Monday, 31 March 2014

Writing In Pain: How Chronic Pain Affects My Work - The Creative Process

Writing In Pain: How Chronic Pain Affects My Work

It doesn't take a genius to work out that when you're in pain, it's going to have a knock on effect on everything you try to do. Usually when someone is in pain, it's a short term thing. They've broken a limb, or had an operation, or something else. The answer is to work when you can and wait until you're better to really push yourself back into the job. My problem is that I am always in pain and I will not simply "get better". So, I can't just wait around for never to arrive before I go back to writing. I have to find a way to work with my pain and my career, and it hasn't been easy.

As those of you who follow my blog and Facebook page will know, I am a chronic illness sufferer. Among other conditions, I also have M.E and Fibromyalgia. Both of these cause a myriad of symptoms, two of which are the focus of this piece. One in a big way - the chronic pain, and the other as more of a mention - the fatigue. I was diagnosed with both in 2001 and it is because of these conditions that I had the light bulb moment that told me I could actually be a writer. I had been retired from my working life on medical grounds and had been told that I would probably never work a traditional job again. After finally stabilising in regards to my health, I started my career as a writer. I haven't looked back since.

So, how does having two chronic pain conditions affect my work? Add to that the fatigue that comes from both M.E and Fibro and you have to wonder how that affects what I am able to do and when I'm able to do it. I have already written about how I juggle being chronically ill and being a writer (you can find it here), but when we take just one symptom that seems to have a lot of power over me, what do we see? Pain is hard to work through and even for someone like me, who has a high tolerance for pain, and is, in a way, used to feeling it daily, then you have to realise that with that comes the ability to work through the majority of it.

However, that's not to suggest that I am superwoman, I still have bad days when I can't even put myself into my wheelchair and I just stay still for fear of movement jarring a new pain. I still have days when I have the best ideas ever, but getting out of bed is impossible. So, on those days I am limited in what I can do. That doesn't mean I don't work, just that there are times when no matter how much the brain is willing, the body is far from able. However, I do have my tablet and a great writing app. I also have a number of adaptations round the house that allow for me to write in bed, or at my desk easily in my chair and I can even write whilst lying down flat to keep the pain happy.

That's what it's about really though, isn't it? I talk of gremlins called Neil and muses that zoom around the desk, but what we're talking about now is a monster. The Fibro monster who causes so much pain and cries with glee whenever I try to move because it means that it can always cause me more pain. It's about learning to factor in that monster's presence so that I can have some semblance of a life, a job, a career. The long and short of it is simple. Some days I win and a chapter or two is written and life is all okay. Other days, the monster wins and it sits with a smirk on its face as the pain chases away my ideas and ability to think straight. Some days it's a mix of both and on those days I am never sure if what I have done is an accomplishment or if I was foolish to have tried, because that monster wants to win and will always come back for more. It loves to get payback.

I learnt early on in both my writing career and my battle with M.E and Fibro that I had to pace myself. People diagnosed with some kind of chronic illness will be nodding their heads, we have to learn that even though we will have bad days and accomplish little or nothing at all, we will also have good days and the trick is to not fill your good days with so much stuff that you end up with a run of bad days as payback. The Fibro monster just loves to get payback in whatever form it can. Take today for example, it's past midnight and I have been fighting with the Fibro monster for the past week. Two nights I have seen the wee hours, and tonight may not be any different. It's a long battle and although I may occasionally declare victory, it is not long before the monster starts fighting anew.

When I have an idea for a piece, I try to write as much as I can. There are always the annoying times when I'm desperate to write, but am stuck in bed because that monster has shown its face and is taunting me with cramps and other various methods of pain. That's when having a tablet comes in, along with the other adaptations in my house that allow me to write from bed if need be. I know I say this a lot, but it's a point I need to hammer home more with this topic. It is a delicate balancing act of doing enough to satisfy my muse and desire to write, whilst not doing too much that would upset the monster within me. Some days I win and balance perfectly, other days I fall flat on my face and have to declare defeat, retreating to my bed to rest, because the pain monster brings its friend - fatigue.

Both of these work against me. If it's not the monster causing me to spend time I could be writing in agony, then it's the fatigue causing me to need to sleep, rest, or just do nothing too taxing for a little while. Sometimes they even tag team me and before I know it I've lost two days to a combination of sleep, pain meds and too much brain fog to construct any kind of sentence. It's frustrating and there are many choice phrases I would use to describe those days, but I won't. The point of this piece is to tell you that being a writer who is also a chronic pain sufferer has its impact on my work. Even when I don't want it to.

