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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Daily Life, Writer's Blog

Changing Reading and Writing Habits

One thing is certain when I look back at my Kindle reading habits from the past few months, I definitely don’t have a go-to genre. As a writer, you would think I would have at least a good reason for choosing a book but every one I choose depends upon my mood in the moment.

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I do read book reviews from fellow bloggers and sometimes I am swayed enough to buy following a particularly good one but I am quite fickle in my choices. I will choose a book because it has an interesting cover – often the cover doesn’t  truly reflect the content and then another day I will read the blurb or (hold the front page) go looking for a particular genre.

I am currently swaying between haunted and ghostly tales or Dystopian fiction. I am a bigger fan of fiction than non-fiction on the whole so that is the loosest genre I subscribe to.

I have just downloaded three more ghost stories but I am currently writing a ghost story of my own so I can be forgiven for calling it research. However, as I was searching a couple of thrillers, my previous favourite genre, caught my eye so they are now on my list. I love to have a list of books to read. In years gone by it would be a pile of unread, ‘real’ books and I do still have a small pile of three or four books beside my bed. I just find using my Kindle is so much more convenient.

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I also subscribe to an app which I have installed on my Kindle, called Readly which gives me and four other family members (or four additional devices if I wanted to be selfish) full access to thousands of magazines. So I carry thousands of magazines and plenty of books with me at all times. That’s the thing with a Kindle, the multitude of reading material in one place. On the downside, you can never replicate the feel and smell of a real book or replace the pleasure of turning the pages.

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One thing’s for certain, while trying to keep up to date with my blog, Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest pages and reading so many books, I am neglecting my own writing time. I need to sort out a timetable to fit it all in. Oh, and then there is the matter of a full time job which takes up a lot of my time!

One day, instead of pushing my published and unpublished short stories and poetry, I hope you will find me advertising the publication of my first novel. Watch this space, but not too closely for now or you will have a long wait!