Category Archives: Mentoring

April Review 2018

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This month saw a return to full time work and as a result I missed a fortnight of poetry I had planned. Which I still haven’t really forgiven myself for.

Week 1: 

Started with the Easter weekend and some time offline. I registered AWF on napowrimo.net and spent most of my time organising the long overdue exhibition at the Jinney Ring of our Sculpture workshop poems.

I am also involved in a Shakespeare Birthplace Trust project with local schools in Stratford-Upon Avon and received letters from two children who I then wrote a peace poem for. I made that sound easier than it was, the one child requested a humorous poem. I have a repertoire includes about 20 funny poems (which sounds a lot, but I have been writing for 4 years now)! I had a 6 day deadline and the poems had to be received by post. I managed 2 poems which I am proud of and hope that they are excited to be working with a Laureate.

shakespeares birthplace trust

I started the long process of editing and digitally compiling the Special Edition of Contour Poetry Magazine. Proof copies were sent out in March and now I have to fix edits and complete the desk top publishing, due to work commitments I know that it will be May before this issue is live. I had hoped for an April release originally.

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I have worked on ATOTC A Tale of Two Cities since July 2017, one of the first long term Poet Laureate projects, it has been an amazing project which saw poems exchanged between UK and USA partners throughout 2018, all copy was back on my desk by March and after all the hard work of the 47 people involved I want the issue to be the best that it can be. I would rather take more time over it than hash it out this month, I simply no longer have time scheduled for it as other items, events and work have to take priority.

Even when these magazines are seemingly ready they have historically eaten another 14+ hours in the end process of conversion and upload.

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I worked on the Suffragette Anthology – now live over at the Worcestershire Poet Laureate site Suffragettes Anthology.

I had a workshop in Stratford with Angela France, we wrote about trees and it was warm enough to sit in the garden, unfortunately a sunny day + Easter break saw Stratford full of tourists and this meant our usual haunt was not available for lunch. Sitting on a wall opposite the river chatting with Angela was a bonus though.

The following day I was facilitating a workshop with the Basement Project, I booked 3 with this charity back in November as part of my local Laureate work. The charity support young people 16-25 who are or are at risk of becoming homeless. It is a great team there and I have already established work with them post-Laureateship, which is great.

Find out more about them here.

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I started NaPoWriMo and over the weekend took some of my Napo poems for editing treatment.

I finally got to see Idle Women on tour – it had been nearly a fortnight since I inhabited the world of poetry, due to tiredness I missed 42 at the end of March and had not been out to a poetry gig since Earth Hour.

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It was the 2nd time in as many weeks I had had the pleasure of going out with my mum, we saw the ROH ballet at the Artrix the Tuesday before and then shared Idle Women.

Idle Women is theatre/spoken word/poetry/music, read the review here https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2018/04/11/not-so-idle-women/

They still have tour dates in May, catch this show if you can. You will not be disappointed.

Week 2

I continued to write a poem a day for NaPoWriMo.

I took the Sculpture Poem Exhibition to the Jinney Ring. It is now on display in the restaurant near the entrance, an entire wall of poetry. They are able to keep it up for the next month and this means that when we have our Hanbury Reading at the Church in May, the poems will still be at the Craft Centre for visitors to go and see. Also I am hoping that this will in turn promote the next Sculpture Trail workshop in September 2018.

https://worcestershirepoetlaureateninalewis.wordpress.com/2018/04/09/poetry-exhibition-at-the-jinney-ring/

 

 

I started to write copy for the Worcestershire LitFest Festival Programme, the Poet Laureate Review, traditionally this has been half a page, I requested a full page and still edited out over 200 words! I had a lovely evening out with poetry friends.

I had my final workshop at the Basement Project planned and got up early to prep for it, unfortunately it was cancelled as some of the mums who had booked their children onto it were unable to make it. I will hold another Junior workshop in October half term.

I wanted to go to Scary Canary for Permission to Speak as Natalie Burdett – a poetry friend from 2014/15 who is now doing a Phd in Manchester and has just had her pamphlet published by the Poetry Business. http://www.poetrybusiness.co.uk/natalie-burdett I missed her set and the entire evening as Mr. G was on a course in Worcester and I met up with him afterwards for a Cinema date, we weren’t home in time, plus we had just been on a date. ‘Lovely date, thanks darling – just going out poeting now.’ wouldn’t have gone down too well!

speakeasy

I missed SpeakEasy which Tony Judge was headlining due to a backlog of work. I am currently writing an evaluation for the WMRN and was prepping for poetry festivals and working on ATOTC.

