Category Archives: work

The Disorganised Muddle: My Life

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imagesCAWTNYTO Today my writing day has been reduced to a morning (one which included fraught calls to estate agents and management companies, as the tale of selling my apartment takes another twist!) and also a search for my lost purse, which along with some cash and bankcards has my driving license which needs to be sent to the DVLA for renewal! Life! It’s never easy – I envy the organisers amongst you – try as I might, I am a messy, muddle, piles of things kind of person. A difficult mould to break.

Yesterday afternoon I spent some time in solitude in my sunny garden (with new summerhouse roof – the reason I accepted work on my writing days this week) catching up with reading my writing magazines. I made notes in my writing diary and a list of things to do in the next 24hours, which included looking at websites of upcoming submissions.

One of the opportunities I found earlier this year which I hoped to try was an application to be a festival poet at Glastonbury. This year I am really learning when you find out – apply and submit – don’t sit on it for months and wait for the deadline inked in the writing diary!
Well the deadline was the 7th! I thought it was the 17th… must screw my head on better next year. They have 100s of applicants and it wouldn’t have necessarily led to anything – I have friends on the circuit who have poetry personas and are SLAM champions and I think this is probably more the sort of style they are looking for to entertain the masses, not that fringe tents get masses. It is something I would like to do – will get my material prepared before Christmas ready to send in the New Year!

I feel so deflated when I miss opportunities, but as I have said before it would be impossible for me to hit all the targets I pen out in the diary, unless I win the lottery and have the pleasure of writing full time. Now where is that Lottery Scratch card Mr G bought me…only joking, I may be disorganised but I know where that is!

AWF circleOne thing I HAVE started organising is this year’s writing retreat. In February I asked some writers to be involved, fully preparing myself for rejection… and to my delight everyone responded within a day or two confirming their involvement. 2013 was a pretty awesome online retreat, but 2014 looks to be even better! Pencil it in your diary, the last weekend of OCTOBER.

SAVE THE DATE: 25-26th OCTOBER 2014

Freelancers & Dreamers – The Importance of Glancing Back

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Freelancers & Dreamers – The Importance of Glancing Back …. is the only way you will KEEP MOVING FORWARD!

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  • It is all too easy to give up,
  • to inflict criticism on the thoughts in your mind (Gremlins, I have posted about them before),
  • to feel that you are not doing enough or that you haven’t gone far enough
  • to get all negative and feel like a failure…

This is easy – what takes a bit of effort is turning it around – so TURN AROUND YOURSELF, have a glance back down the road you have trodden, if you keep a blog or diary this is simple, if not it may take a bit of sitting down with your eyes closed and rose-tinted glasses firmly on the table beside you, but it is a really important activity SO DO IT!

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I slipped back to January 2013, when I started the blog and had a speed read of life back then, and although I hardly mentioned it, because at the time the focus of the blog was just the writing journey (now I have realised bloggers put a little of themselves on the page too), I could pick out the barriers I faced (and I know how I overcame them too) – it is like reading your own greatest adventure story and believe me it is easy to forget lots of the obstacles that stood in your way. (Especially if like me, you have trained yourself not to look back, the past is the past etc.)

So this time last year I was still bound to unsuitable employment and despite cutting 50% of my hours I was still highly stressed and under bountiful amounts of pressure. One week my writing time totalled less than 10 hours, that week I felt LOUSY!

The balance I wanted was to tip more in favour of writing – it is bound to take time to let go of something you have done, someone you have become over a decade and a half, but it is happening. I spend everyday (even those I work) thinking about writing and each evening after work there is a writing focus of some sort, whether just for minutes or hours. I also have plenty of evening events I attend after work and daytime events instead of work… in the past I would NEVER have had the energy to work and then be involved in this creative world.

At first it felt very either or – if I worked – I rested either the writer or the teacher. Now they morph a little more fluidly.

