Wednesday, 10 May 2017

11 Things I Learned in Malta about Writing - 10 Relax!

On a 2014 holiday in Malta I saw many things that could help me with my writing. I will be sharing one each week. Here is point 10 I learned:

Write for you image

When you thank them or apologise, the Maltese say, “No problem!” Your writing shouldn’t be a problem. Remember – you write because you love it. Don’t lose sight of that, ever.

In point 7, There’s Always A Way Up The Hill, I wrote, You’re not writing essays for school or reports for work, under duress. You are writing because it’s something you have to do, for yourself. But it’s easy to become your own taskmaster.

I’ve written previously about not letting people steal your dreams. But sometimes we can sabotage ourselves.

Being an author involves more than writing. Even traditional publishers expect authors to undertake a large amount of their own publicity. Once you get on social media it can draw you in and take up all your time.

When I started I followed every link and read so much advice, I was overwhelmed. If I saved emails, my inbox grew huge. If I bookmarked websites, my bookmarks got out of control. I was afraid I might miss something important. But soon it was drudgery, all the fun went out of it.

I realised that lots of people give good advice but you can’t listen to it all. I settled on a few good sites for support and advice, and a few places to interact with potential readers, and it all became manageable. Then I could relax and enjoy it. And I had more time for my writing, which is what it’s all about, isn’t it?

I also wrote in point 7 about finding ways to write when you’re pushed for time. There’s lots of advice about writer’s block, but I think writer’s block comes on when you’re stressed. You need to relax and give the creative juices a chance to work.

Write every day, but don’t fret about it. Enjoy it. If you’re up against a deadline it can get a bit fraught, but if you’re organised and consistent, you won’t get behind.

You need a clear head and low stress levels to function at your best. Go out for a walk, watch a movie, read a good book, spend time with your friends and family. Relax!
2014-09-22 16.34.34

This is almost the last of the things I learned in Malta about writing. There’s one more – and it’s a warning! You’ll see next week.

Ann Marie Thomas is the author of three medieval history books, a surprisingly cheerful poetry collection about her 2010 stroke, and the science fiction series Flight of the Kestrel. Book one, Intruders, is out now. Follow her at


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