Tag Archives: submissions

Review of January

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An exciting start to 2015, the month has flown by! jan

My car completely died on me the first day back at work and had to have a new battery, I’ve worked at ‘World’s End’, survived the first month of Mr G working away from home, been a Guest Poet at The Poetry Lounge in the Sitting Room -Ludlow, I was invited to be a guest poet at Word Up, Birmingham – alongside Antony Owen and Lily Blacksell, I was booked as a Special Guest for a charity event in March and as a headliner/Guest Poet for a new Open Mic Night in Stourbridge – that’s booked in for May, was worried March was looking a little full already. I’ve read 4 books, made contact with Rachel Kelly after reading her book ‘black rainbow’ and was inspired to write a New Year blog post – I have been really touched by this connection, got copies of Heather Wastie’s and Bert Flitcroft’s books, was the team leader in Mouth & Music’s Spark Off Event,

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FINALLY got an appointment with my Doctor (have been trying since November), avoided all January SALES (mainly due to the car costing a small fortune and the rest being spent on poetry),

Had to survive with my mobile phone dying on me (for the 4th time) finally getting it sent away! I laughed at how they mistook my age to mean techsavvy lending me a Samsung Galaxy without any manual! The loaned charger didn’t work either – fortunately mine is designed to fit different handsets so it seems.

Mr G and I adjusted to a working life apart only to be reunited several months sooner than we expected.

It snowed! Four times – the 3rd time I narrowly missed two collisions on the brow of a hill and had to call in to cancel work as all exits were snowed in. Even people in Landrovers were struggling – I stood no chance – my car has a moped sized engine and is as useless as me in ice and snow.

BLOGS & PROJECTS

Delighted to see a new flow of followers this month, I have managed to blog about this month and also I think there are probably a high percentage of people looking and searching for things in January. Great to see the activity remain strong. You know me, always trying to beat the stats!

52 came to an end *which I missed as I was offline for Christmas, we are being weaned off with some new prompts from Norman and have the promise of books and anthologies to look forward to.

This year I am seeking to place my poetry in suitable places, rather than spending my life writing to theme (although no doubt I will do this also).

Work re-started (after Christmas break) on my own personal poetry project and will probably be the case for most of the year. I also submitted work for magazines and a collection of poems.

I continued to attend David Calcutt’s Community Garden workshops in Walsall. This month we were writing in the moment. My poetry can be seen on his website (link to follow). I was nearly an hour late but caught up with pages of ideas and two almost poems. Our path has been raked over ready for the community path to be built up to the wild area, this path will feature our group poem written in December.

Our Poetry Society Stanza group was invited to submit poetry for a competition at Corinium Museum, Cirencester  http://coriniummuseum.org/, a group of us went on Poet’s Day Out Trip – cake, museum, lunch, shopping. I thoroughly enjoyed my day with Kathy Gee, Maggie Doyle & Claire Walker. I have written pages of notes, chosen the artefacts to write about… now I just to need to WRITE!

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SUBMISSIONS

I submitted work to publications and poetry press.

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Magma Violence

Faber New Poets

PERFORMING POETRY

This year I decided to pull back on the 100+ gigs of last year to allow more time to work on writing. Despite this promise I couldn’t resist January, especially as I missed most of December. Wonderfully I started and ended the month with Guest Poet slots. I have more events booked through until July, which is brilliant.

The Poetry Lounge in The Sitting Room – Guest Poet alongside Bert Flitcroft – Jean Atkin, Ludlow

SpeakEasy New Year , Fergus McGonigal & Maggie Doyle, Worcester

Mouth & Music, Spark Off! – Team Leader in opposition with Peter Williams – Heather Wastie & Sarah Tamar

Drummonds 42 (the 42nd event) – Andrew Owens

Word Up – Guest Poet alongside Antony Owen & Lily Blacksell- Ddotti Bluebell & Jasmine Gardosi

It feels like I have attended more events than this – there were plenty I didn’t go to – needing writing time and having a different focus this year and of course, some just clashed; Spoken Word at The Ort (I hope to make it by March, the dates clash with Stanza meetings), Luck’s Weight Exhibition poems and photographs by Jean Atkin & Andrew Fusek Peters, Hit the Ode, Spoken Worlds, Sunday Xpress, Shindig, Grizzly Pear, Purple Penumbra, Je Suis Birmingham.

EVENTS & WORKSHOPS

Stanza

Writing West Midlands – Assistant writer/ Mentor- the new mentor role (which was a time-limited position came to a close this month to praise and positive feedback)

The Stanza Group working on Museum Poetry

David Calcutt – Caldmore Gardens Workshop & Poetry on the Path Project

A great start to the New Year and my 3rd year in the world of writing, 2nd year in the world of poetry.

