Monday Motivation and a GoodReads Giveaway

Happy Monday, all!

I know that it’s the Spring Bank Holiday here in the UK, but it’s just a normal Monday for me… I’m in my garden office, typing away on the latest book and trying to remember this:

Image Credit: Life at Number Five
Image Credit: Life at Number Five

[Free PDF printable of the image is available here]

I love this quote and I think it’s really important.

When I’m struggling with a creative project, it’s so easy to forget… I look at a finished book such as The Language of Spells or In The Light of What We See and, even though I wrote the darn things, I forget how hard I found it.

When I’m working on something new and it’s all difficult and messy and uncertain, I have a tendency to think that I’ve ‘forgotten how to write’ or that ‘I shouldn’t be telling this story because it isn’t flowing/isn’t good’, forgetting that I felt EXACTLY THE SAME WAY about my previous books!

IntheLightofWhatWeSee-NEWAlso, if you haven’t got your hands on In The Light of What We See, yet (or would like a spare copy to use as a gift – books make wonderful presents!), why not enter this GoodReads giveaway?

It’s for a signed copy of In The Light of What We See, and I will happily sign it to a particular person/with the personal message of your choice (within reason!).

Anyway, I hope you are well, and thank you for visiting!


I Have A Book Title! Meep!

Lazy morning, Zelda-style
Zelda is successfully hiding her excitement at my new title…

Hello my lovelies! Hope you are all well, and I apologise in advance for the number of exclamation marks in the following post.

I’m very excited to announce that my new novel has a title* (courtesy of my wonderful editor at Lake Union) and a release date. Yes, it’s up for pre-order Right Now. No cover art, yet, but I have been told it’s being designed AS I TYPE THIS. (Sorry, forgot to warn you about the all-capitals-shouting, too. SORRY – TOO EXCITED.)

So, without further ado, my next book is called:

In The Light of What We See

And it will be published on 8th March 2016. Meep!

In other news, I’ve put together a little behind-the-scenes freebie for those of you who enjoyed reading about the Harper family in The Language of Spells, The Secrets of Ghosts and The Garden of Magic¬†(or for people who just like free recipes).

Head here to grab your copy.

It features a lovely photograph of Iris’s journal, created by my amazing in-house production team (AKA My Mum and Dad – thank you!).

Also, if you’re interested in writing, but need some help in getting started, check out my latest article on The Worried Writer: How To Build a Writing Habit The Easy Way


*Listeners of my podcast, The Worried Writer, may be confused. You might be thinking ‘but Sarah told us the title in the last episode’. Apologies! It changed. I hope you like the new one!



Announcing The Worried Writer Podcast!


Those on my mailing list already know about this (sign up here if you’d like to be in the club!) but here’s my ‘big’ announcement…

My secret project is a brand new podcast called The Worried Writer!

If you want to write but find it hard, this podcast is for you. Every episode will be packed with practical advice and resources and, perhaps most importantly, the knowledge that you are Not Alone.

Each month I will interview an author, delving into the nitty-gritty of the creative life. We discuss how they get their writing done and how they deal with self-doubt, creative block and procrastination.

I am a self-confessed ‘worried writer’ and, on good days, I feel as if I’ve made peace with that. I work despite the self-doubt, and I’ve developed several techniques with enable me to get words on the page on a regular schedule. I want to share those tips and techniques with you, answer questions and provide support to fellow-worriers.

I also (selfishly!) want to gather more tips and advice from other writers because worry is a sneaky little beast and I have no doubt that I will need new ways to combat it in the future.

I really hope you’ll join me. The first episode will go live next week, but in the meantime here’s a short article on the value of putting¬†process over product.

Monday Motivation: Stamina



As I’m armpit deep in rewriting at the moment, this John Irving quote has special resonance for me.

Stamina isn’t just for the rewriting stage, though, it’s an essential component of building a creative habit, writing (and finishing) a first draft, submitting, and publishing.

Do you agree? If so, how did you show stamina this week?


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: Just Fifteen Minutes

ID-10041972I’ve talked about this technique before, but it’s worth repeating. If there is something you don’t really want to do (tax return, cleaning the bathroom, writing your book), set a timer and tell yourself you’re just going to work on it for fifteen minutes.

This instantly removes some of pressure. I mean, you can do anything for fifteen tiny minutes!

You might think ‘there’s no point, what can I accomplish in such a short space of time?’, but you would be surprised.

Think about how much cleaning you get done just before some visitors arrive? Or how many emails you can power through when you know you’ve got to leave work in ten minutes to catch your train?

Plus, you might find that when the timer goes off, you’ve become so engrossed in the task that you just continue…

If you fancy trying the technique and you don’t have a stopwatch or a kitchen timer handy, there are loads online. I’m using this one right now to write this blog post.

[Image Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos]