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How’s the ‘big plan’ going?i

Woooh we’re halfway there!

Can you believe it’s June already? It seems like it was only last week I was putting the Christmas decorations away and desperately searching for the perfect year planner.

Now it’s halfway through the year.

So how are those targets coming along?

I’m happy to hold my hand up and admit life got in the way. My health took a priority for the first few months, and now I seem to be getting back to my ‘old’ self, I realise that my best laid plans for the year are far behind.

Time to evaluate. I still have my goals that are achievable I just need to re-jig the timeframe a bit, set smaller goals. Chunks are more manageable then big bites after all. Cutting back on extra projects and time doing what I enjoy is always tough. There will never be enough time in five lifetimes for me to achieve and do everything I want to.

Do I feel guilty? Hell yes! But I’m getting better at that too.

My writing is coming along nicely, I’m reaching new daily goals, the podcast will be out next week and I love my writing classes and all the WiP’s and weekly writing prompts.

Plan what you can when you can, be happy, keep it balanced and DON’T feel guilty!

M x

We Are Writers

We are writers.

Believing in the magic of the written word. Knowing and understanding the power those words carry.

We write to escape this world and enter another, to capture lost moments and remember loved times.

We craft and create, we twist, and we turn. Entwining passion with adventure and purpose. Fusing lives that anywhere else would not meet.

We are courageous creatives. We live, love and write hard.

We bare our souls to strangers, juggle mundane jobs with family commitments. 

Bringing balance with writing.

We actively choose when to write, we are inspired as to what we write.

We strive to achieve, sentences, pages, chapters. Progress taken in baby steps.

We understand our lives influence our words, what we have read makes up our DNA. Our stories become our children, we nurse and raise, correcting and praising along the way. Learning and developing our skill as we go.

We meet many muses along our way, guiding our hearts and heads, preparing us to share our views in words with the world.

We learn at the pages of the great.  We read, we study, we blog and compare. We workshop our writing, imitating their style while developing our own.

We study structure, dialogue, character, plot, embarking on our very own journey, understanding our weak points, strengthening our own character arc along the way.

We are dreamers.

Seeking our name in print; on a cover, a blog, a script, on the screen. 

We write because we want to succeed. A new life, flexible hours, working from home, fitting around the family. For fame or fortune, for poverty and pleasure. 

We write when it’s hard, we have days when a blank page scares us. Frustrating, terrifying, doubting days, lined with insecurity.

We know rejection. We know joy.

We continue on this path, pursuing all of our wildest dreams.

We are courageous, organised, studious. We plan, plan and plan again. 

We are passionate, we lose track of time and forget to eat, we set our goals and motivate each other.

We write for many reasons, we write as we have a story to tell.

We are writers.

What Next? 7 Tips to find what you should do next?

Finished!

Well I thought I had finally ended my academic life as a student when I recently submitted my Major Project for my Ma in Writing for Script and Screen. The next week I returned to teaching feeling accomplished.
Not only had I, as in me, completed a Masters but I had written a feature length film on one of my literary idols Mary Davys, based on a collaboration of her plays, novel and biography.
Part of my project was to add a critical essay which led me in a new direction of Adaptation Theory.
For me it looks like I’m heading straight back to uni, a PhD in the cards, as long as I can continue to teach creative writing.

But for others the decisions are not so easy to make or clear.

Here are my tips to discovering what you want to do next.

  1. Spend time on your OWN.

As a mum of four, I know how difficult and yet important this can be.  You NEED, yes need, to be able to hear your own thoughts. How else can you work out what exactly you want to do, if you don’t? Go for a walk, my go-to is a beach walk.  Do it as aften as you can.

     2. Recall when you were last happy.

This doesn’t mean to say you are miserable and unhappy now, but think back to the happiest days. What were you doing and who with? The who is just as important as the what. Let your past help solve your future.

   3. Write down your dreams you remember.

This is when your brain is sorting out those quirks and issues you have had when awake and been unable to solve.  Reflect on what you see, symbols, people, places or situations.

    4. Keep a journal.

This does not have to be daily, so don’t feel guilty of you forget.  Write how you are feeling, if you feel unmotivated at work, put that, and if you can why.  If you find yourself randomly doing something else, or googling new jobs, hobbies , ask yourself if you could change one thing now what would it be and why?

Write about what your love about yourself, be honest, no-one is going to see this, its not bragging, OWN IT. Ask friends and  family what they see as you talents?

    5. Spend time with inspirational people.

Who in your circle of friends and family that inspires you? What have they got or done differently to you? Don’t be afraid to ask them, chances are they have been where you are now.  Instead of asking for advice, ask how they would do something.

   6. Explore your passions!

Take a beginners class or the next level. What really brings a smile to your face. Meet like-minded people and widen your circle, if this is where you want to be, then these are the people who will be able to help.  Does your passion offer you the potential  for happieness now and growth tomorrow?

    7. Keep your mental and physical health in check.

No matter what you decide to do, your well-being is important!  Get that check-up, take that walk, talk about how you are feeling. There is no point in doing anything that sucks the life and soul from you!  I can whole-heartedly promise you that.  Yes, we all need to work and pay the bills, but check what you are spedning you money on now to make life bearable. if you did something else, would your downtime be the same?

Remember: Focus on the best case, plan for the worst. That way when things work out, you will have it covered!