I identify as disabled, and call myself a disabled writer. Some people in the chronic illness community and the writing community see this as a flaw because they say that I should not define myself by my conditions, that I shouldn't "let" them define me. They have a point. I am not Fibromyalgia, just like I am not my lung condition. I am me, and I am many things other than disabled and a writer. However, by acknowledging that whilst being a writer, I am also disabled and a chronic pain patient, I'm saying it's not a weakness. I'm saying that it's who I am and I'll be damned if someone is going to make me feel bad about that. I'm not for one moment suggesting that others should identify the same way. Your self-image and self-identity are very personal things and no one should tell you how view yourself. I'm just saying that for me my self-identity is that I am a disabled writer who lives and works with the conditions that I have and I'm in no way ashamed of that. Your mileage may, of course, vary.

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Monday, 24 March 2014

Reading: Does It Help You As A Writer?

(Both found here)

Reading: Does It Help You As A Writer?

When I was a kid, I was tested, as were the majority of children back then (and still are now), to see where my reading level was. I wasn't told of the results until I was older because my parents didn't want me to get picked on or for me to think I was better than the people in my class. My reading age at seven was that of a nine year old, as was my writing age. Since then, it kept on getting better. By the time I was fourteen, I was going with my best friend to the local library every Friday, where we'd check out sixteen books to read during the week. I'd devour them all, young adult, adult, crime, mystery, drama, whatever they were I would read them and adore everything I could find.

My life has changed a lot since then. I don't go to the library as much, but books are still a BIG part of my every day life and I don't see that ever stopping. I own a Kindle and can usually be found in the evenings, curled up in bed,
reading a good book while I wait for my pain meds to kick in. Or a bad book. To be honest, I'll probably read anything once just to see what I think. As a writer, reading is important and sometimes you can get just as much information on what you want to write from a bad book as you can from a good one. It's all subjective anyway, but you see what I'm saying.

I'm sure you've probably guessed by now that I like crime and mystery books, but I like romance too, as well as other genres. I'll read adult books or young adult books. I'm not too fussed, so long as the content is enjoyable, then I don't care who has written it and what the reviews are. I just have to read. I have to have a book to sit down with - on Kindle or in paperback - to spend time away from the worlds I've created and immerse myself in someone else's worlds and creations. I personally don't think there is anything much better than a book, a cat to curl up with and a nice cup of tea and if I wasn't also driven to write, then I'd probably spend my days doing just that.

But I do have an urge to write. So, how does being an avid reader help me as a writer? After all, isn't the point of fiction writing to spend time creating your own characters, your own plot lines, and your own worlds? Why do you want to spend valuable writing time hanging around with someone else's work? The answer is simple. To learn. To be inspired. To enjoy and grow as both a reader AND a writer. I'm not for one moment suggesting taking someone else's plot, characters and work and passing it off as your own, or even dabbling in their sandbox without permission, because that's not what original writing is about.

Putting it simply, when you want to draw a fruit bowl or take a certain picture, you'll look at the way other people have drawn them, you'll look at the way they've used lighting and the materials they've used to bring out the best image. You won't just take what they've drawn and write your name at the bottom, but you will, in a way, imitate as you learn to find your own footing in that work. The same can be said about reading and writing. You're not reading and then typing out the work letter by letter, you're reading to give you some idea how you can create a scene in that manner, and the way you can bring about tension without anyone speaking. You're using what you read to help you to find a way to tell your own story in your own way.

For that reason, being an avid reader will only go on to help you write. It will inspire you when you read a scene and think, "I like it, but what if this happened instead, what would that character's reaction be?" or "No, I'd do it like this because this character would be thinking a different thought" or "You can tell from the way they look at each other, the very words the author has used to show how they feel without either of them having to say anything." It will help you grow as a writer, as you find your own footing and move onto your own work. Reading is a great tool and something that all writers should use to help them create in their own way. Who knows, maybe one day it'll be your work that an aspiring writer reads that sparks their own ideas and starts them on the journey to being a writer.

Follow Joey on Facebook or here on her blog to be kept up to date with the latest news regarding Joey and her books.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

GUEST BLOGGER: Linda Bolton - My Writing Journey


Meet Linda, a contemporary romance writer. She's joining Joey today to talk about her writing journey. Read ahead to see what she has to say!

Joey, Thank you so much for having me on your blog.

