Brickbats and Bouquets…

Sometimes good things happen when you least expect them.

Let’s start with the bouquets

Recently I received two lovely compliments.


Firstly, Winfields Outdoors contacted me. They’ve listed my coastal walking blog (  as one of the best outdoor blogs of 2017. They even gave me a nifty little badge to display.

You can see the full listing on Winfields’ website.

 Secondly, a very nice man contacted me via Facebook and asked if I could write a few blog posts for, an independent information site about the coastal town of Newquay, in Cornwall.

In the end we agreed he could lift some relevant and pre-existing blog posts from my site.

Next, the brickbat

I received my first 2 star review on Amazon for my coastal walking book. The purchaser complained that the book was “about the obvious things for any one with even a bit of experience of walking”.

Walking the English Coast, a beginner's guid, author Ruth LivingstoneMy book is called Walking the English Coast: a Beginner’s Guide. I chose the title carefully, to make it as clear as possible that the book was intended for… guess who?… yes, for beginners.

I don’t know whether to be:

  1. distressed because somebody hasn’t enjoyed my book
  2. irritated that the purchaser clearly didn’t bother to read the title
  3. pleased that I have finally got something other than a 5 star review
  4. delighted to have another review to add to my meagre collection

I’ve decided on option 3, because a less-than-5-star review makes my reviews appear more honest  and genuine. (They all actually are honest and genuine, I must make that clear!)

Anyway, it was nice to receive two nice compliments after the bad review. Cheered me up. How do other writers cope with bad reviews?

January 2017 – writing update

There is more than one way to achieve a goal.

In August 2013, I signed up for Misha’s 5 year project. My goal was to finish writing a novel and to get it published.

The novel was finished a long time ago. The sticking-point has been finding an agent.

So, last month, I came up with a sub-goal, which was to submit to 30 agents before giving up. So far my tally is 27 and that means I only have 3 left to go. Continue reading “January 2017 – writing update”

How to write an effective blog post

In this post, I’m going to share the single most important method you can use to write an effective blog post. And, don’t worry, it’s easy to remember and quick to apply.

It involves a simple say-it-three-times structure. Continue reading “How to write an effective blog post”

FOUR things a Twitter beginner MUST do.

Get off to a great start on Twitter with my 4 simple tips.

(1) Get rid of the egg

Seriously.  Who wants to interact with an unborn chicken?

Keeping the Twitter egg as your profile photo will make you look like a complete beginner or, even worse, give the impression you are a scammer or a troll.

Replace the egg with a personal profile picture. It’s simple to do and will make a huge difference to the number of followers you collect.

What photo should you upload?  If you absolutely cannot bear the thought of having your face on Twitter, you could choose your pet, a favourite view, a flower, or something that represents you. I give some examples below: Continue reading “FOUR things a Twitter beginner MUST do.”

5 Year Writing Project: 2016 round-up

Round up of 2016’s writing achievements, and a quick look ahead.

In August 2013, I signed up for Misha and Beth’s 5 year project. The idea was to set yourself a writing goal and then stick with it for 5 years until you achieved your aim. In my case, my goal was to get a novel finished and published.

3 years and 4 months later and I have:

bullet-30 Achieved the first part of my goal. Yes, my novel is written. It’s called The Reluctant Scribe and is a historical novel set in the Tang Dynasty, 7th century China. I’ve had feedback from various people, including a professor of literature, and it has all been positive. Continue reading “5 Year Writing Project: 2016 round-up”