Tag Archives: schedules

A Day in my Writing Skin – TO DO ….


I am delighted to have a 2nd day to work as a writer this week. I have a long to do list and still need my first coffee!

I am missing the 2nd POETRY FOR LUNCH in Birmingham today, it is hard to book a set as I have to be open to work calls at short notice, I did book next week’s event and sadly have had to cancel as work had already been booked in for that day.

I am however performing a set tonight at SpeakEasy, so my finale is a performance I am looking forward to. spe


  • So far I have checked social media (after missing the radio opportunity at the end of December, this is always a priority to scan first!)
  • Caught up with mindful writing challenges now pinned to the front of this blog, in the hope I remember to post them daily, I had a backlog as I haven’t been online for a few days.
  • and boiled the kettle to make coffee (about half an hour ago!) 2014 I need a coffee waiter as well as a poet chauffeur!

The rest of the list is ambitious, some will definitely have to happen before this evening…

  • sort & rehearse set
  • email poetry
  • write a short story
  • edit & proof a short story

I have a booking this afternoon and then a quick WonderWoman style change and back out to the land of the Spoken Word!

Happy Writing x

Quick Update


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 Day in My Writing Skin! (The 1st of the Year!)


Stretches her arms into a whole day of writing!

2014 pixel


There is no excuse really for this being the 1st day of 2014 dedicated to writing. I go back to work tomorrow and there have been 5 days in the year already. Obviously the 1st is always a bit of a write off (no pun intended!) I did manage to sign up to 52 Jo Bell’s new writing project for 2014 and Mindful Writing at the start of the month.


I also registered for the next Hay House Summit, having missed the last one webinar
I spent a frantic evening or two attempting to watch as many videos as I could before they were taken off the FREE resource lists!



The 2nd saw me attempt 2 poetry events in the same 8 hours, not for the faint hearted and probably not something I will manage again….Poetry For Lunch, & Liz Lefroy’s New Year Poetry Open Mic with Uncharacteristic Largesse.

The best part of Friday 3rd was spent in recovery, asleep! After I made myself spend several apple coffee hours updating writing admin, schedules, action plans, excel sheets, research lists and the like.

Saturday was an epically busy day in the real world, as I attempted to squeeze visits to most of the family into one day – having been too ill to see any of them much over Christmas and the New Year (this was similar to attempting 2 poetry gigs in a day, but with less driving and more food)!

hearthouse ca open mic

© 2013 hearthouse – www.hearthouse.ca


Yesterday I had another day catching up on sleep after the mass tour of the family and had just enough time to help out by tidying up the kitchen before I went out to Buzzwords – A workshop with Hilda Sheehan and an Open Mic!Hilda Sheehan

Today I made sure I was up and ‘actioning’ by 8 AM – which is a miracle – as I am not a morning person, especially not after a poetry gig the night before. I have made time allowances for de-decorating the Christmas decs, which are (as per tradition) coming down as it is the 12th night. And some much-needed -to-be-done-before-returning-to-work-household-chores!

i heart writeI love a day like today, a writing day, even the sun has come and tried to frighten the rainstorms away. I spent the first part of the morning catching up on reading.

I have spent an hour online, researching websites and submissions, I have added two events – a book launch and an open mic to my desk diary for this month and I have subscribed to another mailing list.

I also managed to empty one inbox (the smaller of the 3 accounts) and have caught up with essential emails from the other two. Discovering a terrifying thing, a booking for work that had already been confirmed mid-January, that wasn’t in my diary and so now I have to postpone both an interview and public poetry performance! (Not looking forward to those emails/ calls…)

Off to have lunch and pack up the Christmas decorations.

Then this afternoon will actually involve writing! pencil paper freestock

A Day of R & R and Planned Action


I wrote this post this morning and then spent the rest of the day asleep!

shrew ch6

I am exhausted after my poetry day yesterday (and the late night caused by post performance adrenalin) – I think I dragged myself to bed at 4a.m! I am going to have to start a post performance routine of a hot milky drink and quick costume change into PJ’s as soon as I walk in through the door and bed as soon after if I am going to survive 2014!

