Thursday, 16 December 2010


Since the first daughter to come home for Christmas is arriving today, I hereby declare end of term at Crabbit Towers. Hooray! And you need a break anyway. Or, frankly, if you don't, I do. So, for your holidays I would like to offer you some gifts. In the spirit of holidayness, reward yourself each day by coming back here to see what new inspiration or amusement I have for you. There will be no work, I promise, but all the fun will be relevant. Your brain will be zing-fresh by the end of it, as long as you don't overdo it on the mince pies. Most days, I'll have amusing (or painful) videos for you, but today I have something more simple, something refeshing and non-technical.

My first gift to you is:
Permission not to write. A break is important. If you want to write, do, but you now have no deadlines, OK? Chill. Permission not to write is really important. Whether it's one day off or two weeks off, just take it. You'll write better after it.
I've given myself permission not to write, though that's partly because - smugness alert -  yesterday, on schedule precisely, I reached my target word count AND plot point for stopping for a break. I confess that I've a load of other work still to do, redesigning a website etc, but I'm done with writing proper until January.
    EDITED on Jan 2nd - now that the holiday period is over, I've gone and collected all my Christmas gifts and pasted them all below:

    No 2 was How Not to Behave in a Bookshop

    No 3 was Lost in Translation - very funny! 

    No 4 was Harlan Ellison on why authors should always be paid. He goes a bit far but the sentiment is quite right, in my view.

    In No 5 I urges your to reward yourself and count your achievements, and I gave you this video.

    No 6 was Ray Bradbury being inspiring.

    No 7 is me being interviewed and winning.

    I've lost No 8!

    No 9, from Christmas Eve, was the terribly serious message from me and one from Jane Smith.

    On Christmas Day, I gave you a little Christmassy thing, so we'll omit that as being irrelevant now.

    No 11 was Captain Kirk over-reacting to a rejection letter.

    No 12 was Lewis Black on Writing a Book.

    Then we had the bizarre, over-long but thought-provoking video of a self-published author creating a funeral for her dream of becoming published.

    No 14 was a truly excellent and very meaningful (and hilarious) video about how not to approach writing.

    No 15 wasn't a video but a link to a hilarious and spot-on blog post by John Dickinson about living with an authors.

    No 16 was some pictures of snowy scenes in my garden and the link to an article I wrote ages ago about the power of open spaces for creativity.

    And then we had the New Year's Day post about resolutions, but I'll leave that up.

    Finally, with my apologies, I brought you this silly kick-start to the new Crabbit Towers Term...


    catdownunder said...

    Merry Christmas, Happy & safe New Year.
    Thankyou for the excellent cat hairs of advice. Defurrnitely one of our furravourite humans.
    Cat & Spike

    Kath said...

    Love the video! But am loving permission to have a break even more. I think it's important to down tool, too. Two more days of writing and then I get to take my break for the holidays. Congratulations on hitting your goals and have a very happy Christmas and every good wish for the New Year!

    Anonymous said...

    As Catdownunder would say, purrfect advice! Thankyou - from the otherwise silent Dave. Hope you have a wonderful time.

    Delia Lloyd said...

    Thanks for this Nicola. JUST what I needed today as I, too, am departing for the US and need to give myself permission not to write whilst I'm gone. Have a great holiday!

    Delia Lloyd

    Janet O'Kane said...

    What a fabulous video! Thanks for that and the excellent advice of the past year.
    Happy Christmas, Nicola and all the best for 2011 to you and yours.

    Sulci Collective said...

    I love Xmas cos everybody leaves my beloved London to us Londoners & it's QUIET!!!! I get shed loads of writing done, being under no compunction to be festive. My target is to finish the first draft of WIP.

    But in the spirit of the month rather than curmudgeonlyness, I wish you and all your devoted followers a happy festive season and would just like to thank you for your rewarding and ever helpful blog which I had the delight of discovering this year.


    Marc "Bah Humbug" Nash

    K M Kelly said...

    Merry Christmas to you as well. Here's wishing everyone a fabulous 2011!

    Have a home made virtual mince pie on me. :-)

    Dan Holloway said...

    Having wiped away the coffee I snorted all over the screen after reading Marc's comment, I would like to add my own festives. You're a treasure of the blogosphere

    Marisa Birns said...

    Many thanks for your lovely gift. :)

    And for the video!

    Happy holidays to you and yours, Nicola.

    Jesse Owen (Reading to Life) said...

    Merry Christmas :D

    I Love the video & congratulations on hitting your writing goals :)

    Carolb said...

    I don't feel so guilty about not writing now...
    Just love that video- thanks.
    Have a great Christmas.

    JO said...

    This was laugh-out-loud wonderful - thank you. You are giving yourself time off from writing - but still looking after us. Thank you.

    Catherine Hughes said...

    And with just one more day to go of school term, I am finally feeling Christmassy! Can't wait for next week when I will no longer have to get up at the crack of dawn to roust reluctant children and send them on their way before freezing half to death because there's no point in running the heating just for me! Hurrah!

    Sadly - or perhaps, excitingly - I can't take the break from writing as I am frantically rewriting my second novel as well as doing lots of recommended reading around the subject matter. I've developed a momentum that even Christmas ought not to interrupt, so I will be going strong all through the festive season. But that's OK, as it will prevent me from eating too many mince pies and from being tempted by the post-Christmas sales.

    Have a great festive season, Nicola and everyone. Merry Christmas.

    Unknown said...

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year Nicola and many thanks for all the invaluable advice you've dished out during the year.

    Have a great break.

    Helena xx

    J.T. Webster said...

    Have a wonderful Christmas Nicola and thank you for all your wonderful writerly advice this year.