Don’t you just love Onomatopoeia?

Check out Borborygmus and, upon a little more research, I was amazed at the occurence, similarities and abundance of Onomatopoeia in so many different languages

… please add your favourites in the Comments box below

How to become a ‘Laidback Writer’

Old typewriterYou have probably seen a scene in a film or TV where a writer’s bashing away on an old typewriter, frustratingly tearing out page after page and crushing it up before trying to curl it into an over-flowing waste basket. Later in the same film, they are cursing the gods as yet another rejection letter comes in from a publisher who doesn’t realise how brilliant the writer is.

Such images from our formative years can get imprinted on our unconscious mind and lead to behaviours that can reinforce this kind of stereotype.

It’s high time though to cast out that ‘old scene’ and introduce a new paradigm. Writing and getting published has never been easier.

Firstly, let’s deal with what, to many, may seem the hard part – getting published.

Nowadays, anybody can be a published author, for free, pretty much instantly. To get going, all you need is a blog site or something like a YouTube or YouPublish account. Write a few posts, craft an ebook or record a podcast or a video, upload it and you are, in my book anyway, a ‘published author’.

If your ebook is any good and it’s deserving of seeing the light of day in print, you can submit it to one of the many print on demand services, like Lulu, and you really become a published author overnight. Better still, use an assisted publisher like Authorhouse and your book can be available all over the planet via Internet retailers, and in book shops, in just a few months.

There is no guarantee that what you’ve written though will sell or inspire. This is where becoming a ‘laidback writer’ comes in.

When words and concepts just flow, you know that they are going to hit the mark with your readers. If you are stuck with your writing, you can almost guarantee it won’t scan well for a reader. If you have ever experienced a light bulb moment, you will know what I mean. You get the whole picture and vision in one go and can’t seem to get it down on paper fast enough.

Many people think that such light bulb moments are random and can’t be controlled. Well, with training and minimal discipline, you can have them daily or better still, tap into them on demand.

Light bulb moments actually happen when you are ‘not thinking’ – perhaps you are daydreaming or sometimes they occur in the gap between waking and sleeping. These points in our daily cycle have the rather pompous names of hypnagogic and hypnopompic.

Salvador Dali used them for his inspiration around siesta time. He’d balance a spoon under his elbow on the edge of a desk. It would clatter on the floor when he nodded off and he would instantly awaken and paint what was ‘on his mind’.

You can become a laidback writer in a more controlled manner and less dramatically through meditation.

What you find when meditating regularly is that you become attuned to inspirations and messages that have not necessarily come from your conscious mode of thinking. In time, you can even start a meditation with a request for specific information or a random inspiration. You will be delivered a real gem, or seed, from which springs forth a whole chapter of a book or an article – like this one.

Remember that meditation takes many forms and you can meditate with your eyes open and while walking. The morning or afternoon dog walk for me proves to be a great way of generating that sometimes elusive next chapter – and you are getting exercise and fresh air.

The ultimate way to work is to write while actually in a meditative state. This takes some practice. It is sometimes called channelling, as it appears that the writer is ‘out of the loop’. Nothing is further from reality as the writer is creating the loop and the flow.

By the way, channelling doesn’t necessarily mean you are communicating with departed Souls or the angelic realms. Rather than you are tapping into the collective consciousness, sometimes known as the holographic or cosmic mind. I like to think that this flow involves a connection in a sort of ‘Back to the Future-type way’ to the ‘future you’ that knows the words that you are yet to write.

Sleeping ladyIf the thought of meditating each day seems like a waste of time in your busy calendars, there is another and perhaps more relaxed way to become a ‘laidback writer’.

Most people enter a type of meditative state daily called sleep. With some practice and a simple memory technique, you can also dream to order too. Again whole chapters and insights come in dreams. Many scientific ‘discoveries’ have come this way. The German organic chemist, Kekulé, postulated the benzene ring structure after dreaming of a snake biting its own tail.

How laid back is that?

We teach these techniques and more on his Unleash the Book Inside workshops and home study courses – details here

    & if you can’t remember your dreams, then download a free guide here.

    Virtual Writers’ Groups & Author Communities

    Writing can be a lonely and solitary activity and keeping both motivation and inspiration flowing is often a challenge.

    My on-line and off-line courses focus on dealing with the latter, the former needs to be addressed too.

    The answer lies in joining the growing number of excellent writing communities. These are like virtual writing clubs and are great for people who can’t get to a real writing group.

    Harper Collins have even launched one called Authonomy which is designed for the best writers to percolate to the top and towards a publishing contract.

    Here’s a few I’ve come across – do add ones you’ve found here too

    Sketches wanted for BBC

    Recorded for Training Purposes

    Recorded for Training Purposes is a sketch show for BBC Radio 4. Its remit is to be about “modern communication” – a wide brief, that can cover anything from straightforward sketches involving unhelpful helplines to parodies of modern types of TV/Radio.

    The first series went out in January 2007, with a second series broadcast the following September. For the first series there was a national search for new writers who would write the series alongside a few more experienced writers and script editors. For the second series, the amount of material from these new writers was increased, with the more experienced writers taking a back seat.

    It has a cast of six – three men, three women – who can, collectively, play most ages.

    Here’s the home page for the show which has a video you can watch

    Series Three
    For the third series, there will be a core writing team of people who’ve written on the first two series. However, the show will also be opened up to, well, anyone. Anyone who sends stuff in will have their stuff read.

    This is why there’s a limit of three sketches as they don’t have time to read any more than that – and the best stuff will work its way into the recordings. If the audience like it, it’ll get on air, and you’ll get paid and credited for your work.

    What they are looking for?
    As in previous series, sketches about modern communication. Whether you talk about the method or the content, that’s what it’s about. Things that seem to work include

    • Parodies of genres rather than specifics (so: arts programmes rather than simply Imagine or The South Bank Show).
    • Thinly-veiled attacks on recognisable celebrities/personalities (eg, politician/journalist Boris Moron; dandy TV presenter/stand-up Danny Vain)
    • Jokes about communication and communicating – eg email, messageboards, SMS, Blackberry, stadium/transport announcements, voicemail, podcasts, and so on…

    What they aren’t looking for?

    • Someone reading their blog over the top of a sound effect of a keyboard being tapped – we have a talented and varied cast, bring more voices in
    • Parodies of specific programmes/adverts
    • Impressions (although the cast probably could do them if asked, we try to avoid direct impressions)
    • Meetings where a series of people pitch terrible ideas for TV shows/adverts/that sort of thing

    How to submit material?
    Send no more than three sketches to by 17th November 2008. All submissions will be read and considered.