Monthly Archives: August 2013

End of the Month Review – August 2013


The summer has basically been one long break from writing. After NaNoWriMo in July, the house move, finishing work late July and having friends to stay throughout July and August – not to mention unpacking, de cluttering, a birthday and attempting to sell property. As I have already confessed August had no working action plan – I kept dipping in to write a little but then didn’t stick to it!

untitled I am glad to announce that the final day enabled me to submit poetry to two online locations AND I have a very full and challenging SEPTEMBER action plan to follow. My muse (which has been lacking) is seeping its way back into me. (Thank goodness) inkspill keyboard

I have done a lot of reading this month, other than research and articles on writing, I read two novels is as many days this week (I was avoiding all the jobs I needed to do.) I have read 4 books this month and am halfway through my 5th, I must find time to upload my Goodreads profile. (Which looks like I haven’t read since March!) imagesCA8MSS7R

I worked on several projects that I am mid edit /re-write on, completed more research into markets and publishing opportunities. I wrote a morning journal in an attempt to keep writing through the block. I also attempted to keep up with writing challenges on other blogs for this reason also – that and they are fun! A fast way to learn how to… a new genre and meet more writers.

I also enrolled on a Stunt Writing course stunt-writing-final1-1 online and attempted to log a daily gratitude.

I celebrated a birthday imagesCA6ANW3Pgift

and more recently have completed job searches for this Autumn. I have secured an interview next week and signed up with several agencies.  imagesCAVZQJ1K

Today I managed (by the skin of my teeth) to make deadlines for poetry submissions. I have 6 poems under consideration for e-publishing anthologies. They were written in a rush though, we will wait and see.

I also found out about scriptwriting opportunities – I will look out for them next year because I didn’t have time to work on my ideas this time round. I also sent off for information about a Literature Festival and have booked my tickets for lots of events and one workshop (all to look forward to in October!)

And FINALLY I started marketing INKSPILL – the online writing retreat taking place here in the final weekend of October (25-27th), the programme is coming together and I hope to drum up lots of interest over the next month.

AWF Banner

Offline Writing


WOW! My spam folder rose to a whole new level – my first spam messages in a foreign language! I popped online to try and reply to comments and I hope I have not missed anybody out.

I have spent the afternoon trying to hatch poems for submission – to be fair I didn’t have much advance warning, I am not a journalist and don’t work that well when creativity is under pressure. I have managed 1 of 5 poems. I have a few hours left before the deadline and so my next job is to WRITE.

This weekend is busy and I haven’t managed to write for the challenges this week. I look forward to time to dip in & read next week.

Happy Writing


Catch Up


Today I finally managed time to make important work calls. I am working on my CV tomorrow and after submitting it to 4 places have also arranged an interview on Tuesday.

By putting this action off, I had made it a really big thing in my head. I had started to worry about the what if’s… I was genuinely surprised when they all sounded happy to hear I had experience. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure and all that. It will do me good feeling golden again.

I also found out about 2 opportunities for poetry submissions. Tomorrow after I email my CV, I will start composing poetry. I have a day, the deadline is 31/8. I can work with that.

If you run, you can catch up.

Schedule some Time…


To plan your next month of writing.

Last night I completed my September action plan/ writing schedule. It includes deadlines for 13 poems, 2 short stories and several cover letters as well as more planning time for creating the rest of the Inkspill programme.

I hold my hands up… Summer was blown, I never got up to date with Action plans after June. I have well and truly had my summer break & I look forward to discovering how much work and opportunities I can find and create this Autumn. I have 5 planned already for next month.

If you haven’t already, have a think about what you’d like to achieve and the scale / timeframe you have. Get planning. Get ready. Then, just write!

Good luck with the planned action.

The Universe Conspires – Literature Festivals, Tickets and Shelves


inkspill with stars After stepping back into my writing skin yesterday I was delighted to receive ‘writing related’ post too! A brochure for a Literature Festival. I eagerly read the entire programme, folding the corners of the pages to mark the events I was most interested in attending.

Then that little voice in the back of my head chirped up. I had set aside my slimming club money this year (I can do it by myself if I really try) to cover the cost of all workshops and writing classes. Especially necessary after starting to work part time for the first time in 16 years! Not to mention the 1.5 mortgages (oppps, I just did!) This budget was blown by May when I booked my final classes with Clare Belle. I was beginning to resign myself to the panic that even the wonderful free events would not be free after travelling to the city… when my angel stepped in and banished the voice of madness, inkspill Freereminding me I have just had £50 birthday money and that I no longer want to buy ‘things’… after years of decluttering enough is enough. The stockpile in this house will be used – enabling a frugal existence until I start to earn. The last thing I want to do is restock it!

