Tag Archives: inspiration

what I’m writing – week thirty-five

typewriter butterflies badgeWelcome to week thirty-five of ‘What I’m Writing’! Thanks for sharing your posts with us over at Muddled Manuscript last week – I loved reading them and, as usual, you were inspirational!

If you’re new here you might be wondering what #WhatImWriting is all about. You can find all the details here but the short version is my co-host Chrissie and I are both writers who love blogging about our writing processes and reading about those of others. Our 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. April’s #WhatImWriting roundup post can give you more of an idea of the sort of posts we share, but really anything goes!

We also have 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’ so you’ll need an invitation to join and I send these out to all linkers. That said, we’ve had a few issues with people’s invitations going AWOL recently so if you’d like to join and haven’t received one just leave me a comment – thanks!

We welcome linkers old and new and if you’d like to join in 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 our badge on the post (copy and paste the HTML code below) or link to whichever one of our blogs is hosting that week. We 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 us a link to your post @writingbubble or @rantybeast then we will RT.

Over to you – I look forward to reading your posts!

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what I’m writing – week twenty-one

typewriter butterflies badgeWelcome to week twenty-one of ‘What I’m Writing’. Twenty-one! We’re all grown-up! We had another great week over at Muddled Manuscript last Tuesday with a great batch of posts. Thanks to everyone who joined in.

If you’re new here you might be wondering what #WhatImWriting is all about. You can find all the details here but the short version is my co-host Chrissie and I are both writers who love blogging about our writing processes and reading about those of others. Our 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.

We take turns to write a monthly roundup of posts. My December Round-up should give you a flavour of what we’ve all been up to recently if you want to catch up!

We’ve also just 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). As it’s a ‘secret group’ it’s hidden until I send an invititation but I have sent them to all linkers – or at least I’ve meant to! We’ve had a few issues with people’s invitations going AWOL though (think they’re being eaten by the big mail cruncher in the sky) so if you’d like to join and haven’t received one just leave me a comment – thanks!

We welcome linkers old and new and if you’d like to join in there are just a few suggestions (‘rules’ feels too strong a word) for taking part:

  • Link up any post (old or new) that is to do with writing/blogging etc. 
  • Please either use our badge on the post (copy and paste the HTML code below) or link to whichever one of our blogs is hosting that week. We 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 us a link to your post @writingbubble or @rantybeast then we will RT.

Over to you – please link up below! I look forward to reading your posts (I’ll be linking up too of course)!

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reading – #WhatImWriting

I love reading – always have, although I did go through a period of, ooh, close to two decades where I didn’t read more than a couple of books a year. I intended to read, I even wanted to read but somehow just didn’t seem to get round to it.
bookcase

All that changed a couple of years ago though when I got a kindle (well, I nicked my husband’s if I’m honest) and found myself going from book to book. I read any time, anywhere… in the dark while breastfeeding, while drying my hair, even when brushing my teeth. I never thought I would give up paper for an electronic device but I have to admit it revolutionised my reading life. In the past two years I’ve read well over a hundred books which I don’t think is bad going!

Anyway, this is my #WhatImWriting post – what does any of this have to do with what I’ve been writing this week? Well everything and nothing. It’s occurred to me that my increased reading pace has co-incided exactly with the period of my life when I decided to pursue my dream to become a published writer. These past two-and-a-bit years have been a major voyage of discovery for me in the literary world both as a writer and a reader.

So maybe the gear change in my reading wasn’t all about getting my hands on a kindle, maybe some of it was to do with just launching myself into another part of life? Then just as the more I wrote the more I wrote (writing breeds writing, right?), the more I read the more I read… and then the more I wrote the more I read, and the more I read the more I wrote (phew!) and it all piled up into a huge bonfire of magical worlds and other lives with sparks of creativity flying around in every direction.

And now the bonfire is ablaze and I’m dancing round it clutching books and journals and pens (and electronic devices but that doesn’t really fit with the image I’m trying to conjure up, so forget that bit) and toasting my hands before a fiery fictional frenzy.

Or something.

Anyway, I can certainly say I’m learning a lot from my reading and that’s not just – or at all – because I’m reading great serious works of literature it’s because my brain is constantly assessing everything it’s engaging with. Some books I love, some books I… tolerate but along the way there’s loads I’m learning about style and narrative and what works and what doesn’t.

