To write a story selected for a “Best of…” SF anthology

Read on, or watch the video! ⬇️ 👍

Hi, folks 👋. What we’re going to do today is talk a little bit more about morning pages and how they can help you in your creativity.

A lot of people say, Julie Cameron included, I think, that you shouldn’t look back on your morning pages. “Don’t look back on your morning pages!” they say. As if this is some kind of golden rule.

But what I’m going to do is tell you how I used my morning pages to create something I’m really proud of…

A selection of my notebooks

A couple of years ago, Ian Whates at NewCon Press asked me to write a short story for him. And this would be included in a freebie to be given away to members of a science fiction convention.

Ian’s been great over the years, and asked me to write several short stories for him, one of which was called Songbirds. This was the story of how an alien invasion affects an ordinary suburban family.

Songbirds was included in the Conflicts anthology, and was really well received. My peers liked it. It was even nominated for an award!

I’m not bragging, though, because, y’know – it didn’t win!


My immediate thought when Ian asked me to write this new short story: let’s do a sequel to Songbirds.

Screenshot from the above video

Now, I’d had these things knocking around in my head for years called “bloodbirds”. Kind of an evocative name. Evokes images of vampires or something like that. Kind of dark and sinister. And I thought that would be the perfect title.

And I knew a few things as soon as he asked me.

  • The story would be a sequel to Songbirds, set some years later
  • It would be a romance/love story with a twist
  • The main character of focus would be a relatively young female – say in her late 20s.

I’ve learned over the years to give these things space. So when it came to Bloodbirds, I just started making notes and lists and stuff like that –

I didn’t start writing though. I wasn’t going to force it.

So I’d make these notes and lists and jot down ideas on scraps of paper or in notebooks and any of the notes that I made that I felt were good I typed up.

On my typewriter. I’ve got five of them. I love typewriters! Me and Tom Hanks? We’re like that 🤞.

Screenshot from the above video

So how do morning pages fit in?

I’d keep my typed pages in a notebook, and I’d take the notebook up to bed with me. And the last thing before I went to sleep, the absolute last thing, I looked through the typed pages.

I’d just glance through them. Then I’d place them back in the book, put them on the bedside locker and go to sleep.

And in the morning when I’d wake up, I’d do my morning pages. I wouldn’t force it – I’d just see what came out. And very often this was good stuff.

Sometimes it would be whole paragraphs.

Sometimes, just a sentence.

Or an observation that I should cut something, change something, consider something, an idea… I’d never know what it would be.

I just followed the writing.

Screenshot from the above video

And this stuff from my morning pages I’d highlight in the book, and then type that up too. And it would get expanded upon.

It was gold.

The result was a story that I’m proud of, and which was selected for The Best of British Science Fiction 2021 anthology.

Me, in a “Best of…” Imagine that. 😊

So that’s how I use morning pages in my own creative work. And maybe you can too.

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