Monday, 19 March 2018

One week on

I try not to leave it a week between posts, but the last seven days have been a bit of a blur, what with household admin and chores, trying to earn a living and, you know, stuff. I did a bit of extra teaching last week, which took a big chunk of my time and rehearsals for a performance this Friday are picking up. Have I told you about this? Can't remember: more anon.

Anyway, there were a couple of happy publication results last week. I have an article in the current issue of Country Smallholding and I've had a short story accepted by You magazine. This latter is particularly pleasing, as it's been with them nearly a year! I also had a productive meeting with the publisher I'm working with on my yoga book.

I had a good day on Saturday at a yoga workshop (details here), then on Sunday I was privileged to be a judge at the Performance Awards of the Open Stage Performing Arts Company in Northampton. Students from age three to adult took part in dancing, singing and drama. The drama students performed monologues, which as you know are dear to my heart. It was a lovely do, and I came home with a splendid goody-bag that included the items above - and some chocolate that is no longer available to be photographed.

I wonder what this week will bring?

Monday, 12 March 2018

Gather round, ladies and gents!

I had a curious response to an email last week. Someone asked me to send them my CV, something I've not done for ages. Assuming that this person didn't want to know where I went to school or how many GCSEs I had, I compiled a note of my editorial and writing experience and achievements and sent it off.

My email was acknowledged, but its sender said: 'I call that pushy.' Is it me, or is that a bit odd? Mr Thorley said the sender had probably been in a hurry and had inadvertently clicked 'Reply' and sent me a message intended for someone else. Perhaps, but I'm bemused by the whole thing. I shan't be responding, but will wait and see.

It's a fine line between acceptable marketing and blatant self-promotion. That notwithstanding, I feel moved to say I now have my own page on the Northants Authors website, here. Do take a look, if you have a moment, not just at my page, but also the whole site. I'd be interested to know your thoughts and to learn if any of you are involved in such collective-style promotion, writers or otherwise.

Monday, 5 March 2018

Changing my point of view

One of the benefits of being snowbound is that I've been able to be aimless without feeling as though I should be doing something constructive with my time. I'm not a great artist, but I am quite partial to a spot of colouring. I always have been: I'm not one of those Jill-come-latelys who has jumped on the recent adult colouring book bandwagon. (There's more on this on my yoga blog here.)

My current book is a collection of Magnificent Creatures from The Works, and I've just started on what I'm quite sure is a stylised giraffe (left). However, Mr Thorley, looking at the image from the other way round, declared it to be of a mournful crayfish, with what were originally nostrils now becoming sad eyes - and I have to concede he might have a point (right).

Now I'm wondering if perhaps I should have turned the picture upside-down. At the very least, The Mournful Crayfish will make a great name for a fictional pub in one of my short stories.

Monday, 26 February 2018

Reading aloud

The PromiseToday, I'm inviting you to pop over to Sally Jenkins' blog here. She very kindly asked me to be a guest there, so I've written a little something about reading your words aloud. (You might recall that she was a guest here a couple of weeks ago.)

As always, we both welcome your comments.

Monday, 19 February 2018

What is 'normal'?

No trip to the coast today
I have greeted today with a sense of relief that for the first time in ages I have a normal week in prospect: that is, while I have the usual mix of writing, editing, yoga and dancing about ahead of me, there's nothing happening that doesn't happen every week - no book launches, no birthdays, no trips planned and no visitors expected. Of course, this is subject to change, but it looks as though I have no excuse but to crack on and do lots of work. I might even get some original writing done!

The weather has conspired to help me in this. It is one of those misty-murky mornings that is perfect for a Monday, and especially the Monday after half term. It's mild, so I shan't need the heating on and I'll be able to go for a bit of a walk at lunchtime to clear my head, but I shan't be tempted to switch off my computer and run away to the seaside for the day.

Remind me I said all this on Friday when I look back at what I actually achieved this week.

Sunday, 11 February 2018

Stepping out of my comfort zone

The past workaday week was enlivened by a couple of unusual happenings.

On Thursday, I spent the whole day teaching yoga to Year 12 students at a local senior school. This was a real privilege, but I was shattered by the end of the day. No wonder full-time school teachers always have their eyes fixed on the next holiday! You can read about it on my yoga blog here.

Before that, though, on Wednesday evening I had a book launch for Nine Lives as part of a Weaving Words presents event. This is a new happening, organised by my friend and guide Kezzabelle (Weaving Words is her writing community, of which I am part).

To say I was nervous is an understatement, but once I got going I was fine. The event was held in the upstairs room of the Eden Cafe here in Kettering. We dressed the set, as it were, to look like my book cover, which was Kez's idea and made a real difference, transforming an already lovely room into a proper performance space. Our friend Ros played a couple of songs to get us in the mood and then off we went. I read three of my monologues, and two more out of my book were read by other people. There were poetry readings and there was art for sale.

I sold a few books and made some new friends, so I'm counting it as a successful evening. Most important, though, I learnt lessons about what works and what doesn't, and what areas of my performance I need to work on.

The only down side was the dent my ego took when I saw the photos! Inside - and I'm sure I'm not alone in this delusion - I'm 17 and gorgeous. The reality is that I'm old and jowly. Perhaps I should follow singer Sia's example and wear a long wig over my face.

Monday, 5 February 2018

Justifiable procrastination

If you're looking for a legitimate way to put off the moment when you have to sit down and actually write something, might I suggest you take a look at the You Tube channel called 'Just Write'? It's full of fascinating material and the videos aren't too long, so you can watch one while you have a tea break without feeling guilty.

The channel's creator Sage Hyden offers this description of the content: 

I’m obsessed with the question “How does someone become a great artist?” Many of my videos cover the fundamentals of storytelling, but they're not all about technique. Becoming a writer is so much more than learning how to write plot twists, so I want to encourage us to adopt a kind of "creative mindset" that will lead both of us toward artistic fulfillment. For me, that means being observational, critical, and self-reflective. It means engaging with the world as much as possible. 

Definitely worth a look.