Wednesday, 30 November 2011

One week’s worth of thankfulness:

It has been a quiet week for me but these are a few of little things I've been thankful for:

I'm grateful for everything I have and for still being here to enjoy it!

At the end of each day I take time to reflect and remember what was good about my day. (Spending time with a loved one that I don't see very often & having a good heart to heart chat.)

No act of kindness is too small an act.

My creativity continues to thrive as I aim to commit my ideas to paper.

If you witness a kindness in action - does it lift your spirit? It does for me.

The sound of small feet running across the floor, as next door’s two year old races round their house with gusto – love it

A girlfriend getting in touch by text, after a long absence, I'm so glad we are still friends, *can’t wait to meet up and chat* #ThingsImThankfulFor

In the run up to Christmas everything and everyone seems to get more frantic... so any tips to reduce the 'Franticness' would be welcomed.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

My First: Anniversary and Birthday

Today is my 1st anniversary of starting my Blog and my 1st birthday celebration for being published! So I have balloons, cake, candles and a glass of bubbly.

When I started my blog a year ago I’d just been published by Etherbooks and knew that if I wanted people to read my stories then I would have to find a way to publicise my writing. And I’d little idea where to begin however I find it quite staggering that I’m still waffling… going strong a year later.

I’m being very candid when I state that I’d absolutely no idea what I was going to write when I started, although I was excited. With two of my short stories published, how would anyone find me on the internet?

The only route I knew was to begin a Blog. But I was nervous.

Taking stock a year on I’m genuinely stunned that I have written more than +136 blog posts, had a further six short stories published, acquired +85 followers for my blog account here @1Lovelife and gathered a massive following of more than three thousand Twitterers on Twitter.

To me this is all still quite astonishing and astounding and from these figures I would like to believe that I must be doing something that people like…

So my second year holds new challenges but I’m not sure what these will be yet although I plan to try to maintain my current status and if possible I’d like to think that I can grow it too. I’ve promised myself that I will complete my novel. I will continue to write my short stories. I will keep submitting my work to new platforms. I will complete novel no 3 as well! So I will keep posting my blog spots. And I will have a Group Anthology to promote in the New Year.

However the biggest and most daunting step is going to be finding an agent or a publisher to express interest in my novel.

I hope there will be lots more good news as 2012 promises to be a year full of exciting events. And more than anything else I’ll continue to share what I find out, whether by promoting other writers books and/or blogs or my own. I will seek out information that has worth and value and spread it, by sharing.

Here’s to 2012

Thursday, 24 November 2011

What do I have to be thankful for this Thanksgiving Day?

Well loads actually! I have my health back… so that’s got to be a winner in anyone’s vocabulary. And I have time to do what I want to do as currently my time is my own. I have a family that love me and I love them. So what more could I possibly want?

I’m looking forward to driving again in a couple of weeks but in the mean time I walk as far as I can and see many things that I would miss if I was driving. And I’ve been a passenger for the past seven weeks and this has allowed me to look out of the window and admire the view more keenly. Peek in to more gardens than I usually see. Observe more detail, like last night’s glorious sunset, a blood orange infused sky.

I sleep well most nights and if it’s damp and foggy outside when I wake, I slide back beneath the sheets and have breakfast in bed and then read a book, before surfacing to have a long soak in the bath. I’m certain a few of my friends with young children would choose to swap with me if they had a chance.

My greatest pleasure recently has been walking along the seafront on a glorious autumn day when the sun has shone and the wind has dropped so that the day is balmy with a gentle onshore breeze giving me a refreshing and delightful walk. It has felt restorative.

These are just a few of the things I have to be grateful for recently and if I sat down and wrote a proper list of gratitude I think it would go on for quite some while.

If you had to sit and write a list what would spring to mind first? A gratefulness for your creativity, an ability to communicate, or simply being here.

Over the next month I’m going to make a daily record of what I have to be grateful for in the run up to Christmas.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Reading groups:

Back last year I decided to start a reading group with a dear friend of mine and after lots of promotion amongst our own circle of friends we finally set up the group.

Well, that first evening I was quite deflated… there was her and me and one other joint friend. Not the grand start I had hoped for! Lots of people had expressed interest in the idea but regretted they were too busy to join us. As most of our friends have had children and still work full time. Time, or rather the lack of it, is their most precious commodity.

We persevered and I’m amazed at how many people now attend, it varies month on month but the group has grown by word of mouth and we do seem to enjoy a truly healthy debate each month even when we don’t particularly enjoy the chosen book.

