Tag Archives: writing

How to Fight Writer’s Funk When Depressed

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Writers and Depression

Depression often seems to go hand in hand with being a writer. I’m sure there is some psychological reason for this–something to do with how our creative brains work. Not to mention constantly dealing with rejection in this hard to break into industry.

Regular followers of my blog may have noticed I have been rather quiet the past year. The reason for this is because I have been battling depression. I lost motivation for updating my blog, for interacting on Twitter and for submitting my work. I also lost my motivation to write. I felt blocked. Normally my brain is entertaining a million story ideas at any given time, but in the midst of my depression there was nothing.

A Therapist’s Suggestion

While attending therapy, my therapist would give me tasks she wanted me to complete as part of my battle against the depression. These tasks included exercising daily, eating well and self-affirmations. She also wanted me to write–it was supposed to be something to do for me, because she knew I was a writer. Every session she would ask, “Have you written anything since I last saw you?” I would always say no and mumble some excuse as to why not. She would write on a piece of blank white paper my tasks to complete before our next session and in capital letters she would always include

WRITE!

But the words wouldn’t come.

How to Get Out of that Writing Funk

I am finally getting back into the swing of writing again. Properly writing. My therapist’s push for me to write helped, but I also found some other ways to help me get back my motivation to write. If you’re going through your own writing funk, maybe these can help you, too.

1. Read. A lot. I realised not only had I not been writing, I hadn’t been doing much reading either, preferring to watch mind-numbing television or get sucked into the black hole of the internet. At the start of the year I challenged myself to read fifty books in a year, knowing that reading is a great way to inspire writing. It worked. The more I’ve read (especially in the same genre as my WIP) the more my creative juices have returned. I’ve been keeping track of my reading on Goodreads’ reading challenge. (See my progress here.)

2. Write. Anything. This came from my therapist. She told me it didn’t matter what I wrote, just write. It doesn’t have to be a story. Just grab a piece of paper or open up Word and write whatever comes to mind. In the beginning I wrote a lot of my negative thoughts and feelings. It reminded me of when I was an angsty teen and whenever I felt depressed I would write dark poetry. So write angsty poetry. Write a stream of thoughts. Write fanfiction. Just write!

3. Reread old writing. Go to wherever you keep old, forgotten stories. Open those old files or pull out those old notebooks. Reread your old work. Remind yourself how far you’ve come as a writer. You might even get inspired to start rewriting some of those old ideas using the writing skills you’ve gained since you last wrote it.

How do you get motivated to write again when you’re in a writing funk or suffering from depression? Please share in the comments.

Photo credit: Sander van der Wel from Netherlands via Wikimedia Commons

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The Starving Author

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The Dream…

When I was younger I dreamt that one day I would be able to spend my whole day focusing on my writing. I would have enough money to hire a housekeeper to do all my housework and enough money to pay all my bills and buy food. When I was about sixteen and considering my future seriously for the first time, I realised that it was very hard to make a living as a writer unless you happened to sell a bestseller. So I very sensibly took a leaf out of my favourite author’s book (John Marsden) and studied to become a teacher so I might have a means to support myself until I could write that bestseller.

Reality

Fast forward nearly two decades later. Not only do I not have a housekeeper, I also have three.children who need to be fed and schooled and clothed. I have a husband who is currently pursuing his dream of owning a dairy farm, which unfortunately means a lot of debt and a hard slog (but I love him and I love our lifestyle so I wouldn’t have it any other way). After teaching for several years, I currently stay at home with my kids. I love it because I love being with them as they grow and I get to focus on my writing more than I would be able to if I was working. So here I am, a poor starving author (well, not really starving, but it would be nice to have a little extra instead of always fretting if we’ll have enough to pay all our bills).

What’s A Poor Starving Author To Do?

One day a couple of months ago my husband had left the television on when a talk show called ‘The Living Room’ came on. One of the segments talked about ways to make a little extra money. I went online and checked out a website called fiverr they had talked about. It’s a site where you can offer any kind of service for just $5. There are people on there offering everything from proofreading to writing website content, from offering advice to designing logos. There are even people offering silly/crazy things like singing happy birthday and having pie thrown in their face.

I thought about what I might be able to offer, then took the plunge. I currently have two ‘gigs’ posted.

1) I will write a personalised children’s story up to 500 words for $5 (and for an extra $5 I will write it in rhyme).

