10 Lessons I Learned From 6 Years of Blogging #Blogger

Love these insights from blondwritemore πŸ™‚ I certainly agree that sometimes we need a break (and we shouldn’t be hard on ourselves when we do). I’ve been on a break for a while now for a whole range of reasons, including family, busy day job, and other creative work that has been dominating my headspace. But I’m keen to get back to my writing world and writing friends now. πŸ™‚ A few weeks ago I started back on my regular #writingwednesday blog post. And best thing is, you can schedule the posts in advance so you don’t have to do it every week on he same day:). via 10 Lessons I Learned From 6 Years of Blogging #Blogger

Surviving through difficult times #Covid19 #stillwriting #writing #thinking

This is not the first time the world has had to retreat from disease, and I fear it will not be the last. In medieval times they had the black death/plaques wiping out whole villages and towns. At the end of WW1, influenza killed more people than the war.

Montaigne was someone who experienced and wrote about plague in the 16th Century. He talks about the need to make the most of life, whatever it throws at you. “The shorter my possession of life, the deeper and fuller I must make it.”

Check out this article about his reflections on plaque: https://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2020/04/07/sheltering-in-place-with-montaigne/

And please stay safe!

7 things to do when you’re #stuckathome #covid19 #stillwriting #writingwednesday #emilyarden #writing #socialdistancing

In the past few years I keep hearing everyone say how busy they are – how there is never enough time in the day, etc, etc.

For those of us #stuckathome, we suddenly have more time. So what can we do with it?

Of course we’re all worrying about our friends and family: about a world where thousands of people are dying every day from a disease with no cure (yet).

It is easy to feel overwhelmed by this, and de-motivated. Yet perhaps it’s also a chance to take stock of our lives and the world we’ve created for ourselves.

So what are the 7 things we could do? There’s a bit of a theme here:

Reflect. Think about your life and the world you have constructed around you. Is there anything you’d like to change? How much does your the way you live you life align with you values and strengths? What about your work? Is there a disconnect? Are you living your best life? Does your work make you feel motivated and fulfilled?

Re-design If there is something that’s not right in your world, think about whether you could do something to improve it. It might be that your home office is too untidy for you to focus on your work? It might be that you have taken on too many activities and responsibilities and never get time to focus on the things that make you light up. Now is the chance to redesign your life!

Re-connect with some of the friends and family you haven’t caught up with for a while. There are so many ways to speak to and see each other now, and everyone has been forced into it, so now’s the chance to get Grandad on facebook, skype, Whatsapp, Messenger, zoom, Houseparty, teams, video call – whatever the tool is, they’re mostly free and relatively easy and accessible. You can see and speak with people who may never have been able to connect online before. Make the most of it!

Reminisce. Look through some of your travel pics and videos. Perhaps even put them better order. Scan in those pre-digital photos you want to keep (you can do it so easily now with a smart-phone), share your favourite pics with friends and family, remember some of the happy times and take time to celebrate. After all – we can’t travel at the moment, so take the time to reflect on adventures we’ve already have. We’re usually too busy living to reminisce.

Relax! Vital to take time to relax. Now is the time to rest and recuperate and rebuild your strength. The world will start spinning faster than ever soon, and you need to rebuild your resilience to be ready.

Read! Most of you are writers or people who love literature – so spend some time reading and reconnecting with your favourite books. We can gain so much by immersing ourselves in a book – and if you feel a little bit guilty about taking time out to read: call it research!

Resuscitate some of the things you used to enjoy but haven’t had time for lately. Did you used to enjoy knitting? gardening? crosswords? jigsaw puzzles? playing board games with the kids? watching thrillers? jiving to 60s music? playing the guitar? There must be something! Get them out, dust them off and indulge in some nostalgia.

Enough words starting with “Re” for now – perhaps you have some others you’d like to share? All the best and stay well.

How do we survive #socialdistancing and being #stuckathome ? #covid19 #stillwriting #writingwednesday #emilyarden #writing

Isn’t is weird how social distancing has actually brought many of us closer together? Everyone in the world is affected by this COVID-19 pandemic – it has impacted on all our lives and forced more people online than ever before. In the words of Ben Lee: “we’re all in this together”.

I love this video by ‘Pub Choir’ from Queensland – a group who travel around the country getting people to sing together.

And how did they respond to COVID-19? By re-inventing themselves as ‘Couch choir’ and encouraging thousands of people from around the globe to join their virtual choir.

The result sent shivers up my spine – what do you think? I love the joy and sense of togetherness + really admire the innovation!

Inspiring too – making me think that we can all be creative and spread joy, even if we’re #stuckathome. I’ve been thinking about different ways to stay productive and creative at the moment – stay tuned for some more posts on finding a #silverlining when things are tough.