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PS: Like all Bloggers I keep my eye on the traffic and I forgot to add this gem to the review: BOOM!

Your blog, awritersfountain, appears to be getting more traffic than usual! 38 hourly views – 2 hourly views on average
A spike in your stats

November – Performances, Submissions & Mentoring

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This week has been busy week, one which finally had a writing day in it. I took on a lot of work this week and even took a last minute booking on the 1st writing day I had planned.

I am currently busy working on several things including my Hanbury Hall poems and writing material for an event at the end of the month as well as general submissions, I made 2 on my writing day (Fri) this included 4 new poems and 2 fairly new ones that I have been working on for a few weeks with the intention to submit.

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I performed a set for Mouth & Music on Tuesday night, the theme was ‘Remember’, I could have just read my recently published Paragram Poem ‘Picasso of Dance’, I intended to spend Tuesday writing to the theme – but I got called into work.

Instead I took both my poetry books to the venue and organised my set ad hoc. Amongst my set I performed an edited version of ‘Return to Stone’ previously performed at Roy McFarlane’s ‘Soulful Voices’. Roy had been booked to headline, unfortunately his mum passed away very recently. My thoughts go out to him and the family.

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We were treated to Fergus McGonigal and Humdrum Express (Ian Passey) as headline guests and the whole night was great fun, alive with atmosphere – which after the beginning of my working week I felt I very much needed and benefitted from.

Peter Nov Fergus  Peter Nov Ian Photography: Peter Williams © 2014

On Friday I had a writing day which was long overdue, I spent 4 hours working on poetry for submissions and caught up on admin for another hour, before taking a well earned and much needed rest. Fortunately I did wake up in time to get ready for Stanza!

cin It was Children In Need on Friday and I had the opportunity to perform in Wolverhampton, but had already committed to Stanza and the meeting was a lot closer to home. cin3

Stanza was a great night with lots of people, helpful editing advice and lovely nibbles. I love Stanza, it is such a friendly and helpful group. I am glad we have less than a month to wait before the next meeting – booked early because of Christmas!

On Saturday I worked as an Assistant Writer for our group at The Hive. I was performing in the Birmingham Literature Festival, I missed October’s group – it felt like I had been away for months. WWM

I also had the 1st of 3 Mentoring sessions, I was asked back in the Summer if I would consider being a Writing Mentor, of course I said YES! It was a great first session and I look forward to continuing this work in December & January.

Since then I have spent some time catching up with family, sleeping and avoiding buying bags!

Next week looks good, I didn’t have a particularly blank diary, but I realise I need to re-energise, I have officially only committed myself to a set in Cheltenham on Friday and apart from this think I may have a week off. I am working in the day job and need some energy to finish writing projects, plus it IS cold and rainy – staying in is always more appealing in this season of dark afternoons and pre-Christmas busy-ness!

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

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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

 

Submissions, Picnics (Poetry ones!), Missed Events and New Ventures

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The Week Off

Mr G took last week off work so we could do some work on the house and garden together and spend some time enjoying ourselves, I don’t think we will be going away on a proper summer holiday, fortunately the weather has been amazing and I won’t moan when it turns overcast as I have a ton of things INSIDE to be getting on with over the summer break.

 

New Work

The good news this week is I have already secured 1 job for the new term, it doesn’t offer many hours but will cover my part of the mortgage payment at least, as far as bills, food shopping, car expenses and spending money go, I will have to pick up a few more days work every week. But having that 1st contract means I won’t end up with a month of no work. September is not a particularly busy month for us.

 

4 Day Run of Events – Picnics (Poetry ones)

At the tail end of the week before I went to Coventry for Antony Owen’s book launch, then Birmingham to promote Restless Bones Poetry Anthology (published and launching in 3 weeks!), then took a drive up to Shropshire to go to Poetry on The Farm – an event organised by Jean Atkin to celebrate the end of her 3 month residency at Acton Scott Farm. Then on the Sunday I had an EPIC day – I have not had time to blog post it yet and I cannot wait to do so. Jo Bell was poet in residence at Hall’s Croft for Stratford-Upon-Avon’s Literature Festival, she also started ’52’, you will remember me posting about it in the New Year, we all met up for a picnic – over 52 of us, she has over 500 members in 52 now. It was an amazing day that involved picnics, raffle prizes, poets, reading 52 poems at The Shakespeare Centre to a festival audience, flash mobbing outside Shakespeare’s Birthplace (a sonnet of course!) and then not getting drunk in The Dirty Duck pub, by the river.

