New Week, New Blog, New Start

That’s a much more positive title than I’m feeling right now.  I think the grey cloud that’s hanging over my office is having an effect on my mood.  Ugh, I hate rain when it should be sunny.

I made a decision today that I have to start writing more.  Since finished NaNo at the end of November, I’ve done very little writing.  Yeah I write weekly for [Fiction] Friday, and write blogs, but that’s all.  I’m not doing anything else.  So.  I’m going to set myself  a target of 250 words a day of writing fiction.  I’ll say I’ll do it in May, then that should give me a push to get back into it.  Afterall, writers write, if I want to be a writer I need to write!

I might see if I can find an actual challenge, held by someone, that I have to report to for May.  That would kick my ass into writing!

I got my assignment back from my writing course tutor.  Some very positive things were said.  But, alas, she’s not suggesting I submit my story for publication yet.  Aww.  Was hoping she’d be thrilled with it and tell me to.  But now she’s pointed the flaws out, I can see what she means.  Last week I decided that I was going to submit the story this week – that if she didn’t suggest I submit it, I’d make the corrections she noted, then submit it for publication. I’m not going to do that. I think.  I’ve paid a lot of money for her advice, so if she thinks I’m not ready, I’m going to take her advice. It just means I need to work harder and get on with my next assignment quickly.

I must say, there’s a little bit of me that feels relieved I ‘m not going to do it.   If I don’t send my story to a magazine, there’s no chance I can get rejected.  I’m a big believer in everything happening for a reason, so maybe right now, with everything else going on, I’m just not strong enough for the (potential) rejection. I’m looking at the positives not negatives. I will grow from this.

One of the tips my tutor suggested was putting only one space after a full stop.  Eek.  When I was taught how to use a computer, I got taught to put two spaces. Automatically I put two spaces, on everything. I do it without thinking, and now I need to stop it. It’s going to be so hard. Put I’ll do it. Somehow. In the whole of this paragraph, I managed to only do it once without correcting it. Once when I was typing about it, if it wasn’t on my mind then, it’s going to be an uphill struggle. Still, will be worth it. 

She also send some information about punctuating dialogue that was really useful.  There’s a booklet that comes with my course all about spelling and grammar.  I really need to read it. 

I’m reading a book at the moment that I’m really struggling with.  It’s a period piece set just after WW2 which is so not my thing.  In fact I don’t think I’ve ever finished a non modern book.  That’s bad.  But history has never really interested me, I know that sounds terrible, and so I find it hard to get into things set in the past.  I find it hard to care.  Plus, this is a bit of a horror story.  Don’t usually go for those.  But, it’s had strong recommendations, so I don’t want to give up quite yet.  I think I’m going to give it until page 50, and if I’m still not enjoying it I’m going to give up.  When I’ve got 80+ books sat on my shelf unread, and another ‘wish list’ I’ve created with about 20 books, I don’t think it makes sense to read something I’m not enjoying!

I’ve read a couple of articles over the last few days about posting your fiction work online.  One article said it was a good idea, the other a bad idea.  I’ve been thinking a lot about it over the last week or so, because I’m not sure it is a good idea.  Although my reasons for thinking it’s a bad idea are different to the article’s.  Which I guess is bad – it’s given me more reason to think it’s a bad idea.  Not a bad idea as such, just maybe not what I want to do. BUT, I love taking part in [Fiction] Friday, so I’m just gonna carry on.

I thought I had much much more to write, but it seems not.  Well, I’ll probably post this then remember what else I had to say.  Typical.

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12 thoughts on “New Week, New Blog, New Start

  1. Getting involved in some sort of online group or writing challenge should be very beneficial to motivating you. If you can’t find one, don’t underestimate the power of your own blog. By telling your readers that you are setting a goal for yourself and planning on posting 250 words of fiction everyday, you will feel very compelled to keep at it. If you stumble along the way, your readers will plainly see it, which is what I think the driving force is.

    I’d be curious to read what you have on the pros and cons of publishing your work online. My work online has been the reason for my being published twice (both non-fiction pieces on consumer products. One to a small city specific publication and one to a nationally distributed magazine). My only technical concern would be with rights and what, precisely, is the publication buying from you when you get published (what type of license for your work) or do they simply prefer to have exclusive content (which is completely understandable).

