Thursday, 28 February 2008

Diverting from my usual route

Yesterday I remembered something that I wrote towards the end of last year. It was just a page and a half, the start of something that I would get to eventually. Well, I got very excited about it yesterday and last night when I was going to bed I couldn't wait for this morning so that I could get on with it. So, the first thing I did when I got back from grocery shopping this morning was pick up my pen, pull out my book and start writing. ThenI realised that I was going at it like a bull in a china shop and I need to slow down.
You see I'm trying to write this idea as a screenplay which is something that I've never done before and I think I need to approach it in a more structured fashion. I forced myself to put down the notebook and come away from it. I need to tackle this project differently, I need to plan.

Sunday, 24 February 2008

No writing but still a good day

Haven't written anything today, in fcat I haven't done much of anything. We paid a surprise visit to our parents instead. They're all getting on a bit now and we live a long way away so we don't see them that often. The last time was just before Christmas.
I have officially given myself the day off writing.
So, since returning I've had a cuppa, a bath and put the dinner in the oven. Now I'm going to watch Dancing on Ice and then hang out with Himself this evening.
I feel so relaxed today - its fab.

Saturday, 23 February 2008

What I did this week

The weather was really bad yesterday so we decided to stay at home. I did some tidying in the garden which was pretty yucky but not a lot of writing - just jotting down a few ideas mainly. I was thinking about what I have done this week and I think that I'm happy with what I've achieved.
  • My topsy project is now 12,500 words through it's second draft. For those of you that don't know I call it my topsy project because it just sort of grew out of nowhere.
  • I found some very old ideas/notes in the back of a cupboard which I've added tp my WIP folder.
  • I've worked on some of the old ideas, finished one and submitted it.
  • I've had fun

Plus away from writing I've got some really yucky jobs thatI've been putting off for a while done.

Like I said, the weather was really bad yesterday and the power went off last evening so the clock in the bedroom wasn't set. I woke up and thought it was later than it really is ( I thought it was about 6.30 it was 4.15) but I was wide awake and thought I might as well get up. I spent a while writing an email to a friend who has sponsored me to do The Race for Life. It was just going to be a quick thank you but then I realised that there was loads of stuff I hadn't told her so that took over half an hour. I've also done a couple of other things but it's still only 5.50. Once I'm awake I'm awake but I'll suffer for it later. I think I'll go and put the coffee pot on and then do a bit more of topsy

Thursday, 21 February 2008

Topsy update

I gave myself a day off the yucky jobs today. I had to do the grocery shopping this morning (some might consider that a yucky job) and then I had to go and deal with some stuff about the car. That took way longer than I had anticipated so I can't face anything nasty like cleaning cupboards or something similar.
I've spent an hour or so working on my topsy project and thats coming along nicely. I've got twelve and a half thousand of the words typed up already but I have come to the conclusion that it won't be finished this week but its moved on a long way and I'll finish it soon.
Himself is taking the day off tomorrow and will probably want to go out for the day so I can't imagine there'll be much done then. I'll get more done on Saturday and Sunday but then it's back to work ya boo hiss!!!

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Time for bed

Today's yukky job was to strip all the covers from the sofa and wrestle them into the washing machine and wash them. Of course there's still the fight to get them back on which is always a challange. I have also emptied the washing basket and cleared the ironing pile. So I am now quite rightly in my opimion proud of my achievements on the domestic front and have given myself the next hour of to surf the net, check out blogs or whatever I want. After that it'll be back to my topsy project which I have been working on.
This particular project as some of you will know is one that probably won't ever be seen by the public at large but will rather be a record of how I felt at a particular point in my life. But like I said last week it's something that I'm ready to put to bed now. Then I will concentrate on some other stuff.

