Archive | November, 2013

Hey, What’s Going On?

24 Nov

(Title of this post a naked excuse to embed this video, which is one of my ‘I need a  cheer up’ youtube classics)

It is nearly a year since I started this blog – nearly a year since I made the shortlist of the YWP – nearly a year since I felt like maybe  had a real shot at ‘being a writer‘.

I put that in inverted commas because, as everyone will tell you, ‘being a writer’ requires nothing more than sitting down in the chair and writing. Yet I struggle to do even that at the moment. Days, weeks and months slip by and the word count at the bottom of the document barely shifts. Needless to say I am not making very good progress with my goals. I carry around a big potato sack of writer’s guilt that gradually forces me lower and lower.

The main reason why I’m failing? Work. I can’t really go into it yet, but my school has been going through some monumentous upheaval, such that my 12 hour day has now ballooned to 14, plus Saturday intervention, plus Sundays of endless marking. The week easily becomes 65 hours and often close to 70. I read endless articles telling me to ‘utilise the morning’, but I can’t bring myself to get out of bed any earlier than my current 5.30. Evenings are a dead loss of reheating some three-day-old leftovers, marking, falling asleep for an hour, marking again, emptying the dishwasher and rolling my carcass into bed at half midnight.

The good news is I am making some big changes to my life, starting in January, which will give me more time and hopefully more energy to put into my writing. I spoke to a job counsellor recently (long story) and he said it was a rare thing to really know one’s vocation – and I do. My current ms, ‘The Hunt’, has a lot of potential and I can’t wait to dive back into it. Till then…I try to keep my head above water.

So, that’s what’s going on with me. How about you?

p.s. need more cheer ups? some of my perennial faves:

Lois and ClarkYou Belong to Me    Lee Adama: I’m the Baby   Happy Life Day


12 Nov

Since September I’ve been running a new writing club at school, in a desperate attempt to meld work with some of my outside passions. Today’s session was on creating character, for which we used games from Booktrust and Language is a Virus.

From a list of items including strawberries, a diary and a chandelier, I came up with Andrea:

Andrea drummed her heels into the tarmac, pushing herself relentlessly forward. The road stretched out before her, a river of grey shimmering in the L.A. heat that had swiftly grown fierce in the two hours since dawn.

“Father, father, father,” said the rhythm of her run.

Her mind skipped like a scratched disc from the palm trees ahead of her to the letter waiting on her dressing table at home. She’d recognised the handwriting immediately.

“Father, father, father.”

Where the hell had he been all these years? Couldn’t even be bothered to let her know he was still alive? Why now?

She pushed down a rising tide of angry bile. She had no idea what had gone on. Maybe he’d been in a flea-ridden foreign jail somewhere, busted for smuggling; maybe he’d been in a bad accident and developed amnesia and…

Why hadn’t she just read the letter before going out? Now she’d have to try and force down his likely apology with her usual strawberry, avocado and goji berry smoothie. The rest of her day would be ruined: her spray tan at ten, her yoga class at two and a long, silent dinner sitting at the other end of the dining table from Sachin, under twin chandeliers. Okay, that last one wasn’t exactly something to look forward to; her father’s confession might break up the monotony of her failing marriage at the very least.

Her hair tie slipped loose and her California-blonde waves fell in wafts of apple scented shampoo around her face. She was so busy scraping it back, she didn’t notice the car until it was too late.

The students came up with some brilliant ideas including a frustrated businesswoman (with dreams of saving the world) and a girl bullied at school for being too posh. I think they like having time to just sit and write, without any pressure of grades or levels – just the freedom of a pen and a blank page.

I quite like it too.