Should you study writing?

Some people will tell you that courses in writing are a waste of time. The most basic and influential way of learning to be a writer is by writing and reading.  You observe and write what you see. You read and then write some more. This is the simplest way to learn and improve your skills. You learn by doing. 

So, should you study writing? Simple answer. Yes and no. It solely depends on what you’re studying and your reasons for it. Let me explain.

If you want to sharpen your tools and techniques, talk to a community filled with other writers that can, in turn, help each other to become better writers. Then studying a course may be the perfect thing for you right now. Writing courses offer a safe space to experiment and practice with the knowledge that everyone is in a similar boat. You don’t have to worry about receiving a negative reaction such as you would from friends and family. Instead, you will most likely be offered genuine advice and criticisms on how to improve. Courses are great for a pick me up or boost when you have gotten as far as you can on your own. When you get to that step that you just can’t seem to swing your leg over.

On the other hand,  writing courses aren’t great for everyone and some courses are better than others.

There is no such thing as a good writer or a bad one. Every writer is different and what someone hates about your writing, someone else will love (as long as you put your whole heart into it) so sometimes courses aren’t great for certain people. Maybe you’re picking the wrong course and it’s too limited and is teaching you how to be a certain kind of writer. Sometimes you can find yourself on a course filled with hateful people that think they’re superior. They will dumb down your work and quote books you’ve never heard of. Don’t waste your time with those people. Sometimes you may even have a crap teacher or course. It can’t be helped. 

It’s a bit of a lottery finding a perfect course for each person but the benefits are plenty in my opinion. 

So, should you study writing? Yes, when you need to learn and improve your skills with a different tool. Courses are a great place to chat with other writers and really tune into your skills. They help you become a more knowledgeable writer. Just don’t expect everything to be easy or different with your writing as soon as the course is finished. Things take time and writing is a long winding road with plenty of hidden junctions.

How to be a writer – Pick up a pen

Let’s talk about being a writer. You see recently I’ve been doing some studies that focus on writing fiction, as a means to develop my knowledge.  One of the first things we were asked to do on this course is to introduce ourselves. My introduction went as follows: 

“Excited to get going on this course! I’m still very much an amateur writer but I suppose you will always be learning and therefore always an amateur. I have a website where I share short stories, advice, and guidance as well as other social links. Follow me! Would love some writing friends”

Of course, I had to promote myself, that was a given but I share this not for the promotion but the common sense. ‘Always an amateur’, this one statement peeked interest with a few including myself. I said it off the top of my head but when I read back it makes perfect sense. 

I’m surrounded by doubts, worries, people never thinking they’re good enough. People always striving to improve. Take note ‘improve’. You never stop learning and the term ‘amateur’ refers to inexperience, but everyone is inexperienced in some way otherwise there would be no room to improve, am I right? So, why beat yourself up about not being good enough? There is no highest level or top pedestal to reach so why do we do it? Strange post, I know. I would just like to put that thought in your head the next time you start beating yourself up about not doing enough. I’m not saying I don’t have these thoughts by any means. I have plenty of worries and doubts thanks to an anxiety problem but I don’t let that stop me.

You’re always an amateur. Always learning something new, always striving too improve. So why hold yourself back and limit yourself? I’m not excepting you to write a novel or jump off a cliff ski diving but too just except that you can never be perfect. Perfection is an impossibility. 

So, to any writers out there. Stop worrying about messing up and your work not being good enough. Write what you want to write and stop blaming writer’s block everytime you get ‘stuck’ with doubts. 

Want to be a writer? Then pick up a pen and write. 

Writing Inspiration – Where and how to find it.

As a writer, you aren’t limited to where you find inspiration from. Everything and anything can inspire a writer. Everything from the mug of coffee in your hand to the bird sitting on a branch outside to the neighbour who annoys everyone they meet. Inspiration is everywhere if you understand what it is and get in the right mindset for seeing it and understanding what you see.  I would highly recommend reading my post on writing focus. In order to find inspiration, we must be focused.


Whether it’s reading a book, magazine or another blog. Reading is the easiest way to get inspiration as a writer and you can’t have one without the other. If you don’t read a lot, then you won’t make it as a writer. 

