Friday, 25 February 2011

Did it!

Oh my word - talk about leaving it till the last minute - sketched out a plan for the story yesterday morning but only finally started the actual writing at about 8.30pm!  Finished the first draft last night & then have spent today trying to edit it into something half readable!  The closing date is Monday so I am just about to hot foot it to the Post Office to send it!

I am quite excited as at 2379 words, it's easily the longest thing I've ever written - I have paid the extra for a critique so will let my readers (all 2 of you!) know how I get on when I get that back.  The winners are announced at the end of March so I suspect the critique will be back around then too - am not at all hopeful about any prize, but am quite pleased to have actually written to a deadline. Finally.

Well, better not speak to soon - have to rely on Royal Mail now so best dash right out now the printer has stopped it's spewing.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Cupcakes Vs Competitions

Ok, so the cupcakes won.  And they were good (will be updating my food blog with those though so won't go on about them here!!) But why did I make them first? Am musing on whether I deliberately self sabotage? I have very little time left for this competition and yet instead of stopping everything else and getting stuck in, I am still checking my emails, updating my facebook status and making cupcakes.

I have found it difficult getting some inspiration - was going to work up on one of my 30 minutes stories but finding it hard to get excited about revisiting something from the past.  I have always left things to the last minute but now I really have to finish this today as it will need to be posted tomorrow to stand a chance of getting there for Monday.

The good news is that I think (maybe, possibly, hopefully) that I have an idea now that I can work with.  I am losing one child to a sleepover shortly (the demanding one!) and my husband is out for the night so hopefully I can dedicate the rest of the day and evening to actual writing.  Real life actual story writing. I have all night and am determined not to let this deadline slip by.

Please don't mention the ironing pile or the housework - I am pretending they don't exist till tomorrow.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

It's the final countdown

da da da daaaa da da da da da....ahem...sorry, not that kind of countdown but there are but a few short days left before the Write Invite Hard Copy competition deadline.  The stories need to be in by 28th February which gives me just....erm....allowing for more than 2 days to finish my entry.  And when I say finish, I really mean start. Oh dear.

I had great hopes for this competition and was going to take advantage of the 3 for 2 offer but am now going to try and submit 1 piece and will treat myself to the optional critique too (this costs £5 - same price as entry).

Well, I would love to stay and chat, but as it seems I should be on the final edit by now, I have a lot of catching up to do.  I am going to ignore the fact that I have house guests arriving in an hour (have pre-made the dinner but still have cupcakes to create) and a pile of ironing the size of Crouch waiting for me. I don't think I now have the luxury of writing a whole new piece but will try and 'work up' one of my old 30 minute stories. Wish me luck - my keyboard is going to get a bashing and those cupcakes don't just make themselves.

Friday, 18 February 2011


I received assignment 9 back with some positive comments from my tutor which I was really pleased about after the little telling off I received last time about putting effort in!  I must actually send some of the work out this time - I must be their laziest student yet.

So now I am finally at assignment 10, the last of the non-fiction assignments which is great news for me as I'm really much more interested in getting to the fiction section - which perhaps goes someway to explaining why it has taken me so many years getting through these assignments. So assignment 10 is my dilemma, it's very simple - I basically have to write a non-fiction book. Well, not the entire book but a summary, chapter synopsis, one full chapter, etc etc, practically a book really.

It just so happens that someone asked me last year if I wanted to write a non-fiction book with them, but it's on a subject I'm not that interested in.  So here's the rub - do I go ahead with this idea or find something that I would actually choose to write about if I could?  Do I go with my friends idea (pluses - she would help, it appears to be an actual gap in the market, the idea is ready to go now but minuses - I wouldn't really want to write this book, I find the subject a bit dull) or do I find something I'm passionate about and try and find a non-fiction book in it?

Ho hum, I guess it depends how quickly I want to move on the fiction part of the course? I'm sure most advise would be to find something I am passionate about but in this instance I'm thinking about just getting the job done!

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Well I managed the gym....

....but not a lot of pen to paper action today.  This blog is starting to feel like a series of 'the dog ate my homework' letters.  Must do better tomorrow.

The gym is going well and I am aching in places I'd forgotten about which must be good, surely?  I have cleared my emails, my inbox, my finance bits, my outbox, my facebook inbox, that pile of paper on the side in the kitchen.....I really don't think there is anything left to clear.

Tomorrow looms and it is completely clear and fabulously free like a lovely clean piece of a4 paper.  Nothing will keep me from a full day of writing..........apart from spinning of course!

