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Welcome to The Literary Pig's blog - a safe haven for all those afflicted with
the unbearable urge to write.

Monday, 15 February 2016

Head space

One of my best thumbed writing guides is Simon Whaley's The Positively Productive Writer packed with top tips and sensible advice on How to Reject Rejection and Enjoy Positive Steps to Publication. Simon also writes regularly for Writing Magazine and his feature Productivity Leap in the February issue really resonated with me. He quotes from author David Allen's bestselling book Getting Things Done: How To Achieve Stress-free Productivity and I picked up how  one of the biggest blocks to writing is overloading our brains with too much information. Simon writes: 'Our brain is not designed to be a filing cabinet. It quickly becomes cluttered and confusion sets in.' He then goes on to advise: 'Clear the brain of the clutter and you give it the space in which to be creative, and therefore more productive.'

Six years ago my head was chock full of clutter, work clutter, and I wasn't writing anything because there simply wasn't any room in my head for creative thinking. I made a life changing decision to leave my job, end my twenty year career and become a stay-at-home mum. A wonderful side affect of this decision was that suddenly my head emptied of those buzzing, nagging thoughts that once clogged it (and kept me awake most nights). I began to daydream again. I had head space to think creatively and story ideas flooded in. That's when my writing career seriously began.

Six years on I'm still writing but I do need to consciously give myself head space to think creatively. My favourite day is Monday as I go for a lunchtime swim (1 hour) where I just allow my thoughts to wander. This is the time of the week when I can plot and plan out storylines. I've recently started working on a second novel and my weekly swim is the time when I work through what I'm going to write for the rest of the week. Walking and running also help, along with gardening and washing the dishes, as these activities all seem to clear head space giving me that valuable creative thinking time. But swimming is definitely the most productivity activity I can do to help kick start my writing each week.

What do you do to create head space? Please share your top tips?
As you can see LitPig highly recommends Simon Whaley's The Positively Productive Writer. If you haven't got a copy then do check it out.

Monday, 1 February 2016

Celebrate the small stuff

2016 has started quietly for me with little news on submissions. Sometimes this is the hardest part of writing, the long periods of radio silence without any feedback. Rejections are tough, but at least they're a sign that someone out there read your work - they sort of validate your existence as a writer. I'm trying to ignore the booming silence and immerse myself in a new project, writing my next novel - the first is out there in submission land with literary agents. Like my writing buddy Wendy I've realised I can't just sit back and wait on feedback, I had to start writing the next one.

During these quiet times I sometimes have a quick flick through my clippings folder. This is where I stuff all acceptance emails, printouts from shortlists and any other successes. As you can see after almost 6 years of writing it's pretty full - time to start a new folder. That has to be something to celebrate!

And now I have something to add to the new folder ... after recently hearing that my short story Ancient Wing has been selected for the next RATTLE TALES event on 11 February (Live short stories and flash fiction at The Brunswick pub, Hove, full details here). I will be reading the story so I'd better get practising.