Monday, 11 March 2019

Planning, planning, planning

Over the last week I took part in a 5 day challenge to look at how you approached writing and how you could move on to the next level (whatever that means) with your writing. We had to identify who our reader was - interesting in itself as I think it's something that many of us don't give too much thought to when we're writing. Secondly we had to think about why we are writing our particular novel/story and why it is important to us now - again not something that I had given much thought to. Thirdly we were asked to do some blue sky thinking about where we wanted to be in 3 or 5 years time if our writing really took off and we could accomplish anything. This was particularly valuable as it gave real focus to why writing is important and how we value it. Lastly we did some free writing, focusing on our WIP but not thinking too hard about what we wrote - disengaging the conscious brain and letting the unconscious have a go if you like. For five minutes we just wrote anything that came into our heads without stopping - filling the blank spots with a string of umms if we had to.

Now it was the last exercise that really revealed something to me. As I wrote a whole new idea for a sequel to the novel I have just finished in first draft came to me. I hadn't thought of continuing the story but the idea is so strong that I feel I have to write it. This again opened up a train of thought which was touched on by the last part of the challenge. Our final task was to look at whether we wanted to publish our work and if we did how would we do it, which method would best suit each of us individually. I have always worried that the traditional route isn't for me. I baulk at the idea of getting an agent and pitching ideas to a publisher only to end up disheartened and disappointed. Self publishing isn't an area I'd thought about - it bought to mind sad series of books about spirituality and finding yourself! Not my thing at all I thought.

However, I have been looking into publishing through Amazon and, while I know some people think they are the devil in corporate clothing, I think I may have found the solution for me. To reinforce my sense of commitment I sat down last night and planned out how I can revise, edit and publish my novel by August! And I plan to write the first draft of the sequel this year too. Sounds too good to be true? Maybe. But I have such enthusiasm for it that I need to give it a go. And if August turns out to be too soon then I'll revise my dates and publish it another month. Not forgetting that I still hope to get the podcast up and running this spring!

So, suddenly it all seems possible. I may actually have a novel out there for real people to read later this year. Who would have thought it?

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

A Soppy Poem About Love

A Soppy Poem About Love

All you need is love.
Listen to what the man said.
Tell me why,
What's love got to do with it?

Too much love will kill you,
Crazy little thing called love.
I need your love tonight,
Love me two times.

Love is a battlefield,
You've got to hide your love away.
I'd love to teach the world to sing,
Love me tender,  I want to know what love is.

I think I love you,
Will you still love me tomorrow?
Now that we found love,
I believe in a thing called love.

Wednesday, 6 February 2019

Contests or Submissions?

Someone posed the question whether I thought entering writing contests was as valuable as submitting my writing to magazines. I have to confess that I'd never really given it much thought. But it did pique my interest so I'm going to pop some thoughts down.

I have entered a few writing contests and competitions. I have viewed them as simple ways to share my writing. They are non threatening, easy to enter and I've not yet been too disappointed to not be a winner. However I can see that the audience is very limited. Apart from the judges there is no audience. So if my goal is to share my writing I need to consider if this is the best way to do it.

I have never submitted any of my writing to a magazine or publication. I guess the reason is that this seems to be something a real, proper writer would do and there is still a tiny part of me that doesn't see myself as a 'real' writer, whatever one of those is. But if I want to share my writing with a larger audience then I have to reach out to a large audience. And that is likely to mean magazines.

I've made one of my goals for the year to get my WIP ready to submit to agents. I know there is a long way to go yet - I'm only on my second draft and I already know there is plenty to fix before it is anywhere near ready to share with a professional. But it is an aim and so far I'm happy with progress. I should have the draft finished before I go on retreat later this month and that should be an opportunity to read the manuscript and find areas that need fixing.

So, do I have a conclusion? Not yet. The idea of submitting my work to the scrutiny of a professional is scary but it's one I need to embrace if I am to progress as a writer. But I will make an effort to submit something to a magazine this year. I have already been offered some advice about where I might do this so watch this space. Anything could happen ...

Sunday, 27 January 2019

Remembering - a poem for Holocaust Memorial Day


small and round, weathered by wind and water
i hold a pebble in my hand, smooth and cool.
its weight is slight, it takes no space,
it sits in my palm, cradled and safe.
imagine the beach, pebble strewn, water lapped,
salty tang on lips, wind blown tears on lashes.
see the pebbles tumble in the waves, million upon million.
feel the pebble in my hand, taste salt on my lips,
see the millions marching, stumbling, tumbling, 
onwards to the unknown.
place a pebble on stone, hot wind upon my cheek,
salty tears on lashes, weeping for the millions lost.
six million pebbles, a towering cairn, each placed with love.
whisper a name, one for every pebble.

always remember.
keep them in your heart.
every one of the six million loved,
as you do,
as you do, 
as you do.
every one of the six million left a mark, 
a hole in the heart of the world.
always remember. 

Sunday, 6 January 2019

The Wisdom of Women

I am in awe of the depth of wisdom displayed by my lovely group of writer friends, most of whom are women. They cut through my bluster and waffle and procrastinating nonsense with their razor like wisdom and set me off on the right track with a song in  my heart.

I posted about my dilemmas surrounding naming my podcast on our Facebook page. In the blink of an eye they were back with hard and insightful questions that really got me thinking about what this podcast is about and why I want to make it. They stopped me from paralysing myself with indecision to the point where I give up on the project. They made me feel supported, valued and loved.

What a bunch!

So, I am still determined to get the podcast off the ground and I'm not going to wait until I have a suitable name. If I do the chances are I will never be happy with anything I come up with and the whole project will die a quiet and lonely death.

I have decided that the way to go is to make a pilot episode, test the waters, see how I sound when chatting away. This may or may not get sent out into the world but I'm determined to at least try. I'm almost finished planning what I want to say and if I can summon up the courage I hope to have something recorded by the end of the month.

Deep breath...

So that's where I'm at, plotting and planning, trying out something new. If this venture ever sees the light of day and stops being a secret vanity project I'll post details here and you can have a listen and laugh at my Brummie accent.