 

Watch Out for the 52 Post

I WILL write about it in a separate post, the Acton Scott post has just taken a couple of hours to write and put together, it is now getting late (past midnight) and I have some ACTUAL writing to do. Look out for the 52 post.

During the next week mainly because I was exhausted from the adrenalin of a 4 day run and also because Mr G had booked time off to be together, I didn’t go to any poetry events.

 

Missed Events

On Monday I missed Shindig in Leicester, I was invited and originally began performance poetry in Leicester in the 90s. I will go another time when I haven’t already covered 100s of miles the previous few days.

Tuesday (and I am still gutted about this) I was very tired and had actually fallen asleep when I should have been hitting the road. I missed Poetry Bites in Birmingham, always a great night, organised and hosted by Jacqui Rowe. Anthony and Joseph were there headlining and promoting ‘The Year I Loved England’, (I had already seen them in Coventry), Matt Windle  was the other headliner, always a pleasure (I am seeing him in Kidderminster in a few weeks) and Sammy Joe, who I have seen before, but it would have been good to see her again, plus all the floor spots, it was a cracking night by all accounts and I missed it.

Friday there was a night write event hosted by Jo Bell as part of the Stratford festival that I would have loved to have parted money for, my concern was staying awake 10pm to 6 am – I have spent months attempting to regulate my sleep, to make sure I am awake during the day and the knock on situation after breaking this pattern would be equivalent to jet lag. The decision was made for me when we went up to the garden in the afternoon and enjoyed some cold, crisp wine. Another year maybe.

Saturday there was a performance in the Stratford that I wanted to see.

Sunday there was Sunday Xpress in Birmingham and Al Barz facilitated a one off Poetry in the Park in Walsall. There was also a showing of ‘Tales of the Tat Man’ David Calcutt’s latest venture in Birmingham at tea time.

Phew! A week of activities and I didn’t manage any of them.

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A week of Work- Gardens – Sun – Gas Men, Shopping, Theatre, Reading & Writing

I was still working at the beginning of the week, we spent some time running errands and whilst I was at work Mr G bravely tackled the back garden, completely transformed by the time I came home. We had a fire that evening and the neighbour sat out with us in the garden, although he went in about 3 hours before we did.

On Tuesday after I had tutored we spent time sunbathing on our new sun loungers in the garden and then watched a box set that we haven’t seen for ages, we managed to get onto the next season.

Midweek, we had the excitement of a house full of Gas Men changing meters and discovering holes we shouldn’t have had! The oven works better and poor Mr G spent the whole time out in the baking sun tidying up the front garden – which now looks amazing! A warm welcome. Again once the house was empty we went to sit outside.

© National Theatre 2014

© National Theatre 2014

In the evening my mum and I went to the Arts Centre to see the National Theatre production of Skylight. I have never watched a theatrical performance on a screen before (wonders of the digital world) but with the cuts to Arts funding this allows people who don’t live in London to see the shows. It was more like watching it live on stage than a cinematic experience would be. I loved it. (And the Arts Centre has Air con.- most places, including our home, don’t – because it is rarely this hot or dry for this length of time in the UK. So that was a real treat!)

I also took a couple of shopping trips for summer clothes and caught up reading my writing magazine, I have been an issue behind pretty much the whole of 2014, one day I read the July issue and then over the weekend read the August issue, freeing my time up to write now for a couple of weeks before the next issue arrives!

I also had submissions to make – one for a project very close to me, I wrote three pieces for that in the end and the other was 3 poems, 1 written especially and the other 2 heavily rewritten to a publication I have previously been rejected from, fingers crossed – we will see.

We discovered a new garden centre and spent an afternoon choosing plants for the garden display. We will be going back there soon.

We have frogs in our pond and the plants are establishing themselves well around it.

We have eaten lovely home-grown salad potatoes and beans, we are waiting on the tomatoes – they won’t be long. We have had strawberries & pak choi already, the cucumbers are growing and we have decided we need to give the allotment up. We have done it for 5 years and it was good when we had no garden of our own, but now we have the house project and a garden that needs constant TLC and I am gallivanting off into the world of words all the time, we just cannot find regular time to go and tend the plot. We never had the right tools, as we were very ‘natural’ harvesters, this meant jobs done in no time with machinery were taking forever with tools not fit for purpose. It has been a big decision, but there is room to grow some stuff in the garden and at least this way there will be less waste.

I had a brilliant time with Mr G, lovely to have the company, much missed today when he went back to work… (although my mum popped in for a catch up), Mr G is off again soon, although the poetry schedule won’t be abandoned next time, we are hoping to make a start on the house.

