Monday, July 21, 2014

Lunch with my fellow MA students

A lovely chilled out lunch today with fellow MA students. We discussed the highs and loves of the MA in Creative Writing for Children. We lamented our low word counts, blaming family, friends and jobs for our procastination.

The rising star in our group is Tamsin Goadby (@TamisnGoadby). She completed her MA in one year and is currently being chased by agents while running writing workshops and script writing. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Writers at Lovedean and Angel Radio

When you run a writing group you are constantly on the lookout for opportunities for your members. This year I've sorted out a spoken word slot at the Southsea Show. But some of the members didn't feel confident at the thought of standing up in front of a crowd. 

Yesterday, I went to Havant and had a meeting with Tony Smith, the manager and founder of Angel FM. He kindly accepted my offer of some recordings of the groups short stories and poems. But he did more. He gave one of my members Mick Cooper a piece of equipment to improve the recordings. And once our stories are recorded and sent along he will be giving us a regular fifteen minute slot. I'm over the moon. And I hope my members make the most of this fabulous opportunity.










Monday, June 30, 2014

Brick walls

I am so frustrated. It's hard when you're plans hit brick walls.

Plan 1. Create a new website for my writing group. I have done everything. I have put all the correct information in...but I'm stuck on getting one widget to work on the members page. 

Plan 2. Send out picture book manuscript. I've received some excellent feed back from the editor of Little Tiger, but try as I might I'm not sure how to put those changes in.

Plan 3. Self publish my ebook and YA novella. But stuck on creating the cover and I'm not sure I want to invest the time needed on Goodreads, joining groups, reading others work and writing reviews  while I'm studying my MA.

Plan 4. I want to transfer a short story into a YA novel or novella, but I'm aware in the original story there is a change of POV at the end, I'm not sure if this works and can't think of a different ending.

Plan 5. Finalise arrangements for the Southsea Show, but I'm still waiting on writers to get back to me.

So I have decided to spend the day on other tasks that need to be done, and hope the solutions present themselves.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Head Above Water!

I'm starting to feel more in control. It's been a mad couple of weeks of massive amounts of work.

I started an MA in Creative Writing for Children in September. I have completed two modules. The assignments for the both have been sent in, marked and I'm pleased with the results. So far we have covered the picture book, early years and fiction for children - I focused on the 7 to 9 age range. I decided to do more than the assignment. I now have two completed pieces, the picture book and early years series, ready to send out.

My third idea for a series of books for 7 to 9 year old needs more work, but I'm confident I can use the skills I have developed in my first year at university to polish my idea. Plus, I'm hoping the Sarah Lean workshop I am going to at the weekend will provide inspiration for my other work.

This doesn't mean that I will automatically find someone interested in my work, but it's definitely nice to have projects completed. The list makers out there know the importance of a nice big tick in a check box.

Those who read my blog will know I write educational resources. My editor told me a few weeks ago that if I wanted them to continue to sell the books, I would need to rewrite the teacher notes so they are in line with the changes to KS3. That was a challenge for me, and I'm glad I have finished the task.

I've written a few articles. And worked as a host at the Winchester Writers' Festival last weekend, which was really useful for networking. All in all the despair at the workload is starting to lift at last!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

A weekend at the Winchester Writers' Festival

I spent the weekend as an host at the Winchester Writers' Festival. For those who don't know, the WWF is three days of inspiration, networking and learning for new and emerging writers working in all genres and for all audiences.  Delegates can choose from a wide range of day-long workshops and short talks.

My job was to bring teas and coffees to a couple of agents, and generally made sure they had everything they needed.

Each year they offer around 800 individual one--to-one appointments available for delegates wanting to speak to literary agents, commissioning editors and award-winning authors.

Last year unpublished writer Jenny McLachlan met literary agent Julia Churchill at the Festival. This year she's returning to launch her first YA novel, Flirty Dancing, published by Bloomsbury.

I've been twice before as a delegate, but this was my first year as a volunteer. It was certainly a useful opportunity to put faces to some of the leading names in the industry. And I met some fellow volunteers who made the whole weekend so much fun.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Sometime you just have to get on with it.

Have you ever spent three hours ironing, finished up, put the board and the iron away, only then to realise that you have missed the six shirts on the line? 

Recently, the majority of my paid writing jobs have been educational resources. After months of work, editing, and peer review I wrongly assumed that I had crossed the finish line. They are now published and on sale! Finished. Pat myself on the back. Walk away and start something new.

Of course I didn't factor the changes in curriculum for 2014.

The emails came in thick and fast requesting that I:

1. Complete a cross-reference table to insert at the start of your resource after the Teacher’s Introduction. This table should match your lessons/activities/worksheets to the pre-Sept 2014 Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening Assessment Foci, and levels where appropriate. This is for teachers to use as guidance only as we recognize many teachers still value these. Please use the attached template.


2. Remove all other references to the pre-Sept 2014 AFs or levels throughout the remainder of the resource.


3. Remove all references to the National Literacy Strategy or SATs


4. Add any notes to your Teacher’s Introduction that acknowledges the new curriculum requirements and how your resource will help support teachers.

I'm now heavily committed to my MA in Creative Writing. I'm in a lets be creative and get words down on a page. I really don't want to do this task before me...but I'm also a professional who quite likes getting paid.

So with a sad and heavy heart I realised I just had to get on with it.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

The Writers at Lovedean 2014 Calendar

We are a lively bunch of writers, who are all enthusiastic about our own various projects; including novels, short stories, children's literature and poetry.

We meet every Friday at 10 o'clock at Lovedean Village Hall.

An eclectic group from various backgrounds, and skill levels. Some just enjoy writing for the pleasure, some looking to get published.

As a group we look to produce a souvenir book every year. All our members are encouraged to get their work in the book.

New members are always welcome

Come along to see us and you'll always get a warm welcome.

We can be found every Friday from 10am - 12.30, in the small hall at Lovedean Village Hall

Lovedean Village Hall

6A Lovedean Lane

2014 Calendar 

26th September
Short story or poem competition.
Must be six minutes or under.
Read and vote for the story on the day.
Theme: 'I will survive.'

18th July
Write Out Day
Staunton Country Park
Meet at 10 am. Bring pen paper, money for parking, entry fee and coffee.

Staunton County Park, Middle Park Way, Havant PO9 5HB

Farm and gardens admission

  • Adult: £7.50
  • Senior Citizen: £6.50
5th September
Day Writing Retreat
10 am tea/coffee
10:30 intro session
11am writing activity which may include visiting the beach - bring suitable clothing/footwear
c.12:30 pm light lunch - tea/coffee provided
2:30 pm tea/coffee cake 
3pm close
£15 per person
The Crescent, West Wittering PO20 8EE

26th September 
Macmillan Coffee Morning
Tea, coffee, sandwiches, cakes, live readings, raffle.
Please bring family and friends. All money goes to charity.

3rd October 
Short story or poem competition.
Must be six minutes or under.
Read and vote for the story on the day.
Theme: 'The Sea'

This years anthology is now out a 'Teacup of Words.' It is available on lulu.