Friday, 30 September 2011

Busy Busy Busy

I’ve been working hard today wishing I could take some time out to catch the wonderfully warm weather!
This morning I drafted another story, which I’ve since put on the computer and edited. I’ll leave it to soak overnight and get it ready to send off tomorrow. After that I went back to the new book. I’m not saying what it’s about at the moment as I may have a publisher interested and I don’t want to rock any boats by counting chickens. The book’s non fiction which is easier to write, for me anyway, so I can type it straight on to the computer.
Now I need to have a bit of a tidy up. I’ve neglected the housework this week as I wanted to get some work done but Louis arrives tomorrow so I need to make a bit of an effort or his owners might not be impressed.
Last night, the owner of the agency I board dogs through told me she was packing in that side of the business at the end of the year. I can either run things myself, which I’m not keen on, pack it in altogether, or carry on boarding the dogs on a ‘friendly’ basis. There’s nothing to stop people looking after their friends’ pets when they go away, and as I’ve met all the owners already, I COULD call them friends, but I hate doing anything that could, in any way, be construed as dishonest.
I’ll need to give it some more thought.
Strictly starts again tonight which means it really will soon be Christmas. I’ve been addicted to the show since it started so that’s my weekends sorted for a while at least.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Stoiy required! Fast.

I was all set to work on the book when I had an email from TAB’s fiction editor asking if I had any New Year stories. I had to drop everything, come up with an idea, and write it straightaway. She doesn’t often ask for specific things so when she does, I always try to reply as fast as I can so that she knows she can rely on me to fill any gaps. Of course, I’m well aware that she’s asked lots of other writers too so will have to wait and see if she buys the story.
Chris Huck called by today to drop off some more competition entry forms for the NAWG competition (see - £250 first prize) and some leaflets about NAWG itself as I’m doing what I can to promote the organisation.
Then it was off to the crossword class. I didn’t enjoy it today It was as though the crosswords were all degree level and I’m still at GSCE.
Now I’m going to do one of the jobs I love to hate – pickling onions. I love onions in every shape and form, but whenever I start preparing them for pickling, I do maybe a dozen then wonder why I started the job. It’s such a drag, plus I’ll be stinking of onions for days.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Deciding what to do

As readers of this blog will know, I suffer from depression and low self esteem. It doesn’t matter how well things go, I can still see the dark side.

Lately I’ve been wondering if I’d ever feel better. I’ve been seeing a CBT therapist for a few months and getting nowhere. Today, I finally think I may be getting somewhere.
For a long time I’ve been trying to be something more than ‘just’ a short story writer. Instead of writing short stories, which I know I can do, I’ve been worrying, wasting time, and working on novels I have little faith in.

It’s time to stop. Go back to writing two or more stories every week until I’m back on track, then, if I want to, I can have a go at other things without stressing myself half to death.

I’ll still be working on my writers; guides as they’re such fun to write, and I can still put short story collections together and write my column for the best writing magazine I know (Writers Forum). Everything else can go until I feel back in control.

Today I’m usually at Heydays but they’re hosting a conference so we had a week off. I had a go at painting a portrait of a friend’s cat but it hasn’t worked out very well. I was trying too hard. Right now I need some more fun in my life and I’m not exactly sure where to find it.

I have just finished uploading my novel to a publisher in Germany. I have no idea what will become of it but I’m glad it’s gone somewhere so that I can forget about it. Once it’s for sale, I’ll be putting the details here but a I have a few doubts abut the process, don’t hold your breath.

Byker books want me to put another story collection together which again is fun as I already have the words. I just need to make the book.

Tomorrow I’m going to ask my tame proof reader if he will work his magic on my autobiography. At the moment, I’ve been selling a (probably) mistake laden version as I was concerned about letting somebody I know well find out all my secrets.
I’ve now had a rethink. After the problems I had with my mother in the past year, the whole idea of the book was to tell the world the truth. If he’s willing to proof read it for me, I can then get it marketed by Lulu using their ISBN number service. I’ve just put Writing Guide 3 together (on writing fillers) with an ISBN so I’m waiting to see how it pans out. Be sure, I’ll let you know what happens.

