Blog 139: Bums On Seats!

June 27, 2022

About a week ago as part of National Crime Reading Month, I attended a talk about writing Historical Crime. Three authors, Matthew Booth, J. C. Briggs and Deborah Swift spoke about historical crime and how they went about their writing. As an author, I find the writing process fascinating and I’m always looking for advice and tips. So here is a small list of what I found useful and accurate…

Tip 1: Bums on seats.

It is easy to put off writing and procrastinate by doing other things that seem more important at the time. All three authors admitted that it was sometimes hard to motivate themselves to write and they all agreed that in order to write you just need to open your laptop/computer/notebook and get your bum on your seat.

Tip 2: Writers block, walk away do something else and come back to it.

What do you do when you’re merrily writing away and then all of a sudden you just don’t know what to write anymore? Matthew Booth says that when this happens, he gets up and does something else for a bit and then he goes back to his story. Sometimes it is a good idea to step away from your work and then come back to it with a fresh pair of eyes. The trick is to make sure you do go back to your work.

Tip 3: If you need to look something up, make a note to yourself and keep writing. 

When you’re writing you may come to a point where you think ‘I’m not really sure if X, Y or Z is correct’, when you reach a point like this, rather than stop writing to look up whatever it is you need to check, you should just make a note to yourself, either in the margin or in the text. You can do this however you want, the point is if you’re in the flow with your writing, don’t stop, keep going.

Tip 4: Feed factual information into your writing if it’s important and necessary. 

When you’re doing your research you will learn lots of interesting bits of information, but not everything you learn needs to go into your story. Feed information into your story only if it is important and necessary. If it feels forced or does not add anything to your story then you probably don’t need it.

Tip 5: Enter lots of competitions and submit to as many publishers as you can. 

There are lots of writing competitions out there so if you can, submit to as many of them as you can. Make sure you stick to their criteria and don’t break the bank by entering lots of pricey competitions, be selective. The same goes for publishers, look at their criteria and make sure you stick to whatever they ask for, whether that’s a cover letter and one chapter or three chapters of your manuscript. Be prepared, you will receive lots of rejections, but it just takes one to be successful.


This event was held on the 18th June 2022 at Westwood Books Sedbergh as part of National Crime Writing Month. If you would like to see more events or join Westwood Book’s mailing list please click the link (Events – Westwood Books).