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Posts Tagged ‘Writer’s groups’

Oh dear – another late posting and I’m not even in the last gasp of getting the wedding stuff done.  By November I’ll probably be about two weeks behind!

This week I hosted the writing group and decided to use the magic of the internet to find some writing exercise that I thought would spur everyone’s imagination. The theory was that by allowing people to choose their own exercise, they would engage with it and explore something that felt right for them.

It didn’t quite work like that though – in fact it filled everyone with a shared horror, akin to sitting an exam when they haven’t done any studying!  Still, we all got through it and it was very interesting to see how different people approach writing.  For example, one person can take virtually any exercise and create an adventure story whilst another explores what I call ‘the human experience’ by focussing on feelings and emotions.

This is what’s best about writing exercises, especially for newer, or less confident, writers.  You spot patterns in your work.  Areas of strength and of development; styles; shortcuts in your language that need refining.  You see how easy, or hard, it can be to put on paper what is in your mind.

Don’t just take my word for it though; have a go.   There are plenty of exercises on-line or in writing guides, but you can make your own if you like too.  Write a piece where the world is black and white, and your character has to explain colours in 500 words, or where your romantic lead is a serial killer, or where someone can hear the weather talking and has to decipher what it is saying.

Anything, and everything, is possible in books.  The limit isn’t just your imagination, it’s also your ability to describe what you imagine.  By exercising your mind you will make yourself as good a writer as you can be.

Hopefully, it won’t always feel like a pop quiz when you try!

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

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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
EJ
🙂

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Well, following on from last Sunday’s post, I am officially an employee once more.  I can no longer say I have given up the 9-5 to write, as such, because here I am going back to something similar.  Perhaps fewer hours per week, but the principle remains the same – it is the end of my writing life in its current form, at least for a while.

Since I gave up work I’ve studied creative writing, written a complete novel, drafted another and am bashing out a third; I run a small but successful writing group; I have performed my poetry to the public. So those are successes and show that I have made something positive of my time off.  In non-writing terms, I have become heavily involved in a local charity which is something I would never have done if I was still in my old role – this is also something that brings me a great deal of satisfaction and a sense of being part of my community.

So what changed from the start of my journey?  Well, I didn’t enjoy writing short stories so my original idea of sending them off regularly got pushed aside to make way for novels; that ended my plan of earning regularly through writing which has led me to where I am now!  I haven’t found an agent willing to take on my slightly contentious story and have not yet reached the point where I want to pursue self-publishing.

In my more confident moments I think I can carry on as I am, much as I suggested last week.   My desire to write hasn’t ended, it’s just how I use my time (and the amount of time I have) that’s shifted.

It’s another new beginning which is exciting in its own right – and after this one there will be another in November when  I get married.  In fact, life is full of them.

The reality is I’ll probably do less writing than I hope, but more than I did before my break – and that will be enough for now.  When I get into the swing of work again I can assess everything and see what I can manage.

I can’t feel too bad even if  the writing life has changed – I wouldn’t give up these four years for anything, nor the joy I have found in them.  What matters most now is that I remember I’m a writer, and keep getting those words on paper.

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

 

 

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Today is day one of my break and the first of two days I get to spend with my sister and her family so I’m not working and I pre-prepared this post before I left. I’m at the retreat the rest of the time so there’s plenty of working time set aside!

This week I had a productive, and enjoyable writing group; the segment of the Woods novel I shared was well received which has given me a real boost, and the exercise we did to loosen up our writing was very successful.

I talked through the issue I had with the woods novel but the group were already commenting on the sinister elements in the atmosphere and the odd environment I’d created, so I was really happy.

Also the charity event I was involved with took place, which was exhausting but satisfying – we even got photographed for the paper! I may have to hunt down all the copies and burn them (cameras hate me!) but it was a good feeling to get the day underway.

So this week has been a positive one for both writing and general life and although I still didn’t catch up with everything I was due to do I at least feel that my time has been well spent.

On that note, a song to see you through to Tuesday!

Oh, and finally – we’re onto book 31 in the 100 novels list – Dracula by Bram Stoker.  I think I posted my opinion of it some while ago – it took me a long time (for me) to read, and is full of weather reports.  It’s not a book I’ll re-read, probably; I first read it as a teenager when I think I did enjoy it but I suppose that just proves our taste changes over time!

Until next week,

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

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Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate Easter; Happy April 20th to those of you who don’t 🙂

We had the annual Easter Egg Hunt (confined to the house this year due to the untimely rain) and I thought you might like to see the eggs that my nieces and nephews found dotted about!

Hip to be Ovoid

It’s been another week of barely any writing but I’m giving myself this one off without guilt – I’ve been very run down and under the weather and I needed the rest. I’ll do what I can over the next few days but even with the last couple of weeks being slow I feel I’m in an ok position to start planning the next novel.

I have however thrown a little light on the Woods novel – I’ve decided to share it, or at least parts of it, with my writing group to see whether they can give me any advice or guidance about how to develop it. The first part has gone out to the group, asking for comments to be shared at our meeting next week.  I hope they are kinder to me than I generally am to myself!

So the next few days will be a catch-up with the agents, packing all the resources I need for my retreat, and making sure I have a couple of decent folders to put all my scribbles and references into!

