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Getting Into My 2022 Writing Routine

I am currently editing one WIP and writing another. I know some writers say it’s a big no no to work on two projects, but I like to be able to flit between the two for a break, especially from editing.

My writing routine was very hit and miss in 2021, but I am definitely planning on a little more structure this year. I am an early morning worker. My youngest child gets me up between 5-6am . I procrastinate too much in the evenings, so when the kids settle down with breakfast and cartoons, that’s when I’ll fit in a writing sprint or some editing.

Do you have a strict or relaxed writing routine? Has it changed for 2022?

I just want to take this time to say that writing routines are unique and if your current chapter of life doesn’t allow you time to have a set routine, that’s okay! Write when you can. As long as words get written, what does it matter?


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How My Writing Process Has Changed Over the Years

I’m currently writing my first draft of a new WIP, and couldn’t help but think back to my early drafting days when I was labouring over EVO Nation. My process is different today, but that is mainly because as a new writer I thought I had to work a certain way, but over the years, I have found my OWN way.

Here are some of the ways in which my writing process has changed:

  • I used to write every little detail about my narrative that popped in my head into a notebook. My EVO Nation series notebooks are bulging. As the years have progressed I only jot down things I really need to remember. I don’t keep a notebook of names I like anymore or music playlists. My Zombies and Budgie Smugglers notes filled just an A4 piece of paper.
  • I don’t class myself solely as a pantser anymore. I used to think I had to stick to one way of writing like a religion. ‘I mean, how can I be taken seriously when my writing process changes like the wind?’ Now, I still regard myself as a pantser, but if I need to plot some chapters, I will.
  • I used to think I had to know everything about my character before starting the draft. Now, I let them tell me who they are when I’m drafting. It is also perfectly fine to not describe your character in great detail. I used to want the reader to see my characters exactly how I do. It’s fine to give them some hints and let them use their imagination for the rest.
  • Avoiding tropes like the plague used to be a huge deal for me. It was actually during writing EVO Nation that I finally told myself that genre tropes are fine, as long as you make them your own. I read certain genres for certain tropes, so why steer clear of them when I’m writing just because some people say ‘tropes are bad or lazy’.
  • I used to guilt myself into writing daily. It’s not always possible for me to do that now, and word counts have become the devil’s work to me. I write when I get the chance and that’s perfectly fine. I write to relax and deadlines and word counts made it stressful.

Whether you agree with my process or not is a matter of style, but I hope this post goes to show that our processes will change as we grow as writers, and the best advice any writer can have is to write for yourself, how you want, when you want, and for whatever reason you want!


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A Change to the Schedule

After I had included a monthly Author Toolbox Blog Hop post in my 2021 scheduling post, the founder of the Blog Hop announced that she will no longer be continuing for 2021.

I have decided to stick to the schedule, but replace a blog hop post with some of my writerly musing (that’s basically what Author Tool Box Blog Hop is anyway).

I hope you pop by for those posts. I will aim for the 15th of each month.


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Author Toolbox Blog Hop

Top Tips for Developing a Title (Author Toolbox Blog Hop

The amount of authors I know that struggle with titling (myself included) is incredible. I believe partly, we put too much pressure on ourselves. We have slogged hours and hours, pouring out our guts into our work and we don’t want to let it down with a crummy title. We want the title to be the cherry on the cake.

Over the years, I have developed some strategies to help me develop a title:

  • Leave the WIP untitled until you have finished writing it. I find most titles pop out when we least expect them. Finishing your work will give you a better understanding of the theme, feel and tone of your book, and that will help decide an appropriate title.
  • Ask your critique partners / beta readers for advice. Throw a few titles at them and ask which ones, if any, they like and believe fit your story.
  • Research titles in your genre. Seriously, genres have titles that work with readers and those that don’t. This also links in with the above point about asking critique partners for advice. Readers know what they expect from a genre, and believe it or not, that includes titles.
  • Of course, there are no right or wrong titles, but there are certainly titles that stand out to us and feel right. Trusting your gut instinct is my last tip. You know your work best. If it feels right, it probably is.

