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Posts Tagged ‘planning’

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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Last night was a very late night which  I spent working with a friend on a plan for our artistic futures.

We talked about inspiration, ideas, plans for performing and so on, and one of the things we discussed was how to introduce a performance.

I am not entirely sure why, but this conversation got me really inspired and I have been working on a poem today.  What with my newspaper tales, my sofa-cushion discovery and this, I am starting to pull together a few related poems which create a narrative that is all about noticing the world around us and I am really excited about it.

It’s not only the pleasure of creating something new, but the way this series enables me to explore issues of importance.  I have been trying to do this for a long time, with limited success, and it finally feels like it is coming together.

I will be working on the series for a while and leaving the prose alone for now: I have a few opportunities to showcase my work and I would be really happy to showcase something new and exciting.

As we plan a few joint performances and the set list for those starts to take shape, I will also be very interested to see if the poems work as well as standalone pieces as I think they will together.

Writing is a strange beast, but if I get these right it will create beautiful offspring!

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

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You may have noticed my lack of a Thursday post this week.  Or not!

I was all set to write about Hedda Gabler, which I was seeing that night, but unfortunately I became ill just before the show started and missed it. And, by default, posting about it.

I didn’t even feel up to explaining!

So this week has been a bit of a blip week.  I lost creative time, I wasn’t in the right mood to write for a few days, and the weekend got super-busy. Still, two good writing things happened:

1. I finally booked my tickets for the crime writing convention – and still have time to enter the flash fiction competition if I fancy.

2. I have agreed to work on some more performances with a musician friend, and we are about to start work on a new set.

Oh and I guess a third, if you’re being generous: I have started getting some ideas together for a new series of poems about the world.  Nothing on paper yet but my need to explore different feelings and experiences lives on, and poetry is the best outlet for it, by far.

In more fun news, I have a few trips away planned and these always bring inspiration and new concepts so I am looking forward to seeing what comes of those.

Also, my ‘writing in different places’ plan hasn’t really played out but there is a whole new option opening (quite literally) soon, which I think will be a real positive for me.

Watch this space, and keep your fingers crossed!

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

 

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This week has been another non-writing one, because sometime life is a juggling act and I can’t take on that extra ball yet.  It’s been a week in which sleep is too precious to miss and most of my time has been spent in various stages of packing.  Moving house is stressful, even if it isn’t your house!

I have foregone writing to cope with living, really…

However, after another visit to the hospital I have some more ideas to play with in setting, I will be returning to my coursework tomorrow lunchtime, and I have promised myself faithfully that tomorrow evening I will spend at least an hour writing.

I don’t know what yet, it might just be a stream of consciousness.  Or swear words.  Either way, I will be launching myself back into my writing work within 24 hours!

I also want to read a book to focus on language this week; I may not finish but I’ll give it a try.

I have a SMART plan, in business speak.  Now I just need to work smartly to get it all done.

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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Normally I like to keep Thursday posts for random subjects, raising points outside of writing. However, it being the start of the new year and with a collection of new approaches to my writing, I wanted to share how it’s going…

1. Writing – well, so far I have focussed on creating a writing space in my home where I am free of distractions and can sit and write for at least an hour.  I have a new book in which to write and am currently exploring concepts and ideas which can feed into the development of previous plans.  This week is about setting the new pattern rather than producing anything particular, but in effect I am using writing exercises to see what ideas have staying power.  I have not yet explored other venues for writing but at the moment my ‘nook’ is working well.

2. Mentoring – I have found some more sources of mentoring but I have not yet committed to any particular resource or scheme.

3. Courses – I may have got a little carried away, as I have now signed up for 5 courses: 4 writing and one psychology.  They are all short, with short videos which I watch at lunch times.  I will see how I go, but I am enjoying the learning so far!

4. Reading – I am reading a very good book, quite slowly.  I am pleased not to feel under pressure to finish the story as I am savouring it!

So I am feeling pretty positive right now.  I need to keep on as I am, setting aside regular time to write, study and read – organisation is essential, and a bit of strictness with myself won’t do any harm either!

Maybe I will use Thursdays as my mid-week barometer for a while, and you can keep me on track!

I hope your new year targets are going well too!

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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