Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Become a Diary Writer

As January is quickly approaching now is the time to be thinking about those new year's resolutions, that is if you have not already got the one picked out that you failed to keep last year.

So getting fit, stopping smoking and eating healthy are all good and valid new year's resolutions but have you considered keeping a diary? How many times have you got a diary for Christmas and kept it for all of a month?

If you are already a diary writer, great keep it up, you will have an amazing record of your life. So a publishing deal of your diary entries is probably very unlikely but being able to look back in several years time is irreplaceable.

As a writer keeping a diary is especially good practice, it gets you in the mentality of writing and even when you are having a dry spell at least you can be assured you are writing something.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Writing as a means of venting

Something that is often mentioned as an important source for writers is using your own experience. This is pretty obvious when you think about it, but, if you're not actively trying to find inspiration for writing, your own useful experiences can easily be forgotten.

Recently I was able to turn a negative and unpleasant experience into a useful writing exercise. So the piece of writing will probably never become anything particularly constructive in this example but not only does it allow me to keep up the mentality of writing regularly it also allowed me to vent how I felt about the experience.

The experience in question was the Christmas Food Shop. I probably had the common experience that most people have involving stress, annoyance and a vow to boycott the supermarket you used as a result. Normally I would rant about this experience for several days afterwards to my unfortunate other half however on this occasion I chose to put down how I felt in words.

As a result I have a piece of something to show for the event, a piece of writing I may use extracts from in the future (you never know) and also a complaint that, should I decided to, I can always forward to the company in question and maybe get some nice vouchers as an apology in return (but that would have effect on the said boycott).

Any experience can be used in your writing and even if it does not create something sellable or even publishable it is an effective method of exorcising the event and your emotions. If it is perhaps a difficult event you want to write about however it is important to mention that you ensure you have the support you need around you as you may find this exercise conjures some difficult emotions.

My ranty vent can be found at

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Writing in the Dark Months

I have heard that a lot of writers are much more productive in the winter months possible because they are not as busy out and about soaking up the English 'summer'. I seem to swing both ways (which is typical of me).

I can have periods of ravenous writing where I am not distracted by anything else and I feel that my productivity has never been as good. On the other hand I want to curl up and sleep, my major vice and the one that detracts most from my writing.

The only cure for this I have found is to find something inspirational so you can give yourself a kick up the rear and get back on the wagon.

But what if it is more than just feeling a bit of winter hibernation tendencies? When you are feeling down or even run down it can be incredibly difficult to motivate yourself to write, and in some ways it's unhelpful.

I do find the darker months difficult and as a result I find writing hard to sustain which then gets me more down because I am missing out on something I enjoy but then what is the point in dwelling on this. If I cannot bring myself to write then is it really constructive feeling guilty about it, I write for me when it comes down to it and if I am in no mood to write then it is me it effects.

Sometimes I do get a bit lazy about it and need to give myself a kick up the bum and there are various methods of motivation I could use:

1. Get inspired by another writer
2. Watch an inspirational film, ideally involving a writer
3. Don't start with the daunting black piece of paper, instead doodle on it and collate ideas before beginning so you don't feel you're starting from scratch.
4. If you don't feel you can write what you're working on write something else
5. Do a blog entry
6. Talk to other writers
7. Work out where on the shelf you will be alphabetically when you are a published writer

To be honest I think you just have to do whatever works, unless you are one of those beavering winter writers in which case I envy you but at least I shall be writing more in the summer months. But, whatever you do, never feel guilty.

Monday, 30 November 2009

Current Projects

I cannot believe that today is the last day of November. It's scary to think that we will shortly be in 2010! There must something about these dark evenings that empowers my motivation and creativity as it always seems to be this time of year that I take on new projects and my output increases.

I thought it was about time that I did a post to update readers on my current projects so here goes:

My main project, as of today, is a book review. I have produced book and film reviews in the past for my The Culture Review blog but this will have a much wider readership. I am of course jumping ahead of myself, there is a lot of work to be done before the deadline of next week and I could submit the review only for the editor to turn round and state disinterest, but at the moment, it is a promising lead and something I will be giving my all to.

Also on the agenda recently has been poetry. A few months ago (see earlier blogs) I attended Wax Lyrical and ever since I have been deeply inspired to do more with my own poetry, including increasing the amount of poems I produce. That is something I am still doing and the two poems I read in my last Writers' Group meeting were received with praise. I'm trying to write a couple of poems a week so we'll see how it goes.

I have found one of the ways to find focus in my poetry is to work with a general theme and produce several poems in that area. That's the method I have been using over the last month and it seems to have been helpful. It also means that the day someone says 'lets publish' (I have to think positive with this) I'll have a collection of poems ideally suited to be grouped together in a book.

Finally, I am still trying to break in to the womag market. I admitted long ago that I was vastly niaive in my anticipation of the difficulty I would have in this. My current strategy has been to thoroughly research and examine one publication and just keep submitting (taking any feedback on board of course) until I get somewhere. This may sound like bombardment but I am being controlled about it. Last night I finished the first draft of a story to send out after over a week of researching the magazine. At least, after I do some reworking, I can send it out with confidence that it fits the magazine style and I have done everything I can to ensure that.

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Am I a quitter?

So NaNoWriMo finishes at midnight on Monday and how far off am I? Well I've given in. I know, it's ridiculous and it hardly sets the best example. All those hours spent in the beginning wasted. A failure, and I could rhyme off numerous excuses, but there is only one excuse and that's that I just did not put enough into it.

