Tag Archives: motivation

INKSPILL – Get Motivated to Write

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INKSPILL SAT

Writing Goals

Most of us have them right? They may be long term, monthly or daily or a combination of all three… but just like New Year Resolutions we fall off that wagon a lot don’t we? We get too tired, or procrastinate by doing housework, paperwork or reading the news. We blog to feel like we are writing, we get trapped on social networks and suddenly it’s the afternoon and we have nothing accomplished.

Well, you have made a start in the right direction this weekend because you are here, gifting yourself writing time.

 

Motivate Your Mindset

Long term goals are necessary but can often feel far away and can make us feel unaccomplished on a daily level.

Try to start small. Sit for an hour to write or use a word count limit. Remember to reward yourself for this.

The reward is key here because the satisfaction of writing isn’t tangible and sometimes we know we have put the time in but the result is bad writing, so it becomes too easy to beat ourselves up and lose motivation. Avoid the ‘what’s the point valley’!

Sit for a while and create a list of rewards.

Scroll down to see mine.

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  • A glass of wine.
  • A soak in the bath with luxury products.
  • Half an hour reading.
  • A coffee and a magazine.
  • £1.00 in the kitty for a retail treat.
  • An episode of a favourite TV programme. (I am a writer I watch far less TV than I used to!)
  • A walk in the park.
  • A coffee and cake at a favourite cafe.
  • Go out for a drink. (I am a poet, most of my social outings are work!)
  • A foot spa/ face mask/ pamper

Make sure your list is personal to you, it has to include things you really want/to do, otherwise what is the point of working towards your reward?

It also needs to be something you can do easily after you achieve your writing goal. You may want to return to your writing space and repeat another hour of writing afterwards. I wouldn’t recommend gin/wine options as rewards unless you have reached the end of your daily writing. Although Hemingway would beg to differ!

Your reward has to be special, it shouldn’t be something you would normally do. TV for me is an indulgence nowadays. If I watch any at all it is on the planner or to spend time with Mr. G.

 

The Coaching Secrets

The secret of motivation: you provide your own motivation and we all know hard work reaps rewards, eventually. ‘You get out what you put in’ and all that.

The secret of the reward: after several months of tracking daily writing with rewards you will reprogram your brain. You will associate writing as a good thing not some painful, uphill endurance task.

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NaPoWriMo Day 8 – a non-writing day

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This title is misleading and of course, not true. I have written today – I have just used yesterday’s prompts and plan to use today’s prompts later when today will in fact be tomorrow, time machine anyone?

After being out all day, with weather at 20+degrees and sunny, an evening of socialising and a mini-napo catch up from no social media/digital outlet Friday night… writing 2 poems yesterday, was enough. So I have found myself a day behind. This always happens – don’t panic if it has happened to you.

FALLING BEHIND IN NAPOWRIMO – My Survival Technique

  • Accept it  
  • Move on

That’s it folks, simple! Remember it is meant to be an adventure/ fun/ pleasurable… when the fun stops, stop (as the gambling adverts suggest). Seriously, writing under pressure is something many of us do from time to time, this long-haul process of daily writing time is a tough enough challenge without making yourself all grizzly at the same time and it won’t open the writing up to you, only make you bitter.

I did manage a surf and found all the relevant prompts for Day 8 today too, reading them let’s the subconscious do some pot stirring on that old back burner whilst I get on living.


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^ See, FUN!

http://www.napowrimo.net/day-eight-4/

The featured participant for the beginning of Week 2 is Summer Blues, the interviewee for the day is Dorothea Lasky. Her poems can be found here.

Today’s prompt was to write a poem… that relies on repetition. It can be repetition of a phrase, or just a word. Need a couple of examples? Try “The Bells” by Edgar Allan Poe, or Joy Harjo’s “She Had Some Horses”


Carrie Etter is judging the Bradford on Avon Festival Poetry Competition this year, the theme is Flight of Fancy and there is a line limit, so today she suggested we write to that remit.

… she lost her world, entirely,

… she let go of the ground of vows…


Jo Bell posted Inland by Edna St. Vincent Millay and a discussion about rhyme and language.


More repetition over at The Poetry School.

