Category Archives: Freelance

INKSPILL – Meet Our Guest Writers

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This year I am delighted to announce that I asked three writers to come on board for INKSPILL 2014 – all three agreed. The 1st lesson to learn is

ASK – you will never know until you do!

awf-2014 William Gallagher, Charlie Jordan and Heather Wastie have generously given their time to write articles for this  year’s writing retreat. All of them have exceptionally busy schedules and I am grateful that they added INKSPILL to their list of projects this Autumn.

Once again a BIG THANK YOU to all three of you – it has been fun!

 

I first met William Gallagher just over a year ago, at the Book to the Future Festival 2013, Birmingham University. He was giving a talk about his book ‘The Blank Screen’, all about productivity, some great writer tips including a great idea about email… (you will have to buy the book)!

I knew Charlie Jordan by name, as she was Birmingham’s Poet Laureate. I saw her a few times last year at the Birmingham Literature Festival and finally met her properly after William’s talk at the University. Charlie and I both performed poetry at Phenomenal Women an event organised by Jan Watts for Book to the Future Festival 2013.

I met Heather Wastie at the very start of  Poetry journey back in September 2013, we met at a book launch for Be[yond] by Sarah James. Heather Wastie performs poetry regularly as well as hosting the great Open Mic Night ‘Mouth & Music’ which I first went to last December. Heather and I performed at Phenomenal Women last week as part of the Book to the Future Festival 2014.

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Let me introduce you!

 

WILLIAM GALLAGHER

William Gallagher is a writer, dramatist and lecturer. He writes Doctor Who audio dramas, stage plays and has an extensive British journalism experience. He’s also the author of the British Film Institute book BFI TV Classics: The Beiderbecke Affair, B7 Media’s Blake’s 7: The Ultimate Guide and co-author of Radio Times Cover Story. His work has appeared regularly in Radio Times magazine and BBC News Online plus The Independent, the Los Angeles Times and on BBC local and national radio.

William’s hit book The Blank Screen: Creative Productivity for Writers and Normal People Too has become a UK-wide workshop in literary festivals, companies, universities and colleges. It’s also now a busy news site at williamgallagher.com with half a million words in its first few months. 

He’s won awards for his stage drama and his photography has been published in international jewellery books. William is also a performer on the spoken-word cabaret circuit in Birmingham and teaches writing in schools. He’s taught in prisons and also in universities where he’s lectured to both students and professors. He once had afternoon tea on a Russian nuclear submarine and regrets calling the place a dive.

©2014 Lee Allen Photography

©2014 Lee Allen Photography

“Love this book, it is clever and witty and genuinely grapples with making an extra hour (or two) in the day. Inspiring and liberating. A real Can-Do manual. No creative should be without it.”

Blank screen William G
– Barbara Machin, creator of Waking the Dead
Paperback and Kindle now on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1dO1nue

 

 

CHARLIE JORDAN

charlie jordan

Charlie Jordan wore glasses by the age of 3, learned to read before she could speak and hasn’t stopped doing either since. Although she discovered contact lenses at 14, and boys not long afterwards, which distracted her from words for a bit….. 20 years as a radio presenter is in a way a career in spoken word!

She stumbled upon poetry and writing by accident in 2006 when replying to an email about a short writing course. Gobsmacked to become Birmingham Poet Laureate in 2007, while still a complete beginner in poetry, she has since spent time as Poet in Residence at WBA football club, written and performed a solo show ‘Buddhism & Ben and Jerrys’, gigged at The Big Chill festival, Manchester & Worcester Literary Festivals, and with Decadent Divas, rocked the Ledbury Poetry Festival in 2013 and was v. impressed with the backstage cake!

decadent-divas

Published in anthologies Split Screen & Bugged.