So this morning I treated myself to a much needed sleep in followed by a laptop lie in – this is where you basically get up to sort the tech and then crawl back under the covers!

I have spent 2 hours on admin this morning – offline. Sorting spreadsheets (finances – all still outgoing) this will turn around, I will be in a position to pay myself back every penny and now I have the challenge of doing more in 2014 but not using as much self funding as I did in 2013, it’s petrol and transport costs mainly! I spent time on a January Action Plan (only 3 days late!) and have my writing tasks set up in my desk diary – as well as in my electronic action plan. imagesCA6R9C43

I have 3 websites to check out and then a short story to conceive, some Haiku poetry to write, I have to organise 2 sets of poetry as I had confirmation last night that I have a spot at this month’s SpeakEasy (hooray) and have two other open mics before that. Plus a mid-month gig that I am desperately attempting to learn my poems off by heart! So that’s the next 3 days sorted.

Good job I am not back to work until next week, I am trying to use the weekend to visit relatives who I was too ill to see over Christmas though, I need to see them before work starts again.

So I have chiselled out some writing time to focus on this little to do list, some of today and tomorrow evening and Sunday daytime.imagesCALAS5MY I am hoping to make my next workshop and open mic event this Sunday if I haven’t collapsed in a pile of post-it notes, sharpies and writing by then!

© Creative Commons

© 2013 Creative Commons

I also hope to complete the review posts in this blog and pass the Dragon Award forward AND we are about to CELEBRATE 1 year of blogging as AWF turns 1 on the 4th – I started the blog in the small hours and edited a post which meant the first live message went out on the 5th! So like the Queen, I guess we can have 2 birthdays!

Party hats anyone?

Happy Writing!

TOP TIPS 2013 – A Year in My Writing Skin


Some of you will be aware of  The Write Year page on this blog, a place I leave a monthly review of all writing developments and sometimes pitfalls. I like to finish each monthly entry with some TOP TIPS that might help others too.

I have not yet reviewed December – I will be adding more top tips to this post in the next few days (be sure to check back)!

I hope you have also had a great year of writing. Let us know!


  • Use a laptop/ PC not connected to the internet to complete your writing.
  • No matter how tired you are feeling, do it anyway!

planner Make a writing schedule and try to stick to it.

  • Prioritise – you can’t do everything, so choose which projects fulfil yourself and your aims the best, concentrate and focus on these.
  • If you miss a writing opportunity make a note of it and look out for it again next year.
  • Enjoy your writing. When you reach the point that it is grating, switch to something else or leave your PC completely (even if you’re close to a deadline) you are likely to find that spending sometime away from your focus helps you find more energy and drive to complete your targets when you sit back down.
  • If (like me) you have no writing desk and your bed is your office, over time, even with fabulous support pillows, you may find you suffer back pain and can’t walk straight for the first minute when you get up!
  • I may have said this tip before – Invest in a Polar Cup, your Costa/Starbucks/ Local coffee house is just within reach and it hasn’t cost you much!


  • Know when to take a breather and when to push on through. Learn to recognise the difference between laziness and exhaustion and take the appropriate positive action – a rest or a push!
  • Get someone else to motivate you if you can’t manage to spur yourself on.

We all need a personal cheerleader from time to time, but the most important lesson I have learnt is just to

  • KEEP ON GOING! Move yourself forward and celebrate.Celebrate the World
  • Get out there – out and about – away from your desk, meet people, talk to other writers.
  • Collaborate and share – work together.
  • Network.
  • If you don’t ask you wont receive… so ASK!


  • Surround yourself with creative, like minded, positive people.
  • A positive attitude creates positive things.
  • Most of all enjoy what you do and keep doing it!
  • Spread your wings slowly to expand.
  • Fifteen years is a long time, but it’s not the end of the world.


