Long Time No Speak

Taking the time to reconnect while we’re apart

Welcome to day three of my #Staycation podcast! Today is all about using this time to reconnect to people we may not have spoken to for a while, and staying connected with people we have. I hope you enjoy it.

It’s been lovely to hear back from so many of you, with your own ideas of how to handle this time. Keep them coming!

And remember, we’re not alone, we’re in this together, take care,

Liv x

Speed & Endurance

How your DNA can change the way you write

I’m something of an armchair genealogist. In the digital age it’s now possible to access many records about our ancestors from the comfort of our own homes, and with the advent of Genetic Genealogy we can even find out our DNA by spitting in a tube and popping a parcel in the post.

One of the things which I have discovered as a result of my research is that I am built for speed and not endurance. This isn’t really news to me. I ran the 100 metres in school in 12.85 seconds. I also practically threw up during long distance running on frosty winter days as my chest tightened and my legs turned to jelly.

But how does this apply to my writing? Am I condemned to the realms of poetry or short-story writing? Should I just stick to blogging? That would be fine if my passion lay in poetry and short-stories, or I was content to do nothing but blog, but there are countless stories inside of me, itching to get out, that would fit perfectly into the length of a novel.

The answer, as I have discovered, is to move multiple counters forwards in short, sharp bursts, rather than sit and do one thing for a prolonged length of time. Today, for example, I’m writing two blog posts of approximately 600 words each, as well as 600 words of two novels I’m working on, and 600 more on an autobiographical work. That’s a total of 3k words in a day, which is hugely productive. I know I can achieve this relatively easily because I’ve broken it down into bite-sized chunks. Had I told myself that I would write a solid 3k words at the beginning of the day, the likelihood is my brain would have melted down in apoplexy and it would have felt like people were sticking a multitude of long, sharp needles in my head.

I also try to change it up throughout the day to keep my brain stimulated. For example, I might spend the first block of time writing a blog, then do some research, then listen to some music or watch a podcast, then write some of one of my novels. I will vary what I work on throughout the day so my brain never gets bored. The other key thing for me is to get plenty of fresh air an exercise, especially during the long, dark, winters, and, importantly, to cuddle with my cat, Henry.

Of course none of us are the same. I suspect that our writing styles are as unique as our DNA. The important thing is to find what works best for you. If you are a marathon runner at heart then you can probably sit down for longer periods, but may not write as fast. If you are a sprinter, you might want to try to write less words at a time or even set a stop watch to write in bursts. It’s all the same in the end, but unlocking the key to your own writing DNA is what will bring you the greatest success in the end.

Are you build for writing speed or endurance? What are the secrets to your writing success? I’d love to hear from you. Do drop me a line. Liv.

The Bible and the Silver Spoon

One woman’s journey in search of self

I am adopted. I’ve always known that I was adopted. My parents were very open about it. They told me and my brother that we were special because we were chosen. They also said that if I ever wanted to trace my birth- parents they would support me 100%.

I was quite fortunate in that I knew quite a bit about where I was from. I was born on a rainy Sunday, in November 1972 at the Royal Free Hospital in London, England. My mother was American. I knew her name, I knew she was from the Carolinas, and I knew that her father was a pastor. That’s a lot more than most adoptees know.

Not only this, I had something tangible to hold on to from my family of origin. When my maternal grandmother found out I was to be born, she sent to the social worker a small, white, leather Bible and a silver spoon with the message, “this is what we give all our grandchildren.”

These precious items were kept in an old cake tin in my mum’s dressing table. If things ever got on top of me, if the gaping hole that existed inside of me ever grew too loud, I would sit on the floor with the Bible and the spoon and hold them up to my heart, imaging where my family were, and what they might be doing.

Talking of holes, I really struggled with my identity growing up. Although I was popular, academic, sporty, and pretty, I never really felt like I fitted in. I was always on the outside looking in. I didn’t quite belong. With that came a rampant fear of rejection and abandonment that to some extent exists to this day.

The summer I turned thirteen I went with a friend to a sailing centre on the Isle of Wight. That was the week I got my National Dinghy Sailing Certificate. It was also the week that I sat out on the jetty one evening, watching the sun go down over then Medina River, and asked God to fill the hole in my heart and help me find my birth mother.

As I prayed, I felt this overwhelming sense that somehow or other it would be ok. I felt enveloped in a blanket of love and peace and warmth. I let go of the angst, the ache, and I trusted that all would be well. I stood up, went back inside, and joined my friends.

Are you adopted? Do you know someone who is? Have you struggled with your own identity? Do you have a fear of rejection and abandonment? Have you found it hard to find your tribe? If so, I’d love to hear from you.

The story will continue tomorrow, but for now may your day be full of rich blessings, love and light.

Liv x

Write2Write: day 4

Three little words…

One interesting thing that has started to happen as I journal throughout the day while simultaneously blogging and working on my novel is that I am starting to dream more. I don’t remember what my dreams are when I’m awake, at least I can’t grab the pen quickly enough to jot them down before they evaporate from my conscious mind, but I am aware it’s happening. I suspect that I’m unlocking something. The more I write, the more my brain wants to show me things.

Today’s blog post is subtitled, “three little words,” because I have realised something important in the last few days. No, I’m not about to say, “I love you,” but rather, quite simply, “I need help.” Writing is such a solitary past time that it’s extremely difficult for us to do it on our own. The Bronte sisters would walk around their dining table reading their work to each other, Jane Austen would write letters to her sister, Steven King is all over Twitter. There is something magical that happens when creative people come together to share their work, to brainstorm ideas, and to dream dreams.

That’s what I need. It’s what makes me feel most alive. My dream is to write a story about a girl who is a workaholic, over-achieving perfectionist. Tragedy strikes her family, she crashes and burns, and finds herself in a magical place that people only find when they need it the most. That is what Finding Freodholm is all about. That’s what I’m doing when I sit down and write every day. What about you?

What are your hopes, your dreams, your struggles, your fears? What ideas do you have that need fleshing out with an interested ear? How can we help each other? I need your help. Do you need mine?