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Posts Tagged ‘notebooks’

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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This week, I got a lot of words written, and a big step closer to the end of the whodunnit, but I still won’t finish it before I meander off on my trip to Germany as I’d hoped.

I have, however, got a plan. ¬†When I am away, I will be spending a lot of time travelling, and I had intended to use this time to read and catch up on the 52 book challenge. ¬†However, if I split the time 50:50 between reading and writing, I should still be able to get plenty of reading done, and keep up my writing momentum. ¬†Win-win, I hope…

I do feel a little bit more positive about my writing this week for other reasons, though.  A chance discussion with a friend at work led to a discovery that his father is a poet, who has published his own anthology after many years of his work appearing on the radio.  Not only did I get a copy o said anthology as a gift, which was lovely, but I also passed him a couple of my favourite poems for some feedback.   I feel ludicrously brave!  I also shared them with another work colleague who said very  kind things indeed.  I think she was surprised how much she liked them.

I want to get back to my poetry sooner rather than later. ¬†I have so many thoughts and feelings about the world right now that the best thing I can do is write it out – that’s one of the ways I process things I am unable to verbalise. ¬†I’ll definitely be taking a notebook to carry about when I am away. ¬†I might even try to work in some German words, which are often perfectly precise although rather hard-sounding.

I read an article today which discussed¬†the formation of German words¬†but due to the nature of the article I have decided not to link to it; still, it’s given me something else to think about over the next week.

I’m pretty sure there will be a lot of thinking when I am away.

In other news – following on from the 100 novels list is the start of an alternative list¬†for me to look through, although I also have a number of borrowed books to read plus this week’s lazy one to finish off first.

And finally – due to the travels this week I won’t be doing my normal update-type blogs but hopefully will at least have a chance to get something written before I go. ¬†No promises though – I haven’t even started sorting myself out yet!

Happy writing,

EJ

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As I said last week, this week I am off on my holidays. I am going to a tiny island in the Atlantic where my husband and I will recharge our batteries and wander along a sandy beach (hopefully!).

I will be taking the notebook I was given for my honeymoon; it’s my sunshine places book, where I can record the colours, the textures, the sounds and smells of a different place. It wasn’t really planned to be a holiday notebook but I quite like having one that is distinct from the experiences I have at home. It allows me to put aside even the type of words I would normally use and be completely removed from the ‘norm’ of my UK life. That sense of being at home in, or being part of, another world is something I want to explore more fully as I develop the more political side of my writing.

I am really pleased to be going now, actually – it’s been a tough few weeks in various ways. We wanted to be home for the General Election, but if I could go back in time and move my leave I would have done so!

I’ll tell you where we’ve been when we’re back, if I’m going to say good things about it ūüôā I hope to get some reasonable photos as well, for a couple of thoughts posts perhaps…

I will be away next Sunday too, and have pre-prepared the posts for this week so if you comment please don’t be offended if it takes a while to respond.

Have a great week, and happy writing,
EJ
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After yesterday’s internet failure this blog is a little behind and I’ve forgotten some of the things I was going to discuss, so I’ll work my way backwards and hopefully cover most of it…

Yesterday I spent much of the day in London, celebrating a birthday (not mine!). ¬†There is a definite vibe to the city that engages my senses – the juxtaposition of crowded streets and tree-lined parks, of overwhelming traffic and tame squirrels, that really reminds me how important it is to look beyond the surface of a place for the underlying stories. ¬†I see and hear people from all over the world who are experiencing the same sights and sounds as me, but in an entirely personal and unique way. ¬†I always knew this was the case but only since I’ve been writing have I thought about it so clearly.

I’ve also been working on the¬†poetry for the wedding. ¬†I have to write it all up and spend the next few weeks fixing it all because it’s very rough and ready at the moment – but I hope it’ll be a bit of fun for people at the event as they go round from table to table and see all the different verses set out!

The notebook has been a great help with this, not just because I have it with me all the time so I can quickly grab it and write down my thoughts, but also because it engenders a sense of routine about writing which I need when I have so little time to do it!  Plus if I see or hear anything that I think will spur a few ideas along the way I can refer back to it whenever I like Рas long as I write it down!

And finally – We’re up to book 52 on the list – Lolly Willowes, by Sylvia Townsend Warner. ¬†It’s a new one to me but sounds like a book I’d enjoy reading so ¬†I may see if I can find it somewhere!

A short one this week, but I have been, and continue to be, so busy I can hardly think straight; this is the only way to keep any semblance of focus to the post!

Happy writing,

EJ

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This week I’ve been using my lunchbreaks to make a lot of notes for poems. I grab myself a soup, sit down, watch the clouds float past and write.