I am also involved in a poetry/art (PoARTry) project in Ledbury which is being led by Rick Sanders, it is his 2nd time running this project. He partners poets and artists – like the football pools, I was paired with Molly Bythell, a talented young graduate who creates amazing collages and paints in oil. Her work screams story and it has been a great collaboration so far. https://mollybythell.com/

I missed Stanza for the 2nd month (my poor unedited poems) as I was too tired and was actually asleep by 8 PM which would have been rather impolite on someone else’s settee!

I spent my final weekend of freedom with Mr G. and did some work on the house and a little editing on ATOTC. 

Week 3

Full time work (my first time in 5 years) arrived kicking and screaming on my doorstep.

I continued to write a poem a day for NaPoWriMo.

I missed the Me Too event at The Hive, Case Bailey in the Jewellery Quarter, and Sean Colletti at Dear Listener.

Most of my free time in the evening was spent recouping from the day. Emotionally and physically! I managed to write a review for BMAG on the Hackathon experience and started writing my Verve Review for Sabotage. I was also asked to do a Poetry Surgery at the Anchor Gallery in Birmingham as part of the work Nellie Cole is doing there.

I managed to get to Jenna Plewes Book Launch, it was a sunny evening and very pleasant to spend an hour or so listening to her poetry from her new V. Press pamphlet Against the Pull of Timejenna pullI will be writing a review of the Launch in May.

 

 

 

 

 

I had my Sparks Young Writer group (WWM) at The Hive on Saturday which saw the welcome return of members to the group and we were also witness to a group of Librarians helping move a gigantic fish through the ground floor of the library. There was a procession of some sort down to the river, elements of which found there way into our writing.

Week 4

I finally got the European Twin Town project between Droitwich Spa and Voiron off the ground. I had been working on this WPL project since July, mainly at a committee level and like with all these projects it was a slow start, but perseverance pays and by the beginning of 2018 I had a french contact who put me in touch with a poet, Alain Graiz. Alain helped me find other poets from Voiron and by February/ March I had communicated with all involved. Again I had hoped to get the exchange up and running by March.

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I am happy to say that it is now in full swing, some poems have already been exchanged. It is a much smaller project than ATOTC and the full collection of poems should be live before the end of my Laureateship (10th June).

Read more here.

I received news of my Grant Application but have so far been locked out of the system. So I have no idea if my bid was successful yet or not.

I spent the week preparing for Cheltenham Poetry Festival and Bohemian Voices and getting incredibly nervous over the fact I have not performed poetry for a month! That must be the longest length of unintentional abstinence ever! But what I have learnt is it is hard to facilitate projects, write new poetry, edit magazines, teach and still find the time to perform! I needn’t have worried. What I did is over rehearsed and then I don’t think anyone would have thought – she clearly hasn’t read for a month!

I have been doing NaPoWriMo throughout this whole month, occasionally falling behind a few days and playing catch up. To produce 30 poems in a month in no mean feat. I am also working on something more too.

I researched the Nation’s Laureates for a post over at the WPL site for St. George’s Day. https://worcestershirepoetlaureateninalewis.wordpress.com/2018/04/23/st-george-the-poets/

I missed the Bare Fiction Launch and 42 (for the 2nd month running). I wanted to save my energy for Cheltenham Poetry Festival and the last fortnight at work has been exceedingly hard going, so I had little energy to spare to travel to events.

Cheltenham Poetry Festival arrived, funny when you are booked so far in advance it seems forever in the diary as coming up… then suddenly one week it is days to go. I was slightly gutted that I had been invited to do Stablemates with Jill Abram in London and missed it because it was on the same night. Sarah went in my place and it sounds like they had a great time.

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Cheltenham Poetry Festival was excellent, as it always is. Just a shame work meant that I wasn’t able to get to much other than on the day I was booked. Cheltenham Poetry Festival I made it for the Indigo Dreams Showcase which was at the same venue before my Fragile Houses reading. I will write a full review post next month.

