Why Aren’t I Writing?

Patience is its own reward

May 17, 2023

When to trust your subconscious to work through a problem on its own. The first rule of Writer’s Block Club is you don’t talk about writer’s block… Wait, no, that’s stupid. The first rule of Writer’s Block Club is that you always need to interrogate your block to find out what kind of block it […]

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When the easiest route becomes the hardest

May 10, 2023

Today’s post is brought to you by the battle of trying to come up with today’s post. If there’s one form of writer’s block that trips me up consistently and frequently, it’s the mistake of trying to find the easiest thing to write instead of working out what the right thing to write is. This […]

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The opportunity cost of not writing

May 3, 2023

What are we sacrificing when we decide to do something else instead of write? When we talk about “opportunity” in relation to writing, it’s often in the context of all the opportunities that exist for writers now. It’s so much easier to find literary agents to submit to these days, and so much easier to […]

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Are you an Arctic tern or a partridge?

April 26, 2023

Developing a career as a writer isn’t a sprint. It isn’t even a marathon. It’s an epic journey and you have to learn to pace yourself. The Arctic tern has the longest migration of any bird, flying from its northern summer breeding grounds to the Antarctic and back again every year. Those that nest in […]

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The Scarcity Trap: (Substack) Writers’ Edition

April 19, 2023

When you don’t have enough of something, it becomes all you can think about. Lots of us have experienced more scarcity than usual over the last eighteen months. But scarcity isn’t just unpleasant, it also causes us to make bad decisions. Our brain becomes hyperfocused on the thing we don’t have enough of and we […]

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You don’t need willpower to write

April 12, 2023

You need to build good habits. Once upon a time, a long, long time ago (OK, 1998), I found myself learning Welsh. For the record, despite the spelling of my name (long-standing typo), I am English rather than Welsh. But I had started freelancing as a music journalist and one idea that I’d successfully pitched […]

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Tackling the two types of time paralysis

April 5, 2023

In the last week, I’ve had both not enough and too much time to write. The human brain can be kinda stupid. This morning, as I was wondering what to write in this week’s newsletter, an email popped into my inbox that turned out to be fruitfully apropos. In Three tales of creative slowness, author […]

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Knowing when to stop

March 29, 2023

Hint: It’s sooner than you think it is. Last week over on my other Substack, Word Count, I mentioned a podcast that I’d been listening to: London Writers’ Salon #048 with Oliver Burkeman. Burkeman, the author of Four Thousand Weeks, had a lot to say that was interesting, but there were a couple of things […]

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Why do you write?

March 22, 2023

Understanding your motivations can provide a solid foundation for writing during times of despair. A few weeks ago, I wrote about the potential impact of so-called ‘artificial intelligence’ such as ChatGPT on the literary world, in particular, the potential for AI-generated spam to drown out works by real human beings. Since then, I’ve had a […]

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The font of all knowledge

March 15, 2023

Your brain craves novelty, so changing even tiny things can help creativity. There were times during the writing of my pandemic novel where I got really, really bored. Not bored of the story nor of the telling of it, but bored of the act of sitting at my computer and typing out what was in […]

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Are you typing when you should be writing?

March 8, 2023

It turns out that typing and handwriting aren’t the same. Are you choosing the right one for the job? One of my favourite insights into the writing process is this short talk from tech journalist Clive Thompson about the cognitive difference between handwriting and typing. If you have ten minutes, take a look. ? If […]

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It’s all in the notebook

March 1, 2023

Understanding how your mind prefers to work helps you find the right tools so that you can nurture your creativity. Writing last week’s newsletter reminded me of a transformative moment in my writing life when, in April 2017, I discovered the existence of the disc-bound notebook. My husband and I were walking around Office Depot […]

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The year I Jedi mind tricked myself into creativity

February 22, 2023

My writer’s block was so bad in 2016 that I decided to spend the next year doing literally anything else instead. Sometimes, you have to play the long game.

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You don’t have to be ‘in the mood’ to write

February 8, 2023

You have it in you to write wherever and whenever you want.

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Five productivity hacks to kickstart your writing

February 6, 2023

It’s not always as simple as ‘sit down and write’, especially if you’re working on multiple projects. These five tips will help you get organised and get writing.

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