Susan Grossey

Just write, or something like it

A dear writer friend of mine, Janis Pegrum Smith, has just started a blog sharing her experiences as a indie writer – i.e. one who writes and then self-publishes her own work, just as I do.  The blog is called – aptly – All on Your Jack Jones, and in her first post Janis passes on some excellent advice that she was given by Bernard Cornwell (a chap who knows a thing or two about writing bestselling historical fiction): just write.

In recent weeks I have found myself somewhat blocked as a writer.  In fairness to myself, I have been very busy at the day job (three overseas trips in November alone) and also fighting various minor ailments (the joy that is root canal work, and now a delightful cold caught from one of the eighty-seven people sneezing in my train carriage last week).  In other words, there has not been a lot of quality, unwoolly head-space left for producing top-notch historical fiction.  But over this weekend I have forced myself to turn on the Mac in the back bedroom (regular readers may remember that I keep an old Macbook called Flora [after Flora MacDonald…] specifically for the Sam novels, so that I can keep him entirely separate from the day work on my Windows laptop) and – to paraphrase our chum Bernard – just do something that contributes to the writing.  It’s less snappy, I’ll grant you that, but I really think it might have cleared that blockage.

So what somethings have I done?  Well, I have tweeted about Diamond Tales, the sparkling initiative with which I am involved during December.  I have done a lot of research into London printing presses in 1828 and what they looked like and what they were producing.  (You’ll see why when “Plank 5” comes out.)  And I have allowed myself to add a few more pictures to my Plankish Pinterest board, and experiment with dividing it into book-themed sections (a new Pinterest feature).  I’m not a particularly visual thinker – it’s all about the words for me – but by exploring websites that I might not usually visit I have picked up a couple of very interesting details to drop casually into my plot.  And how I love a casual plot point…

And here’s the real surprise of it all: once I had paddled around in the printing press and Pinterest and plot point shallows, I thought, well, I’ll just write that quick description while it’s fresh in my mind.  And before I knew it, I had written – actually written – nearly a thousand words.  Thanks, Janis and Bernard!



  1. Janis Smith Avatar
    Janis Smith

    I am so glad Mr C and I were of some help, Susan 😉 Perhaps you would like to guest blog on ‘All on Your Jack Jones’ sometime, if you feel you have some advice for the aspiring indie authors out there — your contribution would be most welcome 🙂 Keep up the great work, the world is waiting for the next Sam novel just as I have to bring a new Book Ark novel into this world 🙂 xxx

    1. ihatemoneylaundering Avatar

      I’ll put my mind to the guest post, Janis – although I’m not sure I’m much of a success story to share! I can certainly advise people on how to self-publish, but how to sell – well, that’s another story! (So to speak…) xx

      1. Janis Smith Avatar
        Janis Smith

        Any snippets of wisdom would be greatly received, the reason I have started it is because I had a lot of feedback from a post on my main writing blog, there are many out there who want to give self-publishing a go and don’t know where to start, it would seem – so any info we can give seems to be greatly received. In my return to the fray, as it were, I have fairly much given up worrying about sales, my plan is to simply write, publish … and get on with the next book, sales can take care of themselves. This is never going to make my fortune, I have returned to writing for the love of the art, rather than any grand designs of best-sellers (or even mediocre ones). Like you, have grown a small band of loyal readers who enjoy what I do, and follow my work — and publishing doesn’t cost me anything but time, and I am making an income from my furniture recycling business now, so writing for me is more of a hobby, as I can’t seem to walk away from it — try as I might, my head won’t give in creating new novels and characters 🙂 Will email you properly when I get 5 mins xx

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s