 

Good Luck.

M.x

 

 

 

 

 

 

Motivating new writers.

Excuses range from their reading is not good enough, or they didn’t do well at school. Some believe that no-one would want to read their story but most lack the confidence to show their work to others, even loved ones.

 




Helping Each Other.

This week is the last of the latest set of ten writing lessons in the beginner’s course I run. I deliberately have no more than six on each course. It’s enough to be intimate and works well when writers share their work with each other.

As a writer, I love hearing everyone idea’s on what they would do if they could write. When I ask why they don’t write themselves, they have a barrage of excuses. Intrigued I often push further asking if they have ever given writing a go. Most say no.

Excuses range from their reading is not good enough, or they didn’t do well at school. Some believe that no-one would want to read their story but most lack the confidence to show their work to others, even loved ones.

I started writing as a child, and apart from my high school English teacher, keeping it pretty much a secret until three years ago. I have not included the work I did as a copywriter or the odd articles I wrote, to me that was ‘professional writing’ I had a topic, I had a deadline, a word count and audience etc all chosen for me. All I had to do was string a few words together.

I taught in high schools yet I wanted to know the difference from writing academically to writing fiction.  So I joined a community writing class.

At first, the idea of reading my fiction aloud in a room of strangers was terrifying. This was personal, so far removed from my previous writing, that it never existed. This was me laying bare not only myself but my ideas, my private thoughts and processes. It was hard.

We started the with snippets and the odd sentence here and there before we finally built up to full short stories. Pages of my words being shared and reviews by others.

My confidence soon soared.  I wrote a novel and a collection of short stories, enough to enrol on a Masters program in writing for tv and film!

I’ve nearly finished but over the time I have written a feature film that has gained production interest. My short film is currently in production and I had a short play out.

I am currently working on my dissertation, a biopic about an inspiring woman, who believed a writing career was possible despite at of life’s struggles.

So what do I take from this, what do I give my students?  The inspiration that anything is possible if you work hard enough. Hope, that they will be a writer.  If I can then it’s never too late for anyone, and finally motivation. For when those days that hit that you want to give up, that you feel it isn’t going right or you just can’t seem to find the words. Carry on it will come eventually.  Have Faith in Yourself.

M x

 

”We need to talk…”

As a writer, I create characters every day.

I think in glorious technicolour and now 4K how they would look and behave. I think in a volume of how they would sound through a beautiful Bose system, while as a creative writing teacher, I give examples of how to bring them to live. I use questionnaires to build a profile, teaching how to ask them awkward and embarrassing stuff, getting them to reveal who they are as if in some confessional. Their innermost secrets spilling for the writing student. 

I get the students to care deeply about each character becoming obsessive about the slightest detail and then we start to ask them why. We become shrinks. Psychologically assessing them, turning them over like the next page wanting, no need to know more. I ask them to listen, not to just what their characters will say but how they say it, the tone and timbre of their voice. Is there an intended inflection? A hint of sarcasm?

I explain how eventually they won’t be able to sleep as their characters interrupt their sleeping thoughts as well as their waking thoughts. How they will start to question their own sanity as small voices whisper in their ears.

I know and understand all this yet still I write on autopilot then I stop. Silenced.  No words.  

Because I have forgotten to talk to my own character. I’ve distanced myself unknowingly.

I assumed that they were still with me and naturally as I already knew all this wonderful stuff and had a conscious comprehension into the deeper workings of characterisation, that is would automatically filter through into my writing without effort! 

I had ignored them. As in all relationships, it takes work. Firstly, you need to be aware of the other person existence.  My character had become secondary. I was busy writing other projects, teaching, running after the kids, and as any spouse or friend would be, they had started to get on with their own life and I wasn’t included. They were waiting for me to make the first move after months of pushing them away. 

So I have had to bring in ‘date night’.

A time I set aside to get to know them again. The vast expanse is going to be a long ride before we are back on track, but now I realise it was me that walked away, I can walk back. 

We talk about everyday stuff, the usual awkward stilted responses of how’s your day? What have you been up to in the last six months? or present. I even apologise.  Promising to work harder on our relationship. I check in throughout each day, with a quick question ”What did you have for lunch? Did you have cake? How’s the new boyfriend?”

Improvements are slow but we are getting back on track.  We will survive this having been friends, good friends even, for some years now. 

I know one day she will go, maybe around book three, when I have finished telling their story. But until then I will question and listen to every word they have to say. 

Who? What? Why? When?

Active Questions-  Creswick (2016) Director and Writer Natalie Erika James; Writer – Christian White – Available online at <https://vimeo.com/157958148> Accessed on 1 st May 2018

Creswick is the story of a young woman helping pack up her father’s home, while both have the strange feeling they are not alone. The active questions come soon;

Whose was the art book? Possibly her dad’s

Why is the woman so jumpy? Something has happened/is happening that is making her anxious -moving of items, etc

Who do they think is living in their house? They don’t know.

What happened in the woods? Again, we don’t know.

What will she discover? This questions possibly ties in with the last one.

And finally, what is the black body over her dad’s shoulder? Is this something only she can see, her father certainly can’t ‘feel’ its weight. The body looks charcoaled.  Is it representing something in either of their past or the weight of dementia, or is it plain and simply an unknown being. Lots of questions left unanswered which make for great conversations.