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When I work I am truly focused as I always was – and get 5 star gold reviews from everywhere – lovely! It is easy to switch it on for a day or two or even a whole week, the joy is switching it off again as soon as I reach my car, that’s it – no attachment – my emotions belong to me – no politics, ongoing assessment, marking, worry, preparation, panic, target setting, reports, planning, conversation, research, resourcing – all done – all gone – my time is my own and it belongs to the writer.

The writer then chooses whether now fits her natural rhythm or not – there is little point otherwise – it won’t be forced. I have learnt this. But the writer also likes to read and watch and research, so there is always some part she can play before bedtime. Both work and writing tick the boxes and make me feel good about myself and life now – and already the balance is in favour of the pen (and not the marking one!) which is brilliant!

It is easy to forget the rocks you moved on the road you travelled, the tired feet you soothed and the amount of rest you were unable to take as you moved forwards on someone else’s agenda, marching to their beat and rhythm which was not symbiotic to your own.

Dance down the paths you have made Freelancers and keep forging forward – this road only goes in one direction and don’t forget to absorb the scenery along the way! lavendar 2

 

 

One Giant Step For Me

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Today I am brimming with excitement, I am attending a meeting about my first writing job! Something I first approached in September, inspired whilst at a Writer’s Network Meeting. By November, a few emails later it was all set to go. After a few months of not hearing anything more I got in touch and found I had to apply for the position officially. I applied online and had a confirmation email a few days later.

I will write more about this and the latest gig from the amphitheatre (Bear Pit) lib Keri yearwood 1which was yesterday, when I get back later!

FULL STEAM AHEAD!

Quick Update

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I have been busy working the past couple of days and tomorrow I have a set to perform at worcs speakin the evening, I may or may not have work as well.

If not, the plan is to hatch out 2 short stories and a few poems as well as rehearsing (and timing) my set.

Last week I learnt 3 poems off by heartinkspill heart and I hope to keep doing this with 1 or 2 a week and although I like every set to be completely different/ new material – I have realised that some people like to hear the same poem(s) again.

Whatever happens workwise, I should at least be able to pop online and post furiously with post gig adrenalin!

Look forward to catching up tomorrow.

Happy Writing x

A Busy Week Ahead

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I am still trying to write some new material for this week. Poems on a theme are always trickier to write.
I have quite a few days of work this week, as well as a fancy dress costume to organise, a reading event at a local university, plus 2 – 3 performance poetry/ open mic nights.
I also have submissions on the action plan. I have made 1 already (1st submission since August!) not to mention CHRISTMAS SHOPPING! xmas 1 tree penguin

A Word About Wednesday

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It has gone midnight, moon-at-night-landscape_w725_h544 I have to be up for work in 7 hours, the adrenalin of knowing I have smashed 10,000 on my new NaNoWriMo write is pumping through me and somehow I need to sleep! 2013-Participant-Vertical-Banner

I am more than tempted to carry on writing, but I know I will regret it in the morning. Instead I will bid night ,night to Blogland and wait to write my next 1667 (or more) words later. This does mean that my PAD poetry challenge will also be written later (a day late) and Robert has snuck in two prompts as well.

Fortunately work should finish a few hours earlier and I have no plans for the evening. to do

Catching up in Blogland

Planning my story

Writing for nano

Writing 3 PAD poems

Checking emails

are all on the agenda for tonight!

(It may be another late one!)

 

 

Happy writing!

Back in the Fountain – On writing and Catching Up

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I am home from work early and for the 1st time in over a fortnight I have time to write! Back in my poetry skin, trying to find a level balance for my soul. I am trying to produce new work for Friday night and sort out my open mic material for next week, as well as checking all the missing links from my writing action plan after not being online!

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Due to the laptop mouse dying a death and Mr G having to order a new one (thanks for surplus money in the billing account!) I have fallen way behind on posts.

October has been a truly active month for me – maybe the most active so far. I finally made it to a Literature Festival, performed open mic for the 1st time in 15years, booked two more open mics one for the end of October and one for November, wrote, attended workshops and bought more ‘Writing’ books and poetry books.

