Category Archives: INKSPILL 2015 Online Writing Retreat

INKSPILL How Not to Waste Time – Article and Discussion

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13:30 How not to Waste Time – Article & discussion

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Wasting time – we all do it… we all know we shouldn’t do it… some of us can come up with strategies for time management others need some support with this discipline.

It is a subject I have blogged about before and something that I am always trying to improve on.

These posts may be of interest to you.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/06/09/monday-monday-on-writing-and-time-management/

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2013/09/22/a-new-method-of-time-management/

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This article helps us focus on writing time and it is definitely not a waste of your time to read it.

The secret is finding your rhythm. Wishing we had time to finish our novel, write more, begging for more hours in a day are all common laments of the writer. We chase time as an entity rather than attempting to bond, we need to build up a relationship with time. Firstly consider how it can move your writing activity forward or how it is holding you back. If you think you’ll never have enough time, you never will. We cannot play with time, but we can give it less power over us by managing it.

  • I use a writing schedule, which starts as a TO DO list (based on chronological deadlines).
  • I estimate how long each task is likely to take.
  • I avoid social media throughout this time, the entire internet in fact, unless I am in need of research.
  • I am someone who cannot write with distraction, there is no TV, music, people around my writing space and if I am seriously working towards a deadline, I even switch my phone off. I wouldn’t be available on it if I was at work and if it is urgent, people leave voicemails.
  • I build in breaks every hour or so, mini ones. To check the phone, stretch, manage those household tasks that need doing. It is amazing what you accomplish when only given 5 or 6 minutes.

Forgiveness is another tool you need. It gets to the end of the working day and you have writing that still needs to exist.

  • Push it onto the next TO DO list and praise yourself, celebrate what you have managed to accomplish, rather than worry about what isn’t yet real.
  • Unless you miss a deadline (which happens from time to time in the world of open submissions, but should never happen when working with editors with conversing about the schedule), give yourself a good talking to and learn from it.
  • How can you schedule your writing with gaps to manage the task in time?
  • I even use a polar cup so I avoid the kitchen and kettle for several hours.
WLF Polar cup This particular one was bought for me by my writer friend Andrew Owens, in 2014 I wrote a collaborative performance poem about Moustaches.

There are lots of books out there about time management, here is a link to an article by Rachel Scheller in which she uses an excerpt from The Productive Writer by Sage Cohen to explore Managing Time further.

TIME IS A LEVEL PLAYING FIELD

We all get the same twenty-four hours in a day. What you do with yours is up to you. You may believe that you have “no time,” but the fact is, you have just as much time as anyone else. What varies for every writer is our unique mix of work and family responsibilities, financial commitments, sleep requirements, physical and emotional space for writing, and perhaps most importantly, our ability and willingness to prioritize writing in this mix.

http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/there-are-no-rules/make-more-time-for-your-writing

DAlma Please leave your comments below.

INKSPILL Freedom to Write

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Often with our busy lives comes a lack of time for writing, later on we will be addressing this issue in an article, but for now we offer a different solution… time itself!

So take this time and go and spend it wisely. If you are already working on something, go to it. Or use this time to look back in your retreat notebook and see what you would like to explore further.

Not had time to delve into the full programme? Go for a dip in the Fountain, check out what you have missed.

The best retreats have time for writing – that is after all why we are here.

I trust you – go and write!

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We start back after Lunch at 1:30pm with an article about how to make the most of your time.

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INKSPILL Guest Poet – Interview with Daniel Sluman

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Guest Writer Interview Daniel Sluman

Sonia Hendy-Isaac © 2014

Sonia Hendy-Isaac
© 2014

GUEST

Earlier this year A Writers Fountain spent time with Daniel Sluman, promoting his (very soon to be published) second collection ‘the terrible’.

We are delighted that as part of INKSPILL we can bring you another exclusive interview with the man himself and it didn’t escape our notice that the book cover design has been released NOW as well. Another sneak preview for you!

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  1. How did you know you wanted to complete a 2nd collection?

I kind of just kept going after my debut was released, it’s just what you’re meant to do isn’t it, keep writing. I had a project in mind and I worked for a while on that until I stopped and asked myself this very question – what am I going to achieve by writing another book beyond (hopefully) extending a career? It was really important for me to work this out, as it made me realise that there were things in my debut I wanted to articulate further, and events were unfolding in my life that I was excited about exploring in a new book.

  1. Poetry is a kind of process, how did you feel at the beginning of compiling your 2nd collection? How was it different to the 1st?

I found it quite tough to work out where I wanted to go at the start of this process, I was drawn towards a number of different ideas for this book, some more conceptual and overarching than others, and it took me a while to feel comfortable in the direction I decided on. I’m guilty of overthinking things, especially when it comes to writing, and when I started writing this book I was really worried about repeating myself, about getting lazy and complacent.

