5 Tips for writer’s block

unsplash stock photo rising out of the ocean blog top tips for writer's block by Karen Guyler

Last week had the Wonderful Karen Guyler here to give us her insight into the word of novel writing. Today she joins us again to share her thoughts on something a lot of people suffer from; writer’s block. Is it a myth?

At the risk of causing an uproar I believe there is no such thing. We’ve all heard the flippant comebacks that you don’t hear about neurosurgeon block – sorry Mr Patient, can’t operate today because I’m just not feeling it  – or mechanic block – sorry, Mrs Broken Down Car, can’t sort it out because I’m blocked.  But there are times for all creatives when being creative is just hard, those days where it’s easier to bang your head on the desk than stare at the blank screen.

I believe it’s more an inspiration issue and to get new inspiration out, you have to put it in. So, stop staring, go read something, do some research, go do something where words are not involved – pair up the odd socks, go for a walk/run/bike ride.  Don’t confuse this with displacement activities and I am so good at being the queen of displacement, I sometimes have to shout at myself to just sit down and get on with it!

When I hit that point I’ve learnt to walk away because I know I’m derailing my story and that’s why my muse is blocking me so it’s then a question of figuring out where I’ve gone wrong.

If you’re finding it hard to write these tips should help:

 1. Free write

Just a stream of whatever is going on in your head.

‘Well, this is rubbish, I have no idea what to write now, I’m stuck, don’t even know why, why is writing about a fairground so hard? Why are they even in a fairground, oh, wait a minute.’ If you can get out of your own way, you’ll often shake loose what’s wrong.

 2. Write something else.

Be that something entirely different such as flash fiction, a short story, just to show you that it’s not writing that is giving you the problem –  you can still do it! – it’s what you’re writing.

3. Jump ahead a few scenes

Jump to the one you’re really looking forward to getting on the page, where you know exactly what’s going to happen, this can really help when you’re stuck as once you see where you’re aiming for, you get a much clearer idea of how to get there. Writing ‘XXXX happens here’ is okay in first draft!  Examine your story elements

4. Look at your plot

If you’re struggling to write, maybe your story doesn’t have enough legs to get you to where you want to go. Can you introduce a subplot?

5. Characterisation

Is your character doing something deep down you know they wouldn’t? Do you need to work that trait into their characterisation or change what you’re wanting them to do?


You can find Karen Guyler here: Twitter / Amazon / Website / Facebook
If you’re in Milton Keynes, Karen will be teaching creative writing through adult continuing education from September.


*image from unsplash

Top 5 resources for Writers

unsplash stock photo rising out of the ocean blog top 5 resources for writers by Karen Guyler

Whenever I find myself searching for inspiration I turn to Pinterest, it is a wonderful source for creatives but it is also a huge distraction from actual writing. Today we are lucky enough to have Karen Guyler, author of the dystopian thriller ‘The only’ here to share her top 5 resources for writers, and these ones won’t leave you inadvertently looking at Ikea hacks and vegan cake recipes.

1 . On Writing by Stephen King

This is so good I’ve read it twice, cover to cover, and dipped in and out. His message is simple – just do it!

2. Story: Substance, Structure, Style and the Principles of Screenwriting by Robert McKee

Hang on a minute, doesn’t that have screenwriting in the title? Yes, it does but he breaks down the all important art of telling a good story and that is true no matter what the medium. I devoured this book and took copious notes. Plus there is a crackingly long filmography at the back for inspiration when you need to do something other than write.

3. Writers’ Forum/Writers’ News/Writing Magazine/Writers’ Digest – magazines

These are all magazines to which you can subscribe and have delivered directly to your door. They offer subscriber only competitions, up-to-date news on the publishing world, advice and how-to articles for writers and are a generally good read. Writers’ Digest is a US publication so some of the competitions aren’t open to UK subscribers but the articles are definitely worth reading.

