Monday, 29 December 2008

Exhibits, Dancing, Payments and New Additions to the Family

The second attempt at this post: 

It has been a busy couple of weeks but now its time to indulge with Christmas television and chocolate nibbles. 

(Originally this was all in nice paragraphing and it took me a hour to write but now its bullet points just in case it evaporates again)

Life 

  • Went to the Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster exhibit at the Tate Modern. It was like walking in a Science fiction movie with the regimented metal-framed bunkbed rows. It felt surreal and creepy as if the world had ended. 
  • Ventured through the Christmas crowds and traffic jams on the pavements to reach the Madison Gallery to see the Writer's Rooms Exhibit. The photographs of author's writing spaces have originally appeared in a weekly Guardian column. The majority had laptops, three had a chunky PC and a few still had typewriters. 
  • The boyfriend and I went and saw the visually stunning Edward Scissorhands. I originally saw it three years ago but the dancing, storyline and mise-en-scene was so magically that I had to go again as soon as I knew it was showing again. 

Writing

  • The new addition to the family...is... an Apple Macbook. Its sparkly white, shiny and sexy. If I had my way than 'guests' would have to wear surgical gloves to type on the virgin white keyboard. 
  • I have sent off some flash stories. Fingers crossed. 
  • I have been working and developing an idea. It could be too big for a short story. It might be a novel. 
  • I finally got paid for a piece of writing after several emails and checking PayPal everyday. 

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Hazards of simultaneous submissions

The other month I did the one thing that writers are encouraged not to do - I simultaneously sent the story to two magazines when I sent off Village Boys and Fret Boards into the world of magazine submissions. Hackwriters got back to me in record timing (under one hour with an acceptance). And now, eventually the other magazine has replied. They also wanted to publish the story.

There were two routes. Either be dishonest and let them publish the story or tell the truth (because they could easily find my story via goggle or on this blog). So I told them. And the editor got back to me, said they better not add the story to the issue as it was still available to view on the other site but could I send other, unpublished work for them because my style of writing suits their magazine. So I've sent off the email and its back to waiting, waiting, waiting.

From this I learnt that doing simultaneous submission can sometimes lead to a lot of explaining but Fingers crossed, could work out in the end.

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

Novel Writing Month

A few people have asked me if I took part in Novel Writing Month (the challenge was to write 50 thousand words in November). Originally I signed up at the start of October with the intention of getting a fist draft of my ‘project novel’ down onto a Word document. But I ended up giving up the idea as I couldn’t see the plot going any further and I think using the idea for my final year project for my Masters project meant I had to rush into it. There was no thinking, no simmering of the plot into a storyline or expanding themes. Just a word count and a looming deadline. And after the deadline I was dreading finishing the ‘thing.’ I had never felt like that about writing. But when I shelved the idea, the ideas came back and the warmness to writing.

I decided not to do Novel Writing Month as it was too soon to rush in with another idea. I’ve learnt that ideas need time to evolve before hitting the page and sometimes word counts and deadlines can hurt work.

Well done to Lisa for completing the task and before the 31st too!

Monday, 1 December 2008

Paris Interviews


The lastest book purchase bounced off the doormat and onto my armchair today. Volume three of The Paris Reviews is full of author interviews and just like volume one (I'm still waiting for the second one, maybe Father Christmas will see my incomplete collection and feel like the gap needs filling), gives insights into the writing process. The conversational tones catch the writers in a state that makes them feel like you and me, not the 'celebrity' that most of them are.
SAM SHEPARD 1997 “I hate endings. Just detest them. Beginnings are definitely the most exciting, middles are perplexing and endings are a disaster.”
JORGE SEMPRUN 2007 “When I write, I make my memories tangible, and in this way I can get rid of them. On the other hand, writing is but a ploy to convulse memory back into life.”
WILLIAM TREVOR 1989 “English eccentricity has a suburban quality—it's like a very neatly trimmed garden in which you suddenly realize that the flower beds aren't what they seem to be.”
These are just some of the quotes from the Paris Review website. Some of the interviews can be read on the website (in full or part) but having the book allows you to dip in and pull out chunks.

