Are you a plotter or a pantser?

Mrs DanversWhen it comes to writing, I’m a pantser from way back. … 



Student flowersOn our last day together, my students gave me flowers. … 




I found this amazing picture book the other day. … 


Shakira the Friendly Dog

Yellow Dog

Australian Children’s Poetry website recently published my poem, Shakira the Friendly Dog. … 


Enjoy a good ghost story?

Writers in the MistIf you like ghost stories, … 


One Little Raindrop


Australian Children’s Poetry website recently published my poem One Little Raindrop  which I wrote one very wet weekend. Gazing out the window, I wondered where all the water overflowing the gutters and pooling at the bottom of the garden could possibly go.

Of course, I know about the water cycle, but wanted a fun way to introduce the idea to children. I enjoyed playing with the language to mimic the sounds of water.

Hope you enjoy it.


Girl and Duck

.girl and duck

I often talk about the wonderful author and writing teacher, Jen Storer, and her advice about ways to boost your creativity and inspire your writing practice. At Girl and Duck this incredibly generous author shares her expertise with those who love writing for children and long to get published.

The advice you’ll find at Girl and Duck is not that touted over and over again in the how-to books.  Jen’s blog posts offer insights from her first hand experience of the creative process. She knows how to achieve that thing we all crave: publication.

How to subscribe

Q and Q

A few months back, I subscribed to Girl and Duck email updates and (so I thought) to the weekly Q and Q (Q&A for ducks) videos, but while the email updates came through, the link to the videos didn’t.

Initially, I subscribed at the bottom of the Blog page. Afterwards, I found out that if you go to the About page a subscription window pops up. Subscribing here is how to get access to the videos.

I now have seven videos to watch all about my favourite topic with my new favourite presenter. Oh joy!

If you want to write for children, start your journey by subscribing to Girl and Duck.

What’s your current favourite writing resource?



Going to Town


The other day, I went to town.  I mean this in an actual as well as figurative sense.

Whenever I leave my beloved mountain village to go to the Big Smoke, I like to indulge myself just a little.

My favourite haunt is a famous book shop with a whole section devoted to books on writing. (It also has a great cafe with booths that feel as though you are in a private room.)

The last thing I need is another book on writing — I have about 50 already —but there’s no harm in drooling over them, surely.

The Write-Brain Workbook

Such as this one like a bumper colouring book only with writing prompts and exercises. Or

Ten minutes a day

which is an appealing idea but I’m not sure I am committed enough. Then there’s Fiona

which opens with the idea that to write is a verb. It requires action. This makes sense.

To collect is another verb. I collect books about writing.

To browse is another verb. You see where I’m going with this, don’t you?

Collecting books about writing doesn’t make me a writer. It just makes me a collector.

If I want to be a writer, I must write.

Sigh. It’s so simple really.

By the way, I didn’t buy any of the above but it’s good to have a wish list prepared, in case anyone asks.

What writing books are on your wish list?


Dad’s Night to Cook


I’m thrilled that Australian Children’s Poetry Website recently published my poem Dad’s Night to Cook .  This is one of my favourite websites and well worth a visit if you’d like to read poems by Dianne Bates, Bill Condon, Jenny Erlanger, Kate O’Neil and many more.

Perhaps you’d like to contribute.

Hope you have fun.


Five ways to re-inflate your writing habit

BalloonCamp Nanowrimo is over. And so, it seems, is my week-long writing ‘habit’.

I’m not saying I haven’t written anything since Camp Nanowrimo. I’ve written a poem for children. I’ve written in my journal.

But I haven’t stuck to the daily writing habit that allowed me to reach my Nanowrimo goals.

It’s like the diet you go on when you lose the desired weight and then reward your achievement by going straight back to your old way of eating. The weight goes back on even faster than it comes off.

You feel as though you’ve let yourself down. Anyone can make a change for a short time: it takes real discipline to change for the long term. You ask yourself, what’s wrong with me?

On the other hand, you can’t be rigid about the way you live. You can’t be always on task. You need time off to relax, veg out, recharge.

Except that every bit of time you have off makes it harder to get back to the habit you want to maintain. When you’re in deflated balloon mode, it takes more energy to blow it up and get it to fly again than if you kept it in the air in the first place.

Here are five ways to re-inflate your balloon:

Write a blog post.

Don’t know what to write about? Write about not knowing what to write about (that’s how this post started out). Brainstorm a list of topics for your blog. Read any good books lately? Read any bad books lately? Tell your readers why you did or didn’t like them. Been to any events lately? Enjoyed them? Didn’t enjoy them? Tell us why. Or take Allison Tait’s advice in a recent episode of So you want to be a writer? podcast and write about what you are thinking, what you are feeling, or something useful

What is troubling you at the moment?

Don’t use it as an excuse not to write. Write about it in detail. Include the five senses: what you see, hear, smell, taste and touch. Write about the emotions you feel, how you behave. This can be cathartic. It can also show you how to create believable characters who might be experiencing similar difficulties and emotions.

Write something small.

What about a haiku or a story in say fifty or a hundred words…

For sale: baby shoes, never worn

… or six words like this story attributed to Ernest Hemmingway. It might be that a novel is an unrealistic goal for you right now. A poem or short story can give you the sense of achievement you need, help you get some runs on the board.

Write something large.

You don’t need to wait for Camp Nanowrimo. Make this month or next month or halfway through the month your date to get stuck into your next project. What kind of book have you always wanted to write? What do you think the world needs to know about? What is the story only you can tell? Get a new note-book or open a new file on your computer. Start. Start with whatever comes into your head, let it rip and see where it takes you.

Write about what stops you from writing.

What are your personal writing excuses? Why are they effective? How can you turn them into reasons to write?


How do get your writing habit back in the air?