This is not to have a go at anyone else. I'm talking at myself as well, but why is it that when we only have finite time the thing we let go of is writing?
As you know I run 2 writing groups but I struggle to get people to keep coming. Most people who do give a reason say that they're too busy, that they have other commitments, etc. Ok so there are some that do just say it isn't for them but I do see some very talented writers just get "too busy" to write.
Yet I am no better. There are groups I could go to where I would be encouraged in my writing but I don't go. Why? Well … I've got the dog to walk, rooms to clean for my guests, things to do that people will notice I am doing.
I was listening to a talk by a moderately famous writer and she said that she prefers the researching because then she feels like she is really doing something, the "writing her novel" she can drag herself through but the editing, where in fact she is getting rid rather than constructing - even those we, the reader, enjoy a book much more when it has been well edited. So even when one becomes a "proper" writer it is still hard to put the writing first.
I believe the reason why more of us aren't published writers is because we don't push through that barrier that says we're too busy and writing needs to be the thing to go.
There has been a lot going on in my life at the moment and writing is not taking a high priority. In fact talking to some crafy people yesterday we realised that with knitting, croquet, felting, etc you have to fully concentrate on what you are doing. You might be able to watch a TV box set if you're good but otherwise it is just you and the knitting, or whatever. I find the same with horse riding. That is the place where all I can think about is what I'm doing riding wise. It clears my head but I cannot ride for more than an hour or two a week - can't afford it and physically it would be exhausting!!! But with writing you are using that part of your brain that "chatters". So stilling the chattering chimp mind is close to impossible. So when life sends it's challenges yes there is journalling but actually keeping with the "project", as least for me, became impossible.
So why did I enter this competition? Because I am trying to set myself a challenge of getting a piece polished a month. But also this was something I clearly remembered. I was eight. So it is one of the early memories, but it is also cluttered up with the realisation, as a child, that all in the garden wasn't rosy. I have written a much longer piece which you can find at Dorset - 21st July 1969 (click on the title to go to the Medium link)
Here is the piece I won with:
A bungalow in Dorset, Monday 21st July 1969
Breakfast was eaten in silence. He was at his place at the table. She was on the couch watching reruns of “one small step for man” on the colour TV. He left for work and took one giant leap over the flower beds to his car.
If you compare the two pieces you will see how much has changed to take it from around 400 words to 50. But, for me, it has kept the essence of a moment.
It will be published by http://www.museumofwalking.org.uk around about 1st October. Check out their site and maybe even buy a copy? Also keep an eye out for other flash fiction competitions on the website.
This is a picture taken from a writing walk I went on. It is a big hill just behind my house. Every so often I take the dog and camera out and we walk and I take photos. Often we go somewhere different, though sometimes it is somewhere we know well. When I get back I download the photos and decide what to do with them. Some I write about. Some I put on blog posts like this or on my other sites https://aspirationaladventures.wordpress.com/ on WordPress or on Medium https://medium.com/@barefootatthekitchentable (I wish I could leave how to do links on this site!!!)
I've put this picture with this title because walking up mountains is something I don't practise. So back last summer when we had a family hike up Snowdon this was about as far as I managed to get. About 2/3rds of the way. Of course young niece of only 15 managed it all the way without having done the practise thing but I didn't. As one gets older one needs more practise. Husband of course made it but then he is out hiking over mountains much more rugged than Snowdon at least once a month and has been doing it for over 30 years.
As writers we must practise our craft too. For some that book does just leap out of their heads and it goes down on paper but more often than not it then needs much editing, reshaping, and honing to take it from good book to salable novel. That is where the blood, sweat and tears comes in and where many can give up, get discouraged, go for the self-publishing option. So what should we do instead?
Yesterday, Thursday 10th January, I ran a workshop in the library to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the library. 10th January 1969 was when the library first opened its door to the general public.
I did not get many people to my workshop - four in total; the head librarian, another librarian, the man running the Fair Trade stall and a friend from church, who didn't in the end stay to compete her poem. But that was fine. I got some much more from it than running the workshop. I learned some Abergele history.
Is it only writers who get excited about having a workshop in a library? Maybe it is.
I popped in the library the other day to see if I could use it as a free venue for the Wednesday Write Your Life Story workshops. Talk about amazing timing! The head librarian was the working out a program for 10th January for the library's 50th anniversary celebrations. She asked me if I would be willing to run an hour long workshop around writing. Of course, being someone who isn't so great at saying No, but also who could see this as a fun opportunity, I said Yes.
So on Thursday 10th January between 2-3 pm I am going to be asking people to put their thoughts on the library in verse. My plan is to get lots of smaller verses, haikus, one lines, etc and then take them away and compose a "Town Library Poem" that can be displayed in the library - along with Barefoot At The Kitchen Table information.
I must say as well as it being a great opportunity for me it is also a great way of me to give back to not just the town but the library which I think is awesome :)
It's that time of year when plans get made and some things have to change. So in that interim period between Christmas and New year when the fridge was still groaning but the family had left I made some decisions about the writing workshops, as well as about my writing life. Unfortunately getting the plans in place for the workshops has meant that I haven't yet got in the flow for my writing life but that will come. One of my new year resolutions is to be kind and forgiving to myself and be willing to say that if I don't make it today then there is tomorrow. It is ok to keep starting again.
For last night's Gwrych Creative Writing group I had planned to do an exercise called "Stolen Moments" and was going to discuss this busy season of Christmas/December and how we need to find stolen moments to unwind and regroup as writers somehow. Well no one turned up for the group and my husband wasn't coming home till around the time the group was supposed to finish so I had over an hour all to myself. Now there were loads of things I could have done - jobs that needed doing - but instead I curled up on the couch with dog and cat and read. It was very much what I needed to regroup myself.
I often get asked what the writing groups are like so I thought I would write this about last Wednesday's "Write Your Life Story" group.
Each group is very different depending on the people who attend. Although most do involved as much talking as there is writing. Writers are storytellers so once given a safe place to chat with other like minded people this is what they do; tell their tales. I have discovered each person loves to hear other tales as much as they love to tell theirs. But what does go on Wednesdays at the Write Your Life Story times at Gwesty Glyndwr, Pensarn? Read on to find out :)
My group asked me the other day about how to use real people in their memoir writing. I wish I had found this quote when I was looking for information to share with them.
Mark Twain said,
If you tell the truth, you don’t have to remember anything.