What Makes You Happy?


I recently came across an article regarding Carl Jung’s 5 Key Elements To Happiness……which are:

1. Good physical and mental health.
2. Good personal and intimate relationships, such as those of marriage, the family, and friendships.
3. The faculty for perceiving beauty in art and nature.
4. Reasonable standards of living and satisfactory work.
5. A philosophic or religious point of view capable of coping successfully with the vicissitudes of life.

Which goes kind of nicely with Judy Reeves 10 Daily Habits That Make A Good Writer:

1. Eat Healthily
2. Be Physical
3. Laugh Out Loud
4. Read
5. Experience Another Art Form
6. Practice Spirituality
7. Pay attention
8. Give back
9. Connect with other writers
10. Write

What can I say….. I love lists lol

It’s funny how similar the lists are. So, in conclusion….it’s official…..writing does make you happy :)

Seriously….. Is there anything you would add to the list? I think chocolate should be on there somewhere don’t you?

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I spent most of yesterday trying to write, or rather, trying to bump up the word count on a story for the Writing Magazine competition. I chose to use the story I wrote for the prompt Stolen Goods. I got it up to 750, spent a couple of hours editing (using hubby, red pen, and Autocrit) and sent it off.

Sooooo, now I can say…..drum roll please……

I have 3 Out There’s !!!!!!! *grins stupidly*

Hoping that it will be 4 by tomorrow :)

Yesterday’s prompt, on daydreaming was interesting…..I ended up sitting in Costa (where I also did some free writing but more about that tomorrow). So I was in the ideal spot for people watching and daydreaming :) I ended up with the start of a kind of chick lit story….30+ single daydreamer looking for the job and man of her dreams. Oh well, i might be able to do something with it at a later date.

Tomorrows prompt is crossing the bridge. Hmmmm, all I can think of at the moment is the story of the 3 billy goats *snigger*

Off to my class tonight…..a Q&A session, which should be fun :)

Trawling The Net


I have spent much of the last 24 hours trawling the Internet…….nooooo, I wasn’t procrastinating? (or was I? Lol). I was researching all the short story comps and possible places to submit work to.

A huge thanks to the Womag Writers Blog and Helen Yendall who have both been a wealth of information :)

I have discovered there are 18 competitions ending in March. I’ve got myself a folder. Done some ‘calendar’ type sheets and now, I’m ready to go LMAO ;)

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Now, if I stop eating, don’t shower, survive on cat naps (no actual sleeping) and only leave the dining room table for loo breaks and the occasional cup of coffee I might, just, be able to enter them all *snigger*

Seriously, I can enter at least a couple can’t I?

Actually…..I managed to enter 1 last night. The Writers Bureau have a monthly comp and this months was “50 Word Love Story” I can’t post my entry on here, and rest assured, I will be screaming from the rooftops if it actually gets anywhere lol ;)

Yesterday’s prompt about the crosswind inspired a story about a guy losing his toupee (thanks Danny) and a romance is about to blossom between Mr Toupee and the woman who tried to rescue it. What a sweet story to tell the grand children “I met your grandad as I was trying to rescue his toupee from the wheels of a bus” lol. Today’s prompt is it was a daydream which sounds like great fun. I love daydreaming :)

Procrastination


I’ll do it next week…..well, next week might not be ideal because there’s a couple of events I’m attending, and, I really need to de-clutter my wardrobe, and, I’m out with a friend all day Wednesday.

Sound familiar? *deep sigh* :(

Why can I always find an excuse?

So even when I do have my writing sessions scheduled I should be able to stick to them shouldn’t I? Lol…..ummmmm, nope, it seems not lol….there’s always a ‘but’ lol

I actually bought a book once, all about procrastination, but, I procrastinated about reading it lol (I’m deadly serious lol).

So I have to develop some good writing habits, set some acheivable goals……To get up Mr Procrastinations nose ;)

1. Write every day.
I already do this, well, I miss the odd day, perhaps I shouldn’t…..must try harder ;)

2. Complete short stories.
I have a tendency (esp with the prompts) to not complete some stories, mainly the ones I don’t feel are going anywhere. Will make more of an effort to finish them.