I am pleased to say that I am seeing others thrive with the challenge and getting near to the target 50,000 words . My final word count was just over 15,000. No, not a great achievement in the grand scheme of things and yes I could slap myself for my failings but is it worth it?

Believe it or not I have got something out of NaNoWriMo and that is a reinforced determination and enthusiasm. It has assisted in getting me into the habit of writing again. During these winter months I don't like to lock myself away in the cold of the study I want to be sat in the warm lounge and curled up on the sofa and sadly that is where the writing suffers. Maybe it is because I have 'failed' NaNoWriMo that I am struck with this sense of purpose.

Last night I was at my Writers' Group, something I have missed for the last two months and that in itself gives me enough of a kick up the butt to DO something. Had I been busily typing away to build up my word count I would not have made the group and surely the group is more constructive.

I like to think the words I did manage will not go to waste. I am bound to find some use for them. I think a lot of this writing lark, especially when you are a wannabe like me (it's ok I can take it, until I in publication I am a wannabe) is mainly about the determination to do it. You can be the best writer in the word but unless you spend the time writing you will never get anywhere. So, I may have quit the NaNoWriMo challenge but I am still plodding on with the much larger one- getting published.

And, as for the NaNoWriMo participant logo, I will be keeping that up for now, after all, it's not the winning that counts, it's the taking part.

Monday, 16 November 2009

NaNoWriMo in November: The Halfway Point

It is the 16th of November and we are officially into the second half of the month which means I am half way through my NaNoWriMo challenge. So how am I doing?

Well the word count, which a week ago I was so proud of now look measly. I am depressingly and predictably behind and beginning to consider giving up in advance of failure. But then this is all to be expected. NaNoWriMo is a tall order and despite trying to get ahead of myself in the early stages life has of course gotten in the way.

I do, probably like most participants, feel like I am writing a load of tripe but I think because you are focusing on quantity not quality you do allow your subconscious to take over. Out of 50,000 words probability tells you there is bound to be something salvageable amongst it!

I have a lot of hard work still to do but I feel that the experience has given me the motivation to sit down and write every day and not to get too worked up about the quality at the first draft stage. Sometimes overthinking hinders the creative process.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

The NaNoWriMo Challenge

So it's official- I am participating in the NaNoWriMo 2009.

I don't know why. Last year with so many other tasks on my ever growing list I failed miserably and originally I had no intention of participating this year.

National Novel Writing Month, to give it the full name, takes place every November. The aim is to write 50,000 words in that month. This is not enough for the average novel but the idea being productivity and then to be able go on and use what you produce.
After seeing other people on Talkback debating this year's NaNoWriMo and then sneaking a glance at the website something within me was stirred. A month of insane writing? How could I possibly say no.
So watch this space for my progress. If you think you have what it takes to take up the challenge visit the NaNoWriMo website at

Friday, 2 October 2009

September Round Up

Well September never went as planned, never the less it did go well.

In the productivity stakes it was pretty low on the meter. The pieces I intended to be sending out simply did not go to plan.

Short story number one I did the first draft for and liked the female protagonist I developed but the plot lacked umph! After reworking it I decided it was a project that was best coming back to at a later date, instead of forcing something that just was not working.

Short story number two I love but did not get very far with. It had a great opening but I am still looking for where it can go next. There is so much I can do with it I am not going to rush it and mess it up. It is staying at the forefront of my thoughts so I can keep thinking about what could happen while I work on other projects.

I did manage to get a poem done, one that is different from others I have recently produced and that I like the look of.

The big event of the month was my break away in Leeds and York and, considering how much I flogged last month I did take September, in the end, as an opportunity to relax and enjoy myself.

The reason the month went so well is that, not only did I relax for a change, I also produced two articles for a website. So, provided they are happy with the finished product, I will be getting my first by-line.

Yay me!!

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Dealing With Rejection

I was in the unfortunate circumstances of having had three rejections in two weeks a few days ago. Rejection is of course all part of being a writer, even the most successful of writers have it and if you cannot deal with rejection then you are in the wrong business. Still, three in two weeks is more than I'm used to and it does leave with rather a glum downbeat feeling.

Speaking to other writers we all seem to deal with it in one of two ways. Some I spoke to find that rejection actually spurs then on to write, if, for example, the rejection is from a woman's magazine they will make necessary adjustments and resubmit elsewhere.

Unfortunately, I tend to be in the other category- those who sulk, drown their sorrows and think 'why do I bother?'. That's possibly down to my pessimistic personality but many others are just the same. It is normal, I tell myself, to feel like this when you put your all into something and then it comes back to you with a slip of thanks but no thanks. You can tell before you open the envelope and that's what I find difficult, opening it with the small hope that maybe they accepted it but returned a copy to me for my convenience.

I would love to be in the other category, those that strive through and laugh in the face of the standardized letters, its the much more sensible and productive stance to take. I will try to do this and I urge everyone else to also.

Above all remember, as long as you are getting those rejection letters you are a writer!

Friday, 4 September 2009

Open Mic

In June I attended the Wax Lyrical even in Cockermouth (see post Wax Lyrical) but did not perform. Now, I am seriously thinking of performing in an open mic session next month. In fact at the moment I am planning to perform.

This is scary stuff! Why am I wanting to put myself through this? I suppose it's a bit like wanting to go on the big ride at the fair (which I normally don't do to be honest) there is something inside that dares you to push down your fears.

