Tag Archives: deadlines

Submissions, Deadlines, Workshops and Events… did someone mention rest?


After a wonderful and exhausting INKSPILL weekend I am taking a 2-3 day break from the blog.

My main reasons are that I need to be OFFLINE writing, I have many end of month submissions to edit and am also completing a job application.

I do want to tell you all about the wonderful events in October but will do a catch up after all my deadlines have whooshed by with my manuscripts attached hopefully!

This week I have a workshop, 3 Halloween Poetry Performances, 1 non-Halloween poetry Event and then I am planning a restful/ writing-ful weekend before going back to work and welcoming NOVEMBER! Where did this year go!?

I should have some time on Wednesday to pile the posts in from this past week before finding fancy dress costume – 1 of 3…. I didn’t dress up last year, I think I am making up for it this holiday!

If you didn’t dip into INKSPILL – there are enough posts there to keep you going until I blog again.

DAlma© 2014 Deborah Alma


Poet Cloning


Seriously – poet cloning – it is a necessary experiment! I have struggled since re-launching my writing career with clashing events. It used to be two things I wanted to go to – nowadays it is double bookings and I really get a lot of negative feelings rising when I come across one.

I have missed the last two months of Stanza (and some before the last meeting I made it to back in May) due to performing at events in Birmingham. This month’s meeting was last Friday and I missed it as I was promoting Restless Bones in Birmingham. As it happens, although it is not customary for poet’s to do so, I could have gone to most of stanza, missed the last few poems and made it across the 20+ mile trip to promote the book as our set was late. I had no idea of the running order of the night or our set of 6 promoting poets before the event so couldn’t have made the decision to do both and to be honest I was mid a 4 day run of poetry events which may have turned into a run of 6 had I not fallen short on energy, so the idea of squeezing 2 events in and being barely present at either didn’t really make sense.

Next month’s Stanza was booked back in June, it is 2 days before my birthday and I have arranged to take cake! Then yesterday I discovered Word Up – which is an open mic event I regularly attend is celebrating a 2nd Birthday on the 15th AND they have Rueben Woolley, Jacqui Rowe AND Sammy Joe as headline acts AND I CAN’T GO!

Then later in the month 21st August I was already booked for a KAF Festival show and then discovered this was the evening of the Restless Bones Book Launch. Argh! There are 7 days in a week – why does everything have to fall short?


1 nb

Today is my first writing day in a while, I have been scribbling in my notebook over the past week when I was out on the road and have managed to get some material edited and completed. Mr G has taken this 1st week of the summer holidays off though, so I had to get up at 6AM to squeeze in writing time.

I was working on Monday still and yesterday had a private tutoring so today IS my 1st holiday! I am 2 hours in on a Things to Do List…. less than 1/3 through it.

After my busy poeting weekend I was sad to miss poetry events on Monday night and Tuesday but my energy levels are back to normal and I am going to the Theatre tonight, I know if I had gone to Shindig on Monday and Poetry Bites last night I would not make it through the show tonight nor would I have the energy to complete my submissions, next on the To Do list.

Mr G and I have managed to pack lots into the time we have had together so far and we do have the rest of this week to do more. Today my priority is not the garden, or the man, it is writing… there are deadlines…. I need to knuckle down.

My plan now is to go and write, submit and then come back later to update the blog on the wonders of the past couple of poetry days. It has been an EPIC weekend, truly and I cannot wait to share it with you.


Happy Writing

writing plan




Writing 101- Week 2: Day 7 Give & Take


Catching up with this past week of Blogging 101 after a week filled by work, gigs and book launches.

Featured Image -- 5589

Write a post based on the contrast between two things — whether people, objects, emotions, places, or something else.

Remember those “compare and contrast” essays in composition class, in which you’re forced to create a clunky juxtaposition of two arguments? Just because that particular form was a bore doesn’t mean that opposition has no place in your writing.

Bringing together two different things — from the abstract and the inanimate to the living and breathing — creates a natural source of tension, and conflict drives writing forward. It makes your reader want to continue to the next sentence, to the next page. So, focus on your two starkly different siblings, or your competing love for tacos and macarons, or whether thoughts are more powerful than words, or…you get the idea.

Today’s twist: write your post in the form of a dialogue. You can create a strong opposition between the two speakers — a lovers’ quarrel or a fierce political debate, for example. Or you could aim to highlight the difference in tone and style between the two different speakers — your call!

If you’d like more guidance, check out these ten tips on writing solid dialogue. In case you’re intimidated by dialogue tags — all those “he said,” “she whispered,” etc., here’s a useful overview.

Emulating people’s speech in written form takes practice, and creating two distinct voices could help you see (and hear) the different factors that play into the way we speak, from our diction and accent to our vocabulary and (creative?) use of grammar. (We’ll discuss the topic of voice more formally later in the course; for now, take a stab at writing dialogue on your own.)



Deadlines vs Doing everything/anything else

“I am important. Crucial.” said Deadline.

“I know you are, but when you’re around everything else seems quite pressing and a lot more appealing.” said Everything Else.


“Well it’s true, suddenly even the washing up seems like an exciting proposition.”

“But you still make room to do the right thing in the end.”

“Of course, you are not someone we want to ignore.”

“Well, you won’t gain anything if you do.”

“Tell me something I don’t know. You are able to make many forgotten emotions rise to the surface!”