Day 8: Anaphora or Refrain

We want poems that use repetition. We want poems that use the same words, or wording, repeatedly. We want such repetition to drive home a point. What do we want that point to be? Up to you.

Gwendolyn Brooks’ iconic poem We Real Cool is just 24 words long, but is still a masterclass in repetition. Read it here:
https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/we-real-cool

You should also take a look at Tony Hoagland’s I Have News For You. https://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/i-have-news-you


I will leave you with some advice/ insight/ knowledge (call it what you will), that I posted this evening to a Napo poet:

Nobody can write 30 stunning poems in 30 days unless all they are doing is writing. We are lucky if we produce one stunner in a year. Try not to judge. The process of writing is the key. End results come later, much later… In my previous annual Napo experience you may be rewarded with 4 decent poems but you will have embarked on a committed time writing & will be processing for months to come!

You are in WEEK 2 – Hurrah! Just KEEP GOING!

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Mad March

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It has certainly been insanely busy this month, I knew I would need to allocate blogging time elsewhere and I am delighted to see some of the older posts reactivated.

I have been working on writing and submitting as well as organising events and completing applications. I have missed events due to a lack of energy and am battling constantly with balance.

You will be able to read about the events in my monthly review (the end of March will be here before we know it).

In the meantime here are some links you may enjoy!

cart3  For those who need motivation

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/11/12/whats-the-point-keeping-motivation-alive/?frame-nonce=0c88788c2f

This post includes links to lots of related posts too – although it is fairly narcissistic, please forgive me – it was 2015!

For entertainment and knowledge try

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/10/25/inkspill-how-to-get-rejected-guest-writer-william-Gallagher/

from 2014 Inkspill AWF Writing Retreat

Something to watch

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/10/24/inkspill-poetry-film-2/?frame-nonce=0c88788c2f

Try Poetry International – originally posted in Inkspill 2015

Want to write?

Try this workshop post on characters also from Inkspill 2015

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/10/24/inkspill-workshop-2-creating-characters/?frame-nonce=0c88788c2f

 

 

INKSPILL Successful Writing Habits

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Welcome back. To kick start this afternoon take a few minutes to watch this video.

 

 

  1. Write everyday
  2. Write first thing in the morning
  3. Turn off your inner critic
  4. Let other people read your work
  5. Rituals

 


We are certain many of you can tick off this simple checklist. We would love to hear about No.5 # so tell us about your own rituals.

 

The Olympic Year – The Story so Far

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2016 my first Olympic year milestone. I know generally people have a ‘5 year plan’, but I decided in 2013, when I gave up a full-time career (at a current loss of about £60K – what is money…) and embarked on my creative life instead that I would use the Olympic model. I was inspired by London 2012 and listened to many successful athletes talking about life before the Gold medal. For many this was their 4th (and last) games and winning has an almost entirely invisible to the public trail behind it.

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Part of the ethos of the blog is honesty, to share the rejection as well as success, expose the hidden underbelly creatives face daily. The theory behind the Olympics was my imagining but I have learnt in the past 3 years of networking that many of the poets and artists I admire are about 16+ years in. It is entirely possible. I believed it and now I know it is true.

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2013 – Learning

In the first year I built a steady foundation. I used to write, was published in anthologies as a young writer and performed into my early 20s. I trained in Creative Writing on a modular writing course facilitated by (famous) professionals, in Leicester and lived a creative life (until I couldn’t afford to eat).

It has been over a decade since I last wrote and the writing world had changed, I was out of practise and out of touch. Workshops and writing classes were an important initial investment. It took me 10 months before I wound my way back to poetry, which although one of the smaller writing markets, has always been my natural home. I can write, but I am a poet.

I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo, Spring and Summer and the official NaNoWriMo in November. I spent the words on a Non-Fiction manuscript I have been writing (mainly in my head) on and off for the past 13 years. It was the last thing I worked on in 2002, the year my writing stopped. I blew the dust off and picked it up again this year in Nano. I also worked on some short stories.

My main focus was to establish this blog and I spent hours typing away thinking ‘what if I actually used this time to write?’ I have no regrets though, this is an award winning, well established blog with lots of traffic and steadily increasing statistics.

