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Posts Tagged ‘ideas’

This hasn’t been a great week for writing.  I don’t know where the time is going, but it hasn’t been going towards my poetry.

Well, I’ve had a few ideas and rambling thoughts but they always seem to bubble up when I am halfway between places and can’t stop to record them.

One made it to paper when I got home, and I am quite excited about it, but it’s a story not a poem so although I can add notes and ideas, it shouldn’t be my focus…  Everything else was absorbed into the ether, never to take physical form.

It would be easy to waffle on at this point about the whys and wherefores, but you’re all human and you all know that some weeks are more productive than others.

My task now is to put a bit more effort in over the next couple of days. It helps that I am faced with some glorious sunshine at the moment which buoys me up no end; perhaps an hour or so sitting outside, listening to nature, will get me back on track.

And if the poetry is really off this week I still have prose, reading and studying to fill my writing needs!

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

 

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DSC_0299 I have said before that I like to take photos of things that inspire, interest and engage me.  I also enjoy having slightly off-beat reminders of special events.

This photo is of some glow-stick bangles I was wearing at my friend’s birthday party.  It’s going to be a reference point for a poem which I hope will be suitable for performance soon.

It brings such a lot of different ideas to the fore which fit neatly into my series.  I won’t go into the theme now but I feel the juxtaposition of two elements of my personality are perfectly encompassed in the image.

It was lovely to get out and really celebrate; I completely let my hair down and although I took a few photos I left my notebook in my bag.  I wanted to be completely present and that isn’t always easy when you are looking at the world with a view to recording it!  My one regret was that the beautiful cake didn’t get cut (told you I would mention cake :-)).  I did notice that!

Work is continuing on the poetry but this week I want to ramp it up a bit with a collective writing experience and a mindful writing session to follow it up.

For now, I am putting on my eyemask, turning off the noise and focussing on getting the first few lines of my new poem set out.

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

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The last week has been full of creative input. Since last Thursday I have been to a writing convention, scoped out a possible performance spot with a friend who is a great singer – getting to enjoy some live music at the same time, some of which was perfect writing music – and been to my writing group (which focussed on books with unreliable narrators today!).

None of these things were impossible before my career break, of course, but I value them more now than I could before, because they have a different impact on me.  Prior to my break I would have enjoyed them and moved on. Now, creativity stimulates my mind and inspires me to write. Even just the memory of a piece of music I heard yesterday brings a specific scene to mind.

When we are in the normal routine of going to work, looking after families, doing the housework and so on, we don’t care about the creative input. Sure, we might have the radio on when we wash the dishes but it’s just background noise.  But I learnt that the more aware I am of the world around me, the better I can express that world in words.

The more the input, the better the output.

So the next few days I will be reflecting on what I have seen and heard this week.  Not just the creative input either, but the sights and sounds of daily life which grab my attention and keep it there.

I hope some of it will feed into my series of poems but if not, it might appear in another guise, at another time.

That’s the thing about input – if you value it, it can last for years!

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

 

 

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This week has been all about getting inspiration for the new project I spoke about last week.  There’s a school of thought that says writing is habit, rather than waiting for the one or two magic moments that form a scene or send a character in to fight whatever enemies you think up.

I’ve always felt this was true for prose and less so for poetry, but when time is limited, you have to give your inspiration a bit of a kick start!

This is where a notebook comes into its own : by collecting ideas like scattered seeds – stories I’ve heard, words I like, song lyrics that create strong emotional responses, political angst, the colour of leaves on a September day – I can look back and see what I think can be nurtured into poetic life.

Today’s idea was for a poem inspired by a post it note that had got lost between the sofa cushions. The poem reflects on the way our lives change over time and how something that was important can be so easily forgotten. Maybe I will post it here when it’s done.

This is good timing, because I am just about to start a course on writing poetry, with a view to engaging more with my own.

I am a more natural writer of poetry than prose and I find the process more fun, so getting into a project demanding new work is a real positive for me, and I am excited to see which of my little seed ideas blossoms and creates fruit of its own!

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

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I am continuing my work on setting for another week as I lost some time over the last few days and need to finish off some half-thought ideas.

