S is for SAND
OK, that’s just an excuse to use this photo of gorgeous Old Hunstanton beach in Norfolk, which looked like this ‘on the ground’:
and like this:
from the top of the cliffs.
We were there for 4 days last week and it was really perfect: sunny and sooo dog-friendly.
S is also for SUMMER
Some of my blogging buddies – for example, Wendy – have been writing about how difficult it is to knuckle down and write in the summer! There’s so much to do outside and less of an urge to hibernate! Winter is much more condusive to writing, I suppose. But bear in mind that if you’re sending work to the women’s magazines, they probably have fewer submissions during the summer months..! Just saying!
T is for TARGETS
Some of my writing students are very ‘anti’ targets. They had targets when they were at work, they tell me and they don’t want any more now! Or, they say, writing is ‘just a hobby’ and they don’t want to force themselves to write. They write, they say when they’re ‘in the mood’.
And that’s all fine. I understand. But if you do have an aspiration or a goal – whether it’s to enter a short story competition or complete a novel – then targets, I think, are important, even if they’re ‘loose’ ones – and sometimes ‘the mood’ has to be encouraged, coerced, even.
I often have to force myself to sit down to write, really not feeling like it but then, after a few minutes, when I’ve warmed up, it’s fine and I’m glad I made the effort to start. Time has a nasty habit of slipping away and unless you try to pin your goals down (with time slots, appointments to write and deadlines to meet) they just won’t happen.
T is also for TWITTER
I like Twitter but lots of people tell me they don’t ‘get’ it.
My writing buddy, Sally, says it feels like ‘lots of people shouting’ and I think that’s a pretty good description. It can be like that but I think it depends who you follow. If I follow anyone – individual or organisation – that just keeps telling me about their latest book or offer that I might like to BUY, BUY, BUY . then I’m afraid I just ‘unfollow’ them (ah, the power of that ‘unfollow’ button!).
T is also for TEACHING.
If anyone’s interested in setting up their own class or teaching creative writing in any context (eg: for the U3A, perhaps), then look out for a NEW non-fiction e-book that I’m launching this summer! (erm, she says optimistically! No, it’s mostly written, but still got to ‘fine tune’ it!).
My class has finished for the summer and I am still in two minds about whether to start it up again in September, for lots of reasons. I do enjoy teaching but it’s very time consuming. Last term I was spending the equivalent of one working day on each class (including preparation, delivery, homework marking and various emails…), which is crazy.
I know some people would say – don’t spend so much time preparing, don’t take in homework, don’t answer emails – but I can’t do that. If I’m going to do something, then I like to do it properly, or not at all. (*gets off soap box*)
U is for UMBRAGE as in ‘taking umbrage’
I was ‘umming’ (ooh, there’s one) and ahhing about what to choose for ‘U’ but then an email popped into my inbox and eureka, I had it!
The title of the email was: RE: QUARTERLY SHORT STORY COMPETITION ENTRY (SUBSCRIBER).
It flashed through my mind that perhaps I’d WON the latest Scribble magazine short story competition that, as a subscriber, I have free access to! First time I’d entered, too…
I clicked on the email and read, “… I regret to advise you that this item has not been accepted for publication. I am sorry you have not been successful this time, however, I am always pleased to receive good quality short fiction and I would be very interested in seeing any further material you think may be suitable….”
Ah, so my story wasn’t ‘good quality short fiction’!
I must admit, for a few moments I ‘took umbrage’! How dare they! Who are they and what do they know anyway?! I wanted to email back and ask ‘what was wrong with it?’ But then I calmed down and that thick skin, in which a little chink had just appeared, sealed over again (urgh, I sound like a lizard).
You can’t afford to ‘take umbrage’ when you’re a writer, right? You just have to shake yourself off, remember it’s only one person’s opinion and get on with it.