When I went to Wax Lyrical in June my intention was always I will perform myself... at some point. But that was exactly it, it was a far off thought that, although truthful it was far away, maybe sixth months or a year away.

After talking to someone in my writers' group that attends a regular open mic night I think part of me became compelled to put myself up there. It can't be that different from reading within a writers' group, can it?

Saturday, 29 August 2009

The Calendar for September

Before the start of this month I organised what I was going to be working on and what deadlines I needed to meet and it seems to have been incredibly successful! Through August and part of July I have been a lot stricter at following a writing routine, mostly spending at least one hour a day at my desk a day.

I quickly found, although the one hour a day was good, alone it was not enough. I started planning what I would be doing in that hour in advance, meaning I would not waste time during my hour trying to prioritise my work which was an easy method of procrastinating.

As a result this month I have been able to complete five separate pieces, three of which have been submitted to either competitions or publications. This is compared to two in July, two in June and one in May. I have more than doubled my output between July and August!

So I have been working a lot harder and dedicating more time but it has not been at any great strain. I don't feel I have had to work flat out and because I have set myself realistic deadlines and planned my work I have spent most of the time feeling good about myself for being on target or even a head of it.

What's more because I am planning my work I can be flexible with it. Last night the other half took me out for a posh meal (I know I am very lucky). The problem was I had planned to finish two pieces of work. Now I can hardly turn round and declare this but it was not a problem, because its Saturday today I have simply been able to put it off until today as well as doing what I had planned to do today anyhow.

I hope I have not made that sound too complicated or nerdy. What I am basically trying to express is that August has been a very good month for me productivity wise and it would seem it is down to being well-organised.

With this knowledge I have already planned how I will be spending September. I have produced a calendar for the month, inputted any deadlines I need to meet, took into consideration appointments and holidays and then organised what work I will do around them. September's calendar at the moment is looking very full and I may be being overambitious in hoping to achieve it all but, if August is anything to go by, I should be having another productive month.

Saturday, 15 August 2009

The Office Makeover

So after a morning of sorting out various errands I sorted out my own space. My home office has been needing a major overhaul for some time. Although useful and home to the essentials for getting writing done it was hardly welcoming.

For some time now the office has been housing an extra computer chair, various scraps of paper, a toy mouse (for the cat) and just general mess. Not to mention the printer being on the floor (not good) as well as a large pile of magazines.

The plan had been to buy a magazine tray and an extra table but that has never happened. These sorts of things go on the list, I occasionally remember that they need purchased but it never actually happens. In the end I came to the ingenious solution that it would make much more sense to use the shelving unit already in the office. I have no idea why this has taken so long to think of.

So I spent a short amount of time (short because I wanted the office sorted so dusting was not essential) rearranging the unit, moving the CD tower etc etc and dumping the excess books in the spare room.

And hey presto.... a great smart looking work space complete with an off-the-floor printer and a map that has been thoroughly blu-tacked to the wall. I have visions of hearing a strange noise in the night only to find the map is no longer on the wall (it is a very large map that took my several attempts to put up straight).

The reason this is all so important, apart from hosting some guests next weekend, is that a tidy room means a tidy mind. Of course that probably is not actually true but it does look MUCH better, unlike the spare room. Please keep an eye out for the pictures I will be posting!!

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

ASCA Counselling Writing Competition

ASCA Counselling & Therapy Services are running a writing competition to find 100 short stories and/or poems for inclusion in an anthology.

If have experienced abuse and managed to overcome it, you can enter this contest by writing a relevant poem or short story of no more than 500 words. The anthology of the top 100 entries will be published later this year and revenue from the competition will be used to enable lower-income clients to receive counselling.

Entry Fee: £5 each, £10 for three.

Prizes: £100, £50, £25.

Closing Date: 28 August 2009

Thursday, 6 August 2009

I must have been busy

So with no blog posted in over a month I know I must have been busy. This is of course a good thing.

I spent much of July working on a short story for entry in a competition. I know a lot of people are not keen on writing competitions, more so those that require a fee. I understand their viewpoint as what is the point in paying to submit a piece when you could submit it for free to a magazine and have a much higher chance of success.

Generally I only go for competitions that inspire me, are not too popular (meaning there is less chance of winning) and where the fee is a small amount (as some can be as much as £10- which I find hard to justify as fair). Only if at the very end I genuinely feel I have a chance of winning do I actually submit the piece.

I did submit the piece in the end so it is no simply a case of waiting to see if I get lucky. The other negativity about competitions is the lack of guidelines.

Other projects last month included working on a piece for People's Friend which I now have sitting in a drawer and hope to be submitting later this month. I did enjoy working on this as the magazine's style is quite different so it was demanding trying to get something that I felt would work for the readership.

It's with pieces I am unsure about that I am glad to be part of Talkback. I knew several members on the forum had previous success with People's Friend so it was great to be able to get some constructive feedback and I have put this to good use.

The other writing community in my life is of course 'Lakeland Writers' (or I think that is what it is called now). They meet once a month in Papcastle and I have only recently started attending again after sorting the house out. Each month we set a homework for the next session. That was another thing I was working on in July. The homework was to write about 'things we'd like to know'. I did a poem about 'knowing' a person and I was overwhelmed by the feedback I got. It is reassuring when you get good feedback to know that at least you're on the right track.