4. The Creative Penn – pod cast 

This is a weekly podcast by Joanna Penn (fabulous name for a writer!) She interviews authors, publishers, people and companies attached to publishing in any way possible, in short anyone who can help you in your writing journey. She’s a very entertaining speaker and very knowledgeable about self-publishing.

5. Electric Speed by Jane Friedman – newsletter

This is a newsletter delivered to your inbox. Jane lectures for writers’ Digest, amongst other places, and in this newsletter she shares digital tools and resources for authors. Short, informative and to the point, the newsletter is generally three things that will help you.

You can find Karen Guyler here: Twitter / Amazon / Website / Facebook
If you’re in Milton Keynes, Karen will be teaching creative writing through adult continuing education from September.


*image from unsplash

Chasers of the light – Tyler Knott Gregson

Chasers of the light Tyler Knott Gregson Rising out of the ocean blog

When you open ‘Chasers of the light’ you are instantly thrust into a world of bibliosmia and ink stained fingertips. Tyler Knott Gregson’s Typewriter Series holds a quality of nostalgia and romanticism which is hard to find in modern day poetry.

What makes this series so unique is the mind freeing, unedited process in which it is created. Each poem is written on a vintage Remington typewriter without planning and with an inability to erase. His poems are sometimes scattered and imperfect but it’s within these incoherencies that its beauty and honesty lies.

 The charming simplicity of his poetry strips everything away, leaving only what is needed to express a deep romance which saturates every line. You get the impression that romance for him extends far beyond his human relationships. It colours the way he sees the world, even when times grow dark.

Words by Hannah Earnshaw and Rachel Cole

Lucie Green Bridal

Lucie Green Bridal Rising out of the Ocean blog lolaHow would you describe your style?

My designs all have a vintage ethereal feel to them. I try to design bridal gowns and accessories that are beautiful and glamorous but very easy to wear and comfortable. I love luxurious fabrics and lots of crystal so these tend to feature quite a lot in my collections.
My accessories are also very vintage. I like to use lots of gold and crystals, pearls and flower shapes. I like it when details flow into accessories, not necessarily matching but having details that work together.

 How did you start out in bridal wear?

I have always been very creative and always made my own clothes. When I was 15 my art teacher set up a work placement for me at a couture bridal boutique where I learned the ropes of making bridal gowns and corsets, decorating shoes and making head dresses. I was only supposed to go for 2 weeks in my summer holiday but I went every day for the 6 Week break. I was then lucky enough to become a Saturday girl and continued to work in the boutique throughout 6th form and even used to come back from university every Saturday and holiday. We used to joke that the owner had micro chipped me so I wouldn’t leave! 10 years later I took over the boutique and have been living out my bridal dreams for the last 5 years! Its such an incredibly rewarding job. It can be stressful at times but it’s all part and parcel of the industry, it’s an important day and it has to be perfect. I feel so privileged that brides entrust such an important role to me.

Is there a particular era you look to for inspiration?

I love the golden age of couture. When ladies would visit ateliers and have outfits and gowns made from the most exquisite fabrics. Nothing really beats hand made garments. To look inside some of the outfits on display in the V&A with their hand stitched hems and beautiful hand sewn beadwork really is a thing of beauty.
I also love watching old Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movies. The fabrics and gowns that she used to wear were so beautiful, so romantic. The way she was able to move in them and really show off in them is a great inspiration for bridal wear. Turning heads and owning the dance floor is definitely what bridal wear should be all about!

What style of gown is your personal favourite?

I love simplistic beauty in a bridal gown. That sort of timeless elegance you get from a Jenny Packham or a Claire Pettibone gown. They’re two designers that are really making me swoon at the moment. So many textures and such gorgeous beadwork without over-doing the design elements. I think there is a fine line between decoration and over-kill. It’s a question of balance.
I also really love a great back detail on a dress. Its the first part of you that most of your guests get to see as you say your vows, so it’s a really important part of your gown.

Talk us through your design process?