When I was writing ‘Absence…’ I was an undergraduate, and the tutor feedback and workshops really helped with developing those poems, and of course that support was something I no longer had, which made me feel a bit lost for the first six months of writing this book. In that period I made dozens of pages of notes, but I was terrified of committing anything to the page properly, I was sure it wouldn’t be good enough, nothing looked good enough. It took me a long time to get back to writing more loosely, not being afraid to write crap which could then be edited, closer to the way I felt when I was writing my debut. When that first book comes out to good feedback and reviews, I felt a certain (mainly internal) pressure attached to the next, and that definitely affected me. I locked up for a long time, I was so terrified of disappointing people, of disappointing myself, but once I found a rhythm things started to get written again, and I started to enjoy myself in the same way I was enjoying myself before the first book came out.

  1. What were some of the difficulties in this process?

I went through a lot of changes in my life during the period of this book getting written. I came out of a long-term relationship and into a new one, moved house (and area), and my health was really going downhill in terms of my back pain, which meant quitting full-time work and getting put on benefits. Drama and high emotion is something which always feeds into poems, so some of this made it into the work, but the transition of all these things meant it was hard to get into a rhythm, this upheaval meant it was a while before I felt like I could properly concentrate on writing again.

  1. What anxieties have you encountered and how have you overcome them?

I suffer from the same anxieties I’m sure most writers do – fear of playing it safe and repeating what’s worked well for me in the past, the worry whether it will sell enough to justify a wonderful publisher putting in so many hours helping to form and release the book. I’ve always suffered from imposter syndrome, and so part of me is expecting to fail spectacularly and be found out as not a poor writer.

Over the years I’ve learnt to partially overcome these anxieties by being a little less tough on myself, enjoying and celebrating successes more than I used to, and acknowledging that I couldn’t have put more hours into this, it’s the best I can do, and that has to be enough for me.

  1. Did you know when you wrote material after your 1st collection that you wanted to include it in a 2nd collection?

After a while, yes. I was aware that the work straight after a book can often represent a transition of styles, concerns, or ways of working, and so I wasn’t being too hard on myself to make every poem get to a level I wasn’t capable of getting it to. We talk a lot about ‘finding a voice’ in poetry, but I think that each new project represents an articulation of a new voice, primed to whatever direction the writer wants to go in, and somewhere last year things clicked together, and I realised I had the bare bones of a book laid out.

6) Often poets have years between collections, how long have you been working on your 2nd collection?

This book took three years, which I imagine is a pretty average amount of time for most poets. If I was a better writer it would have taken less but I’m extremely wasteful, I’ve probably written something like 90 poems for this project, cut down to the 46 that made it in this book. If it wasn’t for Jane Commane of Nine Arches I would still be writing this book now; she is brilliant at judging which poems have potential and go somewhere new, and which ones go over the same ground as others. If I didn’t have that objective eye I would have expended a lot of energy on lost causes.

7) Musicians refer to a 2nd album syndrome, do you believe it is the same for writers?

What kind of obstacles have you faced? How have you overcome them?

I think a similar theory applies to books as it does to albums; debuts usually map out an area using a mixture of techniques that point towards some kind of overarching concern, and second albums/books usually work to either further define the concerns in the first release, or explore new ones. The worst thing that can happen with second albums/books is that they appear like pale imitations of the debut they follow, they circle too similar a ground and this is a worry I’ve tried to be hyper-aware of. I think that having this awareness definitely helps in noticing when you’re repeating yourself with a new poem, as does having a clear idea where you want to go, and how you can get there. I’ve read a lot of new collections and books on theory during the last three years, and that’s a big part of developing as a poet, and it’s helped me move on from where I was in my debut.

8) How do you think creatives deal with this 2nd collection syndrome, do you have any advice for poets who have published their first collections? Next steps…

A lot has to do with the expectations we put on ourselves, as we’re often just writing for pleasure at the start, but once you get published the dynamic does change. I spent a lot of time worrying about this collection in contrast to my debut and I wish I had just relaxed and continued the journey that we are all on from the moment we first write. Belief in what you’re doing, that it’s different from what you’ve written before, that’s important, but so is being grounded in enjoying yourself and remembering why you’re writing in the first place – that you can put words in an order that affect a stranger a continent away and make them feel something, that you’re giving voice to the things you think matter. In some ways it was a case of getting back to basics for me, not being in this state of constant anxiety about what the book may look like and how people will react to it. With all this is mind, maybe 2nd collection syndrome is something that occurs because we simply overthink what we’re doing too much, and the way to overcome it is to get back to writing for the sake of pleasure, and enjoying the feeling that you are growing as a writer.

9) You have just finished your first full draft m/s for your 2nd collection. How does it feel?

It’s a relief. Three years feels like a long time, a lot of anxiety, and a hell of a lot of editing day after day, so it’s nice to be able to look at the MS with some sense of satisfaction. When my debut came out I was pretty worried about the reviews that would be written, now I think I’m a bit more relaxed – if the book is enjoyed by readers then that will be great. Now I’m just focused on doing as much promoting and performing of the book as I can with my current health.

10) How did you come to choose the title?