The journey begins #writingwednesday #emilyarden #mountainclimbing #writing

hiking-quotes-1524841385Sometimes I think that writing a book is like scaling a mountain.

  1. You need to be ready to start and have your provisions in place
  2. You need to make time for the adventure
  3. You have to start somewhere at the bottom (and the first part can seem particularly daunting)
  4. You can only do it one step at a time
  5. The further you get, the more intense the feelings – a mixture of heady exhilaration and utter exhaustion
  6. You need to be determined not to give up – it is a test of resilience
  7. And finally the view from the top is awesome, but even when you finish the book, there is still more to do. More mountains to climb.

Can you think of some more analogies?

I started climbing my current mountain at the beginning of July. In my case, it’s not writing a whole book from scratch, but picking up a book I drafted a few years ago and getting it ready for publication. For me, this bit is harder than writing the story in the first place. I love creating new stories, but I don’t enjoy revisiting them and rewriting slabs that could be improved. It is important, but doesn’t feel as creative.

Nevertheless, this is an important book, because it is the first in the series, so I want to get it right. Not perfect (after all, there is no such thing), but better.

Step 1 – I have been doing lots of research (ie, reading) during the past few years while I have been in my writer’s drought.

Step 2 – I have made time for writing by changing my full-time job to 4 days a week. I now have Tuesdays free for writing, and I try toΒ avoid email, social media and all distractions on Tuesdays.

Step 3 – I have chosen the mountain I want to start on – updating and improving ‘Isabel’s Choice’. This will be my first historical romance and is also the first in my French Connection series. So stakes are high (but I’m trying not to let that daunt me).

More steps still to come. I’ll be sharing my journey with you in my weekly blog posts, as well as my favourite writing tips. See you next week for #writingwednesday.


What’s stopping you from writing? #writingwednesday #writing #emilyarden #nevergiveup #mythbusting

Image result for mythbusting

There are always plenty of reasons why we find it hard to focus on writing. I think I’ve been through most of them in the past few years. Which do you relate to?

  1. Too sick – I had two bouts of the flu a couple of years ago and it really knocked the stuffing out of me. I lost my voice for quite a while – you might think that if I couldn’t sing, then I would have more time to write, but it didn’t work out like that… I also sprained a finger, started ‘the change’, had sick kids, &c, &c. There is always something…
  2. Too busy – Like many writers, I also have a day job. One that keeps me very busy for 5 days a week and uses up a lot of my brain-power and energy. I also have 4 kids, a demanding house and run a choir in my spare time. Plus trying to find time for fitness, my husband and friends/family. So saying I’m too busy for writing seems like a reasonable excuse, doesn’t it?
  3. Too tired – because of all of the above, I’d often rather go home from work and collapse onto the couch in front of the TV, rather than try to find energy for some creative work. One only has so much energy…
  4. Feeling uninspired – we can’t always be ‘firing on all cylinders’ with great ideas for stories. Sometimes we just feel boring and uncreative. Sometimes giving up seems like the only sensible option.
  5. Feeling inadequate – how often do you experience imposter syndrome? every day? once a week? Ever say to yourself: “Everyone is better at this than me;” “I’m not good enough to do this;” or just “I’m not enough.” We are all our own worst critics. Don’t be too hard on yourselves and give yourselves a chance to show what you can do. You are enough. Let yourself shine.
  6. It’s too late establish a successful career. Actually, it is never too late. As long as we can still have ideas and write them down, we can be authors.

SO THE MORAL IS: – stop being ruled by lame excuses. Even if there’s a teensy bit of truth to our reasons for not writing, don’t let any of the excuses derail us entirely. Take a break if you need it, but don’t let it become permanent. If you are too sick to write, do some reading and research instead. There is always something you can do to keep your hand in, even if its just thinking about writing. Let yourself be human, but also believe that you can achieve great things. You can do it.

OK – Pep talk is now over. I’m going to get on with some writing. See you next #WritingWednesday

Cheers, Emily

Getting back on the wagon – making time to #write and be #creative

The world seems to get busier every year – so many demands on us all and so many distractions. Finding the time and space to disconnect from the bustle and be creative seems to be more and more difficult. So what can we do?

yesssssssI’ve been thinking about this as I try to get back ‘on the wagon’ with my writing. I know I need constructive routines for writing and managing the business of being an #indie #author. To be honest, I’ve been doing a rubbish job the past few months. Everything has seemed too hard.

But after months of drought, I realise more than ever how much I need to #write. So I am making a stand. With myself and with the world that is overwhelming me.

First step – set aside time to be creative.

Second step – treat the time as sacred. No distractions. Turn off social media and email and leave phone upstairs. Easy, right? Wish me luck πŸ™‚

I’ll leave you with this great article about protecting your creative #mindspace