Tag Archives: encouragement

Introducing: WriteFoxy 2021!

Are you a writer? Have you been writing for a long time, or are you just starting out? Or is this the year you want to start your writing adventure? I am proud to announce a brand new initiative from WriteFoxy that’s for ALL writers, completely FREE.


I want to support writers this year with encouragement, inspiration and advice to get the best out of your writing and help you fall back in love with your words.

Writing anything right now is a challenge. We’re hard enough on ourselves at the best of times, but under the pressures we currently face, we have never needed positivity and encouragement like we need it today.

So this year, I’m offering a free service to all writers: FOXY NOTES!

How It Works

Three times a week, you will receive a little nugget of foxiness from me in your inbox:

69FD67DC-693A-4A66-947E-CCE96BD56F7DMonday – INSPIRATION: ideas, encouragement and a bit of a boost to start your writing week.

E9CDEAA6-EB48-4ADA-9DDD-354732A97310Wednesday – TIPS & TRICKS: practical advice for all aspects of writing, from overcoming blocks to building character, pace and plot into your story, editing tips and more.

BD304F17-80A0-4702-B41C-99E3C828D9ACFriday – DREAM DEN: inspiration to get you thinking of the bigger picture, be kind to your mind and give you a great big cheer to celebrate everything you’ve achieved during the week.

Each email will only be a few paragraphs, just a little woo-hoo to spur you on!

But here’s the best bit: if you’re stuck, if there’s a specific problem you’re wrangling or if you’d just like to say hello, you can reply to any of the Foxy Notes emails and it comes straight to me – I will get back to you as soon as I can. I can’t read manuscripts or do long consultations (I offer paid services to cover these) but if you need a bit of advice or a friendly reply, I’m happy to do that for you.


When I started writing my first novel, Fairytale of New York, I couldn’t afford to go on any writing courses or sign up for writing weekends and conferences. I knew no other writers and keeping going with nobody to advise me or encourage me was really tough. I want WriteFoxy 2021 to be available to anyone, anywhere, regardless of how long you’ve been writing and what you can and can’t afford. I believe there are awesome stories that will come out of this strange time in our lives and I want to support writers to find them. If you fancy buying me a coffee at ko-fi, there’ll be a link included in all the Foxy Notes, but this is not expected at all. WriteFoxy 2021 Foxy Notes are and always will be free. 

I’m launching WriteFoxy 2021 Foxy Notes on Monday 25th January – whenever you join, you’ll get the latest one and go from there. You can unsubscribe any time using the link at the bottom of each email and this sign-up is ONLY for FoxyNotes – I will never send you anything else or pass your details on to anybody else. 

So, are you ready to get some foxiness in your 2021? Sign up below!

SIGN UP FOR WriteFoxy 2021 Foxy Notes HERE! 

WriteFoxy: A New Spin on Book Terms

I’ve had enough of beating myself up as a writer.

I don’t know about you, but the constant lurching between confidence and doubt is exhausting. I think I’ve conquered it and then, right in the middle of writing a new book – when I’m mired in first draft sludge around about 59k words, or going through a line edit where I’m losing sight of the story, it hits me:

Kaablaamo! Dastardly Doubt muscles in and ruins everything.

It’s worse when you hear people dismissing books with well-worn terms: ‘an easy read‘, ‘a holiday book‘, someone read it ‘in one sitting‘, a ‘guilty pleasure‘.

Shudders. Screaming at reviews. Dreading book discussions on social media. Feeling dismissed, undervalued and possibly in the wrong profession. It’s not pretty. Or even remotely fun.

But I’ve been thinking. What if there were a way to flip these terms to see a more positive version?

Let’s take them one at a time. (Brace yourself…)


Ugh. The ultimate dismissive term for the book you have invested a year of your life (or longer) lovingly crafting.

Or is it?

I used to work as a copywriter and there was a phrase we used in the design department: when you’ve done your job properly, nobody notices. I think that’s true of writing books, too. An ‘easy read’ seems like a criticism, but look at it this way: an easy read means the story flowed, the pace was good, dialogue felt natural and the reader easily entered into the world the book created.

When something is written well, you don’t notice the workings of it. You just enter in. And trust me, if the book was badly written, it wouldn’t be easy to read. It would be clunky, annoying, a book to be flung across the room rather than raced through.

To write something that flows and compels readers to keep turning the page is a hugely difficult thing to get right. The best comedy is effortless to watch but hides hours of work to perfect the timing, the rhythm, the punch line. It’s hard to write well. It takes skill and perseverance. But when you’ve done it right, nobody notices the effort. They just see the story.

