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What I’m Writing – week eighty

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Welcome to week eighty of What I’m Writing! Thank you to everyone who linked up last week – I loved reading your posts! Carie’s thoughts on the many possibilities of blogging made sense of a few things for me (and helped me make one of the decisions in today’s post – number eight if you’re interested) and Antonia’s poem was very powerful (I hope things are improving now, Antonia). And if you’re a writer thinking of submitting your work, do have a read of Mother’s Milk Books editor, Teika’s wonderful post – it’s full of advice and insights from an editor’s perspective! For more fabulous posts do pop over and have a read of last week’s link up.

If you’re new here (welcome!) you might be wondering what #WhatImWriting is all about. You can find all the details here but the short(er) version is I’m a writer who loves blogging about my writing process and reading about those of others. This linky is for all you fellow writers, poets, bloggers etc. out there to share posts about what you’re writing (and all your hopes and fears, triumphs and tears) with a group of people who understand what you’re going through.

I’ve also set up a private group on Facebook that all linkers are welcome to join. It’s somewhere we can share work and have a chat about all things writerly (and whatever else we fancy really). It’s a ‘secret group’ which means you’ll need an invitation to join so once you’ve linked up just let me know if you want me to send an invite.

If you’d like to join in you’re very welcome! There are just a few suggestions for taking part:

  • Link up any post (old or new) that is to do with writing/blogging etc. 
  • Please either use my badge on the post (copy and paste the HTML code below) or link to my blog. I will share your post on Twitter in return.
  • Read and comment on as many other posts in the linky as you can. What I’m Writing has developed a lovely, supportive community and we’d love you to join in :)
  • If you’d like to tweet your post feel free to use the hashtag #WhatImWriting. If you tweet me a link to your post @writingbubble then I will RT.

Please link up below – just click on the blue button that says ‘add your link’ and follow the instructions. I look forward to reading your posts. :)

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What I’m Writing – week seventy-five

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Welcome to week seventy-five of What I’m Writing. Thanks so much to everyone who linked up last week – it was another fab selection of posts! I loved Sophie’s thoughts on what really helps children’s ability to write and tell stories (clue: it’s NOT learning about subordinate clauses), and Dana’s post about comfort versus risk-taking really made me think! And I can’t NOT share Renée’s post ‘The stuff nobody tells you about blogging‘ which was, as usual,searingly honest. For more great posts, do have a read of all last week’s linkups!

If you’re new here (welcome!) you might be wondering what #WhatImWriting is all about. You can find all the details here but the short(er) version is I’m a writer who loves blogging about my writing process and reading about those of others. This linky is for all you fellow writers, poets, bloggers etc. out there to share posts about what you’re writing (and all your hopes and fears, triumphs and tears) with a group of people who understand what you’re going through.

I’ve also set up a private group on Facebook that all linkers are welcome to join. It’s somewhere we can share work and have a chat about all things writerly (and whatever else we fancy really). It’s a ‘secret group’ which means you’ll need an invitation to join so once you’ve linked up just let me know if you want me to send an invite.

If you’d like to join in you’re very welcome! There are just a few suggestions for taking part:

  • Link up any post (old or new) that is to do with writing/blogging etc. 
  • Please either use my badge on the post (copy and paste the HTML code below) or link to my blog. I will share your post on Twitter in return.
  • Read and comment on as many other posts in the linky as you can. What I’m Writing has developed a lovely, supportive community and we’d love you to join in :)
  • If you’d like to tweet your post feel free to use the hashtag #WhatImWriting. If you tweet me a link to your post @writingbubble then I will RT.

Please link up below – just click on the blue button that says ‘add your link’ and follow the instructions. I look forward to reading your posts. :)

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honesty and social media

One Friday morning a couple of weeks ago – the first day of half term to be precise – my sons decided to do some baking. My eight-year-old has always enjoyed making cakes and buns but it’s become a real passion of his recently. On this occasion his younger brothers (aged six and just-about-three) were keen to help and I was told to “Sit down, Mummy or just take some photos of us or something.” So I mostly just watched them.

pretty buns... but what's the other side of the story?

pretty buns… but what’s the other side of the story?

It was so sweet – the three of them were totally dedicated to the task and worked together brilliantly. The older two read recipes together and divided up tasks. They helped their little brother pour ingredients and stir the mixture. They all had far too much (messy) fun with the electric mixer and even came up with a solution when they realised they’d added butter straight from the fridge (instead of ‘softened butter’)… which involved the six year old sitting in front of a heater for ten minutes cradling the bowl of cake mixture in his hands! An hour and a half later they had made chocolate biscuits and buns and were (justly) very pleased with themselves. I photographed the whole thing and shared the photos on my personal Facebook page. I felt so happy and proud of them.

