Tag Archives: #writingwarriors

racing away from me

Over at Beautiful Misbehaviour, Stephanie has taken the (sensible) decision to stop the Writing Warriors Friday linky for health reasons. I’ve found writing weekly blog posts specifically about where I am with my creative writing to be really useful though, so I’m going to continue. It helps to keep me focused.

There’s so much going on in life at the moment that I feel like everything is racing away from me. I keep getting to the end of the week and finding that my ‘to do’ list (I love a list!) is longer rather than shorter. This week my ‘writing time’ has been in snatched fragments. I feel like I’ve done nothing at all. But one of the nice things about having a blog on a week like this is that I can look at it and say ‘Oh! I did write something then!’ Ok, only a limerick for my weekly #limerick challenge and a piece of flash fiction yesterday, but it’s better than nothing.

Last week I was thinking about submissions – should I submit more (any!) of my poetry or short stories? I decided that this week I’d look more into possible places I could send my work to. I did this. I got overwhelmed. There are so many options! And I was too busy to look into anything properly so I’m going to have to carry that task over to next week. In fact, I think it’s going to be an ongoing project.

I’ve decided I should put my work out there more. I may feel less keen when I’ve had more rejections but hey, that’s the life of a writer isn’t it?! Besides which, as a fair few people said to me last week: ‘You’ve got to be in it to win it.’ So watch this space.

sprint finish

jasper-tree.jpg

It’s been a funny old week, full of ups and downs. I’m feeling physically and emotionally exhausted. My youngest son turned one at the weekend and we had a lovely family party but I’ve been feeling so emotional at the idea of my (last) baby growing up! And, as I mentioned in my post yesterday, his sleep has been terrible this week so I’ve been surviving largely on tea and adrenalin. If I remember to drink the tea.

So, from a creative-writing standpoint, the majority of this week (since my #writingwarriors post last Friday) has been a damp squib. I managed my weekly #limerick challenge over the weekend but nothing more. Then in the early hours of Wednesday morning I wrote a poem inspired by my desperation over the sleep situation and then on Wednesday night – joy of joys – the baby slept through the night!

So yesterday morning, in a sudden rush of energy I was able to turn my desperate night-time poem into something half-way-decent and finish off and submit some limericks to IRON press’ Limerick Nation anthology. So I went from feeling really exhausted and quite miserable to suddenly feeling like I’d achieved something right at the last minute. A ‘sprint finish’ to my writing week!

And that’s given me some new questions to consider this week (for those who haven’t read any of my #writingwarriors post before – hello, my name is Maddy and I’m a question-aholic!)

I got a real feeling of achievement from making the deadline for the IRON press anthology. Of course I have no idea if any of my limericks will be accepted but at least I tried! And it’s made me think about the idea of submissions in general.

Since deciding I’d explore this whole creative-writing malarky I’ve made the sum total of three submissions. One short story, one poem and then the limerick thing. I’ve had two rejections and one answer pending. I’ve hardly been going great guns.

That said, I’m also (incredibly slowly) trying to write a book which I can’t attempt to publish ’till it’s finished and I’ve never had the specific aim of sending lots of work off but, even so, I’ve been watching Stephanie’s ‘year of submissions’ progress with admiration and a certain amount of envy. I’m wondering if I should submit more of my work. So here are some questions and I’d love to hear your thoughts:

  • Do you make a lot of/many/any submissions?
  • Do you find it helpful to do so? (eg does having deadlines help you finish more work rather than leave it ‘unpolished’ on your hard-drive?)
  • Do you tailor your work around what different press’s/magazines etc are specifically asking for? Or just write what you want and then look for somewhere that might accept that sort of thing?
  • Where do you find out about things like competitions you could enter? Any recommendations?
  • Do you make submissions for love or money or recognition? or all/some/something else?
  • Is it worth it, given rejection can be hard to take?

I’m going to be thinking about these things this week. I think I’ll try to put some time into finding some competitions I can enter…

Post Comment Love

half term hiatus

adkfjh

Reflections

It’s half term this week so my creative writing has pretty much ground to a standstill. My sons (aged six and four) are off school so our days have been full of play dates (lovely), walks in the park (great) and visits to soft play (ugh). Even my evenings have some how all been swallowed up with baby shenanigans (he’s teething again) and socialising (whoo hoo!) I’m writing this on Thursday night which is the first proper period of time I’ve had to myself since last Friday. I’m crossing my fingers that the baby stays asleep long enough for me to finish the post!

