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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sticking to one project?

I am pretty sure most writers flit from project to project but there are times, especially with looming deadlines when you have to stick to one!

This is where I am at the moment.  I have until July 8th (well not that long really as I have to post them unless I hand deliver!) to complete another 15 minute play.  I don't have to enter two but want to increase my chances.  Plus I love the idea so want to write it anyway.  So I need to concentrate on this even though my mind is often distracted.

My major distraction yesterday was a message on facebook from a senior features writer for our local newspaper.  I love the fact they found me on facebook!  They saw the story in Pick Me Up and are hoping to run it as a story from a different angle.  It strikes me that as they found me I should try and use it as an opportunity.  Anyway as it involves my husband I need to discuss it with him and find a little bit more about it.

But like I said I need to finish what I'm doing before I pursue other things so hopefully I will have 15 play number 2 done by the weekend.  Might just have to do a little jump of joy when they're sent off!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Back on track!

Glad to report after my mini meltdown I have managed to get back on track! Whilst the rest of England was watching the football match (don't think I need to go into details) I was multitasking and managed to finish the my 15 minute play.  This is a big relief as I have finished it in plenty of time and can send it off next week.  I also got a couple of other bits done and have an idea for a second 10-15 minute play.  I getting to work on this straight away in the hope I will get it done for Famous for Fifteen.  If I don't manage that I will keep it down to 10 minutes and use it for the anthology.

My husband has kindly been setting up the PC so I can use that when I am at the desk rather than my lap top.  It needs quite a few updates and my work transferred over so hopefully that will be done by next weekend.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Brain melt down!

I felt like I had brain overload yesterday. I wonder if other writer's get to the point where they don't feel like they can think any more. I finished my first 15 minute play with the slight problem it's a bit short on time.  I am sure taking into account movement and pauses it will be a bit longer than I timed it but to be sure I wanted to add a bit more dialogue.  I found it really hard to try and do this straight away though.  It may have been the fact my thoughts were distracted by the stray (or rather cruelly neglected) cat that has been in my garden for the past week and got picked up by the RSCPA yesterday.  So instead I started working on my piece for the Arthritis Care competition.  By the end of the day I felt like my head was going to explode and was frustrated by the fact I hadn't actually finished anything completely.  Fortunately my husband took us out for dinner before we visited relatives.

So after a day like that I decided tidying the desk area upstairs was my better option today.  Harder work with the heat of the day but I have made good progress.  I sorted through lots of paperwork from my previous job in physiotherapy and it was quite surreal considering how much my life has changed.  I still have one box to sort through but after a siesta on the sofa my energy levels have not resumed sufficiently for me to want to continue today.  I can at least get up there to work now but think I will wait until I have done it all to take my after shot.

With any luck I will be able to finish clearing up tomorrow and I would be very happy if I manage to complete at least one writing project before the weekend is out.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Making writing your priority

There is no doubt making writing your first priority is the only way writing can become more than a hobby.  I read a great blog post the other day from Miss Snark's First Victim: a blog for aspiring authors.  The post link here has some great tips about treating writing as a career.  It points out how you have to treat writing as a career from the start otherwise you run the risk of it never being anything more than a hobby.

I have to agree with everything the post says.  If I wasn't pushing myself and forcing deadlines on myself I would still be treating it very much as a hobby and be aspiring to be a writer in the future.  Instead I class myself as a writer now and know I have have to work really hard to get my goals done.

On that matter I really don't have very long until I need to send my 15 minute plays off for Famous for Fifteen so I really must press on! Fingers crossed I get them to a point where I am happy and send them off in time!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Find a good writing group

When I started this blog I had never been to a writing group and now I am a member of two.  Writing Buddies was a wonderful discovery and I attended another fantastic meeting with lots of news last Friday.

Writing Buddies is slightly different in that rather than critiquing work everyone just gives an update on what they have been up to.  I find this approach very encouraging as it gives you insight into others work, what projects are going on and it's a great exchange of information.  This week I managed to ask how the writer's in the group planned their novel writing.  The answers were very varied but also very helpful and great to get the advice.

I have to say that being part of Writing Buddies is for me a great encouragement and I recommend any budding writers to find a similar group that works for them.

Writing Buddies also led me to discover Writers in Southampton who have a talk once a month.  This is helpful in an entirely different way in a more educational sense and I am so glad to have found another forum in which to learn.

