Tag Archives: Abi Burlingham

The Grand Blog Tour arrives at the House of Dreams!

I’d like to thank Katina Wright for inviting me to take part in the Grand Blog Tour this week. I love Kat’s blog because it’s a joyful celebration of creativity and it’s very pretty. Here’s the link Wright Story

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Everyone on the Grand Blog Tour has to answer four questions, and they’re every writer’s favourite questions to answer.

 1. What are you working on?

I wrote a children’s book about writing years ago and always intended to do one for adults some day – that day has come! I’ve got lots of fabulous contributions from my friends in the Scattered Authors Society, and absolutely no quotations that I’ll need to get permissions for (this is why)

I think this book will sit really well alongside ‘Writing in the House of Dreams’ so I hope to publish it in the New Year, a few months after that one comes out in September.

2. How does your work differ from others of its genre?

It’s hard to say, considering that my work covers lots of different genres, but doing something different feels important to me. There wouldn’t be any point in writing something someone else has already written.

When I wrote my bullying books they were – and as far as I’m aware, still are – the only self-help books that focused on psychological self-defence, helping children to deal with high levels of anger and fear in bullying situations, to maintain their self-esteem and overcome any feelings of shame. When ‘Bullies, Bigmouths and So-called Friends’ came out in 2003, the Independent reviewer asked, ‘Could this be the first self-help book for children?’

With my dream book, I didn’t want to do a dictionary/interpretation kind of book because there are already so many books of this kind on the market. I wanted to tell my own dream adventures and offer some practical writing activities that could give others a glimpse into how each dream experience feels, even if they don’t recall their dreams. I don’t think anyone else has done this but even if they have, my own story and the exercises from my ‘House of Dreams’ workshops are obviously unique.

I think my writing book will be different too – as ‘How to be a Brilliant Writer’ was an unusual writing book for children, but I never talk about my work-in-progress. Sorry!

3. Why do you write what you do?

I write to entertain, but also to share ideas that have made my life feel richer. I love new challenges so I choose projects that are going to stretch me and take me into unfamiliar territory.

4. How does your writing process work?

I’m allergic to timetables and routines so I found the years when I was having to fit my writing in around school and playgroup quite challenging. These days it’s completely organic. When I’m at the pondering, pre-planning stage I might spend days at the beach or tramping over the moors. When I’m actively sorting out a plan, I like to take power naps because I find things organise in my mind while I’m asleep.

Once I start the actual writing I can work 24:7 because I never know exactly how the book is going to be and I’m excited to find out.

Then finally, when I’ve finished my first draft, my redrafting works in a nice steady nine to five kind of way, and as soon as I’ve send the MS off to my agent, I crack open a bottle of bubbly.

Now it just remains for me to take the Grand Tour forward to other blogs I think you might love. They’ll will be joining the tour on the 5th May.

Abi Burlingham is a children’s author I’ve got to know over the last few years through blogging and social networking – I’ve never met her but I think of her as a friend. Her blog is about art, life and writing, which is a great mix as far as I’m concerned. here’s the link

Carolyn Hughes writes about recovery and emotional healing on her blog called The Hurt Healer, which has a following of thousands. Like Abi, she’s another friend I’ve never met 🙂

Tessa Hillman has a really unusual blog called Yoga Stories where she offers stories on demand. She’s a good friend I actually have met, and meet up with from time to time.

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My first rule of writing

I work and teach in the practice school of writing. This means that rather than studying technique and trying to apply it, as we mostly learn to do in mainstream education, we start from just doing it and allowing our own unique style to develop through practice.

Obviously, this approach depends upon doing lots of writing and, as no-one keeps going for long with things they don’t enjoy, the first rule of writing is enjoyment.

If you can’t enjoy it, it’s better to take a step back and wait until the mood or the ideas or the psychological space for writing comes back.

Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy ~ Khalil Gibran, ‘The Prophet’

The paradoxical effect of this approach is that being prepared to wait means you never have to. When the impulse is pleasure, work is alligned with instinct, and you are flowing with life.

This is not to say you don’t have to work at your writing, but only that as long as you’re writing things which fully engage you, it’s work you want to do and therefore, however hard it may sometimes be, it never feels like a chore.

And what is it to work with love? It is to weave a cloth with threads drawn from your heart, even as if your beloved were to wear that cloth ~ Khalil Gibran, ‘The Prophet’

You may have noticed that although I normally blog every Wednesday, I’ve skipped a few weeks since Christmas. This is because I’ve been immersed in my work-in-progress and would have resented spending time on other writing.

I didn’t want to short-change myself, or you, or the spirit of writing by publishing something which felt like homework. So I took a break last week and the usual thing happened – lots of new ideas came into my head which are engaging enough for me to want to set aside other writing for an hour or so and explore them in the House of Dreams.

Here’s an interesting post from the Stroppy Author (great blog) about not publishing any old thing http://stroppyauthor.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/dont-publish-crap.html?showComment=1362832266092

And here’s another one from Abi Burlingham, on her decision to let go of having a regular blogging day http://abiburlingham.wordpress.com/2012/10/26/26th-october-2012/

And here is a beautiful contemplation on the important things, in life and in writing, from my very good friend, Liz Kessler http://awfullybigblogadventure.blogspot.co.uk/2013/03/remembering-what-counts-liz-kessler.html

Blogging is writing-work I thoroughly enjoy because, unlike most of what I do, it finds its readers straight away, and they can give instant feedback.

So, dear reader, thank you for visiting, following and commenting 🙂