Build a Creative Haven on a Budget

Building a creative haven within your own home need not break the bank.  Even the smallest of spaces can be cleverly transformed into a place that offers instant inspiration. Here are a few tips on how to turn a drab workspace into your imagination bolt hole with a few clever tricks.

Keep it Simple


If your space is small then adopt a timeless minimalist style. Paint the walls white and keep everything else simple. Don’t add unnecessary furniture such as drawers if you don’t really need them. Inject colour with items that can move with the current trends such as photo frames and statement stationary. Include a vase of fresh flowers that tie in with the season

Source: housetohome



A few accessories that reflect your character evokes feelings of comfort you only feel at home. Small items such as a shell from a beach, a cheerful notepad or even your favourite mug will inject your personality into your home office, and perhaps be a source of inspiration.

Source: theelginavenue 

In The Corner


Make the most out of the corner in your living room by adding a small desk. Add alcove shelving above it to store your books and accessories. You can even add doors to hide everything from view to stop your work spilling into your everyday life.

Source: Housetohome

Writing Bureau

writing bureau

Writing bureaus are perfect for teaming up storage with a place to work, it is no wonder they are making a comeback. Although expensive to buy new, searching online or scouring second hand furniture shops can uncover some hidden gems at reasonable prices. Buy Annie Sloan chalk paint to transform your bureau into a furniture piece that oozes French Chic.

Source: 4gottenfavourites

Let There Be Light


When light floods into the room it can provoke feelings of openness and being connected with the outside world. Place your desk overlooking a window so that every time you look up from the computer screen your mind feels refreshed.

Source: melbripley

When I’m Not Blogging

Time sure does pass quickly. One minute I’m blogging and the next it is 10 months later and I’ve dropped off the face of the web. It’s fair to say I haven’t been as productive as I hoped however I am delighted that during my blog blackout, my first poetry submission was accepted and is now published in a journal.

The Catch was published in November in the Fall Issue of When Women Waken. The poem is an adaptation of a short story of the same name I published here a few years ago. Since conception in my very first creative writing class, The Catch has been through many reincarnations so I am happy that it has finally found success within a medium that suits it.

So what else has kept me away all this time? Here are my top five distractions

  1. My Kindle – Back in November I got a Kindle for my birthday and I have since become absorbed in a new literary journey. I still love to read actual books, nothing can beat that new book smell or the feel of a well loved novel. However for some reason I read much quicker using a Kindle.
  2. The Wire – When I’m not reading or working, I’m watching box sets. They are my vice. My husband and I have been visiting Baltimore for the past six months and we are just about to finish the series this week. I’m going to miss our nightly catch ups with McNulty, Bunk and Omar.
  3. Freelance Writing – Due to a change in circumstances (more on that later) I am now looking at setting up my own freelance copywriting business. Freelancing is still something I do on occasion to fit around my current job but with my life set to drastically change in a few months, it seemed the perfect time to work toward that becoming a more permanent fixture.
  4. Housework/DIY/Gardening – Yes, this does seem like a very lame excuse but since my husband and I moved into our house three years ago, we have never really made it our own. Despite being together ten years, we had never lived anywhere for more than a year or two so we got used to not bothering with making a house a home. It’s taken a while to get out of that mentality, but we are finally there and have enjoyed weekends of unpacking (yes, it’s taken us three years to unpack everything), painting, decorating and gardening. But there is also a pretty big reason for this nesting activity.
  5. The Patter Of… I am delighted to announce that we are expecting our first baby! We are so happy with the news and thrilled that at last we are on the way to having a family of our own. I haven’t got long left of the pregnancy and by mid-late June I am hoping to be able to put my feet up before the little one arrives at the start of July. The first five-six months of pregnancy were rough and it often took every bit of energy I had just to make it into work. Unfortunately that left me little desire to do much else, let alone blogging.

So here’s to a new start, more writing and more posts. I would like to continue with developing my poetry and maybe even completing the final draft of my novel which is currently gathering dust. Maybe the sleepless nights and endless dirty nappies will inspire a new kind of writing. Or maybe that will be the delirium after having not slept for weeks. We shall see, it’s a new adventure and one I cannot wait to start.


Is It Time to Put Night Writing to Bed?

