Thursday, 28 February 2013

I don’t know when I’m moving.

I’m not even going to mention my move until it’s happening. 
I’ve done all I can. With that in mind, and knowing it might be days, weeks, a month or never before I move, I’m sorting things out here a bit more so that however long it takes, at least I’m comfortable. I now have a table in the living room so that when I’m stuck indoors of an evening, I can watch TV whilst doing a jigsaw which might, (MIGHT) prevent me from raiding the larder at ten p.m.
Having put a book together which I’m awaiting a proof for from Lulu, I’ve  started the next one. It’s a follow up to the Writer’s Treasury of Ideas which will describe many more methods that people can use to help them think of ideas for stories. It will also set exercises, and include samples of my stories.  I have a vague notion of something else it may include but I haven’t sorted the details out yet.
One of my Writers Bureau students sent me a story today as [part of their course and it was so good, I hardly needed to give any feedback. It’s great when that happens as it shows the course is working for them. 
This is Louis’s last evening with me so my plan is to snuggle up with him on the sofa later but first I need to think about what to take with me to Glasgow. I’m reserve for Leeds Writers Eggheads team so I probably won’t be needed but I still have to find three different outfits to take with me.  The list of things they DON’T want you to wear is extensive and includes most of the colours I like to wear – blues and pastels.  I’ll probably end up taking greys.
The Swanwick team were turned down by Only Connect which is both annoying and also a relief. Annoying as I made myself Egghead reserve because I might make Only Connect, relieved because filming for the show could take  days as if you win a round, you have to play another team, and I don’t know when I’m moving…..
Funny, I think I read that somewhere recently.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

'How to Make £10 in ten minutes' works!

 My day started with a smile when I received this email.
‘After buying your kindle ebook HOW TO MAKE £10 IN TEN MINUTES! I've landed £250 on my first go.’ I get such a buzz when people achieve success after reading something of mine. I’ve been trying to figure out what I want to do with my life, now that I’m free to do what I want for a change,  and helping other people with their writing seems like a good option. I’m good at it too (that was hard to write as I have a terrible fear of sounding boastful).
This morning I went to the writing class at Heydays for the first time in months. I’d been trying other things, the argument being that writing felt like work. Well now that’s changed. Writing needs to be fun. It’s what I’ve been telling other people for years so now I need to take my own advice.
When I arrived at Heydays, Joanna was talking about Monday and how I’d spoken up for the people who aren’t happy with the way  things have been going at Leeds Writers. It felt good, knowing that I’m trying to change things rather than just running away.
I want to crack on with more writers guides. I have enough material for a follow up the Writer’s Treasury of Ideas so I[m thinking of publishing that as an eBook via Byker books and on Lulu. That way I can keep the price down. Although I loved what Filament did with the book I did feel it was too expensive.
Louis is here until Friday. Then I should be going to Glasgow to film Eggheads (I’m only reserve) but our team captain’s in the wars so I’m not sure yet whether it will happen.  I’d been planning to write a new story or two on the way so if the trip is called off, I’ll have to see if I can do that at home instead.
Now for some tea and home made lemon polenta cake.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Apologies in advance - this is a LONG post

I’ve had a few comments about the dog boarding. I love dogs, and always will, but they have been a substitute for people and that has to change. Once I’m happy I might think about getting one or two of my own but I need a period of time before I make any decisions. It’s time for me to be free to do what I want, when I want. That may last a long time, or it may not. I have no idea. I just know I need to do it. For me.
Last night something huge happened. I went along to Leeds Writers ideas evening where they discuss what to have in the programme next year (September onwards) and I actually said my piece. Even more amazingly, when the Chairman argued back at me, I didn’t run away. I argued back. This is so unusual for me it’s awesome. My entire life I have avoided confrontation  at all costs. I simply haven’t been able to do it. Last night I did. When it was over, I felt cold and couldn’t stop shaking. It was like being in shock but at the same time, it felt good.  The Club could be amazing, but things do have to change. I will now need to be equally as brave at the AGM so that my suggestions don’t get ignored.
Yesterday I also finished the writers guide I’ve been working on (on and off ) for ages. I sent it to Byker books and he’s going to publish it, probably in the summer, as an ebook as a continuation of the Professional Writers Series which my previous three guides have been published under ( . I’m also going to publish it via Lulu so that I have hard copies should people want to buy them.
I could go back to Filament; they did a great job on The Treasury of Ideas, but I find I like working with Byker Books. It’s just a friendlier relationship, plus he does the marketing! I don’t enjoy that side of the business.  All I want to do is write and teach people.
My next job is working on the book to get it ready for Lulu. With any luck, I can get back to writing a short story in a day or two.
My team didn’t get on to Only Connect which I have to say is a relief as I still have no idea when I’m moving.
Eggheads isn’t going to plan either as our team captain has had to have an operation on his arm, so I could end up doing neither show.  Oh well, there’s always next year.
The following is taken from a great blog for writers  -
It’s a guest blog by Wendy Clarke who I was very happy to help with her writing some time ago. Reading her post gave me a warm feeling inside so I hope you don’t mind me sharing it here.