This month the homework is to write a war poem, which I imagine will be challenging but it encourages me to write something out of my comfort zone. That will be just one thing I will be working on in August.

Other August projects include two pieces for competitions, a piece for an American magazine and researching My Weekly. No doubt it will be an even busier month in that case. Somewhere on my list I do have my blog but it is sadly lower down I am afraid.

The problem I have when I am this busy is that however much I want to have a regular, successful blog inundated with followers, my other projects hold the possibility of publication and even (drum roll) payment!

What makes my blog more promising is that I now have a much more organised and active writing schedule. So all being well I should be able to fit my blogging in somewhere...

Monday, 29 June 2009

Wax Lyrical

On Friday I attended the Wax Lyrical event at Cockermouth's Kirkgate and hosted by Ann The Poet.

I cannot possibly express how much I enjoyed the event. To say that it exceeded my expectations would be an understatement.

The audience was fairly modest and the atmosphere was relaxed. Ann immediately put everyone at ease and livened the mood with her wit. She is certainly a good host for this type of event.

The event opened with Ann reading some of her own poems from her own book 'Synesthetic' and then she introduced the Open Mic. As yet, Open Mic is not something I have ever had the bottle to participate in and after Friday and seeing the talent on show, the growing of that bottle may take a little longer.

One of my favourite performers, Jesse, read a short story. I said read, she performed from memory and sang the song that was part of the story. The story was about a sea child and I found it very moving, and the fact she could actually sing made it all the more enjoyable.

Another poem read by a local gentleman was about growing old. The reader was obviously nervous and I felt the room hold it's breath, you could not help but will him to do well. I loved the poem and as someone with many years to go until I myself am old I think it was thought provoking.

The two scheduled poets performing at the event were Sarah Miller and Emma McGordon.

Sarah was introduced as a beautiful goth playwright, evident in her make-up. Her poems were modern and reflected real life. After listening to her session I don't think I will ever look at make-up counter women in the same way. The leaflet advertising Wax Lyrical stated that Sarah's poetry was 'infused with dark humour and influenced by youth culture' this was certainly evident especially in 'If I loved you I would burn your f*****g house down' which she read with some apprehension.

The final performer was Emma McGordon who I immediately fell in love with. Emma was born and raised in West Cumbria and her first poem 'Love Letters' based on the phonetic alphabet was inventive and raised several smiles.

The most moving piece for me was 'The Scary Thing About Those Who Jump'. Emma explained that she wrote the piece after a woman had jumped from the top of the Whitehaven multi storey car park. Towards the end of the poem I did struggle to hold my emotion.

At the end of the night I bought Emma's book 'Those Who Jump'. After hearing her work there was no way I could leave without buying it.

I think the event certainly gave a good representation of the exceptional talent we have in Cumbria and I will be looking forward to the next.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Marked Progress

So it has been a little while since my last blog and it is good to know that it is because I have been busy writing. Surely that is the best reason for a lacking blog on my writer's blog??!

Writing Pictures, Images and Photos

So looking over my 'current projects' from my previous I can contently say that I have done them all! Success and cheers! Of course number one is kind of an ongoing project.

After reading through numerous magazines (for research purposes) I did a short story for Take A Break which I am now waiting to hear back on. Fingers crossed. Because of the research I was able to write a story that I knew would fit in with their magazine and I sent it away with some hope.

I do not want to get my hopes up too high at the moment but it is a good feeling to be sending work out knowing that there is a chance of publication.

Once I had sent out that short story I struggled to flush it from my mind. Not to mention the manuscript of the memoir I am waiting on. My solution- research a different magazine and submit a short story to them!

I had several copies of Woman's Weekly which I read from cover to cover (including the adverts- a little hint I read in Della Galton's How to Write and Sell Short Stories). Then, feeling inspired and with a good feel for the readership I did a short story aimed at Woman's Weekly.

The submission to Woman's Weekly was posted today.

So that's two short story submissions since my last post. I feel all warm and glowing with pride. Now I just have to await the outcome which could be 4-6 and, in the case of Woman's Weekly, 16 weeks!
Smiley Cat Pictures, Images and Photos

How am I going to keep myself busy and not keep thinking about my current submissions? Well I plan to submit something else of course.

I do feel I have made real improvements on my short story writing and I partly must thank Della Galton. There were a few key aspects of submitting to magazines that I had not previously came across. Hopefully the proof in my improvement will be in the form of an acceptance.

Fingers crossed!
fingers crossed Pictures, Images and Photos

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Increasing the Output

You maybe will have noticed that the blog has slowed somewhat, which thankfully is because I have been busy being productive.

These are the tasks I have been doing when I have not been blogging:

1. My regular full-time job- of course
2. Researching womag's so I can submit effectively
3. Writing a short story to submit to womag
4. Editing and finalising said short story
5. Decorating the front lounge

Ok, the regular full-time job is an essential. You don't do that, you don't get paid you don't have food, you die and all the dreams of being a writer die with you. I do actually enjoy my job but it can be very difficult fitting my writing round it. I come in from work and then I know should be writing even though I have just spent the day looking at a computer screen. You would think I would write by hand then, but I can't resist the ease of on-screen editing.

I am widening my scope in writing short story material for women's magazines. This is something I tried about a year ago, when I was less experienced and more naive. I cannot believe what a difference a year makes. Before writing a short story I researched the market. I already had an idea for a plot in mind but wanted to establish the preferred writing style and what the other stories are like.