Tuesday, 19 February 2008

Yukky jobs and emails

Todays yukky job was to clean the cooker (URRGGHHH.) It's not really a long job it's just a messy job which is why I tend to put it off. Anyway, its done now and the rest of the day is my own.
I have also this morning typed up a story that I finished last night so I am feeling like I have achieved something today already and its not even 10 o'clock yet. Imagine what I could have achieved if I hadn't spent half an hour trawling the internet and checking emails for acceptances that weren't there. Well you never know, I have a few pieces submitted in other countries in different time zones, there might have been an email that I needed to see.
In all seriousness though, I wonder how much time I waste surfing the net and checking emails./ Do I really need to do that every day? I was reading an interview with a prolific author who said that they never check their email on a writing day. I suppose the difference is that they have made it and I'm just hoping that a short story is accepted an a paying magazine.

Monday, 18 February 2008

Finding treasure

I decided that on each day of my holiday I must do a job that I've been putting off. Todays was that I cleared out the space above my wardrobe. I found all sorts of things in there including an old notebook. I've just read through it and now I have more things in my Work in Progress folder. Actually there were a couple of ideas in there that I really like and I will be working on.
It is just a tatty old notebook but it was like finding something precious. It was full of things that I was thinking and planning at some point in the past and now I get chanceto develop them.

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Is a month long enough?

I discovered this morning that I hadn't finished reading December's Writing Magazine. I was flicking through it to see what I'd missed and read an article by Michael Gasson in which he says give an editor time to evaluate a story you have sent them before querying their reply. He advises leaving at least a month before conatcting a magazine about your submission. I wonder if a month is long enough. I have only had one positive reply to a short story in a month and that was when Billy Higgins was covering Jill Finlay's maternity leave at The Weekly News. In fact, most of my positive responses have come when an editor has had my story for 3 months or even longer.
There are 2 things I have had to learn as a writer.
1. Patience becuase editors can take a long time to get back to you.
2. Not to take rejection personally, they are rejecting my work not me.

A small thing

I've spent a lot of time this week thinking about what I'm going to do on my week off but I did manage to submit two things too. One was my novel to a competition and the other was a short story. I also remember writing something, an idea down on a piece of paper but I can't remember what I did with it. I'm sure if I root through my pockets I'll find it.
One thing that I did do this week though was sign up to do Cancer Research UK's Race For Life in July. At the moment there's just me and one volunteer from a Cancer Research UK shop doing it but by the time I've finished badgering them I hope that a few more volunteers will sign up too. It's a cause that I firm;y believe in and am passionate about. It's just a small thing but it's something.
I still haven't decided what to concentrate on this week but I am determined that by the end of it I will feel like I have achieved something.

Tuesday, 12 February 2008

So much to do - so little time

The goulash can wait a minute.
I'm feeling a bit in the same boat as Sally (see her recent post) in that I'm struggling to decide what best to do.
I have next week off work and much as I would like to spend the whole week writing that's just not going to happen because there are so many other things to do. Like I said in my last post there are some short stories that I want to place or polish. I would also like to work on my novel although I haven't totally reconnected with that yet, maybe because I've been neglegting it to write short stories and try to get work published. Then there is the topsy project that filled up so much of my time last autumn. I really feel like I want to work on that because it's time to put it to bed. Oh, and didn't I say that I wanted to sort out the writing drawers. Everytime I pick up a notebook or a piece of paper there's an idea or the start of a story written on it. Oh yes, amd wasn't I going to try and produce one non fiction article each month. AARRRGHHH!!!
What to do - where to start.
I need a plan because otherwise I'm going to spend so much time doing so many things yet doing any of them properly.


It's a stew afternoon but instead of making the aforementioned I've spent the last hour or so checking out a few websites and doing a couple of things on my writing to do list.
I think that I mentioned the other day that I need to do some tidying up and get a bit of structure into my writing so, I decided to look at my short story folder just to see what was hanging around.
In my SS folder there are 22 stories of which 4 are not finished, 14 are submitted to various places and four are just sitting there. Therefore, if I do nothing else next week when I am off I will try to place those four lost souls and maybe finish at least one of the stories.
Must go, it's not quite stew but goulash is calling.

Sunday, 10 February 2008

First time for everything - so they say.