“Like what?”

“Frustration mainly, although…” Everything Else hesitated.


“I do find you exciting.”

“Exciting? Wow!” Deadline said smiling. “Do you think you’re the only one?”

“No I think you make a lot of people feel like that.”

“You will make me blush!”

“The time not to focus on you is when concentration is low, mistakes will happen. Like the time I tried to beat you just before a world cup match.”

“What happened?” asked Deadline.

“Well I won, unlike my Country.”

“So what was the problem?”

“I submitted the document without my personal details.”

“So you met me but messed up all the same?”

“Yes, unfortunately.”

Beyond Busy!


I will blog about all my recent activity properly when I stop for breath! This morning Tim and I rehearsed for an event next week, I edited and printed a load of poems to use over the next 4 days, I am still desperately, DESPERATELY trying to finish a submission before Midnight, I surprised myself by submitting some poems last night, about an hour off deadline… ‘last minute Lil’!

I have less than an hour before I drive over to my old flat (hopefully a few weeks off completion now) for the boiler service and then I have to race home to get a lift to tonight’s Stanza. There is a clashing event I would love to attend in Stratford – if you are over that way get yourself down to the Picture House and enjoy Nadia Kingsley and David Calcutt perform their recent collaboration – oh, and buy the book, I did!

Tomorrow I have the day off – but Mr G has compost purchasing, allotment sorting and busy plans. I will be able to catch up a bit with backlogs I hope, if I can get my brain to forget the Poetry Slam I have entered on Sunday!

PS there is even more exciting news to share on the performance front too!

Keep your eyes peeled tomorrow.


The Disorganised Muddle: My Life


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.


Faber Poetry Diary 2014 – Making my wishlist for next year already!


Faber Poetry Diary 2014 – Blue.

This year part of my organisation includes an A5 desk diary, in which I make a note of all writing world functions, book launches, open mics, events, competition deadlines etc. It has already got a bit scribbly, I tried the same idea last year but lost the diary when I packed to move house. (I only bought a pocket diary last year- already I am learning!)

I find this is a very simple way of organising writing deadlines and everything gets colour coded on top of that. Last year I used action plan sheets (on PC) and found that often I needed the information to hand on paper, without logging on and searching through files. The diary is doing the same job as an action plan but more efficiently.

Anyway I love this website – http://www.theliterarygiftcompany.com  where this fabulous diary is sold.

Poetry and appointments, what could be better?


Letting Go – Finding the Balance between Work and Dreams


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

Living the Dream Vs Hibernation


Today has been bitterly cold, sometimes rainy and extremely windy! I am off to work in a bit but had the morning off. I didn’t sleep in, I was awake before 7AM,

author_fuel_greeting_card-rdd5bef2736024fb4880dc3b6eca7b7f5_xvuak_8byvr_325I did go back to bed (in the warm) with an espresso and a Poetry magazine.


I got up and had breakfast and made a start on business email (plan was to attack the action plan today). I got side tracked on social networks about the fantastic Black Pear Books Launch last night, an anthology has so many writers’ to catch up with the next day.

I also spent some time dealing with estate agents. (Meh!)


Then I trundled back to the warmth of bed to read Magma and drink coffee… my middle name should be Goldilocks, you guessed it, I fell asleep. (Always in need of catch up!)


Since then I have managed to catch up on the blog and think about what I should be writing. Some of my proposed deadlines are only about 10 xmas1 snowmendays away – sounds lots but I am working half of that and attending up to 5 poetry events too. That’s leaves me about 2 days and if that falls over the weekend possibly 1… not to mention Christmas shopping! Eek!


Off out to work now after a whole writing day of not writing but sleeping….
 AWF night writeI will have to work hard on it tonight!

First Step Forward – The September Plan


Here we are in September and I back onto my scheduled action plan for writing and submissions – which will hopefully avoid some of the hair pulling from last night!

Today I have to start work on a 6000 word short story, which wouldn’t be so bad if I had a notebook crammed full of ideas. The notebook contains mind maps on children’s picture books and scripts – as these were the previous project focus.

I have nipped online in the hope that trusty Google can help activate my muse. (She’s currently only thinking of the blackberry and apple crumble she is making later on after admin, allotment and lunch!)

This month I pledge this promise to myself.



Make a pledge to yourself this month – share them here – and WRITE!

Camp NaNoWriMo – Just a few DAYS to go!


camp-nanowrimoJust DAYS to go!

I am still ploughing on with the latest short story, I have found some places I can submit this writing too once it is edited! This is enough to spur me onto the finish. I managed to finish the April Camp just one day before deadline, this time I think I will be writing on the 31st July too!

Unfortunately I have so many other projects I need to finish (flat – getting a job -sorting bills –  things that are costing me money and that really should take priority!) that I need to get these jobs done tomorrow before I can finish the writing.

With this (and my sanity in mind) I am hoping to manage the 2500+ words I need a day in a few sittings…


I will have to clear my schedule if I am planning on completing the official NaNoWriMo in November!



My latest STATS:

Average Words Per Day 646

Your Average Per Day 496

Words Written Today 3,000

Target Word Count 20,000

Total Words Written 14,900

Words Remaining 5,100

Current Day 30

Days Remaining 2

At This Rate You Will Finish On August 10, 2013

Words Per Day To Finish On Time 2,550