I have managed to squeeze in a bit of blogging here and there this week though. And although I’ve previously been tempted to dismiss time spent blogging as ‘not counting as creative writing time’ I actually think I was wrong to do so. This week I wrote a limerick over the weekend  to post on Monday for my weekly #limerickchallenge and I also wrote a short piece of prose this morning in time to link up with #prose4T. Without my blog to motivate me, I doubt I would have written either of these, and the whole week would have passed by in a haze of jumbled mothering.

But given the blog has been the focus of my (very limited) writing time this week, I have been wondering about another aspect of it – namely the visitor stats – and I’d love to pick people’s brains about this.

Questions

I set this blog up as a place to explore my creative writing, record my experiences and to connect with other people doing the same thing. It’s in no way a money-making vehicle, nor is it designed to draw lots of attention to myself (I have nothing against blogs that do this, I just know I’d have to be doing things very differently if that was my intent).

It’s actually meeting my aims pretty well at the moment but, to be honest, a few more readers would be nice! I suppose what I’m wondering is:

  • Should the number of visitors matter to me? Do they matter to you as a writer/blogger?
  • Do you spend time looking at your site stats and trying to encourage more views?
  • Do you use Twitter and Facebook a lot to draw attention to your blog? (I’m a bit rubbish with Twitter – I pop on and off in a flash, don’t often stop for a chat, and only usually tweet my blog posts once! I don’t use FB at all as Writing Bubble – I only have a personal account.)
  • Have your visitor numbers grown slowly over time or was your blog an instant success?
  • Is success really related to blog hits anyway? Maybe they’re irrelevant!

I always seem to be full of questions! I love hearing your responses though!

I’m linking up with Writing Warriors over at Beautiful Misbehaviour. I really recommend the linky to anyone who’s trying to write creatively and could do with a bit of support.

writing warriors #4

tree2

It’s Friday – it’s Writing Warriors day! I’m loving joining in with Stephanie’s linky every Friday. Blogging about how my writing week has gone is really helping to clarify some of my thoughts, and I’ve been setting myself challenges which feel like they’re helping me get somewhere. I’m not quite sure where yet but I’m just enjoying being ‘on the journey’ at the moment. Reading about other people’s writing experiences is really thought-provoking too and I’ve got into some really interesting discussions off the back of them.

So, how has this week gone?

  • Last week I set myself an ongoing challenge to write a limerick over the weekend, using my sons’ and husband’s ideas as inspiration. I’m going to be posting them on Mondays. I posted the first of them this Monday. It is full of terrible rhymes and would not win any prizes for great literature but it was fun to write and I felt quite chuffed to have produced it. The challenge continues…
  • After writing my post last week I also set myself the goal of writing a short piece of prose. Basically because it’s something I never do: I tend to write poetry or short stories. Anything under 1500 words is highly unusual so I thought it would be a good  thing to have a go at. I published it in a post yesterday linking up with #Prose4T. I was quite pleased with it, in a way. It’s not my usual prose style though, in fact I felt myself going into poetic mode as I was writing it. I’d like to try writing something short that is less whimsical. A new challenge!
  • Having decided it was unsustainable keep going with the two hours a day of creative writing (over and above blogging) I’d managed last week, this week I tried just one hour. With slightly surprising results. In some ways it was much easier to find the time, just because I needed to find less of it. And most days I succeeded. But, funnily enough, without the strict discipline of insisting I wrote for two hours a day, I found myself slipping. I didn’t use my time as well. I faffed about on facebook. I spent more time blog hopping unnecessarily. Then this morning I realised that yesterday I just forgot to write at all! Well, I was constantly running some limericks over in my head that I’m trying to write for a competition but I never actually sat down and wrote. It was a busy day but I didn’t even make the attempt. Which is weird because I’m usually desperate to write.