Thursday, 20 November 2008

WorldSkills Awards Ceremony 2008


Last Thursday, I took Ma and Pa to the Imax Cinema in London and we spent the afternoon at the ceremony for Worldskills. It was a great day and we got to see lots of people being praised for a wide range of skills including nail art all the way to car mechanics. James Cracknell gave out the glass plaques and I also got my picture taken. But its a shame because on all the pictures he looks uninterested and also the chairman for the organisation has his eyes closed in mine. So its not a photo for the mantelpiece.

They even have an extract of Jasper's Betrayal on display in the foyer. And I overheard a few people being quite impressed by the small pieces. So that made my day :)
We had a great day in London and even got time to pop to Borders in Charing Cross!







- The Imax from Waterloo Train station.






Foyer
Foyer full of guests and award winners

Monday, 17 November 2008

Leaking Fan


Loud, hollow sounds of plip-plat woke me the other night. In a half dream, half wake, I managed to convince myself that the shower was on and so stumbled to the bathroom. But instead of being confronted by a shower carelessly trickling with water, there were splashes of water bouncing off the toilet from the ceiling fan. Wasn't is meant to suck away any condensation, not spit it out?

Lifting the lid of the toilet into the male position, I let the drips fall into the bowl below. Heading back to bed and to sleep but the screaming, vibrating drips haunted my dreams.

It started again yesterday, after a half-day break from splashing down the toilet. The unbearable noise was like nails across a Victorian school backboard.

The boyfriend braved the ladder and headed inside the loft. Finding the pipe, it was trapped with rain water, ready and waiting to filter down and shower on us while we relieved ourselves. Holding a bucket in the bathroom, I steadied myself for a tidalwave to pour through but when the boyfriend shook the pipe only enough came out to fill a quarter.

There haven't been any more drips for several hours. Maybe this is the end.

Friday, 14 November 2008

Adventures in an Art Gallery

Adventures in an Art Gallery is now up on Everyday poets.

Readers can give poems stars out of five and also leave comments.

I know the editors have struggled with the formatting on this one. As its based on a visit to the Tate Modern, I wanted it to be modern and all over the page but this is fine.

The write up about the awards ceremony will follow soon.

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Poetry Diary 2009

The poetry anthology arrived the other day in a carefully wrapped parcel. Inside is the poetry diary with my poem about Clementines rioting in a supermarket as a metaphor for Prisoners in Guantanamo bay. My family are proud, I'm proud. This week is making me feel like a "real writer".

There is one worry. The diary has no ISBN. So how will it appear on book databases? The ISBN is like a fingerprint for the title but this title has none. I suppose because I work for a book data company this sort of thing worries me now.

Lets hope the publishers do something about this.

Tomorrow is the Awards ceremony for WorldSkills. I'm getting nervous. I hope I don't have to make a speech because there is nothing prepared.

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Everyday Poets

My poem is finally appearing! Its going to be in the first issue of Everyday poets.

If you go to the home page and scroll down to the contents page, you will see that Adventures in an Art Gallery will appear on Friday 14th November. This is great, its the day after the awards ceremony for my short story.

Go along and comment, rate and review. It all helps the writer.

Direct link will follow on the publication.

Monday, 3 November 2008

Novel Writing Workshop

Yesterday was a bitter day with the wind penetrating through my thick, usually warm coat as I waited on the platform for a train. I was on my way back to my childhood home town of Baldock for a novel writing workshop. In the once, locked up, to me forbidden and creepy building (Town hall), is an arts festival. And Sunday's session was run by Broadcaster Jennie Walmsley and Masterpiece novelist Miranda Glover. I enjoyed the afternoon and I'm glad I braved against the piercing wind.

Some notes from the 90 minute session.

