Posts Tagged ‘support’

Tonight was my writing group and I’m shattered so this one is just to say join a group if you can; create one if you have to.

It’s so refreshing to talk about, think about and safely share work. It’s a real pleasure to plan discussions and exercises, and it’s a great reminder to me of all the steps that any one of us takes before we feel able to put our work out to a wider audience.

It also comes with the added bonus of meeting new people with whom you can talk about writing without sounding like a dreamer!

Until next time,
Happy writing


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Most people have a time when they are more mentally aware, more awake, more in tune with the world. We’re night owls or early birds, and I am most definitely more comfortable as a night owl!

Night is when you can really see how we fit into the cosmos, and I wonder if my love of all things space comes from my many late nights looking out the windows and seeing the stars come to life.

This is a picture my partner took of the moon at the weekend, as I promised I’d post. ¬†It’s a reminder to me that whatever else is going on, I still have a universe to explore, dreams to dream – and fulfil, an eternity of possibilities to write about.



I look at this picture and I know that inspiration will always be with me.

Not a bad thing to remember, hey?

Happy writing,






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This week promised myself I’d write another 2000 words,¬†and thankfully I’ve done it. ¬†However, my writing is seriously taking¬†a backseat in life: not only have I got charity events to help arrange and local volunteering to do, but I’ve also got my new work, plus looking for another temporary role, plus the big event I am planning all taking chunks of my time.

And now’s as good a time as any to say that the big event is my wedding, in just over 4 months! ūüôā

As I’m sure you can imagine, writing is getting lost in the mix (despite huge support from people around me – my partner, mum, big sis and SC all deserve a special shout-out here alongside lots of others who have offered to help in many different ways). ¬†It’s the one thing that I don’t have a set date to get done so from a time management point of view it’s the easiest thing to drop.

Back in the mists of time (2010) when I decided to take a career break to write, I did so because I never found the time to do any writing at all. ¬† It wasn’t just that I didn’t have time – lots of writers have jobs and write – but that I didn’t have the capacity within myself to do it. ¬†I don’t want to be in that position again and I think I have put enough of a framework in place to keep it going, but it is going to be¬†at a pretty slow pace.

So from now on I’m going to start working on my time management much more stringently. ¬†I have set myself a target to write at least 2000 words a week from now until I get to the end of the current novel, and from then I will reassess. ¬†I will put aside those things that can wait until after the wedding – things like courses I want to take, or some of the extra books I might want to read for the challenge. ¬†I will make sure that I log writing time¬†again (the timesheet is embarrassingly empty of data at the moment) not to make me feel I am not doing enough, but to remind me that I am still a writer. ¬†I will focus my writing on the third book, and just keep going until it’s done.

It has been suggested that now would be a good time to upload book 1 as an e-book, as I am not sending it out at the moment; I will make a decision on this soon and let you know!

So there we have it – life comes in waves and I’m riding a big one now! ¬†But if I keep going I’ll get to where I want to be, even if it takes longer than expected.

And finally¬†– I missed book 39 last week: The History of Mr Polly by HG Wells¬†which I haven’t read and in light of everything I’ve just written, is not going on my list! ¬†I haven’t read book 40: Zuleika Dobson by Max Beerbohm either and the same applies!

Happy writing,




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Sometimes we know what goes into a recipe, and sometimes we guess and hope.


There’s no right way or wrong way, because we all do what we think works best. ¬†I personally like to have a recipe that I can ignore and amend – it’s a sort of mid-way point between the fun of¬†winging¬†it and the security of a plan. ¬†I like to know what ingredients I have available, and work with them.

It’s the same with my writing too. ¬†A plan¬†is like a recipe, guiding my steps – the ingredients are the cast of characters, the setting, the plot points. ¬†I know from previous experience that winging it won’t work for a novel-length story (although it’s not too bad for a short story of 3000-4000 words or so – the writing equivalent of making muesli from scratch), but I also know that however much I write down I will decide that somethings aren’t working as I go along, that some ideas are needed to smoothly move from point A to point B. ¬†I’ll add ingredients to spice things up.

Deciding which method¬†to follow isn’t always easy. ¬†Confidence comes first, like it does with cooking – and not every writer is confident. ¬†I know so many people who want to write, who enjoy writing, but who think they could never write a page, let alone a book. ¬†Some doubt they’ll ever even finish a poem. ¬†That’s why I try to start people off with a paragraph or two of prose, and a haiku session; these are short bursts of effort and at the end of a 15 minute session they have proof, hard evidence, that they are able to write.

I never thought I’d be able to write a book, and here I am working on a third novel (ok, so the second one is in draft format but it’s still there, 80,000 words of a story with a beginning, middle and end!). ¬† We never know what we’re capable of producing, or achieving, until we give ourselves the chance to do it.

So you want to write? ¬† Well, choose the ingredients. ¬†Write the¬†recipe. ¬†You have the power to create something new. ¬†Just don’t get bogged down in how other people do it – it’s your recipe, your dish. ¬†Do it your way.

