What does the number of bookshops reveal about a city or town?

Here – in what has been described by one person as a cheap and plastic town – by the coast I have so far found three second-hand bookshops (photos to follow), in addition to WH Smiths. I haven’t seen a Waterstones.

Two of the bookshop owners are near or past retirement age, which makes me wonder what will happen to the stock when they’re no longer around.

So far, I’ve bought a small collection of Rumpole stories (50p) from one. I couldn’t find any in the other small town but I recently discovered that the library here has the entire collection and a few other books by John Mortimer. The library is large for a small town.

Then there are the charity shops which also have lots of books, and an Oxfam shop devoted entirely to books.

I don’t know if the people are particularly bookish but there are far more books on sale than I expected.

Then again, perhaps these locals were given books as presents which they no longer want or need. Or they just prefer to use the space for CDs/DVDs, or for a bigger television.

The last town I was in was the birth place of Izaak Walton but I saw no evidence of his legacy in the people. And the only signs of gratitude from the town were a statue in the park and a plaque. The new library was far smaller than the old one. There were also three large supermarkets within walking distance – two of which opened 24-hrs – and at least three shops selling cheap confectionery and crisps.

I don’t want to get sniffy about this but I’m not giving any prizes for guessing what those locals – and the council – prefer.

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#author Absent from author website for two months – or so.

I’ve neglected my author website for more than two months – apologies to those still following me.

February and March were trying and nearly everything ground to a halt.  I still made the odd scrappy note but postponed my read-aloud edit until I moved back to the coast. (Now I’m here I have yet to settle)

I still need to make some changes to my first book. I hope to make a start this week – Easter having closed everything down in this small town.

Internet connection is hit and miss, and I can’t have access whenever I want. (There’s also no Freeview.) I wrote this on Word and saved it until I was able to post it.

My calf muscle is still hurting but I’ve nearly stopped limping. I think it was caused by changing the height of my shoes (from one inch to half an inch!) which stretched the muscle. I can’t think of any other explanation.

I still have to get back into the swing of things as they were ten or so weeks ago but, despite all this, I still feel inexplicably optimistic (here’s hoping not deluded) mainly because I feel the only way is up.


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“My mentality was one of just keep going, rather than to adapt and grow.” by @VaughnRoycroft via @WriterUnboxed #author

per·se·vere, /pərsəˈvir/ verb – To continue in a course of action even in the face of difficulty or with little or no prospect of success. As writers we’ve all heard about the need for perseverance in our quest for success, right? Which I’m sure for many conjures images of writing away, day after day. Or perhaps…

via Embracing Perseverance — Writer Unboxed

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#author Set a time limit to write an outline for your story outline.

It doesn’t matter how many words you write. I wrote mine this morning in a supermarket cafe – which meant I couldn’t stay there all day – and produced an outline of 616 words for my third book (while stepping back from my second).

I can use this as a guide to continue with my skeleton story to which I’ll also add my never-ending scrappy notes.

Talking of which, they are a pain but I’m glad I’ve got something extra with which to work. It’s a pity that they’re in such a mess.


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