One of these is about the emotional response a character will have to a place, and how this can be conveyed.  I did a couple of writing exercises on this recently but I wasn’t happy with the outcome and know I need to improve in this area.

We all have emotional responses to places, and our characters should be just the same.  The response could be completely logical – a sense of happiness where they met their partner, a feeling of dread from their old school hall imagining sitting their exams.  Perhaps a sense of desolation when walking through a cemetery towards a funeral.

But there are also illogical or unexplained feelings: feeling at home in an empty house they are viewing, or of loss as they stand in ancient ruins. Feeling frightened, nervous, or overwhelmed: allowing your character’s fight or flight reflex take over.

It is my job as a writer to build these feelings into a story in a way that is relevant, meaningful, and subtle: no-one wants the subtext slapping them in the face every few pages!

They have to be integral to the experience of that specific character in that specific place and are a reflection of the world as seen by your character.

In fact, you need to know the related backstory e.g. she feels nervous on busses because one of her earliest memories was of falling down the stairs of a double decker; he feels sad in the old shed because his grandfather used to take him fishing and it’s full of his grandfather’s old fishing rods which haven’t been used since his heart attack.

I know what I need to do and I am going to put my attention to it this week. People are strange, as The Doors told us.  By using setting and emotion more effectively I can explain why!

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

 

 

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Last week was a bit same old, same old – rushing about, fitting writing into small gaps that I eked out here and there, not getting into the writing task list as well as I had hoped.

So writing about it would create a post interchangeable with a number of others because this is the pattern at the moment. I have to thank you for sticking with me when it’s clear my writing life this year has not gone well at all!

So instead I will look forward; I will take the good, and build on it.

The exercises are proving to be useful: I am working, I am talking about writing, I am getting inspired. I am excited about filling up pages.

Importantly, I am making writing a habit again, because we all know that’s what it needs to be – something like brushing your teeth, a daily activity that you do without question.

This week I will be doing exercises on bibliomancy and alliteration, which will be good fun. I’ll be using my magnetic poetry kit to create some little ditties for my husband’s amusement when he gets the milk out of the fridge in the morning. I will continue teaching our overseas consultants odd words and phrases in English, and learning a few in other languages too, I hope!

In other words, I’ll keep making writing, and words, a part of life.

Just as they should be!

Happy writing,
EJ
🙂

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This week I had yet another bug (and we haven’t even got into the winter cold season yet!) which wiped me out for a few evenings. Hopefully I’ve seen the back of that now but it was a reminder that it only takes a few days to lose the writing habit.

In order to cheer myself up a little I invested in some new writing tools – a book of short exercises which I will be able to do in my lunchtimes (unlike the plot and structure ones which require longer sessions) and a big pack of pens in lots of different colours which I can use to mark up my output. I like to use colour as a tool in presenting ideas, as it can be useful at identifying themes and patterns.

Never let it be said you can have too many of either!!

It’s not all doom any gloom on the writing front though – I have done some writing exercises this week, trying to work out both Fred’s next move and whether there is any life left in the crime story I was working on before I got ill in the summer.

I have not really wanted to pick that one up again because I feel so removed from it, but the characters were interesting. I am considering keeping them and the setting, but building a new story around them.

I would like to do that. As there was a degree of confusion in my key character already – she wasn’t sure whether she trusted her perception of events – I think there is scope to change the storyline and bring a different outcome to bear without losing her voice or her sense of disequilibrium.

However, I know from my mistakes before I have to work hard at the planning stage – so daytime exercises will be generating ideas and imagery, evenings will be spent shuffling things around and seeing what has possibilities by leaning more heavily on my plot and structure tools.

Only when I have a full, strong, narrative will I actually start the writing phase. It’s like decorating a house – you have to do the prep work first!

So this week has been a little slow, but useful; next week I need to step it up a gear.

Happy writing,
EJ
🙂

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Firstly, I must apologise for the lack of a Thursday post. I got caught up in a lot of things this week and never got around to sharing anything. I thought about doing something on Friday but the moment passed and now it’s Sunday so there’s no point trying to catch it up!

