On being at peace with the creative process

Mentioned on my bio for this site is the completion date for my current novel. The date is in the past. The novel is not complete.

There is a brutal truth for most writers in that it is necessary to earn money in order to live and the actual process of novel-writing is long, and unpaid. This creates something of a vicious circle as the unpaidness of it means it takes longer (because you have to do things in the mean time that will pay), so it goes on being unpaid, and so on. The large literary advances that make the headlines are unbelievably rare.

My book, On the Outside, is without doubt a labour of love. It was inspired by a true story and itself has become the chronicling of the creative process, describing the symbiosis of writer and subject. The act of writing – and of telling – is shaping the story in real time. That my own part, as writer, cannot be remote and objective is another uncomfortable truth. To fictionalise yourself, in a way that feels both authentic and appropriately distant not to be excruciating, is a bizarre and sometimes tortuous thing. I also discover that I do in fact have a distinctive voice and I’m still not sure its OK. A bit like hearing yourself on tape. It’ll have to be though, won’t it? It is what it is.

So, my self-imposed due-date has passed but so be it. The bones of the story are still in the present. They are yet to be defleshed and reborn in different bodies, that enable the freedom of fiction.

I think that’s OK too.

The Taylor View – a new business magazine

A new business magazine has launched recently called The Taylor View. It is a quarterly magazine with in-depth business content, premium fashion, culture and art, and has high end design, photography and finish. It is available in print and online.

And Liz and Hatty wrote THIS for it. Read away:


These are a few of my favourite things…dude.

You know when you bring together two of your favourite things? When you deliberately cause a convergence for the purposes of extra-strength happiness? Well, that.

I’ve brought Dawes to Laugharne. She has, after all, listened to my incessant bleating (about Laugharne, not just in general, but to be fair quite a lot of that as well) for a good 18 months and I have piqued her curiosity sufficiently to persuade her to join me for the weekend. Oh, the kicking and the screaming. The veritable twisting of her rubber arm.

So here we are – just about still, as we have to go home today – sitting at my table in the Reading Room at Browns, being productive. For me, that’s writing THIS, in case you hadn’t realised. She is taking endless selfies, trying to find a good one because she’s been promised a slot in Browns Famous Clientele. That really does exist. Check their Facebook page if you don’t believe me.

During the last three days Dawes has met a lot of new people and, due to how notoriously bad she is at remembering names, the men of Laugharne have been rechristened. This is not necessary for the women as she always remembers them, but the males of the species each require a descriptive moniker, complete with the universal suffix of ‘Dude’. Plus, it’s just TOO funny. Are you ready? Here goes. We have: Pug Dude (owns a part-pug called Brian), Pelican Dude (lives in a house called the Pelican), Builder Dude and Baker Dude (self-explanatory), Next-Door Dude, Landlord Dude, Camera Dude (see ‘Toxic Twins’), Her Dude (his wife was there), Pink Dude, Northern Dude, Nobody-knows-Tall-Dude and, in a stroke of pure genius, All the Young Dudes, who is SO Young that he hasn’t the faintest idea what that even means. At present, we are hoping that a suitably feminine specimen will pitch up. Are you there yet? Yes? Of course you are. Dude Looks Like a Lady. (If all else fails, there’s one of them in Llanidloes. He looks divine in a frilly blouse, feather boa and sparkly eye-shadow – the heaven-sent ringlet-haloed love child of Jim Morrison and Marc Bolan – but that’s a whole other story). The women have been the best though. Natalie (the Platonic Ideal of barmaids), Nia (hilarious), Annie (the Ninja Knitter) and Jean (kind enough to wash Dawes’s trousers after an unfortunate love-in with Natalie’s dog).