 

 

 

HEATHER WASTIE

Heather Wastie wordsmith, humourist, musician & actor Heather Wastie headshot

Heather is an eclectic polymath whose work does not fit easily into boxes! She is a poet, songwriter, oral historian and performer, and runs monthly spoken word and music night, Mouth and Music in Kidderminster with poet Sarah Tamar. She has been short-listed for both Birmingham and Worcestershire Poet Laureates, and in 2013 was Writer in Residence at the Museum of Carpet, turning people’s memories into poems, monologues and songs with accordion. She is co-founder, with Emma Purshouse, of Brewers’ Troupe, a performance poetry company specialising in performances in pubs.

Heather was born in the Black Country and has compiled and edited 2 books of Black Country reminiscences which grew out of projects in Tipton and West Bromwich. She has published 3 illustrated poetry collections: Until I Saw Your Foot and The Page-Turner’s Dilemma (Lapal Publications), focusing on the humorous side of her work, and Poems of the Head in Dynamic Relation to F M Alexander (self-published), centred on the Alexander Technique. She uses technology to create innovative pieces combining music, spoken word and found sound. As a facilitator, she works with people of all ages, including people with disabilities.

 

Website Wasties Space

Blog Weaving Yarns

 

© Peter Williams 2014

© Peter Williams 2014

Summary of recent & current work

• Weaving Yarns performances – songs & poems about people who worked in the carpet industry in Kidderminster

• Performances of original poems & songs

• Spake Prapper – a Black Country Talk Show with Dave Reeves & Billy Spakemon

• Comedy character performances – Black Country Pat, tragic opera singer Montserrat Carbonara

• How do wars start? Performance poetry show with Worcs Poet Laureate, Fergus McGonigal commissioned by Kidderminster Arts Festival 2014

• Idle Women & Judies – solo performance poetry piece about women who took over the working canal boats during WW2, commissioned by Canal & River Trust 2014

• National Trust – Croome Court – actor in site-specific performances; also involved in setting up new poetry group

• Alzheimer’s Society – performances & workshops at dementia cafes

• Workshops and performances in care homes

• Bostin Chats – workshops with young people with disabilities for Creative Health CIC, using performing arts as a tool for consultation

• Sound designer – recent commissions: Arena Theatre, Wolverhampton Counter Culture; Madeley Town Council – Nine Men of Madeley

 

Forthcoming performances

Sunday October 26th

Singing songs from 40s/50s with keyboard for launch of The Hen Race by Alan Durham

Worcester

 

Tuesday November 4th

Guest Poet/Musician at “The Works Canteen” with Dave Reeves

Black Country Living Museum, Dudley

 

Thursday November 6th

Performing poetry at Fergus McGonigal’s book launch

Worcester

 

Saturday November 8th

Idle Women & Judies by Heather Wastie

National Waterways Museum, Gloucester

 

Tuesday November 11th

Mouth and Music, Kidderminster

 

Friday 21st November

Quiet Compere – Medical Themed Poetry

Cheltenham

 

Saturday November 22nd

Special Guest with Harmonie Concert Band

Shirley

 

Friday November 28th

Worcester Victorian Christmas Fair

Clik Clik Collective street entertainment

 

Starting late November

Christmas site-specific show at Croome Court, Worcs

 

Tuesday December 9th

Mouth and Music

Kidderminster

 

Thursday December 11th 7.30pm

Featured poet/musician at WorcsLitFest Speakeasy

Worcester

 

 

Products for sale

The Page-Turner’s Dilemma More poetry & tales from behind the music stand £7.50

TPTD cover

Poems of the Head – with photos, after an intensive Alexander Technique course £5.50

Poems of the Head cover

Alzheimer’s Army CD – 3 songs about dementia £3.50 (£1 goes to Alzheimer’s Society)

Alzheimer's Army CDs

Bananas from the Heart CD – poems & a few songs £5

Bananas from the Heart CD sleeve

Week 3 October Ghosts, Meetings & Phenomenal Women

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I decided at the beginning of the month that I would do less performance events this month and focus on my writing. I have found it hard, if not frustrating, especially as I feel I have missed out on some great events.