One of THOSE days

Yesterday was one of those frustrating days when you feel as though you take two steps forward and three steps back. I planned to enter the SWWJ memoir competition, worked on my entry then found I couldn’t enter it because I’d self published my autobiography. I should have thought about that sooner. Then I started the long and complicated process of uploading my novel for a publisher who said they wanted to publish it only to find that the only categories I could list it under were non fiction. I’ve emailed to see what they say, but, being paranoid, I’m already assuming they hadn’t actually bothered to read the book and assumed from the title that it was factual.
I saw my therapist too after a break of three weeks. I get the feeling she’s losing patience with me, or more likely, that I’m losing patience with me. I can’t seem to do what she tells me to do. I’ve come to the conclusion that being successful and happy scares me. I’ve grown used to being miserable and getting by, that the possibility of change scares me rigid. I really do have to work on that.
Other things happened to, some of which I can’t be bothered to put down on paper. Most annoying of those was Woman’s Weekly rejecting a story as having no surprises when I’d totally changed the ending that they’d previously said had no surprises. I will sell them stories again soon. I will…

Monday, 26 September 2011


I had a great weekend which didn’t turn out as I’d imagined at all. The coach dropped us all off at Bury Market at ten in the morning and was due to pick us up again at three forty five. I had no idea there were so many shops in Bury or that the market was so ginormous. After two hours, I was dead on my feet. I was worried that if I kept walking round, I wouldn’t be able to move the next day (I’m so unfit right now). It was drizzling with rain and I had nowhere to eat my lunch so I decided to go to the cinema and watch anything that was on. Then I could have a rest and eat my lunch in peace and keep dry. The film was called Crazy Stupid Love and I enjoyed it so much, I can’t say. It was so well done. I’d gladly see it again tomorrow.
After the film I navigated my way back to Bury market easily but had no idea which exit I needed to find my way back to the coach. That was when I finally realised just how big the place was. I’d seen about a third of it.
Luckily the person I asked for help gave me simple clear directions so I made it safely back. The coach got to the hotel around four. When I went up to my room I couldn’t believe what I found. I’d been given a suite. ENORMOUS bed, a partition wall, then a good sized living area complete with desk and chair, cosy sofa and armchair, lovely heavy curtains, and a good size flat screen TV. There was also a hall with a big wardrobe, an alcove for my case with an iron, and another section where the tea making bits and pieces were. Best of all, a bathroom with a shower AND a bath so I was able to have a much needed soak.
The food was amazing too. Really good, and plenty of choice. I managed to get a couple of hours work done before dinner, but didn’t fancy carrying on afterwards so I watched another film on pay for view. I chose Bridesmaids as I’d read some excellent reviews I found it boring, and dull. Worse still I could hardly hear it. The volume on the TV was fine, but once the film came on it faded to almost nothing. It’s lucky I have good hearing.
I mentioned the problem to reception th next morning and didn’t have to pay so that was fine.
Our next stop was Oswaldtwistle Mills. I had no idea what was there. I didn’t expect a massive shopping complex, so that was more traipsing round, buying things.
I’d booked the trip as I was intrigued by the Pendle witches part. In the end, it was just a tour round Pendle Hill. We didn’t even get off the coach to soak up any atmosphere so I’m not sure how I’ll use the experience in a story, although as I’m typing this a vague notion is starting to form.
I’ve spent much of today working on my new (non fiction ) book. I should be going to the Writers Club but can’t raise the enthusiasm so I’ll work until half past seven, then get ready for my favourite quiz shows - University Challenge & Only Connect - 2 of my favourite quizzes

Friday, 23 September 2011

Bad news and good news.

