We made it to 2022, in this exhausting world where everyday we’re grateful to be alive! I hope your start to 2022 has been a quality one.
Since my health issues at the end of 2018, I haven’t really been an active creative. During my treatment I couldn’t write at all. After 6 months I stopped needing morphine, I gradually worked on editing the book which was delayed due to my medical needs. The editing process takes months and by the end of that I had little energy to invest. At this time I was still on over 20 pills a day.
I struggled with myself, feelings of failing and frustrations of inability all through 2019. It took a further year after I was free from the stick walking and consultants to tackle this. By this point we were tackling the pandemic.
Many creatives suffered. I read an article which explained the area of the brain we use to process/ manage the emotional fallout of a pandemic is where the creativity comes from, so it was no surprise we all suddenly felt empty. I had been staring at my wall/garden in isolation for a year already so I didn’t have to tackle that feeling of having nothing to write about, but survival mode doesn’t lend itself to play and I lost any potential of artistic bliss.
I desperately needed to escape into words and place focus away from what was happening globally and at home. Thanks to many generous poets I was able to stay creatively buoyant throughout Lockdown, despite a gauntlet of life’s challenges. And I was finally able to write about my annus horribilis.
By 2021 my m/s was ready but I’ve sat on it for so long that it has become changed. Which was its destiny, but I know it needs to become a priority if it is ever to be completed.
That’s what I am working on as well as taking on almost full time real life work by way of compensating the devastation to the bottom line over the past three years! I am grateful to have work in these times and to be able to do it.
I was diagnosed with a chronic disease at the end of 2019 and another chronic condition in the summer of 2020, obviously the NHS was already in crisis before the pandemic, so people with other issues (1/5th of the population, I believe) are waiting for appointments connected to other conditions. The backlog is not something which can be worked through.
I was lucky to see the consultant for all allocated appointments last year. But news like this also takes some adjusting. So in addition to working offline on the manuscript, I am also giving myself time to focus on health and future.
I am involved in projects which take place over the next two weekends and WLFF (Worcestershire LitFest & Fringe) are planning the 2022 Festival.
I am still here and I am delighted that you are too. I wish you every success and happiness in 2022. Fingers crossed!
We continued to have snow in the beginning of the month and towards the end of the month. We had to contend with Storm Christoph and many areas of the UK (including this county) were flooded. It was often cold and frosty! Close friends contracted Covid, fortunately none were hospitalised, all are either recovering or recovered. One family saw it soar through inter-generationally. Closer to home, Mr G. who has been out to work for all 3 Lockdowns had to self isolate for 10 days after an employee caught covid. Fortunately, he’s all clear.
January saw a balance between much needed paid work and writing, for a day at least and then we went into the 3rd Lockdown. My contract was eventually renegotiated and I went back to work out there.
WEEK 1 & 2:
I am working on a couple of projects which took chunks of January time. I took a booking for a Reader Series in March in the USA, which was then rearranged for January!
I sent some submissions. By the 2nd Jan.I had 2 new poems published and by some miracle (December submissions) by the 7th Jan – I had 7. This almost makes up for 2019/2020! Then I had a break of 3 weeks which dragged me over some deadlines. At the end of 2020 I was approached for work in two anthologies.
A portion of my time is now spent typing up notebook poems from last year and I have been sending these through the editing mill. In one of these editing groups I discovered the joy of the Muppets doing Robert Frost! After watching it I have a vague recollection of seeing it before, when I was too young to get the poetic reference.
I signed up to some new classes for 2021 which will continue as a year of Learning (which is what I decreed 2020 as), but unlike Lockdown times I also need to get the house straight so shall not be returning to a full time life online. I have classes and workshops rolling over from last year with Judith Redwing, L.A Marks and Celena Diane, all in the USA and Rakaya Fetuga in London. I love working with and listening to International poetry, I have always enjoyed reading translated poetry, even in my teens. Most events attract global audiences nowadays which is silver lining to poetry on Zoom (and other platforms).
