Friday, 28 November 2008
The last few weeks have been challenging but this week I've been able to breathe a sigh of relief and even try to get some of my own writing done! So I decided to pay a visit to my recently abandoned writing hut and..............WOW it was COLD!!!!
I needed the following to get settled and writing:
Furry Slipper Boots
Pair of wellie shoes
(for crossing the mud)
Two oversized jumpers
One warm thermal top
A stripy wool hat
Large mug of hot tea
Packet of Ginger-nuts
Laptop, journal, glasses
A fab fan heater
And a table lamp
Super comfy chair
Last but not least, my -
The good news is that once the fab fan heater got going and my fingers defrosted, I did get some writing done.
So I'm back in the land of the semi-awake. I've managed to do a little bit of writing. The Bodmin Bookworm is going well with students from Robartes, Berrycoombe, St Petrocs and St Tudy having sent some fab writing on History, Myths and Legends to read. (Click on the links if you want to have a read and/or leave comments) I have no more hospital appointments until after Christmas (hope I haven't tempted fate here). So now I intend to begin catching up with your blogs.
Oh and I guess I really should start preparing for Christmas.............
Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells.....................
Tuesday, 4 November 2008
Just a little note to say that I haven't given up on blogging I am just simply exhausted. It is a busy time with half term, children's Birthdays and lots more stuff that comes with being a Mum ..... And health wise.....well I won't bore you......but suffice to say it is slowing me down. On the writing front things are up and down. I am just managing to keep up with my Bodmin Bookworm job. The November theme is 'History, Myths and Legends'. We still have a lot of work to do getting the project going. At the moment we get a lot of writing submissions from a couple of schools but not others.
I'll try and write something more interesting just as soon as I can find matchsticks that don't keep snapping under the weight of my eyelids!
Love to all!
Thursday, 16 October 2008
Apparently recipients of this award have to answer the following questions using one word answers. I am not known for being succinct but here goes.............
1. Where is your cell phone? handbag
2. Where is your significant other? upstairs
3. Your hair color? brown
4. Your mother? Leicestershire
5. Your father? London
6. Your favorite thing? friendship
7. Your dream last night? Bizarre
8. Your dream/goal? published novelist (ok so that was 2)
9. The room you're in? lounge
10. Your hobby? crafts
11. Your fear? Loss
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? Here
13. Where were you last night? lounge
14. What you're not? mean
15. One of your wish-list items? holiday
16. Where you grew up? Leicestershire
17. The last thing you did? Read (with kids)
18. What are you wearing? jeans
19. Your TV? Off
20. Your pets? None
21. Your computer? On
22. Your mood? relaxed(ish)
23. Missing someone? Nan
24. Your car? Old
25. Something you're not wearing? G-string knickers (ouch)
26. Favorite store? Bookshop
27. Your summer? wet
28. Love someone? Yes
29. Your favorite color? Red
30. When is the last time you laughed? Today
31. Last time you cried? Today
OK, I also have to pass this award onto another 5 blogs that I love (and who haven't already got this award) – this is a bit hard because I love many more than 5 but here goes....
Caroline - Caroline Smailes & Paige - The Last Word .
I've finished writing the first draft of my young children's book that I mentioned last week. I've really enjoyed writing this story and I'm hoping that the editing process won't kill my love of it.
Anyway...I was inspired to write this story by the brave children I've encountered at POST PALS. Post Pals is a charity that asks volunteers to send post/cards/letters/gifts to sick children. A simple, affordable & effective way for anyone to bring smiles to children & their family. Please check out their website at http://www.postpals.co.uk/ .
Tuesday, 7 October 2008
After practicing to be a human pin cushion (lumbar puncture) -I've found the past couple of weeks a bit of a struggle health wise. I got a bit down about not being able to keep up with my own writing and blogging.
BUT a few days ago I started writing a new story that I feel positive about. It is such a buzz to be writing again. It's as if writing works as a powerful drug on my mood. When I lose myself in my writing it is the most wonderful exhilarating feeling.
Friday, 19 September 2008
Thursday, 11 September 2008
Wednesday, 3 September 2008
I'm back home! The map above shows the regions we've been visiting. Not sure if it's readable but hey it looks colourful.
Kids are back at school tomorrow so have just been doing the mad hunt for their PE bags, showers, nit comb, ironing etc.. My baby is starting full-time school - bless - so both my children will be out from 9am until 3.15pm.
So what will I do with my time?