I had to get up early this morning in case the British Gas engineer arrived early. In the end he came at eleven. It turned out to be a washer that had died. Quite a relief as I’d rather not have to fork out for a new boiler.
He’d just gone when Christine came round to tell me that one of her greyhounds (that I’ve looked after a couple of times) had died, and that within 24 hours she’d also lost a close friend to cancer. She wanted to know if I could look after the remaining dog if she went to the funeral. The problem is she doesn’t have a date yet and Louis, my favourite Labrador, arrives on the 1st of October. If necessary, I can work something out I’m sure.
I chased the fiction editor at The Weekly News yesterday about the stories I had outstanding and she’s just replied to me and bought three of them. Now all I need is for Norah McGrath of Take a break fame to buy four and I can relax on my laurels for a week.
Now to get organised. I’m going away for the weekend, it’s just one night, more’s the pity. I’m going to outline plan my next writing book on the coach, at least that’s the idea. I won’t be writing the blog for a couple of days as I’m still laptop less. One day, when they’re just a tiny bit cheaper…

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Wet wet wet

What a day!
I spent the first part fiddling about with a book I found in a drawer. When I first rediscovered it I thought it was good. The next day I was about to put it in the bin. Now I’ve decided that with massive cuts, it’s good again so I started work on that, taking time out to send another short story to Australia.
Then I went to my crossword class and collected the proof read manuscript of my new writers’ guide after which I fiddled about for ages getting an ISBN number, uploading the book, checking all the requirements, amending the book and uploading it again, then when I’m ready to hit the sofa, I hear running water and find my boiler has spring a leak and there's gallons of hot water on the kitchen floor and in the cupbaord.
So now I have no water, except in buckets, and all I can do is wait for the engineer – some time between 8 and 1 tomorrow. Just what I don’t need. I’m going away this weekend and really would like to come home to hot water. Plus I have an important telephone call to make tomorrow.
Oh well, when it rains it pours (!)

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

. Positive feedback from Swanwick

The lovely people at Swanwick sent me some of the feedback from my fillers workshop. There were so many wonderful comments, they really gave me a boost.
I’ve printed them off so that I can read them when I start to lose faith in my abilities (come on fiction editors, buy something!).

Tuesday, 20 September 2011


If it snows this winter, I’m emigrating.
I’ve been working on three short stories today. One’s gone to Woman’s Weekly, and another to Take A Break. The third story is rather problematic. It’s a crime story and I’m not sure if it’s too strong for a womag. I’ll probably send it to TAB anyway as you never know.
That’s my quota of stories done for this week (hurray!). All I have to do is find the next three ideas, ready to have a go at next week. I need to try and write three a week, at least for a while, to make up for all the stories I didn’t manage to write earlier in the year, when I had all that grief over my mother.
Last night, I went to the first rehearsal for the Ilkley fringe event. Siobhan Macmahon is amazing. I swear she could make any words, even a phone directory, come to life. I’m sure the event is going to be great. That said, I’m having second thoughts about being involved. There’s a lot more drama involved for one thing, and I’m also not entirely happy about reading a piece of prose that I don’t feel is very good. People might think I wrote it! I’ll have to have a think about what I want to do. It's not as though the Club is short of readers.
Tomorrow is Heydays at the West Yorkshire Playhouse. On Thursday I’m hoping my cryptic crossword teacher will have proof read my latest writing guide. If he has, I can get it uploaded to Lulu before I go away for the weekend.
I’m fighting off this batch of depression by throwing work at it, and keeping busy, even if it’s just doing a jigsaw, anything that stops me from brooding is good. I made a banana cake this afternoon from an untried recipe. Baking is an excellent mood lifter plus I get to the eat the cakes.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Working on stories

I managed to draft three short stories yesterday, which means getting the bare bones down using pen and paper.
Today I started work on two of them, putting them on the computer so that I can gauge how long they are and do the first edit. One’s come out OK, the second needs more thought.
I’m struggling with my mood again at the moment. I haven’t been out much for the past few days, not since last Thursday and that was only for an hour at the crossword class. Tonight I have to go to Millennium Square for a performance workshop put on by Leeds Writers Circle so that we can all get the most out of our one hour slot at the Ilkley festival (3rd October 9 – 10 p.m)
I WAS looking forward to it – the lady running the workshop is amazing. Now I’m not so sure. I’ve read some of the prose and poems we’re reading and struggled to understand many of them thanks to the local references and places which didn’t mean much to me. I know the theme is Leeds but I’m wondering if the idea’s been taken a bit too far. Hopefully I’m wrong and it’s just my depression trying to put me off going out.
I’m sure Siobahn will manage to make every word count.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Today is a story writing day NO EXCUSES

