Tag Archives: schedules

The First Day of 18

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I have broken up from work for the Easter break and am looking forward to 18 glorious days in my writing skin. partytime

There is already a lot of news to share.

Firstly, Mouth & Music which was a fabulous night that I am still on a high from, sent exciting news today.

Slap Magazine slap magazine (supporting local arts and performers) want to publish the photo Mary Davis took of Tim and I performing and much as it makes me want to get an instant body wrap, attach myself to a zumba DVD and pray for instant weight loss, I am still stoked with this news.

Secondly, I attended my first meeting tonight as an Assistant Writer for WWM Writing West Midlands. It was a buzzing atmosphere and great to be in a room with so many writers, many of whom I have already met; William Gallagher, Stephen, Roz Goddard, Hayley Frances, Ian MacLeod, Brenda-Read Brown, & Garrie Fletcher.

My writing diary is packed and my ideas file grew this evening.

1) Write the 14 lost missing NaPoWriMo poems (file issues last Sunday)

2) Write the new 52 prompt poems and catch up on a few gaps I have

3) Write a poem for our WWM Creative Writing group tomorrow – requested by Ian MacLeod

4) email Jonathan/ Hayley/

5) Catch up with Camp NaNoWriMo – some major words lost already (non- existent) camp_11_postcard1_detail It is ironic that this year (my 3rd camp) I FINALLY get an active cabin and I am not there to see it.

6) Write Strong Women poems and as a result decide whether to do Najma Hush’s exhibition opening.female force I really want to go to this event but am due in a city more than 45 miles away at lunchtime. I would love to be able to stay until 1:30 when it finishes. I am in two minds, I have mentally checked all possible solutions.  Train, buses etc, need to check them properly tomorrow (later on today) but if I do go I will only have an hour there before I have to whizz back for my meeting.

 

I have a whole selection box of Spoken Word events over the next week too;

This evening – Poetry and Place – Ledbury Poetry Festival, to see poetryandplace

 

poetry and place It is the first of three events which see Ledbury Poetry Festival linking up with Worcester Literature Festival (WLF) with performance events at The Hive. I am involved in performing at Poetry and Pollination in May, organised by Ruth Stacey and headlined by Ruth and Sarah Leavesley (who have both performed at Ledbury in the past) – very much looking forward to this event. Tonight will also give me a chance to catch up with some poetry friends.

I have submissions to work on, including poems, on Thursday I have Poetry for Lunch (booked for the next 3), followed by the special ticket holders Hit the Ode and then on Friday I will be performing at The Ort – the first ‘Friday night’ one. On Saturday I hope to attend a camp Nano meet / write in, followed by a writing group run by Apples & Snakes, Poet’s Place. They started the most recent group meetings in January and I have been unable to attend any yet.

 

Final Submissions

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My writing diary had a list of opportunities this week which had the deadline of the 28th, I had planned to do something about this on Wednesday and Thursday evening, but we were out with relatives from America.
On Friday I hoped to find a window of time between work and the Library Display and going out to Word Up, I barely had time to choose and rehearse my set and get ready.
I then went out to Word Up thinking I would write when I got home… then there was the waffle house…

The lesson I learnt this month was NOT to leave submissions to the last minute!

I managed to make one out of the three, there was a 4th submission which was international and had already closed before Midnight GMT.

In the end the pressure I place on myself needs to be monitored. I have spent a fortnight reading the submission guidelines and considering suitable work, many of the opportunities meant writing new material and it has been so busy I never had the time nor energy to do this.
I decided not to push myself to the end of my red-line and just look for opportunities in the future.

It is important to be realistic, organised and gentle on yourself when you freelance!
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The Non-Writing, Writing Plan!

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This evening, like all good artists working day jobs (earnings) around art, I need to have some office time. I have a list of admin tasks and tonight is the perfect time to do them. desk

I have managed to get home from work, just before 6pm, some chores are done, some R&R has been had and now I can make a half hour space before cooking tea! 🙂 See it can be done. YOU JUST NEED TO BE ORGANISED!

