Being a Writer :)

Logo Leicester Writes

 

Well, it looks set to be a busy second half of the year, with short stories to appear in no less than four new collections!

It starts this weekend when Mum and I will be travelling to Leicester to be part of The Leicester Writes Literary Festival! The winners’ anthology from their competition will be launched tomorrow and if anyone fancies it you can still get tickets! Here’s the link:

Winners’ Anthology Launch

I will be reading from my story We Went There. This is a new one of mine about a woman taking her dad, who suffers from dementia, to a home when she uncovers a secret… is he who she thought he was? Is she? And now she knows what will she do?

As I have so often said, writing does not have to be a lonely experience. But of course, a huge part of it is sitting alone in front of your keyboard tap-tap-tapping away! Successes are something to be celebrated since we all know how hard it is to have them, and so when you get the chance to celebrate them alongside other writers then you must!

I will be in good company with the other writers including winner C G Menon and second place Siobhan Logan, me as a humble third place 🙂 Also joined by highly commended Lynne E Blackwood and worthy runners-up: Karl Quiqley, Jack Wedgebury, Katherine Hetzel, Asha Krishna, Matthew Rhodes, Bev Haddon 🙂

Read what the judges had to say about the stories here: LINK

Judges were: writers Rebecca Burns, Divya Ghelani, Nina Stibbe, and Grace Haddon as well as bookseller, Debbie James.

It is a real honour to be part of this line-up and to have my story published by Dahlia Publishing, and edited by fellow writer and friend: Richard Sheehan. Can’t wait to meet everyone and celebrate our success! The book looks great; I have seen the proof and will read as many of the stories as I can before the event tomorrow!

We set off in the morning (so no Blog tomorrow) and then celebrate tomorrow night at the event, home Saturday afternoon. Can’t wait!

 

Leicster Writes

Do come along if you can… I will blog about it next week!

Have a great weekend everyone!

WHOO!

 

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Ready for the Future

I feel as if my head is in a spin. I feel as if so many exciting things are all finally happening… I feel as if there is a lot to do and get ready for 🙂 It’s in with the new all the way, the old now to the memory box but never forgotten ❤

This week sees me making plans for a wonderful new future, while busy working (which I love) and also sorting out a lot of things. It’s distracting but in a fantastic way. 😀

Yesterday I was up and editing a client’s work early as appointments the afternoon, and this morning finds me here again working hard before the gym. And then hope to finish an edit later. I will write the report tomorrow before I have Leicester that I will tell you all about tomorrow! I will write next week, as I have so many things to do… but it just has me buzzing 🙂 Whoop!

I wanted to share. Life is exciting and full of hope and that’s the way it should always be… right? Always find something to look forward to… if you can 🙂

So what about you? What you up to?

The FutureReady?

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Just A Simple Message

Life is short.

‘Things’ don’t matter. People do; memories do.

Make everything count.

It’s that simple 🙂

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The Science of Decluttering!

Declutter: a verb meaning to remove unnecessary items from (an untidy or overcrowded place).

— to simplify or get rid of mess, disorder, complications

We all know about that, right? There are several interpretations of that, of course — be it to declutter a room, declutter your life, or in a writing sense, to lose the pleonasms, redundant phrases, repeated information, clichés… etc. Right? Got it?

Whatever form it takes, the end result is the same: a feeling of well-being.

No one needs excess for the sake of it. In fact, in another literal sense, I have a hoarder character who appeared in a short story of mine but who has been developed in Dotty. She is not Dotty by the way, or she might be the verb ‘dotty’ I guess. Is there such a verb? (reaches for a dictionary)… well she does have a house full of stuff and slowly the people in the street help her remove it and keep only what’s needed: much like editing. Deciding is not so easy though… hence my job as an editor, to show you how to do that!

There are many such editing analogies, and from time to time we all need to edit our own lives. Maybe even a ‘Facebook purge’ (not that I ever did that!). I started doing a physical declutter yesterday though — to make room for the new. It’s amazing how much stuff we accumulate over the years. Yikes! We put it in boxes, memories, keepsakes, old photographs… God, I have a lifetime of things (and these are already from decluttering every time I moved!)

SO: If we never look at them, then do we need them? But how do we throw away everything? In editing I say if you have to kill the darlings why not put them in a file and later you might bring them back to life in something else in another form? So with that in mind, I made a memory box last night.  Just one… careful editing was needed!

Let me explain.

When I moved here over two and a half years ago I had a lot of plastic storage boxes I’d bought for the purpose and while the stuff I needed is around me in my office and bedroom a lot of it is in the shed, dry and safe and stored… but still somehow gathering dust. Now that I am preparing for the next chapter and a new home with Mal I decided it needed decluttering — again, and bear in mind this is the declutter from when I moved! It’s like the many layers of editing, like a sieve so we take out some things in round one, more in round two and so on… you get the picture!

But why do we hold on to so many things?

Books… I mean a ton of books… that I have not needed and many won’t be read again… so more to charity. I have just kept what I felt I needed, so books that have been signed to me, books I just love, DVDS too. I was pretty ruthless.

But what of old photos…? I have a ton of framed photos of Lee and I. I have mementos and cuddly toys and even a grief box of things from a sad time, poems etc. Is is cathartic to let all of these things simply go, or will we need them one day… to remember? What if I lose my memory?

It was weird doing this last night and we still have the rest to do, but Mum and I set to it after a full day of my ‘literary’ editing work.

What I learned was life is about what’s inside but… sentimental things do matter. Just don’t ‘overclutter’. How can you move on if you hold on to much of this? And I mean that in all senses.