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The following evening (events are like buses) I had the pleasure of being one of 5 artists involved in Bohemian Voices, organised and MCed by Steve Soden, he used to run these events in London and the experience at the Jinney Ring was probably as far from his original nights as you can imagine. It was a great night and I will link the review back to this post. (That goes for all the promised reviews of…)

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I had a fantastic evening and was delighted by the surprise appearance of my mum and Aunty.

With little time to recover from a 2 night fix of poetry (which certainly made up for missing a month of it), I had a Book Launch.

This weekend also saw Birmingham Literature Festival Spring Edition, which I totally missed due to bookings and other commitments.

The Book Launch on Saturday was in Walsall at Southcart Books for Diverse Verse 3, a charity anthology edited by Richard Archer, it was a beautifully relaxed event with plenty of opportunity to catch up with friends and Richard, myself and Rick Sanders were interviewed for the West Midlands Magazine, more on that soon I hope. Click the link for the full review.

DIVERSE 3

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2018/05/15/diverse-verse-3-charity-anthology-book-launch/

I finally finished the month with a submission – not sent any poems anywhere since March!

I also had to write Q&A for Australia – Western Australia Poetry Festival – for the promotion and marketing and complete my review of Verve Poetry Festival and my evaluation for WMRN. That is a lot of midnight oil after a day at work!

 

NEXT MONTH:

Priorities in May include: Finishing WPL projects, tying up the reviews for WMRN Reader Residency for Warwickshire Libraries, organising poets for Artsfest events, performing and discussion at Midland Arts Institute, possible participation in a Heritage Project, a workshop with Ash Dickinson, a poetry judge at Sarah Leavesley’s Book Lauch for How to Grow Matches, being a poet at the Living Library, Headlining Poetry Bites (my first Headline for a while) and more, including new writing and Ledbury Poetry Festival – oh, yes and work!

 

From Assistant to Lead – Working for WWM 2014-15

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The Goal: to be a Lead Writer (14/9/13) – Lead Writer (4/3/15)

and lots of fun in between, Mentoring and covering in Lead Role and working as Assistant Writer in other groups.

leeallenphotographycom WWM

HOW IT ALL BEGAN

In September 2013, I met Jonathan Davidson (Chief Executive), for the fourth time at a Writing West Midlands (WWM) networking event. After 9 months of writing, attending workshops and classes, I had come to the realisation that although I can write, I was meant to be a poet. Despite working hard at writing for 9 months my only successful submissions had been poetry. I cannot believe that I could have forgotten that I was a poet.

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BACKSTORY

I started writing at 12 and my final poem at Middle School was not only read at the Presentation Evening (funnily enough there is a photo in existence of myself and JV Birch standing side by side reading and now both of us have embarked on this true calling of writing after lifetimes spent doing other things) but it was also used in my 1st year of High School (Yr 9 nowadays) with the GCSE group as an analysis and reading task. BOOM!

2 years later I had my first poem published and for the rest of my YA life I had poems published. Then I left for university and started performing at open mics for a few years. After graduating I ran some workshops in schools and took a creative writing course. I continued to be a published poet for a few years before retraining as a teacher took over my creative mind and left me time poor.

2013

Over a decade later (close to 15 years) I re-emerged. Remembered I was a butterfly, opened my wings, closed my eyes and jumped.

Anyway there I was at the Network meeting, with Simon Thirsk and Ian Billing and I got talking to Jonathan, I told him of my future plans and he asked me ‘why wait?’ – to which there is no answer. I registered my interest in becoming an Assistant Writer there and then, funnily enough later that evening I was to meet Ruth Stacey and Jenny Hope who both work for WWM.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2013/09/14/my-writing-life-vs-sleep/

A link to the original blog post 14/09/2013 WWM

It is worth mentioning that all you lucky writers whose books I have bought, you have Jonathan to thank for that too, as he imparted this wisdom;

SUPPORT FELLOW WRITERS’ – WHEREVER IT IS POSSIBLE, this includes BUYING their books. We all know how important those sales are post publishing. Offer more than a congratulations if you can.

My application was confirmed two months later, in November and I had an interview at the Custard Factory mid-January. Where I was offered the opportunity to work as Assistant Writer to Ian MacLeod at the Senior (12-16) group.

Original blog post https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/01/17/my-new-opportunity-writing-work/

SEP: Offered my services

NOV: Application accepted

JAN: Interview and success

FEB: Started as an Assistant Writer

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ASSISTANT WRITER

I worked with Ian for the remainder of the academic year Feb – July 2014 a total of 6 sessions. After the Summer I returned and have just finished working with Ian for a year.

