I have moved the whole blog to a new address. Please join me over there as no new posts are being added here and I have removed key info from this old version ...


When you get there, PLEASE rejoin as a "follower" - changing addresses means I lose my 230 lovely friends!

NB also - all comments are intact on the new version.

Monday 16 February 2009


Apologies to those of you who lovely people who commented or contacted me personally to say they really liked my idea of doing online one-to-one tuition: I'm afraid it's not going to happen, or at least not in the foreseeable future. I was going to do it, really: I spent the weekend planning it, creating a new blog to give you all the info, working everything out in huge detail. The blog was all ready to go live. Just needed to click a button, though first I was going to ask lovely Jane Smith of How Publishing Really Works to say what she thought. While I was doing it, I admit that a major part of me was screaming NO! You see, although I love teaching and would have enjoyed so many aspects of this idea, I have a habit of doing too much, spending too long at my computer and not enough time getting a life, and I know that I am supposed to be writing books, doing talks, and all the other paraphernalia of being an author (including this blog, which I really enjoy doing), all of which would be enough even if I didn't have a husband, dog and occasionally two daughters. Not to mention the chocolate habit.

But I wanted to do it, and I'm an idiot, so I was ploughing on. Then, yesterday evening, my husband and I were going to the cinema, just about to leave the house, when the phone rang. It was a friend to say that a good friend of ours had died. Just like that. Out of the so-called blue.

I don't believe in signs, but I do believe in listening to yourself. And my first rational and coherent thought was a cliché: life's too short. Then another one: you only get one life. And finally a line from my favourite film, The Life of Brian: "Life's a piece of shit, when you look at it."

But life isn't a piece of shit - life's good, mostly. Life is for living and loving and so I'm going to live it and love it, and that means making time for myself, family and friends, chocolate, novels, the best words I can produce in the best order I can design. And that means no new and possibly exhausting projects like an on-line writing school, at least for now. Even though I'd have got a lot of satisfaction from it, it's not what I know I should be doing and I know this is the right decision. I hope you understand.

What I will do is include some posts about the various things I'd have taught you if you had signed up for my mad idea. This blog started as purely advice about getting published, but since the most important step towards getting published is writing the best possible book, I should and will include some advice about that, and I'll focus especially on the most common things people do wrong in their writing.

Meanwhile, I am myself learning the brutal reality of writer's block. It does feel as though something physical is sticking there, that if I tried to get back to the novel in progress today it just wouldn't work. Creativity needs space and there's no space in there right now. If I sit at my desk and stare at the screen, nothing will come and the more nothing comes the worse it feels. So, I'm going to switch the computer off and I'm going for a long walk with the dog. She won't be pleased, as it's raining and she's not stupid, but we're going. Walking and fresh air - even wet fresh air - always work for me.

Normal service and "crabbit old bat" sense of humour will be resumed. Just don't go away and please do take care.