I’m not sure quite what to take from this. Do I need to be stricter with myself? I didn’t get as much written this week as last week which is a shame but is that all bad? I got on top of some of the tasks that I’d failed to do last week, spent time with my kids and yesterday, despite the lack of writing I had a nice day and got some other stuff done and got an early night so I guess the day had value in other ways. I feel a bit guilty but simultaneously I think it’s ridiculous of me to feel guilty about it. Maybe I just need to go easier on myself?

When we set ourselves writing goals are they always helpful? Can they put us under unnecessary pressure? Can they make it harder to juggle everything in our lives? Are we giving ourselves something to feel guilty over if we don’t meet them?

Should I just be considering blogging as ‘creative writing time’ or is it useful to keep them separate?

Right, the baby has just woken from his nap so I need to post this. I haven’t got time to organise these questions more coherently!

This week is half term so I’m going to be covered in all three kids all week so I’m not going to set myself any particular challenges apart from the on-going limerick one. I’m just going to be mulling things over. Stephanie’s post this morning was very thought-provoking!

writing time

jasper mountain

Over the past couple of weeks I’ve been pondering a few issues to do with my writing/blogging. A major issue was to do with finding time, amidst the chaos of life, to write some short stories I’ve had rattling around in my head and to work on my novel which had stagnated at Chapter Two!

Last Friday I decided to set myself the challenge of finding two hours in every day to write creatively – specifically prose – and to do this before any blogging (or blogging-related activities) in any day in order to prioritise that.

So, did I manage it?

Well, pretty much yes! My weekend target was met all in a rush on Sunday night then on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday I managed to divide my writing time between baby-nap-time and the evening (when the kids are all in bed). Last night – having squandered nap-time by falling face first onto the bed the moment the baby was asleep and sleeping as well –  I wrote for two hours in the evening.

I did cheat and do a bit of blogging during the day some days, basically because I realised I can fit the odd bit of tweeting and commenting into random snatches of time which I can’t really do with ‘proper’ writing so it seemed silly to waste the opportunity. But I still feel I prioritised the creative writing as I promised.

Things that were achieved in this week of writing:

  • I finished a short story that had been paused at its third paragraph since Christmas. It’s not perfect, but is at least at the point where I’m now able to leave it for a while before coming back to it and making changes.
  • I’ve written Chapter Three of my book! It’s now just over 6000 words long. And I know that’s a tiny number of words to have written out of a whole book but at least it’s progress!
  • I spent some time on a few other short stories. They may or may not come to anything but at least I had a go.

The downsides (yes, I’m afraid there were some!):

  • I’ve practically ignored my husband all week as every evening has been spent tap-tapping away at my keyboard
  • I’m REALLY tired because I’ve been unable to get an early night and the baby hasn’t been sleeping well.
  • My social life has suffered – I’ve wanted to email various friends but not had time, I’ve not been able to chat to my Facebook book group (which doubles as a general gossip group!) when I’ve wanted, and I’ve been dashing home from the school run to write rather than having a chat at the school gates.
  • I’ve failed to sort out the mortgage, pay my credit card bill or do various other admin stuff and my inbox is overflowing with things that I’ve not had time to tackle.
  • The house is messy. Ok, messier than I want it to be because I am a control freak and need a tidy house!
  • I haven’t read as much (I’m a bit of a book worm).
  • I haven’t watched the final two episodes of The Bridge and I really want to!
  • Because of all the above I’m grumpier than normal which is not ideal from a parenting perspective.
  • Oh, and I really need to phone my Gran!

Who knew that those two hours were so crucial to my life? I had no idea that using them entirely for writing would mean so many other things falling by the wayside!

So, it was an interesting experiment and I’m really glad I did it, but I’m not going to keep up the routine.

Is that bad? Does it suggest I’m not dedicated enough to writing? I don’t know… I just feel like there’s so much to juggle and I want to get the right balance and this week has felt a bit ‘off’.

Next week’s challenge:

One hour a day of creative writing.

AND I had such fun writing limericks with my family at the weekend that I’ve decided to set myself the ongoing challenge of writing one over the weekend and publishing it on my blog on a Monday. I love limericks and using the kids for inspiration felt like a really positive thing to do. So check back here on Monday for a much shorter post!

I’m linking up with Writing Warriors. Pop over to Stephanie’s blog to find out how other people’s writing weeks have gone!