Now that’s out of the way…

I was reading last week’s post about Fred needing an outing and this week he has had a little adventure. For reasons best left in the Jurassic period where Fred currently resides, he is running away from a huge fire and has just shared his plan for survival with a very patronising adult who keeps patting him on the head.

Despite the temerity of this adult Fred is nevertheless willing to help out and get everyone to safety, even if no-one realises he is playing any part in the rescue efforts…

I scrapped his trip to Stonehenge though.  He wasn’t enjoying the journey and is going to a zoo instead…

What I had also intended to do this week was to set myself some writing exercises to build on the work I have done regarding plot and structure. That hasn’t worked out as I planned and I need to set it up better. The suggestion is to set aside an hour each week for an individual task on generating plotting ideas. In a few weeks I’d look at what I’d got and dispose of the rubbish and keep anything with possibilities. I want to do it but I have not had a quiet, uninterrupted time to do it this week.

I will make one next week, even if I have to unplug the phone!

In other news – I am seriously considering another writing course, possibly focussed on editing through to (self?) publication. I have thought a lot about why my completed novel hasn’t been picked up by an agent and a big part of me thinks I need to put that idea aside and move on. However, the part of me that thinks a dream should be pursued thinks I should do what I need to do to get there.

Anyway, to cut a long story short I found a course with seemingly very good reviews which is designed to help students pull a manuscript into the best possible order – so whether the book is traditionally or self published it is as professionally edited and presented as possible.

It’s not the cheapest course but I was prepared to spend money on learning for fun so it seems silly to begrudge spending to achieve a dream.

I will do some more research and see if this is the best option for me and let you know!

Until next time,
Happy writing,
EJ
🙂

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This week has been a little less about writing, and a little more about realistic goals – but over the course of the evening a writing plan has started to emerge, and it’s given my literary spirits a boost.

I happened to pop onto my twitter account for the first time in about a week, to see a message there from a writing group friend of mine.

I won’t give you all the details but the upshot was that we are both languishing in writing limbo, and need a nudge in the right direction.

So the starting point of the plan is for us to agree some writing dates when we meet up at group this week coming. On those afternoons/evenings we meet up, we will write. Maybe talk about what we’re writing too, of course, but primarily sit and write.

It’ll be like having a gym friend who makes you exercise when you want to stay in and eat chocolate! Plus when I’m writing I can eat chocolate 😉

My phase two is to acknowledge that I have the tools I need to write, and to use them. That means my reading materials this week are going to be textbooks, guides, exercises etc – all to get me thinking about how to reboot my work.

Phase three is to set myself a target of 10,000 words to get me to the end of Fred’s story so I can finish it and put it aside for later editing.

Phase four is to review all the crime novel work I have done, archive the unsuccessful bits and pull together the best so I can build a new story with more confidence in it – a story I hope will be planned (not written; I need to get back to basics I think) by Christmas.

However, the most important element of my new plan is to relax about my output.  I need to stop putting pressure on myself and focus on why writing is a joy and I love doing it; to let myself have a bit of fun with it.

Expectations can have benefits, or they can undermine your confidence when you don’t meet them.  When everything in life is a little crowded it is too easy to feel I haven’t done what I should.  I make it worse by telling you what I’ll do, too!

But there is no agent phoning me, no editor demanding my time.  I am my own timekeeper so I can set my own rules.  And for now, my rules are to be a little more kind to myself and to enjoy the process of putting pen to paper.

Happy writing,
EJ
🙂

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I said at the weekend I hadn’t done any reading so you will no doubt be utterly amazed to find out there is no book review this week.

I can give you all sorts of detail on public surveys, newspaper editing, food fads and project planning but it’s not quite what this blog is supposed to be about…

I really am off target with my reading and writing life right now. I need to sit down and have a good strong word with myself because I haven’t come this far to let it slide into the background.

So this week I need your advice. How do you keep your creative life on track when the realities of work and community or social life leave your time slipping away from you?

How can I get back to where I should be?

Any help gratefully received!

Happy reading,
EJ
🙂

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