Val Andrews is also the author of ‘Unlock Your Creativity’ and runs writing workshops.
What’s the best way for a writer to juggle their personal and writing life? Ordinary life often gets in the way of a planned structured day. Any tips?Allocate a set time every day, or at least every week, to do the writing, and then do it. In the meantime, carry a notebook with you and smash every thought, idea, question and image relevant to your writing project into that notebook. Don’t use that notebook for anything else, for your creative work may get lost in it.
What can a writer do to overcome ‘writer’s block?’ Write, especially stream of consciousness first thing in the morning, as this will loosen up writing expression. And then, if still stuck, there are loads of warm-up and idea-forming exercises that can be done to help increase the flow. We have offered a number of these exercises in our book ‘Unlock Your Creativity: a 21 day sensory workout for writers.’
What should a writer look out for when deciding if their manuscript is the best it can possibly be before releasing it to an agent/publisher/the public? Let it be for a couple of months, and forget about it. Allow it to percolate through your subconscious as you get on with other things. Then come back to it with a more critical mind and the benefit of more life experience. Re-read it, tweak it and then go for it.
How can a writer be prepared for, and deal with rejection? Don’t worry about it. Consider self-publishing.
How should a writer deal with negative reviews about their book? Give them fair consideration. Learn what you can from them and bring their essence into your next piece of work. But if the negative review really doesn’t resonate with any sense of meaning for you, then forget about it and move on. Don’t ruminate, as this will block you.
Can you share with us some of the helpful advice/tips featured in your book -‘Unlock Your Creativity?’ We feel the writing exercises in our book will help a new or blocked writer to find their writing in all its dimensions (voice, style, theme, subject matter etc.) Whilst there are a number of different kinds of writing exercises in our book, the 21 day sensory exercises are especially designed to be used over a 21 day period to help the new or blocked writer form the daily habit of writing.
Can you share any valuable websites/magazines/blogs for authors in respect of tips, help and advice? We have listed a number of books, blogs, magazines, websites and organisations in the ‘Resources’ section of our book ‘Unlock Your Creativity: a 21 day sensory workout for writers.’ Here are a few:
- Arvon Foundation: (www.arvonfoundation.org)
- Author Sophia (www.lifestyleandliterature.wordpress.com)
- Historical Novelists Association: (www.historicalnovelsociety.org)
- Prize Magic – competition website: (www.prizemagic.co.uk)
- Romantic Novelists Association: www.rna-uk.org)
- Society of Authors: (www.societyofauthors.net)
- ‘The Artist’s Way’ by Julia Cameron (1995)
- ‘The New Writer’ magazine
- The Writer’s Toolkit: (http://www.writers-toolkit)
- Unlock Your Creativity (http://www.unlockyourcreativity.wordpress.co
Any tips in respect of getting the synopsis right? Sometimes a synopsis can be very easy to write, but if you’re struggling with it, take a bit of time away from you manuscript, and let your subconscious work it out while you are busy getting on with other things. It will come to you. If you’ve written the entire manuscript, you can write the synopsis.
Any tips on marketing and creating a fan base? Sue Johnson and I each have accounts / profiles with Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, and we each have different contacts on those social media. When we post a new message, story or competition on our blog, we share that link across social media. We have also built up a number of contacts from the workshops we run, and keep them informed, via email and blog postings, of our latest news.
Lastly, can you share with us about what your usual writing day is like? As I have a full time ‘day job’ which occupies 45-50 hours per week, my typical writing day is one hour in the mornings before work. Most weekends, I can allocate a 3 hour stint to work on a writing project. My ideal writing day (when I am not working full time) is about 6 hours with a ½ hour break in the middle. After the 6 hours, I like to go for a long, fast walk to re-energise.