Category Archives: Books

Z: ZZZZ…Motivational Quotes A-Z Challenge

“There is a time for many words, and there is also a

time for sleep.”

― Homer, The Odyssey

Welcome to the last day of my series of Motivational Quotes for Writers for the Blogging A-Z April Challenge. Phew! I actually made it through to Z and on time, which has been quite a miracle this year. Although you could say many of us mad writers “belong in the zoo”, I have chose ZZZ or sleep as my word for Z.

You see, I’m not only needing to catch up on Zeds after powering away at the challenge while researching and writing my book, I also wanted to touch on the importance of getting enough sleep while your beavering away on your book. After all, chronic sleep deprivation is a form of madness itself.

“The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have

promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep.”

Robert Frost

DSC_0175My husband will tell you that I’m the last person who should be giving anyone advice about sleep. Lately, I’m been burning the candle at both ends as it seems I always seem to make an incredible find around midnight and I have to keep going until I’ve completely unraveled and made sense of it all. Unfortunately, as we all know, time stands still for no man (or woman) and as much as I might try to steal a few hours out of the sleep bank, deep down I know I’m only cheating myself.

Perhaps, I should follow the advice of William Blake:

“Think in the morning. Act in the noon. Eat in the

evening. Sleep in the night.”

After all, it’s good to have a daily routine and have everything in the correct time slot. That is, instead of mixing them up and doing everything upside down staying up all night and sleeping all day when you should be getting a bit of sunshine and light into your day. It all makes so much sense, and yet for a night owl and for many mums with kids at home, those night hours are the only time you get a moment’s peace. Trading in that freedom for the boredom of routine is a tough ask, especially when the creative juices are flowing and you’re tasting success.

Yet, I also know that I think much more clearly after a good night’s sleep. That I often stay up writing long after I’ve started to nod off and it’s not my best work. Indeed, I could well be pressing delete in the morning.

Anyway, here are a few more sleep quotes I thought you might like:

“A person who has not done one half his day’s work by ten o’clock, runs a chance of leaving the other half undone.”
― Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights

“I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know?”
― Ernest Hemingway

“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”
― Dr. Seuss

“I wonder why I don’t go to bed and go to sleep. But then it would be tomorrow, so I decide that no matter how tired, no matter how incoherent I am, I can skip one hour more of sleep and live.”
― Sylvia Plath, The Unabridged Journals of Sylvia Plath

Anyway, I need to practice what I preach and head off to bed. So it now

Ronnie Corbett:
And now, it’s goodnight from me…

Ronnie Barker:
…and it’s goodnight from him.

Best wishes,

Rowena

 

X- X-ray…Quotes A-Z Challenge

Welcome back to my series of Motivational Quotes for Writers for the 2019 A-Z Challenge. We’ve almost reached the end of the alphabet and the end of April and now we’re up to X. My word for X was going to be the X-Factor which is that mysterious spark you see in talented people which seemingly defies definition. That’s a much needed ingredient for a writer, but I’m not sure whether you can manufacture that. Is it a case of you’ve either got it or you don’t? So sad, too bad?

Anyway, when I tried to find X-Factor quotes, I could only find references to the TV show. That wasn’t what I was looking for.

So, off I went looking for words starting with X as so many of us do in this challenge. There’s usually at least one letter that brings us to our knees and X is one of the most likely culprits.

However, as strange as it might sound, I actually found a fabulous X-ray quote which was even relevant to writing:

“He wished he had some kind of X-ray vision for the

human heart.”

― Kim Edwards, The Memory Keeper’s Daughter

Have you read The Memory Keeper’s Daughter? After reading that brilliant quote, I’m very tempted to give it a go.

While we’re talking about X-rays, this quotes about the discovery of the x-ray is also interesting:

“Great discoveries are made accidentally less often than the populace likes to think.”

(Commenting on how an accident led to the discovery of X-rays)”
― William Cecil Dampier, A Shorter History of Science

If you’re doing the A-Z Challenge, what did you come up with for X? I am not doing a great job with reading other blogs this year, but hope to catch up.