I saw Sean O’Brien, Joelle Taylor and Memoona Zahid Live at The Butchery, which was a lively and fabulous event. Martin Figura and Helen Ivory are masters at making the hosting and organising of such feats look easy! Luke Wright and Jennifer A McGowan wowed audiences at Yes We Cant, PPP did their usual sterling job of providing a thoroughly entertaining, high energy evening!
During the week I saw David Clarke at Crafty Crows, it was a great reading and I finally made sense of the numbering in some of his latest work. It was a wonderful chance for people to hear current work before it makes it out in book form (which I am almost certain it will). It was lovely reading comments from people who had not had the pleasure of hearing David read before. It was also great to hear an extended set by Catherine Baker.
I was excited to return to Fire & Dust the next evening featuring Clive Oseman , it was great fun and I felt a real sense of reunion. Helen Ivory & Martin Figura featured at Poet’s Cafe, another incredible evening.
The week was finished off with news of a project going LIVE. Read all about it here. Dear 2021, The Start of It was part of Sheffield’s Year of Reading & the BBC The Novels that Shaped our World, it stemmed from a two part workshop with Nik Perring who was Writer in Residence at Sheffield Libraries.
It was great fun and some of our poems were selected to be part of the book which marks this project. I have seen the book online and am waiting excitedly for a copy. Dear 2021
I was accepted for a workshop with John Brantingham later this month and after several unsuccessful applications in 2020, I made one that was accepted! The weekend was spent back in Sheffield Libraries with the Poetry sharing group and in the evening I hot-footed over to America to join the Ohio Poetry Association (OPA)for a few hours on a workshop with Diane Kendig. This was a thoroughly absorbing experience, one I felt lucky to be part of. It finished off the notebook I started in December. A sparkling new notebook for January then, well almost. I am working my way through shelved stock, it was one bought 15 years ago.
To finish the week I went on Cath Drake‘s Refresh 2021 class. I knew the mindfulness was just what I needed and by now I had news that my contract in the real world had been reinstated and that I was due back in work the next day. So I double needed these few hours. It was a heart-warming experience in a supportive group and I loved the meditation. I had a workshop with Sarah L.Dixon and wrote a poem from a wondorous prompt.
I intentionally attempted to do less writing events this week, I was working all week and needed some down time and my creative projects need full focus at the moment, which is another reason I let submission deadlines slide. There are only so many plates you can spin!
I listened to advice and found motivation from Rommi Smith, Jo Clement, JT Welsch & Hannah Bannister at the Northern Writers’ Awards and spent an evening with Sarah L.Dixon & Tom Sastry at Cafe Writers. Later in the week I spent a wonderful couple of hours enjoying Zelda Chappel‘s New Beginnings class, again a great group of writers. Followed by the Poets in Motion, where I discovered my Reading Series slot was to be later this month. I spent a wondrous night with Rosie Garland. Love her performance, poetry and enthusiasm for her publishers, Nine Arches Press. This event was from Trafford Libraries. By now work in the real world was well underway and it was a challenge not to be asleep by 7PM! I also dedicated some writing desk time to myself to whittle away on the projects.
The weekend saw a plethora of events: I went to Redwing‘s Food for Thought Cafe and Oooh Beehive, Clive Oseman and Nick Lovell had booked none other than Elvis McGonagall! It has been more than a year since I last saw this King of poetry in action and it was a real treat! I did Rakaya Fetuga‘s workshop and learnt a lot about forging. On Sunday I had double events. I wanted to catch Marvin Thompson at Cheltenham Poetry Festival’s event also featuring Simon Alderwick but it clashed with RYT – I haven’t made it to Run Your Tongue and I missed seeing everyone and Dominic Berry was headlining. I hate it when events overlap but I also hate missing out and choosing.
Nearly two weeks of real-world work, which feels like months and evenings are harder to stay energised enough to fill with anything other than sleep. However, I had booked events before the contract was renewed for Lockdown and wanted to go to as many as I could manage.
