Start all over again…

Lots of rejections, non-progressions to shortlists, no replies; busy life; deaths; reorganisation of entire house; visitors; business picking up (I run a holiday let) later, and I’m back. I’ve tickled the keyboard from time to time, but nothing too great has come out. My ideas, however, have been non-stop and I’ve been itching to get back to the keyboard, especially as I now have an office. The total house reorganisation resulted in us finding a room – a whole room! – that I could turn into an office. Okay, ‘room’ is a slight exaggeration. It’s a porch. It was first, the dogs’ place, at night, when they were alive. Then it turned into a home for the tumble dryer I had to buy when I got fed up of Scottish winters seeing my house hanging with laundry like a crazy fabric shop, and a dumping ground. When we dug everything out, a room piped up, ‘I’m here! Use me!’ so in went a desk, a chair, a couple of cat baskets and some books. Voila, an office. It’ll be freezing in the winter, but in the summer it’s an office al fresco, opening as it does onto my back yard where I have boxes full of busily growing veg. In a small cottage full of four people’s stuff, this is my very own corner. It’s like being a kid getting her own room again – a whole room, mine, that I don’t have to share with anyone (except the cats), that I can decorate in my own no-wall-space left under the posters/kids’ drawings, postcards, post its, reminders, notice board way, that I can cram with plants and books and ideas. This room is chock full of my ideas. It’s a little bit of me, a place I can retreat to and write. Previously I camped in a corner of the lounge and had to bear my soul to everyone who came in and paused to look at what i was doing. This office/ porch – porffice – is an extension of my own imagination, a place full of ME, that I can come to and relax and be creative. How lucky am I. To get here required weeks of reorganising and finding piles of crap that needed sorting. But it was worth it.

I mentioned that my business has taken off – I spend a lot of time ironing sheets – first time in my life – as I want the place to get cracking reviews and people to love it, which happens every single time. The ironing is good though – I can daydream and think up stories, an stimulate my mind by listening to TED talks. Every one I listen to widens my mind and gives me ideas.

I’m back on the Scottish Book Trust site, with a follow up to last year’s piece that was published in the freebie book that was in a print run of 150,000. I’d love to be in this year’s book but not sure if a) my piece is good enough or b) if it is, whether I’m allowed to be in it two years running. I suspect not. But it’s here, on their site:

http://scottishbooktrust.com/writing/nourish/story/second-life

I’m feeling better. Life is good. Never ever been so busy – if I wrote a list of all the things I do day to day in the home at work on my computer in the village at school for our forthcoming wedding, then you’d never believe it could be done. I breathe in and breathe out and get on with it. Being busy stops me thinking about stuff I shouldn’t be thinking about and I get FAR more done. Every week I choose a couple of hours to sit on the sofa and just read for two hours and catch up with myself. Invariably I’ll fall asleep, but that’s fine. This year I’m trying to read a book a week. I’m two books behind schedule, which isn’t bad.

Thanks for reading.

Thanks for finding me, porffice.

Thanks for being patient, my precious ideas.

On Being Unable to Settle

Today is the first day I’ve had free to write, for AGES. There’s been a health scare, Christmas and family times, A Christmas Quiz and family New Year party – Hogmanay up here in Scotland –  both of which I helped organise. It’s been busy, fun, chaotic.

There’s a ton of housework and washing to be done, but I’m really good at ignoring that and sitting down to write. But instead, I find myself obsessively checking the NYC Midnight site – for today is the day the results of the Flash Fiction Challenge 2016 are announced… Getting from 2100 to 48 people is fantastic and I’m very happy. But the boost in visibilty and financial terms that winning would be…. well, it would be amazing. I can but dream. The money is most definitely secondary (except that at the moment we’re living beyond our means in many ways so it would most definitely be helpful) but the boost for my writing CV would be incredible. Wonderful! America is only just waking up. Nevertheless I’ve been checking my e mail and the NYC site since I woke up, when America still slumbered. From  now on though, I’m on tenterhooks….

Another reason I can’t write much is that my writing muscles are slack. The less I write, the more ideas I have, yet the harder they are to get down. The advice about writing every day is spot on – if you don’t, the writing muscles slacken. Mine are slack. They’ll be back; by the end of tomorrow I’ll have plenty of words on pages and I’ll have my voice back. I love Christmas and the holidays but writing gets shoved to the side, as Mummy takes over, just as it should be. The kids will always come first, but once they’re at school, writing comes first.

And if I’m nowhere near the top ten, that’s fine too. I’m chuffed to bits to have made it to the final round of 48 people. I imagine they are all, like me, waiting, waiting for that announcement.

Back to the housework. It takes my mind off it, but doesn’t deter the butterflies that are flapping away inside me…Fortunately, I can work with them present, even if they make me flit from job to job, here and there, settling on cleaning the sink one minute and then folding clothes and then thinking about dinner, tidying the endless piles of STUFF dumped all aroudn the house by me or my man or the kids… it’ll all get done, but in crazy little fits and starts.

And I bet I won’t be able to find a damn thing when I’ve tidied up, as my mind is all over the place and I’ll put things in funny places…

Ooh! Spark for a story. Bye bye housework, see you later…

NYC in a Second…

I did it! I came second in my heat of round three of the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction challenge. This means I’ve gone from one of 2100 writers to a field of 48 for the last round, which is this weekend. This weekend also happens to be one of the busiest of this entire year, but where there’s a will, and all that. Even if I go no further, I’m overjoyed to have got this far.

http://www.nycmidnight.com/Competitions/FFC/2ndRound/4.htm

Cornerstones

I put up a couple of tweets last week about my collection of short stories and as a result somebody from Cornerstones got in touch and asked for a synopsis and 10 pages of work. The trouble is, 10 pages is only a fraction of a longer story, so I ended up sending in five really short pieces becasue I wanted to show the different sort of stuff I write about. To be honest I don’t hold out masses of hope, but any kind of feedback will be great and Cornerstones comes with a fantastic reputation…

Nonphotogenicism

I suffer from this. I’m just not photogenic AT ALL. Especially not in this picture:

Aberdeen resident shines in National Writing Competition

In the print copy is a photo I supplied which is wayyyyy better – this one was taken at the book launch. It features my chin. I’m not that vain but gads…

However, I’m completely ecstatic to be in the paper, chins and all.