  • Unusual titles grab the reader's attention. Also use the title to tell the reader what the themes are within the book.
  • Do you want to be branded in a certain genre?
  • How do you get into big themes - need to get into the ordinariness - use details with knowledge - bring in an authority and be distinctive.

THEME

  • Theme is central to the novel.
  • Start inside of the idea - explore what you know - "Through the keyhole" - details
  • Smallest of stories can have the most explosive of ideas.

STRUCTURE

  • Have a timeframe
  • Use the timeframe for the overall structure of the novel, then a timeframe for each chapter. This maintains the pace.

VOICE

  • Empathy with the voice
  • First or third person?
  • Perspective - control and retain for a whole novel
  • Can hit walls using first person all the way through a novel with one view
  • You need to retain clarity if using various voices.

CHARACTER

  • Research the character(s) past - inform yourself about their background and history.
  • Need to grab the reader's attention
  • React to situations
  • Demand to change
  • Reader wants to follow the character from page one.

BEGINNINGS

  • Grab the reader with action and pull them into the fictional world.

ENDINGS

  • Sense of taking the reader on a journey but then it can continue outside the book - the reader can relate it to their own world.
  • Satisfying ending
  • Don't need to tie up ALL loose ends.

Thursday, 30 October 2008

Short Story Success at Hack Writers

The birthday story is finally finished, edited, edited and then edited. I had some opinions too before editing more and then it was ready. (I might look back in six months and decide it could need work but when is a writer truely happy with their work?)

I sent it out into the world and Hackwriters have accepted the piece.

"Hackwriters is a free internet magazine devoted to interesting writing, on any subject. It is completely independent and receives virtually no money from advertising. It has no bias."

Village Boys and Fret Boards

This is my first short story rather than a mirco fiction or poetry that has been published.

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Clearing the Writer's head

For weeks there hadn't been a fresh word written on my laptop or in my notebook. I try and failed but all I could think about was this novel idea that I had started for my MA project and ways I could try to do something, anything with it. I would sit there thinking about the plot, about the characters (maybe I could change her relationships with minor characters or have her living in a farm house, or or or, etc). It wasn't going anywhere and it wasn't doing my writing any good.

SO.

I have decided to shelf the idea for a while.

I also got a rejection back from a magazine. The editor said they enjoyed the story but not this time. So, I am currently on Duotrope and looking for a new home for the story.

But I am feeling positive because I am writing after weeks of sitting and just thinking about a redundant idea.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Creativity time

According to the Guardian Website, the most creative time of day is 10.04pm. And the least creative time being 4.33pm. Its funny but I can relate to this especially when I was trying to write-on-demand for university. I could never do anything original during the afternoon. I had to save the time for editing or reading but never writing - it was like trying to squeeze water from a rock, impossible. But post-dinner time seems to be a second wind and I find ideas whirling around like a storm. Sometimes evaporating before I can make it to the notebook. Maybe I need to have more notebooks around the house.

Rob from Six Sentences sent out his regular newsletter this week. It had a great link to Hugh MacLeod's website. There's an interesting about "How to Be Creative features 30 tips on the subject, with original and intelligent elaborations on each tip. Its a great article - I need to print it off and have a thorough read at the weekend.

I have had a poem accepted on a website. More details to follow on the actual date of publication.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Disobedience - Naomi Alderman

Reluctantly I have finished Naomi Alderman's Disobedience. I have been trying to drag the last chapter over the last week so I didn't have to the close the world on Ronit, a woman trying to face her orthodox Jewish roots. But I couldn't resist it anymore on the train this morning and kept reading to find out how she is forced to think again about her past life in Hendon, North London.

Disobedience had been on my book shelf since it came out in paperback. I had tried to read the first chaper but at the time it wasn't for me and I could not break myself into the book. But Disobedience survived the culls that I have every six month to keep room on my shelves, and it was given another chance. Plucking it from the shelf has been the best reading choice I have made since the Mitfords book. It has been revealing about the Jewish culture which is almost OCD in its rituals. It describes Londno from a nook hidden from the surface. The changing voices and perspective within the chapters is insightful, giving a sharp aand poignant picture of Jewish Britain. As well as being touching, Alderman is bold and made me laugh out loud.

