Featured Writer on Wellness: Lavinia Collins

Filed in Writers on Wellness by on December 13, 2017 • views: 827

For me, the biggest physical challenge is getting so wrapped up in the writing that I sit in the same position for hours until one of legs goes dead, or something like that.

I can feel the discomfort creeping up but it’s the case of “just until I get to the end of this bit” over and over again, and I don’t take as good physical care of myself as I should.

But I actually find writing can be a spur to do physical things like go for a run or a swim, because those are the times I puzzle things out with my writing. It’s just a shame that in the actual process all that hard work gets undone!

Why Writers Need a Good Writing Space

I try not to write in bed so much. It was getting to the point on writing days when I was waking up, having a coffee, then sitting in bed writing until 2pm.

I got a desktop computer which served two purposes: it meant that I had to sit sensibly at my desk, and it meant that I had a new computer that was faster and more efficient.

I think having a good writing space with a sensible chair really helps.

I have this swanky scandi-style “kneeling” chair which means that you have to sit up straight and, in theory, it is supposed to stop me slumping, but in practice after a little while I end up putting my feet on the floor and slouching anyway. But the good intention is there!

My Writer’s Brain is Always Running Through Future Scenarios

What I wasn’t prepared for was my own wildly variable emotional response to my own work.

When I’m in a “writing” phase, it’s quite all-consuming and I write and write and write and find it hard to engage with the world around me, and then the editing process (which is much, much longer) is very draining.

Sometimes I think it’s all worth it because I have managed to connect with readers in my work, and sometimes I wonder if it’s all worth it, but I think this must be pretty normal feeling for writers.

I mostly deal with this through talking to trusted friends who have read my work. Sometimes I’m just looking for reassurance, but sometimes a bit of helpful critique is also an energizing thing.

More broadly, in my life, I’ve taken up yoga and meditation which I used to be quite dubious about but I’ve found have really helped me to connect with the present moment and not be in my own head so much. I think I have a tendency to be always running through (real and fictional) future scenarios and that can be quite tiring.

It’s Important to Minimize the Influence of Negative People In Your Life

I won’t go into too much detail [on my darkest moment], but someone who I thought was a very close friend was deliberately disparaging after I opened up about my writing.

At the time I figured that not everyone had to be interested, but her behavior about it persisted beyond simple lack of interest. We are not that close any more.

There are other factors, but I think that contributed to my feeling that I didn’t want people in my life who only took. I don’t expect all of my friends to be enthusiasts for my work, but when I think of the supportive things I did for this particular person, I think I made the right decision minimizing the influence of this person in my life.

Writing is a Wonderful Antidote to the Real World

It’s definitely my passion for writing and for reading [that keeps me going]. Having a space that’s all your own into which you can escape is a wonderful antidote to the real world, and there’s nothing like being able to share that with someone else.

To have entertained your readers, or given them some comfort or escape.

Advice for a Young Writer: Nurture the Creative Partnerships that Give You Energy

I would say that the hardest part is being able to motivate yourself and to continue having faith in yourself when you cannot avoid the fact that what you hear from others about your work will affect how you feel about it.

You have to take those moments in your stride, weather them, and come back to it the next day and ask yourself if there something productive you can do with what you’ve received.

Sometimes a negative comment is helpful advice packaged carelessly. Sometimes it’s someone else’s bitterness and it can’t do anything for you.

Keeping faith in yourself with all of that going on is a challenge, but you need to nurture the friendships and creative partnerships that give you positive energy.

That doesn’t mean surrounding yourself with people who say “I love everything about your work.” That means compassionate people who you can trust who say “I love x character. I wish there was more than y. I didn’t understand this part of the plot, and I think you need to lay the groundwork for it more clearly.”

People who love you will bless you with their honesty as well as their kindness.

* * *

Lavinia Collins is a writer of fantasy and romance. She has a Ph.D. in Medieval Studies and these have been her inspiration for her writing, much of which is based on Arthurian Legend. She likes cats and red wine, and dislikes early mornings and running through fields of wheat.

For more information on Lavinia and her work, please see her website, and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.


The Cornish Princess: The King of Britain is dead, without a male heir. The politics of her country never mattered much to Igraine, until now, when they threaten to rob her of her home, Tintagel castle.

When the witch Merlin tells her destiny will make her queen, a defiant Igraine refuses an offer of marriage from Uther, a rough soldier and unlikely pretender for the throne.

But destiny cannot be avoided and the harder she fights it, the more brutal it will be when it comes.

The Cornish Princess (available at Amazon) is the first book in the last series by Lavinia Collins based on women in Arthurian legend. It is followed by Book II, Merlin’s Curse. The final book in the series, Mother of the King, will be published soon.

Merlin’s Curse: Freshly widowed, with a child she can’t possibly have in safety and two grieving daughters, Igraine must negotiate the dangerous politics of a court in turmoil, unsure of if she is its new queen or a prisoner. With Uther’s promises not yet kept, and him slipping further under Merlin’s control, to protect her unborn child, her daughters and the home she has left behind, Igraine is forced to make deals with people she knows are not to be trusted.

Merlin’s Curse (available at Amazon) is the second book by Lavinia Collins in the Igraine Trilogy.

The Igraine Trilogy is the last in a series of four chronicles featuring the lives of legendary Arthurian women. In order of publication they are, Guinevere, Morgan, and Morgawse. The collected versions are available on Kindle and in paperback from Amazon.

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Comments (2)

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  1. I love Lavinia! And hearing her own voice, practical and kind, make me like her more. And I agree, books (either writing or reading them) are an escape. They’re a place my soul has been missing lately…reading eBooks just isn’t the same!

  2. Angela Noel says:

    Excellent advice here! I particularly appreciate the importance of awareness about the people we surround ourselves with. When I’ve become aware of both the extraordinary gift of some people in my life, and the “disparaging” influences as well, I find myself compelled to act. In the first case, to express my gratitude. In the second, to run away!
    Thank you for sharing your advice!