The Worried Writer Episode #10: Miranda Dickinson ‘Remind yourself that it’s fun!’

The Worried Writer Meets Miranda DickinsonMy guest today is Sunday Times bestselling author, Miranda Dickinson. Miranda’s first book, Fairytale of New York, was a massive success and was short-listed for the RNA Novel of the Year award as well as hitting the top ten on the Sunday Times Bestseller list. Over the last six years, Miranda has published another six books, including Welcome To My World and It Started With A Kiss. Her work has been translated into seven languages and has sold almost a million copies.


Miranda’s latest novel is A Parcel For Anna Browne – available now!

(Please note that this and other book links on the site are affiliate links, so I will earn a small commission if you use it to make a purchase. The money goes towards the running costs of podcast.) 

Find out more about Miranda and her books at:

www.miranda-dickinson.com

On Twitter @wurdsmyth (and follow #WriteFoxy for information on Miranda’s inspirational writing days.)

Or watch her vlogs on YouTube

In this interview, Miranda reveals how she combines writing with looking after her daughter, Flo, and offers tips for busy writers.

‘I’m having to learn to be really structured with my time.’

 

We discuss Miranda’s popular ‘Write Foxy’ inspiration days and the importance of having fun.

‘If you’re not in love with your writing you won’t survive as a writer.’

‘You have to remind yourself that it’s fun and that you can do it.’

 

And the incredible way Miranda pulled herself back to writing when suffering a serious creative slump:

‘For the first time ever I wrote for my readers first and not for me… and because they were so excited, I got excited.’

 

Also, I answer a listener question from Helen Redfern @helenredders

How do I learn to write for just ten minutes? I feel if I don’t have a few hours uninterrupted there’s no point in starting & just doing ten minutes-How do I change that?

If you have a writing (or publishing) question that you’d like me to tackle in a future episode, please get in touch via email or Twitter.

I’ll answer it on the show and credit you (unless, of course, you ask to remain anonymous).

Please spread the word and, if you can spare the time, leave a rating for the show on iTunes. I truly appreciate your support.

Thank you for listening!

 

Episode #09 The Worried Writer: Catherine Ryan Howard ‘The More You Do It, The More You Want To Do it’

wwimage_catherineryanhoward

distresssignalsCatherine Ryan Howard is a self-publishing superstar with the successful titles Mousetrapped, Backpacked and Self-Printed: The Sane Person’s Guide to Self-Publishing.

Catherine recently landed a two-book deal with Corvus, an imprint of Atlantic Books. Her debut thriller, Distress Signals, is out on 5th May 2016.

You can find out more about Catherine and her books at catherineryanhoward.com or follow her on Twitter @cathryanhoward or Facebook.

 

 

Episode 9 includes:

Sneak peak of the title of Catherine’s self-help book (not really): ‘Don’t start until it’s already too late!’

‘I’m going to go all in’: The moment Catherine Ryan Howard committed 100% to her writing.

 

Catherine’s insight on success: ‘I have discovered that if you want something bad enough you will get it done… And it will involve actual sacrifice.’

 

And keeping going: ‘The more you do it, the more you want to do it.’

Catherine also reveals her unusual revision technique:

‘I retype the whole thing… I can’t be one of these people who go like surgically goes into the middle of a chapter and does things – I can’t deal with that at all.’

 

Recommended:


Catherine rates Save the Cat by Blake Synder and uses the concept of ‘beats’ to outline her novels.

Also in the show:

NaNoWriMo has started. Good luck if you’re taking part! I am not doing it officially, but I am trying to get as many first draft words done this month as possible.

I mention my recent writing troubles and the article I wrote as a result: The Only Way to Defeat a Bad Writing Day.

If you have a writing (or publishing) question that you’d like me to tackle in a future episode, please get in touch via email or Twitter.

I’ll answer it on the show and credit you (unless, of course, you ask to remain anonymous).

Please spread the word and, if you can spare the time, leave a rating for the show on iTunes. I truly appreciate your support.

Thank you for listening!