MENTOR

In NOV 2014 I was approached and asked to work as a Mentor (1 to 1) along with Emma Purshouse and William Gallagher. It was a pilot project which ran for 3 months, DEC- FEB. it was a great opportunity.

FEB – JULY 2014 Assistant Writer for Ian

NOV 2014 Asked to join mentoring pilot programme

DEC – JAN 2015 Mentoring Role

SEP – JUNE 2015 Assistant Writer for Ian

MARCH 2015 Asked to become a Lead Writer

From SEP 2015 I will be the Lead Writer of YW Senior Group.

LEAD WRITER

On March 4th I was asked to be a LEAD WRITER (my initial goal), I accepted without knowing which group I would be placed with. I am delighted to be taking over the reins from Ian with a small group he and I know well.

We hope to expand the group numbers and I have so many ideas to try out with them. I am very excited!

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In the true spirit of giving and as a huge thank you to the man himself… let me share this:

Jonathan Davidson has a new book out! JD book Humfrey Coningsby and here is a great blog, Nadia Kingsley is another great poet, where you can read all about it;

http://web236.extendcp.co.uk/fairacrepress.co.uk/tag/jonathan-davidson/

The Hay House World Summit 2015 – Week 1

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In 2013 I took part in the Hay House World Summit, this year I have signed up again. It started on the 9th May, I signed up on the 8th and had access to some additional bonus videos.

My original draft post was just a breakdown of who I have listened to, what I have watched and what I have gained. It is the lessons I am learning which are perhaps most interesting for a blog post.

Now this is not New Age Mumbo Jumbo – these are writers and scientists and experiences, alongside meditations and book recommendations (of course they want to sell their work – a small price to pay for a 20 day empowerment retreat FOR FREE)… you can sign up at anytime, give yourself the gift.

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Deepak Chopra – Who Am I

This talk was about fears being tracked back to not knowing who we are. I thought you might enjoy this list that I got from my first lesson.

The Gifts of our Spirit – Soul as source of the whole world

love – make this a priority

compassion

empathy

joy

choice

imagination

insight

creativity

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‘Keep your sense of wonder, do things that are meaningful, not just to you, but to the world. Practise self-awareness and mindfulness. Live the questions. Who am I? What do I want? What is my purpose?’ – Deepak Chopra

Bruce Lipton – The Science of Keeping Love Alive

Marianne Williamson – Wisdom from a Course in Miracles

and other videos were also available at the time but it was election night in the UK so I missed the time to watch these.

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The first series started Saturday, there are over 100 hours of lessons, videos and audio. This is why you can buy the whole summit. I am just choosing the material I think will be best for me. Confirming what I know and giving me some new knowledge too. In fact they encourage you to use your intuition when choosing.

SHIFT – Dr Wayne W Dyer the-shift187 Hay House Copyright © 2015 Hay House

Last night I watched the best video – SHIFT with Dr Wayne W Dyer (love his books), I didn’t have time to carve 2 hours in one sitting, as I worked with the Worcester Writing Group WWM yesterday and got home at tea time, but it was a great use of time whilst dinner was cooking.

I wrote notes in my writing notebook as I watched, only occasionally paused the video and even wrote a beautiful nature poem. I would recommend this film, watch it. It will wake up your mind and spirit.

Day 3

This morning, I was wide awake at 5 A.M and I thought – why not get up and make some time for more audio from the summit. I watched, listened and made notes for 3 hours. Lots of discovery.

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 Not only is it great to feel connected to authors that I have read for many years, but also to have positivity confirmed. This leap of faith that is talked about that I know I have made. I am so grateful that when I talk to friends and family about my life now, they show true happiness for me too.

When I went to vote, I bumped into two friends that I hadn’t seen for ages, what felt like months, we worked out has actually been 2 years. I talked to them about my life – they were there right before my illness took over, before I left work and resigned and bought a house with Mr G. They couldn’t believe the change, they were delighted. I also might have arranged new opportunities with work with them too.

I feel inspired again to chase dreams and follow those inner voices that guide and freak out when I don’t listen. I have also discovered some great resources and websites, some of which I will share on my weekly Hays House World Summit but really – you should sign up (FOR FREE) and find your own trail through the videos and interviews you need. I was certainly meant to take part this year. Are you?