 

Current Submissions

I am currently working on submissions that have a tight deadline (of a few days) – a one act play/ monologue and a short story. Fingers crossed I planned and mapped out plot/action and characters today. I am hoping to write them tomorrow, edit and redraft/ proof and submit on Wednesday! Not ideal, but having been so far behind on magazine issues, have only just discovered the opportunities.

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This week I have a Poetry Party tomorrow, Drummonds 42 event on Wednesday (performing), a possible road-trip to Wales, hoping to finish the week off with a workshop.

If the road-trip works out – I will miss OXJAM Slam which is a charity fundraiser (OXFAM) and a night celebrating the life and words of Maya Angelou.

Hope you will understand now why my posts have been infrequent this month – will try harder to regularly post in August as my writing life will be getting very exciting!

 

Happy writing x

 

Poet Cloning

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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?

 

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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

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Resting, Writing and Working

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I have decided after all the buzz of WLF (Literature Festival) I would take some time off events this week. rest thai

We are close to Summer – just 3 weeks and a day, left at work and I am pretty much taking on work full time. I need the energy for the day job – can’t wait to get into the summer writing projects though and days and days of artistic freedom.

There are events all over this week but I am resting until the weekend. I also have swollen glands so best to keep voice use to the minimum – day job.

I have been busy writing since my writing day yesterday, typewriter admin is all up to date and I have the next week’s assignments all mapped out. Fitting in around everything else I have to achieve. I have written 4 new poems all for submission pieces. I have two more that are building up to being something (I have 3 weeks to work on those). I had to proof my poem for the latest edition of Hark Magazine, harkJuly issue.

I am getting excited about working with the Poetry Army poetryarmy in less than a fortnight and making it to Ledbury Poetry Festival before then. There was a tempting offer last night involving one of the late night events but I decided not to volunteer (despite the temptation of accommodation, travel expenses and tickets) as it was an event after midnight – it wasn’t facilitating the event which worried me – more organisation of the food and refreshments. Another time maybe. I am still hoping to make it and catch a few performances this weekend.

I am also trying to write one or two short stories, I have less than 2 weeks to complete – so I might save them for something else if they aren’t quite ready. My next writing day was Friday but I have accepted some more work so now I have just half a day to work through the projects.

I need to re-energise and work on my writing and find that I have plenty of time for both after work if I am not trying to make it to events as well!

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And on that note – bed calls! Be gentle on yourselves – seek balance – inspiration doesn’t work on an empty tank.

 

June Review

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 __________            June            _______________

Such a busy wonderful month filled with glorious opportunities!

Blogs and Projects

I signed up for Writing 101 Blogging University Daily Post challenge this month, it stretched ideas with writing and lead to some interesting blog posts – I struggled to post daily as I have been offline busy, but I did manage to complete each task for the first half. After which I became heavily involved in performances and events in the WLF LitFest.

I continued to write poems for 52.

I applied to be part of a collaborative project with Naked Lungs for BLF Birmingham Literature Festival. I had an interview mid-month.

The blog now has 765 followers, an extra 23 people joined in June.

The most popular post this month continues to be;

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Writing Short Stories – Tips on Planning and Structure More stats 367
 

Submission and Publishing

I submitted poems and was published by Hark.

My poem Clench – will appear in the July issue of Hark, an online magazine.

I also worked on an epic submission for Offa’s Press

and entered a poem for GBWO – Great British Write Off.

 

Performing Poetry

I took a 12 day break from performing poetry at the end of May/June and enjoyed watching others at events instead.

It felt strange to get back up on stage at Mouth and Music – but I was armed with some freshly written -on theme – poems and a great audience who laughed in all the right places.

It was also good to back to Birmingham- performing at York’s Bakery.

It was 10 days of WLF this month – Worcester Litfest, I was asked to take part in a few events that clashed with other plans, including a guest spot for the Decadent Diva gig – Divas and Football, it was my friend’s Woodstock themed party which I was going to (a 50th birthday) and I had already turned down Foxy and Wild – Droitwich Arts Network/ Festival poetry event.

I did perform as a POP UP POET at an event I was asked to take part in.

I managed to get to Tim Cranmore’s Book Launch the week before WLF started and booked to be at the Guildhall for the announcement of the new Poet Laureate (4 of whom I knew) – I gave up a night performing to be part of the first event of the festival.

I was asked to have a guest spot at the Special Festival SpeakEasy (which I could do) and I asked to be on the 42 stage (1 of 8 performers) in addition to this I booked to watch Jonny Fluffypunk Man Up – show and was asked to perform at this event too.

