In the past two years, I’ve grown and changed as a writer. Now its time for this blog to reflect that too. All the old posts will still be there, but in future, I will be concentrating on what I write, and what inspired me to write it. From time to time I will post about what I am reading. There will be a research section for those of you, who like me like their facts to be accurate. Along the way, I will be happy to answer your questions.
So from now, the focus will be more on the writing process, ice dancing, Bergen in Norway. Vikings and Viking beliefs.
Attending the Rockingham Writers Conference this weekend, I thought what a gregarious and chatty crowd we were. So different from the stereotypical introverted, social outcasts we are supposed to be.
Individually these were people who admitted to self-doubt, imposter syndrome, insecurity, fear of failure and fear of success.
That day though, all that was put aside, and we had a ball, laughed and talked mingled, shared expertise and gossip. I left the conference buoyed with confidence and thrilled with my writer tribe.
Then I began to wonder what a group of writers was called. I couldn’t recall an official term, so I did an internet search. I got ‘a worship of writers. ’ To me, that seemed more fitting for priests, so I began to think of collective nouns for writers.
Here are some I liked
A chapter of writers.
A procrastination of writers
A draft of writers
An insecurity of writers
An imagination of writers
A scribble of writers
A cacophony of writers
A gossip of writers
A journal of writers.
Do you have a favourite term for a group of writers?
Many of the writers I know are a mass of contradictions, it left me wondering if this was an important part of a writer’s personality.
The majority admit to being Shy or even Not Very Social and then they go out a give a presentation or an author talk or if you meet them at a writers’ convention and can’t get them to shut up! The lonely Introvert turns into a Show Pony. I myself know I am guilty of this.
A majority of writers suffer from Self-doubt and Insecurity. Along with other creative types, many will admit to suffering from Imposter Syndrome. At times this manifests as a bout of Crippling Insecurity with the fear of not being good enough accomplished enough. talented enough.
In spite of that, most managed to overcome it and submit their work to a critique partner, or even a contest or publisher. If the work is accepted, after the initial rush of pride or satisfaction, it’s likely that self-doubt will surface once again. Yet some compulsion drives us on, to write more, to try again to try and fail, to try and succeed, to improve.
So what my fellow writers also have is courage, the courage to express themselves. To let their work speak for them, to expose their ideas to the judgement of others. My fellow writers, I salute you for your bravery!
Who doesn’t remember the fun of blowing the seeds away from the seed head of a dandelion clock? Sometimes they would all fly free; one huge puff of air and they’d be gone. At other times they clung tenaciously, requiring more effort to dislodge them.
Several writing events are on my horizon, author talks and workshops and a writer’s conference. I am inspired by the dandelion clock in my belief that writers are stronger together. There is strength in numbers. Much like the seed head holds its shape, because they are together.
When a writer gives a talk -they are sharing their knowledge, saying what worked for them, their processes. Learning about other writers, their joys and difficulties can inspire us as writers. To try something different, to do more, to do less.
A writers’ conference is a great example individual writers, coming together to exchange ideas, learn new skills and laugh and share information. They will drift apart at the end of the conference much like the winged dandelion pods. But all will have benefited from being part of the collective. Maybe they made a new contact, leant a new skill or found a solution to a sticky writing problem.
In our writer’s ‘clusters’ we are in a space which allows us the freedom to express ourselves. We are among friends, ones who know how difficult it can be to find the right words.
Double trouble in June /July for me.My desktop crashed-June 23rd and shortly afterwards my internet connection also stopped working. It has been forty-four days minus the desktop and a little over three weeks without the internet. Fortunately, I have been able to read.
Sail Away by Celia Imrie.
Actress and author Celia Imrie tells this story in her own inimical style.Its a delightful story of women of certain age taking chances and making changes. Embracing the posstiblities of now. The author’s depth of knowedge of both acting and luxury cruising make this a lively and entertaining read.