Today is my anniversary. No not my wedding anniversary but the anniversary of writing my first story for a magazine.
I had just finished an online writing course and my tutor had suggested that this might be a good direction to take but I was naïve: I had no idea how to go about it or even what sort of stories the magazine’s wanted.

Those first stories were pretty bad and looking back at them I can see why so many of those first ones were rejected. In a word, I had no idea what I was doing but I was determined that I would not give up until I’d had a story published.
I took stock and realised that this was not something I could do without help. Where was this help to come from? In fact it came from many sources. Firstly there were many practical questions I needed answering: Was it permissible to send two in one envelope? How long should I expect to wait before hearing back?
Having read Linda Lewis’s excellent book, The Writer’s Treasury of Ideas, I decided that she might be the one to help me out with the practical side of writing and how right I was: she answered all my questions patiently and was very encouraging in those early days of insecurity. Her kind words: I have a feeling you're going to have success quite soon as you have all the qualities you need - imagination to come up with lots of stories, and perseverance… made me all the more determined to succeed and those words have stayed with me.
Practical issues sorted out, what of the emotional support that every writer needs? My husband has always been my greatest support but I also needed the company of other writers (even if only virtual) and so turned to the web and to other writers’ blogs. The first one I read was this one and I spent hours pouring over the old posts – I was like a child in a sweet shop!
I then did some reading of other blogs and what I found was a wonderful warm community of writers. Their informative posts or even just general writerly chat helped me to realise I was not alone out there. This was about the time (last August) that I made my first sale to Take a Break’s Fiction Feast (a huge thank you to Norah McGrath) and decided to start my own blog Wendy’s Writing Now to chart my writing progress from first sale and to help and encourage other new writers.
I am so glad I did: the encouragement and warmth of both new and established writers has been indescribable and a great boost on those gloomy ‘I can’t do this any more’ days. What I learnt in the blogging world is you get back what you put in – I try and be as involved as I can in other writer’s blogs and in turn receive lovely comments from my new writing ‘friends’ and have even managed to meet up with one of them.
‘But what of the writing?’ I hear you ask. Well, I know that I have been very lucky: Soon after my sale to Fiction Feast, the lovely People’s Friend bought one of my stories and I cannot thank them enough for their time and patience, since then, in helping me to make my stories better. Without their faith in my writing I may well have given up. A sale to Woman’s Weekly followed.
I have been privileged this last year to have sold fourteen stories to Fiction Feast, The People’s Friend and Woman’s Weekly and I can honestly say that the thrill of seeing the stories in print never abates BUT it hasn’t been easy. I have had many, many rejections but with each rejection I pick myself up and write another one. My biggest advice to new writers is write, write, write and send, send, send – it’s the only way if you are serious about magazine writing.
Reproduced with the permission of the author, WENDY CLARKE

Sunday, 24 February 2013

I love dogs

I love dogs; in fact I love practically every animal known to man, with the possible exception of cockroaches and daddy long legs, but….

I’ve been thinking. Having various dogs staying with me over the past couple of years kept me going. Without them to make me laugh and to give me a hug, I don’t think I would have made it through. Now though things are changing. I’m finding that, at last, I want to be with people more than with dogs. I think I have decided (as I’m prone to changing my mind I can’t say this is definite) to stop the dog boarding as from the end of this year. I might still do the odd few days  as a favour to a friend but that will be all. I want to be free to invite people round, maybe start a small, invitation only writing group, and not have to worry in case the people like dogs.
Louis is here at the moment and I still adore him, but when he’s here, I feel duty bound to spend time with him which means I don’t go out much and when I do, it’s only for a couple of hours. If I’m ever to build a new life, which for me means making friends, the dogs will have to go.
Of course, I might change my mind….
By Tuesday I should have heard about the move –whether it’s actually going to happen and when. Once I do get a date for moving, all hell will let loose and I’ll be dashing round like the proverbial b.a. fly. I have to say that in a perverse kind of way, I’m looking forward to it!