My sales this year are way down. I’ve sold twenty four stories so far. I’ve also had a competition prize and several stories published in collections but I’m still way behind. Twenty four sales might sound good (and it is if you don’t earn your living writing stories) but I need to sell 4 a month to feel remotely comfortable.
My output was badly affected by the problems I had with Mum.
By now I should have written 80 stories (2 a week x 40 odd weeks), but I've only managed 42. It's no wonder sales are down. I'm still struggling to get up to speed, especially now I'm doing other things. I needed books to take with me when I spoke to groups and ran workshops. I'm also selling them direct from my web site which is a great leap forward and was easier than I'd thought (see but it’s short story sales that are my life blood.
I spent a lot of time yesterday thinking about Mum and whether I’ve done the right thing. Basically, I've had to try and forget about her which sounds hard, but speaking to her doesn't help either of us and now she's in the home, she seems to be perfectly content. She never asks to ring me. I still feel very bad about this, but she's so far gone, I have to tell myself she's in the best place and there's nothing I can do to make things any better, for either of us.

Right now I'm doing my best to be more positive but the spectre of my past still haunts me, and probably always will.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

NAWG Competition

This morning I had a lie in to finish Simon Hall’s the Death Pictures which I enjoyed
Then I spent some more time recycling/editing stories.
The afternoon was spent dealing with some more apples (freezing some and making an apple cake – delicious – with a few more) I started emailing everyone I can think of to remind them to enter NAWG’s brand new short story comp. Details and entry form from (or you can email me)£250 prize CD 31st Oct. £5 entry fee.
If you pay an extra £3 you can request a short critique from yours truly.
Now I need to sort out what I’m doing tomorrow I need to get some more short stories drafted so that I can hit the ground running next week.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Beards and apples

My first task today was to go and see a man at Crossgates library. I thought I was going to discuss speaking to a readers group, but now that’s all changed and they want to do something bigger, which is fine by me. The only problem is that I have no idea what that will be, or whether it will come off. Have to wait and see. The man I had to see was called Damien, and he was completely gorgeous – young, good looking, tall and bearded (beards are a weakness of mine. All my husbands had them). Of course he was about thirty years too young for me.
Having had a batch of rejections back from Norah McGrath. I spent a lot of time today rewriting/editing the rejected stories so that I could send them elsewhere. I sent two to Womans Weekly, one to The People’s Friend as I’m determined to sell them at least one story, one to Yours and one to Oz.
I also had to find my monthly sub for My Weekly which I always hate doing. I never know which story to send.
At lunch time I took a break to dig up some potatoes and plant some spring bulbs. It’s lucky I did as it started pouring not long afterwards.
Now I have to tackle an enormous bag of apples given to me by my neighbour. He gave me 3 bags and I’ve managed to off load one to another neighbour but I still have an awful lot of apples to deal with!

Thursday, 15 September 2011

One of those bitty days

I sent out a couple of new tips, then spent the rest of the day reworking stories. Sent one to Take a Break, two to Oz, one to Yours, and finished with my once a month sub to My Weekly. Those always take me ages. First I have to choose which story to pick, then I have to make it fit the word count.
I’ve booked some Christmas lunches which is good, plus a weekend away (hurray!). Not Liverpool though. I’m going to Bury to find out about the local witches. It’s meant to be a break, but if there are witches involved, I’ll expect I’ll end up writing a story. Of course, writing stories, when they’re flowing well, doesn’t feel like work It’s the rewriting and searching for markets that wears me out.
I went to my crossword class where an hour goes by so fast, it’s positively frightening. On my way home I found two dresses in a charity shop, bought some ridiculously cheap fruit from the greengrocer, and a turkey leg from Wilson’s, the best butcher for miles.
I had a call from Angel’s owner earlier. Angel was the boxer with health problems I looked after a few months ago. She’s hoping to book a bargain break and wanted to make sure I was free to look after her dog before she booked. She said if I wasn’t available, she wouldn’t go away which was sweet. I’ve pencilled her in so that if she does find a holiday I’ll be free to board Angel. I’m not likely to get many other enquiries. Either people are staying home or the fees are too much for them to cope with, but I’ve had more weeks without dogs than with them.
It’s coming up to eight now so I think that’s enough for today.
Tomorrow morning I have to see a man at Cross Gates library about my proposed talk to the Garforth Library Reading Group. That wll be two interviews and I’m not even being paid!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