Reading 'Wannabe a Writer?' also helped. Jane Wenham-Jones has successfully written several short stories for women's magazines so I was able to get an insight into what really worked. Hopefully, this has helped.

reading bible Pictures, Images and Photos

'Wannabe a Writer?' had a wide scope of information on various aspects of writing, from the initial ideas to pitching. On another note it also highlighted the hazards of being a writer, such as the dreaded 'writer's bottom'. I am now in fear of 'writer's bottom' and will be getting back on the fitness wagon tonight!

exercise Pictures, Images and Photos Update on the fitness wagon: I fell off. Well, you can't say you're surprised. I am human, chips are irresistible and exercise is not appealing when you have spent the day at work, the TV is one, there are stories to be written and the sofa is feeling ever so comfortable. Besides, look at the increased writing input, the real push to develop this writing career of mine, surely that is worth a little bit of fat on the sides. Nevertheless I will be climbing back on the wagon tonight. Hopefully.

In terms of the output I did finish, edit and finalise that short story for Take a Break and it went out in the post last night. Fingers crossed once again as I keep my mind occupied with another short story. Tonight I will be scouring over Woman's Weekly. I was supposed to be doing this last night but comfy sofa and TV became distracting. Darn that Apprentice.

I will now point out that it is the other half that is addicted to The Apprentice not myself. Although if it is on and I am in the room my eyes tend to move in that direction.

The final distraction was the decorating. This was the much overdue decorating of the lounge and occurred over the bank holiday weekend. Friday evening (yes, even though we had both spent the day at work, I would rather have been writing and it would have been much more enjoyable to relax with a film) we painted half the ceiling. The painting of the ceiling was essential as the ceiling tiles had been painted a horrid yellow colour. Saturday we finished the ceiling. I say finished, due to the nature of the tiles we will still need to go round the intricate details of every tile with a fine paint brush. I imagine that will be done slowly over several months. Saturday evening and Sunday we also did the wall a lovely orange colour. So we're done (more or less), just a book case put up, a frame to buy and some pictures to hang.

So in all it has been a productive week and a bit. Go me!

busy cat Pictures, Images and Photos

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Writer's Words

Firstly I apologise there was no blog yesterday. The day was occupied primarily by hosting a training session, a meeting and lethargy.

Nevertheless I have had a constructive couple of days. After spending months dipping in and out I have finished Stephen Kings' 'On Writing'. I doubt I will ever read a book on writing as good. Probably the best aspect of the book is the way in which he intertwines information about himself with the technical requirements of writing. Unlike other writing books, his 'recommendations' are much clearer rather than a case of some writers do this, some do that.
stephen king Pictures, Images and Photos

I am now reading 'So you Wanna be a Writer?'. I have dipped into it before and am now feeling very sponge like so I am picking up every book on writing I can to try and absorb as much as possible.

Reading writing books will not magically make me into a great writer, I have already learnt that a lot of it is down to practice, but it can at the very least help and anything that can help is a good thing.

I am on the verge of pinning myself down to a finite writing schedule (or as close to one as possible). Probably the largest driving power, other than a sudden reel of determination that appears to have descended upon me over the weekend, is the new purchase of a chair. This is a huge development. Having moved into the house in January and establishing the room decorated in an eccentric cow-print will be my study I now have an office chair. My fiance phoned me at work today to make the announcement. I can now use my office- after a bit of a tidy up- to embark on developing my writing career.

I think a lot of it is a state of mind. It is all to easy to get into bad habits instead of driving myself to write. I recently read of one writer who used to come in from work and tie her leg to the desk so she would write and not get distracted. I hope I never have to go those extremes, knowing me I would become so entangled I would be stuck until someone found me.

writing Pictures, Images and Photos

I do need to be thinking more like a writer. There are so many things that happen to me and to people around me that I should be leaping on. It is classic case of staring into space for inspiration instead of actually observing what is going on around me. It's all part of learning and I have already learned so much, I just have to keep it up.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Goodbye and Goodluck

Well I have done some final tweaking to my memoir and its going to be out and off to an agent today.

It has certainly come a long way from the first draft. It is now obvious that I have learnt a lot from when I first started writing it.
writer Pictures, Images and Photos

I did, in a manner, start the book whilst the events were still going on. I found when I first started that I was just all over the place with research. In some aspects, I did not do enough and I had to revisit the information later on. In others I did more research than necessary.

As the book was based on real events I think I initially got to tied up in the facts of the events, the descriptions and what was said. It was only on the second draft and after reading King's 'On Writing' that I approached it from the view of the reading. Making it read more like a book. I did not lose the factual element but I removed a lot of unnecessary detail.

notebooks Pictures, Images and Photos

It is amazing how much unnecessary material is there when you come to edit a draft. Not just detail but words, sentences that are over complex, description that is right to the far end of a fart! But then this was my first book.

Stephen King has gave me a new fear of adverbs. They are totally unnecessary (did you see what I did there). There has been the odd occasion where I have had to include an adverb but I seem to have took on King's absolute hate of them. I question it 'do I really NEED it' and I play around and if it loses the effect without it then I suppose I have to keep it in.

I know the experience will help in my future writing. In order to complete the final draft I had to 'theoretically' put the manuscript in a draw for a month or two and do something else. And it helped, a lot more than I expected it. When I read it I was less involved and was able to analyse the book objectively (another adverb there).