I have decided to spend my birthday money on a workshop in the middle of October – a seasonal ‘pick me up’ before running our own Writing Retreat – AWF Banner

I also found an interesting show around Christmas time – beats a pantomime hands down.

After yesterday’s online banking fiasco I attempted to book all my festival tickets onlineadmission-ticket-icon… to no avail…. tried twice. My card was declined. (Annoying when you know there are funds available!) I ended up calling the box office – I tried them earlier on this morning and was just held in a queue of two, until I lost patience with the repeated message and hung up! This time at least I was number 1 in the queue – I went through the 9 events I am trying to book tickets for and in the end…. my card was declined. I think it was to do with addresses. I tried my old one, it still didn’t work. Miffed I opted to send a cheque (got to find my cheque book) but at least this wavers the £1.00 booking fee…. see I am an expert in frugal already! imagesCAJBX1JQ

On the writing front I am keeping the passion of yesterday alive and plan to write (offline) this evening. I have shelved the comedy scriptwriting after finding out there was an expensive registration fee – three days is not long enough to develop performance writing, however – the ideas are not wasted and will be recycled and prepared as a script ready for next year – where I am sure I can find places to fit it. type

I realised yesterday that this year I have built up a body of work – most of which hasn’t made it past the editor but could feed in elsewhere or may even be highly suitable for another publication. I need to get organised. Mr G and I have spent the day sending messages backwards and forwards regarding furniture purchases for storage (the exciting life we lead…. I am still loving it and the novel value!) and on my quest for the perfect pieces I came across an amazing invention. I have never seen one before.

A bookcase designed to hold lever arch files and folders in there own cubby hole spaces! So tidy and PERFECT for writers, teachers, coaches, workshop facilitators, tutors and people like me who are all of the listed. We may even have room for the ‘Home ‘ files in there too.

I know where my 1st pay cheque is going!

Happy writing AWF 2013

FWF Free Write Friday – Dandelion Season


I am so late finding Friday’s prompt I can barely call this a Free Write Friday contribution – Tantalisingly Tardy Tuesday Write maybe…


I liked the list of prompts this week and although tempted by The Human Zoo have chosen…


Dandelion Season


As a child I believed all flowers were pretty

Especially the yellow ones,

Even the weeds.

I didn’t understand how something so vibrant

could be plucked and forced up

from it’s roots between stone.


I never saw the transformation.

I forgot to sit and look for days,

Dandelion season came and went.


The once lion-headed, flame yellow


Silenced as it




by the gentle

current of fairy wings,

Escaping into late summer’s breeze.


Following the shapes of the garden,

Up, up to freedom.

Those fairies landing on us got blown

upwards too.


I would close my eyes and

make a wish

Before I puffed my cheeks and

blew the fairy on

towards a new destination.

Research: Comedy Writing – Tips & Links


036331-3d-glossy-blue-orb-icon-transport-travel-transportation-airplane3I need my muse out of that AIRPORT lounge RIGHT NOW!

For the first time this month I am filled with the exhilarated excitement of a writer who is about to write. Finally! Yippeee! The only irk is I am now days off a deadline and have felt (up until now) empty of ideas.

I know you are supposed to leave your writing before proofreading but everything I do from here relies on speed. I am currently, hurriedly researching (which is where this blog post comes in), I hope to finish writing the first draft tonight, leave it a day, edit – print – proof – print and send… (2 days to achieve edit to polish!) dl

I believe in passing things forward – now I am researching comedy writing (I will add at this point that previous experience both as an actor and performance writer, in addition to the more recent theatre scriptwriting workshops with Alan Harris back in May/June and my workshop day with Keith Lindsay (in February) have all given me a great foundation to believe that I can have a stab at this challenge).

As you will know from reading my ‘About’ page I have been out of this writing game a long while and fashions change, it is essential to complete a little research before I dive off the high board into an audience of laughing faces!

I thought I would share my findings and some useful websites with you along the way. It also means I can access this message to continue my quest (saves sending numerous linked emails to myself) and it might help you!

PS If any of you are comedy writers please feel free to load the comment boxes with advice, tips, knowledge, success stories and website links you find useful.


script mugResearch: Comedy Writing – Tips & Links

Researching the Comedy Monologue:

Monologues are talky by nature. There probably won’t be a lot of action, and events may be told rather than shown. Avoid heading into talking head territory: make sure your characters have some attitude or emotion.