Sadly, Black Dahlia, although excellently written did not appeal too many of us, its harsh brutal world wasn’t necessarily a world we wanted to inhabit, especially at the end of our own gruelling day.

Then the group read: ‘The Help by Katherine Stockett,’ and this went down very well and with the release for the film, eight of our group went along to the local cinema to watch the movie. We all loved the film despite the fact it did not stick rigidly to the book. But the important part of the relationship between maids and author was well represented and true to the book. The fact that so many of them managed to get childcare in place and enjoy a girl’s night out was a huge achievement.

The group’s book this month is: ‘Fingersmith by Sarah Waters.’ Well most of them couldn’t wait to talk about it whilst we sat at the bar having a chat before the film started. And one of the women paid the author what I would class a really big compliment: ‘I enjoyed reading Fingersmith so much, I went out and bought another book by Sarah Waters.’ Isn’t that a lovely compliment?

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that our group will go from strength to strength as I know that actually finding time in the run up to Christmas is going to be difficult for many of our members.

Lots of the mums will have commitments at school for nativity plays, carol concerts and bazaars that will rob them of reading time and free/spare time but I’m hopeful a few of us will still meet, as I have truly enjoyed hearing others peoples comments about books and authors and writing in general.

If you haven’t joined a reading group yet why not set one up – I did and I’m enjoying the interaction hugely. It has been well worth the effort.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

No matter…

‘No matter what you do in life it is absolutely impossible to please everybody, so just do your best and smile.’

I had another 'nice' rejection email which didn’t do much to lift my spirits yesterday but now that I have slept I am pleasantly surprised how different I feel about it this morning, now the suns shines.

At least they had the courtesy to respond and let me know so that I can release this piece to another potential platform.

I find it strange that in this modern era of instant technology that some publishers do not respond after 7 or 8 months - in my business life that would have been a least a disciplinary procedure and probably a ‘sackable’ offence for a repeat offender!

Does it really take that long to make a decision as to whether a publisher likes a piece or not?

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

I am 1 in a 1,000

New mantra: I’m 1 in 1,000

Remember: I am 1 in a 1,000

I mean this!

If I consider that:

1 in 1,000 Manuscripts sent to a publisher gets published as a book.

1 in 1,000 Books published by a publisher makes the best seller listing.

1 in 1,000 best selling books makes it to the No 1 spot in the best sellers list.

Then I must aim to be 1 in 1,000 not once, or twice or three times but many times over if I am to succeed. A sobering thought for an aspiring novelist.

Nothing like aiming high... because if I miss, I’ll end up among the stars!

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Autumn's bounty...

My garden before the rain ravaged the leaves & left the branches stripped & bare!

Monday, 7 November 2011

Facing the uncertainties:

I keep asking myself why am I battling with myself to finish this book, the novel I desperately want to see published, sitting on a shelf in a bookstore near you? What is it about writing that bothers me?

In truth, after some consideration, I don’t think my battle has anything to do with the novel, it’s more about how I have spent my time recently. Or could it be that I struggle to complete tasks?

I’d say I am a great starter but less good as a completer/finisher, although I have no trouble with short stories… and I don’t think this is an industry where I can get away with doing a bodge-it and scarper routine. I think I have to learn a new mantra: I am a closer! I am a closer!

Hmm… Perhaps I am being too hard on myself.

It pains me to admit it but housework has long been postponed but household chores have to come first… The house needs to be easier to look after as I’m going to need help to do some things and I can’t expect people to help me if I leave the house in a disorganised state.

This summer my health was below par and I’ve struggled to remain upright and fully functioning. I don’t think I had realised how much of an impact the situation had on my creativity. But I have a resolution in sight, my long term health will be sorted so you’d think this might allow me the chance to get back to the novel. No such luck.

I had to put my ‘creative life’ on hold while I put my house in order. I went into for hospital for major surgery a little less than five weeks ago and suddenly the house became a priority. I need to be able to function while I recover. All those days when I ignored house work and chose to write instead have to be reversed and paid back!

Apparently I’m not supposed to push a vacuum cleaner around the house – odd that I don’t think I mind this half as much as not making a cup of tea, because lifting a kettle was tough the first few weeks!

But now I’m home convalescing there will be plenty of time to think through the novel, to extend the plot and develop the characters to their full potential, so this hiatus is only a temporary deviation from the master plan.

And as my health returns to I am quite certain I will be ready to face the publishing industry and look for an agent and a publisher, because I will complete my current manuscript. I am determined to achieve that much as the next book is buffering, waiting in the wings…

I’m looking for inspiration and ideas to motivate me to complete this task. Especially as the nights are drawing in. Any suggestions?