I am working my way back through the writing diary (what was that I said about being organised?!) Checking on each opportunity I have scribbled in there, checking where I need to submit to next and what material I am sending them. planner

I also want to spend some time learning a new poem by heart – one that if I manage, I will perform tomorrow night and will form part of my big set at the end of February!

I would like to find some time to read more 52 poems, 52now I finally wrote and posted my Week 5 prompt! Once a month Jo Bell is having a guest poet blogging the challenge. This wonderfully-adventurous-fairly-hard-to-write-delving-into-animals-souls, was brought to us by David Morley (who is a huge fan of birds!) we had to be an animal, write as that animal. An interesting challenge which led me to watch several hours of nature documentaries and has sparked off a list of inspired writing, yet to be created!

And if there is any time left between cooking, dinner, R&R and bedtime, I would also like to venture out around Blogland as I haven’t made it to other blogs for quite some time.

I have also come home to a print out of the FREE PDF 1795584_10152293663004073_449085159_n available from The Charles Causley Trust, treat yourself the 3 award winning poems are worth it – and although the are displayed online – see here – Charles Causley Winners Announced  it is nice to be able to take them to bed in paper form and be inspired! Lovely and colourful but we used a black and white printer!

Grab yours from HERE

 

Have a good night! What are you up to?

 

A Jam Packed Week :-)

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I have another busy week ahead, in addition to work, I need to make calls and emails in preparation for this Saturday, myWrite-On-2013-300x287 Assistant Writer role starting. Can’t wait – very excited!

I am also attempting to write a short story and flash fiction. I am learning a poem off by heart for Wednesday night – Confab Cabaret. Write my 52 poem, as a wolf (I have the bare bones) before the next prompt on Thursday. I would like to check out some websites and poetry submissions that were missed in the last few days of January and some I have plugged into the diary for this week. motivation make

 

I am also hoping to make it to a new (to me) spoken word event on Thursday night – which sadly clashes with The Ort, but I have booked them in for March, or rather they have me booked in for March!

Sunday evening also sees the next event in Cheltenham, although I may give that a miss until the lighter evenings and better weather after my last experience.

 

2014 January – The Review

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A fabulous start to the New Year – it is hard to believe that January is already over!

Here is a brief review of what happened, I will update the Write Year page to start tracking 2014 too!

JANUARY hny london

  • Blogging

The blog gained 34 followers, currently 609 (it was 605 at the end of January though). I appreciate all of the follows and for those of you who take an interest in the blog. I talk to myself enough in reality, without starting it virtually as well! 😉

  • Projects

I took up two writing projects this month;

Jo Bell’s 52 – which you can join up for and/or dip into throughout the year. Many people I know have now taken up the challenge based on the great things they have heard.

Fancy writing 48 poems this year? Get involved HERE

And over on Write Our way Home I participated in Mindful Stones, for January. Gathering stones of thoughts every day for a month. HERE

  • Submissions

I made 3 submissions;

Writing Magazine Poetry Competition

Popshots Magazine Journey Poems (rejected)

Button Tapper Haiku for Cat Lovers.

  • Writing

I have produced lots of new poems this month, the folder is filling up well. I missed deadlines for any prose writing, although I did edit a flash for The Worcester Litfest Book Launch, where I read my Flash Fiction, despite not being in the book. It was put together before I started writing again. I shall look out for this competition again this year.

  • Performing Poetry

I have really slammed the circuit this month – still missed a few due to clashing dates or tiredness. (I have already taken my foot off the pedal a little in February – as I need time to write and submit work, plus I don’t want to burn out.) 10 this month + events.

Poetry for Lunch – Birmingham

NY Open Mic with Uncharacteristic Largesse – Shrewsbury

Buzzwords – Cheltenham

Speakeasy Worcester (where I was referred to as a ‘mini-headliner’! Been gushing off that one ever since!)

