Tag Archives: Writing

Colette’s Christmas Countdown – Day 8

8 Dec

Ziggurat – Aah. Another of my favourite words, and while we’re at the end of the dictionary, how about zugzwang (no, I’ve never heard it before, but I certainly have experienced it) – it’s a move you’ve got to make in chess even when it’s going to put you at a disadvantage. It sounds like it should be Mandarin, but actually comes from German (which tells you a lot about how good I am at other languages!).

Back to ziggurat – my lovely Concise Oxford Dictionary tells me it is a rectangular stepped tower – but I’ve heard it used to describe any zig-zag stonework. I do have a joke about zig-zag, but I won’t tell it on three fronts – one, it might slightly offend, two, it would take too long and probably wouldn’t work when written down and three, it was my big move when I met my husband (hey, it worked). You’ll just have to content yourself with singing ‘Ziggurat, aah.’ (With insincere apologies to the Spice Girls).

Routines and Not Having Them

21 May

I’ve been talking to a couple of my creative friends about the value of having routines: that’s not strictly true, we’ve been moaning about not having them. One has had her routine disrupted by boomerang children; while the other has taken redundancy from a full-time job to pursue her passions. I should also say, now that I am officially self-employed/non-earning, that I am also looking for balance.

The life of a creative person is as varied as the number of creatives there are. Some crave routine, while others want to be free to see where the muse takes them. The routine folk are disciplined, but I also think, probably people who don’t have any other pressing commitments; while the free folk are in danger of the muse never taking them to their work table.

D said that she didn’t want to move out of the workplace only to be ruled by her own timetable of tasks. While M just wanted everyone to leave her in peace for long enough that she could get into the right mindset for writing.

A couple of weekends ago, or is it three, I was in Gatehouse of Fleet, and was really chuffed that I could spend time putting my novel in order and figuring out where the gaps were. So, I came home with great plans which up to the last couple of days have come to naught.

So, what happened a couple of days ago? Well, I spent quite a lot of time with my usual foottering, although I did have emails etc that I had to catch up with (as I’ve been visiting hospitals again). But then, I decided that I would write 1000 words, not of short stories, though there are a few half-written, but of my novel. I wrote 1000, or there abouts, but came to a natural stop at 19,000 words exactly. It was almost as though my writing genie was making a point. And so, 1000 words today have also been written (again of the novel). I know it takes a few weeks for things to become habits, but maybe if I really stick at the routine, then I will make headway, and stop wasting so much time figuring out what was happening when I last wrote the damn thing.

On a side note, I’ve also put a pedometer back on my phone, so am trying to make walking part of my routine again (take steps while the sun shines).

And another side note, is about my side bar: while I was foottering around the internet I came upon Ko-fi which allows you to buy virtual coffee. If you would like to support what I do, then you can click on the link. Ta.

Ko-fi.com/colettecoen

 

Reaping Rewards

1 Oct

Sometimes as a writer all you receive are knock-backs and it is difficult to keep going. Self doubt comes easy and motivation leaves just as easily. BUT, I’ve been putting on my resilience flack jacket and sending out lots and lots of writing recently – I don’t believe you should have unpublished pieces languishing when there is maybe a market out there for them – and have been reaping the rewards.

Hot on the heels of my Writing District win is a long leet, which will possibly the most stressful ever. Reflex Fiction will publish the non-winners, one per day in November and December, and then the prizewinners on the last three days on the year. The good news is, even if I don’t win one of the prizes, my flash fiction will still be published in their anthology in the Spring of next year.

Might need to start biting my nails.

Back at the Writing Desk

7 Aug

So here I am back at the writing desk after a lovely summer of sunshine and almost three weeks away from home (one in Millport and two in Mallorca). Exam results arrived this morning, to cheers and sighs of relief, and while I don’t normally start my new year until the schools go back, I might as well ride this wave.