It is important to find a group that works for you in helping to support and encourage your writing.  There are still two groups in my area I have not attended and think it will be useful to try both.  The first is Southampton Writer's circle and the second is Write on Writer's at the Art Cafe.  I think I need slightly more courage to attend both of these as one involves being critiqued and the other involves exercises during the evening you then have to read out.  Whilst both of these are very useful exercises they are also the areas I have least confidence and I would be reluctant to go to these groups until I felt my confidence had increased.  I think is important for every writer to find a group that works for them and it is great to have a group like Writing Buddies when you are just starting out.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Why every writer should be on twitter

I have to confess to my love of twitter! Most people I talk to know of this, in fact if I didn't have my mind set on being a writer I think I would have to become a social networking guru of some sort!

After figuring out how to work it and installing tweetdeck it has quickly become something I use on a regular basis.  The ability to network from your own front room amazes me and I am constantly surprised at how much more accessible information is.  Originally I joined as more of a challenge with a work colleague.  She is a big fan of Peter Andre and she had been tweeting him messages in the hope he would reply.  So we set each other the challenge of him making one of us his friend.  He did reply to a tweet of mine and we soon forgot about the challenge.  In what was originally a bit of fun I had found a whole new way of communicating with the world

These are some of the top reasons why writers (or anyone for that matter) should be on twitter.

1) The people you meet

For anyone who works alone being able to chat to people during the day can be a blessing.  But rather than inviting someone round for a cuppa twitter offers quick chat and the ability to get advice instantly.  It is quite strange to have friends you have never met but tweet to almost every day!  I am constantly inspired by them and astounded by their kindness. At the start of the year a friend of mine Zoe set her blog Splodz Blogz with a year in photos; everyday she posts a photo and an update. Reading her blog and the encouragement of others inspired me to start this blog.  Twitter has really helped encouraged me to do this blog and also gives me a forum in which to share it as well.

2) The opportunities it creates

I have been constantly surprised and delighted with some of the doors twitter has opened.  By following publishers and authors I receive information quickly which I would have otherwise never known about.  It has given me the opportunity to complete book reviews and I continue to do these for WHSmith.

It has also presented more unusual opportunities such as the wonderful My Daddy Cooks.  I love Nick and Archie and their video blogs and later this year they are bringing out a cook book.  Nick asked for some people to test recipes so I volunteered.  I tested one last night and my husband will be testing the others at the weekend.

This along with authors such as Katie Fforde and Jill Mansell replying to your tweets makes you feel a whole lot closer to your dreams.


3) The ability to pick and choose!

Unlike in real life you can pick and choose the people you follow to cater to your own interests.  Outside of writing I follow various celebrities, a lot of food related tweets, friends I chat to amongst others.  Unlike being in an office, if someone is taking up to much of your timeline you can unfollow them.  If someone is rude or unsavoury you can block them.  It's just a perfect work situation! Just as long as your time on twitter is not taking away from the time you spend writing that is!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Prioritising!

I used to do a lot of prioritising in my job as a physiotherapist. I worked as an medical in-patient physiotherapist and I would have lots of patients and only so many hours to cram them in.  Nowadays my need to prioritise is completely different but I am still needing to use that same skill.

It is very easy to let writing become a low priority with everything else going on in life.  I am happy to say it has remained a higher priority for 3 + months now and I have got much more done as a result.  I now have some looming deadline dates and realise I need to get a wriggly on if I am to get everything done!  It means I will have to temporarily abandon my playwright 'White China at Rose Cottage' for a couple of weeks.  This is in order to complete one (or hopefully two) 15 minute plays to submit into a local 'Famous for Fifteen' event.  I also want to get some pieces finished to enter The Writing Buddies Competition.  Both of these are really great local opportunities for myself so I want to make sure I give myself enough time.  I prefer spending time over projects rather than rushing them but time is short already.  After I have completed these I will be able to finish the playwright.

It means for the rest of this month I need to spend most of my free time writing and that starts today as I have three days off work.  I also need to finish sorting out the desk upstairs so it is more of a work area but as always the writing needs to be the biggest priority.

So off to finish a couple of flash fiction pieces to start and then need to cook up some ideas for my fifteen minute plays.

Monday, June 14, 2010

BOOK REVIEW: Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane



This book took me a little while to get into but I’m glad I stuck with it! Urban Fantasy is completely new to me and this is the first book I have read in the genre.


Once I got past the strange character names and the alternative reality I began to appreciate the world Kane has created.   The main character Chess is a witch with a drug problem and soon finds herself in a whole heap of trouble.  By the end I was left wanting to read more and it’s a good job as this is the first in a series of three books.  Unholy Ghosts is a wonderfully imagined book with some great characters and I look forward to seeing how they get on in the upcoming Downside Ghost books.