3. Have rewards.
I like goal setting, and goals with rewards are even better. Weekly goals? Monthly goals? An ideal goal would be to submit a short story a week….but can I realistically achieve that?

4. Stop feeling guilty when the house is a mess.
Hmmmmm…..with a family to look after the kids often put the guilt trip on me about dinner. So shopping and cooking is a major part of my day. I do have to do it, I just need to be a bit more organised about it.

5. Set a time for writing and stick to it.
I’ve tried setting myself up a timetable, but that didn’t work. I’ve tried a timer but there’s always something that happens and I end up resetting it lol…really don’t know how to stick to an actual time……help!

6. STOP FAFFING!
Ha ha ha…..easier said than done…..now, if someone could just arrange for the whole WWW to go down I’d be ok lol.

A lady on one of my FaceBook groups went away for 3/4 days, on her own, as a writing retreat. She said it was fantastic. All she did the whole time was walk in the countryside and write. Oh bliss, but we’re not all in a position where we can do that, let alone afford to *deep sigh* If I’m going to make it in the world of short stories I can’t take a writing retreat weekly, because that’s how often I’ll need a completed (edited, ready to send out) short story.

An interesting article on Fuel Your Writing tells me that I’m not alone ;)

So Saturday night hubby went to bed at 9.30 (can you believe it? Humph!!!!) and I had the opportunity to do whatever I wanted….. Did I start my assignment? Nope….. Did I finish one of my short stories? Nope lol….. Did I do some editing? Ummmm, nope lol….. So what did I do?

I ended up watching His Girl Friday on my iPad *snigger* Oh, well, come on…..it was Cary Grant *swoon* He was my first crush when I was a kid (along with Danny Kaye but we won’t go into that just now).

So yet again Mr Procrastination won, got the better of me lol….. I really must kick him into touch…. And quickly lol ;)

I spent most of yesterday afternoon, and the whole evening trying to be organised so that I know when all the competitions are. I’ve got a large folder now with all the info in….I’m really pleased with myself :)

Yesterday prompt about the closet saw me back to my old dark ways lol but todays one, write about a crosswind is going to be hard ;)

Yesterdays Workshop


Thoroughly enjoyed Sally Quilford’s Pocket Novel workshop yesterday.

I learnt so much :)

Obviously, most of what Sally was telling us about was in reference specifically to Pocket Novels, but, there was also a lot of information that would be relevant to any type of writing.

I took 11 pages of notes in my notebook lol, which included 2 character sketches (a hero and a heroine) and a scene about a first kiss lol. I picked up some great tips, which will be relevant to any short stories I submit to magazines, and we talked all about Internal and External conflict.

Sally told us about The Hays Code of Filmmaking which is a very handy little guide for how a Pocket Novel should be written, and also gave us some book recommendations. Oh dear…..more to add to my Amazon wish list.

She also gave us a very useful little tip that she admits she shamelessly stole from Della Galton which is to ask these simple 5 questions to any character or situation that you’re struggling with:

How?
Why?
What?
Where?
When?

So all in all a good day :) We even had cake! lol ;)

Sally does an online Pocket Novel course which starts in June….. I think I’ll be joining ;)

Today’s prompt, the long bus ride ended up being another attempt at romance. A woman on a bus on her way home from work ends up sitting next to a man who has an appointment 2doors down from her house. I have some ideas as to what the appointment is, but still not made up my mind 100% Today’s prompt is in the closet which sounds very intriguing…..so many options with that one lol ;)

The Pain Of Experience


‘Write what you know’ isn’t that what they say? But what if what you know hurts too much?

I’ve really struggled with a couple of prompts recently ……too close for comfort lol

There’s been a lot of talk about Adele recently, due to all her Grammy awards (and Brit awards). I really don’t know how she does it. Every time she sings one of those songs the memories of how she felt when she wrote it (or how she felt at the time of the break up) must come flooding back. How do you step back from that? Distance yourself? Sorry, for those of you who don’t know Adeles album “21″ was written about a painful breakup of her relationship.

