Daily Life, Places to write, Writer's Blog

Writing and blog progress almost a year on…

As is traditional at the beginning of a New Year, I have been pondering the progress I have made with my writing and, more so, planning over the past year.

In February 2018, I made the decision to take a refresher course in writing before fully embarking on the planning of whichever direction it took me. I signed up with The Writer’s Bureau and enrolled in their Comprehensive Creative Writing course. I chose to tackle the fiction writing part of the course first, thinking it would be my strongest and, therefore, the easiest, to start with.

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A published author, Sheila Bugler, was assigned to me as my tutor and I have been infinitely grateful for her kind words and constructive comments throughout. At this stage in the course I am feeling quite pleased with myself, verging on a smugness, as my feedback has been filled with comments such as ‘excellent’ and ‘superb’ and the criticism has been over minor points which I have not found difficult to put right. Much of my grounding in grammar has stayed with me in the many years since I left school, leaving me with the energy to concentrate on content. I sailed through the fiction half of the course, even managing to have some stories and an article published.

The non-fiction side of the course started well with assignments dictating the content but when faced with which publications to write articles for I flailed around wildly. ‘Write about what you know’ was the new mantra. I felt that people wouldn’t want to read about my interests, thought they would find them boring and lacking in pzazz. I am pleased to say I was wrong, and articles ranging from my cravings during pregnancy to my addiction to dancing did spark some interest. I even received feedback from my blog posts about my husband’s kite flying.

Blog posts. Now there was a thing I hadn’t given any thought to. I didn’t even have a blog until midway through 2018. My course advised setting up a blog, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, anything through which I could publicize my future work, even if I didn’t plan on self-publishing. I duly trotted off to my faithful friend, the World Wide Web, researched some blogs and started planning my own. I wanted a neutral colour scheme for my site, so I opted for an almost neutral pH of green/blue. I needed a header which was different but stood out as me. Having cleared my spare bedroom of as much clutter as I could, I had purchased a screen to hide the remainder of my junk. The screen was so beautiful I decided it could be my feature image. And so it is!

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In the past few months I have been slowly building my followers and have over 120 blog subscribers, over 1100 twitter followers and my Storytellingdancer facebook page receives lots of likes (when I remember to share my posts). Sharing posts can become a habit and I try to tailor them to the right social media, while trying to build a suitable audience. I follow lots of wannabe authors like myself and it is great to read and share attempts, successes and failures. I started with Pinterest but without having too much to ‘sell’ I have dropped away from the medium, dipping in only now and again when I can be bothered.

In summary, my writing is starting to go from strength to strength, with published articles and short stories accumulating on my desk. My novel, or should I say novels as I have four which I have started, is still very much a work in progress but one day I will settle to it. Maybe when my course is finished and I have more time for it.

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I continue to add some of my unpublished poems and short stories to this blog and the relevant pages and the plan is to actually HAVE a plan for my blog in 2019. Watch this space – might still be empty in a few weeks time and then my gears will kick in with a vengeance. All suggestions and tips greatly received from fellow bloggers. I need to plan my blog time, moving between poems, stories, general daily life, dancing, kite flying (my husband not me) and I don;t want to post more than five or six posts a month for fear of driving my audience away rather than encouraging new readers.

For now, as I am on my lunch hour at work, I will be content with one poem per month, one Ceroc dancing post per month and then a topical post too. Even that looks messy – I definitely need to plan this more methodically!

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Ceroc, Daily Life, Kite flying, Moving house, Places to write, Poem, Writer's Blog

Goodbye 2018

Clear away the giftwrap,
Remove baubles from the tree,
Time to close another year,
Reflecting back, a summary.

Its easy to remember,
The bad times which passed by,
But don’t forget the good times,
For 2019, standards are high.

The weather, it was varied,
In March,  we were snowed in,
For just a few short days and then,
In May, a heatwave did begin.

Increasingly warm weather,
The heat which we were blessed,
Some found it very hard to bear,
Was novel not to need a vest!

The summer months were endless,
The time was slow to pass,
We spent much time meandering,
On the beach and in the grass.

