writing tools

Unblocking Writer’s Block

A cup of tea, anyone?

If you’re stuck for something to write, or something to write about, why not try this prompt?

Take a small notebook and go and sit in a café. Write about anything which attracts your attention.

For example, why not try people watching? What do the other people in the café look like? What are they wearing? What do they order? How do they eat/drink? What can you smell – the aroma of the coffee you’re drinking? Does your tea look like dishwater? Is anyone watching you – if so, are they staring at you or watching you when they think you can’t see them? Don’t leave until you’ve filled at least one page of your notebook.

A fellow writer called Joseph W. Richardson gave me this tip. I’ve written several pages each time Ive gone out for a cup of tea. If it doesn’t work for you, then at least you managed to get out of the house and enjoyed a drink!

 

Writing. Or Freedom from Deadlines

You may start with a blank page, a blank notebook, a blank post-it note, but filling it is as simple as beginning with a single word. Any word which gets you started.

You may start with a blank page, a blank notebook, a blank post-it note, but filling it is as simple as beginning with a single word. Any word which gets you started.

Freedom from deadlines isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. Having finished my uni work and handed in my assignments, I now feel as though I have no purpose. It’s not just for now. I always feel like this after hand-ins. So, I’ve been searching for things to do. I know I have a novel to work on, but I need a little break first before commiting myself to another large piece of writing. Continue reading

Writing Exercise

IMG_3104If you’re stuck for something to write about, take a look around you. Describe what is in your favourite room in the place where you live. What’s there? Is everything where it should be? If not, why not? Describe the colours, the textures, the sounds around you. What do these remind you of? Did you choose them yourself, or are they a glimpse into someone else’s taste? Why? How do these things make you feel, and why? What is your favourite thing in the room? Is it an item, a colour, a texture, a material, a smell, a piece of furniture or a piece of jewellery you keep in that room? Or is it the view from the window? Why is it so special to you? What memories are connected with it?

Out of all these things, choose something to write about. For example, about the memories connected to your favourite item from that room. If you choose to try this exercise, try writing as many words as you like, until the piece feels ‘finished’ to you. Then shake it up a little and try writing it in a different tense, or changing the point of view.

 

 

On Starting Writing

The first step to writing is to actually start writing. Do that and you’re well on your way. It sounds easy. I know it isn’t. We find a million ways of procrastinating and doing anything but write. But you must start getting your story down. It doesn’t matter how: on paper, in a notebook, onto a laptop – anything you prefer. Or try drawing a mind map or spidergram of ideas and things you want to tell the reader about.

Once you have these basics, you can start building on them. Work out what works best for you:

– work on one idea at a time

– get notes down for anything you can think of, as you go along

– a combination of both

It’s all about experimenting and finding out what works best for you. Try it. If it doesn’t work, try something else.

Salt and Honey by Candi Miller: Book Review

Image courtesy of Tindal Street Press, and permission from Candi Miller.

Salt and Honey by Candi Miller is an epic saga posing as a small book which deals with issues of major importance not only in Africa but on a global level too: persecution of ethnic minorities; apartheid; inequality; and mixed race relationships.  These are slipped seamlessly into the narrative. Reflections on the class divide and social commentary are effortless and non-judgmental. Candi Miller does not preach to her readers, she just presents things as they are.  This treatment of issues that matter to all of us worldwide makes Salt and Honey very easy to read. We do not feel as if we’re being directed to feel a certain way about the issues that are presented or about the fascinating characters; we are left to make our own minds up.

The book is full of beautiful words and imagery which take us into an unfamiliar landscape. The world of Koba is one that will be unknown to many, but the author weaves it in a way which feels like a blanket: it becomes familiar rather than foreign in her expert hands.

Changes made to the text for the Tindal Street Press edition of Salt and Honey have helped to make an already great book even better. The glossary of words is helpful, but not complete.

Despite Candi Miller’s attempts to explain the sounds of the different clicks in the Ju’hoansi language, these are not easy to grasp unless you are a linguist, or hear someone vocalise them. With this in mind, I can’t wait to listen to an audio version of this book.

Candi Miller, Salt and Honey  (Birmingham: Tindal Street Press, 2011)

Candi Miller, Salt and Honey (London: Legend Press, 2006)

Getting Started With Writing

The first step to writing is to actually start writing. Do that and you’re well on your way. It sounds easy. I know it isn’t. We find a million ways of procrastinating and doing anything but write. But you must start getting your story down. It doesn’t matter how: on paper, in a notebook, onto a laptop – anything you prefer. Or try drawing a mind map or spidergram of ideas and things you want to tell the reader about.

Once you have these basics, you can start building on them. Work out what works best for you:

– work on one idea at a time

– get notes down for anything you can think of, as you go along

– a combination of both

It’s all about experimenting and finding out what works best for you. Try it. If it doesn’t work, try something else.

You never know when ideas or writing snippets and opportunities will come your way, so always carry a notebook to jot things down so you don’t forget.

 

Hello!

Hello!

Welcome to my website.  Here, you can find out a little more about me and what I’m up to, and read my blog posts.  You can also read some extracts of my work: poetry and narrative; and see photos or videos of me in action.  See also what I like to read in my spare time. If you’re stuck with your writing, take a look at ideas and suggestions on my site, for example, check out the inspirations and writing tools.

Raj