Thursday, 28 May 2009
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.
'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!
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!
Tuesday, 19 May 2009
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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).
Thursday, 14 May 2009
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
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?
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.
Tuesday, 12 May 2009
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.
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.
Monday, 11 May 2009
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!'
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
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.