Stan, the cat we adopted back in April, has got his feet firmly tucked under the table. As you can see from this pic, he has full command of the situation, although I'm not sure if he was urging me on, or trying to tell me that he didn't approve ofthat days work. True to his cat nature, he now truly believes that he is the head of the household. Indeed, such is his predilection for ensuring our welfare, he constantly brings us gifts. Now, if the gifts were live mice and birds, as cats usually bring, I would be inclined to believe that he is desperate for us to revert back to cave man status and begin honing our hunting skills to survive in this mad, bad world.
Stan is keen to ensure that we are well fed and properly nourished (according to his own interpretation as to our nutritional requirements). Consequently, we have been showered with treats over the last few weeks. Of course as it is, (supposed to be), the season for barbecues, he has taken great delight in bringing us bits of sausage, burger, and copious amounts of bread. He has even taken care to ensure that such delights are well presented. One feast was served up on a bed of three brown leaves, very artfully left on our doorstep.
Not impressed by our rejection of such culinary delights, Stan has now upped his game. On Friday evening my husband arrived home from a day's windsurfing to find the newspaper and greased paper used to serve fish and chips. Not sure where Stan got this from, or how ridiculous he must have looked dragging a full, scrunched up two sheet newspaper up the street. However, he gets full marks for effort. Unfortunately, the newspaper was soggy, the fish had been consumed and the few stale chips and plastic forks didn't exactly inspire hunger.
Of course, this brings me round to the subject of writing, in some convoluted way.
You just never know what fate, life, your muse is going to serve up for you. I have to confess, not much writing has been achieved this week. I have little excuse other than life getting in the way. But this isn't really a valid reason. Writing is part of life, isn't it? If you hold down a full time job would you not go in for a week and simply tell your boss, you didn't feel like it because life was getting in the way? I think not.
So, I write this in full self-chastisement mode and great shame. Life is to be embraced, rather than used an an excuse for not getting on with it. That's what my muse is telling me, as she tuts and rolls her eyes because, just like the fish and chips, you just never know what Stan is going to serve up next!
I met a friend in town for coffee this week. It was a lovely cup of coffee and an excellent natter.
However, whilst I was waiting for my friend to appear I was accosted by one of those marketing people. Unable to make any excuse and flee, because this was the spot where I had agreed to meet my friend, I cringed and prayed that it wouldn't be too painful an experience.
Fortunately, the young girl and boy (18 is very young by my standards today!), were canvassing for a charity that I regularly donate to. Huge sigh of relief when the topic shifted onto books. Well, we were standing outside WH Smiths! I was also wearing a tee shirt bearing the "Fangtasia" logo. For all of you who are uninitiated into the world of vamps, or who have been living on another planet these past few years, like the young girl had), Fangtasia is the name of the Vampire bar owned by Eric Northman in the "True Blood" series.
Well, the young boy told me that he had written a book, it was better than all those in Smiths (to which I sighed and pulled a downy face at his pomposity, whilst slightly admiring his confidence), and then began to inform me that he didn't know how to get published.
I refrained from stating the obvious, "So, you obviously take it seriously then!", and proceeded to launch into a mini lecture explaining the hows and how nots of submitting to mainstream publishers. I then informed him that self publishing was fast becoming the most popular route these days. Just look at "Fifty Shades". Whether you hate it or not, it certainly highlights how self publishing can catapult you to the pinnacle of success.
Of course the ultimate question, and the one that I put to you now, is a simple one:
Why do you write?
Some (the delusional ones I like to call them), do so because they dream of pots of gold and stardom. These remind me of those hopefuls on the reality show auditions who clearly fail to realise that they do not have any true talent and then deride the experts when told this, and all because they are blinded by the stars and lights.
To me, the true writer is one who writes because he/she has to. I'm not knocking monetary success. It would be lovely to earn a substantial salary through doing something that I love. However, to me, writing is something that is in your blood. You don't just do it. You live it.
When people learn that I am a writer, they invariably ask me one question first: "Are you rich?"
There are many replies, but I tell them the truth, whilst refraining from informing them that there was a time in society when discussing money was deemed as being simply vulgar.
No, I don't earn mega bucks. I write because I have to. I want to. I have never truly wanted to do anything else. Whether you are published or not, the fact that you put pen to paper, fingers to keyboard, voice to mic, means that YOU are a writer.
