Monthly Archives: March 2014

Camp NaNoWriMo – April 2014 Is About to Open!

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footer-camp… STARTS AT MIDNIGHT (I hope to be in bed asleep by then!)

Last year was my 1st NaNo Camp and I excitedly stayed up and starting writing at midnight. Last April I wrote over 35000 words towards a Non-Fiction manuscript that I am still working on.

This year I have chosen a much more realistic word count 10K (it is the lowest you are allowed)!

I have planned my writing (not quite as a timetable) I only need a daily count of 334 words, should make it more manageable with participating in NaPoWriMo too! camp_12_mug_detail2 Are your bags packed? Have you got your cabin mates?

Do you have a plan for your writing? 2014-Participant-Vertical-Banner

 

Some things on the Camp Planner for Week 1:Week One

On Wednesday at 11:00 a.m. PDT, tune in for the first Campfire Hangout of the year. You want writing prompts? Oh man, have we got writing prompts.

On Thursday, check your Camper Messages for a pep talk from a writer just like you. We’ll send one every week.

And every day, look for challenges from @NaNoWordSprints and conversations in the NaNoWriMo forums.

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March 2014 – Review of the Month

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It has been a fantastic month, busy, successful and beginning to live the life I dream of living.

I have a final submission to edit and send before Midnight and work tomorrow. When I get home my 1st priority will be to update this post with a review of March.

Come back tomorrow and have a read ūüôā

Review March 2014 March2013_zps0236ca3b

March started out with me missing a few writing deadlines, February had been busy and I often scribble opportunities in my writing diary that don’t work out due to other commitments or a lack of muse. When they are an annual event I try to make a note of them at the front of the diary – in the hope that I might work on a piece later in the year which would be suitable, or to bear them in mind before the deadline next year.

I often leave things a little late – not just in the world of writing!

PUBLISHED

One deadline I did meet was submitting poetry about the fur trade for an upcoming Born Free Anthology, my poems (2 of them) are due to be published later this year. Many of my poetry friends also have work in this book, so it will be a special one to keep for more reasons than just to support the Charity, although it’s good to do that too.

I look forward to promoting this publication soon. born free

My poetry was up on display in a local library, thanks to the Arts Network and information about this group being shared in a Stanza (Poetry Society) meeting last year.

lib It was exciting for me to go and fetch it all back a few days ago and look inside the suggestion box to see what ideas other people had left me. Hear more about these poems later in April.

PAMPHLETS

I found out about Flarestack and Cinnamon call outs for pamphlets at the beginning of March and thought I might be ready to produce one – this was a 2014 goal… aside from missing one of the deadlines I have found that 15+ poems is not a place I am in right now, besides my chances of publication/ acceptance would be improved if I could place more work and build up my writing CV first.

YOUNG WRITER

I am finding this a frustration. When I left the writing world (unintentionally) I was a Young Writer, a successful, published one at that. I ran (and made money) facilitating workshops, I had portfolios of work, I was a well established performance poet (or stagey page poet) in my local region, I ran an open mic night, I managed a writing website… things were busy and for a while I¬†worked as¬†a freelance writer imagesCAEZ7LYS(I had no other income) – it all worked well. I wasn’t rich but I was making waves and getting places. I often wonder where I would be now if I hadn’t bailed out.

However, I did, life happens, I had commitments, ambitions, a career, a good income etc. and eventually the winding path I trod brought me back to the little sign that says ‘This is who you are… DO IT!’

Regrets are a waste of energy – I have to accept I am back on square one, but with age (and maybe wisdom) I have made an impact in 6 short months and things have started to shift in the right direction! cake

SUBMISSIONS AND SUCCESSES

At the end of February I submitted a poem for the Wenlock Poetry Trail – part of the Wenlock Poetry Festival.

To my delight this was accepted (the same week as Born Free poems), my poem is now on display in the window of Croft Designs, in Wenlock AND it was liked so much the owner has published it on the shop’s website!