I missed several workshops I wanted to do – because I was also working full time this week – with Summer being so close!

It was my first WLF – but the city’s 4th – I was aware of both this and the Droitwich Festival last year, it was before I started poetry writing again and at the time I was resigning from work after quite a struggle and wasn’t really submerged in the writing world as I am now.

Confab Cabaret – Olivers: Hollie McNish

Writing West Midlands/ Assistant Writer  – Creative Writing Group: Ian MacLeod

Mouth & Music – BHG: Adjectives

Writing West Midlands/ Assistant Writer  – Creative Writing Group: Jean Atkin (cover)

Writing West Midlands This month not only did I have a chance to use my drama background to help support material for the Worcester group with Ian MacaLeod, I also had a chance to cover as an Assistant Writer for the group in Kidderminster – run by Jean Atkin. It is great to experience working with Young Adults – teenagers were slightly older than my group and a different Lead Writer, Jonathan Davidson recommended we swapped groups once in a while to get a better breadth and understanding. For a writer who hopes to become a Lead Writer in 2016 it is great to take on board different approaches and ideas. I thoroughly enjoyed the group and look forward to going back next month.

Performing at Dave’s 50th Woodstock Party including a poem written especially for him! My first Private Function too!

Pop up Poets – WLF

Poets With Passion – Birmingham

With Jonny Fluffypunk – WLF

Meeting Naked Lungs – Project BLF

Special WLF 42 – WLF Lou Morgan

Special SpeakEasy – WLF – Old Recifying House: Emma Purhouse & Scott Tyrrell

Carol Ann Duffy – National Poet Laureate in a joint venture between Ledbury Poetry festival & WLF

The Tea Project – Tara and Lynsey – MAC Atys Centre

Poetry Workshop – Jean Atkin, Acton Scott farm.

 

Mr G and I also saw the Voodoo Rooms (Hendrix/ Cream), celebrated Dave’s 50th Woodstock style, mum’s birthday and he continued to re-landscape the garden, building a pond.

Next month I am looking forward to a workshop and some Literature Festivals, my performance with BrainFruit, Special weekend groups associated with writing I have been involved with this year, Book launches – Restless Bones and seeing my work in print in Hark Magazine.

Roll on the sunshine! Morning-Sun-mit

 

MONDAY! Monday! On Writing and Time Management.

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Monday rolls around all too quickly, HALLOWEEN 2011 081 you know I made the assumption that connecting back into a much missed creative life would take away the Sunday Slump of the rat race and the Manic out of Monday… how wrong I was. A lot of the internal struggle is created by the fact that the writing isn’t paying (yet) and so to keep my house, car, life (like many writers) I still have an evolving career/ day job.

If the tax man is reading this – YOU OWE ME MONEY – lots £100’s on a tax rebate….. would be helpful to receive that soon – believe me I doubt they read the blog (big brother paranoia) but when I tried to contact them through the website and calling I just got an automated message telling me if I was owed money they would know and would be dealing with it — then it automatically HUNG UP! Now this may be true but I tend to be a little unlucky with bureaucratic red tape and things that may take a few months usually roll on for years if my names and codes are attached to it! imagesCAEEZNXM

Anyway back to the post. I have had a productive morning, waking early on my writing day, doing some laundry (despite the rain which is supposedly clearing by dinner time!), starting my diet and exercise regime ready to not be uncomfortable in my skin at my brother’s wedding this Autumn and in the hope I fit back into some of my dresses this summer. By the time I logged on it was 10:30, I felt guilty and then I THREW AWAY that negative feeling, I could have slept in until 10! alarm-clock

So I made a start (as I always do) at the beginning of a writing day, by making a list. A set of goals, jobs to do, things to research, write, read.

paper-notesI am well disciplined and stay off social media until there is a break point or after the list has been completed is better. Breaks tend to elongate without you realising once you are trapped in the social media bubble. The way I see it is I wouldn’t have access if I was at work. I am at work (writing) – I have no access. My brain is so easy to kid!

Sometimes (depending what is on the list) time gets rolling fast and it will be time to pack up before I have ticked off the 1st two items. I do NOT worry. The post-it list is stuck in my writing diary, ready with the starting point if my next writing session.