At the end of December I was asked to contribute to two anthologies, the news of launch dates came through, more on this soon, exciting! As well as weekly classes I filled myself with the poetry of: Manuela Moser, Padraig Regan, Stephen Sexton at Poetry at the Lexicon, R.M Francis at Dear Listener, Richard Skinner, Bernard O’Donoghue and Anna Saunders at the Book Launch of Feverfew, Anna’s new collection. The weekend reading was by Dante Micheaux and I discovered Chrysalis and caught Inua Ellams in action. I finished the week at Culturama and had some poems workshopped with John Brantingham, who is also taking part in the Reader Series next week on the 27th.
Later on the same evening I attended a very special event hosted Susan Roney-O’Brien, a tribute reading for Patricia Fargnoli, Celebrating Pat Fargnoli. Pat (and many of the WCPA poets) took part in my Transatlantic Poetry Project in 2018, A Tale of Two Cities. It was a moving experience hearing a multitude of voices reading Pat’s work and I had not expected Pat to be able to read some too. It was an honour and a blessing to be there.
My main focus was to prepare my hour for the Reader Series this week. The great element of this event is you get to talk about the story behind the poems as well as read them. We each have an hour in a back to back series from 10:30am (PST). Unfortunately this series has been postponed until February and I am not free for a booking before April. I will be ready for whenever it is rebooked though. I also had one day where I slept after work for 5 hours and was too tired to boot the laptop up!
It was an enjoyable hour, a fantastic discussion and her poetry pamphlet, Finding Sea Glass is now on my wishlist!
I also attended a workshop with Sarah L. Dixon, which, as usual was great. Except I had tidied up my bookshelves and then we create book spine poems. I used the nook upstairs rather than piling all my books again in the lounge! It was a full afternoon and evening schedule. I received an email which tipped me off to a Talk by Don Paterson. I couldn’t resist the title (he claimed this is why he called his lecture this) ‘Why Bad Metaphors Destroy Everything’. In a few months I am rolling out some work around metaphor so that’s another reason my interest was peaked. This talk was from St Andrew’s Alumuni and is available online. Following this I went to the Brittle Star MagazineLaunch, it was an enjoyable hour of poetry and a lovely launch. The lockdown has enabled us to attend lots of magazine launches which usually take place too far away to travel to. I set an alarm for Midnight and joined many people who were watching Poetry In America – An Evening with Two Poet Laureates of the United States: Natasha Trethewey and Joy Harjo. Which was a moving experience.
Another wonderful magazine launch this week was the Poetry Review Winter Launch with the Poetry Society. Emily Berry was the Editor for this issue and we heard readings from four contributors: Graham Mort, Meredi Ortega, Rushika Wick and Jason Allen-Paisant.
It was a powerful reading and a great way to spend an hour. I particularly enjoyed listening to Jason Allen-Paisant who wove a soulful magic with his words.
I have read the Poetry Review for years but it is special to hear the words from the mouths of the creators.
I am finishing the month with clashing events. Jane Hirshfield & Rachel Eliza Griffiths at Hudson Valley Writers and Rick Mullin & Nicca Ray at GWFM.
It always feel inappropriate to post about loss this way, especially tagged to the end of a review of the month. But I don’t feel I have the words to write more and as with other poetry friends I have lost this way, testimony has been posted elsewhere. I also feel I can’t get through looking back on January without this being here. Sadly, we lost a friend, a big part of our poetry community this month. It is a tragic loss and something I cannot find the right words for. The tight rawness of the situation has hit us all hard. He remains strong in our hearts.
Wasn’t really in wilderness at all, just poetless and writingless, so, yes… wilderness!
Mid-March I just stopped, completely unplanned and unintentional, muse seemed to have left the building and I was physically & mentally drained, all my energy was used up working the daytime and by the time it came to the evening, I was falling asleep an hour after getting home from work.
I decided to let it happen, rather than push on with my performance agenda. I was feeling sad about not writing, but even typing up previously penned poems seemed too much. At the time I wasn’t worried, knowing this time would pass.