14th September 1997

Today is the fourteen anniversary of the day my husband died.
It was two weeks after the death of Princess Diana, so the whole world was still in mourning.
It’s been a very long fourteen years during which I have made some massive mistakes, the biggest one being getting married again before I’d had time to recover from losing Gareth.
I do feel though that I’m finally getting my act together again. The move to Leeds, if you ignore the dreadful winters, has all been good and I’m starting to feel as though this is my home. There’s only one thing missing from my life, and that’s love.
People say that when you’re looking for something, it doesn’t come along, but as a writer, I’m always looking, imagining and wondering – what if?
They also say, whoever they are, that until you love yourself, you won’t find somebody to love. Until recently, I could honestly say that I didn’t even like me, let alone love me. Now though, I can sense that things are starting to change. So I’m not gorgeous to look at, I could do with losing half a stone, and my list of imperfections would fill several sides of A4, but maybe, just maybe I’m not as unlovable as I once thought, so Mr Right, if you’re out there, it’s time to make yourself known because I think, at last, I’m ready.
Back in the real world, I’m in My Weekly this week, issue dated the 19th. Remember that whenever you see one of my stories in My Weekly, that means it’s been rejected, not once, but twice by other magazines. It’s all about keeping on trying.
A lot like love I guess.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Almost finished the next book

I spent most of today putting together my latest writers’ guide. All that’s left to do is check it through, then I can upload it to Lulu and order a copy.
Today I heard from Byker books saying they’re going to put one of my short story collections (crime) on Kindle and share any profits with me, fifty fifty. It will only pay 15 pence a sale, but I still want to give it a go. I sold another book today via my newly revamped web site which is exciting.
My talk to the Association of Secretaries last night went well AND I sold three books so that’s good. I was going to get put on the WI list of speakers but I’ve had second thoughts. If I do too much speaking, it will be hard to do enough actual writing. I think I’d rather concentrate of talking to writers, running workshops and courses, that kind of thing.
Tonight my plan is to drag myself to the gardening club as I haven’t been for months. Tomorrow Heydays starts again at the West Yorkshire Playhouse. I was going to stick with play reading but now I’m back in full writing mode, I might as well try the writing class and see what the tutor is covering this term. If I don’t like it, I can always switch back to drama.
I’ve also booked 3 events with Spice (thanks Helen!) to see what they can offer so it looks like I’m going to have a busy Autumn. Now all I have to do is make up my mind what to do at Christmas. I was going to Lytham with my lodger as I didn’t want to stay at home with him, we’re fighting so much. Now he’s decided to go away with Spice so I can stay home alone, stick with the planned trip to Lytham, or see what else comes up.
I suppose I could always stay at home and work.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Paying the price of lost sales

Earlier this year, I had huge personal problems regarding my mother’s on going care. For six months, I struggled to write any short stories. Those I did write, weren’t very good. As it takes several months for stories to be considered, I’m now paying the price in reduced sales as those ‘not so good stories’ land up on fiction editor’s desks. .
As readers of this blog may know, I’ve suffered from lack of confidence and low self esteem for much of my life. The confidence issue has been helped by hypnotherapy but the self esteem issue still plagues me. I tend to measure myself against my success so that if I’ve had a good week, which for me means selling two hundred pounds worth of stories, I’m more outgoing and I can take social occasions in my stride, but if I haven’t sold a story, I fill up with self doubt in no time flat. My thoughts go like this - I shouldn’t be teaching writing if I haven’t sold enough stories, I shouldn’t have a column in Writers Forum because I don’t deserve it.
The moment I get a sale, my mood lifts but the more time that passes between sales, the more my mood drifts downwards. I start to doubt my ability and begin to think that I’ll never sell another story, even though I KNOW that’s nonsense. This needs to stop which is why I’ve been seeing a cognitive behaviour therapist. We came up with a new mantra for me which basically says that I’m still the same talented nice person whether I’ve sold something this week or not. That said, I do wish Take a Break would hurry up and buy some more stories!
Today I’ve been working on my next guide for writers. I’ve already produced two – an A-Z of terms writers need to know and a book on why short stories are rejected. I’ve just put a link on my web site so that people can buy them directly from me. Yesterday, I had my first sale so at least I know the link works. It’s on by the way.)
Tonight I’m giving a talk to the Leeds Association of Secretaries. It’s taken me ages to decide which story to read. I’ve chosen one of my favourites about a man who gives a talk to a women’s group. His subject – insectivorous plants.
Wish me luck!

