Posts Tagged ‘blogging’

I can’t believe I’m at week 200. I know I didn’t start this blog exactly at the beginning of my career break, but close enough to make this 200th post seem like something of a milestone.

Since I began blogging, my life has changed in so many ways I can’t even begin to count them. From a writing point of view I completed a novel, have a portfolio of poetry, am working on a number of pieces of prose which are in various stages of formation. I’ve ended my career break and gone back to work, balancing writing with other responsibilities. I set up a writing group which is going from strength to strength.  I’ve performed my poetry to an audience on a number of occasions, and had my poetry shared as part of a performance piece.

In my wider life, I got married – which was a biggie! I got over my fear of flying, and started exploring a little wider than before. I studied random and fascinating courses, took up new hobbies, got involved in my wider community life.

In other words, I feel I’ve got a great deal out of the last 200 weeks, and I shouldn’t forget how far I’ve come.

I still have miles to go in all aspects of life.  But for me this is a great thing, because it means I get to carry on pushing the boundaries!

This year I want to have completed the whodunnit, and the story that sent me off to test the methods of twisting a tale. I want to get more poetry written, and perform it. I want to learn more.

I also want to explore new locations, and try new things. Already I have a break in Germany booked for September, but we want to go somewhere new and interesting for our anniversary in November too. We’ve got our retreat in Wales soon, and I want to give myself one day off to go exploring some of the King Arthur myths that still weave their magic around the world.  I want to progress in aerial skills, learn how to juggle, maybe take up a new dance or physical activity.  I want my next 200 weeks to be as rich, varied and unexpected as the last 200.

Most importantly, I want to celebrate my successes and learn from those things which haven’t gone to plan, in all aspects of my world.

I know life can be tough, and painful, and things happen that people cannot control – I have felt all those things.  But I hope my experiences in the last 200 weeks show how taking a chance can change your life in positive and unexpected ways.

And once you’ve taken a chance, it’s so much easier to take another.

Perhaps more importantly – once you’ve faced the first fear, you know you have the strength to face the next.

Happy writing, and thank you for being part of my journey so far; I wouldn’t have kept going without you.




Read Full Post »

Sorry not to have posted properly yesterday; I was out and I’ll tell you why in a moment.

I was going to download the app for my phone so I could at least do a proper apology post but it wanted to know everything about me and I don’t install apps like that so you just got the scrawl that I could manage…

So – yesterday I went to London with friends to watch a tv show being filmed. We were due to leave about 10pm but it ended up somewhat later: I didn’t actually get home until about 2am, and I uploaded my very brief post getting a burger about 10 minutes away from Waterloo!

The show is going to be on TV next Sunday so I will be carefully watching to see if we catch sight of ourselves. It will be fun to see how much is edited out too.

There were comedians, singers, dancers and a magician, as well as an amazing young pianist – and the tickets were free which was an extra bonus 🙂

I love going up to London. One of my favourite places is the South Bank, and my favourite theatres are clustered between there and Covent Garden, so it was a pleasure to be back.

Anyway, this is all a big diversionary tactic to say although I’ve been up to stuff, that stuff has not been the whodunnit.

On the other hand, I’ve edited some poetry, I’ve been to writing group, I’ve been reading, so at least part of the week was creative.  I am going to accept that and work harder this week to get on with the whodunnit and not lose my flow.

I am going to leave it there for today.  As next Sunday is Easter Sunday and I’ll be away, I hope to post on Saturday instead but if not, it’ll be Monday.  And if it’s Monday, have a happy Easter!

Happy writing,




Read Full Post »

Sorry this is late – my internet issues summed up last week, really: one minute I was jogging along, and the next something went awry.

So first of all the lost (other than my wi-fi!) – I have somehow lost all the work I did on the whodunnit after 15 February. I was typing it up on the go, on my new phone, and I think I must have done something wrong because the document has vanished into the cyber-ether. I am frustrated, but not horrified: I am wallowing in the story and I will treat this as a chance to re-boot. By way of this post I will give myself a target of 3000 word this week to make up for what’s vanished.

And onto the found.  I’ve found a bit of poetry mojo; I want to write a whole new set of works in the coming months, and the poetry really seems to be firing right now. My lovely husband made a comment that led me into one, and our general chit-chat on a journey through Wiltshire led to another. Two in a weekend, both of which have something in them I like, is a really positive outcome for me.

I found time to spend with my friends at reading group.  We didn’t actually discuss any reading though, just had a meal and a chinwag – so it was basically a girl’s night!

