eXpecting eXcellence

I know - naff title but we've reached X on my alliterative writing journey. Here we go...

eXcellence for me?

You know eXactly what this means - literally and for your own life. What does it mean for me? In terms of my writing life, although one thing tends to lead to another, if I am settled in my writing life, my personal life benefits. However, if I am unsettled in my personal life - health, relationships, daft daily dilemmas - I have to make myself write, knowing that the benefits far outweigh the effort I make. With any hobby or calling, there will be some sacrifice, a sense of duty to the craft. Not wanting to get out of bed does not write a novel. Unless you take writing devices with you. This is not conducive to good sleep. 

It has to be a fab-u-lous brainwave to get me out of slumber and into note-taking role. 

So, back to eXcellence. Put simply, if I write as well as I can, feel a high from rereading my work, knowing it is the best AND receive some kind of third-party feedback, then I KNOW my work has eXcellence running through it, like a silver thread weaving through a woollen tapestry. 

I may (do) need to return again and again to my prose, editing and fine-tuning the grammar, syntax, style, sense, and many other details. But I am content when I know there is that rich thread running through, sparkling on the front of my work and neat at the back. No loose ends, no tangles, no unfinished pieces of thread.

Most of the time, I settle for my own perspective on my work because feedback is not always available. Look at this blog; it is sadly lacking in comments

[Note to self: reopen Google+ page & be more diligent across other social media.]
Having recently changed my blogging focus from craft to writing, many contacts may lose interest because they do not share this quest for eXcellence in the written word,

this photograph (taken by Pete Davis) is a barn
in a rural landscape, made into a greetings card by me:
it represents the crossover point of my focus
 - card to barn (the latter is the theme of my novel)

eXcellence for you?

Many of my contacts are family members, friends and online buddies from sport, writing, papercafting, yarncrafting and many other interest groups. 

What particular form of eXcellence are you reaching for?

Whether you are a writer, potter, artist, crafter, knitter, needlecrafter, photographer, gardener, cook, baker or candlestick maker

  • have you had success in your field?
  • is there something you need to study?
  • are there fellow travellers in your interest group who can critique your achievements, provide the feedback that leads to eXcellence? 

Writing Wise #01


This seems a good point to begin a mini series I've decided I want to add to this blog. I'm at the alliterative Ws and I want to record some of my writing tips. Writing Wise it is...

Rereading Your Work-in-Progress

As you plough through hundreds and thousands of words, are you beginning to lose track of your story? Do you try to read through in Read Mode and find you cannot resist the urge to switch back to Edit your work? You really want to read as a reader, not as a writer, but the typos and plot holes are screaming at you. Ignoring your Inner Critic can require drastic action.

Two Ideas

1 - Old-fashioned pen and paper notes

As you read your work on the screen (unless it is brief enough for a print run) resist the urge to edit by making notes on your crib sheet. Later on, you can have these by your side when you come to the proper editing stage. For now, you are only dealing with the sense, sound and signposts of your story.

2 - Newfangled pdf docs

This is my favourite way to read through a longer WIP. After you've saved the document in your usual format, in the usual place (hard disk, USB stick or cloud), export it to a pdf format. 

Now for my whizzy this new pdf file as an attachment to your Kindle email address. (Other e-readers are available).

Move right away from all editing methods - mobile, tablet, laptop, desktop, mainframe (I'm old enough to recall).
Read your Kindle version as though your work were already published. Except it isn't, so you might want to make pencil notes on paper of MAJOR errors ONLY.

Enjoy your work for what it will become one day - fully-fledged readable text.

Vexed Voice Vanished

The Truth

I've just finished re-reading my writing journals. There is a common theme; my vexed voice, whining, self-analysing verging on self-loathing. It is not a positive thing at all. It isn't a deep worry, as such.

More a waste of time - and paper. Attractive notebooks deserve prettier prose.

The Way

In 2010, I followed an ecourse called Heartwork by Kate Johnson. The journal that accompanied me through the course - where I did the work, as they say, these days - was positive without being sickening or untruthful. 

My self-worth clearly received a boost. I came away from the course with new ways, I wanted to write, to create cards (see Shirley Davis Crafts) and to live peacefully through the mayhem that is Multiple Sclerosis. 

There was a clear peace of mind in my writing.

The Life

Today. Now. After three years of awfulness in terms of illness and surgery, I am as free as ever (with MS) to follow my passion.

Once I've zipped up these alliteratively titled posts, I will examine the pieces of writing hidden away in my notebooks. Some of them deserve some airing/editing/reading.

I suppose what I am telling you is I studied mindfulness before it was created, marketed and hyped out of self-recognition - and adopted by the NHS.

Sadly, I cannot find the original ecourse as the writer no longer upkeeps her blog. This is what I've found on the blog of Kelly Rae Roberts where I first read about Heartwork.

My name is Kate Johnson, and I began Heartwork to encourage the creativity inherent in all of us. I started by wondering, what are the obstacles we create that keep us from feeling able to fully express ourselves? How do we gently and compassionately set aside self-doubts and feelings of insufficiency to just get to it? So many of us are trying to find some sort of balance between the pragmatic (must make money to eat and be clothed) and the creative sides of ourselves. I want so much to fuse the two into a more holistic life.
I think and write a lot about identity and the creative process, and would love it if you'd stop by. Also, artwork is welcome! Please let me know if you have an image that I could use with full attribution, and I would be delighted to do so. I recently took a bit of my own advice and now I have a new Etsy site with a few paintings. Soon there will be cards and prints too.I also blog at, and

Please accept my apologies to all Bible readers for borrowing John 3:16, albeit in the wrong order.