Wednesday, January 11, 2017


There are moments in life that are just so amazing they leave you with a buzz, that feeling you're on fire and everything is right with the world. For writers, especially those starting out, those moments can be few and far between. It's important to make the most of them, to use them to help keep you going through the lean times. But how?

I went up to London yesterday for a general meeting with a production company whose dramas I've been a fan of for many years. The meeting went extremely well. On the way home I was worried the high I was experiencing would evaporate after a few hours and the motivation it created would be diminished. I began to wonder if there was a way to harvest the buzz I was feeling to use another day when the doldrums were upon me. In the past, I've kept a feedback folder, where I used to put all those lovely emails of praise to refer to when I needed. I have no idea where it is today, probably somewhere in the black hole that is my office cupboard, tucked somewhere at the back and now home to a family of spiders.

So what could I do? It was an idea of my wife's that helped to provide the solution.

A jar full of goodness.
A couple of years ago my wife Susie told me about an idea called the Gratitude Jar. She kept a jar in the kitchen and instructed me and the boys to write down anything that happened that we were grateful for and put it in the jar. Then on New Years Day we would open the jar and reflect on all the great things that had happened to us as a family over the previous twelve months. But as usual with these things we did it for a few weeks and eventually forgot about it.

As the South-West train zoomed through the countryside to Poole I thought, "Why can't I use a Gratitude Jar to keep a track of all my highs as a writer, so they're there when I need them the most?" So I've nicked one of my wife's empty jars she was saving up to make jam with and I've put it on my desk where it will be in view every time I sit down to work. When something good happens I'll write it down on a Post-it Note and pop it in the jar. By the picture, you can probably tell there are three BUZZes in there already. January is already proving to be an awesome month.

The next time I'm in a slump I'm going to grab that jar, pulls out some of those BUZZes, read them and perk myself up. You might like to try it too.

Happy writing!

Wednesday, January 04, 2017


2016 was a roller coaster of a year. There were ups and downs, twists and turns and at a couple of points I felt so sick I wanted to get off. I didn't though, I stayed on board until the bitter end. I'm glad I did, because late November early December everything flipped upside down.

But before I get to that, let me tell you more about my 2016.

THE LOWS - Every writer experiences them, even the well known and well paid ones. That brilliant idea you love gets rejected by everyone you send it to even though they love it, the promise of work never materialises and you constantly find yourself butting your head against dead ends.

I had a couple of really big slumps during the year and found myself questioning whether I should quit and go and find something more stable to do instead. I didn't of course, I never do, it's just not in may nature to walk away when things get tough. Successful writers are resilient buggers and besides, the highs would be nothing without the lows. So after each slump I sulked for a couple of hours, took a week off to do wonderful non writing related stuff and then went back to things refreshed, with a renewed optimism and enthusiasm.

Disappointment is inevitable, so if you want to be successful make sure you brush it aside as quickly as you can and carry on. You just never know what's waiting around the corner for you.

THE HIGHS - They fell in to three categories; 'Well That Was Nice', 'Flippin' 'Eck That's Awesome' and 'Mind Blowingly Epic'!

Here are just a few of the 'Well That Was Nice' and 'Flippin' 'Eck That's Awesome' highs that happened over 2016 - I finally found the time to finish two spec features I'd been tinkering with on and off for a couple of years. I made it into the quarter-finals of several screenwriting competitions, including with the two new features and I even made the semi-finals of one competition. A feature I wrote with one of my writing partners in just twelve days made the quarter-finals of every competition we entered it into. I had several general meetings and I was invited to the BBC TV Drama Writers' Festival, went to LSWF 2016. Over the year I was lucky to meet many wonderful directors, producers, script editors and of course fellow writers

It was the 'Mind Blowingly Epics' that really rocked my world though - The feature written in twelve days made it down to the final ten of the FINAL DRAFT BIG BREAK SCREENWRITING COMPETITION. I think if we had entered it in another category it could well have gone further. My spec TV drama pilot WONDERLAND made it through to the final ten of Idris Elba's Green Door, Green Light Initiative. It didn't make the final three and it didn't matter, just knowing Idris himself was reading my screenplay was enough. I'm on his radar now! But best of all something truly amazing and unexpected happened, a real boost to my career. It's really fantastic when all your hard work is recognised and rewarded. So what is this mind blowingly epic thing..?

Well... all I'm going to say is things are looking up on the TV front.

So for 2017 I already have two big meetings set for January and I'm looking forward to telling you all about them and what I get up to for the rest of 2017, this time next year.

Happy New Writing Year!