Mouth & Music – Kidderminster

Poetry for Lunch – Birmingham

The Poetry Lounge in The Sitting Room – Ludlow

Unity in the Community – Wednesbury

Drummonds 42 – Worcester

KAF Creatives Re-Launch -Kidderminster

  • Events

Stanza Poetry Society Meeting.

Book Launch – Flash Fiction Anthology – where I was lucky enough to perform a new 300 word Flash fiction.

  • A Writing Life

Successful application and meeting for Assistant Writer’s job, starting in February.

I have met more wonderful people and I feel blessed. Moving in the right direction!

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

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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?

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At Long Last, A Writing Day!

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And a busy one at that. My work alarm was still set, so I was awake about an hour before I had planned. This did mean that I got an early start, which is probably a good thing as I have to write 3 poems about Art and get them printed off before 4pm for the KAF Creative Relaunch this evening.KAF Writing under pressure about a specific subject or particular commission is one of the hardest things to do.

Right now I have my giant mug of coffee and am seeking inspiration. I have devoured my Degas book and Duchamp and managed to write 5 unconnected lines… it’s a start…. this has taken half an hour. I am now online and looking for other poems about Art to read for ideas and inspiration. I plan to have my poems written by lunchtime, so I can speedily digest them and still allow for some editing time later before emailing them off and printing them before the 4pm deadline.

I’d cross my fingers but I need to type.

Last night I prepared my list of TO DO for today, I haven’t had the pleasure of a writing day for over 2 weeks and that day was an interview and a Stanza meeting, so it didn’t actually involve any writing time, the day before was spent performing at Poetry For Lunch so the last time I slipped into my writing skin was the 6th January! No wonder I was feeling so much like Eeyore!

I had  lots of other things I hoped to get checked off today, I realise now some of which will have to wait until the weekend. I have been working all week so far and was out Wednesday performing at 42, the other free time I have mainly spent sleeping.

I missed a gig at the Bristol Pear last night which would have been exceptional. In the end, after work, I was far too tired. Getting home before 6 and finding myself asleep until 8 meant I missed the start anyway.

Writers’ Bloc’s much-loved, raucous performance night is back!

Our second Grizzly Pear headliner will be the wonderful poet, genius behind Hit the Ode, Apples and Snakes West Midlands co-ordinator and all round good guy, Bohdan Piasecki.

Bristol Pear

I seem to have missed all sorts of wonderful events this month, Pigeon Park Press Winter’s Stories is another one I missed due to double bookings. What I haven’t missed because of clashing dates (Poetry Jam, Word Up, Poetry Bites, The Ort, Pigeon Park) I have missed due to overwork, tiredness or actual sleeping! The gig list for January was epic and for those working in the field a great start to the new year after having most of December off…. but for most of us who have a day job too – just too much to go to! It hasn’t helped that I have spent the past fortnight (apart from today) working full time (and I have another full-ish week next week) my 2 day writing work balance plan has gone out the window – but then again I had 2 weeks in December with no work and no income, so the money will plug a hole and pay for some of Christmas, keep us in heating and food etc. etc.

February’s schedule looks a lot cleaner with less than 10 events planned so far AND a whole blissful week off AND my biggest gig highlight so far (4 months in) I am finally brave enough to ‘Hit the Ode’! Also we have Mr G’s birthday, Valentine’s Day and my younger brother’s birthday to celebrate too!

Tonight’s event is a re-launch party – KAF Creatives are rebranding and have organised an event complete with music, poetry and art. This is the 1st of 2 gallery based bookings.
P R O G R A M M E
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Upstairs in Gallery
7.30 – Launch of Exhibition FALL IN LOVE WITH CREATIVITY
8.00 – 9.30 Spoken word and acoustic music
Downstairs
9.30 – 9.45 THE LAUNCH! with drumming
9.45 – Close – Live Music with Time of the Mouth & we Are Fenton

Looks to be a great evening!