My first public performance was in Leamington at Julie Boden’s Spoken Word night, where I met Dave Reeves. Within 2 weeks of finding myself back in the heart of poetry I met the local poetry scene and volunteered to work for Writing West Midlands. I performed at Birmingham Book to the Future Festival, in Stratford-Upon-Avon at an Emma Press Book Launch and Worcester.

I submitted some prose work and had a poem published.

I established INKSPILL – an annual virtual writing retreat. It was important to keep it FREE, catering for all those people who want and need it, but cannot afford it. In future years this may change, but now in its 4th year it is still FREE and accessible to anyone, although I do encourage a FOLLOW to the blog as a thank you. The initial idea came from an email I received about Iyanla_Vanzant’s Wonder Woman Weekend, which I couldn’t attend as I couldn’t afford to get to America.

I went to the Birmingham Literature Festival and Book to the Future Festival.

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2014Performing

After returning to performing poetry at the tail-end of 2013, 2014 became my touring year. Whatever I earn from writing will just about cover my 2014 fuel bill!

I became an Assistant Writer for Writing West Midlands and performed in over 107 places, I started taking bookings as a Headline performer. I also worked on commissioned projects, some for established festivals. I realised that as an artist, I enjoy doing unusual things with my writing and sought opportunities to do more than perform and write words.

I sent a pamphlet out and got rejected. Unlike 2013, where my focus was learning, this year was performing. I was writing lots and submitted a lot more work, with a clearer recording system. I had many individual poems placed and published and enjoyed celebrating the successful year in an event called ‘One Year a Poet’. 6 poems appeared in 3 anthologies, 2 poems were published in magazines, 4 poems published online. I had a poem on the Poetry Fence at Acton Scott Farm, another on the Wenlock Poetry Trail, Wenlock Poetry Festival 2014, 21 Haikus were used in an installation at the Midlands Arts Centre (MAC), another was displayed in a local library by an Arts Network. That’s 36 poems out there in the real world. In August I decided, incredibly last minute to submit my pamphlet to V. Press. My hesitation was having to deal with rejection again.

Performance highlights include; performing in Worcester LitFest alongside Adrian Mealing for the first part of Jonny FluffyPunk’s show. My moustache poem had been written with him in mind, so it was great to perform it in front of him.

The moustache poem was part of a set with other work being collaborative between myself and Tim Scarborough. This duo experience was sadly short lived, as he fell in love and focussed on his drumming business. But if we have time in the future, it is not a closed door.

I opened the Arts All Over the Place Festival, in support of Mental Health. A cause close to my heart as it was through suffering depression that I made my life changes and found myself picking up my pen again.

I performed at Worcester Music Festival.

I did some 1 to 1 Mentoring for Writing West Midlands and promoted Daniel Sluman’s second collection ‘the terrible’ (Nine Arches Press). I reviewed this poetry book, loving hand made and  a joy to read,  Sarah Hymas In Good Weather 1 for Sarah Hymas.

INKSPILL included Guest Writers; William Gallagher, Charlie Jordan & Heather Wastie.

I went to Wenlock Poetry Festival, Worcester LitFest, Birmingham Literature Festival, Stratford Literature Festival, Arts All Over the Place, Book to the Future, Ledbury Poetry Festival, Worcester Music Festival.

Who could forget this was the year of 52. A poetry year created by Jo Bell, with weekly prompts and over 500 people taking part. An incredible project to be part of. I am so glad that Jo Bell invited me to take part. I also told several local poets about it and they have since had great success from work produced during this time, as well as forming friendships with many poets across the UK and beyond.

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©Murdock Ramone Media

2015 – Submitting & Performing

My poetry pamphlet was accepted by V. Press, which has to be my biggest achievement so far. 14 months after embarking back on my poetry path, I had the opportunity to publish my first book.

V. Press have worked hard in creating a strong debut pamphlet and I had my first experience of professional editing, lots of changes were made to the content before the editing process could begin. I dreamed that my pamphlet would be published in 2015 alongside, Jacqui Rowe, David O’Hanlon and Claire Walker. This was not to be and although I found this difficult and even harder to see each book since, I know that my own pamphlet needed time to germinate.