Listening to conversations

Everyone has those times where you’re walking through town doing errands and you can’t help but hear what others are talking. You will be surprised at how inspiring these overheard conversations can be for a writer. 


Films, TV shows, Music, and Video games are all great sources of inspiration. Especially if they follow the same genre that you want to write in. Even the internet can be a source of inspiration. 

Writing with no target

Writing for the sake of writing can be a great help in finding inspiration for new stories or ideas. Just set a timer for ten minutes or so and jot down anything that comes to mind even if it ends up in the bin after, it may well give you inspiration and will certainly get your creative juices flowing and may even allow you to vent some of your frustrations or worries.  

Word Games 

Play word association games, scrabble, even charades. You can get inspiration from any word related games.  For example, pick 6 words out of a book and then create a 6-paragraph story from those words. 

Keep a Journal 

Try to get into a habit of carrying a notebook everywhere you go. Even if you’re just nipping to the shops. If ever you think of something great, then you need somewhere to write it down promptly before forgetting. This is a good thing to get into a habit of doing every day.

Change your environment

Sometimes just a change of scenery or setting can be enough to inspire you with a new idea. When you work in the same place all the time your brain becomes bored and inspiration and focus become difficult. 

Write what you see

If you’re really struggling for inspiration, then sometimes the simplest things can be the most inspiring. You know we talked about taking your journal everywhere with you? Try taking it somewhere simple like a park or even a meal out and write what you see. Everything from the colour of the grass at the park to the smell of the pasta dish you’re eating. every day in as much detail as possible without it being too wordy and pay attention to your surroundings. Spot the things other might not like the waitress giving a knowing look to another about a customer or maybe a child hitting another in the park. Little scenes like this can make all the difference in good stories so make notes for a later date. 

Lost your writing focus? Here’s how you can get it back.

Read a lot 

How many times have you been reading a book and all of a sudden an idea for that story you have been working on pops into your mind and you have to scribble it down before you forget? Use that to your advantage. If you’re struggling to focus, read for a while. Reading, after all, is research for writing. This gives you a break but keeps your mind in writers mode. 

Remove distractions

If something keeps pulling your focus whether it’s technology, people or even the outside world. Remove that distraction. Close your curtains and turn off that TV. 

Write for you

Everyone knows how good it can be to write down your thoughts and feelings or just scribble in a journal. Sometimes it’s good to vent like this with your writing. Writing crap is better than writing nothing at all. Everything you write is still a learning experience. So, grab some pen and paper and write down anything that comes to mind. Time yourself for say, 10 minutes and see what you write. You might surprise yourself. 

Make it a game

If you’re really struggling to focus think outside the box. Instead of seeing writing as a chore or just something you need to do. Make it fun and make it a game. Set yourself challenges such as completing a word count by a certain time or getting a reward when you’ve been writing for so long. This can force your brain into focus mode. You could even create some word of word games from your writing. Give yourself a break and see how many times you can use the word ‘sight’ in 300 words whilst making sure it still makes sense to the reader. Challenge accepted. 

Remind yourself why you’re doing it  

Sometimes a loss of focus can be because you’re doubting your skills as a writer or you have fallen out of love with what you’re writing. In that case, you need to remind yourself why you started writing in the first place. Focus on how it makes you feel.


Similar to when you remind yourself why you started in the first place. Sometimes it can be as simple as rewinding or replaying the story in your mind or an idea for a story to be able to pick it up again. Sit back, get comfortable and ready what you’ve already written. That can be enough to make you focus again and can even give you a new insight into what’s next for your story.

Schedule time for writing

It’s too easy to avoid writing if you don’t set time for it. Just like setting time for housework, your job and even eating. You have to set time aside for writing. Creating a general schedule to keep to can really help with this so you know on Thursday Morning, for example, you will be writing the plot line for the story whereas Friday Evening you need to be focusing on spending time reading. This is also a good way to make sure you don’t miss anything throughout your week.

Play that funky music

There have been endless studies done on the effects of music on your focus and general mood. There are even playlists on Spotify for concentration. Sit down, relax and get in the mindset of writing with some appropriate music. 