Happy writing,



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For May’s post¬†we were asked¬†to think about empathy and given the following options:

  • Write a post in the style of another blogger. What idiosyncrasies do they have that you can emulate? Make sure you link your post to theirs.¬† ‚ÄúImitation is the sincerest form of flattery.‚ÄĚ
  • Publish a post that is in a completely different genre than you usually post. If you usually post prose, then try poetry, art, photography, video.
  • Post something that is includes quotations from another blogger. Maybe you can expand upon the thoughts of another blogger. Or you can start a conversation.
  • Write a post in the voice of your favorite peacemaker. What if you embodied MLK or Gandhi on your blog? Imagine writing a post in the voice of Bob Marley. What would Mother Teresa blog about?
  • Write a post about empathy. When was the last time you really empathized with someone? How has empathy brought peace into your life.

I started this post a while ago, using words from different bloggers to make a poem, thinking about sketches I could use, and so on.

Then my mood changed as I watched news reports of death and destruction, bomb blasts and betrayals.

And finally, today, I decided that the core of empathy is feeling for other people and it didn’t matter which element started my train of thought; it was thinking about it that mattered.

I read an interesting article this morning and the conclusion really connected with me. ¬†If you can’t access the document, it says ‘the willingness to care and be curious about the experiences and wishes of others is ‚Äújust part of being a person in the world…‚ÄĚ’

In my mind, empathy is not about me feeling a personal peace, it is about me connecting with another living creature and trying to understand their emotions as best I can.  In the best circumstances, we can share in the joy of our loved ones, and in the harder times it leads to support being offered Рpractical support such as financial aid or a simple lift to the doctors, or emotional support like a hug or words of comfort.

There’s been a huge groundswell of empathy for another B4Peace blogger over the last few weeks; I won’t share her story here as she has told it in her own words much better than I could ever hope to paraphrase it, but if you want to read more you should visit her blog. ¬†To see empathy in action on such a personal level, across continents, based on friendship between bloggers, shows that we all have the capacity to reach out to people who need to find peace.

It’s not a present we can gift, sadly – but it is a hope we can share.

Be peaceful,



B4Peace Central

Other posts you may enjoy:


ElectronicBagLady’s Bag of Bits

Living is not Mental Illness

Delightfully Different Life





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Castles in the Air

This picture of Arundel Castle was taken last April when we visited Arundel; we didn’t actually make it up to the castle through the driving rain but my partner got a couple of shots through the gloom. ¬†I made this one black and white as it looked fairly spooky otherwise.

It’s not actually in the air of course, just up a steep hill ūüôā

‘Castles in the air’ is a phrase to describe ideas that are unlikely to happen. ¬†Sometimes I feel like that about my writing but I know that I’ll carry on working at it whether an agent picks my novel(s) up or not, so it’s not really true. ¬†It is something my characters have to face on occasion though!

But looking at the solidity of the castle, and thinking about what history this castle has survived, gives me hope.

We have no idea, when we create something, how long it will survive us. ¬†It may not; it may be lost in the ether. ¬†But the men who laid the stones of these walls, or who built the original motte-and-bailey castle on this site, wouldn’t have imagined the world that still looks in on this building. ¬†They wouldn’t have imagined mobile phones, or cars, or the computer I’m typing on. ¬†Their work outlived them by countless generations.

We can’t guarantee what will survive us of the work we produce – all we can do is work, and hope, and work some more.

Here’s to hoping that the clouds our dreams rest on are as solid as mountains.

Happy writing,






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This month¬†was a real challenge. It required some identification of the best me I can be, an ‘Ideal Type’ if you like.

Specifically, we were asked to¬†‘post a portrait of your ideal self – something that can remind you of the peaceful being you were born to be’. ¬†Unfortunately that simply highlights all the parts of me that are not perfect and quite honestly I don’t need a challenge to see them anyway!

In all seriousness, I really don’t spend time¬†thinking about my ideal self – I guess it’s another layer of the peace cake that isn’t quite there yet.

So instead, I’m going to tell you why I think how we see ourselves isn’t necessarily the key to our peaceful nature – it’s how we behave. ¬†Let me work this one through with you…

Ideals¬†are easy, action can be hard. Sometimes it’s difficult to know what action is right, sometimes it’s painful to act. Sometimes what you think and the action have no relationship with each other.

Say for example someone sees themselves your friend, but they belittle you and make you feel bad about yourself.

Now, say there’s anther person who¬†you don’t know all that well. ¬†Perhaps you smile in the corridor at work and they help you with your filing, and that’s it – but then they see you are sad, and they bring you a chocolate bar (chocolate bars being a source of good in my world).

Who is the friend?

Ok, so applying this to the ideal types scenario – I could imagine myself all sorts of wonderful things, but I’d be lying if I said I lived my life in that way. ¬†We aren’t who we imagine we are, we are who we show ourselves to be through our actions.

I am a human and therefore imperfect.  No image of myself will be true, or real, if I ignore this.  On this basis, the best I can be is the person who tries to improve and do the best they can.

Is that good enough? ¬†Well, if you remember my mantra¬†for this year is ‘be mindful’ I hope it is. ¬†I have learnt that peace, like happiness, is a journey – and each step I take on the road is a step in the right direction.

Peacefully yours,



B4Peace Central

Other posts you may enjoy:

Inspire the Idea

The Journeys of Life

The Asymmetry of Matter



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