1. I have a new and exciting job, working a few hours a week, mainly from home. It involves me creating, editing and managing multiple blogs for a local creative writing initiative that will involve all school aged children in the immediate area. (One community college, 11 primary & home school) The aim is to promote reading, writing and creativity in a fun way. The blogs will showcase submitted work and offer a chance to read and share ideas. More info to come but here's a sneak preview of an option for the logo (note the link is not yet active)
2. After editing and editing I've decided I now hate the children's book I've written. I can't bare to look at it. I feel it has let me down. Changed from the book it promised to be. I feel cheated. I realise that those of you who advised me to put the book away for a while before beginning edits were right!!!! So now feeling as I do, I'm putting away the evil manuscript for a while. As of tomorrow I start transforming some scribbled notes into a plot outline for a new book I want to write - a fantasy adventure aimed at the 12+ age band. I'm soooooooooooo excited.
And over the next few days I plan to catch up with all of your blogs.
So new school term, new job, new book - all change.
Tuesday, 12 August 2008
The kids and I are stopping with my mum up-country and have embarked on a heavy visiting schedule - taking in family and friends that we don't see as often as we'd like because of the distance involved. Hubbie is left at home, working and enjoying peace and quiet.
Ahhhh! The school summer holidays - they sure do eat up my delicious writing time and leave me with childcare indigestion!! Yet, it's also good to spend time with my babies.
Meanwhile, my time and access to a computer is limited. Therefore, please forgive me for not keeping up with your wonderful blogs.
Although behind with my writing yesterday I read about a concept that Dorothea Brande discusses in her classic book 'Becoming a Writer'. It is the idea that 'wordless recreation' can be beneficial for a writer. By starving yourself of reading, talking, writing (and any activity that involves words) on returning to your writing you will be eager and inspired. Personally, I see it as a time for the unconscious mind to mull over ideas and concepts. It would give the wordy 'chatty' side of my mind a rest. I've never consciously carved out 'wordless' time but often desperately crave reflection/meditative time alone. I can see how it may benefit my writing. I intend to start incorporating 'wordless recreation' into my schedule (or at least will do when the kids are back at school).
Oh and......a note for Nik's Disco Kettle - my mum's kettle has a very curvaceous figure and seductive 'ding'. Could there be a potential romance for DK?
Thursday, 31 July 2008
Wednesday, 30 July 2008
This was a costly photo shoot........I had to pay my son with chocolate, the monkey with a knitted banana and the parrot with a taste of freedom!
Please note: no animals were harmed in the making of these photos.
Friday, 25 July 2008
Friday, 18 July 2008
Monday, 14 July 2008
So what have I been doing...............lots and lots of reading. I figure that this is still productive because all writers must read. The advantage is that I love reading.
What have I been reading over the past few days????
"Outcast" by Michelle Paver
"In Search of Adam" by Caroline Smailes
"Give me a Sign" by Shanta Everington
"Midnight for Charlie Bone" by Jenny Nimmo
All very different books, All very good. Check out the links by clicking on the author's names.
Now I'm off to catch up with all of you in blogland.
Monday, 7 July 2008
FIRSTLY - enough laughing, I know I can't draw. But I thought I'd share my rather 'special' example that I made for the Junior creative writing club at school.
Today, Michelle and I asked them to create characters for an alien family recently arrived on Earth. They decided that the family would be called the 'Flubbafish' family. Mum, Dad, sister, brother and pet Floop (hybrid hamster/seal/....) were created. Their artwork was far superior to mine (not that that's difficult, but it was very good). We had lots of fun drawing, colouring, sticking on post-it notes and creating personalities. Next week we'll create their home planet and write a Flubbafish family diary detailing their first experiences of our world.
Today's session was great fun and I'm looking forward to next week. This colourful way of creating characters is just as useful for us adults (especially if you're like me and have never grown out of colouring and sticking.)
Go on - give it a go!
SECONDLY - I FINISHED my first edit on Friday. Feels good.
THIRDLY - I've only just realised that writing requires a lot of patience.
OH poop! This is not a personality trait I possess!
I wish I'd realised this at seven years old when I set my heart on making writing my career! Or at least considered the 'need for patience' when a year ago I decided to treat my writing as a job and not just a hobby! All this editing, more editing and then waiting to hear back from subs (and I haven't even got to this stage yet)............I feel myself getting tense.........what if I don't live long enough?...... Aghhhh!!!!
I get impatient : at the lack of hours in the day; with not being able to write more; at not getting time for research; that my writing is not improving, my knowledge not growing fast enough and with needing greater energy to write out all the stories in my head. I could go on.... but 'not' has appeared too many times in this paragraph for my liking.
But I do love writing. So......................I guess this a 'life lesson'. I must overcome my impatient nature (and lack of grammatical skill) and be a writer despite my personality faults.
I want to be a published author - Now, now, NOW, NOW, NOW!!!!!!!!!! (stamping my feet, clenching my fists, gnashing my teeth, red in the face...........................and reaching for the Yellow Pages to look for 'Patience Therapists'......P....Pa......)
Thursday, 3 July 2008
I would have written far more today but I was doing a bit of puppy sitting. Isn't he adorable? You've got to admit he's a pretty good excuse for not working hard. Of course I will transform my puppy sitting experience into a literary masterpiece. Does that mean I can count it as 'research'? Can that few hours of cuddles, play and mopping up be considered part of my writing experience? The thing about having a good imagination is that I use it for bad stuff - like creating far fetched excuses for procrastination!! I promise to go and do some more editing just as soon as I've finished this post - paw on heart!
Ok - Tam tagged me to do this Meme. So you can write to Tam if you fall asleep reading this. Actually, it was the first time I've been personally tagged - thanks Tam - I'm chuffed.
What were you doing ten years ago?
Pre kids. Working as a sweetie rep for Trebor Bassett. Socialising lots more. Sleeping in on Sunday mornings. Amateur musical theatre. Cub scout leader. Part of Melton Mowbray writing club. Having piano lessons with a fascinating and intelligent lady from Brazil. Buying too many shoes. Keeping the local pubs in business!
Five things on my to do list for today
Well day's nearly over but it was:
1) finish doing my first edit of book (also known as making pretty colourful scribbles) - still to do!
2) Do my 100 words (seperate to edit) - still to do!
3) Learn how to use my new dishwasher that hubbie only plumbed in last night. (I am sooooo excited - no more washing-up or moaning about the mess on my sides)
4) Puppy sit.
5) Sort out boring pile of paperwork and finances. (this one is carried over daily)
What are three of your bad habits?
1) Talking too loud and too much (apparently)
3) Bit grim - but - scratching my scalp when I'm nervous.
Other than this I am damn well perfect! Would I lie to you?
What would you do if you were a billionaire?
Spend lots spoiling the ones I love. Write (and get published - hey I'll have plenty of bribe money). Buy a gorgeous old house with land, sea view and a library. Set up a literacy charity. Travel and learn about as many different cultures and places as I can. More charity - I'd hate to be rolling in it whilst other people aren't.
What are some snacks you enjoy?
Chocolate (I couldn't survive without it). Red Wine (is that a snack? - don't care it is to me). Chilli Heatwave Doritos (oh hell these are the bane of my waistline at the moment). Cashew nuts (unsalted). Oh and loads more but I'm already sounding like an unhealthy bloater!!!
What were the last five books you read?
Wolf Brother (Michelle Paver)
Spirit Walker (Michelle Paver)
The Dream Master (Theresa Breslin)
The Dream Master Nightmare (Theresa Breslin)
The Welsh Girl (Peter Ho Davies)
ALL great books!!
What five jobs have you had?
Natwest - branch customer services (hated it)
Events organiser for Go-Karting track (men in suits fulfilling their dream of F1 success).
Powergen - business customer services
Sales & Law Recruitment (finding jobs for clever people)
Trebor Bassett (part of Cadbury) - Area Sales Representative (busy eating boot full of freebies meant for customers)
Name five places I have lived
Melton Mowbray (pork pie land)
Vale of Belvoir (just up the road from Melton but sounds good)
York (great city)
Canada (Well...in truth I haven't lived there. Haven't even visited. But I needed another to make five and it looks beautiful)
Cornwall (North and West - gorgeous, gorgeous place)
Okay YOU CAN WAKE UP NOW!!!! Stop snoring, it's making me sad! My life will be sooooo much more interesting when I'm a hugely successful author. Think JK Rowling and double the success & opportunities (is that possible?) Anyway.........when that time comes could someone be sure to tag me for a Meme so that I can show off. Thanks :-)
Sunday, 29 June 2008
Q1: What is by your bedside/on your bedside table?
A1: By my bedside on the chest of drawers is: a jewellery box; glass of water; half drunk cup of camomile tea; three books (Spirit Walker by Michelle Paver, In Search of Adam by Caroline Smailes and The Pack by Tom Pow); a pen; notepad; set of mini drawers full of craft bits; book catalogue; bedside lamp (ceramic tree house lamp that have had since childhood).
Q2: Name ten things that are in your fridge:
A2: One pot of Humus (nearly empty); one pot of Moroccan flavour humus; salad stuff; cheddar; semi-skimmed milk; green pesto; strawberries; Muller yoghurts; mayonnaise; Total Greek yoghurt.
Q3: Name 5 things that are in your handbag/briefcase:
A3: Many receipts dating back to the dark ages; reading glasses; various vouchers that I'll forget to use; assortment pens; mini notebook. (There is lots, lots more in those dark scary depths)
Q4: Name three web addresses that will come up automatically on your search bar with only the first letter as a prompt:
A4: Amazon, blogger and eBay.
Q5: What's in that unassigned junk drawer where all the clutter gets put?
A5: Cables for goodness knows what; assortment of batteries; a coaster; spare Christmas tree light bulbs; sellotape; plug adaptor; various pens and pencils; used stamps waiting to be sent for charity Post Pals.................................could go on because it's amazing what can be housed in this Tardis like drawer.
Q6: Describe five of the pictures that hang on the walls of your home:
A6: Photo of a Springer Spaniel pup in a spring; Black and white old photo of 'Mousehole' in West Cornwall (near Penzance and where hubbie proposed); Forest scene painted by late step-grandmother; Photos of my children; Acrylic painting of boats in small cove (also by late step-gran).
Okay, so you get the idea. I tag everyone who reads this to either answer as themselves or one of their characters. But only if you want to :-)
Wednesday, 25 June 2008
When I look at this photo I feel as if I'm travelling out to sea and suddenly my imagination takes me on an adventure.
I took lots of photos and spurred on by Michelle at Kernow Creations http://www.kernowcreations.blogspot.com/ I intend to download some onto Red Bubble http://www.redbubble.com/. Also visit Michelle's new blog http://www.michellethirtysomethings.blogspot.com/ where she has written an amazing thirty minute piece that may require hankies.
The editing is going slowly. I feel very grouchy and I think it's because for the past few days I've not written anything for the fun and love of it. It's weird how much I 'need' to write. Anyone else feel like that? Tomorrow, I think I'll do a timed piece on the photo above and let myself sail away on a sea of dreams.
Sunday, 22 June 2008
Jonathon Ross had writer Danny Wallace (http://www.dannywallace.com/) as a guest on his Friday night show. He has taken the 'what if?' principle to the funny extremes and made a successful career from it. He's written about trying to become a King, inadvertently started a cult and written about his adventures when trying to catch up with old school friends. If you are able to, watch him on http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/. Look in the 'last 7 days' - Friday 20th June.
Danny Wallace creates his own writing material just by putting a 'what if I did this?' into practical action. For instance he talks about how he considered 'what if I said yes to everything?' Whereas I would use this prompt for a piece of fiction; he actually tries the idea and writes about his experiences.
The possibilities for fiction & non-fiction are endless. It was interesting to see how someone else used 'what if?' As per usual I'm excited by the potential for creativity.
PS sorry if I'm not posting/commenting as much as usual - still having problems with my vision. Whinge & excuses over!
Thursday, 19 June 2008
It seems that I am very slow at editing. Is this perhaps something I will improve at with practice? I dearly hope so. I had a bad day with my eye yesterday. Today I covered my virgin copy with red, blue and green. Using these permanent 'Sharpie' markers was intoxicating. Unfortunately this added high did nothing to improve my progress!
I passionately want to mould this story into a book I can be proud of. This leaves me feeling something akin to stage fright every time I sit down to work.
On a different topic: I just had a leaflet on Richard and Judy's Summer Reads enclosed with my Book People leaflet. They offer all eight books for £24.99 with free p&P (www.thebookpeople.co.uk). Wish I had the money :-( . I have to admit that the Richard and Judy Book club (www.richardandjudybookclub.co.uk) often includes some very good reads. TV book clubs like this, offer reading inspiration to the masses which seems to be a good thing. I especially enjoy the author interviews they include on their show. I am obsessed with learning about authors; their writing lives, writing tips and inspiration.
Monday, 16 June 2008
So then I rush up to my bookshelf. I am sure that I have at least one book that advises on editing a novel. On my shelf I find "The Marshall Plan for Novel Writing" by Evan Marshall. It is a little dusty and forgotten. When I bought it a few years ago, I thumbed through and read little. This time I quickly search the contents and find the section on editing. There is lots of useful advice. But I'm not that comforted. Why? Because with so much to consider; I am feeling a little nervous.
I do a small search on the internet. One of the first sites I find is http://www.suite101.com/writingandublishing. On this I find plenty of advice. In fact, I see myself spending much time browsing some promising looking articles and perusing the blog links.
