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Monday, August 29, 2011

Words change lives

Three words changed my life.

Several months ago I went to my best friend's BBQ. When I arrived I didn't know any of the other guests. When someone asked me what I did I said "I'm a writer."

Two days later one of the other guests, a photographer, commissioned me to write copy for her website.

A month ago the same photographer referred me to a colleague who was looking for screenwriters. I made my pitch, my idea was accepted, and I'm on the third draft of my first screenplay. I'm getting professional feedback and learning a lot about how different writing for the screen is compared to prose.

Now, I'm not a full-time writer but I think of myself as a writer first. If I had said that I worked in IT and also write I don't think that commission would have come through.

Believing myself to be a writer motivated me to finish my novel early. As I write this, the same novel has topped Amazon UK's Gay Fiction chart for the third day running and it has been out for just two weeks.

Three words changed my life.

"I'm a writer."

Friday, August 26, 2011

S~E~P~T~E~M~B~E~R

Summer’s coming to a close and soon the dark nights will be upon us.  So why not start a new writing regime this September to get you through the winter months?  You can prepare by:

Eradicating obsolete items from your writing space.  Don’t throw any papers away but organise yourself and your area by setting up a filing system so you can find things easily.  Perhaps sort them into reference material, works in progress, ideas and forthcoming events or deadlines.

Preparing some outlines of things you’d like to work on.  Nothing too detailed, just some notes and ideas.  This will give you a focus when you actually do sit down to write.

Treating yourself to something new.  A new notebook or pen.  A new mouse or flashdrive.  Remember when you were at school?  Wasn’t it great to start afresh with good intentions and new kit?!

Engaging your senses.  Are you visually soothed?  A nice photo or clipping from a magazine may put you in the writing zone.  Or maybe it’s a bunch of flowers or scented candle perched on your desk or kitchen table.  Or it could be a bit of Mozart or Motorhead!

Making space in your diary.  You make time to go to the dentist or hairdresser, so pencil in some time for the months ahead.   By taking yourself seriously you’re more likely to achieve your goals.  This is your writing time so give it the commitment it deserves.

Buying a copy of the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook.  It’s packed full of industry tips and competitions.  Or perhaps buy a writing magazine or borrow a book from the library.  Reading about the craft is a great way to get those creative juices flowing.

Envisaging the time you have set for yourself to write.  This will stay within your subconscious helping you to stick to your allotted times.  Also, you’ll probably find you get more out of your writing time as ideas ferment in the depths of your mind.

Realising that life sometimes gets in the way of your plans.  Be kind to yourself and don’t be too rigid.  Spending time with friends or family is fun and can provide rich material for your writing.  So don’t beat yourself up if your writing plans go awry but take it as a compliment that people seek out your company.  Remember to keep a balance in life – your writing will be all the better for it!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Do I look bovvered?

I'm sitting outside in my garden, a cup of tea is near to hand, my cats are both curled up on a chair next to me and the bats have started their evening bat run, i.e. flying in a straight line up the garden towards me before hanging a right when they get to the shed. Yes, I'm in a chilled out mood and feeling far from bovvered about anything. What started off this mellow feeling? I went on Facebook earlier this evening and re-read again (just because I like reading it) that James, one of the Writebulb members had finally finished his book after 10 years. He gave Writebulb a big thumbs up and said that joining the group gave him the push he needed to finish the book. This made me think of our first meeting in January and just how much Writebulb has developed in such a short space of time.

From the very beginning we aimed to create an open, supportive community of writers dedicated to developing their writing skills, to provide a nurturing environment that would help each member reach their goals, to give them a place where they felt they had a voice, to identify opportunities for learning and to have plenty of fun along the way. We were, and still are, enthusiastic amateur writers. None of us were involved in the publishing industry in a professional way so our aims were (heck, still are...) quite ambitious. 

I know that all of us founder members have enjoyed the journey so far. Yes, we've had our difficult times because it's been harder than we thought to find the time to maintain the blog and facebook, to pull together ideas for the meetings and even arranging to meet up to go through things can be a nightmare, but we've always managed to pull together a meeting. We've had authors in to speak about their work and experiences, we took part in the launch of the Essex Book Festival, we're going to pull together an anthology - we've not done too bad considering!

We've all learned a lot along the way and, frankly, it amazes me that when I speak at the meetings I can see people scribbling the information down! I don't know a lot but what I do know is there to be shared with everyone, not hoarded away, and I know that all Writebulb members feel the same way. 

I'm so pleased that James has finished his book but far from that being the end of the story, it's only the beginning - now he's got to let other people read it, then market it and then start the second book!  I have a feeling that quite a few of our members are hot on his heels and whilst we have such enthusiastic budding writers we will do our very best to support them.

So, do I look bovvered? Not at the moment I have to admit.

Can I be bovvered? When it comes to supporting Writebulb, why yes I can.