Copyright © 2015 The Tapping Solution.comtapping solution dot com

Next I watched another film, this one with case studies, incredibly moving. I had heard of this technique, never used it. Not yet.

I have since heard many of the team at Hay House talk about using it – and have tried several tapping sessions myself now, it WORKS!

Then over the next few days I set about listening and responding to interviews;

Awakening the Oracle Within: How to Powerfully and Creatively Navigate Your Destiny with Colette Baron-Reid, best-selling author of Messages from Spirit and The Map, takes you on a journey to awaken your oracle within.

I learnt a couple of great visualisation and mindfulness techniques, an enjoyable lesson.

Next I turned to davidji Finding Happiness and Stepping Into Your Power

Acclaimed meditation expert and stress-management guru davidji presents a fascinating discussion on happiness and destressifying. Most of us move through life in a conditioned way, instead of with purpose and deeper meaning. If we begin to master our emotions—being reflective instead of reactive—we can pull ourselves out of pain and live lives of greater happiness.

Another great session which has led me to some online meditation. I will remember ‘heart breathing’ and ‘soda’ and discovering davidji, an incredible being.

That’s what I enjoyed about the summit last time too – it leads you to discover amazing resources that you otherwise would be ignorant of – I plan to post a list at the end of the summit.

Leaps of Faith: Trusting the Universe and Allowing Divine WillDoreen Virtue

Join Doreen Virtue for an intimate chat about what it means to place your trust in the Universe and change your life course. During this warm and engaging conversation, Doreen candidly talks about her Divine calling to align with her authentic purpose, both back in the ’90s and again today. Opening up about her next phase of life, she discloses her recent leap of faith and how she is now stepping out into the unknown.

Be ’emotionally unafraid’.

Sometimes the universe answers questions that have unsettled uour mind for a while. Last month was incredibly hard for me as a writer and performer, I was struggling with self-belief and losing faith in the power of the poem. It is funny what we already know and forget.

When I was 12, I had a hobby of writing letters, with 32 Pen-pals all over the world. There was a great company (before the days of the internet) where for the price of a couple of stamps they would send you details of other people and you would become penfriends. Two of these dear virtual paper friends made it through to my adult life (yes we still WRITE – use the post boxes and the stamps – airmail on a doormat is the best kind of greeting). Melinda Wee, from the Philippines sent me a postcard when I was 12 – with the words – ‘You can’t please all of the people all of the time, you can please some of the people, some of the time.’

At 12 I didn’t really understand this, I was living, or perhaps surviving in EGO already and couldn’t really wrap myself around this context. Years later, I understood this lesson and then I forgot it. Doreen Virtue (the lady of cards) brought it back to me in the lesson ‘Leaps of Faith: Trusting the Universe & Allowing Divine Will’ – when she said;

You have to not care and trust. Trust that there is an audience who think the same as you.

Don’t worry about them. There is no-one in history on Earth, that everyone liked. You can’t please everyone.  

AND POW! Immediately my fear was gone – and I can tell you my performances since at Mouth & Music and Howl have been fabulous sets where pins would have rung out if they had of been dropped! Poet 2

This photo was taken before my 1st performance back in October 2013.

LET IT GO – or do an ‘Elsa’ which is a Frozen term I have invented. It may catch on like no worries and being in a bubble…

Write from your heart and people who resonate with you WILL follow. Doreen Virtue

The Motivation Renaissance – Brendon Burchard

Join best-selling author and personal-development guru Brendon Burchard and Hay House president and CEO Reid Tracy as they explain how to claim your personal power amid the ocean of distractions presented by modern life.

6 practises of integrity;

1) Think before you act

2) Never commit to anything for which you lack passion

3) Keep our word

4) Always treat others with respect

5) Tell the truth

6) Always favour ACTION

I might follow the advice of writing a 3-5 page manifesto when the retreat is over. My thought to take away at this point is;

Advance towards things that matter – let go of everything that isn’t.

The Soul: Understanding Its Journey & Lessons- James Van Praagh

James Van Praagh, author of Adventures of the Soul, talks about the soul and how understanding your soul will reveal your true essence. James describes the soul as the “core of our being” and explains how the body, the spirit, and the soul are related.