I felt a little displaced on holiday – what was I on holiday from? Carer’s Leave? No, definitely still on duty in that respect. Writing? I had my notebook with me, and lots of reading (although most of it for pleasure – Eligible/Curtis Sittenfeld, The Lie Tree/Frances Hardinge and Mr Mac and Me/Esther Freud) so was I really on holiday from that? My husband and friends (who we were with) couldn’t understand my existential angst, after all, they were very clear that they were on holiday from their stressful jobs. But there are blurry lines about what constitutes work when you are a writer. Does reading the paper count, if I am looking for inspiration? Does reading a novel, if I am examining style? What about watching TV to look at story and character arcs? I suppose they can only be classed as work if there is an output from them, as well as an input. So on with the output.

But where to start?

Sunshine Days

15 May

I know my blog can sometimes read like a misery memoir, so here are my cheerier reflections. I am just back from a long weekend spent in  Woodstock Lodge with 5 of my dearest friends, celebrating a significant birthday (which we will pretend is 40, but isn’t)IMG-20180512-WA0037 We got together as our eldest kids are all the same age (and went to school together), and now we are living through their second year at university.

The sun shone, and while we were on the Clyde Coast, we could have easily been on Lake Garda. Sunshine, prosecco,  hot tub, the works. And we talked, and we talked, telling stories, entertaining ones, heartbreaking ones, inconsequential ones. What struck me today, as I recover from the booze, is that even though we meet regularly, and talk, it is only when you have real time to speak and listen that you form deeper connections. I feel as though I understand my friends so much better from hearing more about their past, and their plans and dreams for the future (especially when our lottery wins cover more than the weekend’s food shopping).

So, it’s back to reality now: the shopping and the washing done, the house pulled back together, tomorrow the creative stuff starts again.

 

It’s Here

11 Jan

Chroma has arrived.

Not the best photo I’ve ever taken, but probably the smartest magazine I’ve ever been in.

Catching up on my reading, and getting rewarded

28 Mar

I restarted a new subscription to Writing Magazine about a year ago and got second place in one of the first competitions I entered with them. Read it HERE So far so good, but my reading had slipped a bit, as the magazines are crammed full of articles, stories and various other info about outlets etc.

Anyway, I was sitting at my desk today reading January’s edition, and look:

Writing Magazine Jan2017

Bizarrely I was just working on that very story this afternoon to make it fit the word count of another competition. The Scottish Art Club’s short story competition has a hefty entrance fee, but feeling more confident after seeing this.

Mothers’ Day

21 Mar

Okay, so maybe you can’t afford to send your mum on a round-the-world trip, but you could buy her a book that sends the heroine on such a journey. Even better if your mum remembers the 80s. What book would that be? I hear you say. Oh, you know, don’t you? And don’t worry, one of these days I’ll finish the next book, and give you something different to look at.

Just to guilt trip you – got my Amazon payments for last month – 3p. Really must get on with writing something new.

Postcards in the Attic

1 Dec

When I was younger I collected postcards, and as a result when people were having a clear-out (usually after a death), they would pass me any postcards they found. I knew I had them, I knew there were treasures there, I just kept putting off looking through them. Today, as a precursor to doing some writing, I pulled them out, and they didn’t disappoint. I haven’t reached the Majorca of the early 80s – flamenco dancers with real skirts, but I have, rather handily, found a bundle from Switzerland, Germany and Austria from the 1950s – the era of my current writing project.

Selection of the Collection

Selection of the Collection

Bizarre postcard of Ronnie and Nancy Reagan with their heads swapped, and a cheery one of a V2 flying bomb – wish you were here?

One of the photos has inspired a chain of thought already, and others are helping with the general vibe. Glad I finally opened the box.

After the Beep

4 Nov

After the Beep

He goes to the phone box every day – 20ps in his pocket; the number he used to know by heart, on a scrap of paper.

Some days no one answers, on others a voice gives racing tips. Fewer times now there is the offer of a job – something local, nothing that requires speed.

The walk takes longer each day, the occasional stumble; the rare fall. He had a phone put in in the 70s, has the latest smart technology in his inside pocket, but each day he varies his route to the last phone box, hoping that before he dies, the voice on the end of the line will reveal where the loot is buried.

 

This post was inspired by a photo on Creative Writing Ink

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