Sowing seeds and planting trees

Here’s a tip if you are writing, but not sure what to write about.

It’s not a new idea. I certainly didn’t invent it. I have heard it be given various labels. And it is remarkable how often it works.

If you face a writing challenge; if you are a bit stuck, then simply do what writers are supposed to do: write. You might be amazed by the results.

Some people call it “free writing”. 

Just start writing - anything. It doesn’t really matter. Just get something down on paper or on the screen. Let your mind roam, free. Don’t edit. Don’t correct. Just see what emerges. See what happens.

When I used to make the daily commute between Dorset and London on the train, I would often make it my morning challenge to write that day’s blog post before reaching Waterloo, usually beginning with no idea whatsoever what I was going to be writing.

Today, I decided to make a start on a piece I want to write for something later in the year.

I have been struggling with how to take it forward. Nothing was developing as a story that I liked and that would fit the brief. 

“I will give it an hour,” I thought. All I had was an opening line that had popped into my head: “And this is me and him at...”  

So I began with that, and added a bit, and a bit more, and a bit more... and an hour or so later I had more 1500 words written, and the outline of a story I am happy with and can work on.

So it works. It is also how I wrote this post.

There are other things I could have been doing, of course.

I probably should have been out and about trying to find more stockists for the book (to join our most recent addition, The Posh Partridge cafe, in Dorchester); or trying to stir up more publicity (to add to the nice little article in the Ashley Cross News, and the long awaited article in the Daily Echo, promised for this week); or chasing up on various people who haven’t replied to emails; or even planting the weeping willow that sitting in a pot in the garden. 

But I didn’t.  Today, I sowed a seed. Tomorrow I’ll plant a tree. 

(Surely that could be printed on a poster).


A great afternoon at the fundraising event for Blandford Literary Festival at Marcia’s Farm yesterday afternoon. Some random readings, Indian head massages and a great atmosphere in the bar. There really are some cool people in this world.

Sales: 77

Bookshops: 67

Other: 126

And the good news is...

We have now received some early copies of our debut book as a small press publisher - Dorset Shorts: Winning Entries From The Dorset Writers‘ Prize.

Dorset Shorts Cover and Spine.jpg

Seventeen writers from all parts of the county are having their work published in this collection. We are very proud of that achievement, and of the fact that it looks great.

Only a few copies have arrived with us so far because our printers having been facing problems with glue seeping through onto the cover. Hopefully, that will be resolved (on their third attempt) sometime this week.

We have not settled on our launch date as yet (we are hoping we may be able to link it into another event), but we will announce it soon.

In the meantime we plan a pre-launch get-together with our authors on March 30. We are looking forward to that.  Strange to think, but we have only met one of them so far.

On another piece of good news, for me at least, I feel I have finally settled on where to focus with this blog.  It has been bugging me for months. Now, after receiving those first, pristine copies of Dorset Shorts, and feeling that we can now actually call ourselves small publishers, has made it more concrete.

While drafting a short talk, I wrote that I wanted to chat about: short stories, long tails, small press publishing, little-read writers and how we spun a book out of coffee beans, perseverance, a whim and a prayer.

At last.