Write or die 

There is writing software and tools out there that help you with your lack of focus. Well, when I say help, I mean to punish. The premise is, if you don’t write a certain amount of words or right continuously without a break for a whole thirty minutes then everything you have written will be deleted. It doesn’t work for everyone but it’s worth a try. I like the one attached to the software ‘Storyline Creator’.

Take a breather

If you have tried all of the above and still can’t seem to get back into writer’s mode then take a step back and take a break. Sometimes that is all you need. Write something completely different or don’t write anything at all for a few days.

Writing – 9 Awesome Things About Being A Writer

Recently I talked about the things I hate about writing so, I guess you could imagine what was coming next. Despite all the hard parts, the hair pulling and the frustrations, I love what I do.

1. Being my own boss
I am not a people person, not at all. I like being on my own, in fact, I enjoy it and crave it. So, I always hated having to go to work and be around people for the day in a job that I hated. The work gossip and the indefinite stream of ‘small talk’, it’s like a trap you can’t break free from until the clock tells you, you can go home. Then it repeats. It’s both daunting every night and draining every day. Being your own boss has its challenges but the rewards significantly outweigh for me.

2. The community
From the very beginning, I have found writing communities to be one of the most rewarding and friendly I’ve known. No matter how far you’re on your journey, as soon as you get excited about something and tell people, they get excited too. You have a little family that stands by you, helps you when you need it but congratulates you at the end of it. You also learn the meaning of the term ‘constructive criticism’ at a very early stage. If you embrace that, you grow.

3. Freedom over topics/strong>
Being a Self-Published writer -Rephrase, I was a Self-Published Writer who unpublished my books, I’m still a writer but currently, don’t have anything published due to reworks –  I can write what I want when I want. All the topics of conversation we wouldn’t think to talk about or tell to other people as if they were secrets. I can literally talk like an open book. This also means that I can create whoever I want. Everything from someone with mental health problems, serial killers or someone becoming a hero to the human race.

You can talk about anything you want, granted, you will get backlash. It won’t be all rosy and rainbows but it feels good to be able to talk about deep stuff sometimes. Writers will often try to place these topics into their writing in more subtle ways, either by opinionated characters or events in the plot.

4. A purpose
Writing gives me a purpose. It allows my creativity to flow whilst being unhindered and uncontrolled, to an extent. Somewhat like journaling, being a writer allows me to process my thoughts and feelings and sometimes even project them onto my characters. It allows you to take a step back from a situation whilst also being in control of it. Words are all you need to be the god of your own world and it’s very existence. That’s an amazing feeling.

5. An explosive idea
Every once in a while you get that idea, maybe it starts as a little spark. Most of the time those sparks just fizzle out and become dust to cover the pages in your brain, but, sometimes that spark turns into an explosion of creativity that twists and turns through the pages and creates something special. That idea becomes your whole existence until you get everything written down. That’s creativity like no other.

6. Character attachment
Through your development of the characters in your book, you act more as the messenger or the ‘narrator’. Your job is to write what they do but a good character has complete control over the story and plot. They control how they behave in situations and for the most part become a person within the pages. The writer is just telling the audience what that person does. So, it’s a given, that when your characters die or something terrible happens to them, or, even if you finish the book, it’s sad. You can feel like you’ve lost a friend just as a reader does. You become attached to the people you create on a more, somewhat potent level.

7. Publishing
The feeling of accomplishment and utter relief when you hit that publish button is like no other. You have worked your butt off writing that book, article or blog post for so long that when it’s done you have a whole moment of glorified happiness before you realize that you then have to market said piece of writing.

8. Reviews
When I had my books published, getting those first reviews was a wonderful feeling of periodical happiness. As a writer, you often think about others reading your writing and their reactions, to read what those reactions are can be heartwarming. Don’t get me wrong, you also get bad reviews but you soon grow a thick skin as a writer and focus on the good ones more so.

