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31 July 2008


Obscure Word of the Week

Dandify v. (-ies,-ied) ‘make a dandy’

The Good and the Bad

Journal Jottings - 5,250 words approximately

Short Stories - 1 edited (Chasing Rainbows) and 1 draft (Stale Mate)

Queries and Pitches - Followed up a couple of leads

Articles Articulated - 2 both to Suite 101 (Business Coaching and Umberto I King of Italy)

Rejections Received - 0

Time-wasting activity level - 5/10

As I write this week’s blog, it seems to me that I spend most of my time considering why I haven’t done something, rather than on what I have achieved. This is so like many writers I would imagine, who think more about the words they haven’t written when they probably should be looking at the ones they have.

Having waved goodbye to the last lot of family visitors, I have a three-week space before the next arrive. Not that they distract me at all, I distract me, writers like distractions. I would like to confess that these distractions provide fodder for the pen and ink, but alas, I believe it is so I can pass the buck. Nevertheless, this week I have penned more words but certainly not made up for the paltry show of the last blog.

Anyway, the Creative School of Writing at the University of Bath recommends three submissions per week, so that will be my new target. It can include reader’s letters, short stories, articles and the long awaited for novel so plenty of opportunity.

Mad Dogs and Englishmen

There is a dog barking, somewhere in the valley, sometime during the night (usually about an hour after I’ve drifted off) and it’s been going on forever. It cannot be at someone’s house, because I’m sure it would have been shot by now. The animal is probably guarding something or been spooked by the wild pigs, but it is impossible to locate the boring monotonous but irritating yelps as it resounds around the hills. It would be all right if it soothed me back to sleep, but I’ve tried counting, suffocating myself with the pillow and even asked my Man Friday to shout something rude out of the window. And therein in lies the other problem – we can’t shut the window because it is too hot and we would expire in the night. So night after night I toss and turn and then wake in some under slept state at around 8am cursing myself because I haven’t been up and ‘journalled’.

However, I am learning (yes, I know I’m a slow learner) that I can write at any time, and anywhere, if I really want to. I know there are many writers, many indeed who have claims to fame and who swear by particular a writing ritual or certain conditions, which leads to their success. But my life isn’t as clear-cut as that, maybe I’m just not organised enough. If I am to treat writing like other ‘work’ then I must be able to just get on and do it. So I’m experimenting with my journal at the moment though I can’t quite accept that 2am is a good time, whatever the dog thinks.

Bedside Table

I have put Joseph O’Connor to one side (sorry Joseph). My sister left me a copy of ‘The Outcast’ by Sadie Jones. It’s on the Richard and Judy Book List and I could not put it down. I read it in one sitting last Sunday, when the weather was a bit stormy. I haven’t read a book in one go since I was a young girl, but it was highly satisfying. It seemed to tick all the boxes although the actual plot wasn’t anything particularly unusual. I got hooked into the main character Lewis immediately (when you read it I’m sure you will understand why) and I needed to know what happened to him so I had to get to the end. It’s a story about loss and misunderstanding and about young love and its very simple and touching at the same time. I loved it - beautifully observed and presented. I want to write just like that…

I have not reconnected with Star of the Sea (apologies to Joseph again) but am reading a light tale ‘Living Dangerously’ by Katie Fforde which has me laughing aloud. I wonder if it includes the demise of a barking dog. More about that later….

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