2) I will offer personalised parenting advice for $5.

If you are a poor starving writer like me, it’s worth having a look. There’s so much scope for offering your skills, whether it’s proofreading, editing, writing stories, writing web content or any other skills you have to offer. It’s just a little bit extra you could put towards writing conferences, editing services, or even just your everyday bills.

The key:

a) make sure your profile and gigs come across as professional.

b) play up your related skills and experience (eg: in my writing gig I mention I am a published author and have a major in Writing).

c) make sure you do your best to provide a quality service. (Sometimes buyers give you tips if they really like your work, so it’s worth putting in the effort. It also means more 5 star reviews, which will entice more buyers into seeking your services.)

If you would like to help out this starving author, please feel free to share this link to my fiverr profile or either of my individual gigs. 🙂

I’d love to hear what other starving authors are doing to make some extra money. Please share in the comments!

The No ‘E’ Challenge

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Ready for another challenge? This challenge is to get you thinking about word choice and not relying on words you are used to using. It’s about stepping outside your comfort zone and finding new words to enhance your writing.

Here are the rules:

  1. Write a paragraph (or two) based on one of the word prompts or the picture prompt below.
  2. You may not use the letter ‘e’ in any word in your paragraph.
  3. If you are comfortable sharing, come back in 2 weeks and share in the comments of the ‘share day’ post (if you subscribe to this blog–it’s free!–you will know as soon as the post goes live).

Here are the word prompts:

 

Beach

 

School

 

Spring

 

And here is the picture prompt:

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Good luck!

 

Are You Ready For NaNoWriMo?

press-start-fa915ffe8a6fb32bb3eabf7f771620b4With only two weeks to go until NaNoWriMo begins for another year, are you prepared? As a previous (multiple) NaNoWriMo ‘winner’ I’m here to help you get ready for November.

STEP 1:

Have you signed up to the official NaNoWriMo site yet? If not, don’t forget to sign up. It’s a great way to keep track of your word count over the month, and to keep track of any friends who are also taking part. Explore the forums and sign up to your local area group to get motivating emails throughout the month.

STEP 2:

Do you have a plan? Although one year I managed to write 50,000 words on a novel by pantsing, I believe having a plan can be a great help. Even just a dot point outline can give you something to refer to when you get stuck so you can remind yourself where you want the story to go. I personally like having a skeleton outline, which you can read more about here.

STEP 3:

Do you know your characters? Getting to know your characters before you start writing can make it easier to get into their heads as you write. Here is a post on various ways you can get to know your characters before NaNo.

STEP 4:

Have some handy writing tools at your fingertips. Here is a list of links to writing tools to help you during NaNo, such as Write or Die (which is GREAT for motivating you to reach your daily word count).

BONUS LINKS

Links to help you with plotting your novel.

Links to help you bolster your word count.

– And don’t forget my master list of links, including links to posts on character, tension/pacing, and much more.

BONUS TIPS

– Keep a notepad and pen with you at all times during NaNo so you can write whenever you get a moment.

– Write whenever you get a free moment. Kids occupied playing outside, sit on the porch and write. On your lunch break at work, break out that notepad and write. Waiting in the doctor’s waiting room… You know the drill. Use those spare moments. Forget Candy Crush, it’s banished for the month. Bookmark that book you’re reading and put it in a drawer. Let your partner/housemates have control of the remote control (or if you have a favourite show you can’t miss, don’t forget to write during the ad breaks).

– Link up with fellow writers, particularly those doing NaNo, and do writing races. Example:

Me (on social media site/forum): Who’s up for a writing race? 30 minutes starting at :15 (use just the minutes to account for people in different time zones, so it could mean 7:15am in Australia AND 4:15pm in New York).

Writing friend: I’m in!

Me: (at 15 minutes past the hour): Go!

*30 minutes pass*

Me: Stop! 868 words.

Writing friend: 934.

– Stock up on chocolate/caffeine/Wiggles DVDs for the kids/whatever it is you need to get through writing when you are stressed/tired/despairing over character arcs. (I’ve picked a really good time to start a new diet, so it will be my first NaNo without a stockpile of chocolate/caffeine to get me through. Eep!)

Share your NaNo tips in the comments below.

HAPPY NANO-ING!

New Writing Resolutions

happy new year 2013Happy New Year!