9. Enjoyment
The biggest reason I love writing it because it allows me to see the world in a different light and makes me more grateful to be alive. You connect with so many emotions on paper that you appreciate what you have all the more. You finish writing a horror scene where someone dies and then smile as your other half walks into the room. I love that feeling of indulgence and pure gratitude.  Writing is like nothing else. You experience so many emotions in one day by writing a story that you haven’t necessarily experience and all from the comfort of your own home. I love what I do.

Tell me, what do you love about writing?

Writing – The Hard Parts And Hates

1. It never stops
Once you adopt that writer’s mindset, it doesn’t stop. You could be watching a film, doing your business on the toilet, eating at a nice restaurant with your family. It makes no difference. You will have random thoughts about ways to fix a storyline, things to add to a character’s development or plot at all the times of the day.

2. Procrastination
You never realise how many distractions there are around you until you sit down to work on your book or even a blog post. Technology is an obvious distraction but I’m talking about that plus others. Others like the sun shining through the window, your own hunger because you forgot to eat lunch. Sometimes, my own thoughts will distract me from thinking about another book or plotline for something I’m not working on right that second. Sometimes it’s really easy to write but most of the time it can feel like the world is working against you.

3. Getting it down on paper
Picture this, you’ve just imagined the most amazing plot line, characters and pretty much much of the story down to the little details, but, writing down is a whole other order of business. Describing what you imagine can be half the work in writing. It can take endless amounts of reworks, drafts and edits to get it to sound how you imagined.

4. Revisions and Drafts
The best feeling for me is when you finish writing a book, unfortunately, that’s only the beginning. Writing the first draft is the easy part. It’s the revisions, drafts and edits that are killer. Overhauling the whole book, taking chunks out here and there, putting chunks back in, checking for grammatical errors, punctuation. It takes so long and it makes you want to pull your hair out. You can have your book written in 3 months but it might take you another 6 months to a year to get it ready for publishing.

5. Reading is research
Once you become a writer you get a writer’s brain, like I was saying at the beginning, it never stops. That includes reading I’m afraid. If anything reading is the worst for getting your writing brain going for obvious reasons. You compare, critique and get ideas for your storylines from others works. Reading becomes your research. You will enjoy the books you read but you can’t sink into the pages like you once did.

6. Marketing
Once you’ve written your book, gone through a crazy amount of drafts and revisions, you finally get to publish it. But, now you have to spend the rest of your life marketing that book alongside working on others and every new book you release is just another to focus on marketing while writing another…see where I’m going with this? It’s endless. Plus…you also have to know how to market your books and who to market them too which can be a challenge in itself. With the number of marketing tools we have to hand, the options are endless which can make it tough making decisions.

If this put’s you off ever trying your hand at writing then fear not, I have an obvious post coming up about the things I love about writing because despite the annoyances involved, I love writing.

Why I don’t have a schedule and why you shouldn’t work to one either.

This is something that I see a lot of bloggers get asked about, as a reader and a follower if you enjoy someone’s content it often becomes a thought in your mind that you wish they posted more often. You wish there was more to read and more to explore but some bloggers, YouTubers etc don’t have a schedule and I’m one of them.

Quality VS Quantity
If I write what I want, when I want then it’s going to be better quality. I can work on a blog post and get it to the level I want, do more research etc sometimes over the course of a couple of weeks. Whereas if I have a schedule I am more forced to try and think of something to write about which means it won’t be at the level I want it to be because it will be just that, forced. I find it a lot better to write about things as they’re fresh in my mind, as they approach my life and they give me something amazing to write about whether that’s a recipe, mental health, writing or my everyday life.

Recently I wrote a post about being in Solitary confinement because I watched a video about it on youtube. I wrote what I would say is a good insight into me and my life and it’s exactly what I wanted, I  had the motivation to write and was in the correct frame of mind to give it my all when I did which means it’s a great article over a good article.

Transfer this lesson
Not having a schedule isn’t just something I follow with the website. It’s something I follow through life. I spent many years having a plan and telling myself what I was going to do. It doesn’t always happen like that. I tried food plans, schedules for the day to help anxiety. Everything made me feel constrained and forced to do things which turned my favourite hobbies into chores.

