Am I surviving the writer’s survival kit?

Elizabeth Bailey, authorToday, we’re delighted to welcome much-loved author Elizabeth Bailey as a guest on our blog.

She is what is usually called a hybrid author these days, though Elizabeth prefers to term herself an “authorpreneur”. [Not sure Dame Isadora would approve but, with luck, she won’t notice.]

Elizabeth produces all sorts of terrific books. Sapere Books publishes her Lady Fan Mystery series and her Brides by Chance Regency Adventures. Her self–published list includes Regencies, short stories, a couple of edgy paranormal tales, a romantic suspense novella and a two writing-related help books which come much recommended. Phew! Quite a catalogue.overworked author at desk with clock

Elizabeth admits she really doesn’t know how to fit it all in and says she is beginning to wonder if retirement and old age are actually a thing. But she managed to find time to write a blog for us.

Many thanks, Liz. And over to you.

What does Elizabeth Bailey want in her Survival Kit?

1  Persistence

frazzled cartoon cat needs survival kitAsk any writer for the most needed tool in their survival kit and they will say persistence. More years down the line than I care to think about, I agree. I’m still here, still writing. That says it all.

Okay, there have been solid gaps in actual putting words down. We’ve all had those, for whatever reason. Life has a tendency to throw itself at you and there’s nowt to do about that except suffer on through.

2  Courage … eventually

I think the worst gaps were caused by critics. Editors usually. An unthinking editor can hack the words from under your writing fingers and kill them stone dead.

snarling courage wolfThat’s when the second item in the survival kit kicks in…eventually.

It takes guts to rise up and smite the keyboard once again. If you’ve been around a while, you know there’s no cure for writer’s block except to place bum on chair and face that empty screen.

That’s courage, a tool all writers need.

Mine comes and goes.

3  Discipline

procrastination workshop sign, postponedI don’t count procrastination. That’s just me being lazy, not wanting to get on with it. Which brings me to the next item on the survival list – discipline. Oh, golly gosh and lordy! This is the hardest for me. Until I get into the rhythm of it, getting down to it every available day, hell on wheels about describes it.

Excuses, excuses.

I’m too tired.
I don’t know where the story is going.
Don’t feel like it.
Don’t want to, yah boo sucks

Really, I can get that childish. It’s no good telling myself I’ll enjoy it once I get into it. I still have to get into it, don’t I? Pick up the laptop, press On, find the empty screen, and spill words onto the page. Argghh!

4  The Inner Writer — Core of the Survival Kit?

question mark over inner writer for survival kitWould you believe I’ve been doing this for thirty some years? You’d think it would get easier.
It doesn’t. It gets harder, if anything.

I’m knocking at the Inner Writer’s door and what do I get?
Not today, thank you.

And that’s the basic can’t-do-without-it tool in the writer’s survival kit – the Inner Writer. A more temperamental, recalcitrant, uncooperative and downright rebellious creature it would be hard to imagine. Bolshoi characters are nothing to the vagaries of the Inner Writer.

And yet, and yet…
Professor Snape asks "Shouldn't you be writing now?"

Without her, where would I be? She’s the creative spirit that tumbles words onto the page. She’s the inspiration behind every piece of dialogue going on inside my head while I’m in the shower. And she’s the genius who chucks ideas out as if they were going out of fashion.


If she don’t want to, she curls up and don’t do nothing.

The missing tool in the Survival Kit?

How to wake up your inner writer?That’s the tool I’m missing.

The one that coaxes out the Inner Writer and persuades her to strut her stuff.

If anyone knows where you can get one of those, please tell me, because in all this time I’ve never been able to find one. I don’t even know what it’s called. If I did, I’d bottle it and sell it wholesale. Any takers?

woman gazes at blank wall with question mark

Joanna again:
Thanks so much for dropping by and sharing your survival kit with us, Liz. I’m definitely a taker for your missing tool. Like you, I don’t know what it’s called. And I’ve never set eyes on one. But I’d be tempted to barter useful bits of anatomy in exchange for it 😉
I think most writers would say the same.

More about Elizabeth Bailey

There’s more about Elizabeth Bailey’s books on her website and on social media where she ticks pretty much all the boxes — Goodreads, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn and Pinterest. Phew again!

The latest in Elizabeth Bailey’s Lady Fan Mystery series — number 6 — is out in March.
It’s available for pre-order now, at a bargain price.

Wherever Lady Fan goes, murder follows…

Holidaying in Tunbridge Wells, the Fanshawes witness a woman fall to her death from the top of the climb at High Rocks. The young woman proves to be at the centre of a scandal in the Brockhurst family, visiting their indomitable matriarch, the infamous Dowager Viscountess of Wem.

Was the fall a devastating mishap? Or could the woman have been pushed?

Lady Fan must unravel dark family secrets in her quest for the truth…


19 thoughts on “Am I surviving the writer’s survival kit?

  1. Liz Fielding

    Great stuff, Liz. This is definitely a life for self-starters and sometimes it is difficult to find the on switch. Maybe I can get Alexa, who wakes me up in the morning, to put in an alarm call for the inner writer whilst she at it.

  2. lesley2cats

    Liz – I agree with EVERY WORD!!! You can get derailed by so much which wouldn’t affect you if you were working in Tesco – well, it might make you miserable, but it wouldn’t stop you doing your job. Do you think all the Inner Writers are hiding together somewhere?

  3. Sarah Mallory

    Oh, isn’t it great to know one is not alone 🙂 Thanks Liz. I think it’s a great post for non-writers, too, it might help them understand why we get crotchety. BTW my Inner Writer is in hibernation, I think: today I was supposed to be catching up on my word count. Instead I have been planning the kitchen, pottering in the greenhouse & organising things for a road trip next weekend. So now I am going to bring the persistence, courage and discipline to bear and type something, however mundane, and let the Inner Writer polish it into a gem later (with luck).

    1. Elizabeth Bailey

      She’s probably off with the others downing the bubbly, Sarah. Good for you practising the discipline to get something down. You might even tempt her out of her lair just by getting those words down.

  4. Rosemary Gemmell

    Great post, Liz, and I particularly like the fact you call my procrastination what it is – laziness, or lack of discipline! I find writing shorter items (short stories, articles, poetry) good during the in between times when I can’t get on with the WIP.

    1. Elizabeth Bailey

      Great idea. I think about doing that, but somehow never get round to that either. I’m an expert procrastinator. I ought to offer lessons.

  5. Joanna

    Everything you say is spot on, Liz. Including the procrastination stuff. I’ve just finished one story and I’m trying to get bum in chair to do another, even though I haven’t a clue where it’s going. Have told myself to keep writing it, even if what I write gets scrubbed later. But the discipline of writing every day will be good for me. That’s what I tell myself, anyway, based on your excellent advice.

  6. Liz

    Last weekend someone said to me that if you do nothing else, write one sentence every day. One sentence will almost always lead to another, and possibly an entire paragraph!

Comments are closed.