Saturday, 26 November 2011

A weekend wish list, song writing and writing treasures

Morning folks – I have a free weekend to myself, as Hubby is away on a training course. So, I am up early making the very most of every single moment. It feels like a luxury having the house to myself, with a free routine to do as I wish. As you’ve probably realised by now, I’m a list person – so my first task was a ‘wish list’ to accomplish this weekend - my main task will be editing chapters of ‘Her’, in between which I’ll do smaller tasks - complete a shoe poem, a sketch for the shoe poetry project and a  couple of printing jobs needed for short story competitions.

At Wednesday night’s Mad Hatters writers’ meeting, I read four of the shoe poems – all received positive feedback, some with a little giggle. I was pleased at their reception considering they’ve been created upon dog walking duties. Amazing what you can achieve with 30 minutes twice a day. One member asked if I’d found the poetry helped regards my novel writing? I have to admit it has. I’ve seen the poetry in the same manner as a ‘warm up’ exercise at the gym. As I’m currently editing my novel, my creative outlet has been limited in the form of short stories, so the daily poetry has helped. I have just six more shoe poem to write – so we’ll see what happens after wards, I may even begin another poetry project.

I failed to attend the Grace Dieu writers’ circle on Thursday evening due to a cold - which I don’t seem able to shake off. I sent my apologies before hand but it didn’t seem quite right being at home missing their creative delights. I may not be able to make the next Grace Dieu session due to having an appointment at blood donors – which I couldn’t possibly miss as it will be my 50th donation – yes, you read that right folks 50 pints! Which will be number 17 ticked off my April Fool list (see right hand panel).

This week, I was introduced to a new magazine called ‘Be: magazine’, a quarterly publication produced in Worcester, which is the official magazine of the Worcester Literary Festival. The editorial team are seeking submissions for short stories, poetry, and features.  For further details, take a look at their submission guidelines at

Just like last week I have continued pondering many aspects of my writing world – one being the restriction on sharing future ideas. I’m all for sharing experience and advice but I have come to the decision that from this point I won’t be sharing my musings until they are complete. It sounds harsh, but I don’t know of any other writer that details their ideas prior to completing - many refuse to even talk about a current project. I have to start seeing my musings and ideas as ‘treasures’ upon which my future depends – so from now, my lips are sealed.

Monday, 28th November, I’m attending a song writing session in Lichfield, organised by Barry Hunt. I met Barry whilst attending the Polesworth Poetry Trail workshops back in February. Barry was successful in creating a song for the poetry trail, which is situated within the Pooley Heritage Park. I am hoping to gain a creative outlet that will help my novel writing, much in the same way as Barry attended the poetry to gain creative ideas for song writing. Finger crossed, all goes well and I’ll be able to share my experience next week. Should you be interested in attending the session, please contact Barry Hunt on
My current reading book is ‘The little stranger’ by Sarah Waters – the book is not what I’d expected - some strange goings on have occurred and I’m hooked. I can’t keep my nose out of this book – which could prove to be my down fall on my free weekend. I continue to plod with Middlemarch.... oh, it’s such hard work. And, I must say a belated ‘Happy birthday’ to George Eliot for 22nd November.

I have ordered P. D. James’ new release ‘Death at Pemberley’ – I’m a sucker for anything related to Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. In fact, I thought the postman would have delivered it today, along with ten Mr Men book ordered for my little cousin – sadly, nothing has arrived.

Tomorrow Radio Four has a midday programme dedicated to Ian Rankin – so, I’ll be tuning into drawl over his Scottish tones. Phew, I’ve gone all of a quiver. So, on that note I shall love and leave you.

Remember you can also follow me on Twitter by searching for Odwyer_author, please feel free to message me any questions - I promise to answer all.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Juggling, struggling and realisation

Morning folk, it’s an early blog from me as I’m heading off to the Birmingham German markets - in search of Christmas presents for the extended family.

My week has been a bit of a juggle between day job and writing – I could really do with another half term holiday to focus my energy.

Monday night, I managed to proofread two chapters of ‘Her’, which seems to be a slow process.  

Tuesday night – I missed the Goblin poetry night in Ashby, due to a University evening where we discussed Faraday’s reputation – which I have to confess, I found fascinating. So many great lives have gone before us, leaving behind their knowledge. Though, the urge to write a short story fictionalizing my fellow pupils is growing with each session – I shall jot down a few notes into my ideas book and find some time to plan.

Wednesday – was a wipe out. I was so tired, I fell asleep in the chair and remained there until bedtime – annoying but I must have needed.  

Thursday evening, I polished a poem about a tennis shoe, which had been floating about my head whilst on dog walks. I now have 11 poems so, whilst on a shopping trip I took a trip into the children’s section of Waterstone’s to take a look at the poetry section. I made a list of the publishers, on which I’ll do my homework using the Writers’ and Artists’ Year book before deciding what I’ll do once the final eight poems are crafted.

