Lockdown, Loneliness & Writing

Even before lockdown the stats will tell you that we are the loneliest generation to have roamed the earth. There are over 9 million lonely people in the UK. I find that really sad.

During some research for a short story I’m writing I came across a few projects and organisations who are trying to improve on those numbers. One of them is also looking to break a world record with the written word, more on that in a bit.

Scientific evidence shows that expressive writing in particularly can foster a sense of connection with others, even when we’re not directly engaged with them. Writing provides a way of ordering our thoughts and feelings. It is often easier to write about things than to speak about them, I know this can be true for me sometimes. By picking up a pen and writing about things whether it’s our fears, our hopes, or our dreams, we are helping to understand ourselves a little more and building a sense of connection with the world around us. Writing is powerful – truth!

Here are just a few of the organisations who are doing their bit in the battle against loneliness.

The Campaign to End Loneliness was set up in 2017. They believe that people of all ages need connections that matter. They research, lobby, campaign and inspire people to connect and bring communities together. In 2018 they launched Be More Us – a movement that celebrates small moments of connection. You can watch the video here.

The Loneliness Project is the first in a series of digital archives which seeks to build community and empathy by publishing weekly stories about loneliness. They want to receive letters on what loneliness means to you. There are no rules, no submission guidelines and it is open to everyone. It is free to enter.

Dear Loneliness is an interactive art project that aims to break a world record for the longest length of a letter!

As part of an artistic instillation they intend to create the world’s longest letter by covering a room in over 1,000 feet of handwritten and scanned letters about loneliness, with the ceiling and floor covered in large mirrors that create the illusion of letters on loneliness stretching into eternity. They want to receive letters on what loneliness means to you. There are no rules or guidelines and it is free to enter.

Being lonely is wretched and knowing what to do or where to try and find some solace can be hard. Picking up a pen and checking out the above organisations could be a start…

Change…

I’m not gonna lie, this week has been a struggle both personally & professionally. We seem to have stepped into a world where humanity and what it means to be human have been trumped (literally) by the fissures which cut in and divide us. I have watched with sadness and disbelief as things I never thought possible have stampeded across all of the goodness and kindness that exists. Our world is broken, we are broken. The more I watch events roll out in front of me, the more I’m convinced we are at the pinnacle of a ‘now or never’ moment. We have but a small window, an opportunity to stand up and help to heal our broken world.

But I’m afraid we’ll miss it, that we’ll be so caught up in ourselves that we won’t understand or see our one chance for real change. But you know what? Self awareness is a wonderful thing, and I have been heartened to see a collective consciousness take hold across the world. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt it’s that unity affects change.

If by reading this it’s made you think about how you, as one person can help to rid our world of the two deadly virus’s which plague it, Corona Virus and racism then that is a good thing. I’m not saying come up with an overnight fix which can fast track us to utopia, but by shining a light in the dark corners we can make it known neither are welcome here. We have been given the ability to write a new book, to write our chapter of history. What is it we want to be remembered for?

Saturday Spotlight ~ Iris Chacon

It gives me great pleasure to welcome my very talented friend and fellow mystery author Iris Chacon . Iris last appeared on my blog way back in 2017, since then she has been busy, busy, busy!

Welcome back Iris. For those that don’t know you please tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a Florida girl, so even though I love to travel, I’ve only lived in the hot climate of the American Southeast. I feel secretly inferior to people who cope with actual winters. I’m married, have two grown (beautiful) offspring, and love animals. I’ve had several interesting jobs, but my most recent and favorite one was teaching.

What can you tell us about your latest release?

My newest book is The Mammoth Murders, Book 2 of the Minokee Mysteries.

A valuable fossil mammoth turns up in a Florida sinkhole, and people start disappearing. Shepard Krausse (a blind radio host) and Miranda Ogilvy (an “invisible” librarian) risk their lives and their relationship as they look for answers along a wilderness river. Sequel to the award-winning novel, Finding Miranda.The Mammoth Murders marks the debut of a popular new crime-solving character in the town of Minokee: Zeus (pictured below).

To purchase The Mammoth Murders click the link below…

Also available from Smashwords, Apple, B&N and Kobo

I’m loving the sound of The Mammouth Murders Iris, I have added it to my TBR pile. Do you always know where your stories will end up when you begin writing them?

I do a lot of planning before I start a book, especially with a mystery. I need to know the end before I start, and I need to know what some of the twists and turns and misdirection’s might be along the way. I need to know the major turning points in the main plot and the subplot(s). I may diagram or chart all these points and rearrange them several times before writing the narrative.

This may make you think that I know everything that will happen before I write the book, but I don’t. The charts and graphs go out the window when characters start acting and interacting. In the same way no battle plan survives the actual onset of shooting, no book outline survives the actual writing process. Continue reading “Saturday Spotlight ~ Iris Chacon”

Time to Catch up on Your Reading…

There are so many things we can no longer do due to temporarily living in dystopia, but, thankfully, we can still read! If you have a ‘to be read’ pile as long as a pair of tights worn by a giant, then crack on! If, however, you are a bit light on the old words and ink, then now would be the ideal time to support your local bookshop. As with a lot of businesses, independent bookshops are struggling. Although you can no longer visit them, most shops have been proactive and set up online ordering and shipping. If your local shop does not do this, you can still support them and visit Hive.

Hive is an online bookstore with a difference. They support independent bookshops with every sale they make, and on the plus side you can nominate your local shop to receive a percentage from every purchase you make.

As we all start to adjust to the seismic shift of things, take a moment, escape, and read a book.

Stay at Home Literary Festival Starts Tomorrow….

What a fabulous idea! Award winning author C J Cooke has partnered with Paper Nations to create the first ever ‘Stay at Home’ literary festival. Staring tomorrow March 27th, and running through to April 11th you can dip in and out of any of the workshops by simply clicking on the links provided (no need to register in advance). Workshops cover everything bookish, from how to write a best selling thriller to adventure writing for children. The festivals aims to combat loneliness, champion connectivity, & celebrate books! It is completely free and completely online, can’t say it enough – what a fabulous idea! If you need me, you know where I’ll be… Link to the full programme below…

Kindle Countdown – Now!

If you fancy an edge of your seat read to take your mind of things right now may I suggest my medical thriller Forbidden Colours?
Forbidden Colours is available on what’s called a Kindle Countdown – that’s 99p ($1.14) for 7 days – here’s the link & happy reading…