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In addition my paperwork having finally been collated and paid for (took 4 weeks) I was able to start teaching on supply. For what is commonly called the ‘dead’ term, where work is scarce I have done okay by one of the agencies. I managed to get a PPA role that secures 4 days a month, this guarantees mortgage payments and in addition to these days I have managed 1- 3 more a week on top. This month I will have made the same as I made in the part time position I had before the summer, which kept me busy 5 days a week and over weekends too.

This is a great success and a weight off my mind.

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I have got to grips with balancing this dual life of poet and teacher (note which comes first!) and I am loving the freedom, creativity, positivity I gain from this change I have risked making! Let’s hope it is always this good or better.

I am posting missing threads about the seminars, performances and experiences of recent weeks separately and then linking them back up here;

The Other Side of Chaos Seminar – Margaret Silf

Birmingham Literature Festival – Launch and Laureates

Birmingham Literature Festival – BBC Radio 4 Poetry Please

Birmingham Literature Festival – Art in the Heart Book Launch Ikon Gallery

Birmingham Literature Festival – Benjamin Zephaniah Film Screening To Do Wid’ Me

Birmingham Literature Festival – Postcard Poets

Birmingham Literature Festival – Jane Commane Workshop

 

 

Worcester Literature Festival WLF –

Birmingham Literature Festival –

Birmingham Literature Festival –

Have fun reading the catch up, it has ironically been one of the busiest periods this year and I couldn’t blog about it in real time as I had hoped!

It’s great to be back, splashing around in the fountain!

I am in Love… with my NEW Life!

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Oh my goodness, I am so happy. Everything is falling into place.

I have so many blog posts to write tonight… I still need to tell you all about the Margaret Silf seminar, my wonderful Sunday at the Literature Festival including chats with Roger McGough and Jo Bell, amongst others. New discoveries I have made (in the world of writing) -I am not going to bore you with my new discovery of how choc-ca-block the main roads are before 8a.m, or how much my ankles hurt after being on my feet all day! New purchases (or treats) I have made … buying those glossy magazines really broke the spending seal on my purse. 😉

I have been booked for three days work this week – and due to the heavy traffic (not mentioned as a new discovery above) I made it to work by the skin of my contractual time teeth! Only to discover that they had already covered my position… no fear, there are always options in these situations… and my reward…. I have spent the whole day in Nursery with 3 and 4 year olds, hence the aching ankles (also not mentioned as an new discovery) making yourself 2 feet tall by stooping down all day is no mean feat – and due to my Lit Fest knee injury (acquired when I fell over after the launch) I found using my knees a painful experience. I learnt many moons ago wincing in front of little children is not a good idea and tends to send them into panicked concern.

I had a lovely day (even if I have only just got rid of the pink paint!) and they wanted me back tomorrow – I would have loved that, but Tuesday’s are already covered by my 1 day a week part time position. Spending a second day with Nursery would have been amazing. Especially as now I have discovered a back road route and I know all of their names. Never-mind, some time in the future perhaps.

I got home to find that Mr G had bought 2 more beautiful flowering plants for the garden (my memory of Latin is no good – so I will have to check the labels and add the names in!) He spent all afternoon sorting out the big porcelain sinks we have for bedding plants yesterday whilst I was enjoying myself with words and poets and radio recordings. Tonight we spent an hour planting more bulbs and shrubs, It will look amazing when it all flowers in the spring – can’t wait to share photos.

Here is one of the pots of compost and bulbs. (upload to come)

Tonight I have an A5 list (yes I have reverted back to paper) of things I have to do – including getting activities ready for tomorrow and parking/ directions for the evening (next instalment of the Lit Fest, a book launch at the gallery.) So I am now going to go and do as much as I can and hope to have time to add all those exciting posts before bed.

How has your Monday been?

