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Writing Tips – notebooks, finding your voice and meeting authors.



I’ve been thinking lots about writing again after hosting a round table about writing at Blog On conference last weekend.  So I thought today I would share some video inspiration from two bloggers who turned their blogs into books, share some of my favourite tips on that old chestnut, ‘finding your voice’ and talk notebooks.

Have a notebook

I came away from Blog On with some fab notebooks in my goody bag. The tiny silver cased one in the pic above, from the wonderful conference venue, the Museum of Science and Industry, is perfect for my handbag. I wish I had taken the whole family with me, the museum looked so hands on and fun.

The mock iPad ‘Notpad’ is going to live on my desk.  The other place I love a notebook is by my bed, so I can empty thoughts, to dos and ideas before I sleep and as I wake. I also keep notes on my phone. The more you keep a notebook the more you train your brain to have the kind of ideas you need for writing, whether it is novels, speeches or blog posts, and the less chance of losing the most amazing ideas too. Helen from Actually Mummy keeps a list of blog posts to write on a whiteboard above her desk.

Becky from A Beautiful Space  gave me a beautiful Paperchase notebook. She told me I have to get on with writing my proposal for Little Legacy  – The Art of Memory Keeping in it. I love the way it is patchwork, perfect for writing about legacies! How wonderful to have someone like Becky encouraging you.

At Blog On I talked about spider diagrams a lot, this is the one I mentioned, which took me away from the current state of the garden and into some much more exciting ideas, laden with sensory details. I know when I start writing about things I can smell, see, hear, feel or taste and not just ideas, that I am onto a good idea.


I love brainstorms because they take you into your subconscious and away from the most obvious ideas.  Jane at Northern Mum rightly recommended a glass of wine and time away for writer’s block, so I was pleased to find the bottle of Jacob’s Creek in my conference goody bag. Wine and notebooks are two great ways to free your subconscious mind.

More on tapping into the subconscious next time though! Do you have a notebook?

Blog to Book

There is no one better than a published author to tell you how it can be done! So meet Rachael Lucas whose book Sealed with a Kiss is out in the shops on Thursday – can’t wait to buy my copy. Hear from Nadine Hill who has written two books, one about being a virtual PA, the other ‘I Don’t have Time to Write‘. Their top tips really made me think.



Finding your voice





Advice about writing is always contrary, more so with writing blogs.  Our online ‘voices’ are constantly evolving, and we all lose focus occasionally. When I get lost, which I do lots, I have a few simple approaches to finding my voice that I come back to time and time again.

1: Be yourself.  When you attempt to be something you’re not, it often come across as just that. I often stumble on others people’s blogs and get so lost in how amazing they are, so My top tip would be, learn from others, but be true to yourself too, there is room for so many voices online….

…You can read the other nine top tips over at Mothers and Shakers (ignore the strike through, this link still works)

What are your top writing tips?



  1. 08/05/2014 / 6:06 am

    I love how u talked about spider diagrams, I think they help so much! If I’m doin a big post I have tendency to ramble, goin from one subject to another, then back to the original, so a spider diagram helps me put it all into an (almost) readable order! Thank u for ur tips on Sunday x

  2. 08/05/2014 / 11:20 am

    Brilliantly crafted post Penny – and top tip! Lovely to see Nadine and Rachel’s advice too x

  3. 08/05/2014 / 7:35 pm

    Seeeee my question about notebooks wasn’t that odd!

    Great post and lovely to hear you speak about this on Sunday.

  4. 08/05/2014 / 8:15 pm

    My problem is that I have too many notebooks! I leave them lying around everywhere and then I can’t remember which bright idea I wrote in which notebook! Your round table discussion sounds fantastic I really wish I could have made it to Blog On. The best tip I rely on for writing is to write – I spent months staring at a blank page and screen with so much in my head. I just needed to start writing and then ideas started to flow. If you want to be a writer you need to write: it sounds so obvious but it was this piece of advice that kicked me into action.

  5. 08/05/2014 / 8:57 pm

    I love that bloggers are turning to published writers, it lifts my heart. It sounds like Blog On MOSI was fabulous, Mich x

  6. 08/05/2014 / 9:00 pm

    I’ve just ordered the planner too with more places to write notes in. Loving your video introduces especially. Thank you for all the tips.

  7. 08/05/2014 / 9:03 pm

    Really good tips Penny!

  8. 08/05/2014 / 9:05 pm

    I LOVE notebooks and my whole life seems to revolve around one. Thoughts, things i want to remember, to do lists, shopping lists, contact details etc etc. It’s all in my notebooks. Mr C thinks I’ve got a stationery addiction. He just doesn’t understand!

  9. 08/05/2014 / 11:03 pm

    Ooh, great post Penny, loads of different tips. I’m so pleased I’m not the only one who uses spider diagrams, even to plan blog posts. Having the right notebook is so important too, isn’t it? So happy that Becky is supporting and encouraging you with the Little Legacy plans. She’s a top lady to have on your side! xx

  10. 08/05/2014 / 11:41 pm

    I’m a bit obsessed with creativity strategies. I used to host seminars for young journalists focusing on them and you wouldn’t believe how many great ideas came out of everyone once they got started.

    I also agree with Heather and Nadine. Never edit while your writing. It wastes so much time and energy that you can use to really get something down on paper. I also find it’s a good idea to put something to the side for a day or two and then get back to it, if you aren’t on a deadline and input from friends and family can be a really great help too x

  11. 09/05/2014 / 5:43 am

    Thanks for such a great write up Penny! It was great seeing you at Blog On!

  12. 09/05/2014 / 6:42 am

    Fab post, must get myself a notebook, I often dash a few cryptic things down on my phone, and then look at it a couple of weeks later and wonder what on earth I was talking about! Love janes tip for writers block too! I am forever thinking I have nothing let to write about, but stepping away from the blog and into real life soon inspires me (and wine always helps….)

  13. 09/05/2014 / 7:39 am

    This is what I need – organisation and ways of keeping track of ideas. Fab post Penny!

  14. 09/05/2014 / 10:31 am

    Oh great post Penny! I need to get a small notebook with me everywhere now!

  15. 12/05/2014 / 8:48 am

    Brilliant post Penny, you are giving me lots to think about and lots of inspiration at the moment

  16. 12/05/2014 / 11:09 pm

    Very good post Penny and I love the video too

I'd love to know your thoughts!