 

some conclusions

114-1493_IMG.jpg

This time last week I wrote a post about where I currently am with my writing. I’d been wondering about the balance between writing and blogging and about when to publish work on my blog. I linked up with Writing Warriors over at Beautiful Misbehaviour and posed some questions to fellow writer/bloggers out there.

I received some really great responses (if you’re interested in these issues it’s worth reading the post for the comments section alone!) and reading other #writingwarrior posts gave me further ideas. I’ve been mulling things over all week. I’m going to link up with Writing Warriors again today to share this post about how far I’ve got with those thoughts, as I know I’m not alone in pondering these issues.

To blog or not to blog?

If ‘blogging time’ reduces my ‘writing time’, should I have a blog?

The bloggers I heard from all got something important from their blogging. Whether it was connecting with a community of like-minded writers out there, a place to share their work, somewhere to develop their writing or just a space for their own thoughts.

I’ve thought about this and realised that although blogging does take time away from my writing, it has given me something in all of these areas. In particular, I don’t think I would really be writing poetry at all without this blog as a place to share it. I’ve never thought of myself as a poet and although I wrote a few poems a year ago around the time my son was born, I hadn’t written any more until very late last year. Then in November I took the decision to publish a poem about late pregnancy that I’d written previously. I was encouraged by the feedback and that prompted me to write some more. Since then (which, now I come to think about it, is only over the past two months!) I’ve found myself really wanting to write poetry. Something happens in my life and I have the urge to sculpt it onto a poem somehow! I know for certain this would not be the case had I not shared that poem and continued to share them here.

So that made me realise that although blogging does take time away from my  other writing, it is also very much a part of my writing experience. It is helping me develop and is thus very much worth it!

To publish perfect work or work-in-progress?

If a blog is – in any way – a promotional tool, should I only publish my ‘best’ work?

A response here was that a blog was a good place to record a writing journey and that ‘imperfection’ was all part of that!  Also, sometimes it was good to share something with others: you could promote discussion of a particular issue or share experiences without needing to spend hours/ days/whatever honing your work.

I can also see that publishing ‘unfinished’ or ‘unpolished’ work could be a good way of getting feedback and encouragement towards completing it. Besides which, I’m not sure that anyone expects a blog to be merely a gallery of ‘best work’ anyway. If mine were that, it would be a different sort of blog – less chatty and more formal. A blog version of an anthology, I suppose.

So if I think about my experience as a blogger, I don’t think I’d enjoy it nearly so much if I was constantly striving for perfection. Frankly, my chances of achieving it are zero anyway! I want my blog to be friendly and genuine, not perfect and po-faced. I’m currently typing this with a baby lying on my lap who is wriggling and randomly whacking the buttons on some hideous, plastic, noisy toy while simultaneously pulling my hair, so it would be hard to be too formal!

Also, knowing what I know about my own perfectionist streak (not to mention the self-doubt demon) , if I were to decide to publish only my ‘best’ work I would never publish anything at all.

So my decision here is not to worry about whether what I write is the best it could be, and continue joining in with #prose4t where ever possible!

On juggling writing and blogging (and kids!)

There’s never enough time! What should I do?

Some people I heard from prioritise their blog, others their writing and some felt they were one and the same. I’ve also read about some great examples of carving out times in the day for writing (to make sure there is always time… or almost always) and the creation of physical writing spaces which help concentration.

I’ve already established I’m not going to give up blogging, but I can’t ignore the fact that it does distract me from my other writing. I think I need to carve out some time specifically for writing my book (and also a short story that I’ve been writing in three-sentence-bursts since December!)

So my plan – for this week – is to make time in every day for writing (specifically prose), and only when I’ve written for that long will I allow myself to blog (and associated tweeting/other blog reading/commenting). That way, the writing comes first. So, I’m going to plump for two hours a day, and two hours in total for the weekend (when my older kids are around during the day).

I’ve no idea how achievable that is. If the baby has a two hour nap on week days then it’s perfectly reasonable. If he plumps for half an hour (a length of time I can easily use up re-boiling the kettle five times to try and make myself a cup of tea while I sort out the washing mountain) it could be very difficult. It also depends on how he sleeps at night; after a bad night I sometimes crash-out during his nap time. Only one way to find out though!