I'm surprised with myself for not going further the first time but I am glad I went back for another try. For the past few months, I have been reading books that offer no glimpses into deeper meanings but Alderman offers a guided-tour into the closed, tight-kint communites, sexuality. Its more than exposure of a community, its a commentary on the whole of society.



In the Back of the book was a interview with Naomi Alderman.
Writing Tips:


  • Probably the most difficult thing was the same thing that many first time novelists find difficult - just keeping the morale up.
  • Inspiration can come from anywhere - its just important to be open to it. It comes from anywhere that fasinates you and from staring into space.
  • Boredom is very important for inspiration.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

A New Purchase



Bidding and winning on Ebay gives me tingles. I won this Tiffany lamp on Ebay the other week and collected from a detached house on the other side of town.

Its going to make a guest appearance in a future story.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Toilet Door Oracle


Last week this notice appeared in the ladies toilet at work. I feel it describes writer’s block cure. I always find a rest from physical writing is the best. There is no point forcing words out onto the page. It would be like trying to feed a fussy toddler - rebellion and upset. The best thing, I find, is reading a good book (preferably one of my favourite authors) and keeping my senses alert for snippets of inspiration until I can’t fight the urge to write anymore.
This week the notice is ‘Beware high water.’ I guess it is a warning against global warming.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Logan's Run


Last week the DVD I have wanted for years was advertised in the paper as being finally released. I nearly found myself jumping out of my seat on the train and telling the unsuspecting woman next to me. For years I have been obsessed with the dystopia world in Logan's Run - the themes of escaping authority, the future, brave new worlds, fighting the system. I had seen this film on the television as a child one Christmas and was amazed. After reading Nineteen-eighty four I knew it wasn't the most sophisticated story but I was still pining to own this film. I even contemplated buying a region one and then purchasing a multi-region DVD player. But then the tiny advert in the paper came to my rescue.
Rushing to the shop after a lunchtime gym session, I scanned the shelves and nothing. This was the shop that it was advertised. Heading to the counter and a girl in scruffy t-shirt and baggy jeans (she looked liked she has just fallen out of a mosh pit).
"Could you please search for Logan's Run?"
"Never heard of it," she mumbled.
Immediately I became defensive inside but I still smiled on the outside. The girl made no further movement to search on the computer or even help.
"Would your computer system know?"
She took a deep sigh and reluctantly marched to the computer.
The computer had said No. Apparently the film didn't exist. She gave me a look as if I were a crazy person sent to crush her precious world.
She told me to try the rival next door and shrugged. It was over.
I still don't own one of favourite childhood TV films - I didn't want to use the internet as I want to hold the physical item and have it immediately but I guess I will have to go crawling back.

PS. I am currently re-editing the 'birthday story' and also an online e-zine have asked for a rewrite on a poem.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Litcamp - the write up

(Friday 12th September)
08.38
Propelling through the countryside on the train as I head towards London. Trying to read and desperately finish Gods Behaving Badly but I am still tired. I was up until one this morning typing up a story from bits of notes just so that I can get some feedback. I didn't get much time to read through and analyse so I'm bracing myself for some harsh criticism. Rumblings of the train as it jolts along the track keeps me awake.

09.45
Met Kerry for a quick sip of a Starbucks and catch up. Then we headed down Holloway Road, passing a vintage clothes (pointed out by Kerry) (Need to visit at some point), heading towards my university. I was only here last week and I 'm sort of dreading being back. What if its as poorly organised as the lectures? Also see Lisa from my bookselling days in the crowd, has been a long time since I've seen both Kerry and Lisa. Was it the last time when we saw the recording of the radio 4 quiz show?