It feels really positive because the poems I am working on are for a special event, and are coming together really well. ¬†I am jumping so swiftly from one to another that it feels like I’m on some sort of perpetual motion generator. ¬†A poetry train (of thought) if you like!

It’s good that the notebook is working for me because with such long days and so many other things to get done, writing really did feel neglected. ¬†In fact, my whole creative life was¬†put on hold once I went back to full-time work. ¬†But a few weeks in I’m getting a little balance back. ¬†Writing during my lunches; I actually finished a whole book already this week and started a second; I am making the most of the long weekend here to get out and see some live music for the first time in ages.

I don’t want to work full-time for long, but if I can keep some sort of equilibrium for now, at least it won’t set me back completely. ¬†My worst case scenario has always been going back to work and not writing any more, and finally I am managing to do both, which gives me a lot of faith in myself.

In other news – This week we’ve reached book 48 on the novels list – A¬†Passage to India by EM Forster. ¬†This is a book I want to read, so I haven’t read the comments yet! ¬†I have seen the film, or at least parts of the film, but I don’t remember much of it except white suits and hats, and a carriage. ¬† And maybe a mountain? ¬†It’s been a loooooonnnnnnng time ūüôā

And finally – I saw this article about the way we absorb a story being different on physical format to paper format. ¬†As someone who loves the physicality of a book, and has only come to screen reading since being gifted an e-reader at Christmas, I am not sure I could ever be objective or dispassionate enough to debate the relative merits of each: the smell and feel of books is part of the reading experience for me. ¬†I have read a lot of books on the e-reader now and appreciate its practicality but I think that’s part of its downfall for me. ¬†I don’ want a practical reading experience, I want an immersive one – and I still think I get that best with a hard copy book.

Maybe it’s because I’ve always loved reading that to change it – or my relationship with the words – impacts on the subconscious experience. ¬†Maybe the love of reading is as much about feeling the weight of a world in my hands as it is exploring it – and on an e-reader every world weighs the same…

On that rather philosophical point, I’m going to bow out for today!

Happy writing,

EJ

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This week I’ve tried to recapture some of my lost creative flow, and it’s worked, to a point…

The notebook has come out again and although I haven’t noted something every day, I have it with me for whenever an idea or image seems noteworthy! I have to go and fill in a few bits once this blog is done, so if nothing else I’m getting back into the writing habit.

The other thing I did this week was to buy myself a couple of books from a charity shop. I have a pile of things I’ve borrowed from people but I don’t like to read those in bed, or in the bath, or stuff them in my handbag and take them to work in case¬†they get¬†damaged. My own books, I am¬†less nervous.

So I am hoping this will give me the impetus to get back into reading every day as well.

I am a lot busier than I have been – but that’s no reason for everything to fall down. I’m about to start week 4 in my current placement and am getting used to the long days and early (for me!) starts. Now I have acclimatised a little I should be able to work through more things and start achieving more!

I’m glad I’ve gone back to the notebook, actually; using one effectively is a skill you develop over time and I was worried that I’d lost the knack!

In other news – we’re on to book 47 of the 100 novels list – Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis. I have never come across this one before, and think I might add it to the list if for no other reason than to give me an American novel of the 1920s that I can compare to The Great Gatsby¬†(you may remember I was a little underwhelmed by that one!). ¬†I want¬†to see if there was still a divide in style between UK and US literature at that point, but I need more evidence to make a decision!

Also – you may have noticed I haven’t written a peace post for a while; the monthly challenges are on hold at the moment and to be truthful that has suited me as everything is so hectic at the moment. ¬†However, I am still being mindful and trying to devote some of my time to peacefulness – I will share a post¬†that I’ve been working on sooner or later!

And finally – a reminder, that I’m looking for possible guest blog posts for when I am away during November; the subject is your own but I need to pre-plan publication so let me know if you’re interested through the ‘contact me’ tab.

Happy writing

EJ

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After another week of short lunchbreaks and long days, my writing plan is not really shaping up too well, so I’m going back to basics: the novel is on hold and the notebooks are being revived.

It’s been a while since I’ve regularly written in them but with such a limited time to get anything done it seems sensible to record things as I can, and make use of what I record when I can give writing¬†the time it needs.

And life now may be busy, but there’s lots to inspire me.

The benefit of temping is that I get to meet many people and work in different business environments, learning about new industries and so on.  This is all useful because it gives me worlds to play with in my own stories.

My evening work – which I fit in where I can – is completely different; the training gets me meeting other people who share my interests but the events themselves are just like girl’s nights in, with jokes and chats, and a chance to have a gossip!

Alongside that, the charity I’m involved with has been busy with a funding bid and practical plans for future activities.