Monologues can be made more interesting if characters play a subtext, so what they’re saying is at odds with what they really think. posted by  

Writing the Monologue – checklist

Steps I have Already Taken

  1. Think of the Topic.
  2. Make sure it matches the requirements of the brief.
  3. Make sure you know how to set out performance manuscript/ script.
  4. Mind-map some descriptive words – these will be used to make the performance writing interesting and ensure it makes sense.
  5. Make descriptive sentences – have a play around – helps develop character voice.
  6. Draw up a picture (literally if you want to) of your character.

* Who are they?

* What makes them tick?

* How do they feel about what they are telling the audience?

7. Think about how to make it funny. How will it appeal to the audience? Think about who your audience is.

8. Always give the character someone to talk to.

9. And of course the advice that all writers know READ, READ, READ!

I have a book of monologues from my audition days and in addition to devouring this small paperback, I have also searched the internet and read more comedy monologues. You can spot patterns of good writing by doing this – like a detective! (Which if I could stand the sight of blood, is a career I may have considered.)

There are many websites where you find well written monologues and enjoy a few hours reading – this is speed research, so I will leave you with one and encourage you to use a search engine to discover the wonderful world of performance writing.

After those 9 Steps of Mine –checklist

It really is all about the Character!

Note, I don’t say: “be funny”. Sure, chances are some lines will be hilarious,  but what’ll really make people laugh is an accurate character portrayal. The  more specific you are with speech patterns, physical embodiment, character arc –  the more people will connect. And laugh.

My Tips – based on knowledge and experience from my past, treading the boards and writing for performance- ideas for making your character live, creating the monster!

  • Write a character who has a flaw.
  • Imagine (or write if you have time) your character into different situations. How do they react?
  • Become your character – act them out of the situations – rehearse/stage the monologue – some writers may find it useful to record – others (especially those with no acting experience would rather not risk being discovered as the next ‘You Tube’ sensation!
  • Develop some physical or verbal character traits – especially if they cleverly tie into the ‘reveal’ of your writing/monologue/character.

Another Staircase – checklist

Steps to take before the EDIT

Ask someone to read the script, get there opinion of it – don’t ask a close friend or relative and don’t expect to pester writer contacts without payment. It is important to get a point of view from another perspective. Next, consider how much criticism was constructive and useful and what, if anything you don’t agree with.

Read and proof your copy editing with your review in mind. bob Fix it!

I hope these ideas are helpful for some of you I am off to change into the character from the ankle up (Stanislavski would be proud!)

SOLC – Slice of Life Challenge – Two for the Price of One!


Two slices that is…

sols_6Grab yourself a coffee (or preferred beverage) and enjoy!

Last Tuesday I promised a slice all about the birthday celebrations – then I didn’t manage to post a slice at all… let’s step back to mid-August – there are many of us now wishing we could step back a few weeks and relive the summer… happy bday

I started celebrations on the Friday as I went to a Jazz Festival (my dad’s band ‘Broadband’ were playing) -it was a fantastic night with friends and afterwards I went to spend a bit of time with my Dad. I got home close to 1 a.m and crept to bed.

The next morning I expected to wake late – but I am still like a child with birthday excitement! I was awake at 5 a.m and in Blogland so as to not wake Mr G.

Then we shared a lovely birthday breakfast*. I treated myself to some cereal (chocolate pillows filled with hazelnut chocolate – I am such a big kid!) and croissants and coffee and some special ‘Gooey’ biscuits Mr G had bought! tumblr_ll8sakx7PT1qjus36o1_500

Then I had a treasure hunt to find presents (told ‘ya… big kid!) it was the first birthday/ any celebration in our new house and I wanted to remember it! I had 8 clues text to my mobile. I had to ask for help on social media… who says it’s for networking?! Eventually I found bdaythem all – by this point a friend was over and I had to get ready for a family lunch.

My family lunch was amazing and I enjoyed a lovely meal out in good company! My bro and his partner managed to get there with my nephews… any excuse to play the birthday child! I loved sharing it with a 5 and 8 year old. All their needs met. Excited questions about presents answered eagerly!

I got home in time for a quick outfit change and went out to a local bar for birthday evening drinks with a few friends. We got home for 10ish (incredibly early) but I had been out for almost 10 hours and was exhausted. Our friend who came back with us had the superb idea of ordering a take-away, we finished the night off with a film and a curry. (Oh and some more drinks!)

My birthday continued on the Sunday with a birthday brunch of hash browns, potato waffles, eggs and beans, something there was no time or stomach room to have on my actual birthday. 1 bday Oh AND I got a cake with candles… Thanks Mr. G!

sunsetThis past week I have been relaxing (offline for the Bank Holiday weekend – as Mr G had time off and has completely transformed the garden!) I have had family visit and helped babysit two incredibly cute nephews in their onesies!

