
  9. valeriedavies.com
  10. russelrayphotos2.com
  11. ilovegetttingupinthemorning.wordpress.com
  12. suewestwood.wordpress.com
  13. bradstanton.com
  14. 200positivesaboutredunancy.wordpress.com
  15. spiritualchocolate.wordpress.com

Congratulations to all of you and keep up the good work.

Write soon

Sandra

Researching what your reader wants to read


Hi Everyone

Today’s post is in response to a comment from hutchagoodlife. To find out how you can research what your reader is wanting to read.

I recently wrote a non-fiction book proposal about redundancy and this involved a lot of research. This is what I did and what I would advise you to do, in order to increase your chances of giving the reader what they want and of getting published.

  • Google your subject – paying attention to the top 5 websites and browse them thoroughly
  • Use Google Keyword search tools for finding out what words and combinations of words are most searched for
  • Search the web in general for your subject matter and note and explore your results
  • Read as many books as possible, written by other authors on the subject/genre for which you want to write
  • Read books by the publisher/s you are going to submit your work to, to see what’s been done before
  • Look through magazines/newspapers, watch TV programmes on your subject
  • Devise a market research survey or questionnaire and find a suitable place to action it – then ensure you do take action by noting the results
  • Join social networking forums relevant to your subject and find out what everyone is talking about –  A good one for me is LinkedIn
  • Go to your local bookstores and ask them for a print out on books that you can buy relevant to your subject, if there is a lot, choose between 5 -10. – Different bookstores will have some different titles that you can potentially buy but there will always be crossovers, which is when you can start to see patterns emerging of the most popular titles that you need to study
  • Go to visit your local library and look at books similar to or the same as your subject – Pay attention to how many times each book has been taken out – That way you can compare the most popular titles with the most unpopular ones and analyse why you believe they are better

The amount of time you spend doing each of the above, will most likely be different for a fiction book to a non-fiction book and although all are relevant, you may find that some work better for you than others, depending on what it is that you want to write about.

Whatever you are writing about, ensure you put a different slant on it, to what has been done before. Stay positive, stay focused and believe in your-self.

Good luck.

If you want any more help, please let me know.

Write soon

Sandra