Actually a brilliant learning experience for me recently was reading a book so badly written it was like a massive, flashing, neon sign saying “DO NOT WRITE LIKE THIS. EVER.” And I’m convinced it’s not just a matter of taste (because some books don’t work for me but I still can see that they’re well-written and others might like them) I really think it was just weak. It read like a first draft that needed editing (and to be fair, perhaps with some decent editing and story re-shaping it could have been fine), so much so that I actually found myself editing it as I read it – good practice for when I finally get to the editing stage of my book!

The best thing about reading though is being transported to other worlds and different lives where there are adventures to be had, mysteries to be solved, great emotions to be tussled with, tears to be shed and laughs to be sprinkled all around.  As a reader, books transform my life, as a writer they are my biggest source of inspiration.

How about you – do you read much? What impact do you think it has on your writing?

Muddled Manuscript

limerick challenge #22

“Have you stopped writing limericks Mummy? It’s been AGES since you did one!”

My seven-year-old was sort of right. I hadn’t written one for him or his brother since November. I did post a couple of limericks just before Christmas but I didn’t show them to my boys for fear it would ruin their image of Father Christmas!

Anyway, the answer to his question was “Of COURSE I still write limericks! What would you like me to write one about?”

His answer? “A pheasant.”. Here goes:

 

One Christmas, an unlucky pheasant

Was ill with a cold quite unpleasant

He coughed and he wheezed

Then explosively SNEEZED

Spraying globules of snot on his present.

 

pheasant kids drawing

Pheasant sneezing on a present (illustration by my seven-year-old).

My sons’ verdicts?

Five-year-old: “That’s disgustuling.” (Bonus points for new word.)

Seven-year-old: “D’you know that’s actually quite gross?”

They’re right of course, but then I never aim for high-brow when writing for kids. Perhaps I should next time?

Prose for Thought

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What I’m Writing round-up

It’s the 5th of January and all around the country decorations are coming down and people are returning to work. Christmas is well and truly over so as I sit down to write December’s ‘What I’m Writing’ round-up it feels all wrong. December was so long ago! It was last year! And given that the last #WhatImWriting was on 16th December – before school broke up and festivities completely overtook everything – I feel like I’m trying to round-up things we all did and said in a previous life.

But that’s silly. Mid-December was only a few short weeks ago and actually, what better time to do do a round-up? To look backwards now before we all launch ourselves forwards again? So here goes:

typewriter butterflies round up

December was a great month for ‘What I’m Writing’ with a whole host of  great, inspiring, thought-provoking, sympathetic, sharing and encouraging posts, so thank you so much everyone who linked up. We also had two new linkers last month – Rachael from Honest Speaks and Dana from Writing at the Table – so a big welcome to them!

Last month certainly brought positivity with Reneé sharing exciting news of her book sales (she published Become the Best You at the end of November) having achieved #47 in the Amazon self help section – yippee! She also wrote of the support she received from the online community which was great to hear.

Meanwhile, Iona described a lovely experience she’d had when her young daughter read and gave feedback on the manuscript she’s writing, Carol had made excellent progress with her writing through a ‘no procrastination day’, and Sara was wondering – for the first time ever – about developing a short fictional piece into something longer . Exciting times!

As you’d expect from writers there was also a lot of pondering on all sorts of issues. Sophie wondered how to structure her novel which takes place in two distinct time periods, Morgan was considering giving up her novel to focus on her blog (we convinced her not to!) and Rachael asked ‘what makes a writer?’ – a really interesting debate!

There were creative struggles too: Chrissie wrote about her ‘confused muse’, a recent rejection inspired me to write my ‘ten top tips for overcoming rejection’ and Reneé wrote about the crash that came after her exciting book launch.  But such downs are a part of the writing life as Emily acknowledged in a post in which she interviewed Rachael Lucas (whose two books have been a huge success) about ‘The Highs and Lows of Writing’ – they happen to us all!

Despite the downs, ‘onwards and upwards’ was a definite theme with Emily and Sophie both researching their third books and Adria sharing the wonderful idea (about NaNoWriMo) that if you’ve been inspired and written anything, then you’ve won. Dana was also moving on with her writing and described her novel as a beloved albatross that was finally starting to take flight after literally being locked in a safe for five years! And in a very useful post Iona shared what she’d learnt at a recent conference about ‘getting published’ – motivation for us all.