My resolution last year was to submit more, but unfortunately, like many resolutions made on New Year’s Eve, this didn’t come to pass. For the most part it wasn’t my usual submission anxiety holding me back, but an insanely busy roller coaster ride of year that stole a lot of focus from my writing world. Regular followers might have noticed my blog has been more quiet than usual this past year and my Facebook author page and Twitter have also noticeably been much quieter, too.

My new resolution for 2013 is to get back into my writing groove. I’ve joined a group called Sub Six with the goal of submitting at least six manuscripts this year (I’ll be polishing some of my 12 x 12 manuscripts from 2012 as well as a few from 2011 that I’ve been polishing over the year). I’ve dusted off my Publisher Checklist, I know which manuscript I want to submit first and which publishers I think will be the best fit. I’m working on a cover letter at the moment.

I’ve also been hit with inspiration for a novel. Since it is a brand new novel, I’ve decided to share my novel writing process as I write, from plotting through to editing, with helpful hints I’ve learned along the way. My first post in the series will be on writing character profiles and should be up within the next few days.

What are your writing resolutions for 2013?

How Not to Write an Author Business Plan (Guest Post)

Fellow writer and blogger, Carrie Bailey of the Peevish Penman is guest posting today (for long time followers of my blog, you may recall her blog shares its birthday with mine). Hopefully her post will get you really thinking about where you want to go with your writing and the best way to strive for those goals. (P.S. She’s currently seeking submissions for the second The Handbook of the Writer Secret Society anthology. You can find a link to the submissions page in her bio at the end of this post.)

How Not to Write an Author Business Plan

by Carrie Bailey

Can an author survive without a business plan? Yes, of course, they can and do every day, but they miss the opportunity to learn about, explore and refine their own business strategy through the very thing they love best. Writing.

I’ve written business plans for libraries and helped small business owners in a range of fields, from automotive to health food products to do the same. I’m not an expert at what makes them successful. People ask for my help because they believe I’m good with words. But while struggling to help great visionaries articulate how they’re going to change the world with their product or service, I have gained some insight into what prevents people from growing their business.

Here’s how not to write a business plan:

Ignore the context

If you don’t like the changes in the publishing industry and the impact of new technologies, just ignore them. They don’t matter. eBooks are just a fad.

It’s the same with genres. Just because readers in their later teens often make a beeline straight to the bookcase labeled YA in their favorite bookstore or local library, you don’t have to factor that into your business plan. Readers will just instinctively know how to find your book.

Maybe everyone has written about werewolves that moonlight as detectives this year or no-one is reading one hundred thousand word epic poems about the suicidal ruminations of massage therapists who lost a loved one in the apocalypse, but you don’t have to pay attention to trends. A true artist sets the trends.

Don’t plan strategically

Only heartless capitalist thugs use strategic planning. They start by defining what they offer in terms of their strengths, weaknesses and the threats to their business. Then, they identify their opportunities. For them, it’s about knowing where you are, where you want to go and then choosing what tactics you need to get there.

That’s evil. Don’t do it.

And don’t define what success means to you. Accept what your hair stylist believes: a successful author is mega-wealthy and a New York Times Bestseller. Like duh, she knows what she’s talking about. Do not set measurable short-term goals. If it’s not a multimillion-dollar book deal from a top publisher, it’s not worth your time.

Hate all publishers, agents, other writers or readers who deserve it

You deserve respect and you don’t have put up with people with their opinions. When you write your business plan, write anyone you don’t like out. It’s all about you and your book. Besides publishers and agents only want what the public will buy, right? And we all know people have no taste. Forget about them. Business plans are not about buying and selling. They’re about something else. Something indefinable.

Besides, everyone should want to read your work whether or not you respect him or her. It is that profound and they need it to change their lives and to make them better people. Don’t bother targeting a specific audience. No matter what age they are, where they live, what their background is or what language they speak, they should want to read your book.

Maintain absolute control

It’s also crucial that you never let anyone see your business plan, because they are going to steal your ideas. Don’t accept feedback from anyone either. That will disrupt the purity of your own artistic vision for your work.

And finally,

Never change your business plan

Just because the times change and the business of writing changes, doesn’t mean that your business plan should. Chisel it in stone. Adaptation is for losers who didn’t do it right the first time, right?