11 poems were published online, 4 poems were published in anthologies and 3 poems were published in poetry magazines. I mainly worked on my manuscript poetry. I had one short prose piece published too. 18 pieces of work flying around in the real world and a pamphlet in the pipeline.

I continued to get bookings as a Headline/Guest Poet, including Cheltenham and Shrewsbury, performed in London for the first time at HARK Magazine launch, performed at Charity Fundraisers, entered Worcestershire Poet Laureate and was a runner up, became a Lead Writer for Writing West Midlands, took part in Caldmore Community Garden Poetry workshops with David Calcutt (Poet in Residence), was booked as one of ten poets for the Quiet Compere Tour, Midlands leg (Sarah Dixon),  went back to London to perform at The Poetry Café for the Paper Swans Press launch of Schooldays anthology, commissioned for National Poetry Day Light and Shade event and took part in my first Poetry Brothel event, organised by Caged Arts for Halloween and performed at Waterstones.

INKSPILL had guest writers; Daniel Sluman, David Calcutt and Alison May.

I went to Wenlock Poetry Festival, Worcester LitFest, Birmingham Literature Festival, Stratford Literature Festival, Walsall Festival, Arts All Over the Place, Poetry Festival Swindon, Book to the Future, Ledbury Poetry Festival.

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2016 – The 1st Games – Writing & Editing

This year’s story cannot be written yet, but I am still Headlining and have finally finished the pamphlet. It is to be published by V. Press, date yet to be announced.

I am delighted to mark the Olympic year with something so massive!

I am currently organising INKSPILL, guest writers will be announced in the Autumn and I am incredibly excited.

Festivals have taken a backseat this year, so have performances as I tied myself to the desk to finish writing and editing.

Submissions started well – since April I have not submitted anything as I have been attached to the manuscript and at times attempting to detach myself enough to see what is for the best. I am neglecting the end of July’s submission window as I want to focus on the current project. ‘Operation pamphlet’. Contracts have been signed and it is beginning to become real.

4 poems published online, 5 published in poetry magazines, 3 poems published in 2 e-books, 1 poem in a chapbook and 5 poems in 2 anthologies and the pamphlet soon. 20 – 40 poems flying around in the world. A grand total of 95 poems. I know I can smash 100 before the end of this 4 year marker. I don’t hold a number as a target. I just write and keep my eye out and when something takes my fancy I aim and fire. I have a long list of rejections as well. Learning what publications, journals and editors want and like is an ongoing process and involves reading and subscribing and supporting the poetry market. It is fun and I look forward to more training and success.

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Saffron Toms © 2014

OLYMPIC YEAR

Pamphlet to be published by V. Press

Lead Writer Writing West Midlands

Facilitator/ Creator of INKSPILL (4th Year)

Poet – 95 poems published

BL me Universe poem

Rangzeb ©2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The New Year Begins

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Hello – welcome to 2016, I hope it a great year for you, filled with good fortune, you know you can make it happen.

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In 2015 my writing life kept me so busy that the blog had to take a bit of a backseat, which I am going to try to balance this year as it is pretty frustrating when you follow a blog and the blogger becomes inactive (inactive at least in Cybersville). Last year my main focus was headline gigs and the manuscript, this year I am now in the fortunate position of an almost fully edited m/s which with a little more work will be ready to bat back to the publishers and then I can concentrate on some new writing.

There are plenty events already filling up the January diary and I have yet to count the total for 2015, I know it wasn’t much below 2014 despite talking about a back seat. There are many mini projects on burners that I want to unleash in 2016. It is also my final prep year for my first Olympics. My focus and goals will reflect this.

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In December (it had already sold out) I discovered an Arvon City course which would have benefitted me, unfortunately the grant application date past before I got to the online form filling and now in hindsight, I would rather save for next time. This isn’t strictly true – I am gutted, but having broken a pair of expensive glasses over Christmas, I don’t think I could have managed a 3 day writing retreat. Next time I AM ON IT!

52 – 52 colander of joy Oh, you remember, Jo Bell – 500+ poets yadee, yadee – are having a workshop and book launch for the 52 prompt book on the 31st January – and had I been on retreat I may not have made this event, which is in the diary and is a bright way of seeing out January 52– just as today was a bright day to see it in!

