Just a short post this week to say I have decided to take a two week blogging break. I've got a friend coming to stay and then a trip planned. I will also try and do some more drafting on my latest project. I'll likely be back at the end of the month with all my news.
Until then, my friends I wish you all well . . .
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The summer break seems to be racing by and I am left with a feeling of things slipping away . . . what have I achieved in my time away from the day job? Where am I going? Celebrating the little things that make me smile and give me a rosy glow is one way to do that.
I started outlining a new story. A lot of it is still in my head but the main character is nagging at me! I also have a title which I am loving and I feel it is going to be fun to write.
The weather here is better. We have had some sunshine and I have been out for a few walks. They can be excellent for helping to think through plot ideas.
I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that my daughter was painting up some old furniture . . . I decided I couldn't let her have all the fun so I had a go myself and painted an old pine chest.
I've done it in a rich burgundy colour and finished with a dark wax. You can't really see the effect in the photo as the light is shining on it but I am pleased with it. I have been told it looks purple . . . but honestly it isn't, it's burgundy!
And finally, tomorrow we hope the fine weather continues so that we can have a game of croquet! It's a great game to play with a group of friends. We are lucky enough to have a large back lawn which lends itself quite nicely to the past time.
It's the first Wednesday of the month and that means time for another group posting of IWSG! The team have recently introduced a new question feature each month to go alongside the posts. This month's question is;
What was your very first piece of writing as an aspiring writer? Where is it now? Collecting dust or has it been published?
The first thing I wrote, with any serious aspirations of being a writer, was something quite ambitious! I leapt straight in and wrote a whole novel in the contemporary woman's fiction genre. Back in 2009 when I started, this was the genre I thought I would write in. I knew little nothing about things like, planning, structure, plot and so on, I just wrote and what I ended up with, all those months later, was 91,424 words of something vaguely resembling a story but which of course, at the time, I thought was amazing! With the advantage of hindsight and several years of hard work later, I know differently. Reading it makes me cringe at the clunky phasing and dodgy punctuation. There was too much telling and not enough showing, cliche that makes me want to hide behind a pillow to read but best (or worst!) or all it starts with the main character waking up and looking in a mirror! But . . . I had proved to myself I could complete a novel and that was HUGE.
The piece was called Jigsaw. It dealt with the lives of several characters, and showed how their lives fitted together but also how small, seemingly inconsequential decisions, can be life changing. There was a lot wrong with the story, but I think the plot itself was quite well imagined, I just didn't have the skill to do it justice at the time. Who knows, maybe one day I will revisit it and turn it into something much better but at the current time it languishes on my laptap as a reminder of how far I've come.
If I hadn't written it, maybe I wouldn't be the writer I am now. We have to constantly grow and learn to move forward and I think Jigsaw was a big part of my own writing puzzle . . . an apprenticeship if you like, that showed me the direction I would ultimately take in my writing. Any regulars here will know that I actually write mainly for children . . . early readers, middle grade and young teen is where I am most comfortable. Although I do write some short stories for adults which I find a nice contrast as I can explore themes and ideas that would just not work or be appropriate in children's fiction.
In a way my biggest insecurity at the moment relates to this very first piece. I have come such a long way and yet there still seems a long way to go. I have made no secret of the fact that I would love to publish through traditional routes. I work hard for it, I would continue to work hard for any agent or publisher who took a chance on an unknown like me. Despite some great feedback from agents, publishers and editors in the past I am still travelling that road, looking for the perfect fit, for the stars to align and for that little bit of luck that will push me to the next level. Because I do believe there is an element of luck involved, when you look at some of the statistics of making it through the slushpile you can see the odds are staked against you.
Brilliant, well-known writers often share their own experiences of rejection and I thank them for that, it helps to know that they have been here. They have experienced those days of despair when you feel like chucking it all in and taking up a more realistic dream, because it is hard to pick yourself up and carry on. But they didn't give up and neither will I. My own personal mantra when things get tough has always been;
"To be successful a writer needs two things. Belief and hope. Belief in themselves and their writing and hope that others share their belief."
This is just my story and my dream but if this IWSG sees you despairing of ever reaching your goals, whatever they may be, hang in there and believe in yourself, but most importantly of all . . . enjoy the journey.
This week we have been in chaos at home! We are having new windows and front door fitted and it has sort of taken over everything. Moving furniture and cleaning up afterwards - amazing where all the dust creeps to! On the plus side they are looking great and will be so much easier to maintain than the old wooden ones that were starting to rot. It has also made me clean some of those places that often get forgotten about - you know, like behind the TV! I want to wash some of the curtains before I re-hang them but the weather hasn't been great this week so I haven't managed that yet. Hopefully over the weekend, seems a shame not to whilst they are down anyway. Windows are important aren't they? Sort of like the eyes of the home I always think.