Best wishes,

Rowena

W – Words…Quotes A-Z Challenge.

“Words are singularly the most powerful force available to humanity.

We can choose to use this force constructively with words of

encouragement, or destructively using words of despair. Words have

energy and power with the ability to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to

harm, to humiliate and to humble.”

Yehuda Berg

Welcome back to my series of Motivational Quotes for Writers, which is my theme for the 2019 Blogging A-Z Challenge. Today, we’re up to W and our word for today is is WORDS. For a writer, words are our Lego bricks and we use them to create our new worlds.

Words need to be carefully chosen, and yet writing a 1000 words a day seems to be held up as the holy grail. However, what if all of that could be condensed into one word? There is so much power, for example, in Haiku and many will tell that silence is also profound. That we don’t need words at all.

“It has often been said
there’s so much to be read,
you never can cram
all those words in your head.

So the writer who breeds
more words than he needs
is making a chore
for the reader who reads.

That’s why my belief is
the briefer the brief is,
the greater the sigh
of the reader’s relief is.

And that’s why your books
have such power and strength.
You publish with shorth!
(Shorth is better than length.)”
― Dr. Seuss

By the way, speaking of Dr Suess, here are a few words he made up:

  • zummers.
  • zizzer-zazzer-zuzz.
  • yuzz-a-ma-tuzz.
  • nizzards.
  • ham-ikka-schnim-ikka-schnam-ikka-schnopp.
  • fiffer-feffer-feff.
  • yekko.
  • flunnel.

“Words are, of course, the most powerful drug used by mankind”

Rudyard Kipling

“Of your unspoken words you are the master; of your spoken word the servant; and of your written word the slave”

Quaker proverb

“If you’re searching for a quote that puts your feelings into words – you won’t find it.
You can learn every language and read every word ever written – but you’ll never find what’s in your heart.
How can you?
He has it.”
― Ranata Suzuki

“Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts.” 
― Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind

“I have hated words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right.”
― Markus Zusak, The Book Thief

“We live and breathe words. …. It was books that made me feel that perhaps I was not completely alone. They could be honest with me, and I with them. Reading your words, what you wrote, how you were lonely sometimes and afraid, but always brave; the way you saw the world, its colors and textures and sounds, I felt–I felt the way you thought, hoped, felt, dreamt. I felt I was dreaming and thinking and feeling with you. I dreamed what you dreamed, wanted what you wanted–and then I realized that truly I just wanted you.” 
― Cassandra Clare, Clockwork Prince

Lastly, there’s also something I strive towards and that’s being true to your word. That’s something I learned from my Dad. He would say: “I’m a man of my word” or “I gave you my word”. His word is still iron-clad.

Well, that was second last. Couldn’t resist a link through to a great 80’s classic… Words Don’t Come Easy

Hope you’ve found a quote which appeals to you there. Perhaps, I could’ve culled them back a bit, but they were all too good to resist.

Best wishes,

Rowena

 

T – Time Management: Quotes A-Z Challenge.

“The common man is not concerned about the passage

of time, the man of talent is driven by it.”

Schopenhauer

Welcome back to my series of Motivational Quotes for writers and creatives.

I’m currently immersed in researching and writing a collection of biographical short stories ranging along the continuum between fiction and non-fiction. I thought this series of motivational quotes could be a great help to myself and other writers in the same boat who are busting a gut to get that book project done and dusted. However, contrary to my expectations, I’ve been going gang busters on the book and have needed more of a motivational cattle prod to get through the A to Z Challenge…even though I’m finding working on these quotes very informative.

Today, we’re catching up a little and finally reaching the letter T. For today’s quote, I’ve decided to go with time and in particular my dreaded nemesis… Time Management.