Monday, 14 February 2011

Another new week and another new writing regime.  I am going to try taking the morning to do other things - emails, chores, gym etc and then spend between 1 and 3 each day writing.  Will try this for a week and see how I get on.  Could this be a genius way of ensuring that I get my jobs out of the way and therefore my head clear for the afternoon writing session?  Or am I fooling myself and is this just another delaying tactic?  Well it's 1pm so I'd better crack on.......time will tell I guess.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

One day at a time....

It has been a strange week this week, I lost a day on Monday to travel, and on Tuesday my Mum came up which was lovely and we talked a lot of writing but I didn't actually do any!  My cousin is coming to stay tomorrow so I haven't had much time but have decided to not beat myself up about it but maximise the time I do have.  I am going to arrive a couple of hours early into Kingston (where I'm meeting my cousin) and take my notebook and try the coffee shop shuffle out.  I have picked 2 of my teeny 30 minute stories to try and work on for the Write Invite hard copy competition and they're offering 3 stories for the price of 2 so I'm going to write a new story from scratch as well.

Gym induction went very well yesterday and I nearly killed myself trying to do the full work out today so that must be a good sign.  Am feeling very inspired although am out drinking tonight so will be taking a day off the exercise tomorrow.  Am hoping the hangover will enhance my writing rather hinder!  The coffee should help at least!

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Back to life, back to reality

Returned home yesterday from a relaxing weekend in the middle of the forest near York. Staying in a log cabin in the middle of nowhere with NO mobile reception and NO internet connection would surely prove an ideal writing environment?  What possible distractions could there be left?

Two big distractions apparently - reading and board games. I finished the incredible Fahrenheit 451 and started the engrossing The Help and we played games. A lot of games. Articulate, Scrabble, Cranium, Taboo and more Scrabble.  We rode and we walked, we ate and we drank, we visited York and we even made use of the hot tub on the deck! So unless I remove myself to a small, cardboard box with no tele communications and no reading material, there are always going to be distractions and I'm just going to have to learn to deal with them.

Back in suburbia, I am going to have a new super dooper gym programme worked out for me tomorrow morning (badly needed after hot tub embarrassment in front of people who don't look like baby Shamu!) & then spend the remainder of the day working up a story for the Write Invite 7 page competition - closing at the end of the month. Distractions, schmistractions.

PS Didn't win the Saturday competition, came last of the 3 but still was nice that the judges liked it even if the voters didn't!

Friday, 4 February 2011

Writers Retreat

Off to stay in a forest cabin in York for the weekend - can't get more off site than that!  Celebrating my friends 40th but will be taking my notebook and write invite stories with me - here's hoping inspiration hits!

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Some small encouragement from the lovely Write Invite people!

Just found out that I've been shortlisted this week in the weekly online competition that I try and enter as much as possible.  Basically at 5.30pm each saturday, three themes are put on the website and for a £4 entry fee you write a story based around one of those themes.  The write invite judges shortlist their top three stories from the weeks entries and then everyone that entered (except for those that are shortlisted!) can vote for their favourite and the winner wins £50.

The website runs a 'literary league table' with points for entering, voting, and 1st, 2nd and 3rd place.  I did quite well in 2009 but pretty awfully in 2010.  I like entering this competition for many reasons (and not just because I know the people who run it!!)

1) It is short, sweet and instant
2) It is great at getting you to 'just write' something that a procrastinator like me can struggle with
3) Copyright stays with the author, and although I haven't done this yet, I know many of the regular writers have gone on to sell work that started on this website

Unfortunately the time isn't always convenient, the main reason I didn't enter much last year was that I always seemed to be doing something at 5.30 on a Saturday but I am determined to do better this year as I really do need the practise.  Write Invite are currently running a hard copy competition and I am planning to develop one or more of my non shortlisted stories (I have plenty to chose from!!) to enter this. Closing date is 28th February and I'm determined this won't go the way of the Mslexia one!

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Writing at Home?

After another day of being distracted by various random inconsequentialities, I am seriously considering writing somewhere other than the house.

I have tidied rooms, emptied dishwashers, made lots of tea and also been lured off course by the ever entertaining internet. It seems that the first thing I set out to do each day is always accomplished but after that things go a little askew. I am currently putting exercise as my number 1 priority and am managing to stick to my workout schedule but my writing time is definitely suffering.  Maybe I need to rethink my priorities?  Or maybe I just need to get out of the house?

Tomorrow, I will try the coffee shop & notebook regime (after my spin class of course!)

Will let you know how I get on.