On the other hand what I see as me being positive and motivated is allowing myself the freedom to do what I feel like doing. Not to the extent of wasting my day but in terms of writing for example. Some days I will work on my book, other days I will write varying topics on my website because it solely affected by how I’m feeling on that day.

This doesn’t work for everyone but it works perfectly for me. It allows my creativity to flow without hindrance which only increases my productivity and motivation, therefore allowing me to write more awesome content for you guys.

Would you agree?

Solitude – What if?

This morning, I popped on YouTube to watch something whilst I was working through my work on the laptop. I happened to come across a documentary done on Solitary Confinement. 5 People were placed in complete solitary confinement for 5 days.

Here’s the link if you would like to watch it

It was baffling and very interesting. Everyone struggled, it makes you strip back everything that you’re and what is important to you. For some, this was good and others not so much. I have always had a huge interest in psychology, experimentation (the voluntary kind, not animals) and many things along the line of mental health. As you know if you follow me, mental health is somewhat of a challenge for me and I’ve had my fair share of mental health issues over the years.

So, what’s my point of this post?

Well, watching this video this morning got me thinking about how I feel I would cope or maybe not cope being completely alone. Let’s pretend for a second that there’s been a zombie outbreak and the only thing I have the ability to do is write this post not knowing if it will even be read.


Onto the fun stuff.

In the beginning. I’ve just found out I’m the only one left on the planet…that I know of. Either way, I’m on my own.  Firstly, I would panic. Queue the panic attacks, anxiety attacks and sugar attacks from consuming all the junk food in comfort. I would totally freak out and certainly wouldn’t look after myself. I would eat, sleep and repeat for quite some time before I dealt with my inner turmoil and the idea of being completely alone and never seeing people I care about again.

Then I would focus on gettings things I needed, the essentials for survival. By this time I will probably be a stone heavier and would need food, water and books for both reading and research on tips for survival, making fires that kind of thing. There would also be blankets, weapons and learning to avoid Zombies if that was the case and I haven’t already been turned into one.


Once I’ve got the essentials, avoided being bitten, killed a few zombies, pooped a few times and most of all stuffed my face some more. I would enjoy being ok for a brief moment. My anxiety would deal with me and I would wear the clothes I want to wear, go shopping without paying, eat all the chocolate bars before they go off and just do all the things you worry about people seeing. But then I would remember that no one would ever see it. I would see no point in clothes, pretty things and step back into that deep rabbit hole. Maybe at this point, I would take my anger out on a few chairs on Zombie’s heads. Either way, I would be very hateful at this point.

I would be resentful, feel hatred towards myself and question why I’m the only one left.


However, then I would calm down again. Maybe enjoy it for a little while, lot’s of thoughts feelings and apprehension. But then a reality check would hit me. Full fear factor. Sometimes I’m afraid of the dark, I don’t like surprises so I like to see what’s in front of me, something I can’t do in the dark. So, it scares me and this would likely be the biggest issue for me but not in the beginning. In the beginning, I would be distracted with thoughts of survival and zombies and missing people and items I loved. This would be the deepest hole to crawl out of. Knowing that I’m alone forever and if I’m ever in danger there will be no one to help. I will become petrified of the dark and the zombies. Heck, any noise in the night and I would jump out of my skin and hover over my body in the safety of the clouds for a while. With no chocolate left this would be a very tough time to get through.


After this dark, dark time which would be the most long-lasting… I would try and just get through every day and block out thoughts of family, friends, pets, and all the little things I used to enjoy. I would adapt and just maybe survive. I would learn to make my own chocolate. I would write my own books, create my own art. Heck, I would paint a frigging house pink unless zombies were attracted to that.

Coping Strategies

Food. All the food. I would get fat a lot. Then cry when I run out of food, starve for a while and then figure out how to make my own and get fat again. I would eat my own feelings. No doubt. This is not me making fun of people with these issues. This is what I would do. I would learn to hopefully grow some healthy food along the way…

Lot’s of killing time this could mean killing zombies but generally, it would be more finding hobbies and things to do with all the time left in the world.  I would read a lot of books, when I get bored of them I would hopelessly try and figure out how to get Electricity and fail miserably before weeping and going back to the books. Imagine the Smartypants I would become!

