My earliest memory of reading was going to the library with my mum when I was a toddler to pick my books for the month. My mum is an avid reader and she encouraged our love of reading. The trip was always the same, an hour in the library picking out books, then a play in the park opposite, followed by a picnic. These are some of the most vivid and enjoyable memories I have of childhood. Little did I know at the time that this reading and analysing of text would help me as an author in later life. The book I have started writing this month is a young adult, dystopian. A large amount of my reading in adult life has been young adult, dystopian. Each of these books has taught me a different skill for my writing.
One of the positive aspects of a reduced workload is it gives you time to reflect. Reflection is a valuable part of any practice and can help us build a more stable income. Over the last couple of weeks, I have been examining and analysing data over many social media sites. As writers, it is good to spend time looking at what is working for us and what isn't. As many of my goals for this year have been thrown in the air, it was also a good time to set myself some new goals.
If you are waiting for the inspiration to write during these difficult times, it might never come. Professional writers get up every day and write. They create their own inspiration, by sitting at a computer and seeing what happens. It may be that as a writer, you need to force the writing more than ever during these times. Much of my inspiration for writing comes from my everyday life. Things I have seen whilst out working. Phrases and questions the young people I teach have asked me. Where now does this inspiration come from? I have written a few articles on COVID-19, but I don’t want to write only about it. I'm trying to get out of the depression, not stay in it writing about it. As writers, where can we now get our inspiration from when our world consists of the same four walls every day.
I haven’t written for a week. Do I have writers' block? No, I don’t, I have a lack of concentration and motivation. It appears from talking to other writers I am not alone in this. Many writers have told me they are also struggling to write. To say I haven’t written anything isn’t entirely true. I have written one journal entry. Which makes a joke of my idea of publishing an isolation journal. I have day one and ten. I have also produced a couple of rough drafts on pen and paper. I didn't have the motivation to complete these and publish, though.
The reason that I enjoy being part of the writing community is the lack of trolling. Sure there are trolls, but statistically, these are few and far between. I may have been lucky in my writing, but I find that I rarely get negative responses from people. Writers seem to have a respect for each other, that stops them acting cruelly. When you put yourself on the internet though, you should expect some criticism. I am not advocating that this is right, but negative criticism is part of the job, you have to learn to work with. Since becoming a blogger I have received one outright troll response to an article. That doesn’t mean I haven’t received any negative comments, because I have.
Twitter is a brilliant resource for sharing your articles and gaining followers. There are various techniques you can use, which I have spoken about before. If you are a fiction writer, however, many of these techniques may not be effective. One technique I discovered is to create an account for one of your fictional characters. Many years ago I started writing a vampire novel. At present, it is only halfway through. The lead character is a vampire named Raylon who was part of an experiment. It was this character I used for my Twitter account. This is a method that would work on Twitter and Instagram. I have only done this on Twitter. Instagram, however, welcomes this approach. There is even an option on a business account to be a fictional character.
Last week I was lucky enough to gain a viral post. I have had many posts reach over four thousand views, but none have achieved this is such a short space of time. With my writing I often publish and then walk away, not getting back to the post until the children are in bed. It was the same with this post. When I looked that evening the post had already received over one thousand views. Over the next few days, the numbers kept growing. At the time of writing this, the stats are as below.