There were 5 submission pieces I had scheduled to work on, three poetry nights (Mouth & Music, Howl & Speakeasy) that I missed and a Stanza meeting, due to an important family occassion (which weeks later led to a new poem being penned). All this went out the window and was swapped for work, sleep, real life mortgage hunting, meetings and TV.
The only reason I missed a 3rd week of events in March was to cover my transport costs to LONDON, which due to such a hellish journey (a breakdown on the hard shoulder on the outskirts of London resulted in a 3 hour delay, making a three hour journey take closer to seven hours, we were running late as it was) I am hoping to be reimbursed.
I missed Poetry Bites with Jacqui Rowe, particularly sad not to see Robert Harper’s (Barefiction) full set and missed Jayne Stanton too. The following night I missed Drummonds 42 with Andrew Owens. My Caldmore Community Gardens workshop was cancelled – having already turned work down, I treated myself to a much needed writing day and at least sent a backlog of poetry to David Calcutt for his Natural Histories website.
I also worked on a couple of new poems from notes in my writing journals, from previous workshops with Angela France and Jean Atkin.
On Friday I went to London for Hark Issue #4 Launch and reading – very exciting! Once I had slept all of Saturday in recovery of a 22hour day on 5 hours sleep, I found as if by magic, I had woken up with my poetry muse back! We have been celebrating every since.
Apologies to regular readers for the radio silence, I took a fortnight off from everything apart from work and sleeping. I didn’t write (except lists), perform or surf blogland for some time. I would love to tell you I have been on a cruise or a desert island… because the ‘nose to grindstone’ story isn’t as riveting!
You will be happy to hear, I am back with you and will spend lots of time this evening updating the blog and sharing all my great news with you…. because even when life enforces a period of hibernation upon you, the world continues to spin, we have had a solar eclipse and everything!
Besides I was not hibernating in reality, just working hard and needing to replenish energy stocks through sleep. Mr G is still working away and time offline enables me to gain realtime with him, which is gold-dust precious at the moment.
Plus we have had Mother’s Day, World Poetry Day, St David’s Day, Saint Patrick’s Day (not that I marked either this year with an event), and lots of Birthdays which I have barely had the chance to send social media wishes for.
HAPPY MARCH – hope you have a good one! Watch out for some new posts and lots of EXCITING news!
I have enjoyed slicing for the past year or so, although I admit I don’t post a weekly slice, just dip in from time to time (usually when another blogger’s slice has caught my eye)… but as I came home from my appointment this morning, I got to feeling excited about the day I have planned and I realised (to my horror) that one of the reasons it feels so good is because it has been so long coming!
A few years ago I changed my life, gave up a regular full time career with a good salary (and 80 hour weeks) for a life! I have until recent months balanced my teaching and writing lives quite well, I need one to pay the mortgage and the other to feed my soul, I hope that in years to come the writing life will have the bigger portion of pie, but I doubt it will come with a golden wage…. although it might. I realised when my health suffered that there is more to life than money and a career and emotional wellbeing plays an immense role in our physical and mental health. I would rather be alive and get by, than sit on piles of cash, exist on 4 hour sleeps, exhaust myself to the point of collapsing, take the brunt of negativity in the workplace, wake up hating everyday before it begins and not have any time or pleasure cells left to enjoy spending my HARD earned extra cash.
Today I have a LOVELY day off! I was looking at the work in my diary so far this month and due to numerous cancellations by rights I should have managed a writing day before now. The universe threw broken cars, broken phones, sleepless nights, masses of chores, a few poetry events and weekends with Mr G (as he is currently working away I like to keep the weekends free as best I can to plan stuff together). I also pretty much took the Christmas Holiday off too (from writing/ internet) which means that it has been about 5 weeks since my last day of great creativity and action. No wonder I feel rusty!
Today in between appointments I am working on submissions for this month and listing new inspiration and ideas in my notebook (yes, you should always carry one around). I also have tomorrow morning off and hope to get productive on the laptop before going to work.
I called this post ‘Refresh’ because we live in a world of tech – we refresh pages all the time online, we sometimes forget to refresh ourselves. You know how the computer struggles when you have 11+ windows open and you’re waiting for it to load, well life can get like that too.