One day I will get great pleasure and probably find some sadness too, looking back at the things but they are still part of my life, and so should never be erased. But I have got rid of what I don’t need (like editing) and kept some things that are part of me. One box is enough. The rest of the things will live inside me as memories.

The photos will be in a book now and the frames, well some of them, will be for new memories now, right?

Part of my old life will be passed onto charity for someone else to enjoy and only some of the things will go with us to our new life. I feel that is right and I am sure Mal will be doing the same. And I also know Lee will approve. I can’t believe how many photos I have of him in frames 🙂 Lovely, but now for the memory box, although I think one will be in my office. One small one and I know Mal will smile at that.

The new office will house photos of both Mal and I’s achievements: the things that remind us that we both took a journey to get to this point, and that’s why we are who we are today, and why we love one another for who we have become because of that journey. Which is why we find a balance between what we need and what we can let go. ❤

This week I will tackle the rest of the boxes as I make way for the new. Embrace the change.

Life is a journey of lessons and one thing I know, all of it makes you YOU so don’t forget that. But decluttering once in a while is an empowering feeling; in whatever form you do it.

Why not declutter one part of your life today? 

Have a great week everyone!

Clutter

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Back & Blogging

I will be back and properly blogging next week! What a fantastic holiday we had and now happy to be back to my life and working 🙂 … oh and trying to eat healthily,  at the gym etc.!

What I loved most was the time we had to relax and I managed to read two books just for fun which is a real luxury when I have so much work. The first was a book recommended by a client called The Versions Of Us by Laura Barnett. It’s a sliding door novel with three versions of how life might have turned out. I had written something similar when experimenting with form and so I was intrigued to see how she did it. While I had to pay close attention to each version, thankfully labelled as version one, two or three, and sometimes I did think I might need to make some notes, I did really enjoy this. I do recommend it for people who like a challenge to their reading. It is well written.

The second of the novels was one purely for fun. As a teenager, I devoured Robin Cook’s medical horrors as I love anything set in a hospital. Coma really hooked me although I remember my favourite being Mindbend. Well, the weekend before the holiday Mal and I were in an indoor market that was selling books cheap and there was a Robin Cook called Host from 2015. I had to buy it but was afraid I would now find I did not like the writing! Snob or what?

Well, I did! He does head-hop and so he doesn’t give characters strong character voices, this is me the writer and editor now observing, however, the procedural elements of medical things and the way the young characters seek answers I love. In many ways, it’s a regurgitate of Coma, but was still something I enjoyed. Reading for fun only! So much so I ordered another one of his. They’re what I’d call my less literary reads but for pure escapism, they somehow captivate me, so I am thrilled now to be waiting on another before I return to something more challenging. But what this shows me is that we should never be snobs about what we read. It’s a great pleasure to read for fun and I often buy books and then feel disappointed, even books with great literary merit.

So the message is write and read what makes you happy!

I have not written this week as have had to catch up with my editing work… Isle of Pelicans is with my two trusted beta readers and I have no idea what they will make of it… not heard a peep… eek. Next week the plan is to either go back to Dotty or revisit I Am Wolf. But I am itching to be writing… or I might even think about my medical horror as I have a real urge to develop my short story Mirror Image.

Ohh so exciting!

I will be back next week with more of my morning’s musings… whatever they might be and to tell you about the event I will be reading at next Friday at The Leicester Writers Festival! Book tickets here! https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/leicester-writes-festival-tickets-35240271601

30th June: Leicester Writes Short Story Prize Ceremony & Anthology Launch

Whoop to the weekend!

Happy Dance

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Last Full Day

I am sat by the pool, well not right by it but in the little balcony we have, ground floor, listening to the plashing… and the birds…

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It’s our last full day here and we will make the most of it. It feels as if we have been here a lot longer which is great. It’s been a much-needed break and the first proper holiday for us. So much has happened in recent months I felt when the house finally sold we needed a little getaway ❤

 

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Portugal has much to offer and I have been here before, been bird watching, walking, all kinds when I came with Lee in 2005, our last holiday together… we stayed at friends near Lagos. This time is very different as Mal and I chose a 5-star resort simply for relaxing rather than excursions. A time and a place to look forward, not back. It has been rather too hot for us at times. I am not much of a sun worshipper and even Mal has struggled, so thank God for air con. We are in a lovely hotel and have a deluxe apartment, so got some bits in, so we can make our own coffee ‘n’ toast, even though all inclusive. We also have a washing machine so no dirty clothes to take home!  Small things and all of that!

It’s a huge apartment 🙂

 

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While I will be sad to see it end, and see Mal go home tomorrow, I will also be happy to be home as we have so much to look forward to. Some exciting news soon!

Some people have lots of holidays and share lots of posts like these, some take it for granted… but we never will. EVER.

Life has thrown much at us and we both know when we felt sad and lonely and wondered if we would feel this way again… so we look ahead to more holidays, hopefully, LA next time, a place that means a lot to us both, but you won’t hear us bragging about holidays or all the things we do, we like to stand back and appreciate the times we have, because we both know that life is short.

So take good care of one another, always.

Back tomorrow and blogging later this week!

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Blogging From The Sunshine

Justa quick message from Portugal where me and the other half are enjoying our first proper sunny break together!  I got up early to write and thought  I would say hi!

Looking forward to Rest, Reading, R-iting… my version of the three Rs… and spoiling one another… so far just relaxed but we did enjoy the gym yesterday 🙂

Us

Have a great day everyone! Yoga soon ❤

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