This was one of those strange happenings, an audio lesson I had originally decided to gloss over as I wasn’t convinced by the subject matter or the brief of the lesson. In the end I decided to give it a go.

I received my most powerful experience of the summit yet. I learnt about pace and how I am perhaps racing around at 4x the speed of those people I admire, the ones who exude calm connectedness. He has produced some soul reading cards and I think the best thing to do is just provide a link, tell you to give it a chance and hope that you find yourself in blissful euphoria by the end of it, as I did.

https://www.hayhouseworldsummit.com/lessons/the-soul-understanding-its-journey-and-lessons/

A Acton 10

I dipped into and wrote my way through many more lessons and carry away some important thoughts.

Series 2 has been live since the 14th and I am already a few lessons in. Look for the post next week. I have not felt this light and connected for a long while, this summit has come at exactly the right time for me.

The Ups and Downs of Creatives: Motivation & Mindset

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notebooks The Ups and Downs of Creatives

YOU ARE NORMAL – IT IS NORMAL!

  • Writing can be particularly isolating – get out and find Local Creative movements or find an online community.
  • Keep your motivation up. If you’re not excited – then who will be?
  •  Be brave – look in the mirror and see courage – and if not, repeat the words a few times.
  • Find time to put in practise
  • and practise what you learn

MOTIVATION

Look at some great examples (people/work) and aspire, see what achievements they had, do you see yourself having the same?

maya creativity

  • Share your own learning experience
  • Pass it forward

Then you get to a place you feel you should be and it is all waterfalls and rainbows after that? Wrong.

You keep growing – keep learning – keep failing and succeeding. Many creative areas are like small planetary systems and the orbit around us is called REJECTION – occasionally you see a small opening – shoot for it and make it through to success – and even success comes with a ton more lessons.

Don’t let that put you off wishing for it – in fact wishing for success is your first step towards it – pull it closer towards you.

Be prepared for your confidence to take a knock – and quite often you are the one responsible for throwing such punches.

Be prepared for a lack of self-belief to raise its ugly head from time to time.

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GOAL SETTING

Set goals – be clear on what it is you want to achieve and when things go wrong make 1 of 2 decisions;

– kick it to the kerb and try again

OR

– decide that fate has other plans and move in a different direction  – fight or flight really – of course it is TRULY something you really want – keep fighting – don’t give up – but set a time limit on the punches (mine was 16 years*, now closer to 13, despite it taking 9 months to find my writing niche).

Right now, especially if I reflect on the past 4 months, there are things that haven’t gone as well as I would have liked. Things that have failed completely (note I say ‘things’ and not I – rejection is not personal) but also there has been success, achievement and a few opportunities I had not dreamt would be on offer this early on the path of my goals.

A happy summer 2011 SEEK HAPPINESS

Of course a certain amount of dream/ambition and perfect working world comes from a place where we seek happiness. If you are serious about making it part of your life/existence you will need to accept that it will be jolly hard work (often not jolly at all) … but if you love what you’re doing it won’t feel like work and when it does and you feel it dragging you down… do what I do and think about what WORK used to mean/be! I can guarantee you are doing better now -right?

Stress(ing) takes up abundant amounts of energy and you may find (if like me you still have paid employment to keep you alive) that this is becoming ever more stressful.

DAlma© 2014 Deborah Alma

This year for many reasons (not least that I am finally well enough to do so) I have taken on more career work. The result of this has meant losing writing days – for the first few months this made me angry. Mr G was working away and I wanted to spend my free time with him, not the laptop – and I am glad I did, because we got through it and are now reunited and the laptop can make an appearance at any time without neglect or imbalance occurring.

Looking back considering what a challenging (timewise) writing year it has been so far, I am not doing too badly. There is one major project that I wish I had spent more time on in the New Year, on the flip side although I have inevitably delayed something exciting and forward propelling from happening, I have created new material which wouldn’t have been written in time or possibly would never have existed.

writing space 2 mote carlo CREATE SPACE

Remember to create some space and time for you to address what’s happening, what you are thinking. What do you want your life to be like? Start with the ideal and work backwards.

What is important to you?

What creative direction would you like to take?