I’m addressing time management because so much of what it takes to get that 80,000 word book into print has nothing to do with sticking your head in the clouds and having your feet anywhere but planted on the earth. Yet, for those of us who are creative and very right-brained, dealing with the so-called business side of writing can be a struggle and something we avoid like the plague. Yet, when so many writers are having to juggle paid work, family commitments and the realities of survival, time management is particularly important. It’s the closest we can get to squeezing more hours into a day.

Dealing with distractions is a huge challenge for me. I’m married with two teenage kids, three dogs and we all live life to the full what with work, Church, school. My husband and son are both full on into sailing and our daughter dances upwards of 10 hours per week and has eisteddfods, performances and will be in the school production of Grease. Our son is now a Venturer in Scouts and will be performing in their Gang Show production. Yet, I’ve hunkered down researching and writing this book trying to understand what it’s like to live in any other era but my own. When I put it like this, writing my book seems madness, but most dreams do until they become reality. I need to get this book under my belt. Become a real writer instead of just a gunna-be.

“Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.”

Benjamin Franklin

However, that all comes at a cost. After all, how on earth do you get those 80,000 plus words into print and manage to do it all? Be more than a face staring at a screen and all your family ever sees is the top of your head? Don’t even talk about friends! What are they? That’s the downside of being 100% focused on what truly is a massive goal.

Rosie and ball

Speaking of distractions, a mangled tennis ball has just been deposited on my keyboard and Miss Rosie Border Collie x Kelpie dog and her brother, Zac, are waiting. Two pairs of eyes, ears cocked waiting and occasionally editing as the ball strikes the keys.

It’s hard to concentrate.

It’s hard to know if anything is making sense anymore. I’ve been working on the book all day. Managed to walk the dog but still have a ballet shoe to sew up for tomorrow’s dance eisteddfod. I’m needing to divide myself up into such small portions that I’m not sure what’s left when the book demands so much. Can’t the dog just throw the ball to herself?

Are these questions you have also asked yourself somewhere along the way?

How do you find juggling writing your book with the demands of everyday life? Do you have any tips for success or simply surviving til the end? I’d love to hear from you and I’m sure there are many more like me. Please leave your thoughts and links in the comments below.

Best wishes & Good luck,

Rowena

 

R- Read…A-Z Challenge.

“Read a thousand books, and your words will flow like a river.”

― Lisa See

Welcome back to my series of Motivational Quotes for Writers for the annual Blogging A-Z April Challenge. These quotes are particularly geared towards writers working on a large project such as writing a book and aim to help you reach the end of the tunnel.

It was a toss up between READ and RESEARCH today. However, they overlap quite a lot and since I’ve covered research elsewhere, read it is.

For me, reading fuels and refuels a writer. After all, if we keep pouring our words onto the page, we need to put something back. Of course, experience is also important but reading helps us to arrange and interpret these experiences in ways which will excite and entice the reader.

“The more that you read, the more things you will

know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll

go.”

― Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

 

“I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than

the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Read the best books first, or you may not have a chance to read them at all.”
Henry David Thoreau

“The real importance of reading is that it creates an ease and intimacy with the process of writing; one comes to the country of the writer with one’s papers and identification pretty much in order. Constant reading will pull you into a place (a mind-set, if you like the phrase) where you can write eagerly and without self-consciousness. It also offers you a constantly growing knowledge of what has been done and what hasn’t, what is trite and what is fresh, what works and what just lies there dying (or dead) on the page. The more you read, the less apt you are to make a fool of yourself with your pen or word processor. …
“[R]ead a lot, write a lot” is the great commandment.”
(Stephen KingOn Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, 2000)

Best wishes,

Rowena

Q- Question…A-Z Challenge.

“The important thing is not to stop questioning.

Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”

-Albert Einstein

Welcome back to my series of Motivational Quotes for the A-Z April Challenge where I’m choosing a word for each letter of the alphabet and then finding corresponding quotes.

This process has become an adventure in itself, because I didn’t plan ahead and now I’m not only putting these together on the run, I’ve fallen behind. However, there is still honour in bringing up the rear. After, I’m in the process of catching NOT giving up.