There is a certain amount of stress and pressure which comes from being under deadlines. I want this life, I want to have a full writing diary and lots of projects on the go, but I have to learn to find some balance. This life is tiring whilst I write alongside the day job (as many of us do) , I need to give myself enough time to rejuvenate and refuel. Energy is essential. Life_is_sweet_tea_party

This week sees the Book to the Future Festival at  Birmingham University, it finishes tomorrow. There was a great programme of events, which I missed out on as I have done lots of day job work this week too. I managed to contact a few writers who were lecturing to get seminar notes in return to being on their mailing lists. I also managed to get to Phenomenal Women on Wednesday night. I am missing Ben Norris this evening as I promised Mr G the weekend and am chained to my desk until deadlines pass. 1birm 7

This week I had planned to be out at events for 4 nights in a row, it has been a challenging week at work and I decided I do not have enough energy to deal with that many performances.

  • Tuesday I performed at Mouth & Music, Jasmine Gardosi headliner along with PTR Williams.
  • Wednesday I attended a writing meeting at Writing West Midlands
  • then hotfooted Birmingham University for Phenomenal Women with Jan Watts.
  • I was supposed to go to PFL Poetry for Lunch and Hit the Ode on Thursday, however I decided to take time off I missed Lorna Meehan perform at HTO!
  • On Friday I missed Spoken Word at The Ort, Birmingham and Spoken World’s at Burton.
  • I did go to a Stanza meeting, there were only 3 of us, last month there were 14. A small group were out in Malvern to see Carol Ann Duffy.
  • Today there are poetic happenings in the Library of Birmingham, Ben Norris performs at Birmingham University and tomorrow Maurice Riordan speaks at Notts Festival of Words – at Notttingham University.

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I now have a 5 day stretch to write and finish several projects I am working on and take on a new opportunity. Towards the end of the week I have some book promotion events, charity events and a book launch also next weekend sees our own VIRTUAL WRITING RETREAT – INKSPILL! Then it’s half term, Halloween and a bunch more events.

 

MOUTH & MUSIC Tues 14th mouth-music-poster-oct14

This month’s M&M was electrifying – we had 4 Birmingham Poets amongst us – Jasmine Gardosi was Head-lining, along with PTR Williams. Those factors were the only differences to the usual stellar line up of open mic-ers – but it was just one of those nights that caught an extra sprinkling of magic along the way. Funny really because it was Ghosts and Ancestors theme and those of you who know me, know I am a complete scaredy cat!

me I had written a 2 poems (especially for M&M) that I couldn’t wait to perform, I plan to use it them on the Halloween circuit in a fortnight (42, Halloweeny Night at the Ort, Word Up) – they went down well and from audience reaction had the right amount of spooky foreboding! Perfect. The other 2 poems I shared were written a while ago now, 2013.

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I really enjoyed all the sets and seeing people I haven’t seen for months. We also had several performers new to M&M and they were fabulous, hoping they will be back. The lovely Saffron Toms brought her kit and snapped amazing, arty photos of the night to catch the atmosphere. The venue is incredibly dark so just on light settings alone she deserves a lot of kudos. All photos are copyright Saffron Toms. Just a taste – think there are over 60 shots posted online.

© Saffron Toms 2014

Jasmine Gardosi

OCT Jasoct jas 2

 

vicartessaOCT Mogs Saffron Toms

Jan                                                                                                   Tessa Lowe                                                              Mogs

OCT Kate Wragg Saffron TomsOCT Caution Poet Saffron Tomsnajma

Katie Wragg                                                               Caution Poet                                                                      Najma Hush

Oct me saffron tomsOCT Saffron Tomsmm saffron toms Myself – Nina Lewis

Wednesday 15th October – Writing West Midlands Meeting for Writers with Young People

Annually WWM get all the Lead and Assistant writers from the Midlands groups together. It was a fun meeting and they were also selling off book overstock from the Birmingham Literature Festival… discounted books -yes, please!