 TOP TIPS:

  • step out of your comfort zone
  • seek new opportunities
  • plan and schedule – only say YES if you can do it
  • Celebrate the good times and try to acknowledge the bad times, they will often teach valuable lessons. Many times over, usually.
  • Remember all those famous people who failed, that we only see the success (which is why I like to blog the fails too). If you have been walking around without an eye on the internet for the past decade and happen to have missed the list and have no clue what I’m talking about…. here are just a few popular examples:

DURING THEIR LIFETIME…Motivate faith

Vincent Van Gogh: sold only one painting, and this was to a friend and only for a very small amount of money.

Emily Dickinson: had fewer than a dozen poems published out of her almost 1,800 completed works.

I have (and probably you have) already beaten this in today’s world of publishing.

Theodor Seuss Giesel: 27 different publishers rejected Dr. Seuss’s first book.

Steven Spielberg: was rejected from the University of Southern California School of Theater, Film and Television three times.

Stephen King: The first book by this author, the iconic thriller Carrie, received 30 rejections, finally causing King to give up and throw it in the trash.

J. K. Rowling: was nearly penniless, severely depressed, divorced, trying to raise a child on her own while attending school and writing a novel.

ELVIS PRESLEY got fired after his first show;

“You ain’t goin’ nowhere, son. You ought to go back to drivin’ a truck.”

world poetry day LOOK BACK

Look back – YES

I look through my schedule, which I annotate as I go with highlighters/markers, I know my key: Performing, writing, submitting, publishing etc.

Then I have a system where at the end of the month I write on a small post-it all the MAJOR achievements, that way when I reflect I just look over the 1-12 post-it notes.

Other people keep their TO DO lists in a separate notebook and just look back through these.

It needn’t mean extra work for you, but this reflection will boost your creativity/ output and success in the future.

I have also learnt to let the dips happen, they are a natural (and necessary) part of any creative career. Plus many creative people are likely to suffer depression, anxiety… so let go, give in and feel the rip and pull of the tide until you enjoy it as much as the gentle white horses of the sea covering your feet on the sand.

The best way to deal with it or anything is to

JUST KEEP GOING!

motivation keep on

Happy Writing x

* Brief information on my plan = 4 Olympics… all this is training for my first – 2016.

Review of January

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An exciting start to 2015, the month has flown by! jan

My car completely died on me the first day back at work and had to have a new battery, I’ve worked at ‘World’s End’, survived the first month of Mr G working away from home, been a Guest Poet at The Poetry Lounge in the Sitting Room -Ludlow, I was invited to be a guest poet at Word Up, Birmingham – alongside Antony Owen and Lily Blacksell, I was booked as a Special Guest for a charity event in March and as a headliner/Guest Poet for a new Open Mic Night in Stourbridge – that’s booked in for May, was worried March was looking a little full already. I’ve read 4 books, made contact with Rachel Kelly after reading her book ‘black rainbow’ and was inspired to write a New Year blog post – I have been really touched by this connection, got copies of Heather Wastie’s and Bert Flitcroft’s books, was the team leader in Mouth & Music’s Spark Off Event,

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FINALLY got an appointment with my Doctor (have been trying since November), avoided all January SALES (mainly due to the car costing a small fortune and the rest being spent on poetry),

Had to survive with my mobile phone dying on me (for the 4th time) finally getting it sent away! I laughed at how they mistook my age to mean techsavvy lending me a Samsung Galaxy without any manual! The loaned charger didn’t work either – fortunately mine is designed to fit different handsets so it seems.

Mr G and I adjusted to a working life apart only to be reunited several months sooner than we expected.

It snowed! Four times – the 3rd time I narrowly missed two collisions on the brow of a hill and had to call in to cancel work as all exits were snowed in. Even people in Landrovers were struggling – I stood no chance – my car has a moped sized engine and is as useless as me in ice and snow.

BLOGS & PROJECTS

Delighted to see a new flow of followers this month, I have managed to blog about this month and also I think there are probably a high percentage of people looking and searching for things in January. Great to see the activity remain strong. You know me, always trying to beat the stats!

52 came to an end *which I missed as I was offline for Christmas, we are being weaned off with some new prompts from Norman and have the promise of books and anthologies to look forward to.

This year I am seeking to place my poetry in suitable places, rather than spending my life writing to theme (although no doubt I will do this also).

Work re-started (after Christmas break) on my own personal poetry project and will probably be the case for most of the year. I also submitted work for magazines and a collection of poems.