  • Listen to your inner voice – it can guide you and often knows more than you do.
  • Approach people, talk to them. Writers are people too and a source to point you in the right direction, I have discovered more avenues to explore by being brave.
  • Get your books signed. Make it personal to you.
  • Do a little research. The internet is an amazing tool beyond social media.
  • When you are ready… JUMP – you will know when this time comes!



  • Find calendars of events in your region, pen them ALL into your diary and choose week by week where you want to go and where you want to be seen.
  • Contacts are useful and often appear out of nowhere!
  • Keep an address book of all the people you meet with notes on areas where they can support you.
  • Support other writers, buy their books, I have bought 3 this month.
  • Find where you want to be and go there.
  • Surround yourself with a supportive network. Lean when you need to.

Admin and the Writer


istock morn snowmen This is the first day back at the writing desk after Christmas, today I will mainly be writing offline and attempting to meet submission deadlines. I also have the task of emptying and sorting email accounts. So far I have spent 30 minutes and I am up to date deleting and archiving messages in my writing inbox.

My personal inbox will take longer and the 2nd writing email will take a while too. So I thought I would pass some managing admin tips your way because even as partially organised as I have been I need to do better in 2014!

start time

The first thing to realise is that ADMIN tasks do take time and that you need to invest this time and allow for it within your writing schedule.

I have learnt a lot this year, including how important it is to deal with emails. Emails build up in a blink of an eye especially if you sign up for newsletters and so on.


1) Firstly you need a selection of email accounts to cover different aspects of your life.

2) Keep on top of them – better done as a daily task.

3) Make sure you reply to any urgent ones straight away.

4) Create folders within your email account to file and organise messages that are important to keep.


Some people get so good at this that they save any relevant information onto hard drives or memory sticks and then they delete and empty ALL emails. I have never been that good, there are always some saved emails about something.

But as with real life clutter, think about how often you look at these saved emails? You could probably let them go. Print them or save for reference and wipe the account clear.

Sweeping emails is something I leave to my junk mail filter, but I may try next year! manila-folder


So that was Christmas


Christmas Day istock crimbo

Christmas has been wonderful – it was the first year Mr G and I did the grown up thing and hosted the celebrations. And in the true style of us we went out Christmas Eve with friends and didn’t prep the veg or lay the table *lesson 1 & 2. In the morning we had to clear a lot of unpacked boxes from the dining room (which is actually a second lounge the rest of the year) most of it is bags from the car and boxes of resources I no longer have a classroom to house. The upstairs is now a bit of a mess and will need to be tackled next year. santa snow elf

We collected the dining furniture Monday evening and I bought the tablecloth, seat cushions and placemats on Tuesday afternoon. We had already done the big Christmas food shop on Friday – which was a huge trolley full but actually the Christmas dinner was all allotment food apart from the Turkey. Mr G deserved 5 Michelin stars for his meal! He dug up parsnips and picked sprouts before we went out Christmas Eve, 24th we both prepared vegetables and then his Godchildren came for their presents and spent a few hours with us. They picked carrots in the garden and washed them at the sink. That was after they had played outside and lost a Sticky Ninja on the roof of our conservatory and one in next door’s tree!?

Merry Christ Family came for dinner and we all had a massive feast, only managed half my plate, which meant last night (Boxing Day) I had another Christmas dinner. My mum came for tea and it was a lovely, happy day.

After 8pm Mr G and I finally relaxed and opened some of our presents, watched Christmas television and fell asleep.

Lessons for Cooking Christmas Dinner:

1) Set the table the night before

2) Prepare your veg the night before

3) Put the Turkey in as early as possible – 10 a.m was a little late!

4) After serving stick each plate in the microwave before adding hot gravy to keep it all warm for the table.


Boxing Day

We had the traditional Irish Coffee (which we couldn’t have Christmas morning as I was driving) and got up to open the rest of our presents. Later we went out to the pub to meet friends and then came home, had Christmas dinner #2 and spent the night listening to music and enjoying liquid gifts!