I also signed up for the possibility of training to mentor Arts Awards later on this year.  leeallenphotographycom WWM

 

Wednesday 15th October – Book to the Future Festival – Jan Watts – Phenomenal Women Event

From The Custard Factory (WWM HQ),  I hot footed in torrential rain to the University to take part in the Book to the Future Festival for the 2nd year. Jan Watts organises an annual Phenomenal Women event, there were 12 poets booked to perform including;

Janet Smith

Swingerella

Jasmine Gardosi

Charley Barnes

ScrubberJack – Jackie Smallridge

Andrea Smith

Kathy Gee

Heather Wastie

Jan Watts

and myself, Nina Lewis

book-to-the-future-2014

It was a great night and secretly for me – it was also a celebration of meeting Jan Watts a year ago!

I performed my post office rant (written the day before) and a couple from the Maya Angelou collection – as it was phenomenal women….

 

Friday 17th October Stanza

I had had a terribly challenging day at work beforehand (emotionally drained) and unfortunately that blew my Thursday performance plan out of the water. I spent time writing some new poetry and on Friday night (after another long work day) I went to the Stanza Meeting armed with a poem about Migration. Big thanks to Mike Alma for the lift, I was far too tired to drive and wouldn’t have been able to go otherwise!

stanza scrabble

 

This weekend sees many Poets and bands in Birmingham for Oxjam, as well as all the other exciting things I have mentioned- I am happy writing – trying on the ‘reclusive writer’ for a while until deadlines pass!

Next week is already filling up – there is a Hanbury Hall Project I am involved with as well as other things, including lots of days of work (as it is half term the week after = no income) I am busy writing new poetry and have a job application to send off as well.

\ Happy Writing! /

INKSPILL Writing Retreat – Your Ideas Please!

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inkspill who what Last year I discovered a phenomenal weekend retreat that took place in the USA at the end of October – it was pricey even without the added airfare – so I decided to create an annual event of our own… something to build on each year.

INKSPILL was born! Inkspill tiny

One day you may even have to pay but for now it is FREE and just for fun. That is not to say I haven’t improved the programme from last year…. because I have – firstly I have other artists/ writers involved.

Last year I opened requests up to followers of my blog – so now *IT IS OVER TO YOU!*

  • What do you want to learn about writing? 
  • Which elements are weaker, where could you use a little support?
  • What have you always wanted to know (but been too afraid to ask)?

THIS IS YOUR CHANCE FOR SOME TAILOR MADE SUPPORT

Some of last year’s retreat posts are the most popular posts hit on this site each month and some have even been linked on academic websites.

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We will run the retreat over 2 days – you can join in real time GMT – or dip in and out as you wish. The posts will be pinned for the weekend and then available through using INKSPILL in the tag search.

 

INKSPILL – NOT THIS WEEKEND, BUT THE WEEKEND AFTER! 25TH & 26TH OCTOBER – WITH

NINA LEWIS

WILLIAM GALLAGHER

CHARLIE JORDAN

HEATHER WASTIE

I will posts their BIOs later in the week.

AWF 2014 OCT CalAWF retreat2

FOR NOW LEAVE A MESSAGE ON THIS THREAD – WHAT DO YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT?

AWF circle

Dropping Down A Gear

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As with all things in life, relentless attack is not a level human beings can function on 24/7, 12 months a year. I have found myself passing to the inside lane and slowing down, letting writing opportunities (which were scheduled to pass) and deadlines to fizz out without my name attached to anything.

Last year I took August off – this year I worked hard throughout the Summer – maybe it is natural to need a break, a point to look out and evaluate. I know what I am trying to achieve, the direction I am being pulled in, my 2014 plan and what I need to do to realise all of the above. I also need time. Switch off, pull away, me time.

