Have a look on the #creativewritingink tab on the menu to see my response to the latest photo prompt.
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I’ve been less ill this week. To give context, this means I’ve been able to get up, dress, perhaps make toast and generally function. I pushed myself on Wednesday to spend time with some dear friends (the type who wouldn’t mind if I was in my pyjamas when they visited), and whilst my body is complaining, my mind is delighted. Having a bit of the outside world brought in has been so good.
There has been progress with writing too. This week has seen a submission to shooterlitmag.com, and an entry to the Yeovil short story competition . I’m hoping to spend the rest of the week working on my Crow stories, a more involved piece for The Bridport Prize.
The two things I find most difficult are focusing on one project at a time, and actually finishing a piece. I always feel my short stories tail off rather unsatisfactorily. This might come from my own dislike of neat endings in fiction, or it might be because I keep flitting around. Sometimes I just get bored, which must indicate that I need a new idea, or at least a new angle on an old idea. Experimenting with point of view helps me with this. Poetry seems easier, perhaps because the shape and aim seem to make themselves clear as I write. A good short story seems frustratingly out of reach. Any tips are welcome!
Hello all, my latest response to February’s photo prompt can be seen by clicking the #creativewritingink tab on the menu. I’d love it if you’d have a read. Its very short, you can probably read it while the kettle’s boiling. I think the fancy name is flash fiction.
In other news, the lurgy is still lurking, but I have a nifty lap thing that means I can recline and write.Just imagine a slightly less pink Barbara Cartland. It’s a useful thing, and great to be able to write something, however little.
New story for #creativewriting ink, more submissions and more competitions.
The last week has seen two more poetry submissions . The first is three poems on the theme of perception of women in the media sent to Under the Radar, whch is the magazine of publishing house Nine Arches Press. The theme is one that features heavily in my poetry, so I chose the pieces I was most confident about and ones which suited the modern style of work seen in the magazine.I’ve also sent two pieces of ‘concrete poetry’ to Mslexia magazine. I love the marriage of shape and meaning in this kind of poem, and plan to write more like it.
I’m also starting to work on two pieces for the Bridport Prize. I’ve must admit I’ve got my head in a bit of a pickle. Reading past winners inevitably leads to comparison, which leads to mild despair. The voice which can feel so strong seems to fade a little. I find I’m trying so hard to be what I perceive I ought to be, that my brain seizes up completely.Whilst I’m confident with my voice for poetry, I find writing short stories a great deal more confusing. I always seem to revert to a conventional, pedestrian style. For some publications and competitions telling a story is not enough, I have to be innovative, and a little oblique. I also need to remind myself that I’ve only just started to learn how to develop my skills, so hopefully the polished style and authentic voice I crave will begin to emerge.
Developing a voice sounds like an affected concept, but it is this that makes writing really stand out, and makes people seek a particular author. For me there are many reasons, perhaps the writer is someone I identify with, someone I admire, or just someone who makes me laugh. I’m reading a book by Jonas Jonasson at the moment, and one of the main things that strikes me is how much he seems to be enjoying his writing. There is a playful element which I love, and it is this that is going to make me want to read more by him.
I’m going to to carry on working on my entries, but am trying to realign my mind with the joy of writing, rather than try to write in a particular style. I have spent far too much time doing that for a certain optical company !
Having said all this, I am enjoying responding to the images from #creative writing ink, and find them a useful way of making sure I produce something new each week. My latest short story based on their prompt can be found by clicking this link . #creativewritingink
Nope, this isn’t the start of a bleak, windswept poem.Rejection is a part of producing any piece of work. Nothing is perfect first time round, and perception of value is always influenced by the experience and value of the reader. Despite knowing this, the reality of having work rejected is something that new writers seem to find hard to talk about.
Perhaps it’s because it’s tied up with so many emotions, a lot of them rooted in precarious teenage years. Those feelings of being on the outside of the group and never quite knowing which friends to trust are common feelings for many people.For me, they’ve never quite left, and I’m finally starting to embrace them as part of who I am. I’m not sure I’d want to write and create if all I wanted was to be part of the crowd. Our past experience shapes us, and whilst we can’t ever control what happens,or how others treat us we can try to control our response. That doesn’t mean it’s easy!
This association with failure and exclusion is what makes the acceptance of rejection as inevitable so difficult, and so rarely mentioned, unless it’s to trot out the legendary number of times Carrie or Harry Potter were rejected*. Putting work out to tender is a big leap. Competitions feel ok,they’re anonymous, and no letter is sent back to me. It’s pretty easy for me to forget I even entered. Sending to a publication? Very different. It’s that feeling that someone has read my work, sniggered,smirked and decided I can’t join in.
Except,of course, they haven’t done that. All they have done is read it, (possibly), and decided that it’s not suitable for their magazine. They haven’t pronounced me a terrible writer, they haven’t rolled their eyes with disgust that I had the temerity to sully their office with my tat, and they haven’t sent me a raven bearing the missive “Never write again”. The editor of a magazine, or journal is simply looking for something that will excite their readers, and keep the subscriptions flowing.
One of the best things about studying writing is learning to crave criticism . It is what has helped me to grow and improve. It’s not always easy to hear, and it’s not always well delivered, but being told where I’ve gone wrong, and how to improve is one of the greatest gifts I can be given.
I’m looking forward to getting rejection letters. Even if I’m not accepted into one gang, I know I had the guts to try, and one day I’ll find the people who are right for me. Being in a position to be able to produce work that other people might enjoy is fantastic, and the bumps along the way are part of learning and understanding.
If only everything else was so straightforward……..
*Carrie was rejected 30 times. Harry Potter was rejected 12 times, with one publisher recommending JK Rowling attend a writing group to help her development.
The best people get rejected, have a read here
So, all a little quiet on the blogging front. I’ve managed to delete my old posts and all your lovely comments. Mildly frustrated, but I’ll keep poking about to try to restore them.
In other news, writing has been going well. I’ve completed two more poems for my final assignment, which I’m quite happy with. They’re a little lighter than previous work, I’m trying to step outside writing about my personal feelings, and consider wider issues. I’m also trying to bring in more humour. We’ll see if anyone laughs.
The most exciting thing is the creative writing ink photo prompt, which has given me a way i can publish some of my writing for you to read. It gives you a snapshot of my style. I hope you enjoy reading them, just click the #creativewritingink tab for this weeks piece.
I’m off to learn how to write a blog and keep it. And possibly to watch a bit more of Michael Palin travelling around the world.
Stop Press (do people still say that ?), I’ve figured it out ! Hoorah !