Day 26 and Castro is dead

Or. how inspiration can come from Radio 4

the-return-gif-500It was day 26 of NaNoWriMo and for the second day in a row I woke up with no ideas in my head for #30days30shorts.


Usually my subconscious brain mulls over various options during the night and pops an idea straight into the front of my conscious mind when I wake. But today, like yesterday, nothing.

As I lay there, desperately trawling my brain for ideas – any idea – the radio alarm came on. It was the BBC’s Radio 4 Today programme. The lead headline was the death of Fidel Castro, the Cuban revolutionary and dictator.

And I started thinking about revolutionaries and what they do when the war is over. And then I started thinking about their families and how they cope with returning warriors. Within a couple of hours, the first draft of the story, The Return, was finished.

Yes, short story ideas can come from anywhere, and that includes Radio 4 and the Today programme.

Countryfile magazine: Coastal Wonders

Having your work published is always a thrill.

Really thrilled to have a short piece accepted and published in the August edition of BBC Countryfile Magazine, for a special feature on ‘Coastal Wonders’.

Ruth Livingstone, published article, Countryfile Magazine

I wrote about the magical island of Ynys Llanddwyn, Anglesey, a place that nobody outside Anglesey seems to have heard of. My visit was memorable for two reasons:

  1. The island has a fairytale, ethereal beauty.
  2. And because I ended up falling into a water-filled ditch.

You can read all about my trip on the blog.

Having your work published is always a thrill, but is doubly exciting when it’s in a prestigious publication such as Countryfile Magazine.

5-year writing goal: first draft nearly done!

Five Year Writing Goal

do you have goalsI’m taking part in Misha and Beth’s Five Year Project and my five-year goal is to write a novel and get it published.

First step: write the first draft.

This is my monthly recap on how I’m doing. Continue reading “5-year writing goal: first draft nearly done!”

Are you writing in The Zone? 7 key signs

Writing in The Zone is a great experience, we all agree. Here are the 7 signs you’ve arrived.

Can you tell when your creative juices are truly flowing?flowing water illustrating creative juices, for writes

Most of us experience moments when we seem to be functioning at a higher level – so bound up in our creative work we believe we are operating on a different plane from normal.  When this happens, we often say we are in The Zone.

The creative zone. It’s a wonderful feeling.

spacer - Ruth Livingstone - writer

Seven ways to tell if you are writing in The Zone

  1. You sit down and start. A few minutes later you discover four hours (or more) have passed.
  2. During this time you felt no urge to eat or drink or take a pee.
  3. What is happening to your characters feels more real than what is happening in the real world.
  4. People talk to you. You hear their words but you have no idea what they mean.
  5. If you try to speak – to answer the phone, for example – you are unable to form a coherent sentence.
  6. You find it amazingly easy to write and you can’t bear to stop.
  7. Afterwards you feel exhilarated but exhausted.

Writing in The Zone is a great experience, we all agree. When you’re there you never want to leave.

But The Zone is an elusive place. You won’t find it on any map. Sometimes it’s very difficult to get to. That is why writing can be such a frustrating and challenging and heart-breaking task.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could always just slip back whenever we wanted to?

Read the next blog post, where I try to work out where The Zone actually is.
Writers: using the left and right sides of your brain.

15K in May: final day of writing

15K in May writing challenge is completed! Yes. I have tapped out fifteen thousand words on my computer during the 31 days that make up the month of May.

Ruth Livingstone, drinking coffeeThe final day of the 15K in May writing challenge. I’ve done it! Just.

Yes. I have tapped out fifteen thousand words on my computer during the 31 days that make up the month of May. This does not include work related documents – only the creative writing projects that I have voluntarily embarked on. Continue reading “15K in May: final day of writing”