So, you wanted to know how I got started writing. I’m sure I’m about like everyone else - I have been writing in some way for as far back as I can remember. In high school I was on the school literary magazine and wrote poetry with teen angst - typical high schooler. In college, I wrote research papers which caused me to swear off writing until I was in my thirties. Nothing could dissuade a person more from writing than having to write about topics that are dull.

In my mid-thirties, I adopted an eleven year old girl from CPS when I lived in Georgia.  I started journalling my experiences with her and decided to write a book on adopting older children. There are so many children here in the US that end up aging-out of the system because families are afraid to adopt older kids. 

Life got me side-tracked and the book was put on hold. Twelve years ticked by and one evening I started writing Take 2, my first contemporary romance. I truly enjoyed writing. I suddenly noticed that everything around me gave me ideas for books - my friends, my day job, celebrities. The ideas are never-ending. I’ll eventually finish the adoption story, it is a priority, but until then... Incantation, my second novel,will be out in the late spring and Take 2 is available in ebook and paperback

Follow Linda on her Facebook, Blog, Twitter or on Goodreads.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

The Keyboard Is On Fire: Entering The "Zone" - The Creative Process

The Keyboard Is On Fire: Entering The "Zone"

I have a sign on my office door, a list of rules for people who have any kind of relationship with a writer. It has a list of ten rules and number five is: "Leave a writer alone when the writer is actually writing. You have no idea how difficult it is to enter the zone." It's true, we writers have a thing called the "zone" and once you go in there, God help anyone who pulls you out of it.

I mean, it's okay if it's an emergency like the house is on fire or someone fell down the stairs and broke their leg and needs medical attention. That's important stuff and it's fine to disturb the writer with them. But if we're talking about a phone call that isn't important or a certain nine year old who is desperate to know if she can have an extra five minutes on her computer? Nope, do not disturb me, I am in the zone and my keyboard is on fire. I will put whoever it is in my book and kill them off, or shout a lot, whichever works at the time.

Still, there are things that need attention, like certain nine year olds who have to be at Cubs at a certain time, or expect to be picked up from school (the entitlement of kids these days!) and for those reasons, it seems only fair that I should be disturbed because no one else drives and hey, these things have been planned already. It sucks when I'm at a point where I really don't want to stop because if I do, I'm afraid that my muse will bugger off and stop speaking to me. Usually though, I don't have a choice so I have to suck it up and break my concentration.

I don't know how to explain the zone to you, which is weird considering I usually have too much purple prose that my editor takes care of. However, it's this magical place where writer's get to go when they've beaten down the writer's block, locked the door, threatened fictional death to all who enter and have finally written something. It's full of characters and plot twists, new information and puzzle pieces that allow you to join one event to another without having to think about it for three days and worry yourself that you'll never make the connection. It's like a fantasy land for writer's, only instead of waterfalls and unicorns, it has words. Lots and lots of words running around free and you, as the writer, are able to catch them and make them stick to your page.

Basically, it's writer nirvana and once you get inside, you don't want to ever have to come out. Except, you do. This is real life and real life has responsibilities that mean you can't just sit and skip through the forest with the free range words, you have to do things like wash up, make food and ferry around children from place to place. Leaving the zone is awful, you feel like if you could just have one more minute, a second even, then you'd finally get to the point with your story when you'd never have to worry about writer's block again. You may even find the perfect ending!

Leaving the zone is like crashing back down to earth from a great height. It sucks and then you spend the next forty minutes next time you sit down to write trying to find the perfect sequence of events that lets you enter it again. You sit and groan as you struggle to find the right word and you try your hardest to just get the zone to open its doors so that you could have just a little, tiny peek inside. It's addictive too, it's like your own personal high as you rush around and pluck the words out of the zone and paste them onto the page and then when you leave, all you can think about is the next time you can enter the zone again.

So, when you're wondering why the writer in your life is happily typing away one minute and then snarling at you when you interrupt them the next, remember this post. The zone is highly sought after and so rarely achieved for some writers. For others it seems to be their permanent residence, and those are people I envy a lot. Personally, it takes a lot of tea to bribe entry into my office when I'm typing, especially when I haven't even acknowledged the request for tea in the first place. If that ever happens, you'll know I'm in the zone and John Barrowman could stride into my office naked and I probably wouldn't even look up.