 

Episode #06 The Worried Writer: Lani Diane Rich ‘Claim Your Awesome!’

ww_ep6_lani_imageJoin me for an energising chat with New York Times and USA Today best-selling author, podcaster extraordinaire, and inspirational writing teacher, Lani Diane Rich.

Lani writes funny romantic books and, under the pen name Lucy March, magical contemporary fiction. She has eleven books published and runs a creative business helping other writers, Storywonk, with her husband Alastair Stephens.

forloveormoneyFind out more about Lani at www.lanidianerich.com or visit www.storywonk.com

Or, find Lani on Twitter: @LaniDianeRich or @storywonk

Lani’s next book (as Lucy March) is out in December 2015. It’s the third the Nodaway Falls series: For Love or Magic (Nodaway Falls)

Also, I highly recommend the Storywonk podcasts. Head here for the full list!

We discuss:

Lani’s process – she has periods of creation, editing and so on throughout the year, rather than focusing on a weekly or monthly schedule.

Lani writes in three basic phases: Discovery phase (soundtracks, staring out the window, collages etc), drafting phase – where she tries to write 2000 words a day, and revision.

Lani says the revision phase is where: ‘I take all my understanding of story and structure and apply it to the hot mess’.

We talk about how the process can vary from book to book. Lani says:

‘I do what the book asks of me, if I have to get up and write at midnight, I get up to write at midnight.’

Lani talks about the importance of giving yourself permission for a ‘full and rich discovery phase’.

To stay productive and creative over time, Lani suggests writing every day (something small and fun – something which reminds you what you love about writing), and engaging with narrative every day in a way which is enriching and inspiring to you (this can be good television or film, video games, graphic novels, as well as novels).

And don’t miss Lani’s brilliant ‘Claim Your Awesome’ speech!

Recommended:


In the first section of the show, I talk about how useful I’ve found keeping a simple and regular routine. I first heard about this concept (as it applies to creativity) in Murakami’s excellent book What I Talk About When I Talk About Running.

 

 

TheGardenOfMagicIn other news, I was thrilled to be listed as one of Jodi Gibson’s ‘Five Essential Podcasts for Writers’. Thanks, Jodi!

And, on a personal note, I shouted about my new novella The Garden of Magic, which is out on 14th August 2015, and my super-exciting (to me!) book deal news.

For more details, head to my author site.

 

 

Got a question about writing or creativity?

If you’ve got a writing-related question that you’d like featured on the show, please don’t hesitate to ask.

I’ll answer it on the show and credit you (unless, of course, you ask to remain anonymous).

Please spread the word and, if you can spare the time, leave a rating for the show on iTunes. I truly appreciate your support.

Thank you for listening!

Episode #04 The Worried Writer: A Conversation with thriller author C.L. Taylor

ww_ep4_imageIn this episode I chat with Cally Taylor about hopping genre, developing craft through short stories, getting the writing bug, and typing while walking on a treadmill.

Cally Taylor wrote two sparkling romantic comedies, Heaven Can Wait and Home For Christmas, before turning to dark psychological suspense under the name C.L. Taylor. The first of these, The Accident, was hugely successful, shooting up the Kindle charts and selling over 150,000 copies in the UK alone. Last year, Home For Christmas was made into a film by JumpStart Productions and, since this interview was recorded, Cally’s second thriller, The Lie, has shot up the bestseller charts.

For more on Cally and her books, visit her website CLTaylorauthor.com or follow her on Twitter @callytaylor

Books recommended by Cally:

Into The Woods: How Stories Work and Why We Tell Them by John Yorke

The Story Book: A Writer’s Guide to Story Development, Principles, Problem-solving and Marketing by David Baboulene

Cally mentions the importance of taking ‘artist dates’ as recommended by Julia Cameron in The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity

Also, I mention that my debut novel, The Language of Spells is now available in paperback (meep!)


and I recommend a book I’ve been enjoying this week: The Art of Asking by Amanda Palmer

 

Listener question:

This episode’s listener question comes from Maggie Jones – thanks, Maggie!