Today’s list consists of research and writing. Plus I had a few business emails to read/ respond to. That’s the biggest surprise I think in writing, the fact that ADMIN takes up so much time. It took ages to flag up the emails, despite using designated email addresses for different areas.

to do I have currently applied for a pop-up performance arranged by Naked Lungs for this year’s Birmingham Literature Festival, have 2 – 4 short stories to complete (2 this week if I can) and several poems to write, some to follow up the workshop at Acton Scott Farm with Jean Atkin, some for a performance tomorrow night (1st one in 13 days, took a bit of a break!), some for this weekend and others to catch up on other projects I have only had time to dip in and out of. I also have my first official book review to write (for which I was paid, a complimentary copy of the poetry pamphlet)!

I have 14 websites to looks at/research, a character to create from a world I know very little about (eek!), I have a scratch night I probably won’t make pencilled in* and a book launch. This weekend is the Writing West Midlands Creative Writing Group and a deadline for some written submissions.

* Conserving energy (and petrol) WLF – Worcester LitFest in a fortnight and lots going on before then too. Plus I now have to fit EXERCISE into the schedule – and don’t suggest parking and striding to the gigs – I get red faced after about 3 minutes and would need a shower when I arrived and most venues have no dressing rooms or facilities!

So I had best get on with my list! imagesCAISM7Z5

 

Time Management:

  • Split chunks of time, I find not being to prescriptive works well (in my day job, things have to fit in allocated slots of time) and it feels good to break free! I started at 10:30 and said I could have a break in an hour, that kind of thing.

 

  • Know what you need to do, get your head down and try to do it.

 

  • I say try because creativity cannot be forced or pushed, some days it comes easier than others. So the true TIME management falls in making sure there is time to complete your projects when you have those duff days. This is usually a 4 day buffer at least, depending on length of editing/ proofing time.

 

  • I always try to get things written in time to give it some rest and a look over/ edit before submission – this is usually a period of a week if you have enough time to do this it can be beneficial.

 

  • Keep your unfinished list to know where your starting point is next time.

 

  • If you can that starting point should be part way through something -or the start of a task based on researching or something you can get into straight away. The problem with starting with your next writing job is the possibility you will be staring at a blank screen for some of the time.

 

  • Try not to lose focus. I often set alarms on my phone, that way I don’t even have to glance at the onscreen clock anyway.

 

  • Try to ease the pressure off. You are your Boss, it is always beneficial to get on with the Boss right?

 

  • And just like real work (unless you work in Health or Education/ Public Sector) take some breaks and give yourself treats and incentives for reaching target! Not food though – you don’t want a writer’s (saggy) bottom!

 

Good Luck! Green-Clovers-Vector-Illustration

PS I used part of my break to write this – I am now walking away from the screen!

Review of April – A Little Late

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writingrut I can hardly believe that it’s May already! I have fallen behind with posting because I have been busy doing. I thought March was a great month – until April KICKED IT! That’s the greatest reward about doing what you want to do. Every month brings achievement. I still have to pinch myself sometimes – but then why should I be surprised? I am working hard towards a goal. Along that road there are setbacks and fortunate moments. That is all I am experiencing, it’s not so special. It is however, something I am very grateful for, especially after my writer self has been stuck in the dark for so long.

waiting-for-perfection

The greatest thing is that writing is like riding a bike, you don’t forget how to do it. People tell me I am lucky and I don’t doubt their opinion (despite knowing what I know about my luck – which is the polar opposite of luck, something akin to calamity)! What people forget (just like those gold medal winners at the Olympics*) is that there was a lot of groundwork first and I have to admit, some natural, bigger than I am influence at work here.

I haven’t just come to writing. I have come back to writing after more than a 10 year break. I am a published poet and had my first success as a 15 year old. Nowadays that would make me a young writer, but this term wasn’t used back in the day, nor were there the opportunities of 16-25 groups and collectives, or even an essence of taking writers seriously unless they were adults. The world was different back then.

Later on, after graduating, I went ‘back to school’ to train on a creative writing course that was tutored by professionals in each field. It was modular and covered pretty much every genre. There were many times when the said professional told me that I should pursue that area of writing as that is where my talent lay, there is no greater feeling. write

Of course, that’s nothing special lots of people can write across genres and actually if you want to make money from writing it is important that you can. Some people might need to learn their trade and improve over time, whatever you set your mind to – you should be able to realise with time and effort. Every success person says so.

There is also that school of thought – that when you key into your natural, born to do expectation that you can become successful. I know I will never play football professionally, I doubt I will swim the channel – but I have full and complete belief there will come a day when there is a book on the shelf in a bookshop with name on. So you pursue what you love and if you happen to be naturally talented, then go you!

motivate disney

It is a skill people can learn – but your unique voice is what will sell your work – and editors can tell when that’s not a solid, three-dimensional form.