Today we have a friend coming up from London and then hope to meet up with more friends in town who we have not seen yet this Christmas.

I have finally *after 8 days, shifted my winter bug so I hope to visit my relatives over the weekend (who I didn’t get to see on Christmas Day) and then relax and enjoy time off work.






BLOG I am delighted to come back and find that we have new followers, I had a ‘wish’ number for the end of the first year of the blog… I wonder if we will make it!

I have some writing deadlines for the end of the month and events and performances are booked to start again after the New Year. When I have finished celebrating Christmas and anniversaries I will probably have to chain myself to the offline laptop and get work out the way before I come back to blogging, feel free to leave comments I will pop in over the next few days and I hope to post the next instalment of the Goal Setting before the New Year.


Enjoy your celebrations xmas1 words


Schedule Time for the Schedule!


It has taken two and a half hours to work through my writing action plan for this week.write1

I have researched websites and scheduled in this week’s writing. I have 8 poems to attempt to write today, for two competitions with the 16th December as a deadline.
I need to take some of my own advice and motivate myself again, I have known about these competitions for over a month and here I am on the  deadline day trying to create suitable material. Let’s hope I get there before getting ready for the book launch tonight!

xmas1 snowmen Fortunately that’s it for today – the rest of the writing has been neatly programmed throughout the rest of the month – alongside Christmas for a while, of course there is no guarantee that it will be done in the planned time, but much of the rest of the writing this month is actually for submission next year so I’m not concerned.

I haven’t experienced Christmas as a AWF Writer banner since I last wrote (a decade ago) and I think back then I took Christmas off. I am not having to do my day job over Christmas so I should be able to divide time between festivities and word-craft – although I think festivities will get the higher claim!

As long as I succeed with today’s writing I will be okay. If I end up with just 4 suitable poems, I will submit those instead.

Wish me luck, I’m going in!HALLOWEEN 2011 081 motivate write do

A Great Writing Tool


Seeking motivation? Need to keep your word count progression steady? Got a close deadline?
When writers participate in Nanowrimo one of the tools most of us get a little kick out of is the WORD COUNT graph where we can clearly see our progress.


I have discovered  a great motivating tool!
I tend to write poetry and short stories so this tool isn’t as essential for me as those of you writing longer pieces but it is something I plan to use in 2014!
Click here to find out more and start using the tool.



I would be interested in hearing what you think. img-thing


Keep Writing!

SpeakEasy – Another Great Night of Talent!



decs I have been looking forward to this month’s SpeakEasy since last month. Even though this event is in the City, I feel it is my ‘home’ event and have enjoyed it since the relaunch and rebranding of the night, back in October.

As I performed last month I had to hope for an open mic spot, do415com open mic I was lucky and managed to get one on the night. We arrived a little early to try to make sure that there was room to perform. I had only taken 1 poem and would still have enjoyed it even if I hadn’t been able to join in. It was a fabulous ‘last one before Christmas’ and there were some new faces taking to the mic, which is always a bonus and they all seemed to enjoy it!WLF Sp Easy

speasy flyerThe line up was great and I was excited to find Brenda Read-Brown was headlining. I last saw her at BLF where she hosted and performed Postcard Poets – which our MC, Fergus McGonigal was also a performed there. As it was an expensive few days on tickets and books at the BLF I hadn’t got enough money to buy her book. It’s £10 but has 400x poems in it! I was delighted to be able to buy a copy and also get it signed.

She finished the night off with an amazing set. She was the Poet Laureate for Gloucester in 2012 and if you ever have a chance to see her GO! She is awesome – in the true sense of the meaning!


It was a superb night with a range of spoken word, I shared the ‘Happiest Moment’ poem. about the birth of my eldest nephew! It was received well. Can’t wait for next month now.


gingerbread Merry Christmas SpeakEasy!