I tried to get tickets for a workshop at the MAC. It was for What’s the Agenda? A community arts project organised by the Cannonhill Collective. I couldn’t get the website to accept the registration page. In the end I sent an email directly to Hayley Frances, who was running the workshop. She said I should have just turned up- but it is a long way to go if there hadn’t been spaces. I got the brief on email – which was a good job because the promotion at the beginning of the month that I had seen – just said communication & isolation in a digital world. This is very different to Hikikomori, the subject.

I started researching this condition which originated in Japan and is fast becoming a worldwide phenomena which needs supporting/preventing.¬†Eventually reading interviews and articles turned into a freewrite following Hayley’s brief and this¬†writing on the theme of isolation, eventually worked into a¬†poem. The Japanese connection meant that Hayley wanted Haikus. I wrote them a week later, in a spare hour between work and Confab Cabaret! I had envisaged sending out 3 or 4. I submitted¬†21, not expecting them all to be accepted but I think¬†Hayley¬†used¬†most of them in the end.

Mr G and I were lucky enough to catch a part of the What’s The Agenda? Festival weekend – a performance of poetry about divorce for¬†3 parts and also the Hikikomori room,¬†which we were invited into. A great art instillation/ mixed media piece. Hayley was kind enough to show us¬†round her piece in a¬†quick break in between shows. It was great seeing and hearing how passionate she is about this project and its message.

I entered my first EVER Poetry Competition!

And dressed as a Flower fairy at work to celebrate World Book Day!

I missed the opportunity to read / perform my poetry to camera, a Birmingham University student, opened his doors to all poet’s for a weekend – I would have loved to have been living in that house! I had a busy schedule and wasn’t able to fit any slot in – I know lots of people who did get themselves filmed for his project (but they got a free copy of the film). I emailed Ben and he hopes to do something like this again in the future. I will be prepared for then, I just hope I will also be free!

I had a great time at The Hive, hiveworcesterorg¬†working as an Assistant Writer for the Write On! Young Writers’ programme. Although I will never take public transport again, it took so long being delayed it was as stressful as driving! I was delighted to share my poetry news with the group and share 3 young writers’/ poetry competitions with them. One of which I had entered the adult round for.

Emmapress had a book launch for yet another anthology my poems were rejected from – Motherhood – I know some prolific writers’ who are in it and would have loved to go and support them at the launch in Birmingham, it was a day I was already busy.

I only had a couple of days off for writing this month as I have accepted lots of overtime (to pay for solicitors and house sales!) and have struggled to fit everything in. My writing diary has become so full the post it note lists have multiplied onto extra pages being stuck in.

I missed some great events due to clashing dates and tiredness, as I have found out you cannot commit to doing every event and also work a day job, manage a house and keep up healthy relationships. The events I did manage were superb.

I caught up on 52 poems although I haven’t managed to post them all onto the Social Media page. I am finding this challenge results in interesting work and is a great way to virtually meet more poets (and raise the profile of your own name!)

I signed up to a poetry network.

I also signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo and NaPoWriMo the week before the end of the month. I did both of these challenges last year and thoroughly enjoyed them. The main lesson I learnt last year was that this writing has to be of use. I am using the camp to get short stories written and the Poetry to create extra work for a pamphlet in the future.

It was both Oxford Literary Festival, Cheltenham Poetry Festival and Otley Word Feast Weekend. I had hoped to get to this event over the weekend, but by the evening I was far too tired. cheltenham fest

I started rehearsing on a collaborative set for the next Mouth & Music. Should be fun – we get to share the stage for 10 minutes next month!

I also had the exciting opportunity to perform in the local arts centre in the summer along as part of a Poetry Army, more on this soon.

Worcestershire hosted the next poet laureate competition, I know several contenders in it this year. I decided after some thought to give this a miss this year as I work on my writing, I will have a clearer picture of missions for the future by then as well as a more developed profile locally.