SOLC – Slice of Life Challenge – Rocketing Through

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I realised last week that I had missed the SOLC on Tuesday so this, once again is a double catch up. Life seems to have taken off over the last few weeks. SOLC

Lots of exciting writing news first. Last month I decided to focus on poetry and getting back onto the local circuit after a 15 year break! The past fortnight has seen a lot of forward movement;

  • I had my first writing job confirmed and start working in January on this project with the objective of having a bigger role in 2014.
  • I attended my first Stanza meeting (Poetry Society), spent a fantastic, relaxed evening with poets and received some great feedback on my material.
  • I went to a seminar at the weekend led by Margaret Silf. A wonderfully inspiring day which gave me time to focus on some deep questions, take lots of notes and be inspired to write a collection of poetry. (My next project!)
  • This evening I received my first invitation to perform at a Poetry Event being held tomorrow night. EXCITED!

Work News

After a month of chasing paperwork and references the agencies I signed up to in September are now live, all I have to do is wait for the call.

  • I have had three interviews.
  • Obtained a position locally (one day a week).
  • Managed to gain work through contacts.
  • Been booked for two extra days this month.

‘Money will flow’… it was a huge risk but so far (on happiness stakes at least) has paid off.

On Life

  • I met Mr G for a lunch date (love meeting him from the office!)
  • We went to a Swedish furniture store to eat hotdogs and buy furniture for the house.
  • Mr G and I went to the theatre (a belated birthday present/ date) we saw ‘Elynside Fields’ written by the writer in residence Nick Wilkes. It was a great production and an enjoyable (and nowadays with the mortgages) a rare night out!
  • We planted lots of seeds in our garden, bought a few weeks ago.
  • Had lots to sort out with my car (recall issue and tax etc.) and
  • the apartment/ estate agents.
  • Met up with an old friend I haven’t seen properly in years and discovered the secret and wonderful world of coffee mornings.
  • Mr G and I met up with my cousin in a local village for the annual Scarecrow Festival.scarecrow scarecrow1 This is a great local event and always a fun day out. This year’s theme was ‘The Best of British.’

I will try to read your slices tomorrow. I should have time in between sorting the apartment, banking, shopping and preparing for my first poetry event.

Full Steam Ahead!

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This is what I wanted… I am very excited … but my time to blog has been reduced, so I am just popping in quickly to share the news.

 

WORK

This morning I shared coffee with a good friend who I have not seen for ages and met her daughter, so cute. Before I even left the house she called, we had talked about work opportunities and she had an opening. I just had 1 piece of vitally important paperwork still missing. Annoyingly I knew it was somewhere in the postal system, as I have tracked the progress online, but I had no way of working without it. So I had to let this morning go.

Before I left for our coffee morning (oh, it is SO nice to be able to ‘do coffee’, this was my inkspill coffeefirst time & it won’t be the last!) the post came… and the missing paperwork was in my hand.

 

I called to check if they had need for me and offered tomorrow and next week. This afternoon I took my first booking.

 

PROPERTY FOR SALE

I have also arranged some new moves with the apartment that I still have for SALE – it has been 2 months now since the property went live.

 

MONEY

My ‘money will flow’ mantra has certainly paid off (pun intended) and I will keep repeating it to myself. DSC04062

I am definitely going to be alright this Autumn.

 

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WRITING

On the writing front, I’ve invested time preparing the INKSPILL writing retreat programme and now need to switch to working on a short story and poetry. Deadlines are close and of course now I will be out working and having property meetings tomorrow, I am attending a seminar most of the day on Saturday and have some Sunday plans, although they could work around writing.

I do hope to participate in online/ blog writing challenges again soon and make it to have a read about Blogland, but after a month of prepping it is all taking off right now and my time is limited.

REMEMBER:  If you want it – go get it! 2012 brighton 532 I did…

*This is not earnings. It is actually a photo of money paid to a workman before we moved. I think it was the 1st time I had handled such a large sum and I knew taking a photo of it would be a motivator!

 

 

All Images © N. Lewis 2013