Also, since I will be spending my ‘writing’ time writing prose, and because my blog has been a bit serious of late, I think I’ll try to use my blogging time to write a couple of limericks for #prose4T. My sons have been asking me to write more since the ‘wrinkly lion‘ one, so I’ll ask them to set me the topics.

I’ll report back in my next Writing Warriors post!

P.S Thanks to everyone who threw ideas my way this week!

wondering about writing

cropped-books.jpgThere’s new linky starting today over at Beautiful Misbehaviour and I’m really keen to join in. It’s called ‘Writing Warriors‘ and Stephanie has designed it to help people with writing goals support each other. Hopefully by sharing what we want to achieve and posting about how our ‘writing week’ has gone – and then reading and commenting on each others posts – we will all be more likely to succeed. Great idea!

I thought I’d use my first Writing Warriors post as an opportunity to reflect on where my own ‘writing journey’ (I’m wincing at the term, but it seems like the right one to use) has taken me this past year or so. I’ve been pondering various issues recently and maybe sharing them here will help me to sort them out.

I decided to dedicate some of my time to writing nearly a-year-and-a-half ago. My middle son had just started nursery school five mornings a week (and my third son was, as yet, unborn) so I suddenly found I had some time to myself in the morning. What better way to use these precious hours than to write? I started a blog to chart my progress but before I’d even published any of my posts, I decided that blogging would be a distraction. Instead I spent the following year just writing.

I wrote a whole mishmash of stuff: short stories mostly with some poetry flung in, and I also made a start on a book. I wrote about pregnancy, and when my third son was born I wrote about labour and birth just to get over the ridiculousness of it (I do not give birth easily!) Apart from one competition entry, I didn’t do anything with my writing. It’s all just sitting around on my hard-drive gathering dust/pixels/bytes/whatever the technological version of dust is.

Then September rolled round and I suddenly felt like re-starting my blog would be a good idea. I wasn’t quite sure why… maybe I wanted some company with my writing endeavours? Anyway, I decided to just go for it and see what happened and I quickly found myself loving it. I discovered the Prose for Thought linky over at Verily Victoria Vocalises and really enjoyed joining in with that community of writers, reading their work (by turns inspiring and intimidatingly good!) and getting feedback on mine. I also found Prose for Thought great for encouraging me to write something creative and ‘get it out there’ on a weekly basis rather than just squirrelling things away on my computer.

To begin with, putting my work on my blog took some courage (I was having a lot of visits from the nasty, squelchy, demon of self-doubt) but now I’m kind of used to it. The poems I write (they’re almost always poems, for some reason… even though I really want to write prose!) aren’t perfect by any means, but I figure that if I re-write them till they’re perfect I could be doing that till the proverbial cows come home.

But the problem is, I don’t have much free time (I have three kids and a baby who is with me all the time) and I’ve started to find that all my ‘writing time’ is being used up by blogging (and I don’t even post that often!) I almost never spend time on the book I’m attempting to write.

And I’m also wondering if publishing a poem that I’ve only just written that morning, on my blog every Thursday (to link with Prose for Thought) is really a good thing to do… I do wonder if I need to spend more time on quality control.

Plus, I’d really like to start submitting some work to competitions or publications, but I never seem to find the time to research what is out there (although thanks Stephanie for that list last week!)

So those are the issues I’m currently pondering, and I’d love feedback and/or suggestions from any other writers out there. Particularly:

  • How do you juggle writing and blogging? (I’m frankly in awe of some writer/bloggers out there!)
  • How important is blogging to you as a writer? Would you consider giving up blogging to give yourself more time to write? Or are they one and the same thing?
  • How useful has blogging been to you as a writer? Has it given you opportunities you wouldn’t have got otherwise?
  • Do you ever write something and quickly publish it on your blog, or do you only publish poems/prose that you’ve spent time perfecting?

This has been a rather rambling post. I’m normally more concise, but felt the need to write it all down this time!

I’m going to think through these issues this week and come up with some solid goals and some sort of plan for how to achieve them in time for next week’s linky!

I’m looking forward to reading the other Writing Warriors posts. Together we can all achieve our writing goals!