EVENTS

The Ort РSpoken Word event. A great event, where I got to see The Night Watchmen, now on Tour and currently *this past weekend, played at The MAC, Birmingham.

Poet’s with Passion¬†– The Sahara – A relaxed affair, poet’s sharing¬†words on the theme of home.

Mouth & Music – BHGmouth music¬†Current Affairs theme – I wrote about the missing Malaysian flight… it was a great night and I had the chance to watch Brenda Read-Brown perform again and was wowed by grimm andy¬†The Very Grimm Brothers.

© 2014 BBC

© 2014 BBC

SpeakEasy – only just managed to turn up in time to race to the mic for my booked 6 minute slice speak and I had had THE MOST STRESSFUL¬†¬†work day… if I hadn’t have been booked this is one evening I would have missed due to exhaustion! It was good to see The Very Grimm Brothers again though and also Bobby Parker.

Confab Cabaret – A great night celebrating there 1st birthday with performances from The Decadent Divas and Men in General. It was so good that in the enthralling atmosphere, I had almost forgotten it was a work night! Confab 1

Hit The Ode I didn’t perform this month but went to support my¬†friend Andrea Shorrick a.k.a Swingerella. I saw 3 amazing headliners and¬†spent my last pound coins on a poetry pamphlet!

Hit Rachael It was a great night! I really enjoyed it. I hoped to perform there again in April, but they have some amazing poets and people have already signed up and filled the slots. It is a great night though and I am more than happy to watch top class entertainment like the people who grace the stage at The Ode.

The Quiet Compere – MAC – QC banner¬†A bunch of us poets – went to support the 10 poets taking part in Sarah L Dixon’s Tour of the North with a jaunt into Birmingham. It was a superb night out! QCM Sarah L Dixon

Poetry Bites РIn support of Sarah James who had a guest spot alongside Helena Calcutt. I had an open mic spot and shared new poems to the public. It was a packed night Рentertaining  Рlovely atmosphere and great to meet Jacqui Rowe properly.

Drummond 42 – 3rd Anniversary – where I shared Zombie poems I had written especially for the event. drummond42 3rd

Stanza – I missed 1 event and an open mic night to be there, having missed last month’s due to Najma Hush’s exhibition performance,¬†I wanted to go to this meeting. It took a while to feel comfortable in my editing hat, but I was glad of the meeting. I wrote a poem especially for this meeting, one¬† that I hope to do something with next month.

What’s The Agenda Festival – MAC – Watched performance and saw the gallery pieces for Hikikomori. MAC

 

Here’s looking at April! (Pop over to the Write Year Page to see the Year so far!)

LINKS TO FOLLOW

End of Month Writing Deadlines & A Surprise!

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I am hoping this evening that I will be able to write a poem for submission, I missed the opportunity to enter Furies Anthology Competition last night, as I just couldn’t manage to write a poem that I was happy enough to enter. starbucks

After I have made my final deadline, I need to get over to Camp NaNoWriMo2014-Participant-Square-Button and NaPoWriMo to prepare for tomorrow – the 1st day of both challenges.

I am still catching up with 52 poems and need to sort a few email / admin activities. I would also like to write some blogposts.

I came home to a lovely surprise this evening. I had work and after that had to travel back to my flat to collect a month’s worth of post, check the apartment over, collect my poetry from the library (it had been on display) for the Arts Network, go to the bank (cash a cheque from a school sent over a month ago) and get to the I thought ‘Oh, no! Not more!’ bubble-cloud-backgroundBut when I turned it over, I found a lovely hand written note. It was some Stanza poems and a poetry magazine from Claire Walker. The only thing about being so busy is missing time connecting with friends. I was sad that I hadn’t been in to offer a drink in exchange for this poetry parcel.

I hope to spend some time catching up in a fortnight – our Easter break, I know that I will need some time for R & R though and family time.084723-pink-jelly-icon-business-clock7-sc43 I don’t want to be so busy that I am backed up with things to do. I need some free time.