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Sunday, 16 March 2014

Those Moments When You're Half-Asleep - The Creative Process

Those Moments When You're Half-Asleep

It's like when someone asks whether you're a glass half full or a glass half empty kinda person. I don't see it as less half awake, more half asleep, but that could just be the fact that I have two conditions that cause bone-crushing fatigue the majority of the time. Part of living with those conditions is being able to construct sentences and write even when you're half asleep and ready to just collapse into bed. I don't mean writing when you should be sleeping, but more writing when you can't sleep no matter how much you've tried.

Insomnia affects a huge number of people from all walks of life. Painsomnia was first coined by a chronic pain sufferer who found that along with their inability to fall asleep even though they were exhausted, the pain they were feeling would mean they couldn't sleep anyway. For the majority of my adult life I have switched between being a lark (as in someone who gets up early with no issues) and being an owl (someone who burns the midnight oil). Right now I am a little of both. I have no choice but to be awake at 7am because that's when I need to be up to do the school run. I do stay up later than usual some nights and other nights I have bouts of both insomnia and painsomnia. You've probably had the same problem that I've had. It's 3am and you want to sleep, but you can't so you decide to write. Only you're half asleep (or awake depending on how you view it) and you're worried that whatever you write won't make sense in the morning or you'll get so wrapped up in it that when you do think you could manage to sleep, you won't want to.

Both of those have happened to me. I will usually write in the wee hours when I can't sleep, and sometimes I'll come back to it later after I've had some sleep and wonder if I took too many pain pills because no matter how much I edit, it just does not work. I've also had something else happen, I've read what I've written and realised that although I'm going down a completely different path than the one I planned, it's fricking awesome and I shouldn't change a thing! I've also had times when I've finally gotten my pain under control and I think I'll be able to sleep, but my characters are so busy taking me down this road and showing me my story that I decide to forgo sleep until I've gotten to a part that I can easily stop at.

It's a difficult situation to be in and if you've ever been awake at 2am, with nothing to do but watch the clock tick down the minutes, you know what it's like to want to do something, anything to just fill that time. Sure, you can watch the TV shows that get repeated at that time of night, but there's always the issue, at least for me, of keeping the noise down so that you don't disturb the other inhabitants of the house and writing something fits the bill. You can plug in your headphones, turn it up loud and listen to music while you type away if that's you're kinda thing. (It's sometimes mine, here's a piece I did about that!) A problem for me is that alongside the issue of noise levels and such, I have the added difficulty of having to manage my pain to a point where I can write. I have numerous methods and medications to help me do that, but of course alongside the usual side effects, there's the added drawback of not always being your best and able to concentrate. I could say more about that, but it's a piece to explore another day.

Basically, writing when your half-asleep can be both a great way to pass the time if it's the middle of the night, and a way to end up going down a road with your story that you wouldn't have thought of if you weren't sleep deprived. I often find times when I'm trying to sleep that ideas will pop into my head, and whilst I sometimes end up falling asleep and forgetting them, some have gone on to be great plots, story-lines and character developments. A half-asleep brain can give you wonderful results. Though, of course, I'm not suggesting that you force yourself to stay awake all night so that you can see what I mean! Your mileage may, of course, vary, but for me sometimes it's a great way to get over that writer's block and start the words back up again.

Follow Joey on Facebook or here on her blog to be kept up to date with the latest news regarding Joey and her books.

Waiting On You COVER REVEAL!

(Click to Enlarge)


As always, a few days behind, but I am pleased to share with you the cover art for my newest release - WAITING ON YOU - which will be due out in the summer! While I'm doing a catch up, here are some new reviews and interviews that might interest you as well.

Joey guest blogs for Brenda Perlin and talks about what it's like writing the DYING THOUGHTS series. 

I also have an interview and some other guest blog posts coming up soon, so be sure to keep an eye out here, or on Facebook to catch them all!

Friday, 14 March 2014

Guest Blogger - Brenda Perlin on Social Media Marketing.


Brenda Perlin is an independent adult contemporary fiction author. Brenda evokes emotional responses in her readers by using a provocatively unique writing style. Her latest book, Shattered Reality, captures the soul-wrenching conflicts of a personal struggle for emotional fulfilment.


Welcome to the world of Social Media ;-)

Marketing a book feels like an endless journey. There is never enough hours in the day to fulfil everything you have wanted to accomplish. Now I know why it’s called “Social Media.” It’s pretty much as social as you can get without changing out of your bath robe. All the hours of reading about authors books, their cats, dogs, favorite foods and so on. I mean it is endless! How does anyone even have time to take a bath let alone write a manuscript? How can we have the next best-seller when we are all so busy whittling away the hours enjoying a little “conversation.”

