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Write to the tap of your own pen

Scrolling through Twitter yesterday I saw a lot of tweets talking about writing every day in response to another article about the subject. I’ve read so many articles about how you have to write every day. They often say things like “if you want to be a REAL writer, you must write everyday” and make you full of self doubt if you don’t write the same way they do.

I really hope most of the articles deliberately exaggerate for the sake of a good headline / quote / tweet or to get us all taking because the idea that if you don’t conform to certain rules you can’t possibly dare call yourself a writer is just funny to me. There is no right way to write. There is no right way to be a writer. Otherwise we’d all be bestselling literary superstars living in mansions and sipping champagne. 

Being a writer isn’t easy. You can write as a hobby or as your job or both and some days you will likely struggle but you’ll also have better days and be filled with passion and joy. Most of us write because we love it. We might not have the time or space to write every day. We might not want to do this. Most people have days off from work. Most people see this as a good thing. Even if you love what you do we all need time away from it. We need to recharge, relax and breathe and experience other things. These other things might even end up inspiring our writing. 

  

  
The problem with writing tips is they become rules and you end worrying that if you do something different to them then you will fail. I don’t think there are any rules to writing. Everyone approaches writing differently as they approach their job, their relationships, and their life. Most professions will have hundreds of people doing them and all of them doing it slightly differently. We all have quirks and flourishes and life would be pretty boring otherwise. 

I suppose because writing can be so be tough especially on the road to being published, we’d all love to discover a shortcut, a sneaky guide to how to get there faster or with less pain, and that’s why writers will always be asked for their tips on how to write. But that’s all they are. Tips. Advice. An idea you can try if you like. Something that works for that particular person. But it should never be seen as a rule. 

I don’t believe that anyone has discovered a perfect way to write or a perfect way to be a writer. Writing is a creative pastime and we all need to create the way that works best for us. Writing is messy and infuriating and fun and challenging and freeing and some days you might love it or hate it, you might sit at your laptop or want to run and hide from it. But you always come back to it. Because you have to write. 

Carry on doing it your way. 

You’re a writer. 

And so am I. 

How do you feel when you read writing tips? Do you think you have to write every day to be a writer? 

Victoria

xoxo 

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Books read in April 2017 

  
Another month over – how are we in May already?! I only read four books this month mainly because one of them was really long and recovering from my thyroid treatment I went on a Netflix binge and didn’t read as much as I thought I would. 

  
The Bone Season has sat on my shelf for so long I thought it was time I read it – another two books in the series are already out but it was long and slower paced than I thought it would be. I enjoyed it but maybe I’m too used to faster moving YA fantasies. 

  
The first book I read this month is the second novel by Girl on the Train bestseller Paula Hawkins. There are a lot of points of view at the start of this book which made it harder to get into it and I had to keep checking who people were but it’s an interesting thriller and keeps you guessing about whodunnit. 

  
Hot Mess was a proof sent by the publisher and it’s not released until July. This was a really fun book and being nearly thirty and single and will definitely appeal to fans of Bridget Jones and Sex and the City.

  
My favourite read this month though was The Power. It’s a literary international thriller about what happens when woman suddenly develop an electrical charge that can hurt or even kill, and suddenly women are in control. It’s a really interesting and compelling book with lots of action and ideas you’ll want to think hard about. It’s dark and disturbing and really hard to put down.

What have you guys enjoyed reading this month? 

Victoria

xoxo 

4

Happy Bookiversary To Me! 

  
My debut novel The Second Love Of My Life was first published here in the UK a year ago today! It was a dream come true to hold the book in my hands and see it on the book shelves. And it still is.

I still receive messages from readers who have enjoyed the book and that is always the most wonderful feeling. Getting published was a long journey for me, and for most writers, so knowing the book has found a place in someone’s heart just makes it all worthwhile.  


I just wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who got a copy and supported the book’s release (and who are still supporting it and me!). Being a writer can be lonely sometimes and it’s easy to doubt yourself so knowing that someone has enjoyed your book is a huge boost and you guys have put a smile on my face so many times since publication.

Lots of love and hugs,

Victoria 

xoxo 

2

Books read in March 2017

  
I can’t believe March is over already and Spring is here. I turned 34 this month and I can’t believe that either. Sometimes time is a scary thing. It definitely scares me when I look at my pile of books to be read and how little time I have to get through them all! 

But here are the ones I managed to get through this month: 

  
I really enjoyed all the books I picked up this month. I continued trying to read more non-fiction with Lauren Graham’s book as I love The Gilmore Girls and her novel was really enjoyable. This book was pretty short and easy to get through. It was light hearted and she definitely comes across as someone you’d love to hang out with. I’m hoping she’s working on another novel.

With the fiction, I read my first Liane Moriarty novel. I know I’m behind on getting on that train! And as a massive fan of her Sookie novels, I picked up the first in another series by Charlaine Harris. Both are authors I’d read more from again in the future. 

