Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Ghost Cats

Today I am home alone writing, apart from the company of one furry black and white cat called Mojo. She is a sweet old cat and doing well for her 19 years.  

She can be quite useful to have around during the writing process. She is quite willing to patiently listen to me read out long passages of writing without criticism or interference and she is also quite happy to take any questions I might have, although I have found her responses to be a little limited. It's also nice to know that if I am ready for a break, she'll be there to wander in the garden with me for a while or sit on my lap contentedly while I think about future scenes and scenarios.

On the downside, she can be a distraction and an easy excuse to stop writing. She gives me that look which says I demand love and attention now or actually it's more likely to be associated with feed me now oh big giant cat.  Oops did that slip through. Yes it did. I'm convinced that Mojo thinks that me and my husband are other bigger cats and the three of us live happily together in our cat emporium. But I guess that's a whole 'nother story that we don't necessarily want to get into now. There are of course the hazards of living with cats. One that regularly occurs in this household is when Mojo decides to make a massive dive from the table to my writing desk, landing with great speed and no brakes on top of the laptop. As there is no warning of this event, it also frightens the life out of me. She could of course have been reading over my shoulder and made the decision to stop this writing nonsense immediately and knows that giant cat paws on the keyboard is a good way of making it happen.

However, today we had the invasion of ghost cats in the house. I'm sure that this is just a cat technique devised over the years to completely freak out any non-cats in the house. I'm sitting quietly writing to suddenly hear some sort of pandemonium taking place in the lounge. Before I can get up to suss out what's going on, a black and white blob moving much quicker than is probably good for a cat of 19 roars past me and hoons upstairs. I look up the stairs to see her hiding behind the wall but her face is visible and she meows at me for good measure to tell me what she's seen. I can only put it down to a ghost cat roaming about in the lounge for when I go in there is nothing to see.

But actually, I think that Mojo cat is rather savvy and is trying to aid my writing. As I am now freaked out by the prospect that the lounge is harbouring unnatural spirits of cats long gone, I've decided to stick here at my writing desk in the other room and stay well away.  Funnily enough cats haven't ventured in there either.

Monday, 20 August 2012

Writing Wishes

On Friday, it just so happened that I watched about twenty minutes of the children's TV programme, Blue Peter.  I know, I know - let's not even go there with reasons why I was watching children's TV on a Frdiay afternoon. Perhaps I should refer you to my earlier post, entitled Distractions and Excuses for an indication of why this might have taken place.

Anyway, I digress. One of the guests on the show was Jacqueline Wilson who seemed a lovely lovely lady and who answered all budding novelist questions with helpful and encouraging responses. My favourite question asked of Jacqueline was:

 "If you had a wish what would it be?"

Jacqueline's response was:

"The ability to write a book in a day as this would enable her to spend two days writing two books and then she would have 363 days left in which to have fun each year."

I have to admit that I was quite surprised by her response tending to believe that all writers can think of nothing better than to sit composing their stories and tales and labouring over their work day after day. But Jacqueline's answer did get me thinking about my own writing wishes. 

My greatest wish at this point in time would be to see a piece of my work published and available to others to read - say a story or an article in a magazine. Yes that would be a good starting point. If I had a fabulous magic wand that I could wave around randomly granting wishes to all around including myself, then I'd love to walk past a window of Waterstones and see my book in all it's glory displayed for all to see and of course to buy. I can almost picture the cover now. Just imagine what that must feel like. My book, that I wrote, right there in the window. I'd be stuck outside Waterstones for hours stopping strangers on the street, saying see that book, yes that one there in the window "I wrote that." What a marvellous day that would be and my smile would go on for days and days and for miles and miles.

But, after all these were writing wishes and not the real world. Jacqueline did share that each of her books takes six months to write and lots of hard work and effort, so once again I am reminded that it's about turning up at the page every day, putting words down in some sort of order and structure that build into a story that others would like to read.

One final piece of advice from Jacqueline which was in response to a question about what advice she would give to her ten or eleven year old self:

"Stop worrying - it will all be ok"

So thank you Jacqueline - your words have inspired me to worry less and write more.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Distractions and Excuses

I am home alone tonight and have the opportunity to write. It is quiet and peaceful. I have made tea. I have settled down with my laptop at my new desk - now all freshly painted and eager with anticipation that I shall be writing my best-selling novel at it. The conditions are, you might suggest, absolutely perfect.

So what happened - why no additional wordcount, why no excitement over finishing another chapter? Well firstly my neighbour arrived requiring some help of a technical nature. I knew that I would be unable to help and may get her into even more of a technological muddle than the one she started with, but I did manage to chat on the doorstep for at least ten minutes and maybe more. I did stop myself from asking her in for a cup of tea, which I normally would.  You did ok, I tell myself. It wasn't too much of a distraction - now back to it. 

Right settle back down, pour another cup of tea, hands on keyboard and... Oh, I'll just have a quick look at my online bank account. Right that's done. Settle back down, hands on keyboard. Phone rings. Shall I leave it? No better not - it might be important. How nice, it's my friend from America ringing. I do love to talk to her and so I do. Forty-five minutes later we are done and very enjoyable it was too. So settle down again. Tea's gone cold. Need a new fresh brew. Put the kettle on. Think about writing, hands on keyboard.

And this is how it goes. Although I've read Stephen King's book on writing,  I guess I'm not yet at the stage he talks about below:

“When you sit down to write, write. Don't do anything else except go to the bathroom, and only do that if it absolutely cannot be put off.”

Sounds like wise advice and I don't need the bathroom, although I'd better start limiting my tea intake in future.

And then I think: "I wonder what's going on with the Olympics?"

Monday, 6 August 2012

Our Stories

"A Human Being is nothing but a story with skin around it" Fred Allen

I wanted to share this quote with you as when I read it today, it so reasonated with me. When you think about it, everyday we're presented with the stories of people's lives whether this be through the news and media or just sitting down to enjoy a cup of coffee with a friend. Through others sharing their experiences, we can be inspired, educated, delighted or on the other hand, distraught, frightened or upset.

What's your story and how do you want it to impact on others?

 

Friday, 3 August 2012

My Little Write Space

I'd like to tell you a secret. Do you promise you won't tell? OK then I'll share it with you.

Today I am sitting in my new writing space.  The space has always been here but today it is special, it is mine. And why is this a secret you might ask - well that's because my husband has been busy preparing a new table for me to use. It will be the place at which I sit to write. He has created a little write space, just for me. 

But the table is not quite finished. There is more sanding and it needs painting too, he tells me. Yet I am impatient and excited and so today, the partially-finished table has been brought into the house and I am sitting at it writing this post. I just want to see how it is, what it is like, how I feel sitting in the space. My very own writing space. And it is everything I thought it would be. It feels wonderful.

Later today it will return to the garage for its final preening before it becomes a regular part of the household, and I am happy that it has had a test-run.

Why not join me here at the little write space again soon. I'll be posting my thoughts on writing. There'll be the ups and the downs and all the bits in between and I'd love to hear about your own experiences too.

Until next time...