Just over a year ago I finished my novel BTL and I sent it out to 3 agents last year. I was encouraged by the fact that they all took the time to reply to me personally and a couple of them even said good things about it but none of them offerred representation. I had another agent in mind to send it to but one of the things on my to do list was to check out a competition to find a new novelist. I've never entered a novel into a competition before and I've never won a writing competition but don't they say that there's a first time for everything. I hope this is mine.
Wish me luck, the winner is announced in May.

A better week but still more to do.

This week was better than last, writing wise. I made three submissions and chased up a story that has been with a magazine for three months. It's a foreign magazine that I haven't tried before so I'm not sure what their turnaround time is but I think I'm withing my rights to query it after three months. I also spent some time researching an article. It's still in the notes stage at the moment but I'm hoping to work on it this week. I think I mentioned in a previous blog that I'm hoping to write some factual stuff as well as fiction. Fiction is my first love but there are so many more outlets for factual work.
I was about to say that I haven't come up with an ending yet for the story I started two weeks ago, and it's true that I haven't. However that implies that I've actually tried to come up with one and that's not true. To be honest I haven't actually looked at it even though the story is written on three sheets of paper that is still in the pocket of the jacket that I usually wear to work. Okay, here's the deal, I'm going to look at it tomorrow lunch time at least and try to come up with a suitable ending.
When I got home from work yesterday I found out that we had lost the broadband connection. I knew that there would be security information that I would need when I rang up about it and I knew that the piece of paper that said information was on was in one of my writing drawers. It took me a while to find that piece of paper because of all the stuff that is in those drawers. they are full of bits of paper, note books etc. And when I say full, I mean full, choc full to the top, all three of them. I'm on holiday the week after next and I think that one of my projects during that week will be to sort through those drawers and get them into some sort of order.
I'm still working my way through the to do list that I started last Sunday and I have added a few more things to it.
So much to do - so little time to do it.

Tuesday, 5 February 2008

Five ways I raise my vibrations

Make a list.
I love to make a list becuase there is something very satisfying about ticking things off the list when they have been completed.

Have all my men together.
My boys are men now with lives of their own so we don't spend as much time together as we used to. I love it when we are all in the same room at the same time and I'll do anything I can to make it happen.

Walk my dog.
She is the daughter that I never had (completely spoiled of course) and I love walking with her in the woods or through the feilds.

Curl up with a good book.
This one is possibly a little cliched but I don't get the chance to read as much as I would like so if I get a spare afternoon and can curl up on the sofa with a good book and a cuppa I'm in Heaven.

Have a "stew" afternoon.
One of my work colleagues and I have this thing that if ever we have the afternoon off work we call it a "stew" afternoon i.e. we are going home to make stew. If I do have just the afternoon off I do tend to go home and cook although it's rarely stew. I don't like having the morning off and then working in the afternoon but I do like it the other way round and try to arrange it from time to time. I had a "stew" afternoon last week and it was great. It was like bunking off school early but without the dentists appointment.

Thanks for tagging me Moondreamer. With apologies if you've already been tagged, I tag Sally Q, Womagwriter and Captain Black.

Sunday, 3 February 2008

An ordinary story

A few months ago I entered a story into a competition. I thought it was a good story and liked it a lot. I was a bit disappointed when it wasn't even shortlisted because like I said I thought it was a good story. This week I read the story that won the competition and I have to say that it made mine look soooooooooooooooooo ordinary. It was fantastic and I really don't mind losing out to it.

Honestly Mr H

After saying how happy I was with my efforts in January I have to be honest and say that I haven't been so good this week. My reason for this (yes Mr H (my former boss) it is a reason not an excuse) is that the person I work with was on holiday last week so I had more to do. I did write one story though. It's not quite finished yet because I need to decide upon the ending, then of course it will need editing and polishing but I'd like to get it submitted before the end of the month. I have prepared a manuscript for submission tomorrow when I buy more stamps so thats a move in the right direction.
I'm desperately trying to get more organised with my writing tasks but I haven't worked out the best method for me yet. This morning I was going through the latest edition of Writers News and making myself a to do list. I didn't get all the way through yet and I've already given myself plenty to do.
I'll let you know how I go.