Don’t get me wrong. I love the interaction, the sharing of stories and knowledge. There is a wealth of information out there in the World Wide Web. Well, at least sometimes there is. One thing I know for sure is I will never be lonely at home by myself again!!! Facebook has solved that fundamental problem.

Now to learn how to balance my time better. Rome wasn’t built in a day and I am constantly struggling to find this balance I speak of with such optimism. For me I have to make a conscious decision to make the changes that I need to become more successful. I need to give myself a calendar and break it all down. How much time do I spend marketing (playing) and how much time writing. It needs to be done and I know it is possible. Are you with me in following a time calendar? Can we stick to it? I do know if we set our minds to it, anything is possible. So why don’t we give it a try and see how it goes.  Break out the licorice and let’s start writing again. :-) 

Thanks Brenda for sharing this piece with us :D I have read both of Brenda's books and wanted to share my take on them with you all. 

Brooklyn Rosen had high moral principles and was raised properly. Married for over fifteen years, those standards went out the window along with her fidelity when she met Bo. After becoming a self-proclaimed home wrecker, Brooklyn left behind her marital home, along with the damage caused by her emotional wrecking ball. But the whispered remarks followed.

In Shattered Reality (Brooklyn and Bo Chronicles: Book One) we learn what shaped Brooklyn, the trials of an unhappy marriage and a deep abiding love that would not be denied. We meet a troubled, spiteful wife, who does not want to become an ex.

Will Brooklyn and Bo survive, or will all be lost to a bitter woman?

My review: 5/5 Highly Recommended!

Shattered Promises (aka Home Wrecker I) is the fictional autobiography of a woman named Brooklyn. She starts as any biography would by talking about her childhood and then what led her to marry the man she did. She discusses her marriage and all the faults that led her to make the decision to leave her husband after she meets Bo. It's a unique way of telling the story of two people who have fallen in love and go through thick and thin to be with each other. Facing emotional abuse, as well a various health issues, you follow Brooklyn as she battles to be with the man she loves despite all else. It is the first in a trilogy and I am looking forward to reading the next book. Brooklyn deals with not only health problems that are devastating but also a vengeful ex husband and Bo's soon to be ex wife who seems to be intent on making Brook pay for what she has done - "steal" her husband. This book is a unique look on the tale of adultery. Brenda Perlin is an excellent writer who is able to write so well that you think you are sitting next to Brooklyn as she tells you her life story. I, for one, am excited to see where this goes.

The main character, Brooklyn must learn many valuable lessons about herself, not without making many costly mistakes along the way. Now that she has found what she considered, her “soul-mate” in Bo, she would have to continue to defend herself against even her closest of friends, family members, and Bo’s soon-to-be ex-wife, Ruth.

This first person account chronicles the inexhaustible struggles she faces with the man that she loves. Brooklyn must learn a thing or two about patience as Bo’s divorce settlement seems to be never ending. Throughout her journey, Brooklyn shares some of Ruth’s intimate emails to Bo and gives you a good look into the mind of a woman scorned. 

My review: 5/5 Highly Recommended!

Burnt Promises (aka Home Wrecker II) is the continuing story of Brooklyn and Bo as they start to live their life together. Bo has asked his wife for a divorce and she seems to be dragging her heels as long as possible to stop Brooklyn and Bo from being able to live happily. It's told, as in the first book, from the perspective of Brooklyn and in little snippets as if you were on the couch with the character talking about her life. It pulls you in and makes you feel like you're her friend and you end up rooting for Brooklyn and Bo to find happiness and for the struggles they have faced, and will continue to face to end and to allow them to have some time together with Ruth (Bo's soon to be ex wife) from spewing her volatile anger at them both. Brenda Perlin has a way with words and a unique way of telling a story

Follow Brenda on Facebook, her blog, or on Twitter!

Saturday, 1 March 2014

My Internal Critic: How I Dealt With Neil - The Creative Process

(Neil the Gremlin drawn by Paris)

My Internal Critic: How I Dealt With Neil

So, in my last post (found here) I introduced you to Neil. Neil lives in my mind and is never nice to me. He's mean, spiteful, causes me stress and worry and tells me I'm not good enough at writing to have been published. He tries to convince me to give up what I do and just sit in a corner rocking back and forth because I'm a useless waste of space. Neil is a gremlin, he's also my internal critic and I'm sure that some of you have a similar gremlin residing in your mind, that little voice that tells you how crap your writing is, or how your art sucks, or how you suck. In the first piece, I told you how Neil had affected my career and now I'm going to tell you how I dealt with him so that he now lives in a cage in the dark recesses of my mind.

