NOT writing

It’s the run-up to Christmas: secret santas are being arranged, Christmas parties abound (aside: if anyone knows what to wear to a Hawaiian-themed christmas party, please let me know!) and now there is tinsel around my work computer screen (see pic).

But what is not happening? Writing. At least not for me.

Of course, I think I can cut myself a little slack over the holidays. There are those aforementioned parties to attend, more family and friends dinners than ever, and the fact that we’re almost always working months (if not years) in advance in publishing, means that work is insane. We’re currently gearing up for what looks set to be one of our busiest spring/summers ever.

But all this is hardly new. Pretty much every author I know (except for the very massive or the very lucky) has to juggle a day job, family life and a social life with their writing. And surely to make this whole writing-a-book-in-a-year thing work, you have to find some time to write every day. I haven’t quite got into that routine yet, but whenever anyone hears that I am writing/have written a novel, the same question always comes up: how do you find the time?

For me, it’s not about finding but making — I’m a write-by-hand-first kind of writer, so I have my notebook with me at all times. That means I’m often scribbling on the tube, or at a coffee shop (I am indeed that cliché), or while standing in line at the supermarket check-out. I’ve even done a Peter V. Brett a few times and typed up chapters on the Notes app on my iPhone. But I also spend a lot of time just sort of staring out into space, which probably doesn’t look all that productive but I consider it a necessary part of the creative process!

Does anyone else have any tips for juggling writing with the rest of life?


Blogs on writing and writer’s blogs

Wow, I never thought that starting a new blog would feel so scary and intimidating!

My editor-self is bleating unhelpfully: “What’s your USP? Have you figured out the SEO? How’s the google juice?”

My writer-self is typically flummoxed: “Argh – a blank white text box and a blinking cursor. What do I do?”

I even resorted to the googling “how to start a writer’s blog”. The results weren’t pretty.

But now I’ve started thinking, what is is that I, as a reader, enjoy about blogs-by-writers? For me, it’s the feeling of community, the shared experiences and the joy of watching someone else’s writerly journey unfold — and the hope that maybe one day all those important writerly moments will happen to me, too.

And so I’ve decided that the only real way to know how to have a good writing blog, is to learn from the blogs that I love already. This first proper entry is dedicated to all some of those writing blogs that I follow, love, and admire – some old, some new! But all fabulous. 

Jackson Pearce
I’ve been reading and following Jackson’s writing journey for years on Livejournal — before As You Wish got picked up by HarperTeen and she went on to multiple-awesome-book success. Now she’s the queen of the vlog; always one step ahead of the crowd!

Mandy Hubbard
I found Mandy through Jackson, at around the same time that she was shopping Prada and Prejudice and struggling with other projects (something she’s blogged about at length). Now, thanks to sheer determination – oh yeah, and quite a lot of talent – she’s not only a hugely successful and prolific author, she’s an agent too. Awesome. I professed my love for Mandy to her (I think now former) agent when I met her at the London Book Fair (random, I know!) – just goes to show how small this whole book world really is.

Elizabeth May
Elizabeth May’s blog is my new obsession, and a great example of a writing blog for soon-to-be-published authors. C’mon, adorable gifs? Interesting posts about a truly remarkable writing journey? A shiny new book deal? But back to those adorable gifs… You can’t go wrong.

James Smythe
Full disclosure: I am this particular writer’s editor (well, for The Explorer – his incredible SF work – at least). However, that doesn’t take away from the fact that I love his tumblr as a fellow writer too, and the fact that he posts inspiration pictures for his writing.

What are your favourite writer’s blogs? Are there any that I should check out to figure out how to do it well?


New dawn, new day, new blog

The time has come to start a new blog – and it feels strange to be embarking on another internet-journal-writing adventure.

My last (proper) blog documented my gap year abroad over 2007-2008, and I cannot tell you how thankful I was at the end of my year out that I had kept such a detailed account. That blog is still live (although no longer very active) at

This blog is going to be different; for one thing, I’m much more tied to one place now than before! This is my blog about books, and all that means for me. I’m a girl of many bookish hats – a writer, an editor and a reader – and this blog will aim to document all my adventures in that world as opposed to the great wild real world I explored before.

Feel free to leave a comment or drop me a line, I’d love to hear from you. You can find all my details on my bio page.