This morning I headed over to Avoncroft for a writing workshop with Claire Walker, which was every bit as good as the last one. I managed a whole poem that just needs a tweak and some other material that has bubbles of promise and it felt extremely good to be back in my writing skin. I took Christmas off – unintentionally didn’t write for 2-3 weeks, I have read and researched and made notes in the ‘carry me everywhere notebooks’, so I haven’t had a total shut down, still it felt amazing to have that pen moving again and in a fresh notebook too!

It was equally lovely to reconnect with poetry friends, I haven’t seen people in a while because I have been off the scene and when I have been at an event, they weren’t and Stanza was early to allow for Christmas so it feels like forever since we were altogether.

My resolutions are all to do with the house I live in and the writing plan will be transferred from scribbles to action plans and charts over the next few weeks. visual

So all that is left is for me to wish you all a HAPPY NEW YEAR!

What’s the Point? Keeping Motivation ALIVE

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© Sarah Wilkinson 2014

© Sarah Wilkinson 2014

This morning I decided to watch a TEDx talk whilst eating breakfast. I have spent a couple of weeks in a dip and am lacking motivation and belief. In under three years I am already uttering those vile, monstrous, self-destructive words, ‘what’s the point?’ Not only has the question entered my mind, it has been playing on a slow loop and worse still I have started to take it as fact that the answer is – ‘there isn’t any.’ writing block

All of this is completely ridiculous, however, in the short time I have been back in my writing life I have discovered not only do all writers feel this way from time to time but even really famous authors and successful writers fall prey to these self-sabotaging words.

The point is;

your unique voice, out there for people to read.

this is your chosen career.

you have to stay highly motivated as you have no boss to answer to and some days probably don’t even get dressed before lunchtime (if at all).

you write, but no-one writes 24/7.

this was a choice, still is, but don’t let one bad week/month/year dissuade you.

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So here I am in the doldrums (despite several ongoing exciting projects), this lingering feeling has been unsettling me for over two weeks. Today, I thought this is ridiculous, I need to spur myself on.

Hence the breakfast with a side order of TEDx. breakfast-waffles

It was the 2012 Olympics which reignited my ambition to become a writer. I am basically taking 4 years at a time as an over-arching period as a writer and allowing myself four Olympics to get to GOLD. I am hoping in the light of my writing life after 3 years that it won’t take the whole 16 years to achieve my ambition.

The Universe Steps In

You know how the universe conspires in putting exactly what you need at that given moment in front of you – well the talk suggested something about the Olympians which I vaguely remembered hearing before, indeed a quick search gave me the data and a BBC report on the medal response.

The concept is that Bronze medal winners feel better than Silver medal holders.

Gold is great – you won – on top of the world.

Bronze is – yippee I was placed, I have a medal, so close. 

Silver is – shucks I haven’t won.

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Research has shown that silver medallists feel worse, on average, than bronze medallists. (Gold medallists, obviously, feel best of all.) The effect is written all over their faces, as psychologists led by Thomas Gilovich of Cornell University found out when they collected footage of the medallists at the 1992 Olympic games in Barcelona. Gilovich’s team looked at images of medal winners either at the end of events – that is, when they had just discovered their medal position – or as they collected their medals on the podium. They then asked volunteers who were ignorant of the athlete’s medal position to rate their facial expressions. Sure enough, the volunteers rated bronze medallists as consistently and significantly happier than silver medallists, both immediately after competing, and on the podium.

By Tom Stafford

Copyright © 2015 BBC

Read the full article here http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20120810-olympic-lessons-in-regret

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Just with this in mind (because I was obviously aiming for Gold and actually feeling bad that I hadn’t even made Silver and the people on the podium weren’t even in the race when I started), my mind shifted. I realised I need to appreciate what I do have – and I have pages of it in The Write Year to look back on.

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/the-write-year/

I am learning and I think that’s what it’s all about. The writing process takes an incredibly long and frustrating time is a new lesson. It is an important one. I have learnt how the polishing is important, how not to jump the gun (sending work out too early with ragged edges). I will train harder and seek support. Being a part of a team is much more comfortable than the solitude of your garret where you are out on a limb.

