The Importance Of Creative Writing

I always enjoyed creative writing more than factual writing. I think it was because I was free to use my imagination, and I was never quite certain where the story might take me. There is satisfaction in putting your thoughts on paper; sometimes it can be an emotional outpouring which can be wholly therapeutic. As you write you are forming characters, planning a plot, recalling and reinventing experiences, exploring feelings, putting yourself in somebody else’s mindset. These are some of the many benefits of creative writing.

Creative writing is especially beneficial for children in developing their language skills and self-confidence. It gets them to explore different genres in literature, and discover which genres personally excite them.

Creative writing puts any absurd perspective or secrets at a free stance, there are no restrictions to what you write about. The beauty in this is that when you write you can be whoever you want to be, you can release all the emotions inside you and put them into words that maybe no one else can understand.

Creative writing isn’t something new, as people have always been telling stories. First they were told orally and then people started writing them down. There are a lot of stories in us, why not let them flow and pass them on ?

Interview With Writer And Photographer Sally Martin

plus her photos from the Quirky Tales Launch. (See for the original write up on the launch.)

Sally Martin

Sally Martin, is a good friend, secretary of Longford Writers Group, a very creative person, and a talented writer and photographer. Her photographs from the Quirky Tales launch are after the interview.

1. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 

I am from Co. Longford. I grew up on a farm near Keenagh, along the Royal Canal.  After leaving school I moved to Dublin and worked there for a number of years and that is where I met my husband Dave. We moved back to Longford in the early 80’s and still live here. We have four children and eight grandchildren whose company we enjoy very much. I also worked for many years in the healthcare sector in the Midlands, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

I love writing and photography, and I have had some of my work published in a number of anthologies.  I am secretary of Longford Writers Group. Ten of our group collaborated on a Novella called, ”Let Him Lie”, which we launched in December 2018. In December 2019, a number of us launched a collection of short stories and poems called, “Home Made”. As a group we have been very busy. I am also working on my own short story collection.

2. When did you start a)writing and b) doing photography?

Inspiration is all around us in everyday life and in nature. Everywhere I go I see things, places, people that I want to photograph and write about. I started writing when I was very young but never liked anything I wrote, so I just burnt everything. I don’t do that anymore.

Photography and writing are similar as they both tell stories in different ways. I have always loved to read and that inspired me to write; also people watching and overhearing snippets of conversations can give you ideas. Life in general throws us ideas all the time.  Writing lets you escape into another world, your imagination can bring you anywhere. I took up photography as a serious hobby ten years ago when I was given a camera for my 50th birthday by my family. I have done a number of courses and I am still learning. The past couple of years have been busy with family commitments so I haven’t had as much time as I would like, to pursue both genres. 

3. Where do you get ideas or inspiration for both writing and photography?

Going forward now, I hope to improve my skills in both my interests.  We can always learn more and become more proficient in our work.  You never stop learning. 

4.  What do your plans for future projects include? 

As I said, I am working on a short story collection. I would like to write a novel someday, maybe.  I have a short story that I would like to turn into a novel. The story is there, I just have to stretch it out a bit…quite a bit, but it’s possible.  Watch this space, you never know.  At the moment the Writers Group keeps me very busy, so for now, I am looking forward to new challenges.

Motivation and Inspiration To Write

Quote: “Motivation is when you get hold of an idea and carry it through to its conclusion, and inspiration is when an idea gets hold of you and carries you where you are intended to go.” Dr Wayne Dyer


People who write know they may have to write something for their next writers group meeting, their next blog, their next assignment, or a new book. They maybe motivated to write something because of a deadline, a duty to deliver, fear of failure or other reasons. So they are ready to write but what inspires the writing?

Sometimes it might just be a given title that starts the creative juices flowing, a picture, a book, something they heard, a memory or a random experience.

I asked some fellow writers what inspires them to write.

Rose Byrne: ‘Could be wanting to highlight some issue or just something amusing to entertain.’

Dan Flynn: ‘ If non fiction, the desire to follow the implications of an idea, or to question the truth of an argument and the solidity of its assumptions. Fiction, nothing need be huge. Choose a simple, uncomplicated event and imaging it working out in various directions.’

Some thought they had lost their muse for the moment. Muse is any one of nine goddessess from Greek mythology who provided inspiration for music and poetry. In today’s world, a muse can be anyone or anything that provides inspiration to create.

Quote: There is a muse, but he’s not going to come fluttering down into your writing room and scatter creative fairy-dust all over your typewriter… Stephen King

Sometimes we lose our muse because we are overwhelmed by life, sometimes we need to get involved in some kind of creativity, to go to creative events and mix with creative people to get a glimpse of our muse again. I hope if your muse has left you that one day it will creep back into your life and take you by surprise.

A New Year……A New Start

Welcome to 2020 and that time of year when we are expected to make new year resolutions. January gives us the chance to start anew, to set goals and change things for the better. Many people are cynical about resolutions because they feel that people are setting themselves up for an instant fall and failure, and with failure comes dissolution and often depression.

But others see it as a time to dream big, to hope for new achievements, a time of exciting possibilities and a chance to work towards their goals.

So am I going to make some resolutions? Yes I will set writing goals that are realistic, attainable and use those goals as something to work towards. But if I only achieve some of those goals I will not be disappointed. Everything is a learning curve and sometimes we are taken places we didn’t expect to go. So the journey to our goals can be exciting, unpredictable and often frustrating. But keep trying and enjoy the journey. Good luck!