Nikki wrote an incredibly moving post on ‘The Moment that Changed Everything’. It’s a stand alone post in terms of theme and so touching that I’m giving it it’s own paragraph. A powerful musing on awful moments where everything in life shifts.

As we moved towards the end of the year, there was a lot of reflecting on the year gone by and in the loved-up spirit of Christmas I wrote about how much the online writing community has meant to me this year. Sara was also reflective in a post that celebrated her blog’s second birthday and a year that she described as ‘all about writing’. Chrissie shared a very impressive spreadsheet of all the writing she’d done throughout the year (in a later post she also shared a blank spreadsheet that we can all download and use ourselves – thanks Chrissie!) and some impressive targets for next year.

Looking forward to 2015, Aimee shared the sad news that she was winding up her Pass the Gin blog… but for the great reason that she wants to concentrate on her writing, Carol shared an opportunity that was ‘stepping out of the wings’ for her to seize, and Chrissie wrote a great positive piece about how she’s going to take on this year. She channelled her daughter’s determination to go to a party to encourage us all not to fear rejection: ‘If you don’t ask about the party, you won’t get to go to the party’ – so true.

As I look forward to 2015 that sounds like a wonderful analogy for my writing intentions and goals – I hope we all spend 2015 asking about the party and that by the end of the year we’ve all donned our dancing shoes and are boogying away on the dance floor!

Happy New Year!

what I’m writing – week fifteen

typewriter butterflies badgeWelcome to week fifteen of ‘What I’m Writing’- the last of the year! Chrissie and I are taking a couple of weeks off over the festive period but #WhatImWriting will be back on 6th January 2015 ready to hear all about your new year’s resolutions!

Since it’s the last of the year I just want to say – on behalf of Chrissie and myself – a huge thank you to each and every one of you who has linked up and/or commented on the posts in our little linky. When we launched it in September this year we had no idea how it would go and we really have been totally thrilled to see people sharing such a range of fabulous posts every week. You’ve been inspiring and supportive and honest and funny and lovely and it’s been wonderful to get to know you all. Truly. Thank you.

So, enough of the mushy stuff (though I’m a huge softy at heart so don’t be surprised if I write more of that sort of thing in my post to link up this week) – to business! (ie the bit where I cut and paste… ).

If you’re new here you might be wondering what #WhatImWriting is all about. You can find all the details here but the short version is Chrissie and I are both writers who love blogging about our writing processes and reading about those of others. Our 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. September’s and October’s round-up posts (we take turns to write them every month) give you a flavour of the sorts of things we chat about.

We’d love you to join in and there are just a few suggestions (‘rules’ feels too strong a word) for taking part:

  • Link up any post (old or new) that is to do with writing/blogging etc. 
  • Please either use our badge on the post (copy and paste the HTML code below) or link to whichever one of our blogs is hosting that week. We 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 us a link to your post @writingbubble or @rantybeast then we will RT.

Over to you – please link up below! I look forward to reading your posts (I’ll be linking up too of course)!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

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I want…

mumturnedmom

 
This week’s prompt over at Mum turned Mom is “I read the news today”. My first thought when I saw it last Sunday – two days after ‘Black Friday’ and the day before ‘Cyber Monday’ – was of all the stories I’d read about frenzied shoppers, and of violence and mayhem breaking out as people desperately fought each other for bargains that they possibly didn’t even really want and certainly didn’t need.

I’m all for grabbing a bargain and I want to buy nice gifts for friends and family this christmas as much as the next person, but it was clear that last weekend consumerism had got out of control.

So I wrote a poem about it. Not a sensible, highly political poem you understand, but a poem nonetheless.

 

I Want

 

I want…

Can I have…

Could you quickly get me please

One of those

Two of that,

And then three or four of these?

 

I want…

All these lovely things

That no one else has got

And of those

That my friends have? –

I’m going to get a lot.

 

I want…

One in green. No,

In red, no blue, No PINK!

Or perhaps one of each

Would be better

Don’t you think?

 

I want…

That huge, tall one

And this that’s oh, so small

And a round one,

A flat one,

In fact, I WANT THEM ALL.

 

And when

I’ve got everything

What shall I do? What then?

It’s simple

I’ll go back out

And buy it all again!

