The Joy of Sadness

“Being Irish, he had an abiding sense of tragedy, which sustained him through temporary periods of joy.” -W.B. Yeats I want to say a brief word today about the importance of making space for sadness. I’m not going to give a lecture about being brave enough to face our sad feelings in order to work […]

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Look at the World

I named my blog after the New Zealand bellbird (in Māori, korimako) – and not just because my last name is Bell. I have always loved birds: for their beauty and intense fragility, the sense of freedom they represent, and for their song. The bellbird is particularly gorgeous. The explorer Captain Cook wrote of its […]

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Love poems aren’t just for Jack and Jill

When we think love poems we tend to automatically jump to the heteronormative position, in which opposite-sex sexuality and relationships are presented as the norm. But literature is rich with poems about love and sex in all its varied LGBTQ expressions, if we care to look. Today I want to share three of my favourites. […]

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The Pantser and The Second Act Sag (Or, more things I have learnt writing a novel)

I’ve finished my first novel, and plans are underway to publish it. As I bask in the afterglow (AKA the thank-feck-that’s-over, Netflix-saturated, crap-magazine-reading malaise), I’ve been reflecting on the novel-writing process and what more it has taught me (You may also want to read my earlier post, Ten things I have learnt writing a novel). […]

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Escaping Ourselves

“But if these years have taught me anything it is this: you can never run away. Not ever. The only way out is in.”–Junot Díaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao If you’ve pottered around my site for long enough you will know that I’ve been writing a novel. It’s finished now, and I’m in the […]

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Point of View: How to Choose?

Today I thought I’d tackle the perennially difficult topic of point of view (POV). I’m not an expert, so I’m not going to offer “expert” advice. I’m simply going to share my own experience. I don’t think I need to list and define the various narrative POVs: Google “point of view” and you’ve got it […]

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Ten things I have learnt writing a novel

I’m giving my manuscript a final proofread before submitting it to a potential publisher later this month. It’s been years in the making, this novel. It has sat, untouched, for months at a time. Life has gotten in the way, including setting up my own editing business, raising my daughter, becoming single, rebuilding a life, […]

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I’ve put this post off for weeks: A new way of looking at procrastination

I may be mediocre at many things, but one thing I am brilliant at is procrastination. I seem to make a lot of well-intentioned plans and set myself what I think are realistic writing goals, and I still find myself wandering round the house picking up and putting down ornaments when I should be working on my […]

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Left Brain, Right Brain – can you be an editor and a writer?

I’ve just launched a new Facebook page – one dedicated to my creative writing. It’s called Patricia A Bell, Author (@thebellbirdwrites). I’ve decided I need to separate my creative writing and publishing from my proofreading and editing business, and build my author platform. I used to write a blog post here and then post it […]

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Wrestling the Octopus: how to avoid writing a novel

At a certain point, a novel-in-progress starts to get a tad unwieldy. When you begin, you have a blank screen and the boundless enthusiasm of a puppy. After a few months you have a mountain of scrap paper scrawled with half-finished paragraphs and synopsis drafts, screeds of ideas jotted down and pinned all over the walls in your office, […]

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