Yes, I have experienced success already. Yes, I am grateful, yes I am a surprised & excited by what is happening. There are plenty of people who have done more than me and still not achieved – similarly there are people who haven’t done nearly as much and have received more kudos in a shorter amount of time.

The biggest LESSON is this –motivation sign

Get a mirror, look at yourself… that’s your competition. It is easy to fall into comparing your success with others, but don’t. Look at where you are and where you were, that’s your success!

 

* Olympics – back in 2013 I started writing again and gave myself a 16 year span, equivalent to 4 x Olympics, in September (9 months in) I rediscovered poetry and have settled on this being at the core of my writing plan. Although I can write in other genres, I feel no novel in me, I do feel many poetry collections, it is the form that happens the most naturally. It is amazing looking back to September and seeing how far things have come on in just 7 months! I only imagine how great 1 year, 2 years will be.

This year the opportunity for Poet Laureate has come up and I decided against standing for it – despite everyone else thinking that I would go for it! Maybe next year or the year after. There are so many possibilities out there to grow and expand, it will happen.

 

APRIL

So onto April. Let’s see how it went.

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Followers:

714 Followers now enjoy splashing around in the fountain, that’s 34 new followers this month – thanks to you all, especially a big thanks to those of you who like and comment – it is good to know I am not alone.

Projects:

I attempted to complete Camp Nanowrimo and NaPoWriMo, however, it was a really busy month and I will raise my hand up and admit (unlike last year) I didn’t make it! I managed to write lots of poems, some days writing more than one. I have kept the prompts and will continue to complete this mission over the next 8 months. 2014-Participant-Vertical-Bannernapo

I had hoped that joining Camp NaNo would help me get the short stories written that I needed to complete. Unfortunately I didn’t even get started and it was a shame because this year – FINALLY I had a full cabin and they were active and supportive, I just bit off more than I could chew. At the moment, this year I am working on so much that I am unsure that these excellent writing opportunities are good for me. I will look carefully at my schedule before I decide on the summer camp.

I am still participating in 52.

 

PUBLISHED

born free Last month I told you that I had 2 poems published in the up and coming Born Free Foundation anthology. The exciting news is that at a gig I did at The Ort, reading poems I had written for 52, several new poems were heard. The next day I submitted them by request and I believe they will appear too in this collection. So that’s 4, the most I have had in any one place at any one time!

 

Wenlock Poetry Trail / Festival

I managed to get to Wenlock Poetry Festival, find my poem AND get a photo or two of me in front of Croft Originals. (More  photos to follow.)

Copyright Paul Francis 2014

Copyright Paul Francis 2014

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Copyright Paul Francis 2014

 

Acton Scott Historical Farm  

Jean Atkin has become the resident poet at Acton Scott Farm, she has created a poetry fence. WONDERFUL! I was lucky enough to get a short poem on there.

 

Acton Scott Poetry fence

Copyright Jean Atkin 2014

 

 

Events:

This month has been action packed, I have had many great opportunities!

I missed several events at the beginning of the month due to fatigue. Cheltenham Poetry Festival will happen again next year as will the WLF Hill walk and poetry event (although it was pretty much rained off this year)! Later in the month I missed all World Book Night events & also a writers’ network meeting arranged By Heide Goody/ Pigeon Park Press, a FREE writing workshop at the MAC & a local arts network meeting.

I had rehearsals for my first collaborative performance with Tim Scarborough, a talented drummer/ percussionist and poet.

Mouth & Music –

Dualogue – great set by David Culcutt and Nadia Kingsley (who I missed again in Stratford-Upon-Avon last night) and a great night for all. My set with Tim went down really well – and I am collaborating with him again now on a different set/event as well as taking the original set back on the road to Birmingham later this month.

 

Writing West Midlands –

Worked as an assistant writer and attended a meeting with the other writers which was great fun as well as informative and has led to further opportunities to support the Hayley Frances’ Page Talk project, a creative month resulting in a performance. I think I may end up being used to literally volunteer as a steward on the festival day – 8th June, or maybe there will be more I can offer/ do as a practioneer/writer.

The Hive –

WLF & Ledbury Poetry Festival had there first joint venture, organised by Ruth Stacey to bring poets and poetry to people in Worcester. This event was great and I really enjoyed seeing Angela France again and talking to Martin Malone.

Female Force –

Was Photogiraffe’s 3rd exhibition launch, it took place at the Urban Coffee House, I was only able to make the first half as I had to go to work as an assistant writer. It was a great event and I am looking forward to her 4th and final exhibition this week (Monday night)!