So I can say there have been vast improvements and there are a lot of things I will be doing different in future. Now I will just try to forget about the book until I hear some good news (hopefully).

fingers crossed Pictures, Images and Photos
Wish me luck.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

2.2million out of Work

Anyone who has a good knowledge of the economy could see that a recession was going to happen. It is part of the economic cycle and we had spent several years in a boom. I am sure it has been said before but the greed of the last few years has left us all in dire circumstances.

BT has just announced that it will be cutting a further 15,000 jobs at a point where the unemployment figure has reached 2.2million. I have never been more thankful of my circumstances. I think it is obvious that there is still a good while of this to ride out. And yet I am still speaking to people that complaining about their job. This is possibly one of our favourite past times but is it just me that thinks anyone with a job at the moment should be doing anything but complaining?

Work takes up so much of our daily lives, we talk about it when we go home and it's one of the opening topics with new acquittance's. I am of the opinion that I would much rather enjoy more job than earn a lot of money but given the current circumstances is this more of a luxury?

Currently my thoughts are, even if you are in a job you hate you may just have to make do with it for the time being. This is not nice for anyone, especially if the job is affecting your home life but at the moment it seems there are few options.

Looking at the jobs paper last night there is a visible decrease in the number of vacancies being advertised as well as the wage being offered. The only thing I would guess to be on the increase are the number of applicants those posts will have.

I sympathise with anyone currently out of work and urge anyone in a job to bare them in mind the next time you are tempted to moan.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

If I was an early riser..

bed stages Pictures, Images and PhotosThis morning I was up at six. This was because the cat was being a pain in the behind so I had to get up and let her out.

Ur Awake Pictures, Images and Photos

It would have been less annoying if the cat had not shown a complete disinterest when I opened the door. What made it worse was the pile of cat poo in the litter tray. I am aware this is expected behaviour for a cat but I do wish she would start using outside as her toilet and that she could maybe go a little later in the day so I don't have to arise to it at such an early time.

So I fed the cat and cleaned up the litter tray. Unfortunately Sammy does have a tendency to miss. It's the obsessive compulsive thing she has about cleaning up after herself. She will have a pee, turn round, give it a sniff, then paw at the tray until she covers it with the liner. So, when she later visits the tray she will miss the liner and we will end up with a little present in the corner needing scraped from the tray.

I had to peer round the front door before emptying the litter as I was only in a t-shirt and knickers. Thankfully, no one on our street seems to be up and about at that time but I still end up walking out tugging the t-shirt down just in case.

When I was on my way back upstairs, the smell following me despite having sprayed the Air Wick, I considered how many writers are often up at this time to get their first writing of the day done. Could I? Could I maybe just not go back to bed and instead spend an hour writing before work?
Writer Pictures, Images and Photos

So what do you think I did? Well I went back to bed still being able to smell cat poo. I know my body and I knew that if I did chose the earlier riser writing option by eleven I would be dead to the world and that just isn't an option with an eight hour job in an office to put in. Some people manage it, if I tried hard enough I probably could manage it.

I could just imagine Ian wondering what the hell I was up to if I was up and writing at that time. He would think I was having a nervous breakdown. Do all writers do most of their writing in the morning? It would seem that way and it does make me feel a bit abnormal and somewhat lazy. But then is it not about just writing whenever you can? Whatever it takes to just write? I maybe need to work on the early mornings.

sleep Pictures, Images and Photos

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Working Through

So yesterday I did manage to make some writing progress. I got a bit further in the final draft and I am going to be looking at submitting to agencies. I just can't wait to have the whole thing finished and then I can make some real progress with the new novel.
writing Pictures, Images and Photos

As well as the writing yesterday was good. I felt I managed to get a lot done and we even managed to go for a walk. It was good. It would have been such a shame to stay in the house, the weather was gorgeous, so we had a walk into town. It motivated me into us getting sorted to do the Coast to Coast some time. I don't think Ian is as keen as he probably thinks it's never going to happen. It will. Just need to keep it up that's all.

EXERCISE Pictures, Images and Photos

Today I am getting back on the health wagon well and truly with a prawn salad for my lunch. Nice! Then I should be doing some cardio tonight and we're planning to take a walk up Dent (weather dependent). I do feel quite good for it all. I would love to be one of these people that get up at six and start the day writing but I fear that will never happen with me.

This morning was good though. Even though I was tired it was nice chilling out in bed while Ian was in the shower. The main reason I was awake was that I had tried to get the cat in and had had to clear up her cat litter. Honestly, I wish she would start going outside. She can be outside for hours, meows that she wants in, and then goes for a pee in her litter!? Well, this morning I was all relaxed and resting while Ian was in the shower.

That's enough about this morning and yesterday, today I plan to get the work done I need to, do some editing on my lunch, get home, do my cardio, have tea, do a bit of writing and then go for a walk up Dent. And it all sounds like an ideal day. I feel refreshed and determined. I think it's the Spring weather.
SUN Pictures, Images and Photos

Monday, 11 May 2009

Monday Morning and I feel fine

Good morning on this splendid Spring day.

Thankfully the weekend did have some productivity to it. On Saturday I went to get fitted with my bridesmaid dress for my sister's wedding. Not a problem stripping off in a room after I have spent time trying on numerous wedding dresses. Maybe you get used to it. Still it is never nice when you are stood there trying to suck your stomach in and seeing yourself in the mirror thinking 'oh my good do I really look that fat!'

fat Pictures, Images and Photos

The seamstress was a bit mad. Very cheerful but eccentric. Mind you, if I was trying to run a home business and had four kids in my front room I think I would be the same. The youngest was a girl of about two and honestly and cannot tell you how cute she was. As I was getting fitted she came in the room with a nappy and bum-wipe in hand wanting changed. She then proceeded to polish the door with the said bum-wipe. Very sweet little thing.

