Monday, 22 June 2009

Writing From Life

What a pickle I’ve been in, inspiration thin on the ground – couldn’t even think of a subject to write a post about.

And while I’m pacing up and down wringing my hands together and wailing that I’ll never write another word, that it’s all gone never to return, I catch sight of a book winking at me from the bookshelf.

“Oi,” it said. “Come here you! Stop whingeing and whining and sit down for a minute.”

I sat. I long ago learnt not to argue with books that spoke to me with an air of authority whilst patting my hand in a gesture of kindness and understanding. Besides, when I’m in that kind of mood no one else will speak to me. They all run for cover.

But books are your friends. They won’t run away.

This particular book is called Writing from Life: How to Turn your Personal Experience into Profitable Prose (available from Amazon) and it is written by Lynne Hackles who is a writer I have long admired.

Of course I read the book as soon as I got it but I don’t keep a book like Lynne’s to have it sitting on the shelf gathering dust so I dip in now and again and it always gives me something.

When I first started to write I believed there was this thing, this special secret that all published writers knew about. I thought that if I could find this elusive thing I’d be laughing.

Well I did find it after years of searching, but I’d have found it a damn sight quicker if I’d had Lynne’s book. It isn’t even a secret. It’s there for all; you just have to know where to look for it.

Whether you want to write fiction or non fiction, short stories or books, this book is invaluable. I’d go so far as to say it’s an investment.

Lynne doesn’t waste time telling you how to do all the things you already know how to do. This book is different. It’s different because she reaches inside you and pulls things out like a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat.

I came away from my recent dip into Lynne’s book with two ideas for stories from my own memory bank and I know that next time I open it I’ll find more.

There’s even a piece in there about Writers Bum which sounds funny but isn’t if you’ve ever been afflicted.

As well as being a successful and experienced writer Lynne is a highly respected writing tutor and she also happens to be one of the nicest, funniest people I’ve ever met. And she’s been on telly!

So there you have it, two problems solved – what to write my next story about and what to write a post about. Thanks Lynne!


  1. I'll definitely be getting hold of a copy of that book, thanks for the recommendation :o)

  2. I love reading about writing and Lynne's book is a terrific one.

    Am glad you found inspiration - life would be awful without your stories.


  3. The book certainly is an inspiration. I'm toying with taking a bigger handbag to Settle tomorrow so I can take it with me on the train. :-)

  4. Writer's bum lol! I think mine's growing...

  5. I'ts amazing how a sudden flash of inspiration can come from unexpected, and, with hindsight, obvious sources.

    I'll definitely be getting that book, I've seen it recommended elsewhere, you can't all be wrong!

  6. I can recommend the book. Every time I flick through it, an idea seems to arrive!

  7. Well, having read your recommendation Teresa, I've already ordered my copy from Amazon! I had given up on Books About Writing, as I kind of feel there's not much I don't know about the subject - in my head at least, if not in practice, which is a very different thing altogether - but if this book manages to tease a few more ideas even out of you, the most prolific of writers - then it must also have something to offer the rest of us!

  8. I spend so much time reading ‘How To..’ books and ‘What not to do..’ books that I don’t get on with the business of writing! I get to the point where inertia takes hold as I try to remember the advice and fail miserably! I might just buy this book as it sounds like a wee treasure trove. Thanks for the recommendation.

  9. Elizabeth McKay23 June 2009 at 11:01

    Me too! I've just ordered a copy. I've just read your article in Writers' Forum, Teresa, which was great. But I have one question. Is your desk always that tidy - or did you have a quick declutter specially for the photograph? You can tell us - we're your friends.

  10. I think as well as having 'writer's bum', I've also got 'writer's tum'. Can anyone else identify with this since they've been writing? I think what makes it worse is that I sit down in my day job as well.

    I'll add that book to my wish list, Teresa. :)

  11. I shall order the book today. I hadn't heard of that book, thanks, Teresa

  12. The book sounds really good, Teresa. I shall definitely consider buying it although I keep telling myself that I'm not going to buy any more books as I've got so many to read!
    This book is a bit different though, isn't it? And anything that will give me ideas has got to be a help at the moment. Can't remember the last time I came up with an original idea. I'm re-wrting old rejections at the moment - just hoping they're better than they were last time round!

  13. It’s nice so many of you agree with me – and those of you who have ordered the book or are considering it, I promise you won’t regret it!

    I do know what you mean MOB – I got rid of most of my writing books some time ago. I think I kept five including Writing from Life.

    Just between you and me, Elizabeth, all the clutter and stuff from my desk was sitting on a sideboard behind me. But don’t tell anyone!

    There have been times when all I’ve been able to do is rewrite old rejections, Susan, but that book really helps you find new ideas from within yourself.

    Just a word about Writers Bum – the one Lynne talks about in her book isn’t of the spreading all over the place variety – it’s far worse! You’ll have to buy the book to see what I mean!

    Writers tum – me too Lynette!!

  14. I have that book - it arrived a week or so ago but I haven't read it yet. Looking forward to Being Inspired!

  15. Glynis Scrivens24 June 2009 at 07:34

    I can recommend Lynne's book too - just the thing to read if you're feeling a bit jaded with your writing or lost for ideas. It manages to help,without being preachy

  16. You will be, Womag!

    Summed up perfectly, Glynis!

  17. Forget Writers' Bum, I now have Writers' Head. It's got so big readying your blog entry, Teresa, and all the other lovely comments here, that I'm having to prop it up on a pile of pillows.
    Thank you all for contributing to my bank account! I hope every one of you manages to get your money back at least 10 fold from the ideas in my book.
    I'm currently writing a gift book, due out this autumn. It's all about cures. I've got a good one for impotence - the affected male has to eat bread which has had the dough kneaded by a woman's buttocks. I haven't got one for Writers' Bum though :-(
    Thaks again, Teresa, and you really should get out more and meet more people.

  18. Can't wait to get the cures book when it comes out, Lynne. I hope the impotence cure is going to be illustrated ;-)

    Get out more - me? Out there you mean? With people???

  19. At the risk of swelling Lynne's head even further, Teresa, I will try again to post this comment. For some reason I was doing something illegal with my URL last night, whatever that means! I said how much I owed Lynne and agreed with all the nice things said about her and her book. It was during one of her talks at Caerleon a few years back I had my own 'lightbulb' moment.
    I'm going to hit the post comment button now and if that doesn't work I'm going to think Lynne has put one of her spells on it!

  20. What? It's my name that's the illegal bit apparently? Anyway, anonymous is Paula Williams.

  21. Elizabeth McKay24 June 2009 at 15:10

    Your secret's safe with me, Teresa!

  22. Very glad it let you comment, Paula - I wonder why it decided you were illegal - it worked okay before didn't it!

    It is my dream to go to Caerleon one year!

    Thanks Elizabeth - I knew I could trust you!

  23. Well it seems the cure for writers bum could lie in the cure for male impotence!!!

  24. Well it could be worth a try, Teresa!

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