This week I am, as always, stuck for something to write. And then it struck me: I haven’t done anything — at ALL — with Saving Grace/Holistic Collection in months. In fact, I can’t even remember what I renamed it. And so I decided to write a little flash fic about a few of the characters. If you want to learn more about these cool people, check out the ‘Meet the Family’ page up top.

Sash tapped nervously at the keyboard. He’d never known that people used the internet for more than finding out things about humans. Rath — he shook the name off like an uncomfortable hand on an uncomfortable, painful shoulder — had never told him that they had a whole community on here.

“It’s anonymous, Aleks,” Tom said with a thoughtful smile. “I wouldn’t have let you on here otherwise. Make sure not to name any names… or talk of specifics…” He sighed. “I know it isn’t perfect, but if you won’t talk to me or Annie about it, and you won’t let me tell your brother… I just hoped that you might talk to someone hidden behind a screen. Annie checked her out for me, and she’s not part of the House. We’re pretty sure she’s Pink Fey, although it can be hard to tell sometimes. And she’s well qualified, especially in talking to people with our particular issues.”

Sometimes I think we’re all a bit crazy — that something about the turning —

Sash blinked and wished that Tom wasn’t in the room — not only that, but that his friend had never found him in the first place. Neither of them spoke about the way his emotional walls had started to crumble, but they both knew that the incidents were clear evidence of it. With the crumbling came the emotions he hadn’t wanted to feel, that Tam had drugged him to get rid of. In some way, he missed the oblivion that they gave him — if he’d still been taking them when he moved into Tom’s place, he would have been safe from the incessant sarcastic humour and understanding that drove him mad enough to let feeling back into his icy heart.

“You don’t have to if you don’t want to, Al. You know that.”

If there was one thing that he didn’t mind about Tom’s ridiculous attempt to fix him, it was that he never ever used the name he’d taken when he came to England, the name that had been said by dozens of people and just one person in particular. He much preferred ‘Aleks’. No one called him that; it was comforting to be able to forget his past.

He looked back up at the screen. It was all written in an ancient language that Tom insisted was Fey-ese. That had made him laugh — a short, sarcastic bark.  Tom had told him that it meant ‘Psychiatry Service for Fey’, and, as unlikely as it sounded, Sash trusted him. He trusted that Tom had his best interests at heart, and that, by some miracle, this new form of ‘help’ would actually… well, help.

And so he started typing.

Ruminations That Have Nothing to Do With Rum

No, I don’t know what that title is supposed to mean either.

Today, you lucky folks get the post that I meant to write last week before I forgot what it was I wanted to write about, although, actually, it’s even more relevant to my brain-thinkings today than then.

Today, I want to ponder the role of the writer.

In English lately, we have, to the joy of just about everyone, been reading poetry by Tennyson. And, apparently, some of his poems are about his role in society — should he participate, should he not; should he use his writing to change the world for the better, should he write to entertain — Tennyson really did not know what he was doing. And he’s not the only one.

It’s been around a century and a half since Tennyson wondered, but we still don’t know the answer. What do we write for? Continue reading

Ten Tips To Make You Less of a Lazy Writer

I’d like to say I have a reason for not posting anything last week, but… I don’t. So, to try and make up for it, this:

Today, ironically, I would like to give you some tips for writing even when you don’t want to write. Just a small disclaimer: as you can probably guess, these things don’t always work for me, and not all tips and tricks work for everybody. But here you go anyway — my ten top tips for getting that chapter, essay, or blog post done…

  1. Use this thing. It’s great for organising the stuff you need to do, and the idea of your health leeching away if you don’t do something can sometimes be a good motivator. If nothing else, it lets you see what you have for that day that you want to accomplish.
  2. This one is for if you’re blocked, and it probably sounds obvious and annoying — write something else. It might not help you get that chapter you need to write done, you might never use what you just wrote, and it might seem like a complete waste of time, but it isn’t. The fact is, you’re still writing, still being productive; if you wrote nothing because you couldn’t write what you were supposed to be writing and didn’t want to waste time on something else, you’d find yourself making the same mistake over and over again. Trust me, I’ve done it. If, for example, you’re like me and are endeavouring to write every single day, then establishing that habit is important. Not only that, it can be tough. But if you write something that you enjoy writing, at least at first, you’ll find that it becomes part of your routine, and the idea of not writing anything at all, let alone important things, fills you with guilt. Which brings me onto my next point.
  3. Guilt is a good motivator. It makes you feel pretty shit, but it works. If you’re not getting done what you want to get done, try telling people that you need to get it done. Tell your friends to hound you about it endlessly. Tell them to threaten you with violence. Perhaps not that last one.
  4. Dangle a carrot in front of your nose. This very second, I am writing only because I feel bad about not posting last week and because doing this makes me feel productive, being productive makes me feel good, and if I feel good I won’t feel guilty about watching Death Note for the next five hours. Find something you enjoy (that doesn’t involve work, so you’re less likely to shirk it just as you do writing) and only allow yourself to do it after you’ve done a set amount of work.
  5. Put music on. It may be just me, but, when I decide that I need to do something, turning music on really helps. It switches me from messing-about-on-the-internet z0ne to get-something-done zone. Plus, singing along to it can be a useful but not timeywimey-costly. Again, seamlessly onto my next point (you’d think I planned this stuff).
  6. Let yourself breathe. And I don’t mean this literally (although you do need to allow yourself to push air through your lungs — in fact, it’s almost imperative). If you’re anything like me, you can’t just keep on going non-stop for an hour or so — you need to take breaks. For me (when I’m being disciplined) this means focussing on my music or staring into space thinking of what I might write next… or what I’m having for dinner. Anything that catches my fancy at the time.
  7. Don’t be too hard on yourself. This one could also be classed as ‘don’t set unrealistic goals’. We all know you’re lazy, and being productive is difficult. While it’s easy to berate yourself for all the things you haven’t done, you need to focus on what you have done, because that is pretty damn awesome — you’ve written a killer first line/paragraph/chapter/draft/plan/character breakdown/novel. Be proud of it.
  8. Don’t give up. So the sentence you just wrote sounds terrible. So your characters have flung themselves off the tightrope paths you meticulously planned for them, and everything is downhill from here. So what? You can always change things later; for now, just keep on scribbling.
  9. Be action man/woman/being. Right now, I’m researching to try and betterify the first draft I wrote. To be fair to myself, I have done quite well with my researching… but it’s not getting anything done with the novel. Stop thinking about all the ways it could go wrong, all the things that you need to think about first, and get going! A watched kettle never boils and a thought-of/meticulously-planned-out novel can’t write itself.
  10. Stop reading this and get going! What are you doing? I told you to be a creature of action, and you can’t do that while sat here reading this. As soon as inspiration strikes, run for your laptop or pad of paper and get going! If you put it off until you’ve done this and that or that and this and also that thing you meant to do yesterday, you’ll never get round to it! Go go go — and good luck!