I don’t like Coffee!!!

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Well, actually I don’t mind it every now and then. But a good cup of tea is the way to go, for me.

You have to make it right though, ‘as it comes’ is definitely not an option!

I like mine milky, but not anaemic, dark enough to tell its tea but if you’ve hit the colour of David Dickinson’s tan, you’ve gone too far.

It’s been a while since I wrote an update…mostly because I spent the summer working on the same sentence. (Don’t worry, it will be a kick arse sentence when its done!).

The kids are back at school. I now only have ‘the wakey one’ home in the day, whom I’ve decided to rename ‘the bitey one’ after a number of incidents leaving me resembling Jasper from the Twilight books.

So I’m ready and raring to go.

I’ve begun clearing out old notes for my novel. It’s taken on so many changes over the years, I’ve literally got pages and pages of stuff that’s no longer relevant. I’ve also just changed from Writeway Pro to Scrivener so I want to get everything organised before I begin transferring.

I’m in the process of converting a sci-fi short story into a radio play. I think the format will serve the idea well and will get it across better.

I’m doing the ‘Writing 101’ course with Blogging University. They give you prompts each day to get you writing. I’m two weeks in, incredibly behind, but enjoying every minute of it.

Whenever I do anything like this I’m always taken aback by the sheer amount of talent on here. So many great writers, phenomenal sites and wonderful posts that either lift you up or make you think…or make me hungry and dream of cake.

And finally, I have signed up for NaNoWriMo. I’m both excited and scared about this. As many of you know, I’m not the best when it comes to focus. So I thought I’d change it up this year and try something different…lets be honest, it can’t get any worse, I’ve already been working on my book for the past six/seven years.

Anyways, that’s what I’ve been up to.

So, how are you?

Buried Treasure

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Image courtesy of Pong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Find yourself in a creative slump? Stuck for ideas?

I’m reluctant to use the term ‘writers block’. But every writer gets stumped from time to time. The white of the paper gleams, taunting you. That inner voice sneers. ‘You’ll never think of a good idea again’.

This time, skip the crying and eating all the biscuits in the house. Try something inspired by The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron.

I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in fuelling their creativity. Full of helpful assignments and exercises. One of which is very helpful when it comes to ‘writer’s block’.

You write stream-of-consciousness for about fifteen minutes every morning. It can be absolutely anything. If nothing comes to mind, just write ‘I can’t think of anything to say,’ over and over until something comes to you. Eventually it will.

I recently stumbled on one of my notebooks from 2011 and decided to have a read.

Apart from being quite cathartic, looking back at all my worries and stresses of the time, coming from a position now where I know everything worked out was a lovely feeling in itself. But I was also reading ideas that I’d totally forgotten about. This inspired me to write something now.

Keeping any kind of journal is, in my opinion, essential for any writer. There is a wealth of material desperate to make it onto the page. You just have to be present.

So, if you do happen to find yourself experiencing any kind of block, write stream-of-consciousness for a week, even better, for a month. Resist the urge to go back and read them at this stage. You want a pure outpouring of ideas, worries, strains, anything and everything.

Leave them for at least a week – the longer the better. Then start looking back over your work. Is there anything that jumps out at you or inspires you? You’ll be surprised what hidden treasures are hiding in your own words.

10 Things I haven’t done yet!

As part of the “Writing 101” course, we’ve been asked to write a list. So here’s my list (by no means complete), of things I haven’t done yet 🙂

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Image courtesy of Photl.com

  1. Stuff chocolate cake in my mouth and then smile at a stranger.
  2. Finish my book. (Or, in fact, any project that I ‘ve started in the last five months).
  3. Bake a lemon meringue pie that isn’t brown or inedible.
  4. Finish reading one of the four books I’ve started reading during the past four weeks.
  5. Wear a sombrero to a parents evening.
  6. Laugh loudly in a lift full of people for no reason. (This is made slightly more difficult since I’ve got a buggy and not so many people can fit in the lift).
  7. Finish an important poem I’ve been working on for the last three years. (I fear there may be a pattern forming…)
  8. Meet some of my favourite authors without coming across as a crazed stalker.
  9. Find where the large spider in my front room has gone (while secretly hoping its made its way out of the house and far away and took all the other spiders with him).
  10. Eat dinner. I’m starving and now struggling to think of anything besides food.

Blogging 201 – And we’re off!!!

Day One – Goal Setting

I’ve become a pretty appalling blogger of late. At the beginning I was full of optimistic ideas. Sadly, over time they’ve ebbed away, much like BBC3 and my ability to wear a bikini without scaring the children.

My experience of Blogging 101 was excellent and I met many amazing writers. I’m hoping to do the same again…and also encourage some much needed discipline with Blogging 201.

As you can see I’m off to a fantastic start. Task one is already a day late – start as you mean to go on!

So here are my three goals I want to achieve over the next few months.

  1. Reach 100 followers by the end of the year.
  2. Publish at least once a week for the next two months.
  3. Establish a weekly feature.

