Midsummer Motivation

I love this time of year when the hedgerows are full of poppies.
I love this time of year when the hedgerows are full of poppies.

Hello, hello! Hope you had a lovely weekend. After a relaxing family BBQ on Saturday, I had a fabulous burst of energy and spent Sunday doing Useful Things in the house and garden.

I also had the urge to reassess my goals for the year and to plan for the next few months and I realised, belatedly, that it had been the summer solstice on Saturday. My subconscious was clearly aware that the year had turned and was giving me a little nudge.

So, we’re officially into the second half of the year – how are you all doing with your goals for 2014?

I do think it’s useful to revisit plans and to examine habits to see what is working (and what isn’t).

For example, looking back over my diary, I can see that I’ve recorded many pitiful writing days with just 200 or 300 words, but that I hit my overall target (to finish the first draft of the new book). In other words, those small amounts really do add up. The key, for me, definitely lies in regularity, so I will continue with that and reassure myself on the bad days that some words are better than none.

I’ve also noticed that on the months in which I set concrete goals (such as write 20,000 words, blog once a week, edit three chapters), I was far more productive, so that’s another lesson to learn. Or, more accurately re-learn! I know these things but need to keep reminding myself of them… Argh!

So, for the rest of the year I’m going to maintain the good habits and try to build on them. I’d like to have far more ‘good writing days’ for example, so I need to look at what’s different on those days and try to engineer them.

I also need to set some concrete goals but I need to cogitate on those (and then break them down into monthly targets).

How about you, folks? Whether you plan your year out (like me!) or prefer to wing it, I’m wishing you all the best. Here’s to an excellent (and productive) six months!

[Image Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos]


Monday Motivation: Writing A Rainbow

I’m considering a new regular feature on the blog: Monday Motivation.* I’ll share my latest and shiniest tricks for staying motivated. (Or, if work is not going well, wail and whine about that. Sounds fun, huh?!)

Writing a novel is a long old slog and, even with the best of intentions, we all slip into despondency from time to time.

After working very hard to get The Secrets of Ghosts finished, I had a mini writing slump. I was struggling to get a couple of hundred words done in a session and spent days (okay, a couple of weeks) actively avoiding opening my Scrivener file.

However, during March I’ve managed to write every single day and I’ve hit my word count goals every single week. Hurrah!

In part, this phase of productivity is probably due to having had those sucky couple of weeks (we all need a break, after all), put it’s also to a couple of motivation tools I’ve been using.

The first is a new way I’ve been using to record my word counts.

I’ve been using a ‘don’t break the chain‘ style thing in my diary since the start of the year, but this month I hit on the idea of colouring in the boxes on my calendar with nice pencils, instead of marking them with an ‘X’.

Look! It’s so pretty!


Next week I’ll share the other thing I’ve been trying (assuming I haven’t just jinxed my good progress by writing this blog).

*You know, until I forget about it. Ahem.

Happy New Year!

ID-100224519Well, here we are… 2014!

2013 was amazing (a word I can no longer say without hearing the Horrible Histories version of Professor Brian Cox), and, at the risk of sounding greedy, I’d love more of the same in 2014.

As well as the highs (becoming a published novelist, connecting with lovely book reviewers and readers, becoming a bestseller – yay!), I was quite stressed out for a lot of last year.

This year, I’m hoping to be more organised and to have more faith in myself.

I also want to write more. Fiction just for myself/for fun, as well as contracted projects and freelance.

With that in mind, my goal for the year (I don’t make resolutions, as such, but I love a goal or two), is to write fiction every day.

I’m a great believer in the ‘little and often’ approach to getting things done. If you can build something into your daily routine and stick at it long enough, it becomes habitual (like brushing your teeth).

How about you? Whatever your plans are for the coming year, I hope you have a good one.

And, as always, thank you for reading.

[Image Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net]

Monday Motivation: An Invocation for Beginnings

I’m always firmly behind the zeitgeist – five years ago I would’ve been earnestly asking if you’d seen this cool show called The West Wing. Anyhoo, that’s a long way of saying that I only just discovered Ze Frank (courtesy of Laini Taylor’s blog – thank you!). He ran a popular YouTube show back in 2006 and has recently relaunched his Vlog channel.

‘An Invocation for Beginnings’ is an excellent way to warm up for a writing session (or any creative endeavour, really), but do resist clicking through the rest of his videos. At least until AFTER you’ve finished work.

Stefan Bucher has designed a poster with the full text of the invocation. It’s available here.