In other news – Book 30 on the list is The Red Band of Courage by Stephen Crane; a book I’ve never heard of and which doesn’t sound my cup of tea at all – I generally try to avoid war novels – so it’s unlikely to go on my list.  What I found interesting this week, though, is the thoughts around the next seventy are still being finalised.  I like the idea that it’s an organic thing, growing and changing over time: that’s how I find my own reaction to books, sometimes loving one I hated as a child, or seeing through the melodrama that blinded me in my youth.  Looking back at books with the eyes of an older person does make you read them differently.  Which is good really – we all want to grow and change!

And finally – As of next Sunday, I am away for a week.  I will try to blog and post where I can, but please bear with me if I miss a day or two.  I am over-excited about getting back to the retreat again – I hope it’s just as lovely even if the weather isn’t.  I’m packing my hiking boots and a waterproof!

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

 

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This week has involved a lot of little bits that I hadn’t really planned for in advance.

Weeks like these are great writing weeks, because they’re so varied – but they’re also the weeks when it’s impossible to make a big stride forward in my work.

As I said on Thursday, I got an unexpected treat and went to France but there was a lot more going on than that…

I spent time with family; I held writing group and had the pleasure of welcoming a new writer to our little party; I did some work for the charity I support locally; I visited a medieval village and its castle gardens; I went out for dinner and to a club; I enjoyed Mothering Sunday with my parents and my partner’s parents over a vintage-style cream tea.

Those are just the headlines but you can see how a week like that means my mind is fluttering around like a butterfly and not focussed and pragmatic as I now need it to be.

But what’s life all about if you can’t experience all these moments?

One of my favourite songs is You Get What You Give by The New Radicals (for many years it was my getting-ready-to-go-out song) so I’m posting it here as a reminder that whatever happens to get in the way of my writing time I should make the very best of it I can.

Seize the moment – once it’s gone, it’s gone.

In other news – Book 27 on the list is The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.  I read this book years ago, and the idea of a withered, malevolent, ugly painting in the attic still seems really creepy to me, so it did its work I guess!  I know it’s a story with a very clear moral at its core which isn’t to everyone’s taste, but I do think it’s worth reading if you haven’t done so.

Also – I got ‘tagged’ in a Facebook game this week.  I often ignore these but it was about 15 writers who have inspired or educated me.  This beats what character from a tv show are you type quizzes (not that I’m entirely immune to these either!) and it’s good to know people are willing to discuss writers through the social media bubble.  As an aside, I am now setting up my EJ Judge Facebook page after a couple of false starts so if you’re on there and want to have a look or ask me anything, please do 🙂

And finally – as it’s timely to talk about mothers today… I found this article about mothers in children’s literature.  I haven’t come across all these books but have to say that Mrs Weasley is exactly the kind of mother a boy like Harry might have dreamed of in his little cupboard under the stairs!

Until next time,

Happy writing!

EJ

🙂

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This week, I’ve tried to fill in some blanks in my to-do list; it goes back a while so am feeling a little better for it, but I am a bit frustrated not to have finished off more!

Firstly, I chased my outstanding responses from agents.  It’s always a bit unnerving – there’s a comfort in not knowing – but I also want to make sure I have explored the options in full.

Then I prepared some more submissions to go out – I had intended to hold off due to the competition but decided that the likelihood of winning was so small that waiting was simply a way to waste a few months.

Unfortunately the requirements are a little different so I have had to re-work my synopsis, but at least it’s done!

I’ve also been revisiting some early writing exercises.  This might seem a bit weird when I’m supposed to be planning my next book, but I wanted to try freewriting my story line to see if it would help me answer a few questions I have.  It’s a work in progress but if it works I’m going to try this approach for my characters too.  I know who they are and what they want but I need to make them live a little.

This idea came about when I was looking for exercises for the next writing group; I hope the group find the exercise as useful as I always have…

So that’s a start of my to-do list being done; here’s hoping for another few ticks next week!

In other news – I missed book 25 (Jerome K Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat) of the list – I haven’t read it but it sounds light enough to try after the one I’m just finishing off so I’ll see if I can download it.  We’ve now reached book 26, The Sign of Four, by Arthur Conan Doyle.  Again, I haven’t read it and I’m not convinced I’ll enjoy a full-length Sherlock story but I have got it and I will give it a go sometime soon.

Also – Recently one of my cousins posted a link about speed-reading, and then I saw this article, and I felt obliged to talk about it!  The purpose of the various bits of software is to get you through a book as quickly as possible. Now, I generally read pretty fast, but the speed of these things is ridiculous and I don’t understand the purpose for most people – why rush a good book and finish in an hour or two, and not have taken on board the ideas, concepts, motifs etc…  It might be useful for people behind on their deadlines I guess – but maybe not for people who read for pleasure and like to linger in a comfy chair with a packet of biscuits and their latest tome!

And finally – I’d like to say hi to all my new followers – well, all my followers actually!  I really appreciate your support and encouragement as the blog undergoes another round of changes 🙂

I hope you are all enjoying the new Thursday posts and the more in-depth challenge updates on Tuesdays – please do let me know what you think!

Until Tuesday,

Happy writing,

EJ

🙂

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