Book Launch 2

The second book launch I was involved in was the launch of an anthology of stories and poems for children called ‘Quirky Tales’. The launch was on Saturday 7th December at 2 pm in Ardagh Heritage and Creativity Centre, Ardagh, County Longford. We had the launch there because this is where most of the contributors meet at quarterly SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) social events. It is an ideal place to launch a children’s book because it was a school in a previous life. As well as that the centre is run by two people involved in the book – Ann Gerety Smyth and Annette Corkery, who are cousins and my cousins too.

Eleven people were involved in writing stories and poems for this anthology. For the illustrations we gave a call out to adults and children to send in their illustrations for certain characters and things, by giving a little description of what we wanted. We had entries from the USA, UK and Ireland. We had many contributions from the Gaelscoil (Irish speaking) in Longford, Gaelscoil Longfoirt. Anyone who got an illustration into the book was rewarded with a free copy of ‘Quirky Tales’.

This launch was a fun, fairly informal affair, and was a day for children, their parents / guardians and families. All the illustrations were exhibited on the day, so people could look at them and admire the great artwork.

Exhibition of illustrations. Photo by Annette Corkery

As people arrived, they were ushered into the biggest inside room to watch the presentation of free books to the illustrators. There was a great turn out for this.

After the free books were given out, some of the contributors read out some of their poems or extracts from their stories in ‘Quirky Tales’.

Readers : Slide 1: Irene Doran and Ann Gerety Smyth,
Slide 2: Me/ Eileen Moynihan
Slide 3: Rose Moran
Slide 4: Dan Flynn
Slide 5: Sally Martin
Slide 6: Maggi McKenna
Slide 7: Martina Cooney
Slide 8: Eddy Lane
Photos by Annette Corkery

After the readings we went through to the other room to enjoy sandwiches, buns and cakes made or bought by the contributors. Tea, coffee and soft drinks were served too. People then had a chance to buy their own copies of ‘Quirky Tales’, or to chat. look at the art exhibition, or browse in the centre’s craft shop.

Book Launch 1

Well this week has been very busy with book launches. Weeks of anticipation, worry and organizing have brought myself and others to our grand finales. As I told you before, I have been involved in two different anthologies.

The first one was with Longford Writers Group, of which I am the chairperson. 17 members of the group produced the anthology ‘Home Made,’ which contains stories and poems written on the theme of home and community.

On Monday 2nd December 2019 we all gathered for our big night. Two of us were absent due to being in other countries at the time so we were a band of 15. My good friend Lalin Swaris had volunteered to video us and take photographs, all out of the goodness of his heart. Shelley Corcoran was also there to take photos for the Longford Leader, our local newspaper. Music was provided by Valerie Nolan and Bridie Gobl, and Sean O’Neill from our group, who also had a story in the anthology. Delicious sandwiches and cakes were supplied by Roisin Moffat.

Our special guest speakers were the Mayor of Longford, Michéal Carrigy, and,Noel Greene, ( the community fundraiser for Midlands Simon Community, an organisation that helps the homeless). Longford Writers Group gave a donation of 100 euro to this charity.

We shared the evening with Reflections Art Group who were also launching their winter exhibition. County librarian, Mary Carleton Reynolds introduced the 2 groups and their work.

There was a great crowd and everyone considered it a successful evening. Thanks to all the library staff for their support, and Creative Ireland who gave us funding to do the anthology.

Back row , left to right: Linda Kelly, Thomas Carty, Martina Cooney, Sean O’Neill, Lilly Okhuakhua, Sally Martin, Damien McManus
Front row, Eileen Moynihan, Dan Flynn, Rose Moran, Dette Lowry, Philomena Murphy, Maggi McKenna, Ann Gerety Smyth, Eddy Lane. Absent: Yvonne Coates and Rob Peacock. Photo by Lalin Swaris
Reading my story . Photo by Lalin Swaris
Noel Greene accepting a cheque for 100 euro on behalf of the Midlands Simon Community. Photo by Lalin Swaris

Interview with, Gaurav Bhatnager, who is an entrepreneur, publisher and author.

Gaurav, with his son, and his first book.
The back cover of Gaurav’s first book.

When I first went into self-publishing I met, Gaurav Bhatanager, and his company ePublishingeXperts through LinkedIn, and I decided that they would provide me with the digital illustrations for my books,’ Rory Gumboots’ and ‘The Reckolahesperus.’ Gaurav has been a friend and mentor ever since.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hi, my name is Gaurav Bhatnagar and I am based in Delhi, India. I am an entrepreneur and have interests in writing, printing, art and IT. 

What do you do when you are not writing?

If I am not writing I am taking care of my client’s publishing businesses and playing with my son who is now 7 years old.

When did you first start writing and what was your first book?

My first book is based on friendship and I named it Forever Friends Club. This is a story inspired from my son’s questions when he lost his first baby tooth. It’s been a year since I launched my first book and it’s been an awesome journey to write and now market my book.

How did you choose the genre you write in?

I was inspired from my son and so naturally chose to write for kids)

Where do you get your ideas?

I got ideas from my son, his questions and curiosity provides me a fertile ground to run the horses of my imagination.

Do you ever experience writer’s block?

Yes, with my second book based on yoga.

Do you work with an outline, or just write?

My editor told me to follow an outline. I first think a plot and then build a strong character around it.

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

I was not an avid reader. Writing doesn’t come to me by choice. It happened. I narrated stories to my son and while creating a new story I ended up with my first book “Forever Friends Club”.

Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

Since I was already serving my publisher clients and authors getting my book self-published was not a challenge but marketing is. It’s a huge challenge and after one year I am still working out my ads on Amazon and trying to build a distribution market for my book.

If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your book or getting it published that you would change?

I would like to try traditional publishing. I want children across the world read the stories I write but that is not possible with self-publishing. Only a publisher with robust distribution system in place can spread the word about the book.