Sign up to the newsletter

Writers' & Artists' Blog

5 Writing Tips for 2019

12 months in as an aspiring authoress I look back to the first tender weeks of my authorship journey – and give myself a little condescending tap on the head.

I think it’s sweet that I had intended on not only submitting a fully polished novel to competitions and awards, but that I would have found an agent and be well on the way to securing a publishing deal… in one year.

So how did the authoress get on? Where in the process is she now? Let’s skip forward to January 2019… 

I'm on chapter two.

Now let’s get a few things straight – this isn’t because I didn’t do the work, or I was lazy or gave up, far from it. I worked tirelessly, dedicating hours and hours to research, writing, reading, courses…

The past year has taught me a tremendous amount. Not least, the reason I got 15,000 words in to my children’s novel and SCRAPPED it all.

When I set myself a goal, I approach it with dogged focus and determination. I work strictly to a rule book that I create …

Read more | 4 comments

Literary Lessons: Art Matters

Rachel Knightley

From Art Matters by Neil Gaiman. Illustrated by Chris Riddell.

The best writing advice will always be the writing advice that inspires you to get on with the writing. Inspires, not instructs: no there is no great secret, yes it’s hard work and practise makes improvement. My favourite writing guide and favourite memoir, Stephen King’s On Writing, reminds us Dumbo made it into the air because of the magic feather clutched in his trunk, even though the magic was in him all the time. Writing courses and writing retreats and writing buddies and writing manuals are all great feathers. They can get us up there faster. But the magic is always in the elephant, not the feather. 

I have a new feather. It’s Art Matters, a stocking-filler-sized illustrated philosophy of life, art and freelancing. It sits beside my laptop on my windowsill “desk” in the living room. It’s made of three texts by Neil Gaiman – Credo (2015), Why Our Future Depends on Libraries, Reading and Daydreaming

Read more | 3 comments

Merry Christmas from Writers & Artists!

It's our favourite time of year at Writers & Artists, (let the Christmas book shopping commence!) and what better way to bring in the festive spirit than to run a book giveaway!

If you haven't yet got your Christmas reading lined up, then be sure to keep your eyes peeled from Monday 17th to Sunday 23rd December, as we'll be giving away some brilliant titles. 

To enter, it's simple: watch out for our Christmas tweet every morning and just RT and follow to be in with a chance of winning.

Here's the line-up of books featured:

Saturday 15th December – The Corset by Laura Purcell

Sunday 16th December – Why Write? by Mark Edmundson

Monday 17th December – The Stormkeeper’s Island by Catherine Doyle

Tuesday 18th December – Monsieur X by Jamie Reid

Wednesday 19th December – Lateral Cooking by Niki Segnit

Thursday 20th December – Circe by Madeline Miller

Friday 20th December Writers' & Artists' Yearbook 2019

Find us on Twitter here - we'll be …

Read more | 3 comments

Writing The Landscape Around You

Ahead the publication of his debut novel Mostyn Thomas and The Big Rave, author Richard Williams discusses the inspiration behind his writing, and why he didn't have to look too far from home for it. 

As a debut writer with no formal literature training/education, the only way I knew I could pull off writing the novel was to be honest and write what I know. This made things quite easy – no real research was required and no studying random strangers’ facial movements on train platforms was ever necessary. I just pictured the people I grew up around, and took quirks from most of them to develop ‘best of’ Pembrokeshire characters – hybrids of four or five different local people to create each individual character in the novel.

I wanted to write about farming, particularly the challenges for the rural industry at the time the novel is set. More often than not Welsh farmers are portrayed as a bit backward, even “twp” (stupid in Welsh) in television and literature. So I …

Read more | 3 comments

Literary Lessons: Gratitude

Rachel Knightley

From The Flame by Leonard Cohen (Canongate)

Leonard Cohen’s poetry was sometimes set to music, sometimes sung, sometimes accompanied cartoons, sketches and symbols – the Order of the Unified Hearts intertwining two Stars of David with heart-shaped bends at their tops; the brimmed hat he would doff in concert to the music, to its source, to his audience, to life itself – but whether it appeared in books or in albums, it was always poetry first.

The Flame is edited posthumously, and published just under two years after Leonard Cohen’s death on 7 November 2016. There is a foreword by his son, Adam Cohen, and his editors by Robert Faggen and Alexandra Pleshoyano, in which each says of Leonard Cohen what Leonard Cohen so often and well said of life itself: how unworthy we feel our choices might have been, how unequal we feel to the task. Yet what his verses, his music and, yes, his singing, taught with heartbreaking clarity was that that very appreciation – that gratitude – was

Read more | 4 comments