Friday, 30 May 2014

What day is it?

I've been all over the place this week, and I'm blaming the Bank Holiday weekend. I was in on my own on Monday, and it felt like Sunday because I knew my husband was playing golf. I've been out of sync ever since. I didn't go to FitSteps on Tuesday, because I forgot it was Tuesday - even though I'd been out to teach my regular yoga class (luckily). Yesterday it was Friday in my head, and today: well, I don't know what day it is.

I've been really busy all week, but haven't earned much money somehow. It's because I've been putting out feelers and catching up on admin and so forth. I've had three enquiries about new yoga ventures, one of which has already fallen by the wayside (I'm too expensive, apparently) and the other two I'm interviewing for over the next couple of weeks.

On the writing front, I've made good progress with my FutureLearn course, followed up some leads from the creative workshop last Saturday and entered three competitions. Paid work wise, I've done some subbing and a little gentle proofing.

So I'm celebrating having made it to the end of the week without missing anything important - unless, of course, you know different.
Have you got something to celebrate? 'Celebrate the small things' is a bloghop instigated by VikLit on her blog Scribblings of an Aspiring Author and co-hosted by Diana Wilder, LG Keltner @ Writing Off the Edge, Cyborg Mom (Katie) and CaffeMaggieato @ mscoffeehouse. Details are here.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Feeling like a writer

I had a lovely meeting (OK, tea and macaroons) with my writer friend Elaine on Friday. We thrashed out a few ideas for a forthcoming joint publishing venture: more on this anon.

Yesterday, I went to an excellent short story writing workshop organised by the county council's Adult Learning Service with a wonderful lady, Morgen (with an 'e') Bailey. As well as being a tutor, she is also a writer, editor, blogger and speaker. She packed masses of information and advice into six hours without making us feel under pressure to produce anything - though we did, and lots of it. There were only three of us, so there was nowhere to hide, but the small group also made it feel very friendly and informal.

I don't know about my fellow students, Anna and Lauren, but I came away with my head buzzing with ideas. I feel quite inspired today! Thanks, Morgen, for being so generous with your resources.

One topic we touched on very briefly was e-books. I have one available for the Kindle already (The Little Guide to Teaching Yoga in A Gym), but am wondering what to do with my next one, which will be another non-fiction title. Should I venture into Smashwords? Anyone have an opinion on this?

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

I had what might, at a push, be called a working lunch today with friend and fellow freelance Will. There was a bit of business talk, honestly. Will told me about some forthcoming projects he has in hand, and I asked his advice on a packaging job; but mostly it was about the lunch. We went to a tiny village called Grafton Underwood to a fairly new cafe-cum-bistro called Good Friends. This isn't much use to those of you on distant shores, I know, but if you ever find yourself in Northamptonshire I'd definitely recommend it.
There's not a lot going on in Grafton Underwood (Bridget Jones' Diary notwithstanding). There's no shop or pub, and the phone signal is a big dodgy; but it is home to a poignant yet understated Second World War memorial. There is a stone monument at what would have been the end of the runway when the space was home to the US Air Force Eighth Air Force 15th Bombardment Squadron.

Taking in the rural idyll today, it's hard to imagine how it must have looked back then - and sounded. Can you image the noise of planes coming and going, trucks, deliveries and the general hubbub of an entire community? There is a map next to the monument showing the layout of the base. I was intrigued to see that next to the Officers' Mess there had been a cinema. I wonder if it was just for military personnel or if the villagers were invited along? What assignations might have taken place? I feel a story coming on!

Friday, 16 May 2014

Nearly celebrating

Having been on the long and then the short list of a flash fiction competition recently, I suppose I should be celebrating coming in the top five. The top three were awarded prizes and the judge named the fourth and fifth-placed stories, one of which was mine. Close, but no cigar. I shall console myself with the fact that I had some nice feedback from fellow students on a recent assignment on my FutureLearn course. Swings and roundabouts.

Other good stuff this week:
  • Seeing The Play That Went Wrong at the Royal Theatre in Northampton. One of the best things I've ever seen.
  • Lunch with number one son, and discovering that the American diner in town is really nice.
  • Hilarious ukulele rehearsal last night, when we started playing in one key and singing in another.
  • Lovely yoga with my guys and gals, and the prospect of a Dru class tomorrow.
  • Seeing singer Rachel Ries tonight and looking forward, too, to seeing comedian and writer Richard Tyrone Jones tomorrow.
Have you got something to celebrate? 'Celebrate the small things' is a bloghop instigated by VikLit on her blog 'Scribblings of an Aspiring Author'. Details are here.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Lots of studying

'Sometimes I sits and thinks; sometimes I just sits,' demonstrated here by Jeremy Fisher at Tatton Park
I'm now on to week three of my FutureLearn course, and it's proving very interesting. It is aimed at complete beginners, so some of what we've covered is stuff I already knew, but it never hurts to be reminded.

We have looked at some useful ways to get started on a story - for instance, writing 'Emily said that', and then putting down two or three sentences. Take out 'Emily said that', and you have the beginnings of something. Another suggestion is to begin with 'I remember...' and simply see what comes to mind. Final exercise of last week was to put the radio on and take whatever I heard first as the starting point for a 500-word story. I got a snippet from The Archers: look out for a novel about pig-farming from me soon!

The other bit of studying I've done is a day at our local Buddhist centre, where I sat in on a couple of teachings on 'mindfulness for modern life' and took part in some guided meditations. Mindfulness is, of course, very trendy at the moment, but there's so much more to it than simply learning to live in the moment. Fascinating stuff - and lovely food!

Friday, 9 May 2014

No excuses

I'm horrified to see that it is over a week since I posted anything. No wonder my 'viewing figures' have gone down.

I've decided I need to retire. Unfortunately I can't afford to. There are five years between me and my dearly beloved, so we always thought we would pick up our bus passes in the same year. However, thanks to the change in regulations and wotnot, it transpires that he will actually hang up his boots before me.

This sudden yen to retire has been brought about by the fact that I keep seeing lovely things I'd like to do: exhibitions to visit, workshops to attend, lunchtime lectures, concerts of 'music in quiet places', courses - the list goes on. But I don't have time, because I'm working - but of course if I didn't work I wouldn't have the money to go.

Even so, I'm trying to squeeze as much fun into the days as I can. Last weekend, for instance, I spent three days at a local music festival, including a brief appearance on the stage with my ukulele. Then yesterday I took shelter from the awful rain to go to the Alfred East Art Gallery, where my friend Elaine has a photo hanging in the current exhibition. She is a fantastic photographer. Visit her blog here.

'Celebrate the small things' is a bloghop instigated by VikLit on her blog 'Scribblings of an Aspiring Author'. Details are here. Apart from the above, I'm celebrating:
  • Some lovely yoga classes, including with a group of teachers who have invited me into their school
  • Compiling some articles in preparation for another e-book
  • My glorious lilac blooms, pictured above
  • Off to the Arts Centre tomorrow to see The Doll's House, the first production by a new local company
Right, back to the grindstone. TTFN, as we used to say.