I continued to attend David Calcutt’s Community Garden workshops in Walsall. This month we were writing in the moment. My poetry can be seen on his website (link to follow). I was nearly an hour late but caught up with pages of ideas and two almost poems. Our path has been raked over ready for the community path to be built up to the wild area, this path will feature our group poem written in December.

Our Poetry Society Stanza group was invited to submit poetry for a competition at Corinium Museum, Cirencester  http://coriniummuseum.org/, a group of us went on Poet’s Day Out Trip – cake, museum, lunch, shopping. I thoroughly enjoyed my day with Kathy Gee, Maggie Doyle & Claire Walker. I have written pages of notes, chosen the artefacts to write about… now I just to need to WRITE!

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SUBMISSIONS

I submitted work to publications and poetry press.

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Magma Violence

Faber New Poets

PERFORMING POETRY

This year I decided to pull back on the 100+ gigs of last year to allow more time to work on writing. Despite this promise I couldn’t resist January, especially as I missed most of December. Wonderfully I started and ended the month with Guest Poet slots. I have more events booked through until July, which is brilliant.

The Poetry Lounge in The Sitting Room – Guest Poet alongside Bert Flitcroft – Jean Atkin, Ludlow

SpeakEasy New Year , Fergus McGonigal & Maggie Doyle, Worcester

Mouth & Music, Spark Off! – Team Leader in opposition with Peter Williams – Heather Wastie & Sarah Tamar

Drummonds 42 (the 42nd event) – Andrew Owens

Word Up – Guest Poet alongside Antony Owen & Lily Blacksell- Ddotti Bluebell & Jasmine Gardosi

It feels like I have attended more events than this – there were plenty I didn’t go to – needing writing time and having a different focus this year and of course, some just clashed; Spoken Word at The Ort (I hope to make it by March, the dates clash with Stanza meetings), Luck’s Weight Exhibition poems and photographs by Jean Atkin & Andrew Fusek Peters, Hit the Ode, Spoken Worlds, Sunday Xpress, Shindig, Grizzly Pear, Purple Penumbra, Je Suis Birmingham.

EVENTS & WORKSHOPS

Stanza

Writing West Midlands – Assistant writer/ Mentor- the new mentor role (which was a time-limited position came to a close this month to praise and positive feedback)

The Stanza Group working on Museum Poetry

David Calcutt – Caldmore Gardens Workshop & Poetry on the Path Project

A great start to the New Year and my 3rd year in the world of writing, 2nd year in the world of poetry.

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PS: Like all Bloggers I keep my eye on the traffic and I forgot to add this gem to the review: BOOM!

Your blog, awritersfountain, appears to be getting more traffic than usual! 38 hourly views – 2 hourly views on average
A spike in your stats

A Weekend of Writing, Words & Poetry

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I have just had a brilliant weekend in my writing skin. Saturday I worked for WWM (Writing West Midlands) completing my final mentoring session and another session with our writing group. We were in the studio this week – which is a wonderful space at The Hive which lends itself to ‘drama’. It was a great session led by Ian MacLeod – we all thoroughly enjoyed our ‘red letter day’ experience.

http://www.ianrmacleod.com/

WWM PINK

On Sunday evening I had the privilege to tune into the Transatlantic Poetry Google Hangout. I had seen some at the tail end of last year and hadn’t been available to hang out and watch the transmission live and interactively, until last night.

It was brilliant (and as I stated) a great way to beat the Sunday Night Blues.

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TRANSATLANTIC Poetry is a unique community of poets writing in (or translating to) English from the US, UK, Europe, and beyond. We host an innovative series of readings “on air” that brings poets together from across the globe using Google+ Hangouts on Air technology.’ http://www.transatlanticpoetry.com/

If you get a chance to hangout – this is a great way to listen to a poet from the comfort of your own home and also to discover new poets (new to you) – as I did last night (Tim Krcmarik).

Trans Robert Hosted by Robert Peake

Featuring Hilda Sheehan (who I met a year ago) trans Hilda 2 and Tim Krcmarik from Austin, Texas Trans Tim

Both treated to us to readings and then a Q & A, glad I was able to catch them, an hour well spent.

List of notes and inspirations for me to approach after this month’s submissions.

I also took several more bookings for Guest Poet Spots and featured artist – I look forward to these, caught up with the admin surrounding January’s Writing Plan and even wrote a poem – first one since Stanza (few weeks ago).