Wednesday, 27 April 2011


As my eldest daughter is currently revising for her GCSEs, the term ‘bitesize’ has featured quite a lot in our house recently.

With the number of days gradually dwindling before the exams start, dividing revision into manageable bitesize chunks has become increasingly important. This started me thinking about my own pattern of working and ways in which I might be able to extend my own writing capabilities.  

The prospect of penning a novel is daunting and given the amount of time and commitment required to complete the task, it is not surprising that so many of us fall by the wayside.

I have found it easier to view each chapter as a whole, striving to make each one as complete in itself and approaching it in the same way as I would do a blog post or an article, both of which I manage to write fairly easily on a regular basis.

That said, my novel is still not progressing as fast as I would like it to and there are all too many distractions on my time and reasons why I don’t just ‘get down to it’ (much like my daughter!).

I was advised by a writer friend of mine recently to take the manageable approach one step further and divide each chapter into bitesize chunks.

“Just 20 minutes writing a day, will see your novel grow,” she said. This sounds like good advice and more importantly, it seems achievable.

It may take longer to reach the finish line but at least I stand some chance of getting there.

So, putting this advice into practice, I will start with this blog post and instead of rambling on for another half an hour and put off posting this entry until tomorrow, I shall end it here.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Are you fit to write?

Writing is a solitary business; it is also a sedentary one.

This is why a little under a year ago, I realised that action needed to be taken. As a full time freelancer, my waistline was expanding as fast as the social events in my diary were shrinking.

Deciding to tackle both problems in one go, I joined an exercise class. Now, I admit that I am not best known for physical endeavours. It was difficult to start with and even more tough to keep going but it achieved at least one of my aims – I got out of the house and met some new people.

My waistline steadfastly remained the same, probably due to the numerous cups of tea and biscuits necessary to keep the creative process flowing throughout the day. Unfortunately, good ideas, in a literary sense, do not burn many calories!

I have always enjoyed swimming, so I started going to the local pool every weekend and two things happened that I really didn’t expect.

Firstly, I became hooked and couldn’t wait for my weekly workouts, challenging myself to swim further and at a faster time, to such an extent that I added one or two early morning midweek sessions to my exercise routine.

Secondly, my writing improved. As I became more physically fit, I also became more mentally alert.

And my time at the pool wasn’t wasted, as I would be thinking about what I was going to write and coming up with new ideas while I was swimming.

I must confess, that I gave up the exercise class and replaced it with less vigorous social arrangements like meeting friends for lunch (and the occasional glass of wine) with the odd writing workshop for good measure.

But I have continued swimming and I have also dusted off my bike and taken to the great outdoors.  And this does at least seem to have prevented any further excess baggage collecting around my middle.

And for those times when my brain needs a recharge, as well as my body, I have discovered yoga.

Fit body, fit mind. Fit to write.