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Voyager (27 May 2010)
  • ISBN-10: 0007352816
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007352814

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Getting back to it!

I am back after a lovely week away spending time in Essex with friend's for a wedding and then visiting my Mum in Margate for a few days.  It was just what the doctor ordered!  I did very little of anything and I think it was good to have a break from writing and get my mind a little more focussed for the busy upcoming weeks.  I did manage to finish reading Unholy Ghosts by Stacia Kane and will write up a review in the next couple of days.

Today as planned I am going to tackle the desk area in our bedroom which I am now claiming as mine!  We had set it up for my husband and the course he was doing but the company folded and still waiting to hear what will happen about that.



Here is the before picture I promised!  The desk itself is pretty clear but there is a mounting pile of 'stuff' around it that needs to be sorted out.  I will be very glad to sort through it and clear the space again and hopefully keep it that way.  It is going to involve a little more work as the curtain you can see to the left of the picture came off the wall the same day I blogged about sorting the desk.  The night before we headed to Essex I went upstairs to find the curtain rail and the piece of wood it was fixed to on the floor! It is surprising it hasn't fallen off before as it is another bit of botched DIY from the previous resident.  The screws are no where near long enough to hold the piece of wood and the inevitable has happened.  So presently we have a tablecloth up held up with pegs.  It was the best we could manage at short notice! We'll get that fixed this coming week and if this afternoon goes well I should be able to get to the desk as well.

Oh and I have also changed my background on the blog - hope you like it!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Creating a working environment!

At last some 'me' time and it feels much needed.  I have been at full pace the past couple of months and having been ill in the middle I'm not sure I caught up with myself.  Yesterday was my hubby's 28th birthday and we had a nice quiet day and went out for some lunch before I fell asleep for two hours in the afternoon.  Good job I had brought him an XBOX game for his birthday and he was quite happy to be playing that for most of the day.  We now have the rest of the week off and are heading for Essex on Monday for a wedding then to Kent on Wednesday to see family.

On Thursday evening I went to another Writers in Southampton meeting and the speaker was Deanna Dewey.  She is a film director and script writer and the talk was called 'What writing can lead to'.  She was a very interesting speaker and it made me feel more inspired with my writing.  After all it has already lead me to some interesting things so who knows what the future may hold!

Linking up with other writer's is really proving useful as finding out a lot more information about writing.  The Winchester Writer's Conference was mentioned and I am having a look if any of this is useful for me.

I have a lot to do over the next coming couple of months.  I plan to finish my playwright, write two 10-15 plays for famous for fifteen, complete some flash fiction pieces for The Writing Buddies Anthology and start playing my first full novel!! So I really do need to get my head down and will be using up all my spare time.  It has made me think that maybe I do need a more permanent home office space.  At present I scribble my writing on notebooks then type it up on the laptop whilst sat on the sofa.  We do have a desk and PC in our bedroom originally set up for a course my husband was doing.  The course ended after the company folded and in the following months the desk has become more buried.  I am not usually one for sitting at a desk to work but the bedroom is an XBOX free zone so I can happily get on with my work in the evenings and weekends.  So I am going to claim the desk as my new work space.  It just means a major bit of sorting out to get to the desk.  My blogs may be fewer over the next few weeks for all the above reasons but have no fear it means I am writing!  In the very least I will update you with a before and after of the desk space!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

If you could read my mind!

My brain is doing overtime at the moment and I have to admit to loving it!  I had planned to just do some housework this morning before heading to work but decided as I am in the writing mood that is what I should do.  Really this is a triumph; This is the place I wanted to be but never quite got to in the past.  I am much happier getting my ideas down on paper than I am having a tidy house!

I was considering what other people would think of me if they could really see into my head and all the ideas that pop up.  I mean as with most stories they are entirely fictitious but often planted in some kind of reality.  In my mind any plot lines are like watching a movie reel.  My photographic memory is one of my strong points and I can imagine scenarios in great detail.  I find it a complete indulgence to steep myself in these thoughts and ideas often come thick and fast when I do.  The problem is switching back to reality.  I have to then remind myself that in my day-to-day life those around me might not understand if I try to explain my latest plot idea.  Particularly if that may be the person who unknowingly helped plant the seed which later sprouted the idea!

I do wonder if people could see my thoughts if they would think of me differently.  I hope they would in a positive way but until any task is nearing completion I like to keep it to myself.  So for now I'll never know.