Oh, I would also make some loud noise as long as it was safe to do so. Maybe I would set a trap for zombies using this method. I would play the drums really loud and then run hell for leather or I would find all the batteries for stereos and play the same song on all of them at the same time….well maybe a little out of sync by the time I run around all of them and push play.

Cleaning would be another magical thing. I would handwash my clothes, dust and generally make things look pretty if I find a permanent safe house. Failing that, maybe carry family photos and a few plants with me to…sleep next to? Who am I kidding, a plant wouldn’t survive that long with me.

Anything I could find that would bide my time. Maybe I would finally dye my hair ginger or blonde, or both, like a human version of a weird ass cat.


Can you imagine these colours as a hairdo and how bad it would look when I failed?

Emotions & Mental Health – Dealing? 

Now, with my bad hairdo and dealing with being on my own all the time it would also become a big hobby of mine to pretend to be ok. I would deal with my emotions and state of mind by not dealing at all in this situation. With no therapist to hand other than books, I would fail many times at meditating and instead would move from area to area a lot whilst exploring and learning about who people were from there pictures, journals, possessions.

There would be lot’s of walking, lot’s of exploring and lots of crying. There’s not really much to say about my emotions. Then would go through an aggressive, unrelenting cycle that I would likely repeat until I turn into a Zombie.

I would regularly have thoughts running through my mind, sad thoughts that I would keep busy to avoid paying too much attention to.

Feeling safe would be a huge aspect of my mental health as mentioned above with the darkness. A few weapons would aid in this. When I mean a few I more mean I would actually live in a gun shop…or a knife shop. Maybe it would be good for my clumsy self not to touch a gun for the first time in a zombie apocalypse. Avoiding danger, in general, would be my thing so no walking under any ladders either.

Maybe I could find a pet dog, that would be my child, therapist, teacher and parent all in one.

So would I cope?

Nope, I think at the beginning I would be anxious and cry a lot. Honestly I think my mental health would be a challenge but generally, I think I would either die from some kind of virus or disease or from my own darn clumsiness or lack of thinking things through. What might seem like a good plan may not be when I find myself hurtling down a hill in a car that won’t turn on at 70 miles an hour into a tree.


You know, I’m just not the most thought out person at times and that combined with my clumsiness would probably get me killed and eaten within hours of the outbreak so no fun shopping trips for me.

Final thoughts

Now, obviously this is all ‘theory’ because honestly I can only guess how I would cope and if I would survive and no matter how more ‘preparation’ you do, unless you’re in that situation you really don’t know what you are capable of, you don’t know how strong you can be and how riveting the will to survive is.

To end. Referring back to the Original Study that inspired this. They were told they could take any 3 items in with them. My question to you is, what would be the three things you would take in with you? Whether it’s from running out of a house in a fire, running for your life from zombies or volunteering for a social experiment.

What would be the three items? For you

Let me know below. I’m intrigued.

What would be mine I hear you ask? Ah, you tell me yours and I will tell you mine.

What terrifies you?

Hello, in light of recent Halloween celebrations and the end of October, I decided now would be a good time to post this entry. As a writer, my main focus is Horror/Thriller with a little Dystopia thrown in the mix. I enjoy horror films and psychological thrillers. Books of this genre scare the heck out of me.

So what I would like to know is what are you most afraid of? I really want to improve on the scare factor in my writing. Have you ever read anything that has embedded in your brain? Ever seen anything that you have nightmares about? Or even nightmares themselves, do you have a recurring one you can’t forget?

Racing heart, sweaty palms, hairs on the back of your neck. I want to know…..

For me personally, I can’t stand watching supernatural horrors, they freak me out. I’m also quite afraid of spiders. I also once had a nightmare about being chased by a pack of dogs, I ran down an alleyway and got stuck at a fence. When I tried to climb that fence, out of nowhere, hands grabbed me so tight around my waist that I couldn’t breathe. It terrified me so much that I actually woke up screaming and freaked my parents out 🙂

Comment below. Let me know what scares you! No matter how big or small.