Creative process

These posts explore the various aspects of the creative process – voice, location, the evolution of a piece of work and more.  Click on the title link to read the full post.


Walking through town, my attention is drawn by the song of a starling.  He perches on a shop sign, singing a passionate song.  I’m astonished at how beautiful he looks.  The cream tips of his feathers glow.  He seems vibrant and brand new.  He has obviously been through his moult.

This post suggests that an annual creative ‘moult’ could be helpful to the writer.


Travelling south, there are fields already dotted with baled hay.  Time has moved quickly in recent weeks and I’d forgotten that it’s almost Lammas.  The landscape is still green, but accented by the coming season’s gold.  I hurtle through the country, train travel giving both distance and connection. 

This post is about stepping out of your comfort zone to enhance your life as a writer.

Finding a story

The world is decked in white and green.  Spring is tipping into summer and the earth suddenly seems more vibrant.  Lush greens laden with the clotted cream of hawthorn.  Cow parsley frothing in the hedgerows.  Horse chestnut flowers, service tree and rowan blooms, dandelion clocks.  

This post is about the gap at the end of a story.

February’s doubts

February is the fag end of winter.  Though I love this season, this is the point when I’m ready for spring, for light, for warmth.  This is the point at which the cold and dark tires me and I trudge through the days simply surviving.  When it is no longer as easy to connect with that self I find in the rich, dark dreaming. 

This post is about the doubts that a writer can face, particularly in the depths of winter.

Creating places

SAMSUNG CSCI was at a consultation event in libraries as part of my day job, when a woman approached, wanting to complain about a book.  A new local crime writer had written a novel set in the town we were in.  The woman was disgusted at the way the writer had portrayed it, as a seedy, crime-ridden seaside town.  Curious, I read the book and although I thought the seediness had been a little overplayed to correspond with the gritty genre in which the author was writing, I recognised many of the negative things that were said about the town as realistic.

This post explores the impact of using real places as locations in our work.

The life of a novel

SAMSUNG CSCThe stories we write travel with us, becoming part of who we are.  We live in many worlds and as many people, creating lives that are ours and yet not ours.  These stories accompany us on our journeys, changing as we change, and altering us in turn.

This post considers how our stories change as we live and the impact of those stories on our lives.

Through a glass darkly

SAMSUNG CSCWhen I want to make sense of my life, I write.  I write lists to organise the thoughts in my head.  I write plans to determine the way in which I want my future to unfold.  I write about big ideas to forge my opinions.  I write about my life to understand my history and my present.  I write stories to experience other people and other lives.  And when I don’t know how I feel or what I want, I write and see where it takes me.

This post explores using our skills as a lens through which to look at life.

Awakening old friends

SAMSUNG CSCThere they are, waiting for me, a young woman and her mother.  The daughter stands at the edge of the causeway, waiting to cross.  The mother is at the edge of the island, greeting the dawn.  They don’t see each other, because they’re suspended at different points in time, in different parts of the story.  They’ve already met once more after years apart and played out their story to its conclusion.  But now they must meet again, live out the story in a slightly different way.  And perhaps it will end in the same way, perhaps not…

This post is about re-visiting older works and how they change.

When your creativity has other plans

SAMSUNG CSCDo you have a vision of the type of writer or artist you wish to be?  Perhaps you’re confident that you’ve found your voice and all of your work flows from that certainty.  Or maybe you’re still wrestling with the kind of work you want to produce.

This post considers what you do when you think you should be creating in a certain way and your creativity wants you to do something else.

Where my voice comes from

SAMSUNG CSCIt’s often said that you can’t be a successful writer without finding your voice.  That it’s necessary to have a voice that is unique, distinctive and discernibly you.  When I began to write, this was something I worried about.  I wondered how I would ever develop this voice or know if I’d found it.  Whether my voice is unique and distinctive is for others to judge, but over the years, I’ve come to recognise that there is a voice in my work.

This post is about the writer’s voice and where it comes from.

All the worlds in my head

SAMSUNG CSCI live with a small universe of imaginary worlds in my head.  All of the places I’ve written about and all of the characters that inhabit them, continue to exist when I’m finished with them.  I wonder what happens to these worlds when I’m not thinking about them.  I suspect that they wait suspended, at particular moments, because when I think of a story, or a character, I always think of them at the same point in time.

This post explores the characters and worlds we create and how they exist when we’re finished with them.

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