I also found challenges.  One challenge was a driving experience which I didn’t want to do but had to do, for work – I did it, and that’s enough for me 🙂 Another was a rather deep-end re-entry to dance classes where we had to perform six, none of which I’d ever done before!

On balance the week looks pretty good, in retrospect. Even the lost writing hasn’t fazed me as it might have done, because I know I’d gone down the wrong rabbit hole. For a short story, this one is really becoming over-complicated, and I will use my 3000 words this week not only to get back on track but to near completion.

In other news – I seem to have lost a week in the 100 novels, because book 76 was On the Road by Jack Kerouac and I never mentioned it.  It’s another classic of American literature, but I’ve only really become aware of it in the last few years.  I love the idea of it, but wonder if I should have read it when I was younger and more open to the idea of just going off.  I’ll add it to the ‘read me’ pile and maybe get to it one day!

Book 77 – Voss, by Patrick White – is another one I’ve never read.  It sounds full of anger and I don’t know that I want that now so it won’t go on the list but I do love books set in Australia – the sheer scope of the country is always so overwhelming and majestic.

And finally – having started a new job today I am going to have to reorganise my life for the next few months.  I don’t want my writing to sink under a lot of other daily tasks, so I am also intending to reconfigure the writing timesheet and report my progress.  I won’t do it all the time but maybe once a month, just so you can give me a virtual prod if I’m slacking!

Until next time – happy writing!



Read Full Post »

This week’s post isn’t about writing. I thought I’d better tell you that straight away so you could decide to move on to something more useful if you like.

Although I think this is kind of useful, in a way – it’s a Bloggers for Peace post really, so it has that in its favour!

Today marked the third monthiversary of my wedding (yes I know it’s not a real word but I’m working on it :-)). We decided when we got married that we would mark the day each month, make sure we did something special, or if we couldn’t for some reason them we’d at least think about our marriage in a conscious way. How long this’ll last is anyone’s guess but we’re trying!



Us with our bubbly stuff on our honeymoon!

It’s important to focus on people we care about. Last year I got back in touch with a friend who I hadn’t seen in 18 years and it’s been such a lot of fun getting to know each other again and catching up on the years – yesterday we went out for a girl’s night and we didn’t stop talking the whole time.

It made me think what a shame it was to have lost contact in the first place.

It was also a reminder how easy it is for contact to fall away.  You haven’t called someone in a month or so, and it stretches to six months, then a year, and finally you feel it’s too long, or you just stop thinking about that person altogether.  Life is like that.

But there have been lots of times when I’ve heard from someone out of the blue and it’s been such a pleasure that we instantly pick up contact and meet up or talk more regularly.

So celebrate your relationships, raise a glass to your monthiversaries, but don’t forget the person you haven’t spoken to in a few months.  Finding lost friends is worth just as much celebration!

Be peaceful,



Read Full Post »

This week my writing of an hour a day went a bit awry because I found myself watching some family history programmes in my allotted time instead. It wasn’t a waste of time entirely, because some of the situations exposed through research were pertinent to my writing, and made me question a couple of technical aspects of my story – but it was a fairly standard avoidance technique.

I will do better this week.

Having said that, I now have a full team of characters (with a notable exception I’ll come back to shortly), with a victim, murderer, two who have strong motives, a very useful red herring and a great setting.  There’s just one character I need to sort out…

The detective.

I’m torn – and I’m stuck in the storyline, where the detective needs to come in.  I have a victim, and no-one trying to help them rest in peace…

Do I have a police officer, an expert in their field like Morse or Wallander? A private investigator (official or otherwise) like Poirot or Holmes?  An ‘ interested neighbour’ in the vein of Miss Marple or even Nancy Drew?  Or is the matter solved by an injured party – someone who loved the victim, or a suspect who wants to clear their name?

Because this isn’t my genre, and I don’t read a lot of this type of writing, I am struggling to make a decision.  I am considering taking the question to my writing group next week to see what they think, but what do you guys feel works best?  Does the busybody idea, the butting into conversations and eavesdropping at doors, get old fast? Do you think a sociopathic detective really adds a bit of texture to the tale?  In this day and age is it likely that anyone other than a police detective will be allowed near the crime scene or the case file anyway?

Realism suggests a professional police officer, I guess.  But am I going for realism?

As you will see from the number of question marks this week, I don’t know the answers.  If I can find the one necessary question to make a decision, I will be able to set my detective to work!

In other news – I have worked on a peace post this week, but as with all my writing at the moment, I can’t find the right words. I will continue seeking them this week.

