Slow Writing

I was on a training course a few days ago and the trainer introduced the group to a writing concept called “Slow writing.” I had come across a version of this on my advanced writing course with Barbara Marsh so it was interesting to see how it originated and how to actually set it up.

Slow writing is about taking the time to think about writing. The writer is given (or self imposes) a topic to write about. Then there are constraints built into the writing. A constraint could be not using a particular letter of the alphabet or not using a particular word e.g. and. Then there are slow writing activities in which the writer must follow certain rules e.g. The writing must begin with a question. There can be up to seven rules involved.

Once the rules are explained to the writing group then the writers can get on with the process of writing within the time limit.  This technique allows the writers to produce a “stream of consciousness” but to have certain limitations or constraints on it.

When the time is up, then the writers go back over their text. There could be a further set of instructions here e.g. add commas, change all verbs into the present perfect and so on.

At the end of the writing exercise the writers will have had the chance to write and rewrite their text. It could make the editing process of “free writing” less painful.

I have tried it out on some of my students and it certainly does help them to rework their writing.

There are a couple of useful website for anyone interested in using the technique with writing groups:

The Triptico site allows the registered user to create interactive activities and many colleagues recommend it as a teaching resource.

Finding a writing space

The last few weeks have been very hectic with travelling, moving, the British General Election and work. Somehow, I managed to get my book “Stura maja: Living with the Enemy” formatted and up for sale on Amazon in the midst of the chaos. The book, I am pleased to say, is doing quite well.

Find a writing space both physically and in my head has been rather difficult. At first, there was the euphoria of completing the first of the Stura Maja books. Then, came the distribution and promotion of the book. This has been quite time consuming and rather draining. I have had to think “book” while around me colleagues have been facing redundancy and a restructuring of further education in England.

I am pleased that I now have a new physical writing space:

New Writing Space

New Writing Space

It is in fact, the same old desk but it is now situated in other part of North West London.

Getting the correct position for the writing desk has been very important. I need to have a clear space where there are only the things around which need to be around. At the moment, the table top is littered external drives as I am finding and uploading photographs for my website. The Recipe tin is the hold all for all the wires which plug into my laptop or charge up my iPad. The mug came from the Stura Maja exhibition in Riga last year and is a reminder of my novels.

I have a connection to my love of baking in the form of a cook’s measuring jug which I use to keep all my rulers and scissors organised; I have an old enamel teapot as a pen store. I find that having practical and comforting objects on the desk helps to create a sense of balance from the clinical aspect of working on a laptop. I would love to have a totally clear desk but that, I am sure, is never going to happen.

So far, the new working space is working out well. I have a good view of the rest of the room and the street outside which helps give my eyes a break. I have managed this morning to completely update my website and my facebook page. I look forward now to working on the next part of Stura maja.


Print or electronic book?

Getting people to read your book should be one of the main aims of indie publishing and so it stands to reason that you, the writer, should be making your book as accessible as possible to as many readers as possible. Therefore, why would you not make your book available as bot a print edition and an electronic edition. There are, after all people out there who would never buy aeBook as well as people who have gone completely digital.

With my new novel, Living with the Enemy, I created a print version for my elderly relatives who are not part of the digital world. Surprisingly, I sold most of my first order to colleagues who loved the experience of having a ” real” book in their hands. Even better, they all wanted them signed. In fact, people showed more interest in the novel because they could actually buy it directly from me.

People who don’t know me, I suspect will buy the electronic version especially since it is cheaper.