Daily Archives: October 31, 2013

Review of October


Well as the tagline of the blog states… this is the month I found an edge and JUMPED.

I have spent the whole year learning about the art of writing and the world of publishing which has changed since I last put pen to paper. It wasn’t until the summer that I had an epiphany and realised that I need to start back at the roots I knew … poetry. 1 denver library

I have submitted lots of writing this year and the only publishing success was a poem. Poetry is what I know and it is also what I can write.

From this point the month of October has really taken off!

I have performed poetry (for the 1st time in 15 years) at Leamington, at an open mic organised by Julie Boden (Poet Laureate), at Stratford-Upon-Avon, at the launch of Emmapress Anthology of Mildly Erotic Poetry, in Birmingham at the Ort Café and the University of Birmingham – Phenomenal Women – an event organised by Poet Laureate Jan Watts and most recently for Halloween in Worcester at Drummond 42.

1 scottish poet

I started off nervously approaching the microphone and feeling really nervous inside and ended up with confidence. I flew right off that edge and now I am soaring on the highs of returning to a place where my spirit belongs.

I have gained a lot of experience on ‘how to perform’ from watching some very talented professionals during the Birmingham Literature Festival and I discovered how small the poetry world is. blf logo

I have already booked up several events in November including 2 more open mic nights, a workshop, a show and a Stanza meeting. I do not plan to head backwards on this one, just forwards, forwards, forwards.

I can tell that the cogs are now turning in the right direction because everything is falling into place.

The Literature Festival was amazing. I posted lots about it – just use the categories tab and search under Literature Festival and read all about it. lit5

AWF Banner

The blog continues to go from strength to strength and as far as visitors and statistics go Inkspill writing retreat was very successful. I hope people have found it useful.

I also discovered Hays World Summit (the 1st one), I caught it just in time to watch many videos by speakers & learnt some useful meditation exercises. relax

It has been a superb start to the Autumn.

NaNoWriMo Resources – Worth Checking Out!


I haven’t even started researching, I am lucky that some of my social network friends have, discovered shared links to 2 wonderful parts of the web!


Smooth draft offer editing and proofreading services – I am sure they can offer a lot of help for payment – what caught my NaNo eye was the book by EM Lynley, which if you have Kindle/ Ereaders or just under £4.oo to spare could be yours.

If not there are 2 FREE planning worksheets (PDF) which are supposed to be used in conjunction with the book. However, if you are an experienced writer they are self explanatory and fairly easy to complete.

Check the site out here ^

The other is a blog which has been conceived especially for Nano.

Where again you have an amazing opportunity to pay for Accelerator which is a whole journey alongside Nano which could lead to a published Nano Novel.

Have fun checking them out.

Remember feel free to add links to resources and sites you have found NaNo useful. 6542_10151399210394299_902857222_n


Nano Survival Tips

Nano Song

My 1st NaNo

Nano The Real Reason Writers Keep Notebooks

Nano Posts Begin


NaNoWriMo Survival Tips



I am so grateful that I participated in the Spring and Summer Camps now the eve of NaNo has arrived!

During the camps I posted many helpful articles, which still prove to be popular posts to read nowadays. I have used the memory of those experiences and the anxiety of this new one to compile this list of Survival strategies.

Read them, pray and hope! (For those of you with NaNo experience)

Read them, feel the passion, get excited (For all first timers)

Things you need to have BEFORE NaNoWriMo nano3

The obvious

  • Notebook and pens
  • Laptop/ ipad etc
  • Some ideas
  • Possibly even a story map/ plan
  • Snacks – you will need them to hand – some people choose to use them as a reward /incentive
  • Time (scheduled is better if you want to stay on it!)

The less obvious NaNoLand_detail

  • Understanding partner/ family – unless you live alone – understanding neighbours or a cushion to scream into
  • Prepared meals (frozen), cooking takes up so much writing time
  • An open calendar
  • Lifelines (virtual or otherwise)
  • There are regional REAL LIFE groups you may be able to join in your area – we have a great one that I managed to attend during my 2nd camp – I didn’t get much writing done though. I have looked at the meetings scheduled already and as October has been so busy missed out on some great run-up-to- NaNo ideas. I do plan to visit the group again this month at some point, I will at the very least join in with them virtually via the facebook group.
  • Check out www.nanowrimo.org and search for your local groups, most have already posted meeting schedules and events up.
  • The other discovery I made during the camps were the amount of bloggers blogging about and doing Nano, these posts can be a great source of inspiration. I will reblog any gems I find, maybe you could post links to resources, blogs and articles you find helpful too. Some people even produce a NaNo Specific Blog that has the shelf life of a month every year.

