Monday, May 12


So, I've been overtly focusing on the craft of writing for over three years now and in that time I have finished my first novel, Caught by the Storm, seven short stories, masses of exploratory creative writings that served no other purpose than to delve into a concept. For example, my effort to write a personified first person narrative from the sun's perspective.

 "However, they know not of sentience, well not how it truly    manifests, like precipitation gathering before a storm, the    galaxy shifting, for them, for us, on all but one boundary."

Floral noncery aside, it's been a great pleasure learning the craft and I know I still have a way to go, but what have I learnt about the writing process so far? I could go into grammar, structure, all the beauty of the technical aspects of the creative process, but most of that has been said in a myriad of blogs. I tend to think the more important developments link to personal discoveries and so below are a few of the things I picked up along the way that fundamentally help me to write.


I find stress kills my creative output. Whether it is work or personal stress, too much of it simple hinders me. It hinders my want to write, it hinders my ability to write and it hinders the natural idea generation part of the creative process. I had a high-demand job last year that had me working 60-hour-weeks and I barely wrote a thing. Writing takes energy, as does stress and the competition for energy resource wasn't won by the urge to write. When I'm more relaxed, however, even when I'm not working on a piece, my subconscious is and I find my mind will throw me ideas or solutions to story issues in the most unlikely of situations. "Sorry, please excuse me for a moment, I just need to note something down. I just had an idea."

Note it down

On top of that, when an idea does bubble up, I've learnt the hard way to always note it down as it can so easily be forgotten. So take notes. Note everything, in fact. Even the most insignificant idea or concept can one day become useful. Note them all down and peruse over them periodically, that way when you're writing the idea is there within your mind ready to be called upon and employed. Whether it's pen and paper, a smart phone note or a tatty napkin from the local pub, note it down and note it down again.

Looks like we have ourselves a reader

I learnt long ago, that if I ain't reading, I ain't writing. It's that simple. Your brain is like a muscle and the more you expose it to great works, or even poor works, the better and more easier it gets. I note new, intriguing words down and try to use them. I subscribe to twitter accounts and emails that will bring these words to me. I don't have the largest vocab in the world, but that doesn't mean I can't grow it with a bit of effort. Immerse yourself at every possible moment.

The Greats

And with that in mind, this helps greatly. I have a document called 'The Greats' that I crack on with every morning. It simply involves typing out the work of great authors. From Orwell, to Hemingway, to Rowling, and a whole lot more, I just type out verbatim their works. I don't even have to like some of the authors. This allows me to do two things; One, I get to see their structuring and how they tell a story. Two, I get to see in what ways I would of done something differently. Sometimes I note they could've said something better and sometimes when I'm typing I assume what they will say and they say it in a better way. Learn from the best.


One of life's unsung joys is having likeminded friends to discuss the world with. I am blessed with a coterie of chums in this regard and there is no shortage of friends I can throw an idea I'm dabbling with to explore my literary plans. I had a story that involved a moral conundrum last year called Work Makes You Free. I asked my friends what their take on that conundrum was and then discussed what would they do, how would they feel and any caveats I may have missed. Discussing these things helps one find a texture to add to your pieces and is of a genuine benefit. 

Writer's groups

Beyond great friends, I have the more overt 
benefit of a writer's group with my good friend, Dan Reardon. Okay, well, there are just two of us, but it still constitutes a group. We meet up fortnightly and discuss what we're working on and give honest feedback. Having a motivator like that is invaluable.

Those are a few of the personal intricacies of my process. It's all about immersing yourself as much as possible. I've found that being half-assed about writing isn't going to get you to your goals and that you need to commit to the craft. 

My current goals are to release an ebook of my short stories, continue searching for a publisher for Caught by the Storm, and to continue with my second novel, Hellhole which is currently pages and pages of research notes and possible story threads that I am whittling into one story.

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