Think about yourself this – what do you need to do to REFRESH?
As far as the past week – you can read the relevant parts here:
the rest of my week has just been work (although I did work in an interestingly named location – ‘World’s End’ … it was a bit of a tough day too) and box sets – Mr G and I finally finished watching Dexter.
I am hoping to post my review of the wonderful and busy month of October soon, I have taken on a lot of day work and have some projects on the boil too – time on the computer has been non-existent and following an extremely busy half term I decided to take the weekend off, including online, that was off too!
The result is that stressful cyber loss that involves backed up emails, more updates on social media than you will ever manage and some old news being new news to you. Out of touch in just 48 hours!
I will endeavour to use some writing time tomorrow to catch up with myself before our Bonfire Party.
Eat cake, drink tea and then look back on something you’ve written – it definitely helps the editing process! And if you can, leave it untouched for as long as possible – an hour, a day, a week…..the longer the better, as distance will give you a clearer perspective. Sometimes you stumble on something scribbled long ago and forgotten, and can spot the potential lines crying out for a new poem, or the fact that the whole piece of paper belongs in the recycling bin.
Be prepared to write badly. We all do, sometimes. It’s ok, and with hindsight you’ll love some of your work more than others. Some will seem as awkward as teenage diaries, or embarrassing old school photos. 😉 Just keep going, start something new and keep the faith….. my boyfriend is a scientist and uses statistics to say that the chances are the next piece will be better….or something like that, but with several graphs and copious numbers and scientific theories…..
Morning pages are a good idea if you’re stuck in a writing rut – see Julia Cameron and just sit down with bed-head hair, pen & paper and a cup of tea and scribble whatever is in your head to clear it out onto the page. Then you can mine it for the odd random good thought to work with, or start something afresh later that day with a clear head and a few pages of notes already scribbled – proof you are a writer! Although these pages are never to be read by another, no matter how much they love you. If i’m doing them, I make my handwriting so illegible that even I struggle to re-read them. Or maybe that’s just because it’s too early and my hand was still asleep at the pen…..
Don’t write the same poem. Again. Don’t write the same poem! Of course we’ll all have certain subjects we return to, or familiar themes, but try new things too….which is where a writing exercise or a workshop can highlight a new area for you and will be refreshing. Write about cheese, or your grandmother’s hands, about the first day at school, the urges you have when you order coffee from the cute barista, write in the voice of an excited 5 yr old at school playtime etc. You will still come through quite clearly in any of these subjects by the way, even if you can’t spot it! I did a residency at WBA (West Bromwich Albion) football club and wrote a piece as a small boy and performed it, to be told – ‘Oh that was just like you!’ so we’ll still leave a trace of our own DNA behind. Sometimes writing surprises you. I was introduced at a gig, by the uber talented and lovely Polarbear poet, as being a romantic poet who wrote about love. I was horrified. I thought, hang on – just because I’m the only woman on the bill, doesn’t mean I’m a soppy loved up girl. Then I realised I was, despite my tom boy image. Damn – poetry can do this – it outs you!
Say yes to things. Obviously not if it’s unsafe – so don’t agree with you wildest friend to step into a lion’s cage while wearing platform wedges and drinking tequila…..but in the writing sense, say yes. Offer to help at an event, or read at one, or mentor someone, or go on a writing course, or co-write something with someone. Be honest if you’ve not much experience, but go for it and you’ll learn all sorts of things in the process and meet new people and something positive will usually come from it.
This is how I began writing, applying for a short writing course – even though the last thing I’d written down was 20 yrs earlier. I discovered I was the only newcomer on a course squished full of extraordinarily talented & experienced people, mostly published and who all seemed to know each other already and were all very knowledgeable about things I’d never heard of. Yikes. But it was fine, they were a lovely bunch, some of whom are now friends. And I was a novelty, so perhaps that was refreshing for them too. Never feel you have to pretend to be anything you’re not – just be yourself – in life and in writing.