It comes from the title poem in this book, which is probably the most honest poem I’ve written. As our editing of the book progressed Jane and I had a deeper understanding of what the manuscript is about, and that everything in our lives, even the most enjoyable or aspirational moments we experience have a dark underside to them, a fear of it being taken away, a futility to it, that’s what the book is about I think, and the title-poem hopefully sums that up.


Huge thanks to Daniel for this interview, your honesty and insightful responses. Good luck with the final stages of the process. Looking forward to holding the pages of your new collection very soon!

honeyman Interview by Nina Lewis

Buy Daniel’s poetry from the AWF shop CC bookshop-window Garry Knight

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/10/24/inkspill-shop/

INKSPILL Beautiful Ugly Part 3

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Earlier this morning we shared Part 1 & 2 of this exercise. The same thing again for Part 3, sharing the last of Debbie’s photographs on the theme of Beautiful Ugly.

For this writing challenge pick any number of the photographs and just write, see what comes out, work with the bits you’re happy with and don’t forget to post comments and share your work.

© Debbie Aldous 2015

© Debbie Aldous 2015

 

© Debbie Aldous 2015

© Debbie Aldous 2015

© Debbie Aldous 2015

© Debbie Aldous 2015

 

© Debbie Aldous 2015

© Debbie Aldous 2015

Thank you to Debbie for kind permission to use these photographs as part of the Inkspill Programme 2015.

 

INKSPILL Beautiful Ugly Part 2

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In part 1 we shared four photographs along the theme of Beautiful Ugly and you created writing (free writing) from an image or images of your choice.

I promised you more and the opportunity to do the same again.

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© Debbie Aldous 2015

© Debbie Aldous 2015

 

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© Debbie Aldous 2015

 

© Debbie Aldous 2015

© Debbie Aldous 2015

 

© Debbie Aldous 2015

© Debbie Aldous 2015

For this writing challenge pick any number of the photographs and just write, see what comes out, work with the bits you’re happy with and don’t forget to post comments and share your work.

INKSPILL Beautiful Ugly Part 1

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10:00 Time for some INKSPILL writing.

These photographs were taken by Debbie Aldous in her bid to find beauty and ugliness in the same frame. There are 12 shots in total, I am sharing more with you later this morning.

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For this writing challenge pick any number of the photographs and just write, see what comes out, work with the bits you’re happy with and don’t forget to post comments and share your work.

ENJOY!

© Debbie Aldous 2015

© Debbie Aldous 2015

© Debbie Aldous 2015

© Debbie Aldous 2015

© Debbie Aldous 2015

© Debbie Aldous 2015

© Debbie Aldous 2015

© Debbie Aldous 2015

INKSPILL Rise & Shine

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9:00 Coffee/Tea and a short motivational film.

Good morning, we hope you are ready for another day of writing. From time to time we all need to be picked up off the floor of low self-belief, who better than Danzel Washington to help us do just that.

No writing – just sit back and listen.

 

INKSPILL Not Yet Ready for Sleep

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For those of you far from sleep, here are links to archived INKSPILL retreats from 2013/2014, enjoy and feel free to add comments.

ARTICLES ArchivedINKSPILL 2013

Historical Research

Writing Historical Fiction

How to Write a Short story

The WHY Technique

Archive INKSPILL 2013

GUEST WRITERS POSTS

INKSPILL 2014

WILLIAM GALLAGHER

How To Get Rejected

Making Time To Write

Writing Doctor Who

What You Get From Writing

ARTICLESArchived Links

INKSPILL 2014

Stephen King On Writing

HEATHER WASTIEOn Her Writing Journey

Editing A Poem

Histrionic water

Spaghetti hoops

INKSPILL 2014William Gallagher Guest

Writing Motivation

You vs Yourself

CHARLIE JORDANThoughts on Writing & Editing Part 1

Thoughts On Writing & Editing Part 2

INKSPILL Night Write

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Welcome to the Night Write, we hope you find it stimulating enough to stay awake. inkspill night owlAs with all other activities it would be great to see the comments filling up with feedback, links to your writing or even the writing itself.

Start by watching this short film ‘The Art of Love’

It is a silent movie…

Do you believe in love at first sight?
During a stroll through a park, a lonely photographer meets the love of his life. Through a series of unfortunate events, he must find a way to her heart before his luck runs out.

are you ready to write the story? Give it a go.

Alternative activities:

  • Pick a still image and write it out.
  • Pick a character/moment (girl on bench) write the inner monologue.
  • Take us into the dream the young man has before waking at the start of the film.
  • Write a piece that starts with the message HELLO STRANGER

REMEMBER to share your work with us.

Enjoy!

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INKSPILL Poetry Film (2)

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Shot Through The Heart Poetry Film Competition:

‘Rolling Frames’ by Katie Garrett.

The inaugural 2014 Shot Through the Heart Poetry Film competition received entries from all over the world. Inspired by Southbank Centre’s Festival of Love, we asked poets and film-makers to create poetry films that explore the joy of first love, the pain of lost love, the confusion of displaced love, the purity of platonic love, or any other kind of love.