Non-fiction Recommendations Review Writing

Writing Magazine: a review

For over a year now I have been a proud subscriber of Writing Magazine.

Each month another issue arrives through my letter box and I indulge in its variety of useful and interesting content. Every issue is packed full and thicker than your average magazine so I admit that sometimes a pile builds up beside my bed of those that are still to be properly read.

I initially skim through, perhaps picking out articles that particularly stand out and read them there and then. I then put it away for a day or two until I find time where I will read through properly and enjoy every minute of doing so.

From competition entries to writing news, author stories and everything else in between, Writing Magazine offers a superb selection of opinions, information and ideas to develop your writing technique.

Since subscribing I have undertaken a writing course, appeared on the letters to editors page, entered numerous competitions, taken on board book recommendations, discovered new writing exercises to spark up ideas and learnt so much about this weird and wonderful industry.

Encouraging, inspiring, informative, interesting, entertaining, witty, realistic and fabulous. That is how I would describe this brilliant and useful magazine. Long will I subscribe and if you’re interesting in writing and reading then you should consider subscribing too!

Non-fiction Writing

20 writing goals for 2020

  1. Enter 10 writing competitions
  2. Finish book 2
  3. Publish my debut novel
  4. Work hard
  5. Encourage others
  6. Finish my Writers Bureau Writing Course
  7. Attempt writing for radio
  8. Write more in different settings
  9. Write some happier fiction
  10. Keep it up with my blog (at least 2 posts a week)
  11. Earn some money from my writing(!)
  12. Attend literary events
  13. Embrace conversations when people are upbeat about my writing
  14. Read more brilliant work of others
  15. Read more around topics like social media, blogging and self-promo
  16. Take myself off to places to gain inspo and ideas
  17. Start another novel???????????????
  18. Read my writing magazine WHEN it shows up
  19. Stay positive and enthusiastic
  20. Keep going
fiction Stories Writing

Flight (part 2)

That was the great thing about this happening to a person like my Mam. She is such a strong lady that she made her cancer some sort of joke. A joke for her anyway. She’d constantly go on about how much we’d all miss her because she is possibly the greatest person to walk this earth.

Of course, she was exaggerating, she didn’t love herself like most politicians out there or celebrities who have been born into fame and constantly told by people around them how perfect they are. The hilarious thing about these situations was how everyone around her would be hysterically crying, genuinely sad tears and she would just laugh it off and tell everyone to man up. That was easy for her to say. She was the one that was going to die.

My mother’s dealing with her stage four diagnosis was what made the horrific scenes at the hospital easier. The tubes going in and out of each and every vein. The photos Daddy sent me after her first few rounds of chemo and the news that it wasn’t working. The more upbeat photos of her sat with a large gin and tonic in the hospice more recently. It was all of this that encouraged me to book my flight to Paris on September 4th. Today.

However, today is different. I’m not feeling as cocky in my ability to handle the loss of my mother which will inevitably happen. Initially I thought that exploring Europe would set me free from the pain that is about to come but then I feel the pain will creep up on me sooner and I’m not ready to handle it alone.

I have had such an intensely beautiful month spent in Dublin with my family, visiting Mammy every day and making memories that I am going to hold on so tightly. The same way a toddler would squeeze onto their Mum out of jealousy while she was breastfeeding their new born brother. So many memories yet not enough. I am not ready to go.

As I sit and pack the last of my survival kit into a bag that already looks too big to lug around station after station and up numerous sets of hostel steps, I stare at the photo of Mammy and I from graduation. The proudest moment of my life so far and one of hers. I look to the right of me at Jenna and consider where it all went wrong. I wonder what she is doing right this minute and a part of me wants to speak to her. Though it was her decision to leave, to allow her life to go off track, she still may silently need her older sister.

fiction Observations Writing

A house, who’s lived in it?

The sixties housewife who spent her days swamped in chores,
Her husband who was always ranting each time he came through the doors.
Their three little children, so well behaved,
Then the old man’s father before he went to the grave.

The eighties rock chick, dressed in fluorescent colours,
Her many boyfriends and the rest were just lovers.
A friendly Labrador who obeyed her every request,
She loved this dog and he loved her, for they are the very best.

Then the nineties came and brought in a new clan,
Just a couple and their baby who sat in his pram.
The mother was lucky and didn’t have to work,
While the garden expanded and the baby played in the dirt.

The family moved when the millennium struck,
Father Dixon came into a bit of luck.
Next came a gambler, his name was Phil,
He didn’t last long, bill after bill.

2003 brought another family but the children soon fled,
Margaret and James swear that they will still live here when they are dead.
I always think each time I look at the brick,
Here’s a house, somebody’s home, but who’s lived in it?

Non-fiction Observations Writing

My Writing Space: what it means to me

If I have learnt nothing else from my time as an aspiring writer it’s that if the space in which I am trying to write in isn’t right then, I am not going to get a lot of writing done.