It was a great surprise though! Thanks Claire!

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Diary Out, Inking a To Do List

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We got to the weekend! Hurray! I have been so busy recently that I am looking forward to some time out next week. I still have to work as I haven’t won the lottery, but am taking a back seat on poetry events, there are some on but I won’t be involved.

Today I am writing my To Do list, there are several deadlines over the next few days that I need to write against. I wrote a poem for Stanza yesterday after work, it took 1.5 hours and I need to go back to the drawing board with it, unfortunately it is not for any of my deadline submissions. Writing close to the bone again, when will I learn?
I am not one of those naturally organised people and so I am doing my best with my writing diary and post-its, (I find it better than last year’s excel spreadsheet format).

I missed a great opportunity because I thought the deadline was today and it was yesterday at 5pm! (I was asleep!)
The brief was London based and most of my London poetry wouldn’t have been suitable, so it would have meant new writing being born, tough call in 2 hours. It was an opportunity to have it displayed outside for a month (April) on huge boards, 8 poets were to be selected.
Looking for more opportunities like this in the future.

Today Mr G and I are finally (after a month of promising) going to sort the allotment jungle – it will be hard work, we are thinking of letting it go now we have a garden, complete with veg patches he dug last weekend.
Then later we are off out to the Theatre, a Christmas Gift from him to me/us.

In between I hope to get some writing done, maybe tonight when we get home.
My priority is 3 poems on a deadline for tomorrow, a video script and some poems about hotels in case I make it to the 3rd day of the Cheltenham Poetry Festival.

I am also currently working on a collaboration for Mouth & Music (8th April), which is exciting, just hope 1 more rehearsal gives us enough time, I cancelled next week’s rehearsal to work!

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The Most Exciting Opportunity!

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motivation dreamsI have a fantastic opportunity this summer to be on stage with a poetry army – to be part of it myself – this appeals to both the actress/performer in me and the poet! I cannot wait!
More on this later in the year!
WHOAHOOO! The noise we make when our dreams are coming true!

A Great Night at Stanza

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I missed Stanza last month, both actually and emotionally.

It was great to see everyone (or most people) tonight. I found my editing hat a bit of a tight fit – but got into it after a while.
Mark hosted another lovely night complete with party spread (home-made Victoria Sponge mmmmmmm!) and I had some help with a new poems about Starlings that I wrote this afternoon.
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A great night was had by all and I look forward to working on my Starling poem next week!

Clashing Events

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One of the biggest challenges I face is finding out about events that are scheduled at the same time.

Tomorrow I am hoping to go to the Stanza meeting, especially as I missed the last one (performing at Najma Hush’s exhibition ‘Diverse Dancers’) and it will also make me write a new poem.
But in the city – several Counties away from where I will be there are two great events.
In the Library a bunch of really good poets are performing.
Then later on Ddotti Bluebell is hosting Word Up at York’s Bakery (which I thoroughly enjoyed last month) – I have to miss both of these events due to geographic location and my inability to teleport!

Then on Saturday I am missing Amanda Bonnick’s Special Mother’s Day Poetry Event at the Oxfam Bookshop, I know I would have loved this evening with the Worcestershire poets.

It doesn’t get much better in April – I want to go to 42, as I usually do – but the Pigeon Park Press are hosting another spoken word event, I missed the last one as it clashed with an event I was already attending.

Next week there are some events but my writing diary is fairly full so I have decided I will take most of the week off from events and concentrate on writing. Plus next week I have a full week of work and a day that Mr G and I have both booked to FINALLY start decorating our home.

When the Going Gets Tough!

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This post is for everyone who has a DAYJOB and is also trying to forge a writing career.

This is probably how your mind feels most of the time.

Culinary disaster

©EmmaC 2014

 

I promise you this is not my culinary disaster (and although my friend posted it on social media, she probably didn’t expect it to be used on my blog!) – this is what happens if you don’t prick potatoes before cooking them.