I have been doing a lot of reading (which is never a bad thing) and I just celebrated ‘One Year A Poet’ with poetry friends. I have been busy writing poetry and planning INKSPILL – our online writing retreat (Oct 25/26th).

Allow yourself permission to slow down… take your foot off the pedal, it is the only way forward sometimes. You are no good to anyone, especially yourself if you are worked to the bone.

morningTake time, it is a gift, be wise with it. Treat it like GOLD and it will bear fruit of your labour, spend some of the time not watching the clock too!

I have plenty of bookings in the diary until November and even some of these I will give deep thought to, after October I may take November as a stride not a sprint and fortunately for me, the world of performance poetry takes a break over December.

I need energy back for the things I want to write, do, achieve. People on the circuit know only too well the delicate balance between writing and taking your work out on the road. It may be time to spread my wings a little further in 2015 and I have also met people this year who have proved how much can be done online, as far as seeking opportunities and coverage.

I have no regrets but I want to keep it that way. I didn’t give up a paid 80hr a week job to be in the same position minus the money. So for my own health and sanity, I need to drop down a gear.

I will attempt to keep up to date with the blog though because I think the posts hold more passion if they are HOT, HOT off the press!

TTP ideas Keep writing & listen to your heart… let it lead you to the place of dreams! x

Leave Time for Admin and Research

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Hopefully one day, you can add ‘marketing’ to the title listed.

The greatest lesson I have learnt since I relaunched into writing is that Admin and research take a lot of time and both are necessary. I have spent the past few days researching markets and scheduling writing through the diary around life and performing.

It has taken days… I tried an old trick I used to push myself with back in the days of a pile of office work. I worked out that in an hour I had (on average) covered about 5 websites, I basically tried to cover what I needed to find out in less than 20 mins a site, then less than 15, I couldn’t shave any time off this as I was also copying information into files on my computer.

I am only part way through my list and have, as yet, not actually worked on any new writing, which I am champing at the bit to do (eager).

I can now post a review of ‘A Night With Maya Angelou’ with links to Jordan’s review (organiser). I am also dropping in a post about ‘Off the Page’, Jan Watt’s official book launch, attended on Tuesday.

Go read, enjoy! jan benches

Resting, Writing and Working

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I have decided after all the buzz of WLF (Literature Festival) I would take some time off events this week. rest thai

We are close to Summer – just 3 weeks and a day, left at work and I am pretty much taking on work full time. I need the energy for the day job – can’t wait to get into the summer writing projects though and days and days of artistic freedom.

There are events all over this week but I am resting until the weekend. I also have swollen glands so best to keep voice use to the minimum – day job.

I have been busy writing since my writing day yesterday, typewriter admin is all up to date and I have the next week’s assignments all mapped out. Fitting in around everything else I have to achieve. I have written 4 new poems all for submission pieces. I have two more that are building up to being something (I have 3 weeks to work on those). I had to proof my poem for the latest edition of Hark Magazine, harkJuly issue.

I am getting excited about working with the Poetry Army poetryarmy in less than a fortnight and making it to Ledbury Poetry Festival before then. There was a tempting offer last night involving one of the late night events but I decided not to volunteer (despite the temptation of accommodation, travel expenses and tickets) as it was an event after midnight – it wasn’t facilitating the event which worried me – more organisation of the food and refreshments. Another time maybe. I am still hoping to make it and catch a few performances this weekend.

I am also trying to write one or two short stories, I have less than 2 weeks to complete – so I might save them for something else if they aren’t quite ready. My next writing day was Friday but I have accepted some more work so now I have just half a day to work through the projects.

I need to re-energise and work on my writing and find that I have plenty of time for both after work if I am not trying to make it to events as well!

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And on that note – bed calls! Be gentle on yourselves – seek balance – inspiration doesn’t work on an empty tank.