If readers call your book an easy read, it means your pace, flow, characters, world-building and structure worked. That’s a world away from a dismissive term, don’t you think?

Holiday beach imageA HOLIDAY BOOK

A ‘beach read’. A ‘poolside book’.


It conjures up images of cheap, trashy pulp fiction bought at the airport and hastily stashed in hand luggage. Something you wouldn’t dream of reading in your everyday life but, like Sambuca shots and stuffed donkeys, is somehow permissible on your week away in the sun.

Hang on, though.

Holidays are precious. We save hard for them and count down the days to them each year. Our one week away from work, from the concerns of our normal life, is hard-won and much longed for. So the books we choose to take with us have to be good. People agonise over which books to take: the right book can be a memorable part of your time away; the wrong book feels so much more of a let-down.

So, if someone has chosen to take your book on holiday – and invested time in their already precious time away to spend with your characters and your story – isn’t that the greatest compliment? They chose your book. And it was perfect for that moment. Whenever they see your book on their shelf at home, they’ll remember the beach they read it on, the pool your words kept them company by, and exactly where they were when they read your story.

That’s pretty amazing, isn’t it?


You spend countless hours – years, even – perfecting your book. The unseen months of heartache, doubt and sheer hard graft are hidden within the pages of your novel. And then, eight hours after it’s published, someone tweets you to say they read it in an afternoon.


I understand the shudder of loathing that follows a review where the reader says they read your book in one sitting. It feels dismissive. It cheapens your effort. And it makes you wonder if they noticed all the brilliant, hard-fought paragraphs you sweated buckets over.

Or how about this..?

Imagine they became so caught up in the story you created that nothing else mattered. The piles of crockery remained dirty in the sink. The television was dark and silent. They never made it further than their car in the car park outside the book shop because they couldn’t bear to leave your beautiful book world for even a minute. They held their breath. Pages turned at speed as they rooted for your characters, rode the emotional roller-coaster of your story and raced towards the end because they had to know what happens…

You’ve read books like that. I have, too. And just because you were gripped by the story and dashed through it, I’ll bet you’re still thinking about it now. Imagine if someone said that about your book…


Go ahead. Race through my book in one sitting, please!


Okay, I’ll give you this one. It’s a horrible term. Feel free to kick it to the kerb, strap a jet-pack to its sorry back and blast it away from earth into the endless beyond. Nobody should ever feel guilty about reading. Ever.

…Although, if someone does say that about your book, there are two positives to take away from it. Firstly, it says more about their fear of literary snobs than the merit of your book. Secondly, they secretly loved it.

I would far rather someone termed my book a ‘pleasure’ than a chore. And if they are worried so much about what a snobbish lit-splainer might say, they wouldn’t feel guilty about finding a book hard to read. (Because literary snobs believe ‘difficult’ books are the only ones that matter.) The fact is, they loved your book. And they will probably buy your next one to snuggle up in secret with, too…

Being a writer is tough. We pour our hearts into what we do, but that means we wear our hearts on our sleeve, so it’s easy to get hurt. I hope these flipped book terms help you see them differently next time they are used to describe your books.

Keep doing what you do, lovely author. Keep caring. Because it matters.

Reality check…

Do you mind if I get a bit emotional for a minute?

This is just a short post but something happened to me today that I wanted to write down. To remind me that it happens.

As you know, I’m in the final stages of editing Book 8. It’s been hard. Really hard. After writing and editing eight novels you would think I’d expect this but somehow every year I forget once my book is handed in. This year has been brutal. I’m not going to apologise for saying it. Writing a book is hard work, editing it into some kind of coherent story is a long (but necessary) slog. And the final stages of an edit are the absolute worst bit. If you’ve ever written a book, you’ll understand.

Editing Book 8

My edit face – nope, it ain’t pretty…

But then today, right in the middle of it all, someone I’ve never met tweeted me to say they’d chosen my books to read during their week off.

I know how precious holiday reading time is. And how important it is to choose the right book to spend time with. So, hearing that a complete stranger has picked my book completely blows my mind.

As a published writer it’s too easy to get caught up in the tough bits – the hours nobody else sees you investing, the doubts, the heart-searching slog to find the best story – and forget why you wanted to write in the first place. Every now and again glimpses like this appear and they are wonderful.

There’s no great lesson from this, apart from the encouragement that as a writer what you do makes a difference to other people. I’m leaving this post here as a message to anyone slogging out a story – and as a message to a future, sleep-deprived, fed up, final-stage-edit me. Hang in for the good stuff. It happens.