Focusing The Mind

mindfulnessI promised an update on my progress during the eight week course I began now four weeks ago.

I’ve completed twenty-four 30-45 minute meditations of various types – body awareness, sitting awareness, yoga.

Can I see a change, some benefit from it? I suppose I have to admit that I want to see a  benefit, so allowance has to be made for that, but still I really do believe I am more relaxed, calmer, and possibly more focused. Perhaps even that is enough to have made it worthwhile? Besides, I look forward to my practice!

Much compelling, fascinating and inspiring scientific evidence about the significant benefits of the practice of mindfulness is delivered with the course, such that I’m committed to making it part of my routine. And I’ve learned that these benefits can touch every aspect of our lives.

With another four weeks to go it will be interesting to see wht further progress I can make.

I’ll provide my final assessment at the end of week eight


Lost for the right word to describe a sound?

onamatopaeiaOnomatopoeia – the formation or use of words that imitate the sound associated with something, e.g. ‘hiss’ and ‘buzz’

Of course, there are uses for this way beyond that of comics and graphic novels. In fiction writing we can find ourselves looking for the right word to describe a sound. Here’s a useful resource that can help.


Free eBook Version of Rogets Thesaurus

9781904048640largeI’ve downloaded the EPUB version of what I have found to be the world’s greatest resource of English words and phrases. You can get your copy here, where you’ll find a number of different versions.
I have it on my iPad, and although I do have the original print version, I find this more convenient, though I would never get rid of the hard copy, there’s nothing like it.
There’s  a search function on the eBook, which is really fast and there’s just no contest with regard to convenience when I compare the bulk and weight of the book which is 5cm thick and probably weighs a kg, against my lovely slim and lightweight iPad! Isn’t it wonderful that we writers have available to us such comprehensive resources?
I give thanks to those who have provided. Hazel

Orwell’s rules for good prose

A J recommended an app for editing. See: . It seems to work by identifying parts of the text that offend against the generally accepted rules for writing clear prose. When I can get a desk-top version I’ll give it a go.

I believe these rules are expressed succinctly by George Orwell:

  1. Never use a metaphor, simile or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing in print.
  2. Never use a long word where a short one will do.
  3. If it is possible to cut a word out, always cut it out.
  4. Never use the passive where you can use the active.
  5. Never use a foreign phrase, a scientific word or a jargon word if you can think of an everyday English equivalent.
  6. Break any of these rules sooner than say anything outright barbarous.
I try to abide by them but as you will remind me, I often fail to comply. 

Could rejection by publishers be good news?

imagesIn past years the answer to that would have been a resounding NO of course. But things are different these days. Very different.
Take a look here

I spent hours reading the data and then the replies to this article, and it seems as if the real drama is yet to come as publishers try to defend their position. I do think this is essential reading for anyone who wants to make a living from their writing.
Plus it’s great entertainment!
No doubt someone will eventually write a book about it.
Postscript: I’ve just read a response from Mike Shatzkin who says this at the end of his article:
‘Self-publishing is definitely an incredible boon to commercial writers and they should all understand how it works. Increasingly, literary agencies see it as their job to provide that knowledge:

  • It is almost certainly a good idea to self-publish for many writers who have reclaimed a backlist that has consumer equity.
  • It is a perfectly sensible way to launch a career, either before going after the commercial establishment or as a part of the strategy to engage with them. (Editors in the big houses are well aware of the self-publishing successes; it’s a new farm system.)
  • If an author has access to markets, it can be a better way to get short or very timely material to them faster.

But to say it has its advantages and applications is a far cry from saying that it is a preferable path for a large number of authors who could get publishing deals.’