Talk one - Getting Inside the Editor's Head
  • Covering letter - indicate your potential market
  • Do homework about agent and cilents - reflect in the covering letter
  • Start covering letter with agent's name
  • Remember it is subjective - if an agent doesn't like it - send to another
  • Create an emotional pull into the book with your covering letter
  • With literay fiction the writing style is the most important
Talk two - Publishing in a Digital Age
  • Internet has readers and writers directly interacting
  • Writers can control their marketing with the internet
Talk three - The Short Story Route to Success
  • Surround yourself with people who understand
  • "I only want the stories that make you forget your reading" - instructions to the readers for Bridport prize
  • When editing:
  1. Effectiveness of the title
  2. Opening paragraph
  3. Special characters
  4. Dialogue
  5. Thematic depth
  6. pacing
  7. Seduction of the piece
Talk four - The Last Page (Novel)
  • Swirling idea in the head
  • Self drive and determination

My feedback was positive and I was agreed with the criticism - it needed sme reshaping and rearranging with some of the events - an idea I had been thinking about on the journey towards Litcamp. The event ws great fun and would love to go again to attend the other talks that I missed.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Fairytale at the Lakeside

A flash success over at six sentences!

Fairytale at the Lakside is here.

Notes about Litcamp will follow shortly.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Lit Camp is tomorrow

Programme

download the latest programme here as an A4 printable file
10.15-11.30am
Arrival/Coffee/Intro/Sign-up for Evening Session/10-minute Zone
10.30-11.20am

DIY Book: a self-publisher’s story - Paul Ewen

Paul Ewen, who self published a book of short fiction, London Pub Reviews, shares his experiences in a workshop session that covers the basic steps you must go through if you choose the self-publish route. Joining him is Carol Barnes of Lulu.com
self-publishing
11.30am-1pm

The first page

A confidence-building session for people new to writing. Imaginative exercises to help you to find inspiration in the ordinary, create characters that live and breathe. Tutor: Bridget Whelan.
prose - all levels
11.30am-1pm

Getting inside the editor’s head

Rosalind Porter, senior editor with Granta magazine, Laura Barber of Portobello Books, and Tom Chalmers of Legend Press open the lid on publishing from the editor’s point of view. Later in the session, we hear from agent Hannah Westland of Rogers Coleridge & White about where she, as an agent, fits into that process.
fiction - advanced

11.30am-1pm

Finding, or inventing, the right place for your work

Dr Sarah Law, poet and tutor at London Metropolitan University, talks with Les Robinson, director of Tall Lighthouse Press, and poet Maggie Butt about innovative ways for young poets to drive their careers forward, including how to write poetry for a public setting.
poetry

1-2.30pm
Buffet lunch provided. Time to meet and mingle, browse the book table, take part in the 10-minute Zone, or use the Writing Room - perhaps even to draft a fresh piece for the Evening Session.
1.30-2.30pm

10-Minute Zone

A space for informal discussion on writing-related topics of relevance to LitCampers. Sign up on the day, or just show up. Speakers have 4 mins, then it’s open to the floor. Change of topic every 10 minutes. Runs at lunch/recesses, or whenever, for people seeking an interactive space.

2.30-3.30pm

From Wannabe to Published

Not every would-be writer successfully manages this transition, but Jane Wenham-Jones has done. The novelist, freelance journalist and non-fiction author has pragmatic tips to offer writers who are just starting out.
cross-genre

2.30-3.30pm - LATE ADDITION TO PROGRAMME

Publishing in a digital age: how does the writer go forward?