And finally – I am falling behind on the 100 novels list again, so just to get back up to date I have not read books 68 or 69.  I am however reading, so at least I’ve managed to do something I can tell you about in my posts this week!

Happy writing,



Read Full Post »

Wow this post is late.

Not just because I should have posted on Sunday, but because it’s three in the morning and I’ve finally got a chance to get on th internet.

All my carefully crafted thoughts have long since gone to bed and I’m left with a sense of how my life has changed – my all night writing sessions are no more, my patterns of paid work have pushed writing back down my priorities list, my studies have apparently ended, and I don’t have time for all the things I want and hope to do.

But then I come on line and I write posts, or I join one of my lovely writing friends in a discussion, or I look at the work I’ve done and I feel the passion, excitement and desire to write that I’ve always felt.

I know it’s there, and I know it’s part of me.  So next week my blog will be all about how I got back to it and made the very most of every writing moment I had.

In other words, I’ll either have a great writing week or be practicing my fiction for you all…

Until next time – happy writing,

Read Full Post »

I managed to read three books during my break – the joys of flying and sunbathing 🙂 – but I’ll only be counting two for the challenge because I’d read one of them before.

Book 50 – Pompeii by Robert Harris.  I borrowed this from my husband when I finished reading my non-numbered book; it wasn’t really my kind of thing but despite that it was an engaging read.  It follows the experiences of a disparate group of characters whose lives overlap in the runup to the eruption of Vesuvius, which buried Pompeii.

To all intents and purposes, this was a historical action story, with significant historical research undertaken.  The main characters were mostly chancers, risk-takers or power-brokers with a few key exceptions who were specialists in aqueducts and water systems. Harris also wrote the very famous, very real, Pliny in to the tale, who was known to have died as he tried to rescue friends by sea. The only woman of consequence in the story is idealised because of her looks, the description of a mother and child dying in childbirth was horrific, and generally the book is about men and their power games.

This one was a mixed bag for me – it was very readable and despite the size only took a few days to get through; it was historically interesting and detailed; it was intelligently written.  The key issues for me were a few unnecessarily unpleasant scenes which did nothing to bring the story along; a vaguely frustrating ending which I won’t spoil but didn’t satisfy me; the ongoing technicalities of the descriptions.

I also feel that, even at the end of the story, I know relatively little about the main character.  I can’t imagine writing a book where the character is so hidden from view and I wonder if that is a male v female writer issue, or simply that I tend to write about the ‘human experience’ rather than big world events…

Or maybe reading in the sunshine, I didn’t give it my full attention, which is more than likely!

Book 51 – Northanger Abbey, by Jane Austen – I read this one at the same time as Pompeii, depending on the mood I was in!  Having struggled to read Emma I wanted to try an alternative Jane Austen, and this one is very simple, very sweet, and fairly inoffensive.  The story follows Catherine Morland as she experiences her first taste of adulthood on a trip to Bath and then with her new friends on to Northanger Abbey.

It’s fluffy and frivolous in many ways: Catherine is naive, unworldly, foolish and blind but also honest, decent, loyal and loving.  Her first experiences of friendship, with Isabella, open her eyes to a life outside the confines of her own reality, and lead first to meeting Henry Tilney, then his sister, then finally seeing her to Northanger Abbey.  It is clear from the outset what Isabella’s focus is on, and it is also clear that Isabella’s brother is equally mercenary and disinterested in the Morland’s as people with true feelings.

Catherine’s odd behaviour on arrival at Northanger Abbey goes nowhere, and seems ridiculous but as a 17 year old in a strange house at that time in history, it may have been less so; either way it does make her seem a fool and that is unfortunate.  Still, the ending leads to exactly what the reader would expect – albeit suddenly rushed through and unexplored.

I read this one easily, and quickly.  I didn’t enjoy it as much as Pride and Prejudice (but I had no Colin Firth in my mind as I read!), but far more than Emma – so I have decided to try Sense and Sensibility soon to see where that falls on the Jane Austen spectrum!

As I said before there was one more that I’m not counting for the challenge as it doesn’t meet my self-imposed rule of new books only – Nineteen Eighty-Four, by George Orwell.  I read this before the other two, and having first read it many years ago, I still found it very affecting.  I am not going to do a full review on it but I would suggest for anyone who hasn’t read it, it’s worth a look.  It’s a great example of a book which contains concepts that are so powerful they become part of everyday language – and how many things Orwell imagined in his nightmare future that have come to pass.  I don’t know if that says more about him, or us…

Happy reading,



Read Full Post »

« Newer Posts - Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: