Tuesday, 10 March 2020

Blogging – Musings & Thank You

I love my blog. It’s a record of my sometimes turbulent but most joyful writing journey. Sharing my experiences, in the hope that they may help others stay positive in a world full of ‘No’s’, and celebrating the positivity of the writing community, makes me feel like I’m giving something back.

I’m always amazed that people take the time to stop and read my posts, (as after all I’m not published) and it’s gives me so much validation when I’ve lucky enough to be included in Nick Cross’s ‘SCBWI’ ‘Words and Pictures’ ‘Blog Break’, each time temporarily alleviating my feeling of Imposter Syndrome.

Sometimes I don’t blog for months, other times I have a flurry of posts as inspiration hits. But I write many more blog articles than I actually post. I only post the ones that I think maybe of interest or use to others. Whereas I write lots if post that are too personal, but they help me. These posts help keep me grounded and passionate about my writing. They help me to straighten out the mangled threads of thoughts in my head, de-tangling them and organising them. Helping me to make decisions about what concepts to work on, which first draft to start editing, or when and how to submit a project. 

For me blogging is an integral part of my writing journey, it’s a log. A way to keep in touch with the wider writer community. Plus it's a therapeutic way to keep my brain uncluttered and keep me positive. 

A few blog articles, written but not posted.

So, if you are struggling with the journey to publication and don’t blog, I encourage you to pen some blog posts. You don’t need to share them; they are just a good way of staying positive and working through complex thought processes. 

Also, I’d like to say a massive THANK YOU to everyone who has supported my blog over the years (8 so far), by reading, commenting, contributing and sharing. Thank you for helping me say focused and positive.

Thursday, 6 February 2020

Writing; the lonely Art – Part Two – a Solution of Sorts

Back in November I wrote a post, Writing; the lonely Art, about how writing: unlike all the other artistic disciplines, isn’t one that can be displayed, exhibited, or performed for quick and easy consumption, and therefore how it can be difficult for the non-writery folks in your life, to comprehend how you’re doing or see your progress. 

Obviously this is why having writer friends around you that help support you and vice versa is so imperative, but sometimes you still want to show/explain to a non-writery friends or relatives when they’re interested.

So after a lot of thinking I came up with a solution of sorts. A way of visually displaying and recording my writer’s journey in a way that can be easily shared. Making the most of the pre-Christmas photo printing website sales, I designed a photobook of my writing journey from 2010 until 2019.

In the book I’ve put photos of competition long-listings, short-listing’s, honorary mentions and wins, either certificates, web-site announcements, screen shots from twitter, to show my small achievements. I’ve also put in photos’ of my volunteering for SCBWI, work in Book Shops and time with Book Bound and The Golden Egg Academy. Along with photos of the many friends I’ve made along the way. 

It’s not quite a ‘record of achievement’ nor is it a ‘portfolio’, it is more of a record of my journey to share with people who are interested and for me to look through in those times where rejections are coming in thick and fast and I start to doubt my ability and progress. A small thing to reminding me how far I’ve come, and that although I may not be published, that I have had small successes and that I have gained a wealth of writery friends.

Tuesday, 4 February 2020

Writers Worries, a Whimsical post about Waist Lines and Word Counts

So it February, and everyone is smugly sticking to their new year resolutions or failing them miserably, but what if your resolutions directly conflict with one another?

Rather predictably as a writer one of my resolutions is: Write More.
But as a woman whose hit a certain age my new year’s resolutions also includes: lose weight.

These two seemingly sensible resolutions are actually at odds with each other. Why? Because losing weight means culling calories and exercising. But it is universally known that writers are fuelled on coffee and cake, and I’m not running on unleaded black Americanos. No, I drink full leaded lattes! Plus writing is a lot of time sitting, typing or scribbling in notepads.

Like most writers I find that there’s a direct correlation between the consumption of coffee and cake and rising word count.

I’m faced with a predicament; how to lose weight and gain words?

So, as I’m here nibbling on my lettuce and wondering how I’ll get the energy to type, if you are a writery folk, please do send tips on how you keep your waist lines trim and your word counts healthy.

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Inspiration, mining the family memories…

As writers we take inspiration from everywhere or our characters and stories. I’m always on the lookout of interesting and query stories and facts to use in my narratives. I’ve taken inspiration form, fairy tales, folk tales, ghost stories, and history; the Nazi’s doctor’s inhumane and amoral human experiments, the eating of the Persian zoo animals during the Napoleonic Wars, the list goes on.

All of these things are widely known, often already used and need careful research where you have to be mindful and respectful so not wonder off into cultural appropriation or get facts wrong. So, I was thinking; is there a more personal experience of my own or from my family history that could serve equally well for a character inspiration or a story concept?

On the face or it my family is pretty boring. My Dad’s from a long-long-long line of farm labourers, and my Mum is an RAF Officers daughter, with an Irish and Romani lineage. However the anecdotal family history has a few gems which could be cut and polished and developed in to interesting narratives.

Here’s just a few…

  • My Mum travelled on one of the last ships to pass through The Sewers Cancel before the crisis. 
  • John Betjeman wrote a poem about one of my Aunts.
  • The same Aunt allegedly once had a job keeping a young Princess Margret away from Stable Boys.
  • My Great-Great-Great-something or other – Granddad, had a fleet of ships working out of Bristol. His name was Captain Lewis, but the only Captain Lewis I can find from the city at that time was a pirate!
  • The time when my mum was arrested my Military policy on suspicion of being a spy, (she was looking into an army barracks with binoculars), when she was actually looking for a lost parrot.

From  ‘John Betjeman Letters’ by his daughter Candida Lycett Green, featuring my Great Aunts Florrie and Pearl and uncle Bob

The list goes on, and on. Then there’s my own silly entrepreneurial exploits as a child. Like the time I brought 500 WWF posters from an auction. I believed I could make a tidy profit selling posters of pandas and dolphins at my primary school fate, only to find I’d spent all my money on 500 poster of Hulk Hogan.

Or the time when me and my sister brought a breeding pair of rabbits, with the plan of selling the babies for profit. I’ll stop there as I’m sure you can imagine our comical and costly error. After all rabbits need to be fed even baby ones!

So, what I have discovered is that if you mine the anecdotal family history you may just find a goldmine of story starters. And if nothing else if you write them down, you are recording them for future generations, saving them from being forgotten.