Saturday, 18 September 2010

The Writing Exercise Challenge

Due to recent events (i.e. being in hospital) my writing has somewhat teetered into oblivion. With me it seems to be a recurring theme that my writing, on occasion will reduce or disappear, and once that happens it develops into almost a fear to go and sit back down at the desk.

It is a vicious circle- because I am not getting any writing done I feel guilty and not whole but then, because I feel bad about it, I avoid thinking about it and thus avoid doing any writing! The biggest obstacle for most writers is themselves, whether that is the tendency to procrastinate or self-doubt and that is certainly the case for me.

The theory is that once I get back in the habit of sitting at my desk and writing an hour a day I will be back to normal! Not as easy as it sounds. The thought of sitting there and pouring myself onto paper at the moment in disjointed paragraphs and meaningless garble is just... terrifying. It is easy to forget all former success and all previous pieces of writing I did do well with and was proud of when I am so preoccupied by a notion of inferiority because I now feel out of practice.

Thankfully, after weeks of living baron of writing I think I have came up with a possible solution and one that seems so damn obvious that I'm kicking myself for not having done anything sooner. Writing Exercises. That is the solution. I have a book of writing exercises and for the next three weeks I intend to do one writing exercise for an hour a day 5/6 days a week. It seems so obvious and eliminates that fear of not knowing what to write.

The idea of the challenge is that it is realistic and achievable and three weeks should be long enough for sitting down to write for an hour a day to become almost a habit. After three weeks I am hoping. without getting carried away, that my enthusiasm and confidence in writing should be reignited and my productivity be back to a level I am happy with. Either way, I'll have at least 15 pieces of writing from these exercises and some of those are bound to have something I can work on or use.

Wish me luck xx

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

What Writing Magazines Have to Offer

Today I have been mostly reading October's issue of Writers' Forum and, for my birthday, I have a good idea that I'll be getting a subscription to Mslexia. But how useful are writing magazines?

There are three main writing magazines that may be of interest to budding and experiences writers:

Writing Magazine
This is probably the bestselling magazine for writers and is available for subscription with Writers' News. Subscribers I have spoken to appear to learn a lot from the magazine but it has less to offer the experienced writer, many do however find Writers' News invaluable for information on the current writing market.

Writers' Forum
Many writers I have spoken to now feel that Writers' Forum has the edge over Writing Magazine. It provides a wide range of features, regular columns and writing exercises that is in keeping with the current market.

Mslexia
A quarterly magazine for women who write, Mslexia will not be for everyone. The articles are usually longer than those featured in its competitors and could be described as more self exploratory, it also includes an extensive list of upcoming competitions, festivals and courses.


The problem I usually find is that there will be articles in an issue I don't find particularly useful because they are about a genre I do not write in. If you are a magazine addict or just want a broad insight into the writing world this is something you probably won't mind, otherwise check the magazine content before you buy an issue. Writers' Forum and Writing Magazine can be picked up in many newsagents and Mslexia can be purchased from their website as an individual issue.

A writing magazine does not have to be an annual investment. If you find you are buying a magazine every month and enjoying it perhaps then consider subscribing.


Besides features, author profiles and exercises I find one of the most valuable aspects a writing magazine has to offer is the inspiration it can conjure. Sometimes reading about an author's success or what an agent is looking for is just what you need to encourage you to stop reading and start writing! Ultimately writing magazines are great tools but you must always remember: they are not writing.