And the money? Hell, the money would be great but, ultimately, the fact that I can write and others can read and, hopefully, enjoy my work means that I am rich enough...
Well, it's been another one of those weeks. One migraine later... I finally managed to apply the BOCHOK method and sort out my writing for the week. It didn't quite go to schedule....
The two short stories I'd hoped to write for a couple of competitions developed no further than mind maps and possible story lines. One of the manuscripts I'm working on is only half editted.
And horror of horrors!!!! I was in bed the other night and my mind suddenly switched onto a novel I had started to write last year whilst on holiday, and then abandoned on our return home. Not only did this take my mind back to sunny Bitez. It also meant that I dived for my note book, (now kept beside the bed. Lesson learned there. No more scrabbling across the room in the dark, stubbing toes and waking hubby and the cat).
Now, you might think that I was pleased to be struck by that bolt of inspiration. Well, I suppose I am. We have to be thankful for these wonderful epiphanies. Unfortunately, it resulted in me ripping out the first ten pages, of the twenty I'd scribbled on my sunbed last year, the following morning, and deciding that a rewrite would work best. It also meant that I had to rewrite my synopsis and redo a mind map. Which brings me onto my question...
How much planning do you do when you're writing? Are you a precious writer? Do you cling onto every single word and paragraph? Every plan?
I have to say, I'm part organic as a writer. I never used to be. I used to just go with the flow. However, after two many midget gems, too much hair pulling out and far too many saggy middles, I now do some planning.
I do character profiles, mind maps and a synopsis. I also make a note of each chapter content (for continuity). Of course, as you have just learned, this isn't cast in stone. Yes, it's a pain having to change something. However, this is where the sunshine shines through. I haven't touched that bit snippet of a forgotten manuscript since last summer, but obviously my subconscience has and, who knows, the new beginning might just be the glorious burst of sunshine I need to shift the clouds.
What can I say? I think the title puts it rather well. Although, on reflection, I think that funny is probably not the right word. Disastrous? Maybe. Clumsy? Definitely....
I had every intention of making it a week whereby my writing shone and I could sit back and roll in the happy delights of my success (not necessarily publication, but definitely progress on the editorial front).
Alas! I lost my eternity ring at the beginning of the week. That sent my mood and good intentions plummeting. Then the washing machine decided that it didn't want to work anymore. I had two days of feeling ill (living with IBS does that to you). Hubby decided to reverse my car off the drive. No real drama there, you may scoff. Well, no. Not unless you count the fact that he took the recycle bottle tub with him... the one he'd put there only a couple of hours before. Luckily, the only damage was to his pride, and not my rear bumper!
And my writing?
Well, I did manage to finish an edit on one of the three projects I currently have on the go. I even managed to get two short story competition entries out. Other than that, I seem to have spent a week shuffling abut the house, bemoaning the fates of my ring and the washing machine (now fixed).
However, a new week is fast upon us and I have had an epiphany. Eating midget gems and telling the world that I'm cogitating my next piece of art (when in fact, I'm sulking and trying to decide which movie I can stick in the dvd player), isn't going to produce anything fast.
So....keyboard here I come!! I wonder if hubby will mind if I stick him in a short story?
Well, Happy Diamond Jubilee to Her majesty, and to your good selves.
As someone with a Degree in History and who thrives on it, I think it's great that Britain has enjoyed such stability. Whatever your views on the Monarchy, you can't deny that. And that brings me onto a related subject...
Longevity and perseverance.
It has been said, can't remember who by (if you do, maybe you could let me know), that a successful writer is one who hasn't given up. The failed writer is one who didn't know how close to success he was.
So, how do you keep going when the rejection letters or the inspiration isn't there? You will have to let me know. Do you feel guilty if you spend the day lolling on the sofa with a glass of wine, nibbles and a good film? Or do you consider it "research" or resting the brain whilst your sub conscious still merrily ticks over?
I have been scribbling ever since I was a little girl and I have never, ever, thought about giving up. It's not about fame. It isn't even about money. It's just the pure, unadulterated thrill I get whenver I put pen to paper (yep, all my first drafts are done long hand), or fingers to keys.
Yes, there are days, weeks even, when I don't seem to be getting much done. There are even times when I rant and rave and bemoan the Fates like a mad writer possessed. But, bottom line, how could I ever give up something that gives me so much joy?