    Its kind of funny, I enjoy WWII history but have had great difficulty reading books set in that time period. I’m not sure exactly what spoils it for me but I generally pass over books incorporating WWII. I read mostly Fantasy so I’m always being drawn into a non-modern time and/or world. The only book I’ve read in the past year which dealt with a modern time period is The Child Thief by Brom (Brom’s version of Peter Pan which has roughly half the storyline set to current time).

    Good luck with your writing and keep the blog posts coming!

  2. I’ve been meaning to ask you if you are involved in any writing groups.
    When I was an undergraduate, my most valuable learning experiences came from attending a creative writer’s group. Being part of the group taught me how to focus, stick to a deadline, and write for an audience. Listening to my fellow writers read their work and critque – honestly but sometimes brutally – my work was invaluabel to my growth as a writer.

    It really gets you out of your own head and forces you to think about what you write in relation to how a reader will hear your words and perceive your meaning.

    If you’re not doing it – you will be amazed at how much you will grow as a writer and how good you will feel about your craft even during those times when it seems that writing is eating you alive.

    Keep the faith……T.

    • You know, that’s something I’ve been thinking about for a while, but wasn’t sure I had the time until recently. I looked for one months ago, and have found a couple in London that I think would be good. I will join one, soon. Probably even sooner now you’ve put it at the front of my mind and pointed out all the good things about them. Thanks.

  3. What? I move to a tropical paradise and you forget about me? Nice.

    Anyway, I’m pleased one of us is still writing. I’m working as a journalist again and, after a day of reporting, I don’t even want to look at a keyboard come the evening. Hence the fact my new blog site isn’t as constantly updated as Bite My Moko once was.

    One space after a full stop was a trick I learned in the newspaper business. It’s all designed to get as many words as possible into a small hole on a page. If you count all those extra spaces and then think how extra letters/words you could fit in instead, it makes sense.

    I’m still waiting for my Fiction Friday read. Don’t make me get out of my hammock and spill my fresh mango juice to shout at the laptopn screen.

    Take care
    John

    • Hi John,
      Me? Forget you? I thought all that sun going to your head had made you forget about me!
      Please don’t tell me you’ve stopped writing the follow up to Brown Girls? You have to write it! Lets face it, if you’re a little friendless there writing can take up your time (look – I still read your blog!).
      I do get the whole 1 space after a full stop, it’s just so hard to start doing it after a lifetime of using two. Practice makes perfect though!
      Yeah, I’ll send you something. Sometime. When I’ve got anything semi decent that can be read. Until then you’ll have to live with the 1st draft of things I post on Fridays.
      Hope you’re well and that mango juice doesn’t stain 🙂

  4. I’m also curious to hear what you’ve found out about the pros and cons of publishing fiction online. I can see two major cons:
    1. There is no quality control to publishing on your own website. As you’ve pointed out in this post, you’ve benefited from the advice of a writing tutor and decided that a story you thought was publishable could still be improved upon. What if you hadn’t given that story to someone else to read but had just published it online. Would you have regretted it later?
    2. Publshing a story online means that you can’t publish it in a print magazine, or even on another online magazine later.

    As for pros, you can raise your profile as a writer and get feedback on work in progress. This makes me think that publishing onliine is fine for novel extracts because those are not “finished pieces” and for your fiction friday stories because those are spontaneous responses to a writing prompt. Readers have different expectations from a completed short story. They expect to be reading the best you have to offer and not an entertaining piece of fiction that shows your potential as a writer but still needs to be worked on and polished.

  5. Hi Walt,
    I will do a bit in a post about the pros and cons – when I can find the articles again.
    I think I’ll start adding how many words I’ve written that day on my blog – I’m sure some of you will kick me when I don’t do any… Please?
    That’s really exciting you’ve had a couple of things published. In my course I have to do non fiction as well as fiction, but I’m doing the fiction bit first (it’s what I’m really interested in!).

  6. seems u’re taking classes for writing. Can u suggest me …..punctuating techniques………..means I get confused with dialogue punctuations. My ‘word’ shows errors where it shouldn’t and doesn’t where it should. like Raj asked,”blah blah blah”? or Raj asked,”blah blah blah?” and many more of such sort.

    • Sunny, I’m really not good enough at all this to be able to help someone else – I’m just getting to grips with it myself and wouldn’t feel confident in what I say. If you can, I’d recommend doing a writing course to help with this, or just try a search on the internet for punctuation etc. What I have learnt is that you add the punctuation before the speech mark – but there’s a lot more to it, so do look it up. Good luck.

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