Wednesday, 29 June 2016

July CampNaNo

So there's another CampNaNo happening and I'm willing to give it a go. Now I don't have the best record with NaNo - I've tried several times but I've yet to win. I always seem to start well but lose momentum. I also think that with CampNaNo I've chosen a word count that is too high and I've set myself up to fail before I write a single word. This time I intend to set a smaller word count and try to base it on what I think I can write each day. I think 500 words a day is achievable so my total count will be 15,500. That still sounds daunting but if I focus on the 500 per day it doesn't sound so bad.

The one thing I haven't decided is if I'm going to use the time to continue with the novel or start something new. I don't have a specific idea to work on if I go down the new writing route but sometimes it's just good to write and see what happens. Whichever I decide I do need to crack on with the novel. The first draft is a long way off but I'm newly committed to getting it written sooner rather than later.

So there we are, another NaNo adventure about to begin. Check back to see how I get on!

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

It's a starting point ...

So I've spent far too much time this week trying to motivate myself to return to my fledgling novel. The poor thing has been badly neglected and I'd totally understand if it refused to speak to me ever again. But something has stopped me from opening the file and getting on with writing it.

It's not that I've been unable to write anything. I've managed a few poems and some notes and observations in my notebook. So it's not the dreaded writers block that has stopped me.

The issue has been one of confidence again. I was scared to open the file in case what I saw there was rubbish, in case it was bad writing, in case I had written a load of crap with no merit. So I backed away from it, ran away from it and pretended I was going to get round to it tomorrow. Ah, tomorrow, my favourite word. 'I'll do it tomorrow' is a phrase I could have engraved on my tombstone, I'm the Queen of Procrastinators!

But yesterday I decided to grasp the nettle. I dug out my plan and opened the file. All I intended to do was read the last paragraph I'd written and see where I'd got to before attempting a few more paragraphs. At least then I could say I'd done some work on the novel and not put it off until tomorrow.

Guess what? I started to read the first few sections and some of it was good! I mean, it was actually good! Maybe not Booker prize winning good but I was impressed with what I'd written. Sure, there were bits that I know need some work - OK, lots of work - but some of it was good. Wind was officially taken out of my sails and I closed the file with a smile on my face. OK, I didn't write anything to add to it but that will change today. For now it is enough to know that I wrote something that I'm proud of, that I can do it and will do it. This novel is very embryonic but with some commitment and hard work it will become a first draft.

Then I'll start to panic about editing and my lovely, supportive writing friends will kick me into shape again! 

Sunday, 19 June 2016

The Prompt - Dance

Dance like nobody's watching,
Dance like you just don't care.
Shake and shimmy and boogie,
Pretend there are flowers in your hair.

Dance til your feet are aching,
Dance as the beat goes on.
Wiggle and wriggle and jiggle,
Feel every pulse and note til it's gone.

Dance with gay abandon,
Dance with joy in your heart.
Swirl and twirl and sway,
Dance like you've mastered the art.

Dance when your heart is singing,
Dance when your heart is sad.
Bounce and leap and pirouette,
Dancing drives out all that's bad.
Dance like you are the joker,
Dance like you're holding the ace.
Rock and rattle and roll,
For the world can be a sad place.


Friday, 17 June 2016


Such a tragedy filled week. All I can do is what I do best, write. So here are my thoughts this week reacting to the senseless deaths.

We never know when we will meet with Death,
When he will call us to him or touch our lives.
He is ever present, a fact of our humanity,
Yet we choose to ignore him at our peril.
There are times when he is welcomed,
When suffering and pain are too much to bear.
The tears are those of relief when a loved one's agony ends.
There are times when he approaches silently,
In the night and someone slips away, a life well lived.
The tears are those of love and gratitude for time with the departed.
There are times when there is no clue he will arrive,
A thief who takes a loved one too young, too soon, too quickly.
The tears are bitter, filled with anger and questions we cannot answer.

These are the times when he arrives suddenly, in violence,
With guns, with knives, with hate, with brutality.
Times when many go together, Death greedy for their lives.
Times when he snatches one surrounded by powerless onlookers,
Horrified at what they witnessed, helpless in the face of rage.
Then the tears are hot, angry, free flowing and anxious.
The tears are for the lost and for ourselves,
Struggling to understand how he can be so cruel and random,
Taking those before their time and seemingly for no reason.

Today we mourn many taken suddenly and pointlessly.
We join in thought and prayer with those we will never meet.
We struggle to understand how Death can take them,
No notice, no time to prepare, just violence and sadness.
We join together, hold them in our hearts and vow to remember.
Promise to hold those we love close, to keep them safe, to love them,
To live life to the full and embrace each day as if it were our last.


Wednesday, 15 June 2016

Making decisions and being a grown up

I'm back from my holiday and had a lovely relaxing time, thanks for asking. But I always feel that holidays are a brilliant time to think, away from all the usual distractions of life. I still maintain that I do some of my best thinking when lying on a sunbed with my Che Guevara hat on. And this holiday was no different, some quality thinking was squeezed in between the beers and sunbathing.

As regular readers will know I have struggled in the past to think of myself as a writer. It's the one thing I really want to do yet I find it hard to consider myself as a writer. Writers are people apart from me; different; special; touched by genius. How do I compete with the mental image I have of a writer? This mythical person is nothing like me and I will probably never be like that. Hell, I'll definitely never be like that! So there's my dilemma, I don't fit my mental picture of a writer therefore I can't be one, right?


All my thinking has changed my mind-set. Writer's are just people like me. Sure, some are touched by genius and are special but most are regular folk like me. Maybe not as flakey but normal-ish. So I can be a writer because I am just like a writer - a regular person who writes. I've decide that I am going to be a writer so therefore I am one - I think that's what I mean?

I read a couple of e-books while I was away to review and it struck me while reading them that they were the kind of thing I could have written. It was a real lightbulb moment; here was an ordinary person doing what I wanted to do and I was reading, enjoying and planning to review what they had written. If they could do it, why not me? And how awesome would it be if next year someone was reading my story while on holiday?

So I decided then and there that I am going to make writing my 'job'. I'm going to sit myself down everyday, get this first draft written and stop prevaricating about it. I'm going to act like a writer and stop faffing around bemoaning the fact that I'm not 'being a writer'. After all, what do all those writers have that I don't? Nothing, except the motivation to get it done. And now I've got that, I may be unstoppable ...  


Friday, 3 June 2016

Word of the Week - Ennui

I struggled to decide which word to use that summed up my week. Which is ironic given I've chosen ennui...

I've really been struggling with motivation recently. My mojo has gone and I've even lacked the motivation to look for it. This has been especially evident in my writing. To be honest, that's dried up completely. I've written a few blog posts but little else. It's not like writers block though, it's more that I've lost the impetus for writing. It seems like a chore and I'm not sure I've got anything to say at the moment.

Happily I'm off on holiday which I'm hoping will re-charge my batteries and I'll come back having rediscovered my love of writing. Then my poor novel can get moving again and I can get the first draft finished and begin the more interesting business of polishing it.

So here's to sun, relaxation and writing - three elements for a great holiday!