  
Behind Her Eyes has had a lot of hype online particularly because of its ending so I was intrigued to read it. It was a page turner for sure and kept me guessing right up to the end where the twist gives you a lot to talk about to others who’ve read it! I don’t give anything away don’t worry but let me know if you’ve read it and what you thought.

My favourite of the pile this month was this book:

  
I’ve followed Holly online for ages now and this has sat on my self for an embarrassingly long time. It’s a brilliant YA novel about friendship and feminism and at its heart a girl who’s struggling to get to grips with OCD. It’s very honest and I loved the three girls at the heart of it. There are two more books in the series which I’m looking forward to reading.

I probably don’t read as much YA now as I think I overdosed on it, particularly on the fantasy side, but I’m really happy I picked this one up finally!

What books have you enjoyed this month?

Victoria

xoxo 

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Flatlay Like A Boss 

  I’ve been asked quite a bit lately how I create flatlays for my Instagram so I thought it would be fun to share some tips. I always find flatlays generate a lot of attention on Instagram and I love looking at them myself. They are visually appealing and really stand out when you’re scrolling through photos online. 

If you want to join in the flatlay fun then here are my Five Helpful Hints ….

1. Tell a story

If you’re not sure where to start with a flatlay image, think about the story you want to tell. What do you want to show people through the photo. 

  
For example, in my flatlay above I used a concert ticket and the top I planned to wear to it as my story – showing everyone where I was off to that day. You could read the caption I wrote about it but the image speaks for itself and just glancing at it tells you a story. 

2. A backdrop dream   

   

You want the pieces in your flatlay to stand out as much a possible so you’ll need a plain background. In the photo above, I used my desk or you could use the carpet, your bed or a coloured piece of card like I did for the concert picture. 

3. Get propping 

For a great flatlay, you’ll need props. And it doesn’t have to be costly. I’ve found some great bargains but I’ve also used lots of things I already had. Beauty products work really well and stationery is always popular. It’s lots of fun experimenting with what works the best. This flatlay generated a ton of likes I think becauseeverything stands out and works together really well. And the symmetry is pleasing to the eye. I’m happy with it anyway!

  
4. The right light

I’ve found natural light is the best to work with but it isn’t easy to get rid of shadows. Editing your photo afterwards will be useful in most cases. I usually have to lighten and brighten an image and a sharpening tool helps makes a picture pop. Editing wise I use the Camera+ app and Snapseed as well as Instagram’s editing tools to make my photos look as good as possible and in keeping with each other.

  
5. Birds eye view 

And then finally, you need to frame your photo. I usually put things together then look through my phone camera to see if it’s working. Standing high gives a great flatlay so you might need to climb up on a chair to get the best shot. Things often look different once you get up high so adjusting the photo will be key. 

I have often had to take a ton of photos moving things around ever so slightly so it all fits into the frame. Your patience should be rewarded at the end though with a fab flatlay to post.

  
I love playing around with flatlays as you’ll see if you follow my Instagram (check it out here: https://www.instagram.com/vickyjwalters/) and I love looking at them so do let me know if this inspires you to post one!

Do you have any other flatlay tips? Let us know in the comments!

Victoria

xoxo 

2

The RoNA awards 2017

Last night, I made my way to London Town for the Romantic Novelists’ Association Awards as my novel The Second Love Of My Life was on the shortlist for the Contemporary Romance award. 

Here are all the books in my category: 

  

The professional photos with the other nominees:

  
  
Obligatory pre-event selfie:

  
The event was held in a lovely building in Whitehall full of original features and it all had a Beauty and the Beast feel to it.

  
If only I had a library like this. Swoon.

  
  
Sadly, my book  didn’t win (I was robbed, obvs 😃) but it was lovely to have been nominated and it’s always lots of fun meeting other authors and publishing peeps. Plus there was pink fizz to be had!

  
So happy it was finally warm enough to wear my new jacket! 

Here I am with lovely author Ali McNamara:

  
With my agent Hannah Ferguson: 

  
And, here are the three of us!

  
It’s always fun having a glamorous writer night out. But tonight it’s all back to normal and I’m slouching on the sofa in sweats watching Netflix with a tub of Ben and Jerry’s. 

You’ve got to keep it real folks. 

Victoria

xoxo 

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Books read in February 2017

First of all – happy World Book Day everyone! A perfect day to look back on the books I read in February I think.

  

It wasn’t a bumper book month for me. I was concentrating on editing my own book but I managed to read three novels and one non-fiction – a humorous self-help guide. 
  
My favourite of the books I read is this little gem. It’s not released until May but a proof arrived at work and I’m so happy it did!

  

I don’t want to talk too much about it as it’s one of those books that you should just read and fall in love with but essentially it’s about a woman called Eleanor who lives a lonely life in Scotland and how she comes to terms with her past and opens up her heart finally. It’s almost a coming of age novel although she’s grown up. 

It’s funny in places and so moving in others and I had tears in my eyes at the end. It’s really original especially Eleanor’s voice and I hope it finds lots of readers when it’s published.

What book did you love this month?

Victoria 

xoxo