Confession Time

Remember that post I wrote last month about #Prep_tober? I was keen and enthusiastic to get going, but then when November came round, I confess that I lost all interest in doing Nano this year.

Other things, like uni and life took centre stage, and that’s ok. I read an excellent blog post* this morning which filled me with such relief, that it gave me permission to write this.

If I am not writing or at least doing something writing-related in my spare time, I feel guilty. When I sit down to write, it is never for long enough, or I don’t achieve my (usually unrealistic) word quota for the day. So I feel guilty or lacking in some way. Enough! Let’s call a halt to this unnecessary mental torture.

As writers, we are under so much pressure to be seen to be taking part in every single writing event that comes along. Writing is to be to us what oxygen is to mere mortals. From today, I no longer buy into that myth. It weighs me down like a stack of old tomes wrapped in Marley’s chains. A crushed mind cannot create.

This realisation actually came to me over the weekend, after spending the best part of the week before writing a creative non-fiction piece for university. I needed a break. I didn’t want to write, after days being holed up at home, thinking of nothing but Deadline Day, I needed to be out in the world.

So, I took myself and my non-writing mind to my first meeting of the Edinburgh Literary Salon on Tuesday night. It was a such a treat to be in a room full of ‘my people’. Writing or pursuing any creative career can be intolerably lonely without the company of like-minds.

The venue was bustling, there was free wine and a buffet. People were animated as they talked about their projects, had ideas for collaboration or met someone they had not seen in a long time.  The group welcomed my friend and I without reservation, and we had no shortage of people to talk to. The atmosphere in the room was infectious and I soon found myself wrapped up in my own energetic and indulgent exchanges.

I will definitely return. I made some meaningful connections, and have a few coffee dates lined up already.

So, I’m not saying give up on writing and go out and party, but do go out and be part of the world, meet people, try new things and enjoy living. Our predeccessors certainly did! Sartre, de Beauvoir and the rest of the Left Bank posse knew being chained to a desk wasn’t everything. They needed people. Go and find yours.

*I didn’t save a link to the blog post, but if I find it I will share it here.






What, you may wonder, is Prep-Tober?

It is a month of prep before the excitement and word-headiness of NaNoWriMo! I am late to the party but I am jumping in today, and you can join in at any point throughout October. I am currently following Rachael Stephen’s plan for the month (you can sign up here) as I find her videos motivational, down-to-earth and quirky.

Here is one from Rachael explaining exactly what Prep-Tober is all about.

It has been several years since I last did NaNoWriMo, so I am excited to be doing it this year. I think it will be a welcome break from approaching writing as an academic activity, this is the first time in 3 years that I am embarking on a fiction project just for me. I do have the kernel of an idea for a novella, but I am most looking forward to writing for the sheer fun of it, and joining a global community of writers.

Bring on those Bonfire Spiced Lattes!




Autumn Air

My favourite time of year has arrived! I have loved this season of magic between summer and winter since I was a child. The air smells of promise, and of dreams brewing beneath the chill.

Fitting then, that I have just finished copy-editing a book about ageing, especially as the later period of our lives is often referred to as the ‘autumn years’. As someone who recently entered their forties, this book held particular interest for me as a reader, not just as an editor.

The book is semi-academic but it is written in an accessible tone, explaining scientific and medical terms for those of us who are neither scientists or medical experts. I thoroughly enjoyed working on this book, and I learned much along the way which I am going to apply to my own life.

The main thing seems to be that age, in most cases, is a state of mind. Resilience is key, along with a healthy diet and regular exercise, for living a long and healthy life. As soon as this book comes out, I’m buying a copy.

Translated from Italian by my friend and colleague, it reveals some exciting research. I can’t divulge any more about the book as it is not yet published, but I hope to write a full review when it becomes available.

That old adage ‘If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.’ (Marc Anthony) is certainly true in my case. I loved every minute of working on this book and I’m itching to get my hands on another.

Everything about editing appeals to me, the close attention to each word, space, comma and line. The pedantic word devil in me delights in correcting and shaping the text into the best version of itself.  I feel that I am being of service to the greater good, both for the author, and future readers.

In other news, the second part of my MA Creative Writing course starts next week. I have made the bold decision to switch from studying fiction, to non-fiction. This will be an entirely new discipline for me. I am excited about the change and about the challenge that lies ahead. I am especially interested in the research side of writing non-fiction. I have a plethora of subjects which interest me and that I am keen to write about.

I will be making more of a push during this final year, to have my work published. I will supply the links to my published work on the blog and some excerpts, so you can get a flavour of my writing.

The main reason for launching this blog was to give me an outlet for the writing side of my life, and to hopefully encourage other writers. It can be a lonely journey, so it’s good to hook up with friends along the way.


Fringe – last days

So, I started August with every intention of doing some sort of Fringe diary or at least blogging about my experiences, but here we are on the penultimate day and I haven’t achieved my goal.

I forgot one vital thing: during August, I am not in control, the Fringe machine dictates my every move and waking thought. I eat, breathe and speak Fringe for the entire month.

I’m writing this from a bench in the Underbelly Garden in George Square. Having finally dragged my partner out with me, it’s nice to have her with me in this parallel universe.

I have seen many sights and have stories to tell. I’ll do a proper post with my round up of #Intotheunknown

Stay safe and enjoy the last 24 hours of #FringeFrenzy

Welcome and Getting Fringe-Ready

Welcome to my brand shiny new blog for all things writing related. I previously ran a blog called Proof Write but having changed direction, I wanted a fresh new platform to represent who I am now. So here it is.

In this blog I will be honest about my own writing journey, including the ups and downs. My philosophy now is #NoFilter. We need more real life accounts of what it means to be an emerging writer following the rocky road to publication and beyond.

I am privileged to be writing for Amnesty International and Scotsgay Magazine again this year for the Fringe and Book Festival. I had an absolute blast last year. I learned a lot and I am going in this year with a lot more confidence but less of the bouncy over-excited newbie energy of 2017. (If my editor is reading this he’ll breathe a sigh of relief).

During the month of August expect lots of posts about the Fringe and the Book Festival. I am reasonably sane at the moment but the Fringe has a way of sweeping you up so I can’t guarantee either I or my posts will remain so. You have been warned.

Highlights for this year’s Book Festival for me are seeing the trailblazer that is Mr Matt Haig and the inimitable Ruby Wax, the legend that is Kirsty Logan, along with Jackie Kay and a few others.

I have yet to make my choices for the Fringe but so far I have Simon Callow’s play on my list and one of the Shakespeare for Breakfast shows.

Please leave comments with any of your recommendations. Are you a performer or an artist appearing this year? Would you like to be reviewed by this blog or for Scotsgay? Get in touch via my contact page. Would love to hear from you.

You can find me on Twitter @SharonaSampson