My Writing A – Z … V is for VACATION

Rhossili Beach, The Gower © Alan Stevenson

Rhossili Beach, The Gower © Alan Stevenson

V is for VACATION

Whoops, I’ve been away for a little while! Apologies for the lack of blog posts but I’ve been on my VACATION! I know that’s American but it fits the bill nicely for ‘V’.

Last week I was at the Writers Holiday in Pembrokeshire. The weather was lovely, I ate too much and relaxed lots too (which is another way of saying I didn’t actually do any writing). I’m back now, feeling very refreshed and raring to go! Simon Whaley was there too and he writes about the workshops he attended here which, I must admit, made me wish I’d done a bit more work too but you know, sometimes, you just need to STOP?

V is for VOICE

What do we mean by ‘voice’ and ‘finding your voice’ as a writer? (answers on a postcard please…)

I remember someone telling me that you just have to write, write, write and your voice will come through naturally. Meg Rosoff, who’s a writer I admire, since reading her best-selling YA novel, How I Live Now, has written a very erudite and thought-provoking article here about voice, what it is and how, possibly to ‘find’ it.

Her conclusion is, “Stop thinking about your voice. Think about your life instead. Live. Take risks. Seek wisdom. Confront the unconfrontable. Find out who you are. Let your voice gain power as you go.” Sounds easy if you put it like that…

W is for WALES, where (I think I’ve said!) I’ve been for the last week. On our way home yesterday, I managed to get to a place I’ve always wanted to visit, since discovering, from more than one source, that it’s ‘one of the best beaches in the country’ (or even, depending on whose opinion you’re reading, The World!)

It’s Rhossili beach on the Gower and just around the corner is Worm’s Head, which you can walk across to, when the tide’s out.

Worms Head Rhossili © Alan Stevenson

Worms Head Rhossili
© Alan Stevenson

W is also for WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, who was born just down the road from me, near Stratford-upon-Avon.

Do you know what the following books have in common?

• Brave New World (Aldous Huxley)
• The Sound And The Fury (William Faulkner)
• Under The Greenwood Tree (Thomas Hardy)
• Band of Brothers (Stephen E Ambrose)
• The Fault In Our Stars (John Green)

Bet you got it. Their titles are all taken from lines by Shakespeare. So, if you’re looking for an inspiring title for your novel or poem, flicking through ‘The Complete Works’ of Mr S might not be a bad place to start…

X is for eXtra

Let’s face it, writing is hard work and I’ve come to the conclusion that, unless you’re eX-tremely talented and eX-tremely lucky, half measures won’t do. In fact, you have to give it everything – that eXtra something – if you want to do well (your ‘doing well’ might be different to mine, which is why I haven’t been specific).

For example, on the odd occasion when I’ve submitted a story with a kind of ‘hmm-not-sure-about-that-one-but-it-will-have-to-do’ attitude, guess what? It’s come winging back to me with a big fat rejection note shortly after.

Only our best will do: we have to go that eXtra mile!

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4 Responses to My Writing A – Z … V is for VACATION

  1. juliathorley says:

    My goodnes, I need a holiday. Can’t remember the last time I had a week off. My V is for variety, which is the best thing about being freelance, even if it’s a bit precarious at times. My W is also a William, but he a fellow freelance who keeps me on the straight and narrow, and buys me lunch. I can’t better your X for eXtra.

  2. Wendy Clarke says:

    So – a writing holiday with no writing, Helen. I won’t ask what you did instead! Whenever my husband proofreads one of my ‘could do better’ stories, he has a certain look he gives me over his glasses and I know better than to send it!

  3. Wendy, in my defence, my friend Chris and I ‘devised’ (ooh, good word) and ran the 6 round + picture round quiz on the Sunday night and I also taught 4 x 1 hour classes at Fishguard, so I did some ‘work’! I’m always the same though, when I go on writing holidays – there’s too much going on (mostly the meals!) for me to concentrate! I need silence and no interruptions, otherwise the muse deserts me! that’s my excuse anyway and I’m sticking to it!

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