I will give updates on my progress as I go – at the very worst this will serve as a cautionary tale of how NOT to run a blog.

Good luck to anyone else taking part!

…And so it goes!

As many of you know, I decided a year ago to dedicate more time to my writing projects and would post up my progress, or lack of, as I go.

With that in mind, I would also like to talk about ‘missed opportunity‘.

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original image can be found at www.rantlifestyle.com

I’ve been sitting on this idea for a magazine I love for about a year now. I knew it was perfect and I was looking forward to pitching it.

I’d already made contact with the magazine editor and she seemed open to viewing more of my ideas. The situation was primed.

The only problem – I couldn’t quite get the article down. 

I tinkered with it for a few weeks, then I’d put it aside for a few months thinking ‘I’ll come back to it later’.

I don’t know how many times I did this, but it’s safe to say that it was probably more than the current number of re-runs of ‘Come Dine with Me‘.

So I’m flicking through the latest copy of said magazine when I see a peek at next months articles. There in black and white bold print is not only my idea for an article, but it has my chosen title as well.

I stared at it for a few minutes in disbelief. All that played in my head was – that could’ve been me!

Hey, I’m a big believer in everything happens from the reason and I never like to pass up a situation without trying to learn something from it. Even if it is, I watch TV far too much (see original Come Dine with me comment).

I realised that ideas are around us all the time. You only have to reach up and seize it.

But if you don’t, somebody else will. Someone will be willing to work a little longer, or harder than you did. And they will make a success of your missed opportunity.

Now I’ll be committing that particular idea to the archive section of my computer, labelled ‘took too long and now I feel stupid’.

So, if the muse smiles upon you today and an idea happens to float past you, grab it with both hands and work on it now. Do it now. Don’t wait till tomorrow.

In the meantime, you’ll find me at the bar, downing whiskey and muttering in low tones about how I had a great idea once!

Happy Writing 🙂

p.s. Another thing I learnt today – always back up your work. Because something will happen, such as child impaled on broom, and you will lose your entire post and have to start again, if it wasn’t for browser back up that is – phew!

Make a MAP!

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Happy New Year everyone!

And what a start it’s been. I’m working on a new online magazine, writing stories, editing a book and preparing a new short story serial for publication, my head is spinning.

But in truth I’m never happier than when I’m busy. And as I have the attention span of an infant it bodes well to have a number of projects on the go at any one time.

Last year I worked and the results were mediocre at best. I had periods where it seemed I did nothing but work – completing a script with a co-writer being one of the highlights for me – but there were also times where I didn’t seem to be working at all. Instead I became some kind of sofa monster, guarding chocolate like a griffin guards treasure.

So instead of engaging in the tradition of making resolutions that I have very little hope of keeping, I decided to make a MAP. Not the drawing X’s and staining paper with tea kind – although that would have been fun, but a Massive Action Plan.

A Massive Action Plan is where you come up with your desired outcome and then list a load of ways you can achieve it.

So first I came up with my outcome;

‘Create a portfolio of work that I can be truly proud of and enjoy the process.’

Then I brainstormed as many ways I could think of that would help me achieve this outcome. Now it’s unlikely I will do them all. But if I can complete, say even a third of my list, will I have achieved my outcome?

Absolutely!

So now I have a list of roughly 35 viable things I can do this year to not only increase my output but also improve my chances of publication. This includes, sending a short story out once a month, sending out poetry that has been languishing on my hard drive since the dark ages and working on my fiirst short film.

Now what I need is a plan so I can measure my progress. A list is all well and good. But at the moment it still remains almost a wish list of what I’d like to give a go.

So I go through my list and pick out six things that I’m committed to working on for the next three months. I write them down and come up with small steps I can take towards their attainment.

For example; Make a short film.

  1. Write character Bio’s
  2. Brainstorm with co-writer and outline script.
  3. Begin working on first Scenes.

…and so on.

The more specific your steps, the better your chances of reaching your outcome.

Now I assign each step a date to be completed by. This way I can begin to measure what I’m achieving and by when. If, after two months in, I find myself behind or (in the very unlikely event), ahead. I can adapt my plan accordingly.

It doesn’t matter if my plan changes. Most of the time it does. All that matters is I have a way of measuring my success. This also reduces the chance of me getting to the end of the year and finding myself not even having started, staring at my wish list with a feeling of desperation and craving for cake.

Now I find myself two weeks into January and I’m already two thirds through my list for this month. Not only has my output exploded, but I’m building momentum.

I don’t know if this will work for anyone else, but its certainly given me the boost I needed. I would love to hear from anyone who gives this a go. Did it work? Did you follow your steps? Hopefully we can all creat our MAPS and eventully achieve the ultimate goal…

…taking over the world, (followed by best evil plan laugh!)

Good luck everybody, I hope the new year brings you adventures, opportunities and chocolate…lots and lots of chocolate!