Writing While Reading

Dead Romantic

It’s probably a very typical response, but I became a writer because I loved to read. I guess it’s natural to want to become what you love. And today I find in the post a book package from the gorgeous Mandee, one of those lovable Vegan YA Nerds. Thanks Mandee! I continuously read while I write. Not only books far removed from what I write, but books smack bang in the middle of the YA spectrum.

I made a pact with myself early on that I never wanted to be one of those writers that had to be locked away in a sound-proof cork room in order to be able to write, and not be exposed to anyone else’s work. It was hard when I was younger and more impressionable. I do remember the phase when I used to write in a terrible stream-of-consciousness style (I had read far too much Faulkner) and that time I thought I was Charlotte Bronte. But as I become more established, basically just wrote more, something interesting happened. I became comfortable with my voice and my style. I knew who I was as a writer. So while I can read anything these days and feel inspired, awed and in love with someone else’s work, I can’t help but write the way I still do. And anyway, I don’t want to emulate anyone. I really want to be myself.

So my writing advice is to:

a) write lots. It is true, the more you write the better you get. And if you’re destined to be an author, you’l find yourself.

b) read lots. You will learn more about writing reading books per se than books about how to write.

PS – if you’re wondering what that chocolate bar is, it’s like a vegan version of a Mars Bar, but way more delicious, the mollassey taste of the caramel is to die for*

*unintended tie-in pun with the novel.

Writing in Cafes

writing fuel

I have a lovely writing space at home with a big wooden table and a window view (always messy though, always), but nothing beats the treat of getting out of the house and into a cafe with a laptop.

It really helps to change your perspective, free up your mind and there’s no little writing quibble a hot chocolate and a warm blueberry & apple muffin cant fix.

I was joined yesterday by awesome writer Cristy Burne – if there’s one writerly tool I can’t do without – that’s finding someone who you can write peacefully with. So the silences are filled with prospect and words on the page and you can resurface for lunch with someone who understands everything you’re going through.

I surprised myself by writing close to 2000 words yesterday. Usually I end up caving in to the wi-fi (much to Cristy’s aghast) and… procrastinating (no, looking at Goodreads is not “research”)

All you need is a powerpoint and a cafe that won’t kick you out (and is sold by your argument that you are in fact a “living art installation”). Today looks like a gorgeous day to write.

Aural Inspiration #1

When you feel like you’re out there on your own/Know there is someone watching over you/When out at sea feels nothing like a home/Oh sailor we will blow the wind like oohhh

I don’t find myself drawing a lot of inspiration from other books (my style is pretty much set), photos (for some reason I grew out of this) or movies (I’m always too aware of writing essentially a film treatment rather than a novel, especially in YA), but apart from my own wonky imagination I find I draw a lot from music and music videos.

Have you ever felt like a song encapsulates a moment of your life? It’s the same with my writing – I listen to a lot of music and actively search for new music while I write and there will always be that one song that will for me come to represent what my project is about. I’m currently working on an interim MS while I decide what to do with myself (I call it my experiment MS, it may or may not involve friendly neighbourhood stalkers) and Oh Sailor by Mr Little Boots is my perfect inspiration song.