My complete first draft sits next to me. I look at it lovingly. There are still no coloured pen edits and the pages are pristine. Tomorrow, I will begin to carve it up with a new set of felt pens!
Any kind and useful tips/comments will be gratefully received.
Thursday, 12 June 2008
A quick post as my eye is sore & blurred *****I have just completed the first draft of my children's book.******* Hooray! I am very very very excited. I am celebrating with the above drink. I know the editing and redrafting is before me, but for tonight I am just very happy to have the book completed in its raw state. Yippee :-)
Tuesday, 10 June 2008
This is one view of my writing space looking tidy and serene. A fifteen pound tiny desk from the paper which I have a soft spot for. An old dining chair adorned with a chintz cushion from a car boot. If someone had told me ten years ago that I'd love floral chintz I would have suggested they didn't know me very well. Yet when I saw this tasselled cushion amongst someones unwanted tools and toys I knew it had found a home with me. On the desk is a giant shell for burning incense and a coaster that I painted myself on an evening with friends at a paint-your-own pottery shop (www.4u2paint.co.uk) . Even looking at the photo makes me homesick for that little writing space. However, this photo shows only half of the story..........................
Here (on the right) is some of the clutter and unappealing lack of organisation that I left out of the first photo. Doesn't look so serene now, does it? And this is actually more organised than the rabble I have inside my house. But when I'm at my desk and open up my laptop, I look at the greenery out of the window, listen to the stream and ignore the clutter elsewhere. Once I'm writing, I'm in a different world anyway.
So do I have a point to all this????? Well yes, a tenuous one. It made me think of the hidden story in every 'thing' and 'person' we encounter. We can learn of the reality and true story. But we can also look past the reality and look for the million fantastical possibilities.
How exciting: as writers we are like detectives searching for real and imagined truth. We discover and reveal a multitude of worlds and people that without us would never be known. How fab is that?
From my positive tone you can probably guess that I did have a successful writing day. I am a chapter further on and am now much closer to the end than the beginning of the book!!!! :D If anybody is out there reading this, I'd love to know how you feel about your writing.
Monday, 9 June 2008
Saturday, 7 June 2008
I've also been exploring the world of blogging and have subsequently added a few new links. So as you can see, my eye is doing much better; long may it last and improve further! However, now it is time to give it a well earned rest in the hope that it'll be up for more tomorrow!
Thursday, 5 June 2008
Wednesday, 4 June 2008
Saturday, 31 May 2008
Monday, 26 May 2008
My head is buzzing with ideas and my children's book characters are left suspended mid-action. It reminds me how much I rely on reading and writing. They are so much a part of my life that I feel as if a piece of me is missing when I am unable to give them attention. Time will heal but unfortunately time on the computer will delay this and aggravate the symptoms. I'm thankful for talking books as life without any story would be hell. Meanwhile, I'll keep scribbling down notes and hopefully be able to do more soon. Maybe I have to use this time for thinking, dreaming and incubating ideas.................................
Wednesday, 21 May 2008
Tuesday, 20 May 2008
Sunday, 18 May 2008
These two preferred writing spaces couldn’t be more different. The summer house is quiet and cost effective. Cafes, in contrast, can be noisy and a potentially expensive way to get your writing done. I love knowing I have a small place I can retreat to in my own garden; it is what I’ve always dreamed of. However, I find the busy energy in a cafe stimulating and sometimes inspirational. Oh and of course the caffeine and sugar helps! I’d go to cafes more often if I could afford to do so.
I have spent time writing in all sorts of places and I think it’s worth trying different locations. It’s also an idea to get used to being able to write anywhere. The hardest challenge for me is writing with young kids around, but its not impossible. Many writers talk of their favourite places to write. I recently came across a blog by Candy Gourlay called ‘Home Sweet Shed... the making of’. There is plenty of writing space inspiration to be had on this blog and there are plenty of great links as well. Take a look at http://homesweetshed.blogspot.com/
Friday, 16 May 2008
On that note I am trying hard to 'be' a writer and write daily. I also try to include other creative activity such as my card making and music. For me it's hard getting past the inner critic that reminds me that grammar is definitely not my strong point. Or the little voice that tells me I should be spending more time with my children and points out that my house looks filthy. However, I do know that I love to create stories and that I am bursting with ideas. So I intend to keep on writing and recognise that creative expression is an essential part of my happiness. So far this commitment is proving worthwhile and I'm enjoying the satisfaction of seeing my children's story take shape.