Friday night, the family sat watching the Disney version of Christmas Carole, which got thinking of my Christmas pasts, Christmas present, Christmas future. By the end of the film, I had an autobiographical piece mapped out in my mind, which I hope to begin drafting this weekend.

All in all, a fairly quiet week at home for me, with lots of thoughts and new ideas forming for the future.

Having juggled the week as I have - fighting for my writing time, I’ve come to a decision that from this point on my ‘time’ has to be valued in relation to my novel. At a writers’ workshop, Jo Bell had explained that we can all run about being ‘creative types’ helping, supporting and doing for others, while our own projects patiently wait for our return. I acknowledge that networking is very important but it has to be the right networking for my project, not others. Such thoughts have also coincided with the realisation that I don’t want to be a jack-of-all-trades; simply one thing ‘an author’ and so all my creative efforts will be put into that one goal. My new mantra is ‘if the time spent doesn’t assist my project and goal, then I can’t afford the time’. Sounds pretty ruthless but if I want what I want; I need to do what I need to do – to make it happen for me. See, I told you I’d been navel gazing. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m prepared to do a lot, outside of writing, in order to obtain my goal; creative branding, media workshops, elocution lessons, even 1:1 training on presentational speaking – some skills I’ve already addressed. In this media driven world, where the whole package is the desired option, I really feel I need to focus my attention on me and mine.

After some rather deep thinking, I shall love and leave you. Remember, you can follow me on Twitter Odwyer_author for further creative musings. Enjoy!

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Outted by Twitter, writers galore and a song writing session

Morning folks, I’m back with a weekly round up of my musings. I have to say it has been an interesting week – in numerous ways.

Tuesday – was definitely a strange day. I discovered at lunchtime that a close family friend was now ‘following’ me on Twitter – a life long friend, who may I add, knows nothing of my writing and musings. Several months ago, he’d signed up to follow the surname, but had ‘unfollowed’ within the hour having read the mini bio and quite obviously thought ‘nope that isn’t her’ – hee hee it was! But Tuesday, he knew it was me having cleverly linked my Twitter status ‘supping Starbuck’s at uni’ and my Facebook status ‘A day at uni’ – clever bugger. This might seem frightfully normal to some but, and here’s my point, he is now the only individual apart from my mother and one girlfriend that stand outside of my writing circles. He, and possibly his wife, are literally the first people to know my secret! My face must have been a picture when I saw the email confirmation ‘Jakes???? is following you on Twitter’, a gasp escaped me, followed by a giggle but in some ways I’m delighted, it’s beginning to feel right that others should know what the hell I’ve been doing for near on 16 years!!!!! So, Ian and Emma – welcome, to my secret.

Wednesday saw the Mad Hatters writing meeting in Atherstone – to which I might add, we were all late – every last one of us – which gave me an idea for a story! There was a lot to talk about, ideas and new ventures flying about the place. I hadn’t taken an extract from my novel but a poem instead Mr Fox – which a member had requested, having missed it the time before. But, as so often happens when writers and poets meet, the big and little hand soon surprised us by calling bed time.

Thursday evening was the highlight of my writing week – an evening of short stories at Coalville organised by my other writing group, Grace Dieu Writers Circle – where The Runaway Writers of Burton, Charnwood Writers of Loughborough and Ashby Writers Club of Ashby-De-La-Zouch (I love that name) came together to share our work. There was lots of talk of planning a ‘write off’ between the four groups – which fingers crossed, Tony will set about organising. Each writing group had previously voted three members’ to represent their group – thankfully a piece of my work had been chosen by the Grace Dieu members. I felt quite honoured, especially as I only joined them in the spring, to represent the groups' talent by reading ‘Caught in the act’.

Yesterday, I booked myself onto a song writing workshop happening Monday, 28th November, from 7:30pm, in Lichfield. The two hour session is being organised and run by Barry Hunt - contact for further details.  I thought, why not? If I can attend poetry nights purely for pleasure and inspiration, I can attend a song writing session – who knows what creative powers might be released to aid my novel writing. Plus, I can at least sing/play instruments, which is a bonus compared to my struggles with poetry. Though Barry, if you’re reading this ‘no, I’m not singing’.

This morning, having washed the poodle, as cream carpets and garden mud don’t mix well – I composed a poem about a flip flop, as part of my mini poetry project. So far, I have poems for ballet slipper, a knitted bootee, doggy bootee, swimming sock, wellington boot, stiletto heel, plimsoll, and now, a flimsy flip flop. I’ve compiled a list of footwear, twenty in total, so will continue with the project until I’ve exhausted the list. After which, I’ll begin another little idea that has sprung from no where.... more said another time. 

This week I’ve devoured a book ‘Toast’ by Nigel Slater, a British chef – a beautifully written autobiography in which he links every memory to food. It’s been a gastronomic delight to dip into his world, so skilfully written to connect reader and writer, that I’ve shouted aloud a couple of times in recognition of particular sensations and smells.

I am, still plodding along with Middlemarch by Eliot, it’s going to be a long haul to reach the back cover but I am determined to do it by 31st March 2012 – see April Fool list.