After the fitting we met my mum's friend for a pub lunch and we all had the beef and onion baguette with chips. This diet/fitness thing of mine is not going so well lately. I last did my fitness routine on Tuesday and am seriously letting things slip on the diet front. It's annoying as it's not even like I am that overweight.
funny Pictures, Images and Photos

I am a size 10/12 but as I am a shorty I am overweight for my height (in terms of BMI anyway). That is never a good thing to hear so I do need to sort it out. At the same time no one wants to dictate their life by their losing weight plan- it's the whole 'I need to do my thirty minutes cardio tonight' thing which has been going on for the last couple of months and after a while you just get fed up of it being a diary entry for your life. Plus is my writing not more important. I have visions of myself getting fat and not wearing make up, sitting at my desk writing with the excuse 'how was I ever going to get fit when I have all this writing to do'.

I am feeling the strain of missing out on my workout though. At least I think I am. I was so lethargic over the weekend and it maybe is because I am not getting the 'get up and go' I would from having done a bit of exercise. It was a shame because yesterday was so lovely weather wise and it was just wasted. I do plan to start the exercise again tonight. I'll have to give myself a kick up the arse (again).

Friday, 8 May 2009

Frame of Mind

When you are in a 'can't be bothered' mood it is so difficult to try and drag yourself out of it. Believe me- I'm in one now.

snoopy Pictures, Images and Photos

I know that I should be carrying out something constructive, but instead I am using several methods of procrastinating. Today I have been mostly:

  • Writing on Talkback
    Oh how I love the witty banter of my writing friends, many of whom are also procrastinating on Talkback instead of writing. Well it's good to know I am not the only one.
  • Scouring the Internet
    Could there be anything that eats time more than this pointless activity. The Internet holds a huge mass of information, it also distracts and has so much information that it takes an age to find what you are actually looking for.
  • Blogging
    Yes my current activity, which right now is more appealing than doing something 'constructive'. I do not wish to imply that blogging is not constructive, it can be a outlet, marketing tool and an online diary but I admit that this post is purely for procrastination purposes.
  • Drinking Water
    All else fails, and I cannot find something to occupy my mind I have a bottle of water on my desk. Taking a drink fills a few minutes, and keeping busy is thirsty work. The consequence is also more needs for toilet breaks. Those few minutes can help the day go that little bit quicker.

So you may have notice that up until now I have done a mere four blogs. Not good, especially considering the comments on the last two (I think) that I intended to be more commited to this blogging business. Why does it seem that I can never find the time for anything?

Time always seems to be the major issue in my life. There is not enough of it and I am only twenty-two, surely that is a bad sign. I've heard it said a lot that time seems to grow quicker the older you get but already it is going too quick. It may be that my mind is simply a little slow, not something I would like to be the case but then others may argue otherwise.

The main problem is having the demands of a full time job and trying to develop a career in writing. This is a common scenario for a lot of writers and I can tell you it is damn difficult. I perhaps need to be more commited but there are always many other commitments that I somehow have to find time for- that fitness routine that I am still managing to carry out (I have lost a few pound actually), that fiance I love to bits who I need to remember to be affectionate to sometimes and not always get enthralled in my work instead, the cat (if I ignore her all I get is pestered by meows) and the house.

I still cannot believe how much time the house consumes. It's a brick building but it needs so much time spent on it. I never really considered this, but then you see the dust building up, realise you're living on take-aways and the bath has somehow become fluffy and you realise that you have another commitment for your time. I am not very good at the whole house-keeping thing. My mum was fantastic, she always kept a tidy house and I wish I could do the same but hoovering, cooking and cleaning are the last things you want to do when you get in from work.

Cleaner cartoon Pictures, Images and Photos

I have always thought I would never resort to having a cleaner, but now I have a house that I am somehow responsible for the thought has became more appealing. I mean it is not something I would do unless I was quite well off but imagine the time it would save!

tine Pictures, Images and Photos

If it wasn't for all the procrastinating I would probably have more time to spare. I know that and yet I still do it. Maybe it's that when we are under so much pressure or have been very busy, we need a bit of time wasting to relax. Believe it or not I hate wasting time, it is the one thing you can't ever get back. But then this has been positive time wasting, the time it has taken me to write this blog I mean. Yes it has been a bit of a ramble, and yes I could have spent my time doing something better but look at all those words. It is some sort of achievement.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

My Fitness

Today's fitness is debatable. I appear to be starting with that dreaded Spring head cold. In fact the sore throat appeared to be starting on Saturday but today has induced the need for throaties.

I have been doing that pathetic 'lets eat as many oranges as possible' thing to try and disperse the oncoming lurgy but I don't think it will work. At the moment the only fruit in the fruit bowl are oranges - tangerines to be precise but I never understand the whole orange classification - other than two depleting bananas. The bananas I end up looking at thinking 'they really need to get ate' but the thought of eating the battered and flaccid pieces of fruit turns my stomach. The words to the OH have been 'you insisted we buy them, you eat them'.