Female Force

Poetry For Lunch  x 3

I took advantage of the Easter Holidays – I usually have work at the time this event takes place at the Library of Birmingham. I read for a couple of weeks and then this week our Stanza group took over.

The first week of these 3 sessions we had the honour of Frank Skinner in the audience – he actually stood there, watched and was entertained for some time before (I presume) hot footing it down to the Hippodrome!

Thanks to everyone for letting us have the whole session.

Jan Watts has organised an extra morning event this Tuesday – but I have to go back to work and earn some money!

PFL (the one with celebrity audience)

PFL

Hit the Ode

I have managed to get to these gigs for the past few months, this one was very special – due to the headline acts; SHANE KOYCZAN – Winner of the US Slam Poetry Championship, JASMINE COORAY & JODI ANN BICKLEY.

You can always tell QUALITY line ups when you look around the room and spot HEADLINE ACTS just paying to watch!
I had asked for a spot and was put on the reserve list. I had already performed at Poetry For Lunch and then a minute before they started Bodhan came and told me there had been a no show and so I had one of the 6 spots, much to the envy of many poets in the room, everyone wanted to perform on the same stage as Shane. I felt awful because I hadn’t prepared a set or practised, as I didn’t think anyone would give up these gold-dust spots. Fortunately I had a handbag full of poetry and I took the page to the stage this time!

I needed to do this as my 1st experience, in February was the worst, WORST set I had EVER performed and it knocked my confidence a lot. I attempted to perform from memory before I was ready – I have since performed from memory at Word Up and do now know (for tonight’s SLAM) 3 of my poems off by heart.

It was a great night and my poems went down well. It’s great when headliners talk to me about my poetry – so thank you Jodi.

HIT THE ODE

The Ort

This was one of the best gigs for Spoken Word at The Ort – for attendance (standing room only) and acts, lots of musicians/ bands. It was a high energy gig and it was here that I performed some of my 52 poems that will be published alongside the animal poems in the Born Free anthology.

The Ort

Word Up

Word Up was great as always, I missed last month due to an events clash. It was great to see everyone again and Kate Walton (Story Tramp) made it as she had come home for a quick visit before hitting all the festivals, it was lovely to see her again. A night of great, high quality performances and lots of fun! Ian Bowkett was headlining and it was great to see him again! This time he came with his poetry book and I had my first 21st Century experience of the download card experience. I will be getting an e-reader copy.

Next month I am going to have the miss the waffle house afterwards though as I didn’t get in until after midnight.

Word Up

Wenlock poetry festival

This was a great weekend festival, which I managed to get to for the last day, I still haven’t had time to update my blog post about Wenlock, but I will be posting it soon and will pin it.

 

George & Dragon open mic with Mark Niel – Shropshire/ Wenlock Poetry Festival

Throughout the weekend there were Open Mics and a Poetry Slam, I made it in time for the final lunch time open mic organised and hosted by Mark Niel – it was great and wonderful to see Anthony Owen popping in to read a couple of his poems from collection. It was great to see so many people had come for lunch and poetry, tables were even reserved in the small front bar at The George & Dragon.

I was walking back from the Edge Arts Centre later in the day and was stopped by a couple who had seen me perform and wanted to tell me how much they loved my first poem.

 

Saints, Sinners & Fools, Pigeon Park Press

Last week saw the Pigeon Park Press host an event in Kafe 6/8 (which is another one I haven’t had time to post up on the blog yet). They run about 4 events a year, I missed the Winter Stories event at the end of last year due to clashing events. This night clashed with Drummonds 42 but as that is monthly and these are one offs and I had been invited by Heidi Goody, I thought I would go. It was great to share poetry with a new audience and it was also the first time I have seen a play extract performed as part of spoken word/open mic night.

Again, it was great getting feedback on my poems from people who hadn’t heard any before.

Submissions

I have been mainly concentrating on performing this month as you can see, alongside attempting new writing – particularly poetry – as part of NaPoWriMo. However, I realised last month that there are many opportunities that I miss due to being busy and ultimately to achieve my goal I have to start getting published again.

A Minor – I submitted some poems.

Wenlock Poetry Competition – my 1st poetry competition entry. I didn’t get placed.

WPC

Lichfield Poetry Competition – my 2nd poetry competition.

Poetry on the Farm – I wrote 3 Farm poems for Jean Atkin, resident poet at Scott Acton Historical Farm, she has chosen one for the poetry fence. I hope to get to see her and the farm sometime this month. (Work keeps getting in the way!)

I also developed a poetry page on Facebook and have had 100 likes in just 12 days 🙂

1 the end

Beyond Busy!

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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.

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