Kites were held aloft, up high,
The breezes light and few,
Time for me to ponder then,
To write, I began anew.

With still much time for dancing,
The air-con a mighty draw,
To cool our bodies as we moved,
Around and over the dance floor.

Family bringing changes to,
Our lives both far and near,
New homes acquired, a baby too,
New jobs, loved ones, a busy year.

Life is filled with tragedy,
Events we can’t control,
So keeping close those dear to us,
Is our friend and family role.

Never letting loved ones,
Through our fingers slip,
For hold tight onto those who care,
Will never lose our faithful grip.

The year of 2018, done,
Its time to start anew,
And as the clock strikes midnight here,
I wish a Happy New Year to you.

Places to write, Poem, Writer's Blog

Weekends and Fresh Air

Morning breaks, crisp and quite chilly
But not yet a crunch underfoot
Gloves and warm layers, much needed
Into long sleeves, our arms we have put.

Surprise, we’re not lone early risers
A day with no rain, we’ll embrace,
Families and friends meet and gather
Heading for trails, cold air quickens their pace.

Walking and cycling, p’raps running
Energies rising with speed
Treading the paths which have oft led the way
Such beauty we devour with such greed.

Suns rays creep between entwined branches
Gathered, a canopy above
Glistening, bright in the shadows below
Beautiful colours of Autumn, we love.

Chances are few that we’ll wander
Stray from the path where we’re head
Signposts adorn every corner and turn
On well-trodden pathways, we’re easily led.

Breath comes in gasps as we chatter
The world put to rights as we strut
Fitness improving with swiftness of step
Crunching beneath us the humble chestnut.

Kilometres later, our men we do meet
Beaming with glee as they pedal to pass
Head for a bench, enjoy coffees and sweets
Watching as children have fun on the grass.

Never a break in the chatter with friends
Such are the subjects we speak
Fun way back to fitness, on that we depend
We’ll return for the same in just a few weeks.

Places to write, Writer's Blog

In need of honest reviews

To all my blogging friends and followers. I wrote this story as an assignment for a course I am taking, but I wondered if anyone would offer me a short (just a couple of lines) review in the comments section?

The story is just under 3000 words, approximately ten pages of double spaced text and it is far from perfect, edited once, but in my opinion something is missing…

Will happily review short stories for others in return (please mention in comments).

Thank you to all possible reviewers.

I’m Going Ghost Hunting!

Places to write, Writer's Blog

Published way out of my comfort zone…in fact out of this world!

I received an email this afternoon advising me that another of my short stories has been accepted for publication. I know that’s not a huge achievement in the grand scheme of things but it was a story I wrote for a module as part of my coursework and I had to step way out of my comfort zone.

I like to write stories with a twist in the tale and stories encompassing subjects I have a little knowledge to draw upon. This particular module was to produce around 3000 to 4000 words on a subject I have never previously written about. I chose to write an alien story. I didn’t opt for scary, more along the lines of strange but oddly friendly.

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I am not sure about any of you but I have never had the pleasure of meeting with a real live alien. I haven’t met any expired ones either but that’s really not important. I found it difficult as the whole story had to be fabricated from nothing, where usually I have at least a small amount of knowledge or insight to draw upon.

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I bashed away at the keyboard over the course of a few days (remember, I do have a full time job and spend much of my spare time dancing so there is much to work around). I edited and re-edited and when I was happy with my finished piece, duly sent it to my course tutor. I didn’t hold out too much hope of a good mark, after all my tutor probably knows lots of aliens! Surprisingly, the assignment was returned to me with a glowing mark and some positive comments, the last of which was to advise me to send it for submission. I didn’t expect that from an other-worldly story.

I submitted it and forgot all about it, expressing my pleasure when it was shortlisted into the second round of reading. I have never thought much about sci-fi as a way forward but, as you can guess from my blog heading, I received an email today advising me it is being included in a Fantasy Story collection in September.

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Maybe the moral here is to stretch my imagination and spend more time out of my comfort zone. I may not get rich on small publications but it is a step closer to my ultimate goal.