Do you have any processes for titling your work? Do you find it easy or hard to find the perfect title?


You can check out the other #authortoolboxbloghop participants and their posts here.


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Author Toolbox Blog Hop, Uncategorized

A Little Proving Time (Author Toolbox Blog Hop)

You’ve finished that mammoth, first draft, and now what? If you’re anything like me, you’re on a high and want to dive straight in with the edits, however, this may not be the best process for you just as it isn’t for me. I do my best editing when my work has been left for a few weeks. I call this the proving period.

I work best when I can detach from my WIP for a few weeks, but I am not here to tell you what you are doing is right or wrong, just to offer my two pence on what works for me.

Pros of a Proving Period

  • You can come back to your WIP and start editing with an objective set of eyes. It can be easy to skirt over errors when your brain knows what the sentence ‘should’ say.
  • A break will help prevent burn out. We all need a chance to recoup, and writing really can be a draining process.
  • You have the opportunity to focus on something else. This allows those creative juices to keep flowing on another project.

Cons of a Proving Period

  • You may prefer to have your storyline fresh in your mind as you head into the edits.
  • It makes the whole process longer. Writing is not a short process anyway, so a proving period certainly doesn’t help speed up editing.
  • If you are easily distracted, a long proving process could see you heading into other projects and not wanting to return to the dreaded edits.

I definitely benefit from a proving period. I prefer to dip into other projects before I edit my work. The objectivity is also a big plus for me.


Do you leave your WIP to prove before you edit? Do you have any tips and tricks for improving the editing process?


You can check out the other #authortoolboxbloghop participants and their posts here.


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Using Music to Help Set Tone (Author Toolbox Blog Hop)

Are you someone who needs silence to write, or are you like me and need a little ambience to break up the quiet? I firmly believe that listening to different styles of music helps me set the tone of a chapter, sometimes, the whole story.

There is a chapter in the third Book of my EVO Nation trilogy, EVO Ghost, that reiterates this for me. I listened to one song on repeat whilst I wrote the entire chapter. I think I drove my husband crazy, but the music stirred a tone/feeling in me that I wanted to capture in the chapter, and I am proud to say I think I accomplished it.

Certain scientific research shows that music is rooted more deeply in our primitive brain in regards to emotions etc than language. So, when I say music creates a feeling, that feeling runs deeper than the words to describe it. The fun part is translating that tone/ feeling into your work.

You can find more on how music affects the brain in this article on psychcentral.com: Music and How It Impacts the Brain

Why not create a playlist for when you are writing? You can listen to it before or during your writing process and see how it affects your tone and style.


You can check out the other #authortoolboxbloghop participants and their posts here.


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Beta Feedback Implementation (Author Toolbox Blog Hop)

Beta readers are the ‘product testers’ or ‘quality control’ of the literary world. They read your unreleased work and offer feedback from a readers point of view on things such as continuity, plot holes, or even hard to pronounce character and place names.

So, what to do with all the feedback?

Getting feedback can be daunting, especially if you have a particularly conscientious beta reader who makes notes on every tiny detail they think should be changed. But that is just it, not every tiny detail should be changed.

Here’s my list of rules I follow when implementing beta feedback:

  • Wait to receive all feedback before considering changes.
  • Group common feedback points. If more than one beta reader comes back with similar feedback or suggestions, then there is a definite need to revise.
  • Separate other feedback into three groups: Implement, Discard, and Contemplate. Do this by asking yourself what feedback is important or a good idea, what is not a necessity or doesn’t aid your narrative, and then anything you want to think on.
  • For the points you want to contemplate, ask your other beta readers for their opinion. Did they notice it? Would the reading experience be better if you implement it?

The important thing to remember is that beta feedback is advice. It is up to you, as the author, whether to act on that advice. If a beta reader doesn’t like a time jump, but you feel it is important to the narrative, then leave it in.