Songwriters are no different to writers. Most songs are a short story, in fact you can use songs to inspire short stories, but that’s a whole new post.

We’re told constantly as writers to push ourselves, delve into places where it does hurt, tackle difficult areas, difficult subjects…..but I’m not sure I want to. I know if you’ve been through a particular event in your life you can draw on first hand experience to write about it. It will be better written from experience than say, someone who’s only trying to express those emotions, who hasn’t actually experienced them.

I try not to avoid certain subjects when I write, I try to give everything a go, but, some themes just affect me more than others, perhaps I’m just not ready to expose myself to those emotions, quite yet ;)

Yesterday’s prompt was ‘in a foreign country’ and I ended up writing the beginning of a story about 2 girls on holiday at one of the girls uncles house. I’m thinking that he’s a real nasty bit of work, although he comes across as a really nice man to start with ;) Today’s prompt is write about a long bus ride but I’m not sure when I’ll get it done…..I’m off to the Pocket Novel workshop today, and nooooo, I didn’t get chance to actually read one lol

How To Do Everything & Be Happy


I met Peter Jones at Swanwick last year and bought his book How To Do Everything & Be Happy whilst I was there. I have to say, he is a great advert for his own advice. The whole week at Swanwick, I swear, I did not see that guy frown. He had a smile, constantly fixed to his face. I remember thinking ‘I wanna be like that!’ so I bought the book (can highly recommend it by the way) :)

So here I am 6 months later, I’ve read it, made a few lists, not stuck to them, and my Boxing Days (a term used in the book) have fallen by the wayside…….

So I decided to drag my friend Jayne along to one of Peters Workshops yesterday. Thoroughly enjoyed it!!!! :)

I’ve set some goals and when we go back next month he’s gunna ask me if I’ve actually done anything about them lol.

Yesterday’s prompt was about lies….what can I say, I struggled :(

Hubby’s got the day off work today, which is nice, but it doesn’t look like I’ll be reading that pocket novel lol

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Pocket Novels


Today, I will be spending a considerable amount of time reading a pocket novel :)

Why? Because I’ll be attending a workshop hosted by Sally Quilford all about pocket novels on Saturday. I’m hoping Sally can help me write stuff that is a bit more lighthearted….a bit more along the lines of my Flash piece I did the other day.

I uploaded my final Reflective Commentary to my Blogspot blog. It’s sad in a way. I’ve spent 11 months studying creative writing and I’ve learnt so much. This final 3000 word assignment will be to show everything I’ve learnt. I’m thinking of doing the story I wrote Tuesday, about the young guy and his boss. Should be able to drag that out for 3000 words ;)

Yesterday I attended my writing group, with my head held high….because….. I now officially have an “out there!” lol. I sent off my Swanwick competition entry, it’s gone, on it’s way to the judges via Royal Mail. It was a good night…..we have some very talented members :)

Two very interesting articles I stumbled upon yesterday…..Self Editing and Writers Checklist will be consumed with relish today. I need all the help I can get if I’m going to start submitting lol

Yesterday’s prompt was to write about a lovers pillow. I found it really hard. It brought up/back an old wound thats still smarting, so I only managed about 100 words before I gave up…. Onwards and upwards yeah? ;)

Today’s prompt is it was a lie and all I’m gunna say is ouch lol….not looking forward to this one either lol

A Touch Of Positivity


I was feeling a bit, oh, I dunno…..blah…..on Monday lol. Thank you for your kind and helpful comments :)

I’m the kind of person that will always pick myself back up, dust myself down and get on with it, but something really helped me put it into perspective yesterday….. An e mail hit my inbox from Brad Geagleys blog which made me smile……

The exact words that lifted my mood were……

“But the drive to write, the compulsion to report, the urge to arrange words for the simple desire of communicating your thoughts, is natural only to born writers. Really – who would wish to spend their time alone most of the day, locked in your head, trying to accurately describe the visions you see that seem to exist somewhere between your eyes and the computer screen…? Isn’t that like schizophrenics trying to accurately describe the voices they hear?”