 

MONDAY! Monday! On Writing and Time Management.

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Monday rolls around all too quickly, HALLOWEEN 2011 081 you know I made the assumption that connecting back into a much missed creative life would take away the Sunday Slump of the rat race and the Manic out of Monday… how wrong I was. A lot of the internal struggle is created by the fact that the writing isn’t paying (yet) and so to keep my house, car, life (like many writers) I still have an evolving career/ day job.

If the tax man is reading this – YOU OWE ME MONEY – lots £100’s on a tax rebate….. would be helpful to receive that soon – believe me I doubt they read the blog (big brother paranoia) but when I tried to contact them through the website and calling I just got an automated message telling me if I was owed money they would know and would be dealing with it — then it automatically HUNG UP! Now this may be true but I tend to be a little unlucky with bureaucratic red tape and things that may take a few months usually roll on for years if my names and codes are attached to it! imagesCAEEZNXM

Anyway back to the post. I have had a productive morning, waking early on my writing day, doing some laundry (despite the rain which is supposedly clearing by dinner time!), starting my diet and exercise regime ready to not be uncomfortable in my skin at my brother’s wedding this Autumn and in the hope I fit back into some of my dresses this summer. By the time I logged on it was 10:30, I felt guilty and then I THREW AWAY that negative feeling, I could have slept in until 10! alarm-clock

So I made a start (as I always do) at the beginning of a writing day, by making a list. A set of goals, jobs to do, things to research, write, read.

paper-notesI am well disciplined and stay off social media until there is a break point or after the list has been completed is better. Breaks tend to elongate without you realising once you are trapped in the social media bubble. The way I see it is I wouldn’t have access if I was at work. I am at work (writing) – I have no access. My brain is so easy to kid!

Sometimes (depending what is on the list) time gets rolling fast and it will be time to pack up before I have ticked off the 1st two items. I do NOT worry. The post-it list is stuck in my writing diary, ready with the starting point if my next writing session.

Today’s list consists of research and writing. Plus I had a few business emails to read/ respond to. That’s the biggest surprise I think in writing, the fact that ADMIN takes up so much time. It took ages to flag up the emails, despite using designated email addresses for different areas.

to do I have currently applied for a pop-up performance arranged by Naked Lungs for this year’s Birmingham Literature Festival, have 2 – 4 short stories to complete (2 this week if I can) and several poems to write, some to follow up the workshop at Acton Scott Farm with Jean Atkin, some for a performance tomorrow night (1st one in 13 days, took a bit of a break!), some for this weekend and others to catch up on other projects I have only had time to dip in and out of. I also have my first official book review to write (for which I was paid, a complimentary copy of the poetry pamphlet)!

I have 14 websites to looks at/research, a character to create from a world I know very little about (eek!), I have a scratch night I probably won’t make pencilled in* and a book launch. This weekend is the Writing West Midlands Creative Writing Group and a deadline for some written submissions.

* Conserving energy (and petrol) WLF – Worcester LitFest in a fortnight and lots going on before then too. Plus I now have to fit EXERCISE into the schedule – and don’t suggest parking and striding to the gigs – I get red faced after about 3 minutes and would need a shower when I arrived and most venues have no dressing rooms or facilities!

So I had best get on with my list! imagesCAISM7Z5

 

Time Management:

  • Split chunks of time, I find not being to prescriptive works well (in my day job, things have to fit in allocated slots of time) and it feels good to break free! I started at 10:30 and said I could have a break in an hour, that kind of thing.

 

  • Know what you need to do, get your head down and try to do it.

 

  • I say try because creativity cannot be forced or pushed, some days it comes easier than others. So the true TIME management falls in making sure there is time to complete your projects when you have those duff days. This is usually a 4 day buffer at least, depending on length of editing/ proofing time.

 

  • I always try to get things written in time to give it some rest and a look over/ edit before submission – this is usually a period of a week if you have enough time to do this it can be beneficial.