The thing about Laugharne is that it’s a place where it’s really unbelievably easy to hang out and do nothing. Since arriving three days ago, we’ve achieved this admirably. To be perfectly honest, the most effortful part of it all was spending Saturday getting over Friday. There was chips and cheese, and G&T and sitting by the sea all involved in that. Also coffee and snoozes. So, it comes now to a rainy bank holiday Monday, looking out of the window at the beautiful, bright green Pelican, trying to stay present and not think of later. You know, it’s not even that I don’t like what I have to be doing tomorrow. I do. It’s just that I won’t be here. Dawes – I loves ya, Dude. Thanks for being here too.

Readers… they liked it!

Greetings all,

Roving reporter Richmond coming to you from beautifully sunny Wales, where (amongst other things) I completed a 2700-word short story and gave a poetry reading (of my own stuff, a ‘terrible triptych of truth’) to much laughter and applause! I kid you not.

Anyway, we told you last time of a magazine commission which had come in and on which we duly executed a Richmond/Dawes double-act. Anyway, they liked it and I’m told it’ll be out imminently. What a relief, cos, well, you never know do you?

As for the burst of holiday-driven creativity, I reckon its something to do with the place I’m in. For those acquainted with Mr D Thomas and the small, strange town of Llareggub, you’ll know exactly what I mean and although it may not be the best photography in the world, here’s a quick look at what for me is the very best view.

Until the next time, my lovelies, I bid you a fond farewell.




Sorry for the silence, chaps.. or, when Living Life and Writing gets in the way of LiveLifeWrite…

What’s that about empty barrels making more noise? No, I’m not hungry…more like trying to find a suitably witty way of explaining what we’ve been a bit quiet.

Chickens, children, clients, commuting and real-life writing all prevail. Not necessarily in that order. This weekend we’re on point (or is it en pointe? Must look it up..) for a magazine piece in the launch edition of a brand new publication. This is all good.

If you know our stuff you’re probably up to date with Liz’s exploits – domestic or otherwise – on Fighting Fifty. If you’re not, do take a look as, quite frankly, it’s bloody good and mostly very funny. http://www.fightingfifty.co.uk/blog She’s also been working on corporate copy for a professional services client. My novel continues, slowly. ‘Nuff said!

Adieu for now, my friends. We’ll see you soon xxx

Did I mention…..

…. that you can buy the best selling anthology featuring a fabulous short story by Liz? Go to our shop for a speedy link. It’s a perfect stocking filler for Christmas, though I should probably add the health warning that it is really only readable by your more *ahem* raucous friends and relatives…..


Wonderful Wales, Lovely Laugharne..

Hi all – Hatty here. I’m writing from the bar of the brilliant Brown’s Hotel – http://www.browns-hotel.co.uk – former haunt of Laugharne local, Dylan Thomas. To be honest, I’ve spent most of my days here this week, absorbing the way things just ‘are’ here. Even though its high season for holidays, you’d never really know it. Everyone just mixes in and I can honestly say I’ve never felt so welcome as a stranger in town.

When I started my original blog, Everyday Alchemy, my intent was to capture the moments that can pass us by; to celebrate the minor miracles of everyday that often go unnoticed. If there was ever a place that captures that idea, its here. I’m not sure I can do it justice in words, but even though I’m still here, the memories of magic move me, and I am already regretting tomorrow’s departure.

If you look online for images of Laugharne, you’ll get the magnificent ruined castle, Dylan’s boathouse, the receding tide revealing the flats and salt marshes, the densely wooded headland above the unique town that’s the likely inspiration for Under Milk Wood. You’ll see all that and more and indeed I have such photographs of my own. For me, though, this is the picture that captures it. When I took it, Mr Gibson said “that’s it, Twitterbird. That’s the picture of our time here”.

We’d just been sitting on Dylan’s Walk, dangling our feet over the flats when the tide had come in so fast we were ankle deep in a matter of minutes. The clouds were forming and reforming overhead, creating an ever-changing landscape in front of our eyes. To be moved by simple beauty to quiet tears of happiness is a rare and wonderful thing.

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