I tried a little experiment over the Christmas break and have come up with a stark conclusion -
Writers just can't have holidays.
We all know the value of time off. Do something refreshingly different, have a rest, recharge the creative batteries, all that kind of thing.
So, for a few days I tried not to do any writing. I put away my laptop and decided to go out for walks, listen to music, read books...
And I failed within hours. Some new thought on how to improve a story I was working on would edge its way into my mind and just insist on being written, like the persistent little things do.
On Christmas Day itself, I had my biggest success, and even that wasn't great. I managed not to get the laptop out at all, but after a few hours of unwrapping presents and reading...
I was at my A4 notebook, jotting down ideas for a new story.Read more
One of the great joys of writing is that there's so much of the kingdom to explore - fiction or non fiction, genre, short stories, novels, poetry etc etc.
When I was away teaching in the summer, I popped in on a short story course and thought I'd give it a go. I'd never tried it before and always enjoy something new, so I set myself a challenge - one a week in the run up to Christmas.
I've now written 20 short stories, and looking back on them have found a surprise -
16 are about love. That's 80% of the total.
When I started writing, I was never overly interested in the love thing in my books. Yes, there was a bit of sub plot with the characters because they've got to live real lives, and that was about it.
But now I discover myself writing about love a lot. Which poses the obvious question - why?
Maybe it's a phase of life, or perhaps it's part of the great self discovery thing which is one of the joys of writing, the way it taps into your subconscious to reveal what's really going on in your mind.Read more
Like many I love travelling, but for a writer there are journeys even more important than the ones that take us around this amazing world.
I'm talking about the travels within.
Of course, by exploring the wonders of Planet Earth we get to see so many sights and meet so many people that it can inspire and broaden our writing.
But the real travels are the ones in our imagination. Those where we go on an adventure of the mind with the people born of our creativity.
What I love so much about the imagination is that it's unlimited. If there isn't a place on the planet that's right for our setting, we can take a few hours of mind-wandering to invent one.
And as for the people who live there.... the only limit is within ourselves.
I delight in our world, which is a good thing as a big part of a writer's job is to observe. On the subject of which, here's a quick visual interlude from my native dear Devon.Read more
Books have a magical power beyond even that which we know so well - the ability to transport you to far off lands of the imagination, to learn, to escape and to enjoy.
For me, books are also a physical companion.
I had the pleasure of popping along to the Exeter Book Fair at the weekend, which was a delight...
Not just for all the warming people I met, particularly those kind enough to say they've enjoyed my tvdetective books (and buy more!), but for the sheer joy of looking around and getting to know so many books.
There were vivid memories of childhood days in the shelves; these must have been amongst the first books I remember reading -