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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Word Count 37: New prize for older debuts, tackling first line dread, the Big Comedy Conference and 35 newsletter lessons

February 28, 2023

Hi there, Welcome to the first Word Count on Substack! This week has been more of the usual: editing Tag, polishing off the ethics submission for Fieldwork, and going through Substack’s copious settings. I have a big meeting about Ada Lovelace Day this afternoon, so I’m hoping that by next week’s newsletter I’ll have some […]

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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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Word Count 36: Writing habits webinar TONIGHT, scriptwriting comp deadline TOMORROW, Will Storr webinar next month, plus taking out your head trash and more!

February 21, 2023

Hi there, I sent my second submission of the year off yesterday, to the Edinburgh TV Festival’s script comp (see below). But I’m going to need to step up the pace if I want to reach my target of 100 rejections this year! Event: TONIGHT! ‘Why productivity is personal’ webinar I’ve seen a lot of […]

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Let’s take out some head trash

February 15, 2023

Writing gets easier when you’re not talking yourself down.

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Word Count 35: Tag progress, are you in the mood to write?, why author newsletters are so important, new non-fiction prize for women, playwrights wanted, high list of opportunities for writers, and the enshittification of social media, plus young Grabbity under a blankie

February 14, 2023

Hi there, This week, I’ve made some progress on my TV series and written another post for my other newsletter. Coincidentally, it seems like newsletters are turning into the most reliable way for authors to keep in touch with their audiences now, because social media is a dumpster fire (we kinda knew that already). Plus […]

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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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Word Count 34: Productivity hacks, how to write a synopsis, book vibes, Not Too Busy To Write, Inception plot map, actual fishing rod cat toy

February 7, 2023

Hi there, We’re back to gloriously sunny but really quite nippy weather again, so I’m getting chewed out by Copurrnicus who really wants to go outside but there’s frost on the ground and he doesn’t like it. Grabbity’s chewing me out because she doesn’t like the food that’s down. And my subconscious is chewing me […]

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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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Adulting, procrastination and freeing up space for creativity

February 1, 2023

It’s hard to write if you’re constantly worrying about stressful chores

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Word Count 33: Deadlines are good, ten tips from Neil Gaiman, Quenby Olson on self-promotion, Why Aren’t I Writing?, and the reintroduction of Grabbity and Sir Izacat Mewton

January 31, 2023

Hi there, January is finally over so it’s a good time to take a look at how the year has started. I don’t do New Years Resolutions, I do habits and, looking back on the month, I’ve done pretty well. I’m still practicing my Welsh and flossing daily, averaging 6,500 steps a day (1,500 more […]

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First, deal with The Fear

January 30, 2023

What’s coming up on Why Aren’t I Writing?

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Word Count 32: Why ‘Just write!’ is terrible advice, The Dark Is Rising, Eli’s coming, finding joy in writing

January 24, 2023

Hi there, It was -7C when I woke up this morning and still hasn’t got up as far as 0 yet, so this week’s newsletter come to you from underneath a large pile of blankets, one of them electric. Suw’s news: Ethics applications and editing There can’t be many fiction projects that start off with an ethics […]

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Why ‘Just write!’ is terrible advice

January 20, 2023

‘Just write!’ is an incredibly popular piece of advice given frequently and in many different guises to people who want to write but, for whatever reason, are not. It’s a terrible thing to say and not just because if it was that simple, we’d all be extremely productive and procrastination wouldn’t exist. Instead, the world […]

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Word Count 31: First submission of 2023, introducing Fieldwork, About Writing review, 100 rejections, the importance of word choice, and there’s no such thing as an empty box

January 17, 2023

Hello there, Last week I mentioned Discoveries 2023, the Women’s Prize Trust/Curtis Brown Creative/Audible literary competition for women. Despite having absolutely no faith at all that they’ll be interested in a pandemic novel, I have submitted anyway. It’s my first submission of 2023, but it definitely won’t be my last as I aim for 100 […]

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