P.S sometimes you’ll say yes to so many things that there are barely enough hours in the day…… I’ve had one of those months lately and my computer breaking and deciding not to work again, just out of guarantee…..grrrrrrrr….hasn’t helped, so this is being scribbled extraordinarily hastily while doing a radio show….and preparing for the Poets Laureate Takeover day in the LOB (Library of Birmingham) tomorrow – Sat 25th October.*
Thanks for your input Charlie, especially in light of your busy schedule and technical failing of all technology! Great advice!
* I advertised this on social media and didn’t get a chance with Inkspill and 94th Birthday celebrations to get to the library or advertise it on the blog! Missed a treat I’m sure. It was part of the Voices season.
Birmingham Poets Laureate Take Over
A morning of pop up poetry readings, performances and workshops led by former Poets Laureate
Saturday 25 October 2014, 10.30am – 1pm throughout the Library of Birmingham
Drop into the Library of Birmingham for poetry performances, poetry surgeries, workshops and plenty of interactions from some of the city’s former Poets Laureate and Young Laureates. Join the band of wandering poets to celebrate and showcase the best of Birmingham over the years.
A morning of pop up poetry readings, performances and workshops led by former Poets Laureate including Jan Watts, Charlie Jordan, Roy McFarlane, Giovanni Esposito (aka Spoz), Adrian Johnson, Simon Pitt, Chris Morgan, and Julie Boden.
Former Young Poets Laureate Matt Windle, Damani Dennisur and Lauren Williams will also be on hand to inspire youngsters to take up poetry.
Pictured Charlie Jordan and Jan Watts
More from Charlie Jordan soon – look out for Part 2
I am really excited to be taking part in a collaborative performance in this year’s Birmingham Literature Festival (Oct 2-12th). The event is organised by Naked Lungs, following interviews in the summer, they have chosen 4 poets to collaborate on the performance project.
I am delighted to be part of this exciting venture and to meet two new poets last week too. We met in the city to discuss the project and visit a community garden project in Digbeth, which brings nature and city to a meeting point. Inspirational.
I am now working on writing some poetry to send to them as a starting point. We perform at the Library of Birmingham on the 11th @ 4:30pm
It is the same day that my writing mentor job starts too… and both opportunities are funded, which is great news, has taken 12 months, just over to arrive in this position. All the hard work is worth it.
When you have an idea, you have to action it, take risks, run, jump, keep faith – it is meant to be – it will.
I also get to perform a set next week (25th) for an event at Cherry Reds that Naked Lungs run. Fingers crossed this is a gateway to more performance work.
Monday rolls around all too quickly, 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!
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!
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.
I 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.
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!
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!
PS I used part of my break to write this – I am now walking away from the screen!
Sunday night saw the May Bank Holiday Inaugural Poetry Slam hosted by Kidderminster Creatives at the Boars Head Gallery (BHG) – I was so pumped when I got home, this is why I want to be up to date with blog posts and write in real time! To be fair I was still excited when I woke up on Monday!
It was my 1st ever slam, Fergus asked me to take part. I am not real a slam poet, my material is not that click, beat variety…. After this experience I am tempted to follow the winners lead and write just 1 slam poem! The lovely thing about this slam was that everybody got a prize. 13 poets took part.
Those bowing out (like me) in the 1st round took a 2nd hand poetry book, the 2nd round, shiny new books & the winner a gold jelly man trophy, a book & £50! 3 poets in a round – apart from mine that had 4… There were 3 poet laureates and several slam champions for us Slam virgins to pitch against.
It was great fun & entertaining. I was happy with my 2nd hand copy of Ted Hughes, Birthday Lettersand having the freedom to drink and be entertained as 5 (highest scoring runner up + winning poet from each group) became 2, Math Jones and Maggie Doyle went through… to entertain us with a brilliant final.
It was a superb, hyper night!
Maggie Doyle WON!
Congratulations Maggie, who can now be seeing taking Oscar to many events to be photographed! She was up against tough contestants and many who had won slams before. And has written a tongue in cheek beat poem since last weekend, influenced by some of the more ‘beat’ participants!