Of course, ‘I am Bronze’ – is in itself a winning mindset – my Olympic year falls next year and I will see how much ground I have covered and how 2016 pans out, I am hoping it ends with a medal around my neck. (Just maybe not silver!)

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So my best advice for an attack of the writing doldrums – is claw yourself back out, make a list of all your highest achievements, stick it somewhere you will see it everyday and keep up the good fight. Today may not have been yours – but who’s to say what tomorrow holds? You get a new chance daily, send your darlings out and keep smiling!

One day victory will be yours! Cue manical laughter.

RELATED LINKS:

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/05/08/the-ups-and-downs-of-creatives/

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2015/02/03/make-your-tuesday-count-motivation/

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/07/14/the-emotional-spectrum-of-writing/

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/09/09/where-i-am-at-21-months-in/

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/04/04/writer-fatigue/

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/03/27/when-the-going-gets-tough/

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/03/23/an-article-in-the-stylist-rejection-letters-of-the-famous/

https://awritersfountain.wordpress.com/2014/01/19/freelancers-dreamers-the-importance-of-glancing-back/

INKSPILL Rise & Shine

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

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

No writing – just sit back and listen.

 

August Does Not Flutter – It Whirls

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I love August – I think I told you last year, bound to love my birth month, the time when every LEO feels their inner Leo and connects to the warmth of the sun.

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I have never been one for the Horoscopes, although birth maps and star maps always seem to correlate closely to the human in question and as we were all made from stars, the path cannot be that far off.

August IS summer (despite the UK weather), it is FREEDOM (why I chose a career path with every summer off), it is SPIRIT, time to connect and reconnect…

I have become (temporarily I hope) one of those people who doesn’t socialise as much as I used to (denying it is an age thing right now)! My birthday will be time to reconnect with all those friends I hold in my heart and don’t often see.

Before that, August whirled in with a full diary and bountiful booty in the form of poetry to enrich my life!

  • I have: booked tickets for events in August and September.
  • finished work on a project which is now out there, cast in the submissions net.
  •  been asked to read at a book launch
  • asked to do a set at a gig in a Nature Centre – which sadly I am double booked for
  • I have planned my trip to London
  • to read at THE POETRY CAFE!
  • I have just come home from the first poetry event of the month for me at P Café, Stirchley Speaks.
  • I have a workshop booked with Claire Walker when I get back from London
  • then later the same day I am headlining at Howl along with Carl Sealeaf and Sophie Sparham
  • I have tickets to see Liz Berry perform – finally!kaf fest
  • A stanza meeting.
  • A reading at a Book Launch for Paper Swans in Oxford.
  • Poetry Launch for Margaret Thatcher’s Museum by Antony Owen.

    © 2014 Antony Owens

    © 2014 Antony Owens

  • Word Up with Not a Silent Poet
  • Poetry Walk with Roy Macfarlane at Croome Court
  • other possible open mic/ KAF festival events
  • workshop with Angela France in Stratford-Upon-Avon
  • Drummonds 42 – an altered states theme ^ which after all this writing activity I may well be in!
  • To celebrate the end of the month I am going to the Poetry Picnic organised by Apples and Snakes.

A happy summer 2011

September is already bustling in the diary stakes, with workshops, performances and book launches, not to mention (oh, go on then) my new role as Lead Writer for the Writing West Midlands Senior Writing Group, in addition I am booked for training on a new venture and to improve my media savvy skills (ready for next year’s Pangaea Slam – which I intend to complete), I have tickets for a friend’s post Edinburgh show and a wedding (not mine – yet)!

October is already brimming with Poetry Festivals and we will celebrate National Poetry Day, more book launches, performances, writing jobs and workshops are already lined up in the diary.

I look forward to this new season of events and will rest at Christmas!

Writing Projects

I am currently working on two large writing projects which I hope will come to fruition and I look forward to telling you more about them in the Spring. In the meantime, they have resulted in an idea for an article on Motivation and several practitioners I hope to contact and blog about – inspirational people that I consider myself blessed to know.

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Keep Writing x