I hope Brad doesn’t mind me quoting him, but, his words gave me a great boost :)

I do have that desire to write, I’m passionate about it. Honestly, if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have been able to write a story a day since the 1st of January! Lol

So now, when Mr Procrastination comes knocking (which he will, I have no doubts on that score) I’m just going to tell him to bugger off, or, better still, leave him at home whilst I go out for a coffee ;)

And then of course, there were all the lovely comments to a piece of flash fiction I posted yesterday. Thank you so much if you commented, you made me smile :)

Today’s prompt turned into a story about a young guy being sexually harassed by his older, married, female boss ;)

My First Campaigner Challenge


I don’t normally make more than 1 post a day, but, today is different…..I have to do my challenge lol

The first Writers Platform Building Campaign Challenge has been set.

Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words,

“Shadows crept across the wall”

These five words will be included in the word count.
Write in the same genre you normally write
Make your story 200 words exactly

Here’s my offering. It’s kind of a stand alone piece, but, as I like to write quite dark stuff I can see it developing into a longer story, with quite a bit of nastiness *snigger*

Perfect

Shadows crept across the wall as Sophie made her way down the small alley that ran between the houses.
“Lee? Are you there?” There was no response, so she continued, picking her way through the stinging nettles. Searching her pockets for her torch, she shone the light out and jumped.
“Lee! Don’t do that!”
“Sorry Soph. It’s not far, follow me.” He placed a cold finger across her lips and winked.
Following him across the damp grass Sophie thought of her warm bed and the fact that she had to be up at six for work. But Lee was so charming. All the girls at work fell over themselves to talk to him, even the older married ones.
Suddenly, Lee stopped and crouched down. Sophie did the same, although she wasn’t quite sure why.
“What exactly are we looking for?”
“Shhhhh…..there, look.”
Sophie’s eyes followed his to a small mound of earth a few feet away.
“Oh wow.” She whispered.
“Gorgeous aren’t they?”
Sophie stared in wonder at the three badger cubs who were playing, oblivious to the human presence. It was then and there she decided, that she would be Mrs Lee Harding, no matter what the cost.

I can see this ending up with Sophie being obsessive about Lee, to the point where somebody is gunna get hurt ;)

Right, I spose I better get dressed now then lol

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Too Much Time On My Hands?


I think I’m repeating myself, but hey, bear with me, yesterday wasn’t a good day……

The writer Thomas McGuane goes to his study every day at a set time and stays there for an allocated period. He says “I don’t have to write, but I can’t do anything else.”

Oh, if only I had a study…..if only I had a desk! lol.

I’ve tried a timetable, I’ve tried a schedule, but theres something just not right about having to use the dining room table :(

Writing is hard. You need to find the right balance that combines willpower, relaxation, stubbornness, joy and determination. It’s not the easy option as a career move.

I don’t have any trouble writing every day, as such, but I do find it hard to get motivated and not just faff lol. Do you think Thomas McGuane faffs? ;)

I think I have too much time to write lol…..don’t laugh, it’s not funny ;)

Author Nicholson Baker said that through the years he has turned down tons of jobs because his life would be too easy, a regular income would lessen his need to write (Ian Rankin said the opposite when I attended a talk he gave, he needed the lack of time).

Soooo, does that mean I need to get a job? Lol….or that I just need to be a bit tougher on myself? Or even softer on myself? I’m not sure which :(

I need to remember the times when my creativity flowed, when writing was easy. Capture the feeling, the circumstances. The time of day, my mood, where I was and most importantly, what kind of thing I was working on. Set myself goals, short term ones, and rewards of course….I need lots of rewards!

Then think about all the obstacles that stand in my way. Decide how to overcome those obstacles.

But most importantly…..accept that the biggest obstacle is me and that if I really wanna do this, I need to stop procrastinating.

Yesterday’s prompt about stolen goods ended up being a little tale about a husband who brought home a present for his wife for mothers day…..a stolen gift ;) Today’s prompt is write about staying awake and believe me, I know all about that one ;)