So what do I do now? NaNoWriMoFINAL

Well this is what I am going to do/ have done.

  • Written a story plan (2 pages A4)
  • Broken the first scene down and already have a vision of the 1st chapter in my mind.
  • Chosen character names, although these may change
  • Shared my idea with 1 person for some honest feedback (best before I launch into 50,000 words)
  • The next step is to check my calendar… unlike the girl in the NaNoWriMo Song You Tube video I cant just strike through the entire month.
  • I have a very busy mid month weekend where in the space of 3 days I have a Spoken Word that I am performing a set at, a stanza meeting which I need to produce a new poem for, and a weekend trip away for a workshop and to watch a performance. Apart from that I have tried to keep the schedule clear.
  • So now I check the 1667 words (daily target) and see where I can fit them in.

The Lessons

During the camps I learnt some important things about the psychology of being a Wrimo.

One of my tips back then was


After attempting *and winning 2 camps, I know that this is not always possible.

So next came the advice

  • FORGIVE YOURSELF if you do fall behind

(which at some point most of us do.)


So my attitude going into November is to write everyday, to attempt at least 1667 words, to try to over write (do more) in the 1st few weeks to accommodate that busy mid-month weekend and other days when I have poetry bookings.



that’s my current advice.

Good Luck!

Let us know how your first day goes.


Nano Song

My 1st NaNo

Nano The Real Reason Writers Keep Notebooks

Nano Posts Begin

NaNoWriMo Song – You Tube


My 1st NaNo

Nano The Real Reason Writers Keep Notebooks

Nano Posts Begin

Play it in the background as you get your coffee fix and think about the world you will start writing about tomorrow – or at midnight if you are a hardcore wrimo!

My 1st NaNoWriMo


Starts tomorrow. I have the whole plot mapped out now in my notebook and the setting of the opening scene and some of the main characters experiences all mapped out ready to roll my first write (of at least 1667 words) tomorrow.

Delighted! Just half an hour ago I still had no idea what I would write.

I will be posting trials and tips throughout NaNoWriMo and will do my best to link posts together. If you want to jump on board and be a personal cheerleader I would appreciate that and if you are crazy enough to think it’s a good idea and want to join many professional and hobby writers check out and sign in!



Nano The Real Reason Writers Keep Notebooks

Nano Posts Begin

The Real Reason Writers Keep Notebooks – Pre NaNoWriMo #1


I decided to take part in this year’s NaNoWriMo back in February – when I first discovered it… I practised with the 2 NaNoWriMo Camps they have in Spring and Summer – so you would think that by now I had an idea?!

Well… ahem…. er….

Now NaNo is brilliant for any writer who has the ideas and needs the time to get the book down – it will generate at least half a manuscript or nearly a full one if you are going for a Novella….

For a writer with no ideas, it could be over before it has begun!

And so I turn to the copious notes I have taken all year in my handbag sized writers notebook. 1 med

And hurrah! Inspiration struck almost immediately and I turned to that section (September) and have now made several pages of notes on initial ideas in my A4 Notebook (which I started in 2013) 2013 and has a ton of inspirational and essential workshop notes and tips.


This year Mr G and I made no plans for Halloween, other than carving our homegrown allotment pumpkins later and making pumpkin curry from the insides!

And yet here I find myself – feeling like a witch over her precious concoction in the cauldron, adding just the right amount. Tonight I am cooking up a brew – a witches brew – a story plan for NaNoWriMo and it’s going to be magic!

NaNoWriMo – The Posts Begin!



I can finally access the Nano site after some maintenance issues last night. It was the first thing I did this morning from the comfort of my bed (first lie in for ages!) I cannot wait…. well I hardly have to…. it starts tomorrow – so no countdown posts this time.

  • I started blogging this year.
  • I started writing again this year – after at least 6 years not writing!
  • I found out about NaNoWriMo in February and after a little research was gutted that I had to wait until Autumn…

and then…

  • I found out about the camps.
  • I joined the Spring Camp NaNo and ‘won’ with 53000 words.
  • I joined the Summer Camp and ‘won’ with 35000 words.

(I have just seen the pattern of reversal 35 and 53)

and now I am delighted to do my first NaNoWriMo.

And now the adventure begins…

Trouble is….

I have no idea, no plot, no story, no plan, no prepared October manuscript (I was a tad busy starting back to work, performing poetry and preparing and running the Inkspill Writing Retreat – designed to get you in the mood for NaNo.)

Watch this spaceNaNoWriMoFINAL

I have picked up a great word count – I wanted to display it in the widgets area… I am struggling to get it working/ showing.