We caught up with some friends we haven't seen for a while in the middle of the week. The evening brightened a little and we had a stroll on the beach and a nice meal in a bar.
I surprised myself yesterday and wrote a short story! 2700 words just flowed and it felt good to write again as I haven't done much over the last month. It was a surprise because I had no intention of sitting down and writing it at all - I hadn't thought about it or planned it . . . then a first line popped into my head that I rather liked and well . . . 3 hours later a story written. It's in the crime/psychological genre which isn't something I usually write at all either. So another surprise there! I guess it's always good to try something new and when the muse strikes who am I to argue. My next job this morning will be to revisit the story and actually see whether there is anything there worth working on further!
As well as the windows my daughter has decided to renovate some old furniture this week. She really likes the shabby chic type look and we picked up a couple of little tables on Monday for a bargain price. She also bought the jugs. They are so pretty and apparently quite old. She is going to keep make-up brushes in the small one and some flowers in the large one (the middle sized one is undecided yet!) Anyway it really inspired her to try the technique herself so we went and bought a couple of tins of chalk paint and off she went. She has already given an old blanket box a new lease of life and the bookcase in the back of this picture is next on her list.
Then there's a little table that we were about to throw away and a pine mirror in the bathroom . . . anyway you get the picture. As long as I don't come home one day and find everything painted! We are having a switch around of bedrooms soon as our eldest is taking the huge step of buying a house with her boyfriend and she will be moving out soon so most of the pieces she is renovating will be for her new bedroom.
Looking back over the week there's been quite a lot going on really. Hoping for a sunny weekend and a break from the drilling and hammering . . .
Happy weekend to you all and thanks for stopping by.
We are still adding to our fruit harvest this week with some gooseberries. I am planning to make a few mini tarts with those later. Although not ready to eat yet we have a couple of apple trees that are heavy with fruit and a cherry tree that has a handful of cherries on. They aren't quite ripe yet but I need to keep an eye on them as the birds got to them before me last year!
The weather is also continuing to be lovely - we even managed a BBQ last Sunday! We bought it last year and never got around to putting it together because the weather just didn't seem to warrant it but last weekend we unpacked the box and fired it up. Who knows, we might even get to use it again this weekend!
Last weekend I also enjoyed a surprise late birthday treat (my birthday is in the winter so not ideal time for days out!). It was organised by my lovely friends who gave me a day to remember. First a car journey, then a boat across the bay, a paddle in the sea and a glass of champagne and then afternoon tea. A perfect day . . .
View while we enjoyed . . .
delicious cakes and sandwiches . . .
washed down with pots of tea and glasses of Pimms.
Writing this post on Thursday evening and I have to start by saying what a lovely sunny day we enjoyed here today, I hope it continues for a while. Our summer has not really shown itself yet, maybe it's waiting for the school holidays which are now fast approaching. However, the damp but warm weather has seemed to suit the garden well. The fruit bushes are bearing a good crop and we have so much rhubarb I don't know what to do with it all! Any suggestions for favourite recipes appreciated!
My patio rose also seems to be doing well with its lovely pink blooms. A close friend gave me this special 'Pearl' rose for our wedding anniversary last year.
We have been sorting out some old boxes from the attic this week and it has been fun revisiting some old memories like our girl's first shoes and a few outfits I couldn't part with when they grew up. I can not believe they are all grown-up now, seems like only five minutes has passed since they were little!
Finally this week I want to celebrate chocolate. I've probably eaten too much of it this week, but I felt in need of it. Do you ever get that feeling?
The IWSG team came up with a great idea to pose a monthly question to answer alongside our posts. This month we are kicking off with the following question;
What's the best thing someone has ever said about your writing?
Seems like the perfect positive question to kick off this new feature. It's such a huge boast when someone says something good about your work. Obviously getting a compliment from an agent, publisher or reader is wonderful but the encouragement from friends and family is just as important to keep us going when all we seem to be receiving are "thanks but no thanks" comments!
When someone told me they could picture a scene I'd written as if they were watching a movie, it was a lovely thing to hear, but I think the comment that has given me the biggest boast was from an editor who told me I was a brilliant writer. I was walking on air for days! As I'm submitting work at the moment I am hopeful someone else will feel the same way about my work soon.