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Wednesday 23 October 2013

A Writer's Life – Autumn Is Here...

That was then...
Autumn has arrived, and it came in on a blustery south-west wind. That means rain - and lots of it. Only a few weeks ago, the river level was almost down to the record low level of the famous drought year of 1976 - on the right is a snap of it as it was.

... and this is now
Now rain falling on the mountains of Wales is gradually draining into the Wye. Canoeists don’t have to  worry about grounding on gravel banks anymore. They’re too busy fighting their way through torrents and rapids. The snap on the left was taken today and shows how the small island has disappeared.

As I type this, it’s impossible to see our neighbour’s house - the rain is so heavy, clouds have filled the valley. All the water-butts around the house and greenhouses are overflowing, and they were almost empty in September. The weather this year has been as good as last year was bad. This meant a great harvest of fruit, and now autumn has set the blueberry leaves on fire.

After losing all my bees, I was lucky enough to get a replacement colony via our local beekeepers’ club. It was  late in the beekeeping season, but my new bees still managed to populate their hive. I shall have to be on my toes next spring, or their queen will think it’s time to lay a replacement and move out with a swarm of her followers. She’ll want to set up a new home somewhere else, leaving her daughter queen behind in my hive with a tiny nucleus of young bees. That means I’ll get no honey for the second year running! To avoid that happening, I’ll  try and hang onto my existing queen by persuading her to move out, but only as far as one of my spare hives. That means I’ll be spending this autumn cleaning and repairing all my spare kit, ready for next spring. Like gardening, beekeeping needs you to think ahead.

By TheMightyQuill
I’m planning to issue my next newsletter soon, and this picture has been a great inspiration! I'll be including my own recipe for Turkish delight in my newsletter, and you can sign up to be included on the mailing list here

Thursday 3 October 2013

Three Top Tips To Help Your Creative Writing...

By Antonio Litterio

Keep copies of all your work. Set your computer system to do this automatically, every thirty minutes or so. It will remember, so you don’t have to! Have a separate memory stick for each day of the week. At the end of each working day, copy the latest version of your work in progress onto the appropriate stick. Keep them together on a key-ring, and keep them with you at all times. As an extra safeguard in case your external memory gets corrupted, lost or stolen, email your work in progress to yourself once every seven days as a backup. If you use a MAC, “save As” a word document too. That way, you’ll always be able to access your WIP via email, on whatever form of computer you have to hand. Never rely on keeping things wholly in the cloud, just in case.

Use all your senses to gather inspiration, then store it in ways that will help you to get creative. Take photos (getting permission where necessary) and upload them onto Pinterest andTumblr, for example. This will provoke all sorts of reactions from potential readers, and you can use these to further inspire your work. You can keep the boards secret if you like, or fully engage your social network. Bookmark helpful sites online, but use metadata (tags and key-words) so you can find things again easily. There’s so much interesting stuff on the internet, the tendency to save links and articles in the same way a demented squirrel hoards nuts. A good system for retrieving them makes the difference between useful information, and endless time-wasting searches.

Make use of your local library. They need all the support they can get, so the staff there are always delighted to help. They do far more than simply lend out books nowadays. Ours holds talks and creative writing classes, offers a free audio book service, lends ebooks, and has a telephone book-club, so the housebound don’t miss out.  They work with family history and local studies groups, as well as subscribing to wide range of newspapers, magazines so you don’t have to! The ability to book online time means you’ll still have access to a computer if yours is out of action. You can also use the library’s facilities to scroll back through back-copies of printed media, which is bound to give you dozens of ideas. You can go on to check facts and figures with the library’s reference section at the same time. Most library services are free, or easily affordable, so a trip to your local branch is always a bargain.

For another free resource, visit christinahollis.com and click to sign up for my newsletter, which will bring news about my next release and a whole lot more!