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Sunday at NAWG

A week ago at NAWG

Sunday morning.
After a leisurely breakfast, I made my way to my last workshop. This time with Steve Bowkett, the man who gave me hypnotherapy, three years ago. The workshop was called – LEARN SELF HYPNOSIS TO BOOST CREATIVITY. If that had been the only workshop on offer, I would probably have still signed up for the Festival.
In a nutshell, Steve explained how, by simply relaxing, we could give more concentration to the things we wanted to achieve. It boiled down to imagining what you want, and finding a place in your mind where you can be creative. I’m probably not explaining this at all well which is a shame as it was really good and very useful. I’m hoping it’s taught me how to make more of the time I have to write so that I can focus and be more productive. We’ll have to wait and see.
At half past twelve it was time for lunch. People had already begun to drift off. I had thought of hanging on for a lift to Huddersfield from one of the committee members, but in the end, I took the train, travelling with James Nash, the poet whose workshop I’d attended the day before. He was good company and I hope to see him again as he doesn’t live that far from me.
Overall, I had an enjoyable weekend. Once again I met some great people, and hope I can keep in touch with some of them at least. I also met a publisher, but I’m not going to say any more about that until something comes of it.

Saturday, 10 September 2011


Breakfast was from 7.30 – 9 which was great as I could decide when to get up.
The first workshop started at 9.30. This time it was in the main building so I didn’t have to walk far.
The class was led by James Nash, a poet based near me in Leeds. He gave us some photos taken from newspapers and magazines and asked us to write a few lines as though we were that person. Next he produced a remarkable clay sculpture of a young boy’s head and we took our inspiration from that. He gave us questions which we had to answer from the boy/sculpture’s point of view. I have no idea how bad or terrible my poem was, but I did enjoy the process and James was a very good teacher, warm and very human.
Once that class was finished it was time for me to take centre stage.
I gave a talk on the subject ‘What do Take a Break want? In which I looked at both fiction and the wide variety of filler opportunities that market is looking for. It went down very well. Once again people seemed to find me very funny, and not in a bad way either. From there it was straight into lunch, then came the AGM which was dull but not as bad as it could have been.
After that, somebody ran a session on limericks which I didn’t go to. Instead I chatted to some of the people in what I call the book room as it’s where books for sale were on displayed. I met the man behind Byker books who published one of my stories in his last fiction collection – Radgepacket 5 and found out that I was going to be in the next one too, which was good news.
The next workshop ran from 3.30 – 5.30. This was with Julie Bokowiec again.
She was looking at language used in drama and how it changes according to the person who’s speaking and who they are speaking to.
The Gala Dinner was the next thing on the agenda. As we weren’t eating until after seven thirty, I went for a quick walk to the nearest shop to buy a few Babybel cheeses to keep me going.
The Gala Dinner was of a good standard, even though there wasn’t much choice. Once we’d finished eating, the prizes were awarded for the various competitions including the one I’d judged with the last line about a pumpkin.
Dinner went on until about 9.30 after that it was time for people to have their four minutes of fame, when they could read out their work to entertain the ret of us. I read a story from my book of twist stories just to show willing.
The sparkles ended just after eleven, when finding not much else to do, I went to bed. Before climbing in, I turned the mattress over which made a huge improvement. As I went to sleep I could hear a disco somewhere in the distance being run by students somewhere. Part of me wanted to join them!

Friday, 9 September 2011

The festival of Writing 2011 from the National Association of Writers Groups

A week ago today – NAWG Festival of Writing.

