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Resources for Writers

Writing Tips to Get You Thinking

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Article by Writing.ie ©.
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The best writing advice I was every given was from multi award winning bestseller Sarah Webb, author of the incredible Blazing a Trail: Irish Women Who Changed the World (whichshould be on EVERY Irish bookshelf ) – and it’s very simple: ‘just keep writing’. She was so right – more words you write, the better you get. It’s the only way to find your voice. With her advice, I found my voice and have so far written three bestsellers as Sam Blake. But behind those bestsellers are an awful lot of unpublished books (about 4 full novels and endless partials) that were my apprenticeship to the craft.

I find quotes motivational and inspirational so I’ve asked some of my writing friends to give you some tips to take you into 2019. When we first launched Writing.ie we asked lots of writers to do the same – here are their 100 tips. The world has changed a lot since then, but has the advice? We’re going to publish it in manageable articles rather than in one long one, so here are the first few, take a look!

First up is ER Murray – Elizabeth writes novels for children and young adults as well as short fiction and personal essays. Her books include The Book of Learning – Nine Lives Trilogy 1 (2016 Dublin UNESCO Citywide Read for Children.), The Book of Shadows – Nine Lives Trilogy 2 (shortlisted 2016 Irish Book Awards and 2016 Irish Literacy Association Award), The Book of Revenge – Nine Lives Trilogy 3(Feb 2018) and Caramel Hearts (May 2016). Here are her key tips:

“When you’re writing, immerse yourself 100%. No internet for research (fill in the blanks later), no messages or social media alerts (they can wait). Turn everything off except for your manuscript. Thirty minutes of intense, focused writing is worth two hours of distracted writing, flicking between projects.”  E.R. Murray

“Get outdoors – don’t let your computer/writing room become a prison. Fresh air and movement generates new ideas and helps unlock issues. If you’ve hit a stumbling block – be it a lack of focus, a plot issue, or struggling to generate ideas – walk it off. Keep pounding that pavement/country road/track until you either a) have it solved or b) feel less stressed about it. Trust me, it works.” E.R. Murray

“Don’t wait for the right moment/room/time/weather conditions. We all have challenges and restrictions; work with what you have. If you can only write for ten minutes a few times a day then do; it’s practice, it’s progress, and it will add up. Use what you have to achieve what you can. Frequent writing for shorter intervals is much more productive than no writing at all.” E.R. Murray

Bad writing days are why editing was created; but you can’t fix a blank page. Alana Kirk
Don’t wait for the right moment; seize any moment you can. Alana Kirk
Listen before you write, then don’t think before you type; let it flow. Alana Kirk
Alana Kirkis a wordsmith who has worked and played with words since Enid Blyton stole her childhood sleep and her first article was published in a school magazine.Sadly, it was about Chris de Burgh and like the ferryman, she wasn’t paid.Happily, her writing (and musical tastes) have gone from strength to strength.She writes for a living as a storyteller and journalist. Having travelled the world working for the non-profit sector, she now helps charities tell their stories to demonstrate the impact of their work, and writes regularly for magazines and newspapers. Her first non-fiction book was published early in 2016 based on the success of her blog www.thesandwichyears.org. It charts the unchartered waters of navigating a steady course through the tsunami of need from being sandwiched between caring for young vibrant children, and old ailing parents.  The book, Daughter, Mother, Me: A memoir of love, loss and dirty dishes became bestseller. We asked Alana for her favourite inspirational or motivaional quote, here it is:
Leonardo da Vinci: I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.
Hazel Gaynor is one of our Writing.ie blogging team and a New York Times, USA Today and Irish Times bestselling, award-winning historical novelist, who lives in County Kildare, Ireland with her husband and two children. Her 2014 debut novel The Girl Who Came Home—A Novel of the Titanic hit the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists, and went on to win the 2015 Historical Novel of the Year award from the Romantic Novelists’ Association in London. Her second novel A Memory of Violets, was also a New York Times bestseller, and her third, The Girl from The Savoy was an Irish Times and Globe & Mail bestseller, and finalist for the 2016 Irish Book Awards. Her 2017 release The Cottingley Secret hit the Globe & Mail and USA Today bestseller lists. Last Christmas in Paris (co-written with Heather Webb) was also a Globe & Mail bestseller, and won the 2018 Women’s Fiction Writers Association STAR Award.Hazel’s latest release The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter, is inspired by the true events surrounding the life of Victorian lighthouse keeper, Grace Darling, and the lives of female lighthouse keeper’s from the past 200 years.

Hazel told us:

“Writing a book is very daunting so think about your writing project as a series of scenes, rather than an entire novel. Sit down to write a scene/chapter/specific number of words, not a novel. It’s still daunting (!) but it all feels a bit more achievable this way.” Hazel Gaynor

“Don’t write in a vacuum. Inhabit the publishing world, especially the genre you’re writing in. Connect with and support fellow writers. Go to festivals and events. Tell everyone about the books you love. Shop in your local bookshop. Basically, get involved off the page as well as on the page.” Hazel Gaynor

“Motivation is everything so when you’re starting the first draft of a new project, wrap up a gift for yourself to open when you reach specific word count goals: 10,000, 30,000, 50,000 words etc (or whatever goals work for you). Disclaimer: This (sadly) isn’t my idea. I saw it on Twitter and it’s the best writing tip I’ve ever seen!” Hazel Gaynor

If you’ve got a favourite tip of motivational quote that keeps you writing, drop vanessa@writing.ie a line and we’ll do our best to include it!

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