Recently I have been thinking about what motivates writers and how old habits can dictate your writing routine. At some point we were all that young writer, scribbling away in bed with nothing but a torch, Biro pen and a notebook.

Over the past couple of weeks my writing efforts have dwindled to virtually nothing. Feelings of frustration toward my lack of motivation has prompted me to look at whether daily distractions are providing me with excuses not to write or if it’s just old habits. There is always something more important to do such as work, cooking tea, housework, gardening, food shopping, catching up with friends and family. Then when you do manage to steal away a few minutes, a phone call or a knock at the door pulls you out of the ‘zone’ you had struggled to get in, in the first place.

Yet when clock is pushing midnight, all the words stream out onto the page.  There is nothing left to do with the day. The house is silent, the outdoor world is peaceful, the night belongs to you and nobody else. Writing at that time of night puts me into a meditative state and is cathartic release of everything that happened during the day.

The only thing to stopping me is knowing that in less than six hours I have to be up, dressed and ready to go to work. So I crawl back to bed feeling unsatisfied and annoyed that a plot line won’t be written as well at 7pm the next evening.

When I was younger I would write until the early hours and not care that I would be falling asleep during class assembly. The stolen hours were magical and I would (eventually) go to sleep dreaming of new worlds to create in fiction land. I sorely miss those days and I wish it was that easy now, but it isn’t. That’s just part of being a grown up.

Finding time to write is a treat and I wonder if I don’t spend more time writing because I just don’t feel like it’s a priority. It should be a priority. To me, writing defines who I am and the satisfaction of working on a story is unparalleled to anything else. So why don’t I feel motivated? There is no answer to that. We all have peaks and troughs during our periods of writing, set backs and failures. There will always be distractions and something else more important to do.

You just have to keep on going despite the chaos around you.

“Write even when the world is chaotic. You don’t need a cigarette, silence, music, a comfortable chair or inner peace to write. You just need ten minutes and a writing implement” Cory Doctorow

George Orwell’s manuscript for 1984

George Orwell’s manuscript for 1984.

I stumbled across this article from the Fiction Desk which details pages from George Orwell’s manuscript for 1984. Over the past few weeks I have been focusing on the process of editing and redrafting. It can been a tedious and depressing task, going over everything you have written with a very critical eye.

As writers we are the first to criticize our own work and hack it to pieces. When I was about to give up, this reminded me that no first draft of anything is perfect. Far from it.

Becoming a writer is all about that painful first read, it is when you start  bring everything together and turn your story into more than just a good idea. I am sure there are some authors who can produce beautifully polished prose first time round, however for most the process is a lot more complicated.




The Novella Blues

I need to vent my frustrations, I am suffering from the novella blues. I have been writing a novella for a little under a month, in the hope that it will be all finished and edited by the end of November or early December at the latest. However I am completely losing confidence in it at the moment.

The story started off as a piece of flash fiction, which then developed into a short story. From there on it grew and now I’m pushing around 6,000-7,000 words. Correct me if I’m wrong but for a novella I know it generally has to be 20,000 minimum and to meet my deadline I have to push on and get all the words down in the next couple of weeks.

As I have imposed a deadline on myself, unlike when I took part in JuNoWriMo, I need to make sure all the plot holes are covered and that the first draft is not completely shoddy. Each evening when I sit down the words don’t sit right. Everything seems tedious and I am unsure on the pace. At times I don’t think I am even scratching the surfaces of the character’s depth. The dialogue is extremely sparse, but then I sometimes wonder whether we try to conform our writing to what you think it should be, rather than what comes naturally when writing the story.

It feels like a completely new challenge and very daunting. I am feeling very tested at the moment in regards to my faith in my story and my stamina to keep on going. Each time I read back on certain parts, it feels like I’m wading through sticky mud. My biggest problem at the moment is making the transition from sub plot to plot. The story takes place over a long time period which is probably where I went wrong. It is looking back on the protagonist’s life over the past seven years and how she came to wanting to run out on her fiancé on their wedding day.  I have got the structure for the story, the key events, when things should unfold. But changing it from a 3,000 word story to a 20,000 word novella is in fact very hard.

I am going to set myself a timetable, and write at least 500 words each night between now and end of October, I should hit my word count target. In all honesty, 500 words a day doesn’t seem too bad. I’m starting to feel better already.