 

  • Keep your unfinished list to know where your starting point is next time.

 

  • If you can that starting point should be part way through something -or the start of a task based on researching or something you can get into straight away. The problem with starting with your next writing job is the possibility you will be staring at a blank screen for some of the time.

 

  • Try not to lose focus. I often set alarms on my phone, that way I don’t even have to glance at the onscreen clock anyway.

 

  • Try to ease the pressure off. You are your Boss, it is always beneficial to get on with the Boss right?

 

  • And just like real work (unless you work in Health or Education/ Public Sector) take some breaks and give yourself treats and incentives for reaching target! Not food though – you don’t want a writer’s (saggy) bottom!

 

Good Luck! Green-Clovers-Vector-Illustration

PS I used part of my break to write this – I am now walking away from the screen!

Diaries, Deadlines, Determination: A Very Rare Writing Day!

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plannerThis morning I had the exciting task of waiting in (whilst the sun shone) for a delivery! Mr G and I have finally bought the sun loungers we spent last summer dreaming about. With the garden practically finished and summer on the way (I hope!) it seemed like it was about time we treated ourselves! They are still packaged up but the cushions look comfy, we have resisted buying sun loungers from all the shops we have seen them in. Frustrating though that was, I am glad we waited now.

All we need is the sunshine, which according to the forecasts has now disappeared again until the tail end of next week.

I have taken today as a writing day (and with the exception of a few household chores, neglected over the weekend), I plan to do just that.Jean Atkin’s Writing Workshop yesterday, at Acton Scott Historic Working Farm* has reawoken the poet/writer inside me with some vigour. * I have reblogged Jean’s own post and will write about this workshop soon. Poetry Workshop best mr

So far today;

  • I have updated my writing diary and list of websites to research/surf.
  • Realised I don’t have a free weekend until August now!
  • Resisted logging into social media.
  • Checked emails in one of the inboxes.
  • Searched out opportunities and ideas for the future.
  • Made a chronological list of all the writing I need to be getting on with.

This week I have a wonderful week of being entertained. The poetry events I am attending are not ones where I have to perform. Tomorrow night (Tuesday) I am going to check out The Tea Project at the MAC, tickets have already SOLD OUT! It sounds exciting and Lorna Meehan is performing some pop up poetry. I fear I may be the oldest attendee having read their manifesto and target audience and realised the artists themselves are fresh out of university…. I know I will still enjoy it.

Then on Thursday we have the last of three events organised with Ledbury Poetry Festival and Worcester LitFest, a group of us are heading out for a poetry night out to listen to Carol Ann Duffy. poetry and place

 

I did have a stanza meeting *the last one clashed with a performance and spoken word night organised by Nadia Kingsley and David Calcutt. This month clashes with something that Mr G has organised (Jimi Hendrix/ Cream Cover band) should be a smashing night out. But means my latest poetic work will remain unedited, may have to call on my Buddy Group.

Then on Sunday Hayley Frances finishes the project in Stratford, Page Talk and has invited us to the RSC Theatre to watch the showcase event. Exciting, I have given up voluntary stewarding and a special Tshirt to attend the event *if i have enough energy left by the tail end of the weekend.

As we have just had half term (and it was rather action packed) and I am tired and in need of breaking back in gently (and have 1 less mortgage to pay from now on) – I am only working my 3 contracted days this week. I look forward to another day in my writing skin on Friday.

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Today’s Tips:

Be organised (believe me I am the least organised person in the world),

make a plan and stick to it,

map things out and approach deadlines chronologically if you can, giving time to the most pressing elements of your list,

go easy on yourself.

Reward yourself if you achieve your daily goal(s).

Keep all audio/visual equipment OFF (unless it helps you write)!

Keep it small. Keep it simple and enjoy. ENJOY!

