Monday, 30 January 2017

Taking Time Out to Recharge and Reconnect

I’ve written several times about the benefits of taking time out from work to appreciate the relaxing freedom of a nice walk and/or a deep breath or two, especially where you find yourself in the good company of mature trees, flowing water, rain, wind, and unbroken vistas that enable you to look into the distance to better appreciate perspective, and simply to give your head a break from the hard focus of writing and editing.
I add to that, family. And I include close friends in that category. Though we often breathe a sigh of relief at escaping family for a few welcome hours of creative work, it’s essential that we get away from the grindstone to spend time with family and/or friends. Good advice, in my opinion, which I managed to put to good use over the weekend. I put my red pen down, closed my laptop, and took a 737 across the Irish Sea to spend quality time with my beautiful son and his lovely wife and daughter.
To say it was a breath of fresh air would be the understatement of the month. We chat all the time, but don’t get to see each other as often as we’d like. No better reason to make the best of a three-night stay, packing in family indoor and outdoor time, enjoying chats, discussing reading and writing with my word-hungry granddaughter, powerwalking through the nearby woods – searching for suitable natural-wood perches for my son’s budgie, Papa. Needless to say, my clean-eating regime got left in Ireland, and rightly so – I’ll write about hot chocolate pizza another time.

Being a freelance editor can be a bit of a funny old business. I’m always busy, working on first edits, or second or third returns, but one minute my immediate calendar had more free space than a field of prime grass in the middle of summer, then I’m booked up to July, with many other writers hinting in the near distance that they like what’s going on with my website and blog, plus, of course, many of my groovy clients continue to refer me to their writing friends and associates, which I really do appreciate (I reward this behaviour with good discount). It’s brilliant to have the work, and to have such positive feedback across the indie-writing spectrum. I’m delighted with it, especially so because I’m doing something that I love, and it’s wonderful to see so much original writing developed and released to the world.
And now I’m back in the land of saints and scholars, stuffed with love (and choc pizza), just itching to get back to work and what I do best, collaborating with indie writers to develop their hard-worked fiction and memoir, honing and polishing it until it’s ready to take the proverbial leap into the ever-expanding universe of the publishing world. My heart is full of love, my mind is well rested, and now I’m ready to go. If you have a work-in-progress that you’d like me to take a look at, send me a chapter and I’ll provide a free sample edit. After that, it’s up to you, but you know you’ll be in good company. Be sure to check out my website and blog, too.
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Sunday, 1 January 2017

Doing It Like A Boss

Almost everybody has New Year resolutions, generally aspiring to lead a healthier life, especially after the feasting and partying of the holiday period. It’s a time for taking a more positive attitude to your day, from getting out more, maybe walking or cycling, going for a swim and sauna, or maybe even improving how you perceive people and events surrounding you.
Whatever you do, becoming more involved and striving to meet objectives is an important aspect of the New Year approach. This is particularly true for writers, who are always involved in one project or another, whether that’s through actual writing or by getting out for that walk and daydreaming your way into your next chapter, action scene, or plot twist.
It’s about being active. We’re all well aware of the old adage – bums on seats – and we know only too well that nothing productive happens without the commitment to place ourselves in that seat, whether it’s typing or writing – nothing gets done by allowing distraction rule the roost.
That’s why you need to set a schedule that will at least box you into a potentially productive timeline. If your writing day starts after your work day has finished, you’re going to have to be strong as an ox so you don’t fall to the temptation of lounging on the couch in front of the demon television. TV kills productivity, as does the internet. Turn both off and banish yourself to a place where distraction takes a backseat.
If you’re a fulltime writer, then you have no excuses when it comes to timing your writing blocks from early morning. My workday schedule, as an editor, has me on the job by 7am, putting in two-hour blocks before allowing myself a break for a snack or to simply stretch the legs and eyeballs. As a writer, possibly working to a deadline, you need to be as disciplined, pushing through problems, even dumping material that’s just not doing it for you and starting again. You need to get into a strong working habit that will see you producing on a regular basis.
If you’re in a busy household, lock yourself in your room, or place a sign on the door, making it clear you’re not to be disturbed. Wear earphones and play suitable tunes if you’re easily distracted by youngsters or lonely buddies scratching at your door. Do what it takes to ensure you’re in a positive working environment, knowing that when you finish one writing block you’ll feel a real sense of achievement and will be rearing to leap into the next one.
Be positive, be disciplined, be productive. Take your desire to complete an objective by the proverbial horn and do it. Simple as – accept no excuses from your lazy self. Be your own instigator and do it like a boss, because that's what you are, your own boss. Now, go write, and when you’ve completed that novel, send me a chapter and a synopsis to for a free sample edit. Good luck!