Tag Archives: the book chick

The Magic of Christmas

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I’ll say this straight up. I don’t believe in God. And I think that religion has a lot to answer for, especially when it comes to the treatment of women.


Humans thrive on ritual and rituals are important to our community spirit and to help us deal with many of the ups and downs of life, like births, deaths and marriages.

So if I don’t believe in God isn’t it hypocritical to celebrate Christmas? I don’t go to church unless it’s for a wedding, funeral or christening/baptism. I shouldn’t be celebrating the birth of someone that I don’t believe in.


I do believe in a higher entity. I don’t have a name for it. Mother Earth, Spirit, Om, Supreme Spirit, Higher Self. Even Paganism fits. However you define it, the point is that I believe in the magic and wonder of those things that we cannot define. Christmas for me is about magic, family, community and the rituals that go with it. This is why I carried on the Santa charade with my kids long after they realised that he isn’t real.

If we don’t hold onto that magic that we have in childhood we lose our ability to be creative, hopeful and carefree. As creators, we need to be curious, delighted and excited by life because they are important ingredient to our creations.

I realise that for many, the Christmas period is hard. Not everyone has family to celebrate with or they are estranged from them. This is when we should open our arms and gather everyone to us and share all the magic and love we can muster.

Let’s get out some glitter and spread it around. We don’t need ‘stuff’ for Christmas, we just need to make sure that the next two weeks are full of all the good stuff: food, laughter and love. And maybe a good book or two.

Merry Christmas and a Joyous New Year to all. See you in 2016 xx

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The Value of Feedback

Life drawing by Kev Howlett

You can appraise this drawing instantly.

A writer lives so much in his or her head and, unlike other art forms, writing is harder to share and get feedback.

Because you are living in your head, engrossed in your story, you are effectively inside a bubble. You are living and breathing a story that may or may not be good but you don’t have the distance from it to be able to appraise it yourself.

Writers can exist in a place that is either filled with anxiety or bursting with their own genius.

The solution?

Get feedback.

Feedback isn’t about feeding your ego (although for some it may be). It’s about gauging how a variety of readers might react to your writing and to see if what you think is happening is something similar for the reader. This is very useful because what we have written and what is going on in our head may not be the same thing.

Here’s an example: I sought feedback for my current novel because I want to know if a switch in point of view works. I had mixed reactions, mostly saying that it is jarring. You might think that this is negative. In fact, this is what I intended. This is a turning point in my novel and I want the reader to now be inside someone’s head. Jarring is exactly the reaction I’m after. Phew.

It isn’t always this way. Sometimes what I write isn’t always read the way I intended. If more than one person doesn’t ‘get it’ then I rethink it.

Why is getting feedback important?

It’s the ONLY way to improve your work. Yes, you might know your story is brilliant but if readers don’t agree, what is the point? If a story goes from your head, straight to a submission pile at a publisher, you won’t know if it has the best chance of getting picked up.

Get feedback and get a thick skin because not everyone will see your brilliance!

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