Sometimes I choose my desk. On it there is a radio, some twinkling fairy lights inside a glass jar (pointless but important), a photo of my Grandad and I at my 21st, candles, place mats, my laptop and an owl pot filled with corks and stones (again, totally useless but crucial).

From my desk I can look out to a view over fields. In the summer this view is gorgeously clear, blue skies and greenery. Occasionally it is blurred through the raindrops hitting the window, but that just makes me more thankful that I am inside and at my desk. On a good winters day the view is spectacularly white from frost or snow and it is, especially when writing, one of my favorite views.

Sometimes I choose the sofa. Since getting our puppy who is extremely lovable if not a little bit of a distraction, I struggle to work upstairs at my desk if nobody else is around. This is why I have acquired a new working space on the corner sofa that is so comfortable that if hungover I simply sleep and no words are written. Sometimes my feet are up, sometimes they are not but always my slippers are on. My dog, Arkley, likes to nestle in between me and my laptop on my lap, listening intently to me reading short stories aloud while editing them.

Sometimes I choose outside. When the weather is being nice, I just have to work outdoors. There is a little bench in my garden and the sun is guartuneed to shine on one seat. That is the seat I choose to sit at. I lay everything out as if on my desk; my laptop, diary, coffee and usually another sugary beverage to spark up some extra motivation. Here, I enjoy the warmth while producing more material.

Then there’s my other place. A house of my friends which I find so special when it comes to my writing. I discovered while house sitting there that it had a good effect on my writing. New ideas flowed and the motivation lingered so that I just couldn’t stop. Whether it was changing my space or something in the air over that pocket of land, I’m not sure, but there is something in it that means a lot to me and my work.

One day, I know (hope) I live in a wonderful house looking out over a lake because water too helps me and my words. Whenever I got to the beach even if I don’t intend to, I write or note down so many ideas which flow out of my overwhelmed mind. Being by water is certainly something for the soul, but it helps my writing too.

So as pernickety as this all may sound, these are the spaces in which I like to write and they are very special to me.

Recommendations Review Writing

Top 5: advice from a writer starting out

I would class myself as a writer. Yes, I’m a writer. I have had things published both online and in print, but I have by no means made it. In fact, I am at the very beginning of my career (if I can even call it that yet).

I blog (as anyone reading this already knows), I write for an online blog (paid, but not much), I desperately try to get commissioned for more articles for a variety of publications and I am working hard to get my first novel polished up so it is ready to send out.

Whether you’re a writer also, perhaps more experienced (which isn’t hard) and haven’t yet come across these useful materials, or simply interested in the writing industry and want to learn more about it, then here are five helpful sources for you to check out whenever you get a chance.

So far they have helped me, inspired me and deeply interest me. Here goes.

The Bookseller

I came across The Bookseller website on recommendation from a research source that I was using and so far I have found it fabulous.

The Bookseller has been the magazine of the book trade since 1888 reporting on all important news and trends within the industry. I personally have found it so great because like just about everything since 1888 it’s moved on and is no longer just a magazine. Now, with a small subscription fee you gain access to the most useful information in so many different forms.

From the official website bringing breaking news and a blog, to the magazine itself and everything in between. My favorite means of accessing this material is through the monthly podcasts containing interviews with authors, the book doctors giving advice on what to read and why, and comments upon general trends in terms of what is selling as well as useful discussions about the complexity of genre, for example. Trust me, this source is fab.

Writing Magazine

I have subscribed to the Writing Magazine for over a year now.

Although bombarding myself with the amount of information inside each monthly issue can seem overwhelming from time to time, having a glance each month, a longer look at what interests me and a pile by my desk to address when needing information or inspiration about writing is crucial to my work and interests.

Not to mention my letter getting published on the Letters to the Editor page in December, that was pretty cool.

Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook

Since undertaking my degree I have leaned on the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook as a bible for my future career and a recommendation by every tutor that I had. The huge volume is packed full of everything you need to know from how to write to which agents to approach when sending out your first manuscript.

It contains agent and publisher listings, magazine and newspaper listings, articles about specific topics from the traditions such as writing a cover letter and what to include in your synopsis, to tackling the most current issues like self-publishing.


Twitter is so useful in so many ways. Not only does it keep you right up to date with celebrity gossip, trending news and the latest remarks from Katie Hopkins, but it is very handy in the literary world as well.

I follow every agent and publisher I have ever approached, I follow many authors too and more recently I have been using my personal profile purely from a writing perspective which has in turn increased my following from people within the writing community too.

It is a quick, easy to use and important thing to have both to learn about current writing news and trends as well as upping your following and trying to get both your name and your work out there. Follow me if you wish @MillsWriting


It almost goes without saying but by far one of the most important and beneficial things to do when trying to become a better writer is to read, read and read some more.

Having recently finished a first draft of a first novel, I can tell you from experience and I know that my work is better when I have been actively reading more alongside my writing.

Reading gives you ideas, inspiration, stylistic tips and the chance to discover what works for you and what doesn’t.

So there we have it, just a few ideas for some useful material if you wish to improve your writing skills, learn more about the industry or merely listen to some interesting discussions about books. Enjoy!