You would think that the people who held ideas similar to these-the real people I’ve met and worked with-would not be in business, but they had shops, clients, employees, products and services. They made ends meet, but they weren’t growing. They believed they couldn’t articulate their business plan effectively, because they lacked writing skills. I disagree. They simply could not articulate their business plans, because they were poorly formed in areas.

I used to spend hours having conversations that went like this:

Me:

“So, what threats to your business can you identify?”

Small business owner:

“There aren’t really any, except that sometimes I run out of money at the end of the month and I every time I train someone they leave and go into business for themselves and I can’t find anyone to do the accounts right. I think the accountant I hired is overcharging me.”

Me:

“Okay, so additional competition is one threat?”

Small business owner:

“Oh no! My product is completely different and unique to everything else available and no one else could possibly compete with it…”

Two hours later, I would often still not have identified one threat and I would have nothing written down for them, but they weren’t hopeless. Years later some have grown and developed from barely five figured enterprises to healthy six figured ones. They had passion.

I don’t try to write business plans for people anymore. Edit? Yes. Write? I can’t. Writing a business plan forces you to think through important questions about what you’re trying to achieve and how you’re trying to do it. The writing process itself is a vital learning tool. My sister, Winonah Drake, the co-editor at Peevish Penman, recently shared a Winston Churchill quote with me that I believe sums it up, “Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential.”

Carrie Bailey has been writing her debut YA fantasy novel for the past two years while attending graduate school for library science. She is currently seeking submissions for the second edition of The Handbook of the Writer Secret Society, an anthology.

Learning How to Plan for Your Dreams (Guest Post)

The next guest poster I’d like to welcome to the blog is poet and short story writer Lissa Clouser, whom I met through the 12 x 12 challenge. When I first read her post, I found it really struck a chord with me. She offers some great advice on striving for that writing dream.

Learning How to Plan for your Dreams

As writers we want to be trendsetters, not goal-setters. We want the right-now success while only doing maybe-later work. But there’s been a breakthrough! We have it all backwards.

The truth of it is that we’ve trained ourselves to spend all of our time dreaming. We dream up our characters, their stories, and the worlds in which they live them out. Chances are it’s the dream of the adventurous life of writing that’s led us to be more than journal keepers in the first place.

Somewhere in the middle of all that wistful dreaming however, most of us have forgotten to take the time and effort to make a plan. Plans don’t have to be complicated, but I’ve come to believe they are a necessary foundation for future success.

1)      Start by taking just one step back. Not too far from the dream, but just enough to see the big picture. I did this with my own writing life about 8 months ago. Where am I going? What do I want to accomplish? Why do I want to accomplish it? If you don’t feel like answering all of these questions yet that’s okay. But now that you’ve stepped back, how far are you from your dream?

2)      DON’T GET DISCOURAGED. I know you just stepped back and took a good long look at how far away your dream might be, but whatever you do, discouragement is not allowed! No matter how far away you think you are, it’s still accessible. Believe and plan.

3)      We’ve dreamt. We’ve hyperventilated. Now what do we do? Evaluate. Where are you right now? Right this very minute? This is very important knowledge because if you don’t take the time to evaluate this, how do you know where to go? Don’t be ashamed if you’re just starting. We all start somewhere. Just know where to put the push pin on your mental map of the big-picture journey. You can look back and gawk at how far you’ve come later.

4)      Plot your next step. Do you have a first draft of a novel you love completed? Excellent. Revise. Maybe you’ve polished a picture book manuscript 40 times and you’re confident it shines. Fantastic. Learn how to write a query letter. Learn how to research agents who might be interested in you. Are you at the very beginning, still just grasping at the fluffy clouds of what-if? That’s awesome! The whole world stretches before you. Don’t let a story overwhelm you. Start small with poetry, short stories, or even learning how to free write ideas. Practice will not only teach you what you love about writing, it will teach you what you need to work on, help you find and shape your voice, and lead you to your next step.

5)      If you haven’t already, find your niche. This isn’t prison; you aren’t confined to it by any means, but like it or not we all have one or maybe a few areas in which we shine. I thought I wanted to be a novelist. (And deep down I still do.) But I’m finding that the more I write, the more I realize poetry is probably my strongest point. When I do write short stories I like dark themes. I love to use psychological twists and turns to mess with the reader. But what do you like? Answering this question will help to give you direction and a brand with which to market yourself. Me? I want to be a novelist, but for now I’m a poet.