 

what I’m writing – week thirteen

typewriter butterflies badgeWelcome to week thirteen of ‘What I’m Writing’. It’s December! Is everyone feeling festive?I was going to attempt to put a little sprig of holy or santa hat on our badge but then I realised that could easily take me hours and therefore wasn’t worth it… but you’re all creative types so please go ahead and imagine something suitable. Done it? Excellent, thanks, good work!

Before we go any further I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who linked up (over at Muddled Manuscript) last week. I loved reading your posts as always. Thanks also to Chrissie for being an excellent host. I can never compete with the excellent linky posts she writes – mine are just cut and paste jobs… on which note, I’ll now commence the pasting:

If you’re new here you might be wondering what #WhatImWriting is all about. You can find all the details here but the short version is Chrissie and I are both writers who love blogging about our writing processes and reading about those of others. Our 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. September’s and October’s round-up posts (we take turns to write them every month) give you a flavour of the sorts of things we chat about.

We’d love you to join in and there are just a few suggestions (‘rules’ feels too strong a word) for taking part:

  • Link up any post (old or new) that is to do with writing/blogging etc. 
  • Please either use our badge on the post (copy and paste the HTML code below) or link to whichever one of our blogs is hosting that week. We 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 us a link to your post @writingbubble or @rantybeast then we will RT.

Over to you – please link up below! I look forward to reading your posts (I’ll be linking up too of course)!

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catharsis – #WhatImWriting

DSC_0169There are many reasons why writers write: the urge to create, to find an outlet for a headful of ideas, a desire to connect with others, to make your mark, capture a moment, to explore, invent, imagine or just because you HAVE to.

One of the most powerful writing experiences I have found though, is writing for catharsis. I don’t necessarily do this often, as I’ve been lucky enough not to need to, but when I do it honestly feels like some sort of therapy.

I definitely wrote for cathartic reasons after giving birth to my third son twenty-one months ago. Not (thankfully) that anything too terrible happened – he was born healthy and (eventually) had a natural delivery – but, man, it was such an ordeal to get there. Nine days of stop-start labour (that meant I barely slept), followed by endless hours of contractions so strong they should have prompted a baby to shoot out across the room not simply lie around wriggling contentedly!

Anyway, once my bundle of beauty had finally emerged, even though I was so happy I could have exploded with it, I still felt I had a lot to process. My births have never gone to plan despite me being convinced each time that ‘this time it will be fine!’ so I think there was a frustration there that I needed to address. So, with baby firmly attached to the milk supply (i.e me) and a never ending pile of cakes, biscuits and hot-cross buns at my elbow (I looked so terrible that everyone who visited felt the immediate urge to feed me sweet things) I set about writing about my experience.

I’ve recently read what I wrote. There’s a prose piece written when he was a week old which alternates between ‘then’ and ‘now’ quite effectively (I was trying to capture the amazing difference a week can make, so it leaps from the intensity of contractions to the peacefulness of breastfeeding in bed by the glow of a nightlight). There’s also a poem that goes through the whole labour describing it as an approaching storm that sucks me in and nearly drowns me. Powerful stuff.

I remember writing both these pieces, then reading them back and it making an immense difference to me. Like a big release of emotion that made me feel both lighter and like I had more energy. Plus I felt like I’d captured something for later. Birth is such an epic experience I’m glad I managed to store it somewhere outside of my own head, even if I never show what I’ve written to anyone.

How about you? What motivates you to write? Do you (or have you) found writing to be a cathartic experience?

Writing Bubble

limerick challenge #21

purple unicorn
My last post was on a heart-wrenching subject so I felt in need of something lighthearted… time for another limerick challenge! This time I wrote about a unicorn. My sons provided the inspiration and illustrations as always. The black-winged, purple unicorn is by my five-year old and the distinctly dragon-y one below was carefully drawn by his big brother (aged seven).

As usual, please forgive bad rhymes and general ridiculousness!

 

There once was a job-seeking unicorn

Who filled in a flight-staff recruitment form

But aeroplane seats

Don’t fit mythical beasts

And the poor thing looked daft in the uniform!

 

Unicorn uncomfortably wedged into an orange and blue uniform

Unicorn uncomfortably wedged into an orange and blue uniform (I think he’s decided not to board the flight)

Prose for Thought

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