It's not easy, and I'll be the first to admit that there are times when he escapes, but once you have the tools to deal with the abuse and negativity he flings at you, it's easier to put him back in the cage and apply a new lock to the door. I use several methods and while I am sure there are many good articles that will tell you other ways to silence your internal critic, this is my take on it. (But here and here (YouTube Video) are some other good ones).


My first step in taking control of my gremlin was to give him a physical form. I saw him in my head as a green blob, with slimy skin and a pair of glasses that just added to his stern look. After I'd done that, I named him - Neil - and used that to develop a relationship with him. As other writers more experienced than I have said, you can't get rid of your critic forever, as tempting as it may be. Your gremlin is there to help you get through life and make decisions and although sometime they go into overdrive and need to be reigned in, they do still need to be able to talk with you.

When I'm working, whether writing a chapter, doing editing, or writing one of these pieces for my blog, and Neil pops his head up to start yelling at me to stop because I'm nothing special and am crap at all I do, I take a break. I step back from what I'm doing and I give Neil a chance to finish his tirade and once he's done, I move onto the next step.


When you're faced with criticism, whether it's your own or someone else's, you usually get the chance to discuss what they feel the problem is. So, if I'm writing a chapter and Neil tells me that the character hasn't been developed enough, or my joke is not funny, or that bit is totally unrealistic and why am I calling myself a writer anyway? That's when I have a frank discussion with him. There is nothing wrong with talking to your gremlin out loud. I know that for me I need a good talk through of problems before I can find a solution or move past the situation. It works the same when Neil starts to rile himself up and questions every word I choose to write. I ask him why he doesn't like that character? What is it about the words I am using that makes him think it doesn't reflect any skill? He may be pointing out something that I had missed, or it may just be a case of me reminding him that it's just a first draft and as someone famous once said, "the first draft of everything is shit!"

If I get to the point, as I did with WAITING ON YOU before it went to my editor, where I feel that maybe I should just press delete and release a different book, when Neil has convinced me that it is a worthless pile of words that will make no sense to anyone and will only show the world how awful I am as a writer, I turn to other people. Your internal critic is part of who you are. For some people, when they personalise their gremlin they see a person, their mother, a friend, a teacher that disapproved of their work, but for others, they realise it is just themselves, their own voice bringing up subconscious concerns about their work. For me, I have two people in my life whose criticism and judgement I know I can 100% trust in regards to my work. One is my editor, Kim (which is why she's my editor) and another is my best friend, B (who's also my cover artist). When I get to that point of despair, I call up Kim and talk it through with her. Or I ask B about a certain situation - she's read every word I've written and will always tell me if something needs to be changed or removed. Just as Kim will. They will be brutally honest with me, without tearing me to pieces. Sometimes you need an outside perspective to tell you if that voice is just nerves and concern, or if there really is an issue you're not seeing.

As with any job, you don't produce excellent, ground-breaking, best seller work the second you start. It takes time to become settled in your career and to know what does and doesn't work. When your inner critic is reminding you of how much of a failure you are, take a second to look back and recognise what you've achieved in your writing life (and outside it too). Remind yourself that you have talent, that the first draft is where everyone starts and that you, hopefully, have a good team of beta readers, editors, proof readers, friends and family, who have and will continue to support you by telling you what works and what doesn't. It's important to look back and think "I have five books published, I've been nominated for an award, I sold 10,000 copies so far." It will boost your own self confidence and will probably silence your gremlin for a little while.

Finally, remember that while it is important to question your work and to strive for the best you can do, sometimes your inner critic can bring up a good point. It is important to not allow them to dictate your every move in both your professional life as well as your personal one, as that can sometimes mean the end of your career. As a writer, you are creating from nothing and breathing life into the characters and plot with your words. It's not an easy job, and it takes a lot of hard work, so try to go easy on yourself and not let the remarks of your gremlin stop you from doing something you love. I know that Neil almost cost me my career and I'm glad that another writer was kind enough to share her technique for dealing with her Neil before I had let him overpower my mind and stunt my creativity. Good luck, and remember that whoever you are, you're awesome, don't let anyone tell you any different!

Follow Joey on Facebook or here on her blog to be kept up to date with the latest news regarding Joey and her books.