I also have a submission deadline today for some Haiku poetry & photography. I will look to do that after my KAF set is complete. Nothing like a day OFF is there! 😉

i heart write

Taking Stock

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inkspill notebook I used to love stock taking at work – back in the day… nowadays my stock taking feels completely different. It is still a fairly isolating and empowering experience when ‘taking stock’ of the wider picture. This evening the stock taking was an admin exercise.

I have used all writing time available (short supply today) making sure I am up to date with opportunities and writing. I haven’t had time to delve into emails or write new material. I have scheduled at least 4 hours tomorrow (as long as I can stay awake after work) in this time I will plan and rehearse Wednesday’s set, continue to learn material off by heart, write new poems, work towards other submissions, catch up with small stones and 52 challenges and later in the week (Friday) I plan to spend some time catching up with Blogs in my reader. I want to feel connected again.

At the moment life is a busy whirl of work and poetry – loving it this way, but have to take rest and relaxation over the internet or writing in the few hours I have to live in before bedtime! February isn’t as hectic – the New Year was intentionally planned to flurry – although having said that I took on an extra week of work!

Sometimes you write and others time you have to research opportunities for writing. Both take time, both need commitment.

My New Opportunity! Writing Work

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I am so excited I can barely write this post! I HAVE A WRITING JOB! frugal cafe creative commons champers

Back in my past (the 1st time I attempted life as a writer in my early 20’s, a few years before I ran out of money to buy bread) I worked as a writer.

  • I wrote for performance (having graduated from a Performing Arts Degree),
  • I worked as (a mostly unpaid) performance poet
  • I already had a decades worth of YOUNG WRITER publishing credentials from the age of 15, in print form (as the internet and e-publishing were still things of the future…) Well the internet existed (I’m not that old!) but people wouldn’t catch on and start using it personally in the way we do nowadays for some time.
  • I spent my spare time training the writer in me and attended a fabulous creative writing course in Leicester, in a place I now believe is Creative Writing college.

This is where I met real writers who all told me I had what it takes and to keep going! (1998)

(This is the point I should had started sofa hopping or squatting (soon to be made illegal at the time) as gone were the days artists could sign on in between jobs) the money I achieved through royalties and the odd gig wouldn’t cover rent and before long I took a serious last look at my dream and started moving towards being financially independent!

This is the point I ran out of food money. The irony was writing press releases and doing some free PR for other performers (who were big at the time and now are MUCH bigger!) was my last freelance gig before I jacked it in and drowned my sorrows in applying for a 2nd degree in an area that would PAY the other end of university with a job.

In the meantime I spent some of my free time volunteering in schools and working as a Workshop Poet in schools with Key Stage 2. It was here that I decided training in Nursery Education was costly and would take time, I could be a teacher, earn more and have fun like this (workshops) everyday! (DELUDED!)

The rest is history and although I have done lots besides teaching (including running a fabulous community website that was no. 1 in the rankings for most of the time it existed, a site this blog is named after) the rest has mainly being steps away from where I truly want to be.

My true self, the writer, the poet.

I stepped back into myself in January 2013 and started making a go at realising my dreams before it is too late and all my hair turns grey!

(Not that that is too late, if you are reading this with a head full of grey hair, GO FOR IT!) It is never too late apparently.

So with heart on my sleeve and dreams in a backpack I set off along the yellow brick road determined to make this work – inspired by London Olympics I hatched a vague 16 year plan – and jumped!

Many successful (and it has to be said also stupid) people have taken RISKS – you have to be in it to win it and all that… my career hung on 60- 80 hour weeks, 50 weeks a year. I couldn’t write around that, there was barely time to sleep as it was. I actually pushed too hard for too long and my struggle became illness in 2012. It was from this dark place that I had time to listen to myself and start taking leaps of faith (on the medication I really wasn’t thinking about negative consequences) I was jumping because I had no choice – there was no longer a bridge there. The sign said NO OTHER WAY —->