When I’m designing for a client, I want her to feel a million dollars in her dress. Anything less just isn’t good enough for your bridal gown. If you’re not super excited to put it on and don’t want to take it off, it’s not the right one. So I want to exploit all the attributes of a bride that she loves and skim over any that make her feel self conscious. A lot of what makes a dress look fabulous rather than flat is how you carry yourself in it. I want my brides to have a shoulders back, head held high, show off experience in her dress. Not a cower in the corner one.
My first step is to really listen. Find out about my bride. What does she like? what’s her venue like? What types of fabrics does she want to feel against her skin? Does she need something lightweight or something to keep her warm? Does she need her gown to travel well?
Brides can then choose some gowns from my current collection to try and I’ll suggest some that I think will suit her that she may not have thought of or encountered before. My dresses are quite different to off-the-peg designs so this happens quite a lot!
We’ll then look at fabrics together and I guide my brides through the best choices for her gown. And then I will do her a design sketch of her dream gown.
And that’s where the dream starts!

What trends are popular at the moment?

Lace is still very popular, as well as blush tones in gowns.
In the accessories world, my Bluebell hair vine has been super popular as hair vines are all over the bridal catwalks at the moment. My little bridal cuffs have been proving really popular too. They make a great addition of sparkle to a brides outfit and accessorise her bouquet as she holds it in photos and add a little sparkle. And who doesn’t love a bit of extra sparkle?!?


Viktorija / Andsmile Studio

Viktorija etsy Andsmile Studio interview Rising out of the ocean blog

How you get into illustration?

I loved drawing since I was a little girl and at the age of 14 I realised that illustration was  a viable career option (I could draw for money, yay!!!), so I after finishing high school and art school (I went there parallel to the normal school) I went to University to study Illustration.

How would you describe your style?

My style is colourful, fun and I would like to develop it so that my drawings are like hugs, making people feel comfy and a bit better than a second before.

Do you have tips on developing an illustration style?

Hm, I am not sure to be honest. Keep drawing and don’t worry much about developing it, the style will develop itself once you put in many hours of work.

What is your favourite medium to work with?

I love several things to be fair, I’m a big fan of watercolour, gouache and brush pens but I also love the freedom digital manipulations in photoshop give me. So it’s a mixture of all of them which makes the best combos! 🙂


https://risingoutoftheocean.files.wordpress.com/2016/03/andsmile-studio-interview-rising-out-of-the-ocean-blog-colouring-prints-1.jpg?w=764What advice can you offer other budding designers?

Exercise! It will help us (hopefully) to have a long creative life doing what we love.

Where do you get your influences from?

Mm, it’s a hard one. I guess from everywhere I go. I love great films, trashy tv shows, visiting all the wonderful exhibitions London has to offer, coffee shops & people watching. I guess my influences are mainly from my daily observations of colours, shape, forms, stories I overhear on the streets.

Studio Etsy Andsmile Studio interview Rising out of the ocean blog

Do you work better in silence or to music?

It’s kind of weird but music really distracts me if I’m listening to something I am really involved in it and can’t do anything on the side.
If I’m in a stage of a project where I’m brainstorming & coming up with ideas I need silence. When I’m doing drawing or when I know where I’m going with the drawing I would have a tv show in the background (Murder She Wrote, X-Files) or a BBC art documentary (my favourites are with Andrew Graham-Dixon & Alastair Sooke).

Andsmile Studio interview Rising out of the ocean blogprint+sherlock+and+watson+smCan you tell us about the creative process of designing?

I would get fixated on an idea (like creating a society of stationery addicts) or just keep thinking about coffee, as a result I would draw a lot of that and would end up creating a product. To be honest I never have a great plan of something and how it would work I just go with something I would like to own myself and make it a product.

What can we expect from you in the future?

A lot more illustrations & originals. Also a brand new website & shop (which are both in the making! :).