The Strawberry Thief by Joanne Harris
How could the Chocolat story continue? Joanne Harris returns us to Lansquenet-sous-Tannes, and expands Vianne Rocher’s story. Things have changed in the sleepy town, old rivalries forgotten and even the wind seems content to let Vianne stay put. This is a book that reflects on motherhood and having to let our children grow and change. Vianne’s late child Rosette is ‘different,’ like a wild creature she senses things and has never spoken. Anouk, Vianne’s older daughter has gone to Paris to be with her boyfreind and Vianne misses her. It means that she cherishes her life with Rosette even more.When changes come to Lansquenet with the arrival of a mysterious and charismatic stranger ,Rosette also begins to change. And Vianne has fears for her younger daughter.
Wolfskin by Juliet Marillier
I enjoyed the blend of fact and fictional reality ,which drew me in and kept me engaged with the characters and their situation. To be a Wolfskin was to be regarded as among the best of fighters. Reputation and honour figure large, as does trust and friendship. Neglected Pictish culture and mysticism are explored.While the raiding and conquering the Vikings have their own code of honour.
On the Same Page by Penelope Janú
MIles Franklin is the daughter of a literary family- who would be horrifed to know that she writes romance- a genre they despise. Of course, her subterfuge is bound to come out, especially when her girl Friday enters her for prestigious literary award Add into the mix a handsome publisher, who wont take ‘no,’ for an answer and who insists on meeting the reclusive ( and fictional) author . Entertaining.
Once Upon A River by Diane Setterfield
I loved her first book, The Thirteenth Tale, an all-time favourite .Sadly, I wasn’t as thrilled with her second, so I approached this book hesitantly. I need not have worried – it’s a brilliant book It combines some history of the river Thames ( the river in the title) with an almost fairy-tale feeling story about generations of storytellers and the folk tales of the mysterious and unpredictable river. Abduction, murder, identity theft, are all deflty woven into the plot ,which has a magical quality. I have recommended the book to many people. For me, it’s a 5 star winner.
Miss Seeton Flies High by Hamilton Crane
I was browsing the library catalogue looking for a cosy mystery to read prior to a workshop on writing cosy mysteries.This title popped up and as I had never heard of the author, I decided to give it a go. There are numerous books in the long running series.It has an ingenious plot, but not having read any of the previous books I felt disadvantaged by people and references to previous events It has an Agatha Christie feel about it, and the series is very popular ,but for me it didn’t really fit into the cosy category .
Creating Characters from the Editors of Writer’s Digest.
If you are struggling creating characters, then this book is for you. It has a wealth of information from a range of wrietrs. It is easy to read and you can skip between sections and chapters. A very useful book
The DandelionYears by Erica James.
A charming story of inter-generational living which highlights both its benefits and its dilemmas. Love and loyalty, family ties, secrets, disappointments. Of course, there are also romances, poignant and sweet.The book is about the loovongly described setting, and the craft of book binding and restoration,book shops and book selling – things that appealed to me.
The Forgotten Letters of Esther Durrant.
I was fortunate to win a copy of this book and what an eye opening experience reading it was.
Readers may be shocked to learn that in the 1950s women could be confined to a mental home if they suffered from a prolonged post-natal depression. Esther’s is only one of three stories which interlink at some point to form a cohesive whole. This is a thought-provoking book which would be perfect for book clubs. Highly recommended.
For the past three weeks I have been without an internet connection, which failed and I had to get it fixed.At the same time my desktop computer crashed in an unexpected additonal blow.
While I waited I reflected on how helpless and isolated I felt. I was missing that oh so vital sense of connection. No emails, no Facebook, no easy fact checking.
So Hello again! It’s good to be back, the time away has given me more reading time and also a time to think about writing the sequel to my book
This reflective time helped me connect with the Viking characters in my book Fire & Ice. They lived quite isolated lives.Typically Vikings had a ‘raiding season’ which went from April to October, after which the seas were deemed too dangerous.So a man could be away from home and out of reach for all that time.
Imagine having no contact with loved ones for six or seven months at a time. It reinforced to me the fact that Viking women were tough and expected to cope on their own.I also found out that if male Viking did not return home at least once every three years, his wife had the choice to divorce him for desertion,
All creative people know that getting your name ‘out there’ isn’t easy. So it gives me great pleasure to acknowledge Seth Macey, the talented photographer who generously gave me permission to use this image.