Work went part-time towards the end of 2012. Although I didn’t realise it at the time this allowed me a step towards doing what I now do, my income already slashed by 50% and here I am still, and I can afford bread! By the end of the summer 2013 I decided to drop off the career ladder (I had become stuck anyway as I am scared of heights! I would be great on top of a ladder but you will never get me up there to prove it to you!) I jumped off. I know writing pays peanuts and poetry not even nuts, kernels if you’re lucky! So I needed a financial plan and this is where flexibility in my career (which was a factor for qualifying for teaching to begin with!) came into play. I signed with 2 agencies. 1 of which not only gives me plenty of work, but also (within 7days of signing up) found me a regular cover job, 1 day a week and just before Christmas I signed for another school too, so I now have 2 days a week confirmed and the rest of the week I am either the writer or the teacher depending on my last minute bookings. It is great because I have 100% flexibility 3 days a week and generally manage to be involved in all sorts of things in the writing world that I simply used to miss because I was at work.

The extra salary loss means I can’t just go around buying blf irregular 3 pairs of shoes at a time anymore, but my wardrobe and shoe racks were bulging anyway. And actually I don’t miss shopping (well okay, I do, just a little bit) now I write and perform again after 15 years away and that makes me happier than any heel or skirt ever did!

WHAT’S THE BIG NEWS????

In 2013 I spent the year training, workshops, classes, network events, I met lots of people and hoped to build up contacts, I did and better than that I made friends (awwwwww)! book launch 19

By September I had been published again and decided that Poetry IS my thing. It has claimed me. I can write across genres but poetry is where my writing heart is. I haven’t looked back since. (As you know from all my posts about Open Mic night’s which started back in October with Julie Boden.) listen-ere-desert-townhouse-for-oct-2013-copy1In September I also spoke to Jonathan Davidson, Chief Executive, Writing West Midlands WWM about the possibility of paid work as a writer. Having already taken classes they ran and gone to a few events I wondered if I could be involved somehow. To be honest I was thinking in a few years once I have up to date writing credentials. Jonathan’s response was, why wait? What about now? How about working with some of our young writers?

I knew my teaching career wasn’t a complete waste of time 😉

In November it was confirmed that I could work as an Assistant Writer (with the View of becoming a Lead Writer in the future) on what used to be called Writing Squads but are now called  Write-On-2013-300x287By the end of the year I wasn’t sure this opportunity had been confirmed as I had to go through an official application, systems had changed and I worried that this opportunity was about to fall out of my grasp.

Today I had a meeting custard factory in the City and I am DELIGHTED to confirm I have the job of Assistant Writer, for the 12– 16 group which is new for 2014 and is led by Ian MacLeod.  I start in February! The-Hive__Supported_CMYK-300x253

WRITING JOB (2013) REALITY (2014)

Schedule – Mid Month Madness

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stanza scrabble A busy week ahead, in addition to work, I have an open mic night, a poetry society Stanza meeting, a Flash Fiction anthology Launch and an informal meeting connected to the writing job I managed to negotiate back in September, which is due to start next month!

I am missing one of the biggest Performance Poetry Events this month due to a family commitment, however the latter will require less energy and I need to remember the ‘balance’. Otherwise it would be two Performance Poetry events!

There are also deadlines for Short stories and poetry submissions as well as working on writing some a Haiku or two and other poetry to submit later in the month. typer

Between now and Tuesday I am hoping to learn another set of poems off by heart. I need to write my next 52 poem (this week is about journeys) and I was hoping to write some poetry about journeys this month. I think this challenge may also create the material I take to Stanza on Friday night.

I am also beginning to create a collection of poetry. Busy, busy, busy!

I have started to read the poetry collections that I bought at the end of last year in the Autumn, starting with Be[yond] by Sarah James (the poet whose book launch opened the world of the local circuit of poets and events to me, back in September 2013).

beyond 

A collection of poems which explore wordplay and the science of language and the universe.

I am also spending the day with webinar interviews playing in the background from webinar

Imagine the possibilities and loving and accepting ourselves, feel good that I took a leap of faith last year and renewed my life over.