You can see more from Andsmile Studio here:
Website / Etsy / Facebook / twitter / Instagram / Pinterest

What Tea means to me- With Louise from Teapigs


It’s no secret that I like my coffee but it just doesn’t tug on the heartstrings like a good cup of tea. Tea is a relaxing treat at the end of a long day, a de-stressing symbol of home comforts. It has been bringing people together for years and is in my opinion synonymous with camaraderie.

I’m interested in what makes us Brits so sentimental towards tea; we love the stuff so much that we even introduce it to our children through play and classic literature such as Peter Pan, Alice in wonderland and Winnie the pooh.

We asked Teapigs’ professional tea taster Louise what tea means to her.


Tea features pretty big in my life from first thing in the morning to the end of the day. I am so lucky to have found a job which involves the most amazing natural product, grown in the most exotic locations and gives so many people such great pleasure- ok so it’s not giving us world peace but it’s pretty great stuff.

It certainly had a place in my childhood and my children’s. They realise just as I did that everything stops for tea, it’s what you give people when they come to the house or office and my daughter loves ‘making tea’ for everyone.

Everyone likes tea differently and that’s what makes it so great. I am pretty particular about making tea properly, fresh water, at the correct temperature, brewed properly, allowed to cool-perfect.



Graphic Designer Sarah Wood

Graphic Designer Sarah Wood interview Rising out of  the Ocean Blog Dilly and the Boo Hannah Earnshaw  New blood is an important part of the graphic design profession, it’s an opportunity to explore new concepts and get a fresh perspective. With more and more people opting to study in this competitive field it’s always interesting to see what these new graduates can achieve. Sarah Wood who has recently graduated with a Bachelor in Communication Design from Otago Polytechnic New Zealand is just one of those striving to make it as a designer.

Your work has obvious Urban and Rural influences, where do you get your inspiration from?

My urban influences were inspired by my love for city’s culture and modern architecture, while my rural influences were inspired by the outdoors-particularly my hometown Queenstown. I have a significant interest in the environment as I was always encouraged as a child to spend my time outdoors. I believe that has had an influence on who I am as a person, but also on my style of designing.

Graphic Designer Sarah Wood interview Rising out of the Ocean Blog Dilly and the Boo Hannah EarnshawGraphic Designer Sarah Wood interview Rising out of  the Ocean Blog Dilly and the Boo Hannah Earnshaw (2)

What is the most important thing your course has taught you?

I believe the most useful thing I’ve taken from my course is to communicate as much as possible with people. I’ve learnt over my three years of studying, that it is important to pick people’s brains- whether it be that you want to learn something or ask a favour. I would never have achieved my end goal without reaching out and communicating. You never know till you ask.

Can you talk us through your design process?

I have a very organized process which I follow through for each of my projects, to maintain a clear and ordered development of work. I start by creating a clear brief, outlining the specifications and summarized purpose of the project. I research existing relevant work to inspire me, then I let all my ideas out on paper through scribbling notes and pictures, proceeding to develop the best idea to a finished design. Throughout my whole process, I research on Pinterest regularly for inspiration and motivation.

Graphic Designer Sarah Wood interview Rising out of the Ocean Blog Dilly and the Boo Hannah EarnshawGraphic Designer Sarah Wood interview Rising out of the Ocean Blog Dilly and the Boo Hannah Earnshaw

What has been your favourite project to date?

I would say my self – branding has been my favourite and most effective project so far. This was a great chance to discover and develop my style and design philosophy and reflect it in a representative way.

Graphic Designer Sarah Wood interview Rising out of the Ocean Blog Dilly and the Boo Hannah Earnshaw

Which designers inspire you?  

I have a wide range of designer influences but one of my most favourites would have to be Sagmeister and Walsh. I love the beautiful and playful nature of their work, which has taught me not to be too serious in my work and to create designs that my audience will enjoy and remember.

 Where do you hope your degree will take you?

My big dream is to become a professional Graphic Designer in Australia working for either a big Design Agency or a fashion brand. My course only really started me off with my learning, I still have a lot to learn through my current and future design careers. However, each job is a step closer to that big dream.