 

 

I have managed to squeeze about 5 hours out of my writing day (dang chores!) in this time I have made a list of possible outlets for submission, looked at subscriber competitions for June/ July, added 3 blogs to WordPress (other people’s not creating anymore of my own… I have plans for a website I need to develop in the Summer), read 4 online e-magazines, (well the poetry sections), have scribbled frantically over this week’s pages in the writing diary, made a timetable blocking out time I can work on what this week – something I will need to do for the rest of the month. I have already decided I may be unable to attend Hayley’s event this Sunday, I think I am going to need the writing time!

Now I plan on catching up with blog posts before the next 3 days of work and poet-ing takes me away from the laptop!

 

A New Foot Forward

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Over the past few days I have come to realise that my part-time income is in need of some supplements. Just as I think it – I find an advert on my social network page for an FREE e-course.

It can’t hurt – so I have some emails to get my teeth into and a way in. My new venture, exploring freelance writing opportunities. I have missed 2 writing competitions this week for short stories as I ran out of time to write them, although I will use the ideas this year at some point when I have time to write.

I am looking to supplement term time income, there is no excuse during school holidays not to be writing. We will see where this takes me.

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I have read several articles about people who started to write again last year and each of the interviewees seem to be doing a lot more than me. It is time I put some plans into action.

For more information visit – Maggie Lindy’s site here.

It is mainly a promotion for an e-book. You may find some of it useful or you could buy the book.

Letting Go – Finding the Balance between Work and Dreams

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imagesCAEEZNXM This week I had been booked for just 3 days work, I have planned to go to 4 performance events Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. In the end I was booked for the full week and decided that I had bitten off more than I could chew.

At the end of my first day of work, I knew I would be in bed before 10, and so I decided not to go to the open mic. Tuesday I had been booked for an 8 minute slot in Ludlow, Wednesday I had been booked for a 5 minute set and Friday was another open mic, which was several counties away, although for me just a half hours drive to a friends house for a lift. By the time I got to Friday I knew I had no energy left and let go off the idea of attending the open mic. I was asleep by 7.

It is really important to keep an eye on energy levels and how much is too much, being busy is good, but it is meant to be enjoyable.

I am aware that this month I have hammered many events to find out where I want to perform regularly. Focus is a conversation I had this week with a poetry friend.

Here is where I am …….. Here is where I want to be……………….. this is what I need to do to get there………

Does performing all these regional gigs help? Well, yes. For rehearsing performance quality, for connecting to people, finding audience, building a reputation, making contacts, enjoying myself, sharing my work, finding what fits/ suits me.

I didn’t think much about doing 2-3 events a week, I know already that my diary for February is not as brutal and that old saying about successful people never saying they wish they’d slept more….

However, it was pointed out that I may be over-doing it with work as well. I felt this a bit myself, that’s why 4 gigs became just 2. I plan to attend the one I missed in Burton later in the year, March is the next time I have availability.

I also needed to balance some ACTUAL writing this week and have managed 3 new poems since Thursday. I have also submitted 3 new poems for publication. It has been a busy week. There was a writer’s network meeting that I missed this afternoon and there is a story telling event in the city tomorrow night which I have also decided to miss.

apple coffee Next week I have 4 days of work and 3 events, 42 on Wednesday night, where I will be sharing some darker poems. Friday night is a Creative Re-launch for KAF and I will be performing a set in the gallery. I need to write new material suitable for the event this week. Sunday afternoon is a relaxed affair at the Ort, where I will be sharing some of my poetry. I also have the action plan to complete for January with some more work for submission.

I can barely believe it is nearly the end of the month already.

 

Balance

  • Do what you want to do – check you have energy to do it.
  • As long as you haven’t been booked there is no commitment to attend events, pick and choose depending on what suits you.
  • Consider geographic locations and the extra time and expense of travelling to destinations.
  • Think about where you are and where you want to be.
  • What do you have to do to get there?
  • DO THAT!