Today is the first day I need to get back to ‘work’, organise my future. Which leads me to the banking fiasco of today!

Today… started early as I woke up with a hacking cough sometime just after 6AM and didn’t manage to get back to bed, let alone sleep. (I’ve had the cough for over 3 weeks and due to the PSA adverts got a little worried. Eventually had a Dr appointment last week, airways seem to be clear. So as long as it has gone in 3 weeks (now 2.5 weeks) I should be okay, if not at that point they will order a chest x-ray!) It isn’t as bad as it was – but when I start I can’t stop and lying down is the most likely thing to set it off!)


I decided to ACTION my two main tasks for the day – joining agencies for work this September and activating online banking (having forgotten to transfer bill payment money last week before the Bank Holiday weekend. Eek!)

And so begins my day – it is hard to imagine without an image of Calamity Jane! I am a real techno phobic deep down and am one of the rare species who prefer face to face contact in a local branch. Firstly, I discover I have online banking, last accessed 6 months ago. Of course I have to change all my details as I cannot recall usernames and passwords and all paperwork is still in a ‘I just moved house (this June) box’!

Secondly, I discover that I don’t have the right telephone number logged with them so they cannot verify who I am. I look up a landline number to contact (as I only have mobile access) and wait until after 8 a.m. I eat my last bowl of birthday cereal* and watch some TV.

I phone the bank. I confirm the changed details. I log into my account, online. I process the transaction – incorrectly at first, of course (see note about techno phobic), I try again. The transaction is successful – they will phone to verify. imagesCAJBX1JQ

The phone number is incorrect. I change it. That will take 3 days to process. (As will the financial transaction – the first payments are already going out and there is no overdraft facility!) I look up another alternative telephone contact and phone for assistance. I am told I don’t have telephone banking so they can’t help me. I set up telephone banking so I am never in this farcical scenario again. That will take another 5 days.

An hour later I have to walk into town (close to us) in baking sun (thank goodness we have a few more sunny days at the end of the school holiday to enjoy!) I queue at my bank and get served by a trainee so everything needs to happen twice and be confirmed (we all started somewhere) – but for some UNKNOWN reason my bank cannot transfer the money across to another account of mine in a different bank and so I have to walk the street with cash for all my bill money. Fortunately the banks are all close together and I don’t have far to walk… needless to say I prayed all the way!

I wait in an EXCEPTIONALLY long queue and EVENTUALLY transfer my HARD earned pay into our joint account to pay for Household bills! The total transaction time approx: 3 hours! And they say internet banking makes everything quicker – we will see next month when hopefully it will be up and running! I cannot set a debit as the monthly amount varies before any of you suggest such sensible solutions.

Now I have half a day to sort agencies for the Autumn – and to relax and enjoy the sunshine. We still have boxes to unpack and rooms to sort – but it is sunny and anybody who lives in the UK will tell you, when this happens – you get outside and enjoy it!

original_morning-sunshine-mug-1 Off to get a big coffee of my own now!

The Return of my Muse, Almost! (Homeward Bound in an Airport Lounge Somewhere)



I have spent the best part of a week offline – something which started unintentionally and coincided with the Bank Holiday Weekend. Towards the end of which (yesterday) my thoughts turned to writing.

And I am happy  to announce the seeping joy of my muse slowly returningI speculate that she is in an airport lounge instead of home as I have managed research and found many possibilities for writing (some of which I am hoping to force out before the end of the month!) – however, I am still lacking in ideas.

I have read, read and read. Devouring two novels in as many days, I am still on the 3rd book of the Bank Holiday Weekend because I read all of the weekend papers yesterday and some articles and magazines too.

I have started a new notebookthe one we are supposed to carry with us all the time. And it is filling up with sepia ideas and snippets of experience.

I have HOPE inside my fingers that this week I will be able to tap something worthy out. I am going to post a schedule – to help me stay focussed and as it may be something you will find interesting or helpful.

I am going to reply to everyone who has posted and BIG apologies for not doing so sooner. As you can see from my schedule post time in Blogland will be sparse for the rest of the month as I concentrate on completing multiple writing projects ahead of deadline.


Happy Writing

FWF – Free Write Friday – Street View


This is my LATE entry for Kellie’s FWF – Free Write Friday Challenge, as it was my birthday weekend. I have found this image several times earlier this week whilst searching for artwork and images to use in the Inkspill portfolio.



walmart man


He liked to watch the world from here,

Street level.

He wore dark glasses

So no-one could see his thoughts

or tears.

So much had changed.

This place moved on,

even when

people didn’t.