Earlier today, the clocks were ‘turned back’ as British Summer time officially ended here in the UK. It meant that we each gained an hour to our day. Typical me wanted to spend my hour wisely. I could have chosen an extra hour of reading, drawing, painting … even jogging but no. I decided on a treat - to go book mooching at Astley Book Farm.
Armed with my list of books that I’m ‘looking out for’ I went swanning around the shelves seeking titles. And guess who I found? Little old me! In the fiction section under 'G', as you’d expect, quietly sitting on a lower shelf between Grebe, Green and Greeley. As quick as a flash, because you spot your own covers from a mile off, I opened the cover to find it wasn’t the one I’d signed last time I visited; this scenario happened on that occasion too.
Anyway, I took the ‘unsigned’ book to the counter, knowing the owner was present and asked if she’d like me to sign. I bet you already know her answer. So, I did. I then returned the 'signed book' back where it belongs, between Grebe, Green and Greeley.
Should you drop by any day soon, I’m hope she’s waiting for you to gain a nice new home on your book shelf. If she’s left the farm by the time you visit, just know that I regularly visit and sign whenever I spy one of mine.
Just another small delight in the life of a published author!
Press this link for further details about Ashley Book Farm: press here
I wrote a poem this morning. In the space of twenty minutes, my brain went from tootling along with my current writing, to a tiny gem of an idea into full blown creative mode and a poem was born. If you've read the previous blog post, 'grass roots' - it'll come as no surprise. It isn't a coincidence - which is why I'm mentioning it.
I have learnt to appreciate how my brain reacts and responds. In order for me to create, I need to feed my brain creative stimuli. Which is why I juggle my time to hone particular hobbies; they each feed my writing life. Without them, my creative landscape becomes barren.
So back to the new poem. It's a competition piece which I need to create, polish and deliver in January 2024. Yep, you read that correctly, 2024! Yet my brain has thrown up a perfectly acceptable piece in just eight days. Last weekend, I did ponder potential topics and began writing a list but got no further as each suggestion seemed 'forced' as if I were seeking a topic rather than allowing something to naturally occur and be expressed. You might remember last year, I wrote a poem having walked passed the local graveyard on Christmas Eve and saw how busy it was. I came second in the competition with that poetry piece.
Anyway, at the weekend, I ceased noting topics knowing that 'something' would simply appear. And, hey presto, this morning it has. Thankfully, I had time to stop what I was working on and take note of the ideas/language that were surfacing. It is this, that I've had to learn how to do. To recognise when my 'muse' has been silently chugging away in the background whilst I focused on other writing projects.
Over the coming weeks, I'll probably return to it several times to see if revisions are necessary but I've a funny feeling this one is 'cooked'. Hopefully, given the time period, I may have a second idea so I can submit multiple entries.
I'd happily post my new poem but I need to adhere to and respect competition guidelines. You'll need to wait until March 2024 for the adjudication and I'll let you know if it gets placed.
Last night, after an eleven-month absence, due to my health, I returned to my regular local writing group. I’d kept in touch via emails and competition entries but it felt so good to be seated amongst the mix around the table, listening and sharing. There were a few new faces who I had the pleasure of meeting, which bolsters the numbers towards a healthy attendance. Plus, a welcome supply of homemade cheese biscuits!
I’ve spoken about this writing group several times. I originally joined some twenty-odd years ago when it had a heaving membership and we could hardly fit in our allocated space in the back room of a pub. The gathering was too big to be enjoyable, as we couldn’t sit within speaking or hearing distance of each other. It was very hit and miss as to whether you were chosen to read out your offering, which you’d worked on all month to receive insightful feedback. I regularly attended and returned home with my short story still in its folder, untouched as others had been chosen to read theirs out.
I knew what I needed: encouragement and vital feedback. Although feedback can feel brutal at times, it was the only way I was going to improve with this writing malarkey. I attended for about a year, before my interest waned, annual subs were due and I didn’t renew.
Fast forward twenty-odd years, and having been published for several years, I started to ask questions of myself in relation to my creativity. There was something missing; I could feel a yearning void. I had plenty of author friends on whom I could rely for a chat or support. I had plenty of time to write but still there was a niggling ‘something’. The answer was I missed being amongst the ‘grass roots’ of my creativity. I needed to be part of a local writers’ group and listen to other people’s work, enjoy the camaraderie of supporting others, witnessing their improvement, enjoying the various genres expressed and loved by others - I needed to return to my roots.
This epiphany moment occurred as we neared a new year, so after a quick internet search I discovered the writing group were still going but in a different location. I vowed a return would be my new year’s resolution. It felt strange returning that first night, stranger still when two members remembered me, which was lovely. Though my ten published books came as quite a surprise!
And so, I returned to the fold. To be given the agenda of meetings, competitions and events nights - to which I vowed to attend, as many as was feasible, and pay my annual subs. In the eleven months running up to my health issues, I attended every meeting, entered each competition and was duly placed 2nd in two categories. Plus, I failed miserably in the November quiz!
Last night, I sat with my cuppa, listening to poetry about ‘crepe suzettes’, chatter about Stephen King novels and voting on themes for future competitions and I knew, I was back! Back to my roots as a writer, as a creative, as an expressive human being who absorbs the energy and atmosphere that surrounds her and which somehow fuels her ability to write!
Janet Emson has kindly offered to host a Q&A session for my latest book 'Christmas Wishes at the Lakeside Cottage' on her regular book blog. Why not take a little look and perhaps browse some of her previous 'Author Q&A' posts - you might find a new author you've never met before!
Press here for Janet Emson's Blog
October has arrived! Which means I'm planning for NaNoWriMo starting in four weeks! Yep, I am. I visited the official website this morning and have entered my project details. My working title 'R at the Lakeside Cottage'* is purely a reference for me, as titles frequently change before publication. I've started to write this story, but will pick up the pace in the coming weeks.
The goal is to write 50,000 brand-new sparkly words during the month of November - just 1667 words a day. It's a fab way to tackle a first draft which goes some way to explaining why I love October and November.
When I say planning, I don't just mean polishing the post-it note planning I've already created for my current project, I mean my daily life. My home, food, pets, social life and weekend tasks - everything gets attention in October in preparation for NaNoWriMo. And, despite my best intentions, life can still throw me a curve ball!
My excitement for this NaNoWriMo is heightened as my July experience was muted by my recovery; I had to rest. So I did.
I am ready to join thousands of writers around the world, aiming for their word count - that's a huge writing group.
For further details: press NaNoWriMo website
*apologies - my working title looks like 'rat the Lakeside Cottage' - it isn't, I promise.