Today the stress in my head (at the day job, from the day job, from thinking about the writing life I would rather lead, in trying to imagine the evening before it was even lunchtime!) built up to this explosive point… I felt like these potatoes…

If you have ever felt the same read on.

roses

©N Lewis2014

Even these beautiful roses have sharp bits.

No-one can have a perfect life, there are always sharp bits! I know a good few people lucky enough to be full time writers, they no longer have to balance that life with a dayjob, and even they still have sharp bits.

Remember living the life you dream of doesn’t mean you will lead a stress free, smooth edged life.

Dream, of course, but keep your head somewhere in reality.

 

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Learn your triggers and have a mental list of how to get over the stress once you have made it home. Any way you can relax and let go of it is good. Here is a list of things that work for me;

 

  • Reading a book
  • Having a lie down/power nap
  • Taking a bath

 

      • Working out (I rarely do this in the face of confronting my stress – but it always works when I do)
        • Rage it out in a free write
          • Phone a friend and have a bit of a moan

 

  • Chill out with a magazine and a cuppa
  • Watch a film
  • Go for a walk

 

And remember why you are in this dual/ split life place to begin with.

motivation closer

 

 

 

 

Another idea is to visualise (and manifest) sometime in 2013 I created this board of dreams, actually a board of what I wanted my life to be – not dreams but reality! Some of these aspects are already coming true, it serves as a visual reminder….

 

visual

©N Lewis 2014

 

Almost central are the words THE SMARTEST DECISION I EVER MADE…

giving up my full time career after 14 years and with it the salary and the pension is okay, it is just that, the¬†SMARTEST and BRAVEST decision I have ever made. And no matter how bad my day has been by 5pm or 6pm at the latest, IT¬† — IS — OVER! Whereas before there¬† was barely time to grab dinner before working away for another 5 or 6 hours. That 60-80 hour relentless working week is not sustainable – it is why so many teachers took strike action yesterday.

Finding time to write can be a challenge, if you do find time keeping energy up can be hard, but how worth it – think about how writing makes you feel. Better than most things in the world? Then keep going!

Try to hold onto the good days and let go of the bad – in the same way we let go of rejections and celebrate our publishing successes!

Just keep going!

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Three Word Prompt

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words To find out more about this freewrite activity ^ click the image.

 

Prompt: Write down the first words that comes to mind when we say . . . home. . . soil. . . rain.

My Response:

Home finally means something to me again. Sometimes my mind wanders back to Roslin Close and my childhood home, I see my family, as we were, younger and looked after, protected. I might be doing something as mundane as washing up and my head will take me back in time.

I have been nomadic, rootless, I enjoyed the freedom of movement. There comes a time for settling and when that time is right, you know. Our together house is definitely home, I love coming back here. We are itching to decorate the face of it, but the spirit is already shining.

Soil in the allotment under all the wild, overgrown grass and weeds we have to go and get rid of. The soil used to be stony but over the years with planting and replanting the land has been worked and the soil is healthier.

Rain has fallen in our Country for months, it finally stopped  a few weeks ago, we enjoyed the sun shine and dry for a few days and now Winter has returned. The flood waters have finally dropped.

 

42 – 3rd Anniversary

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drummond42 3rd Had a great night at Drummonds 42, some spectacular stories and poems! I had written 2 Zombie poems, to fit the theme. I was wondering how I would manage as this is not a favoured genre.

You know sometimes when you are trying to write something, the universe just delivers? Last Friday whilst I was at the Quiet Compere, Mr G was playing a new game on the playstation and I arrived home to a screen full of Zombies, it inspired to write ‘My Non-Existent Post Apocalyptic Zombie Plan’ and ‘Carnage’. I left these poems to soak and came back to them today to edit. Which took the best part of an hour.

It’s good to write outside the box sometimes.