Ten-Minute Blog Break - 2nd April

Welcome back to the Ten-Minute Blog Break. I hope you had a good Easter, and the time off has filled you with new ideas, or chocolate, or both!

Talking of ideas, Sara Grant blogged this week at the edge about the value of exploring your "bad" ideas. As she tells it: "I found success as a writer when I stopped worrying about looking stupid." I've taken this advice to heart and am writing this article in a clown suit while painting my head blue. Fame and fortune here I come!

I wanted to throw a spotlight on Amanda Lillywhite this week. As you may know, Amanda will be launching her webcomic Duck and Bear this coming Friday 5th April, exclusively on Words & Pictures. If you can't wait until then, you can find a sneak preview on her Tumblr blog, or follow the misadventures of Duck and Bear on Twitter. But there really is no end to Amanda's talents, because she's also started a new blog called Sequential Art, exploring "graphic novels, comics and online sequential art." The world of comics (especially indie comics) can be a bewildering place for the uninitiated, and Amanda is doing a great job of introducing it. Her posts on Sequential Art are honest, informative and rooted in her own emotional response to the work in question.

There's been a bit of a self-reflective theme this week (which Jan picked up in yesterday's editorial), as writers ponder the nature of the creative urge and what success might look like for them. Candy Gourlay has started a new book (hooray!), Kathy Evans can't stop writing and blames Stephen King (!), Lorraine Gregory wonders whether it's possible to satisfy herself and the market. To these, I'd like to add a story I spotted in The Guardian - what happens if you spend your whole life seeking artistic recognition, but it never comes? Felicia Bromfield tells the bitter-sweet story of My Dad, The Next Big Thing.


Nick Cross is a children's writer, blogger and all-round digital guru. In 2010 he was a winner of Undiscovered Voices with his zombie comedy Back from the Dead.
Read Nick's latest blog post - The Price is Write - on the subject of investing in your writing.


  1. Thanks Nick! I'm going to print this out and put it on my noticeboard. Such a good idea to have a blog round-up - I will check out the other posts you mention.

  2. Great one stop shop for us blog-alholics - thanks Nick!

  3. Thanks for 'My Dad ..' very moving, and relevant to anyone working creatively.

    1. I thought it was really interesting in terms of their perspectives - his view that he was a failure because he'd never been recognised by his peers, set against her argument that he was a great success because he'd been able to forge a career doing the thing he loved most.

    2. It was a great piece. It made me wonder about the effect my creative pursuits would have on my own son - eek! He's convinced my stories should be published but so far he's the only one! Still, it's nice to have at least one fan ;)

    3. It seems to me he's had a fulfilling life, more than many creatives. But it's all relative, I guess, and success & fulfillment mean different things to everyone. The conflict between their views is interesting, I agree.

  4. A brilliant selection, Nick (and thanks for the mention) - looking forward to this every week now!

  5. I've just read the Felicia Bromfield piece and it strikes a powerful chord. What indeed is the definition of success? And can success be driven by marketing? Fred Bromfield is an undiscovered voice ... what does it take to make those in charge of discovering take notice? Thanks for the thought provoking share.

  6. It still being holiday for me today, this successfully kept me under the covers for another ten minutes. Just the right amount of distraction. Thanks Nick (and thanks for link back too)

  7. Great choices - thanks! Bravo to Amanda for a fascinating blog about sequential art! And Felicia's piece feels very close to my heart to as another daughter of an artist who made a living at painting but was never recognized by his peers.
    Wholeheartedly agree with Nick about the difference between recognition and forging a career.
    There are shades of inner and outer success. My own dad was happy that he could earn a humble living by selling his paintings - a small 'outer' success - but felt he was capable of more, having catered for financial reasons to the "more of the same" that his US art dealer wanted, so less 'inner' success for him.
    It is all relative. To be published seems like success to those who aren't yet published but that's only the beginning. Recognition helps - but even a star review doesn't match what it's like, I imagine to know you've said all that you've wanted to say.
    The struggle for that inner success, to achieve something I'm really proud of, is what keeps me going ... Yes and a kind of optimistic belief that the next project will be "it"!

  8. Thanks for these, Nick. A great way to catch up with excellent blogs.

  9. I want to see a picture of you in that clown suit! Great line up here, Nick - thanks - there goes more of my writing time... ;-)


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