6)      DON’T GET DISCOURAGED. I feel like repeating this again. Writing is a hard road, filled with lots of rejection for most of us, rejection that comes from ourselves and the big bad world of publishing. Just remember, if you get rejected from an agent, publisher, or contest that means you tried in the first place. I’m already proud of you for that alone. So don’t get discouraged. Seriously.

7)      Create a marketing plan, but don’t be shocked if it changes. It probably will. But having a marketing plan in the first place will steer you in a positive direction. Decide what it is you want to market. Decide where you want to market it. What are the steps to reach that market? Is it something you can already be researching in your down time from writing? My current project is a poetry anthology, and it’s still at least a year from being print-worthy. But when I’m not working on the poetry itself and I’m not blogging, I’m trying to learn my market. What small publishers fit my work? Do I want to try self-publishing? Where and how am I going to market my book? These are all questions going through my mind. As the time for publication gets closer, my marketing plan will get better, tighter. But just like your writing, having a rough draft for marketing can only improve the final concept.

8)      Write! You have it in you. I believe in you. We’re on this journey together!

Your plan for this wild ride is not going to look like mine. It’s not going to look like anyone else’s. But hopefully I’ve given you the confidence to know that planning does not have to be the ball and chain holding down your dreams. Let your plans and your dreams work together and they can take you far.

Lissa Clouser is a poet and occasional short story writer. She is currently working on two poetry anthologies. You can learn more about her and join in on the writing conversation on her blog http://quidforquill.wordpress.com.

How Writing Poetry Can Help You Be a Better Writer (Guest Post)

As well as being Aussie Author Month this month, it is also National Poetry Month. Today I have a guest post from poet and children’s writer Rena Traxel on how writing poetry can help you be a better writer. She has some great tips, particularly for picture book writers.

Writing Poetry Can Help You Be a Better Writer

When you were in school you most likely studied poetry.  When you grew up some of you left poetry writing behind.  In celebration of National Poetry Month, I created a poetry challenge, in which I’ve pushed the participants to try a new poetic form each day, except for Sundays, in the month of April.  I’ve had them write both silly and serious poems.  What is the purpose of the challenge? To help the participants grow as writers. I’m here today to discuss how poetry writing can help you.

  • To grow as a writer you must challenge yourself.  Writing poetry is different from writing prose and therefore will force you to stretch your mind. If you already write poetry try out a poetic form you have never used before (this can be as simple as including a simile in your poem).
  • Is your story not flowing? Turn to poetry. Poets pay attention to stresses and syllables that is why poems tend to flow.  Dr. Seuss wrote many of his books using trisyllabic meter (putting stress on every third syllable). Dr. Seuss’ books move seamlessly from page to page. His books are easy to remember and kids love his books.
  • Poetry can help you get in touch with your inner child.  Literary critic and theorist Northrop Frye said, “the speech of a child is full of chanting and singing and it is clear that the child understands what many adults do not, that verse is more direct and primitive way of conventionalizing speech then prose is.” There is a reason why children love Dr. Suess and Mother Goose.
  • Are you too wordy? Poems show an entire story in very few words. Poets practice the art of compression by paying attention to every single word to make sure it is absolutely necessary. Even the title contributes to the story.
  • Poets pay attention to line breaks. They use line breaks to slow down or speed up a poem. If you write picture books it’s essential to know where to break up a story so that it flows from page to page.  Even if you write novels it’s important to know where to cut a chapter.
  • Practice showing versus telling. Because poems tend to be short they rely on images to tell a story.
  • Poetry can help you express yourself. You might be surprised to learn that poetry is closer to how we speak then prose.
  • Poetry is meant to read out loud and is why poets spend a considerable amount of time thinking about word choice. If you write picture books then you know your stories will have to be read out loud.  Even if you write novels you will have to read sections out loud at a reading.  Get comfortable with hearing your words by writing poetry.
  • Poetry is fun. Poems are not bound by the same rules as prose.  You can play around with form and punctuation as along as your choices are consistent.

Every time you sit down to write you are practicing your craft.  How do you expect to get better if you don’t push yourself? Step out of your comfort zone and give poetry a try. You will be amazed at the new skills you will learn.