The plan for today, is to tether myself to my writing desk in order to proofread another few chapters of ‘Her’ – hunting for typos and punctuation errors. As always, you can follow me on Twitter by searching for Odwyer_author  - providing daily musings from my creative world.

Next Tuesday, 15th November see the launch of a new poetry evening in Ashby-De-La-Zouch (I love it) at The Giggling Goblin coffee bar, Mill Lane from 8:30pm onwards - promising to be a night of music, song, recitals and readings. The event is planned for the third Tuesday of each month and everyone is welcome. 

And finally, a huge shout out to followers in Latvia – thank you for your support and I hope my blog inspires in some small way.

Follow up - 13.11.11: I've just realised that I'm at university on Tuesday evening so won't be able to attend the Ashby poetry night - I am sure it'll be a fabulous night. I instead, I'll be discussing the reputation of Stalin - if the discussion is anything like art history - I'm walking out (honestily, I am). Or another plan would be to stay listening but begin planning for a short story about our previous art history class! 

Saturday afternoon, I created a 'football boot' poem in honour of the 'friendly' match between England and Spain (Grrrrr, I hate friendlies) and I polished an Armstice Day poem drafted on 11.11.11. Not to mention the two chapters of 'Her' that I proofread - phewwwww.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Middlemarch, Shoe rack and a letter to Granddad

Morning folks – you join me on a damp and dismal Saturday morning – it  seems to have rained for 24 hour. I'm up bright an early as I have a full day ahead.

I’ve had a strange week. Monday saw a return to the day job after a week’s holiday - only to find the kids hyper and the staff counting down to the next holiday. By the time I arrive home, I felt completely drained so spent the entire evening, literally until bedtime, reading ‘Middlemarch’. Wow, this book is not an easy read - I’m having to read every sentence twice to ensure that I fully understan the meaning – talk about over descriptive and wordy.  But I am determined to plod on till its completed – especially, as it is number 7 on my April Fool list.  

Wednesday - I attended a music theory exam, surrounded by young children doing a higher grade paper than my grade 2. Now, that was a moment of humility in my busy week. I sat the exam purely for fun – yet, remember all to well the terror witnessed in the children’s faces as we waited to be seated. Thank fully, those days are long gone. I know I’ve passed but will have to wait till nearer to Christmas for the exact grade.

Thursday evening saw me attend The Fizz 10, three Cork Poets in the Tithe Barn of Polesworth – a very enjoyable night spent amongst worthy poets. For more details and a review by Gary Longden, please visit

Friday saw me on the hunt for cheap printer ink cartridges – wow, even the on-line price isn’t as cheap as I’d like. Given that I use the majority for printing, I always purchase. I might have to take on a mortgage if I'm to print out ten sets of part-manuscripts for agents come December.

I mentioned last week that I had a new project under way, which was to be completed on dog walking missions. Well, in one week I’ve written several more poems: doggy bootee, swimming sock, plimsoll, with the beginnings of wellington boot sloshing about in my head. Not bad for early morning musings amongst the falling autmun leaves.

Yesterday, I returned to a personal project that I started a while back. I began writing a series of letters connected to my family tree. Given that yesterday was five years to the day since I saw my granddad for the last time, I wrote him a letter. Such a smashing man, I used my final words to him as the opening of the letter, ‘Bye, and no more dancing in the bathroom, Grandad.’

My aim for today is to proof read a whole section of ‘Her’. All week I’ve been planning for today, preparing myself for the long haul, armed with a gallon of hot tea and biscuits. Which given the weather outside is truly the best option. Though, I’ll have to nip out with the pup for our weekend trek and a shoe thought.

Mentioning the pup, I have a poem forming regards him ‘The poodle in the puddle’ which sprung out of no where on yesterday morning’s walk. In fact, I may list a dog as one of life’s essentials for any writer – dog walking duties seem to increase the creative muse.

The ‘Book of the week’ on Radio 4 was ‘Why be happy when you can be normal’ by Jeanette Winterson – an extremely funny lady born out of a difficult childhood. Please treat yourself to a listen – there are only a few days of shelf life remaining for the podcast.
Writers’ News magazine flopped onto the doorstep this morning; so far I’ve read three articles all crammed with excellent ideas and advice for the inspired novelist. There are several articles focusing on novel writing, along side the usual favourites: my writing day, Q&A and of course, the competitions.

The coming week is pretty basic. I’ve got the Mad Hatters Writers’ Group on Wednesday night, but the highlight of the week is going to be the Grace Dieu Short story evening on Thursday. I shall be reading my story ‘Caught in the act’ at the allotted time of 7:20 pm – or so, the evening’s programme tells me. So fingers crossed, that it’s an enjoyable night in celebration of National Short story week. We have guests attending from Ashby, Charnwood and Burton writing groups - so it should be a jolly evening.

That’s about it from me this week – so, I’ll love you and leave you to ensure that I can settle at my desk for the long day ahead. Enjoy!