Ten minutes later though, I felt a sudden need to be more honest with my Facebook friends… because although those pictures of sibling harmony were absolutely genuine, they only told one part of the story. In fact, the reason I had been so particularly happy to see my boys working together and enjoying each other’s company so much is because the previous day my older two had had the most horrible, upsetting argument. It was probably the worst argument they’d ever had and it had taken me and their dad ages to calm them down and help them through it. I’d gone to bed feeling like a terrible parent and woken up as member of the Walton family! No wonder I’d wanted to share those gorgeous, harmonious photos!

Perhaps it was the recent furore over the ‘Motherhood Challenge’ playing on my mind (with the idea that posting happy photos can have a negative impact on others*), but suddenly, only sharing ‘part of the story’ didn’t feel quite right. So I went back to Facebook and wrote about the argument the previous day too, along with my reasons for sharing that. I’m not normally that open on Facebook so I felt quite exposed (even though I only have a hundred-odd friends which is by FB standards a mere handful!). But I did it anyway because it suddenly felt like something I needed to do.

You see, as much as I enjoy Facebook, I’m aware of its dark side too. Personally, I can find it really draining. And although I do genuinely enjoy the majority of what my friends post, there are times when it all feels too much. A bit overwhelming. It can tap into a side of me I don’t really like so that where in ‘real life’ I would feel happy for a friend’s success, ‘social media me’ is envious and dissatisfied. On a bad day this ‘me’ sees the dream jobs, the pictures of angelic, perfectly behaved kids, the fabulous holidays etc. and compares my life unfavourably to that.

I know, I KNOW this is ridiculous because I have a lovely life with very little to feel remotely dissatisfied about. I’m also well aware FB provides only glimpses into people lives (those perfect kids probably smeared ice cream all over the sofa three seconds after that photo was taken) and besides which, I project just the same images of an ideal life into others FB feeds. I guess that was why I felt the need to set the record straight a bit on this occasion. I don’t have perfect, Disney-fairytale kids!

That honest post got twice as many likes and (lovely) comments as my post with the harmonious sibling pictures and I don’t think that was a fluke. It’s lovely to see each other’s happy times but without sharing some of the harder moments too, I think we’re missing something. The roundness of human experience, perhaps. And the real part of friendship – the part that makes us see each other as fellow human beings, all on this crazy journey together. Isn’t everything easier when we’re not alone?

How much do you share on social media?

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*for the record, I had nothing against the motherhood challenge. I was tagged but didn’t post any photos, more due to apathy than anything else. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with posting happy photos. I certainly don’t think parents are smug just for sharing moments like these. I do think there’s a question about the impact of what we share on social media but it’s much MUCH bigger than that one challenge, it’s to do with how we adapt to knowing so many selective details about so many people on the periphery of our lives. It’s a whole other blog post!

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And then the fun began...

kicking ass – #WhatImWriting

This week I have kicked ass! Well kind of. I have achieved something… I FINALLY finished the first draft of my third picture book. I know, I know, it’s a picture book, and I’m only writing the words, how long could it possibly take? Well, two months.

TWO MONTHS.

And it’s just the first draft. Admittedly it hasn’t exactly been the sole focus of my attention these past months but, given that the first draft of my FIRST book took TWO HOURS, it’s a fairly ridiculous length of time. Still it’s done. And although I say it’s a first draft, it’s taken me so much work and re-drafting to get from one end of the story to the other that it’s probably more like a fifth draft so, yay!

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Totally random pic of my son looking down at Grassmere. The post needed a photo and I was out of ideas.

In other news, I’ve just set up a private Facebook group for #WhatImWriting. It was kind of prompted by my post last week about the perils of publishing work on your blog, and also by Tanya’s post wondering about getting feedback. I’ve also been thinking for months that it would be nice to have somewhere to chat with you lovely lot during the week. After reading posts on Tuesdays I often wonder how you’re all getting on with your writing plans.

So, we now have a group where people are welcome to share work and ask for feedback: because it’s a private group it doesn’t count as ‘pre-published’ and you can go on to do what you like with it. We can also post links to relevant/useful blog posts (ours or other peoples), inspirational quotes, writing ideas… or just pictures of cats – whatever floats your boat. The group is also (mainly?) for having a chat during the week any time you fancy it. Somewhere to say “Hooray, I wrote this!” or “Argh, I can’t write that!” or just to hone those procrastination skills ;)

Of course no one is obliged to join the group (you might not even be on FB) but it is open to all linkers. I sent out invitations to everyone yesterday (you need an invitation because it’s a ‘secret group’ (I like the Enid Blyton-esque feel of that – like we might solve some mysteries together)) but I did it in a really haphazard way so I definitely could have missed a few people out. If I have, I’m sorry and if you’re reading this and want an invite just leave me a message in the comments!

I’ll admit this isn’t much to report given my claim to have ‘kicked ass’ this week but nothing else I’ve done has really been writing-related. Plus it’s late on Monday night and I want to schedule this post and go to bed. So I will.

I’m looking forward to hearing how your weeks have gone tomorrow!

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