Have you ever written a novella and are the challenges you face completely different to those you face whilst writing a novel? How do you beat the writing blues?

Friday Fictioneers – Shinto

Again, long periods of time posting on here. I have been working on getting a novella completed and it has taken up most of my time. This has been inspired my trip to Tokyo with my husband a few years ago and how amazed we were to find a shrine in the middle of the city.

If you fancy taking part in Friday Fictioneers then head over to see Madison Woods


The city was only one train stop away. Twenty minutes ago we were standing in the heart of Shibuya at the cross roads with a Starbucks in one hand and a camera in the other. Now as we walked through the park where men in suits napped in the sunshine, the city’s smokescreen slowly lifted. Birds chatted harmoniously as the wind pulled toward the shrine. Next to the entrance was a stone trough filled with clear water, bridged with six wooden ladles. As with tradition we rinsed our hands, took a bow before and a made a prayer to the gods.

Lovely, Lovely Awards

I need to apologise to the very lovely Jacqueline at Maturestudenthanginginthere as a few months ago she nominated me for a Sunshine Award. A few days ago another lovely blog nominated me for a smashing four awards which I am also incredibly grateful for and also reminded me that I need to get on and complete saying my very big thank you to Jacqueline and now Megan Paasch for the nominations.

Sunshine Award and Reader Appreciation Award

These both require the same questions so I’ve done a combo!








Favourite Colour:

I have two! I can’t pick between the two so first is a deep purple and second is a bluey grey – something that looks like it would smell nice if it was a perfume. Yes, that makes no sense.

Favourite Animal:

Friendly dogs are wonderful, of the non pet variety I love penguins. Specifically the Adelie Penguins, they’re pretty cute whilst also being a bit gangster. Don’t believe me, here’s a bit of criminal nature comedy.

Favourite Number:

Urm, don’t know. 18 is a pretty nice one.

Favourite Non-Alcoholic Drink:

Orange and mango juice. Nom.

Facebook or Twitter:

Now this is tricky. Facebook is starting to get on my nerves for numerous reasons. I don’t like the fact that it can sneakily tag you in a location – seriously have no idea how to turn this off. Twitter is great when you want to connect with other writers, but keeping in touch with friends it can be a bit boring. So don’t know. Facebook has the edge due to the fact that despite relatives being the other side of the world we can keep in touch, share photos, chat easily etc.

My Passion:

Writing is my passion, so is music and cake. Can’t get better than that.

Favourite pattern:

Don’t really have one. Never thought about it!

Favourite day of the week:

Saturday, it can either be packed full of adventure or a complete chill out session. Plus you know you have another day to have fun with.

Favourite Flower:

Gerberas, they look so happy!

Third award up is the Most Inspiring Blogger Award which is a really nice one to get. I haven’t been blogging all that long but also I haven’t blogging much lately so this was lovely. It requires you to share seven things about yourself people probably don’t know and nominate other blogs to do the same.


1. I need coffee, every day, at 11am else the rest of the day feels weird

2. For about 15 years I loved tap dancing and longed to be the next Ginger Rogers. Then I discovered boys and that went out of the window. Few years on I wish I had kept it up and whilst occasionally stirring whatever is on the hob I still break into a little bit of timestep

3. Whilst working in public relations I performed a timestep at a networking event whilst under pressure to prove that I had done a bit of tap before… humiliation doesn’t even cover it

4. I once bumped into Steve Tyler whilst in Moscow without realising. He was trying on a traditional Russian hat, I asked if I could get by and started trying on hats next to him. Didn’t realise that I was surrounded by a fair few bodyguards and Aerosmith fans desperate to get a picture until my husband and friend informed me that I was getting in the way

Me as Eric Clapton

5. My teddy bear Harry is my most prized possession

6. My dad is responsible for my music tastes… instead of nursery rhymes he used to make my sister and I listen to BB King, Roxy Music and Bob Dylan. He even dressed me up as Eric Clapton once. Don’t know what’s worse, the get up or the hair cut. Possibly the haircut?

7. My name is Emma and I’m an Eddie Stobbart spotter.

The last two are Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award and Beautiful Blogger Award which I belive have no requirements except to pass it on.


Now for the nominations, all of which are well deserving of all these awards. All of these blogs I love and read regularly, so I hope you manage to drop by and share the appreciation.