Hoping to finally write that book in 2016?

For as long as I can remember, every New Year’s Eve I would vow to write a book by the following year. But, 12 months later, the book was nowhere to be seen.   Sure, there would be a few paragraphs, scribbled notes, index cards with a ‘sort of’ plot. But a book?  Nope. And so I’d have a little moan and then vow to do the same thing again.

I’d spent so many years thinking and talking about being a writer. I bought every book about the craft, I read the writing magazines with much enthusiasm, I perused the wonderful courses advertised in the Arvon catalogue and I wrote… well, not very much at all.   But, all of a sudden, it started to happen. And the turning point? I joined a writing group.

Now, I’d looked into this before, after reading that it’s one of the most inspiring and motivational things to do (I’d read that in my 100+ magazines and books, so I knew it must be true.)   But, my stumbling block was my confidence. All of the local writing groups were well established and full of people that, well, had actually written something rather than just talk about it.  But, I came across a Script Writing course at our local theatre in Milton Keynes, run by the brill Sally Luff (who went on to form the Carabosse Theatre and Production Company). It was advertised as a ‘brand new group’ and I thought to ‘I can do that, we’ll all be new!’ And, from the very first session, I loved it, learnt a lot along the way and made some great friends.   I think of it as the start of my ‘apprenticeship’ in writing.

After having a couple of small pieces performed, plus an episode of a radio play I co-wrote with my writing pal Ruth, I decided to have another go at writing a novel.  I still had the same nagging thoughts in my head like, ‘when will I find the time, how will I do it when I work full time’ etc etc blah blah blah… but I received good advice from a well published author that I was lucky enough to meet – she told me to stop moaning about not having any time to do it, sit down, grab a pad and pen, and either get on with it, or, shut up.   And she was right.

I’ve now been an Indie published author for over a year and am loving every minute of it. With the release of my second novel due a week from today, I will spend the following three weeks to come up with, and write, my plan for moving forward as an Indie author in 2016 and am bursting with excitement about the ideas I have.  I’m finally living my dream…

So, if there’s anyone out there reading this who is yearning to ‘be a writer’, first of all: If you put your bottom on a chair, grab a pad and pen and put some words on it, you’ll be writing.   And secondly, I thought I’d share my top 5 ‘wish list’ writer items, some of which have played a key part in moving me forward personally. They go from ‘relatively cheap’ to ‘pricey’ and, as it’s that time of year, you may be able to add them to Santa’s list… but, most importantly, I hope they inspire you in some way to start writing and live your own dream.   Click on any of the links to take you to the product pages.

The good old Pukka Pad

I love stationery, full stop. But, Pukka pads, with their little dividers and pockets and nice colours? Well, what’s not to love? I use them for plotting, jotting down ideas, keeping clippings in (from newspapers etc, not nails…) Partner it up with a good writing pen, or pencil, and you’re all sorted.

‘On Writing’, by Stephen King

In my opinion, this is the best book about the craft of writing EVER! I learnt so much from reading this. His style is so laid back, he tells you as it is, he doesn’t flower anything up. He taught me about having an ‘ideal reader’, and I now have two that ready my book before anyone else sees it.   This book is great.

LiveScribe pen

Last year, when I was writing ‘Friendship, Love and Apple Tea’, I was commuting pretty often from MK to London by train and, for any of you out there who goes through the hell of being squashed into a train carriage that’s bursting at the seams, I didn’t have enough room to work on my laptop. (Most of the time, I was standing…) However, if I wrote longhand (using my nice Pukka Pad…) I was too tired to then type if all up at night when I returned from the big smoke.   And so I reached a dead end. But I found a solution! Or rather, my husband did, as he’d bought me a pressie a few years before that I hadn’t had a chance to use yet. It’s called a Livescribe pen, which lets you write longhand using a special pad, and it’s then turned into a PDF file. Adding on a little piece of software, the PDF could then be made into a Microsoft Word file.   This saved me hours and hours of work and meant the book finally came to life.


A lovely piece of software for writers, whether it’s novels, poetry, scripts, non-fiction etc. Not only is it great during the writing process, it’s fantastic when pulling it all together into one of the formats you need for publishing. I’d struggle now without it. Takes a while to get to know how to use it, but there’s some great resources out there to help, including books on Amazon.

MacBook Air

Ok, this is a real luxury, but it’s booooootiful!  Fantastically light (can take it anywhere to write) and a dream to use. It’s not a necessity for a writer, and you can produce a manuscript no matter what you’re using, but it’s… well… blooming lovely!


Happy writing!



Author: Penny

Born in South Northamptonshire, UK and still lives there along with my husband, daughter and several furry friends. I'm a writer or romantic comedy novels and have also written comedy scripts, which have been performed locally, and am a co-writer on a radio sitcom called 'Babz and Irene'.

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