‘How ‘sucky’ can a book be when you send it in?!’

‘This question is definitely something I struggle with as I have very little confidence in my own work and never feel that something is good enough or even safely passed the ‘it sucks’ stage.

And therein lies the problem. We are probably not the best people to judge the suckiness or otherwise of our work.

Also, it’s worth remembering that ‘sucky’ is a subjective term. I think it might have been Jenny Crusie who said ‘your book is not a $100 bill, not everyone is going to like it’ and that is so true.

There may be published books that you don’t like, that other people love.

So, a book’s merit is a subjective thing. There is no opposite to ‘sucky’ which is ‘perfect’, only opinion on what is good or bad or fun to read or boring.

Once you’ve accepted that there isn’t an ideal you can achieve before sending your work out, you only have to ensure that it’s as good as you can make it.

Whether you’re sending your book to an agent, an editor or hitting ‘publish’ yourself to put it into the Amazon store, there are steps you can take to make sure that it’s ready.

Things like finishing it first, and rewriting it as much as you can stand to get it into the best possible shape. You can also get perspective through feedback from critique partners or by letting it rest before you edit for a final time. Four to six weeks is a good amount of time to leave it, so that when you come back to it you can see it anew. When I do this, I find I can detach my writer self from the reader, and I often find there are plenty of things I like – and have forgotten writing. It’s like magic. It also makes the dull or awkward or confusing parts glaringly obvious.

I hope that helps, Maggie. Thanks again for the great question.’

Got a question about writing or creativity?

If you’ve got a writing-related question that you’d like featured on the show, please don’t hesitate to ask.

I’ll answer it on the show and credit you (unless, of course, you ask to remain anonymous).

Please spread the word and, if you can spare the time, leave a rating for the show on iTunes. It would really help me!

Thank you for listening!

 

Episode #03 The Worried Writer: A Conversation with Julie Cohen

ww_episode3_shownotesimageThis episode includes a conversation with Julie Cohen, creative writing tutor and author of twenty books including Dear Thing and Where Love Lies.

For more information on Julie and her books, head to

www.julie-cohen.com  or follow her on Twitter @julie_cohen

I had so much fun chatting to Julie and we cover knitted owls, suckage, staying creative over the long-term and the importance of failure.

Books recommended:

Julie and I both love The Courage to Write by Ralph Keyes

Software/tools recommended:

A kitchen timer. Any type will do! You can use the timer function on your phone, of course, but that’s more likely to lead to distraction…

Freedom I’ve been using this internet-blocking software for ages and it’s great! It’s only $10 and comes with a 60-day money-back guarantee.

Got a question about writing or creativity?

If you’ve got a writing-related question that you’d like featured on the show, please don’t hesitate to ask.

I’ll answer it on the show and credit you (unless, of course, you ask to remain anonymous).

Please spread the word and, if you can spare the time, leave a review on iTunes.

Thank you for listening!

 

Episode #01 The Worried Writer: A conversation with YA author Keris Stainton

ep1Welcome to the inaugural episode of the show!

I’m thrilled to have YA author Keris Stainton as my first guest. I met Keris in an online writing group many years ago, and I have been delighted and excited to watch her build a successful career as a beloved author of YA fiction.

For more on Keris and her books head to www.keris-stainton.com or find her on Twitter @Keris

We talk about our writing processes and routines, and the importance of support and mentorship.

Books recommended in the show:

Daring Greatly by Brené Brown

The Joy Diet by Martha Beck

The 7 Secrets of the Prolific by Hillary Rettig

Other resources:

The WoMentoring project set up by author Kerry Hudson. It’s a peer mentoring service run on a voluntary basis which offers support for female writers who are unable to access paid-for services.

The Brené Brown TED talk on the power of vulnerability

Suzy Greaves: Life coach and author of The Big Leap

 

I’m very new to this so I’d love feedback. Please get in touch.

If there is anything you’d like covered in the show or a writing-related question you’d like answered, just let me know.

Please spread the word and, if you can spare the time, leave a review on iTunes.

And thank you for listening!