“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the

answers are simple.”

Dr Suess

Personally, I believe that questioning is more important than knowledge and once we think we know everything there is to know about a subject, that we’ve condemned ourselves to ignorance. There is always what we don’t know we don’t know and that’s probably what we need to watch out for most.

When my kids were being taught to write at school, they were taught to ask the following questions (otherwise known as WWWWH):

Who?

What?

Where?

Why?

How?

Even though we might be well down the path from those early writers, as we’re getting caught up in the flow, creativity and showing off, I’ve still found it helpful to come back to these basics…Have I covered the WWWWH? After all, while we might know our story or subject, our readers aren’t mind readers and it can be all too easy to think we’ve communicated what our readers need to know, when in fact we haven’t. It’s still stuck in our head.

I am currently working on biographical short stories which fit somewhere on the spectrum between fiction and non-fiction. I not only need to cover the WWWH of each of these characters, but where they were in time and place and there’s no room for mistakes. It has to be right. No assumes or slacking off. So, asking questions is very important and I’m so grateful for Google and all the resources which are right at my fingertips without leaving home. Getting the answers is nowhere near as painful as it used to be back in the day. Indeed, we researchers are incredibly blessed.

Best wishes,

Rowena

 

 

 

P- Perfectionism…A-Z Challenge.

“Tomorrow, I will get it right.”

– Rowena Curtin (Myself)

Perfectionism is not a good topic to be tackling when I’ve dropped my bundle with the A-Z April Blogging Challenge and am goodness knows how many days behind.

“My advice is to never do tomorrow what you can do today. Procrastination is the thief of time.”

– Charles Dickens

For those of you unfamiliar with the April Blogging A-Z Challenge, you write through the alphabet to a theme and post every day except Sunday. In previous years, I’ve really got stuck into the challenge and even exceeded expectations writing in the vicinity of 55,000 words last year. However, this year, I’m so deeply embroiled in my book research and writing, that I’m struggling to put one foot in front of the other let alone juggle the challenge on top.

Of course, I could just stop. Not finish this year.

That isn’t a crime and the powers that be from the A-Z Challenge, are hardly going to throw me in jail or hit me with a hefty fine. No one else is pointing a gun at my head either, including myself. If being involved is just going to stress me out and distract me from the book, walking away even makes sense. I could even take the dogs with me and head down to the beach. I don’t have to do this.

However, I am actually learning a lot through writing this series and thinking through the quotes and how they apply to my current book project and who I am simply as a person.

After all, we don’t always feel like jumping out of bed and even seizing that lifesaving cup of coffee can be a struggle and it’s helpful to look at those moments as well as celebrating our triumphs.

Besides, I particularly wanted to address perfectionism along with what I am coming to acknowledge its close ally…procrastination. Indeed, these days I’m starting to wonder just how many of those good for nothing lazy layabouts are actually perfectionists too afraid of making a mistake and have a go? How many of us are sitting on work we know is good but haven’t taken further because it’s “not there yet”? Where is “there”? Is that absolutely perfection?

I’m not sure whether this quote helps with that but at least it made me smile:

“Have no fear of perfection. You’ll never reach it.”

Salvador Dali.

“I have to say that I’ve always believed

perfectionism is more of a disease than a

quality. I do try to go with the flow but I can’t

let go.”

Rowan Atkinson

“We must understand the need for

perfectionism is a corrosive waste of time,

because nothing is ever beyond criticism. No

matter how many hours you spend to render

something flawless, somebody will always be

able to find fault with it.”

-Elizabeth Gilbert

Now, I’ll leave you with the warnings of Drew Barrymore:

“When things are perfect, that’s when you need

to worry most.”

How do you overcome perfectionism? Or, does it still hold you in it’s grasp? On the other hand, there must be those of you who simply couldn’t be bothered and subscribe to a different creed: “Near enough is good enough”.

Best wishes,

Rowena