Keith Ridgway, the author of three novels and of shorter fiction, wonders how the increasing array of digital publishing possibilities will impact on the traditional relationships between writers, agents and publishers, and readers. Discussion with agent Hannah Westland of RCW, digital publishing executive with Pan Macmillan, Michael Bhaskar, and digital publisher Val Stephenson of Nth Position.
cross-genre

3.30-4.15pm

Poetry workshop with Sarah Law

An exercise based workshop designed to strengthen writing abilities for anyone new to poetry or needing fresh inspiration. Sarah Law has published two collections of poetry with Stride. Her third, Perihelion, is published by Shearsman Books.
poetry - all levels

The short story path to success - Vanessa Gebbie

A writer who has won many awards for her stories and whose first short fiction collection Words From A Glass Bubble was recently published by Salt Books, Vanessa Gebbie shares ideas on developing your writing strategy, the importance of networking, and whether to blog.
short fiction - all levels

How to make a living while you write

Earn a living while you draft and revise your magnum opus. Bridget Whelan teaches at City Lit and Goldsmiths College, London. Her first novel A Good Confession is soon to be published by Severn House and she is also the author of a short book Make Money from Your Writing.

4.15-5pm
Coffee break + 10-minute Zone continues, featuring Courttia Newland, co-founder and editor of Tell Tales.
5pm-5.25pm

Willesden Green Writers Group

The first time this group published a book of its members’ work, they won a prestigious award. Here to share practical tips for how to run a successful writer-led group are leader Anne Mullane, and editor of their next book Bilal Ghafoor. Reading work developed in the group is Jarred McGinnis.

5pm-5.45pm

The Last Page

Farahad Zama and Nicholas Hogg discuss the challenges of completing a first novel, and ways of managing plot to ensure the final cut is one that works for readers. Nicholas is the author of Show Me the Sky, and Farahad’s forthcoming novel The Marriage Bureau for Rich People will be published in 2009 by Little Brown.
novel

All day

The Writing Room

A quiet space open all day for a break, note-taking reading etc. Laptops may be used, internet access tbc.
6ish-7.45pm

The Evening Session

Katy Darby of Liars League introduces an eclectic mix of writers drawn from LitCampers whose names we’ve yet to discover. Sign up early to get a spot. Also featuring: Jay Bernard, Farahad Zama, Vanessa Gebbie, Bridget Whelan, Nicholas Hogg, Maggie Butt, Bilal Ghafoor, Courttia Newland…

Principles of a Story

Sorting some folders and trying to create some space for new books, I came across Principles of a Story, an interesting article about writing short stories by Raymond Carver. He wrote about everyday, normal, suburban life – if a women wrote about this subject it would have been banded domestic fiction but his writing was fresh, interesting and touched a nerve with people. Shortcuts, a 90s film, is based on several of Carver’s short stories being spliced together.

The article discusses Carver’s love of the short story and his opinion on what makes a champion narrative. I’ve picked out a few interesting points:

  • “It’s possible, in a poem or a short story, to write about commonplace things and objects using commonplace but precise language…with immense, even startling power.”
  • “It is possible to write a line of seemingly innocuous dialogue and have it send a chill along the reader’s spine.”
  • “What creates tension in a piece of fiction is partly the way the concrete words are linked together to make up the visible action of the story.”
  • “The short story writer’s task is to invest the glimpse with all that is in this power.”

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Good Morning, Welcome to your last day on Earth


The radio pulled me from my relaxing dream (I've been dreaming about knitting and I have been waking up feeling very relaxed) to the announcement that today was everyone's last day on earth. What hype! If the scientists made a black hole it would be the size of a particle and I am sure no aliens/end of world can happen.

Yesterday I got a rejection. But it had a positive at the end: "we value your creativity and encourage you to please continue to submit new work." - Its better than "NO" or not replying.

I cheered myself up by buying a beautiful, summery new bag. I'm going to use it for LitCamp!

And no more writing project for University hanging like a piece of heavy, chav jewellery around my neck. Gave it to registry and celebrated with the boyfriend with a whole day in London. We started with a tour of Emirates stadium, British Museum for the American Scene exhibition - The prints from the 30s reminded me of Brief Encounter.