Plus with writing group, reading group, wedding planning, social life and family events this is a time I¬†could really add to my stock of ideas and reference points for the future. ¬†If I don’t make the most of it, I’ll regret it.

So that’s the revision of the plan, for now. ¬†I hope it works out better than the last one…

In other news – I missed the book from the 100 novels list last week – The Age of Innocence, by Edith Wharton. ¬†I read it a few years ago (not long after the film came out) and remember enjoying it but not a lot else but recently downloaded it to re-read. ¬†I don’t want to be reminded of the story as it’ll put me off revisiting it, so didn’t read the write-up!

This week’s book is Ulysses by James Joyce. ¬†I have only ever read one of the meandering train of thought segments, which seemed to go on for many frustrating pages, so this is not one I’m drawn to looking at again; it also seems to be a bit marmite¬†for people who have tried to read it. ¬†I’d love to know what you think of it if you’ve had a go yourselves…

And finally – Tonight we have a ‘supermoon’ in the sky above us; I found an amazing image¬†to show you, but my partner has been out and got one of his own; I’ll share that on Thursday because I have an idea for a related post. ¬†In the meantime, I hope you get a chance to see the beauty of the sky tonight.

Until next time,

happy writing,

EJ

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Another week, another social gathering… I’m not about today as I am visiting family to celebrate my niece’s birthday, so this is a pre-written quick update!

This week, I decided to take up a new work opportunity. It’s something I can fit in with writing and it isn’t too complex, but I’m hoping it’ll give me some inspiration for my notebook¬†– a big part of it will be meeting other people so I’m sure a few character traits will pique my interest! ¬†I have never used a character from ‘real life’ of course, but I have identified common behaviours that have turned up in my writing, and you can’t do that if you don’t observe how people behave.

People watching is a human trait, I think: we all have a level of curiosity (or, if I’m honest about myself, nosiness…) as to what people are doing. ¬†We writers just notice the details more!

I am also looking forward to spending some time out and about with other people. I’ve said before that writing is a solitary thing and to spend more¬†time meeting¬†groups of people will be a pleasant change. ¬†My old job involved meeting new people a lot of the time, so all this¬†time alone really took a while to feel normal. ¬†Luckily I have a big family and a great group of friends to alleviate loneliness but I am still alone a lot more than I ever had been before.

But due to meetings about that, and life stuff that I’ve been working on a lot of the time, the writing is suffering a severe case of neglect this week. ¬†I am not sticking to my timetable, and am going to have to get really strict with myself. ¬†So – I will have finished section one by next weekend. ¬†That’s the target, and that’s that!

In other news – We’ve reached book 37 in the list of the 100 best novels:¬†Hadrian the Seventh, by Frederick Rolfe. ¬†Not sure what to make of this one as I’ve never heard of it or the author, and the reviews are mixed, to say the least! ¬†I will see how long it is before I decide whether to try it or not, I don’t want another Gulliver issue!

And finally – I saw this article about books reminding up of where we have read and re-read them; although I can’t say there are any where I remember the environment to the same degree there are some books that remind me of certain things. ¬†For example, I read Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood in the car (not driving!) when my partner and I were on our way back from a holiday, so although I’m no longer sure where we’d been, or what road we were on, I remember sitting in the passenger seat of the car when I think about it. ¬†Another book reminds me of walking home from school through a beautiful old town, because it was given to me by a cousin when she was interested in Chinese things and I bought her a present from a bookshop there. ¬†Books can transport us through time and space, and not just by the words in them – that’s just another reason for me to love the physical books; I relate to them entirely differently from e-books.

And on that note, I’m off to charge the reader so I can read during my travels!

Happy writing,

EJ

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I have a tiny obsession with macro photos of flowers.

I think part of the allure is that they are so impermanent: if you don’t take the picture when you have a chance that moment is gone. ¬†The same could be said for so many things that I would love to take photos of everything, but that’s not really practical so I specialise ūüôā

I’m not very good at these pictures but here’s one I took on retreat in Wales last summer.

Little Wonder

The feeling of having to record things immediately is one I’ve been developing for the last few years in writing – I’m sure we all have the tale of ‘the one that got away’; the great story opening or line of poetry that we didn’t write down and it disappeared like a whiff of smoke. ¬†Even with notebooks everywhere, you can’t capture everything!

Sometimes I use photos instead of books. ¬†I use them like a painter would, as a reference point to draw my image. ¬†This works well for me for things like sunsets, the colour of the soil, the shapes carved into a wall; things that require some better description than the off-the-cuff notes I scribble as I wander around. ¬†That’s another benefit of the macro photo too – you see a level of detail you might not have seen in person.

If you want to see what I mean, have a look at some amazing, properly macro, photos here!

Happy writing

EJ

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