You can check out the other #authortoolboxbloghop participants and their posts here.


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To Print or Not to Print?(Author Toolbox Blog Hop)

I am now back in my full editing swing, and I have been chatting to a writer friend about our editing processes. We got onto the conversation of printing out the draft, and this is where we differ. I don’t ever print mine out. She was shocked by this.

I’m not here to say there is a right way for any part of the writing process, I just want to share my process and why it works for me.

Why I Don’t Print My Draft

There is a very simple reason why I don’t print my drafts and that is the amount of paper used. I understand if I was traditionally published, I would be sent a whopping amount of papers during the editing process, but I have the option and chose not to.

Secondly, I have a system that works for me. The main reason for printing out your manuscript to edit is to see it in a different way. I totally agree with this. We can all make errors when we’re looking at the same thing on screen for hours on end, but for me, this works by changing the font, size, and colour. I can simply do this for every draft I need to edit and it works well for me.

I do make handwritten notes in a small notebook, but 95% off my editing is done on the screen.

Finally, and this is a ‘Mum’ reason… my kids are into everything and it wouldn’t take long for my toddler to find and misplace my work. I’m not much better because I’m not always on the ball for putting things away safely and that is a recipe for editing disaster.


Do you edit on screen or prefer to print your work? Like I said, no judgement here just our own preferred methods.


You can check out the other #authortoolboxbloghop participants and their posts here.


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Write for You (Author Toolbox Blog Hop)

This post is more of a motivational, encouraging pick-me-up for anyone who needs it. I wanted to share the one thing that I have learnt in my time as a self published author, and that is to write for you.

Why did you start writing? Passion, a creative outlet? Has that changed over the course of your journey and are you asking yourself ‘what is the popular genre of the moment? Do people want to read this? Should I change something I like because statistics say my target audience won’t buy it?’

I’m here to tell you that the only person you need to impress is you. Yes, it is great to get sales and amazing reviews, but at the end of the day, you need to be happy with your process and your work.

I believe that your best writing comes when you stay true to yourself, your beliefs, and your style.

I just wanted to put this thought out there today, and if you are writing today, remember to make yourself happy.


You can check out the other #authortoolboxbloghop participants and their posts here.


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Finding Routine After a Hiatus (Author Toolbox Blog Hop)

As you know, I have taken a long hiatus from writing, partly due to being a full time Mum, and partly because I let other things get in the way of my writing time i.e setting myself too much work for this blog and social media.

Now, I have set my priorities straight for 2020 and want to dive back in with editing my novella, Zombies and Budgie Smugglers. However, I am finding it harder than I thought I would.

I have now set myself some rules to get back into a writing routine and wanted to share them with you.

Chose a time of day and stick to it.

The mornings are best for me. My kids are early risers, so getting in a writing session when they’re eating breakfast and watching TV is best for me. If I get it done and dusted, then the rest of my day is free and I don’t feel guilty for not having written or for writing instead of family time etc.

Set low word count goals for the first few weeks.

I work best by hitting word counts rather than time limits. Ideally, 500 words a day would be perfect, but it is a daunting number coming back after a break, so I am setting small word count goals for a while of just 150 words a day. The sense of accomplishment motivates me each day.

Accountability is important.

Having someone ask ,what was your word count this morning?’ or ‘did you sit down and edit today?’ really helps me stay on track. Let people know what your plans and goals are and ask them to encourage you to stay on track every once in a while. My 9 year is best at this as she enjoys writing herself.

Mini deadlines over big ones.

When I was a mother of 1 school age child, I would happily set deadlines for editing and publication etc. Now, I have a toddler with me 24/7 a deadline seems scary. Deadlines used to motivate me, so I enjoy a mini deadline without the big stress of looming dates. For example, getting 15 pages edited in 5 days is doable and an extra push.


Do you have any tips to help me jump back on the writing wagon?


You can check out the other #authortoolboxbloghop participants and their posts here.


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