I set off on some time after 11 a.m. to get the train into Leeds, then caught the 12.05 from Leeds to Nottingham. After a relaxing journey down, during which I read a book and drafted a short story, I arrived in Nottingham. Rather than try and figure out the buses, I caught a taxi (£10 including tip) to the University arriving at about half past two.
Check in time was officially three, but arriving early wasn’t a problem. I collected my key and went to inspect my room which was on the ground floor. Apart from a rather hard, narrow bed, it was fine. After unpacking I went back to the reception area to display the books I’d bought with me for sale. Then it was time for refreshment. The weather was so warm and pleasant that most people sat outside, enjoying the sunshine.
At half five, we all went inside for a welcome from the committee and for a chance for tutors and speakers to make themselves known.
By six we were all ready for our evening meal. Soup to start followed by a fruity lamb casseroley thing. To keep costs down, it was this or something vegetarian. The desert was something creamy like a cross between a mousse and a trifle. Some people opted for a fruit salad instead.
At half seven the works began in earnest as we all set off for our first class. Due to a problem finding rooms with wheelchair access, two classes were a good five minute walk away. I’d chosen EXPOSITIONS – creating the world of the play, with Julie Bokowiec in which we looked at the opening of various dramas and the way they gain the viewer’s (or listener’s) attention.
The class finished at nine. The ‘entertainment’ promised at 9.15 turned out to be a talk from Chris day of Filament Publishing who managed to put a much more positive spin on the world of 21st Century publishing. After a drink at the bar, it was time to go to bed.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Too Far

Yesterday I went on a coach trip. I learned something very important.
Leeds to Lindisfarne and back in a day is TOO FAR!
Today I’ve got my neighbour’s two greyhounds staying for the day. All Danny wants to do is eat, yet he’s as thin as a rake. They’re both old and very fragile so I’m a bit on edge waiting for their owners to come home.
I’ve spent a lot of time on a story today that refuses to come to a satisfactory ending, so I might have to leave it to stew overnight.
It’s hard to concentrate while the greyhounds are here.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011


This morning I went to see Rachael (CBT). We spent most of the time trying to make a new rule for the way I live my life. Up until now it’s been ‘if I’m not making enough money I’m not only a bad writer, I’m also a bad person.’ As you might imagine, that kind of thinking hasn’t been good for me. Each time a few weeks went past without a sale, I became increasingly unhappy with myself.
With Rachael’s help, I eventually came up a new rule – ‘I will always be hard working, honest, generous, funny and kind, despite how much I earn.’ My next task is to make a printed sign and put it somewhere so that I can see it.
Then I have to start believing it.
I had a big boost yesterday when Pam Fish, Chair of NAWG, called to offer me the short story course at next year’s festival. I’m really looking forward to it as that will be my first extended bout of teaching.
This afternoon I had to go and see a lady at Garforth Library which turned out to be pretty much a waste of time as the few things we discussed could have been done far better by email. Now I have to wait to hear from the man in charge to find out if my talk to the readers’ group can go ahead in National Short Story Week.
Came home and worked on my column (almost done), then pitched an idea for a non fiction book to a man I met at NAWG. I’ve just emailed it so fingers crossed etc. Now I need to write a summary of the NAWG weekend before it starts to fade from memory. The problem is, it’s almost half past eight and I feel as though I’ve been beaten across the shoulders with a stick. I may have to call it a day. Problem is I’m going on an all day coach trip tomorrow to see Holy Island so it’s highly unlikely that I’ll get much done…..
Oh well, it will have to be Thursday. I could always skip my crossword class.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Help! I've run out of time.

Came back from NAWG yesterday and have been working like crazy trying to get things done. Now I seem to have run out of time. I have to cook, get ready and go out to my writers club (it’s the first meeting of the year and I really need to make an effort). I’ll try and catch up tomorrow!!!!

Sunday, 4 September 2011


Back home from NAWG, after unpacking and doing washing, no energy left to do much else. Backj to work tomorrow.

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Problem with word

Word is playing up, won't move, won't print, so I'm going to call it a day. As I'm going away and don't have a lap top... it's bye bye until Monday (or Sunday depending what time I get home).