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Writing Projects


Tomorrow I hand in my writing project for my Masters. What a painful experience it has been.
1.) Admissions seem to let anyone, and I mean anyone take this 'writing' course. If you can fill out the form then you could join.
2.) Tutors convincing us not to visit them outside the lessons
3.) Getting feedback for my project a few days before deadline with no positive notes. (It was my fault. I should not have emailed my work to him)

Basically, I have been disappointed with the course. I could have sat up last night trying to 'fix' my novel to fit my tutor's tastes but sometimes you need to know when to call it a day.
In a few weeks time I will probably go back to my work and start rethinking but I am exhausted of the course.
I thought it would put me off writing for a little while but yesterday I started the short story for the Boyfriend. Its going to be a late birthday present. Also I am enjoying writing it too!

Thursday, 28 August 2008

Learning to Play Guitar and Other Stories

Beyond the shop glass was your birthday present, an acoustic guitar with only three strings. But the shop wasn’t open for me to go in there, run my fingers along the fret board and buy it for you. I could not wait for opening time. I had to get to work.

Sitting at my desk and that guitar haunted my thoughts all day. The way it could be a project for you to fix and mend into a ‘beauty’ and then play for recordings. But getting off the train and walking across the car park, two kids with wide-eyed, drunk with shopping grins, walked past with a battered, three-stringed guitar. Your guitar. The shop window was empty.

Now your only present is the serious one that I bought weeks ago. But now I am going to write you a story. It may not be ready for your birthday but it will be for you.

Wednesday, 27 August 2008

The Mitfords - Letters Between Six Sisters

I’ve just finished reading ‘The Mitfords.’ Usually I can read a book within a week but this mammoth one took nearly two months – without any other book on the sidelines to distract me. I loved reading about each of the sisters. Every sentence is worthy as a mantra or quote. But this one seems to fit the writing life:


“Books. The thing is not to do it, writing I mean. ANYTHING to put off beginning: telephone, take the dogs out, read yet another ridiculous mag, and then when one has begun it’s lovely and v. difficult to stop. Do you find that? I can’t do anything unless I’ve got all the things to do it with just right, paper and soft B pencils sharpened which they soon aren’t because of the softth. I wish I could type, one could see what it looks like instead of waiting on someone else to do it a little bit wrong…. There have been so many distractions lately that I’ve done 0, well nearly 0. Hopeless.”

Deborah, 6th September 1987.


I feel like I have been using my dissertation (writing project) as an excuse for not doing writing. Even though I am writing two chapters (plus interludes) for the project and an essay, I just can’t seem to sit down and write anything else. There’s a wall and on that wall is graffiti telling me that I must do my project first and then normal service can resume. Less than two weeks away and then I can write the novel at my own pace, dab in the short stories again and also explore flash fiction. They have been my holiday from the project over the summer. – I’m restraint because at the end of writing the chapters there is a huge ugly essay to be written about the writing process. It makes my skin crawl.

Saturday, 23 August 2008

A Room of One's Own


I don’t have a writing room but I do have my own writing desk. I never used too but then I went to university and found the joys of having a desk. I had dedicated space where I could leave sticky notes, pens and notebooks sprawled across the surface and not worry about tidying up again. When I came back last year to stay with my parents to do masters degree, I had nothing, just my lap to balance my notebook or the dining table. Then I came across this beautiful table in a charity shop and I knew it had to go in my bedroom. It became step one in the road to taking my writing seriously.
Sitting in the corner of my bedroom, during the winter it has the corner near my shelves and the summer it goes near the window for the sun light and for people watching. Just having this round desk and given me the space to leave my laptop resting and my notebook open, so I can rush from any place in the house and jot down a jumbled sentence, not yet edited.
On the perfectly circular pine table, is my brown faux-suede notebook for my novel (I’m using the first two chapters as my writing project for my Masters), my George Orwell Pen pot (used to be a mug but on the other side is a huge chip from an incident that involved it taking a suicidal jump from the cupboard) and any magazines (writing, and ones from inspiration – okay the STYLE one was just for the free bag) and books.