Rena J. Traxel writes stories and poems for kids. She is currently working on a fantasy series for tweens. To learn more about her check out her website at www.renajtraxel.com or head over to blog “On the Way to Somewhere” at www.renajtraxelblog.com and enjoy some of her poems and stories.

A note from Jo:

Looking for some rhyming picture book inspiration during Aussie Author Month? I always refer to the two masters of rhyming picture books, Australian authors Graeme Base (Enigma, The Eleventh Hour, The Worst Band in the Universe) and Mem Fox (The Ballad of Skip and Nell, Time for Bed, Where is the Green Sheep?). For poetry, check out some of the works of Banjo Patterson (my favourite is Mulga Bill’s Bicycle).

Encouraging Children to Write (Guest Post)

Today’s guest post is a timely post for the school holidays. If you’re looking for a way to encourage your children to get into writing or you are looking for an activity for them to do while you write, Melissa Khalinsky (a fellow 12×12 participant) has some great advice.

Encouraging Children to Write

I have been a writer almost as long as I’ve been a reader, at least, it feels that way. Recently I discovered some stories I wrote when I was in primary school, and my love of writing has never left me.

Now I am the mother of two boys, both of whom are avid readers, however, writing is another thing altogether. Neither of them have been bitten by the writing bug, at least not yet. I’ve tried to get them interested in writing stories and diaries and anything else I can think of, but it just hasn’t happened, until recently.

Last year, I read a book of letters and it raised the question about whether or not modern kids would write letters and, if they wrote them, if people would reply, and started writing a fictional story. I couldn’t come up with an answer to whether or not people would reply, so the fictional story stalled.

My 8 year old, Mr Z is left handed and struggles with handwriting, and finds those handwriting books boring, writing letter after letter. So, at the start of this year, I set my children a challenge – to write a letter to someone every week during term time.

The challenge has been hit and miss, however, it has got my boys interested in writing. It’s got their creative juices flowing. While they are having fun writing letters, they haven’t quite got to stories…. yet!

Things I’ve learned about getting children interested in writing:

  • Make it fun – writing shouldn’t be a chore
  • Turn it in to a competition – my children are incredibly competitive, especially with each other, so having a challenge to achieve is helping keep them interested
  • Make it regular – my children are now writing every week as their challenge is to write weekly. This means they practice regularly and I can already see an improvement in their writing, even after such a short time
  • Reward them for efforts – rewards can be saying “well done” or a gift of some sort. After every few letters written, my boys get a small reward, such as stickers
  • Keep copies – quite apart from the fact that it’s fun to look back on the work that I did as a child, I’m enjoying reading back the first letters the boys have written, and am looking forward to comparing them at the end of the year
  • Have fun – I can’t say this enough. Writing is fun, so find a way to make writing fun for your children. For us, it’s writing letters, your kids may enjoy writing reviews or stories about their soft toys, or keeping a diary

Writing isn’t just about writing stories, it’s much more than that. With children, find something they are interested in writing, something that inspires them. Currently, letters are what are inspiring my children to write. What inspires your children?

Melissa Khalinsky is a pre-published author and the mother of two boys, aged 8 and 10. She challenged the boys to write a letter a week during term time – you can read all about the challenge at www.letterwritingchallenge.com.au

A note from Jo:

Don’t forget April is Aussie Author Month. Australian author John Marsden’s book Letters from the Inside is a great read and may just inspire you to try a letter writing challenge for yourself or your teenager. If you’re looking for a holiday read for a younger child, try Greetings from Sandy Beach by Australian Children’s author Bob Graham.

Top 5 Reasons Why I Write

1. If I didn’t write my head would probably explode. My head is always so full of ideas I just need to get them down on paper.

2. It is a great emotional release. I don’t know how I would have got through my tough teenage years if I hadn’t been able to release my feelings onto the page (in poetry, in my journal, as imaginary characters).

3. I love to read. I am constantly inspired by the wonderful writing of my favourite authors. I remember as a seven year old being inspired to write stories based on my favourite Enid Blyton books and favourite fairy tales.

4. I have a wild imagination. I have vivid dreams that stay with me when I wake. I’m constantly thinking ‘what if?’ or making up stories for people walking by or imagining stories taking place in the landscape around me. No matter where I go there are always stories unfolding in my mind.

5. Characters ‘speak’ to me. Their voices speak their stories and I can’t ignore them.

Why do you write?