On a positive not I did do my exercise routine with the My Fitness Coach last night. Last night was assessment time. It did not go well, not that it was bad but I could have done better. I have not yet lost any real weight, but then a week of not doing exercise, eating chinese, chips and then a Dominos would not have really helped. But, I have not gained any weight so it's not all bad.

My pulse after the jumping jacks was quite high though. Honestly though, jumping jacks are like star jumps, try keeping that up for two minutes and see how your pulse is. I dare you, it's a lot more difficult than it sounds! I was dying after a minute and a half and though my calves we're going to collapse.

So I did my assessment which showed no real improvement - although I did manage the 50 squats - and then did 15 minutes of yoga. The yoga too seemed more difficult than normal. You end up sprawled out on the floor f-ing and blinding as the game keeps telling you to curve and bend and you think it's never going to end. 'From mountain pose, circle lift arms up and fall forward into monkey'. It also does not help when you have a cat thinking it's great fun to attack your arm while you're in corpse pose. The relaxation side of it doesn't work when you're shouting 'Sammy' and then can't stop laughing.

The disappointing thing is that there are different music and locations that are unlocked as you progress further through the game but none have them have unlocked yet! I thought one might after my assessment but alas it was not so.

So, tonight is session number 11, some more cardio I think, which is what I have mainly been doing because it's probably the best for the weight loss. Maybe if I did all the other work outs it would unlock the other features? Anyhow, exercise and then bed I think. I was shattered this morning, not helped by the oncoming lurgy, and I have my sister and her fiance over tonight and a friend over this weekend. It's all good, I just wish there were more hours.

Tuesday, 31 March 2009

End of March

Time seems to be flying at the moment and I hope I am not the only one that seems to think this. I feel like I have so much on at the moment it is unreal!

Work seems exceptionally busy, which is good, but by the time I get home I'm exhausted and it can be difiult to get anything constructive done. I appear to have an obssessive need to do something constructive all the time. I hate wasted time. I need to keep busy. Not always a good thing and I'm surprised I'm not an insomniac as a result!

At the moment there are only three main things I'm concentrating on- work (because it pays the bills), exercise (to lose the pies) and reading (for some much needing relaxation). Yet there appears to be a very lengthy and growing list of things that I am neglecting. There is always the writing I need to be doing, not to mention trying to be sociable, feeding myself - sometimes more difficult than it seems - and having a wedding to plan.

The wedding plans are making progress, which is obviously good. It's now at the stage where it is actually exciting. It wasn't for a long time because it just seemed so far away. Now the venue is booked - I would highly recommend The Castle Inn of Cumbria from the service we have had so far - the photographer is booked and I got the dress on Saturday.

I can't believe I actually got the dress. That's been the thing that was probably the strangest. Standing in the dress you know you're going to get married in is bizzare. It's bizzare in a good way, but you stand there like a fool smiling and swaying while looking at the dress in the mirror. You run your fingers over the design and think of the day you will where it. Despite all your beliefs that you are adult and not a prisy thing like so many others you well at the eyes and look to your mother like a little girl. It can't be helped.

The dress will need taken in but I'm hoping to lose a little weight before the fitting after Christmas. Not a drastic amount by any means, I'm only slightly over weight being just over a size 10 - size 12 on a bad day - I'm just not comfortable with how I am now so I want to get to the ideal weight for my size and tone up. Simples.

The eating isn't too bad. Generally I have good will power, I just have my chocolate moments of weakness occasionally I suppose. It's the exercise I'm really having to put the effort into. I'm using My Fitness Coach on the Nintendo Wii. Brilliant! It's like an interactive fitness DVD so I've been batting about the lounge in a cardio frenzy. I'll just have to keep it up, which I wasn't very good at last week. Last night I did 30 minutes cardio and I was pleased with myself. Hopefully it'll do the trick.

So the work lunch is about to finish and I've had my noodles and moment of relaxation I think. Tonight's plan is more cardio, corn beef ash- which I image the OH will be doing most of the cooking of, because I tend to be quite feckless- and try to get a bit of writing done.

Goodbye for now xx

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Writing Update

I have rejoined my friends on Talkback and what a relief it has been. My writing has been on a bit of a go slow recently. Christmas certainly did not help and I have just moved house so it's all put a spanner in the works. Managing to find, no MAKE, time to use Talkback again has gave me the little kickstart I needed. Writing can be a lonely business and I can have a tendancy to be somewhat lazy. We all need a group of familair people for encouragement.

The writing, once again, started it's slow progression earlier in the week. I plan to be doing a good slot of writing on a daily basis now, in the hope I can finish the first draft of the new project soon.

As I'm writing this my mind is running away with the list of things that I must get done. It is a very long list and I think it might be a plan to put aside five minutes and write it all done. At the moment it consists of three areas:
1. Writing
2. The House (including address changes with all the appropriate people)
3. Work (including the AAT qualification which seems to be butting in on the writing time)

At the moment I am just trying to establish how I am going to possibly plan my time! It did not help that yesterday I spend the evening browsing strange websites on the Internet. Well, when you're handed a book listing and detailing 'Weird Websites' it is somewhat inevitable. It resulting in looking at cute pictures of animals, celebrity corpses, real dolls, 99 rooms and judo dogs, to name just a few. It is only after looking through all these strange and sometimes disturbing places that you realise how much time has been needlessly wated. Not to mention possibly teetering near the download limit...

Tonight there will be no browsing of Internet nor watchning of TV/DVDs but writing (or possibly AAT). That is after I have been to my Grandma's for tea.