Friday, 24 February 2012

Shrove Tuesday madness, a surreal moment and a competition entry

Welcome bloggers – I’ve been a little late updating over recent weeks so thought I’d surprise you with an early post for a change.

I’ve had a decent week regards creativity, one very surreal hour but the rest of the week has been excellent.

Shrove Tuesday saw me attend, for the first time in my life, the craziness that is called ‘the Ball game’ in Warwickshire. I, like a thousand other people, made my way to the designated street to observe the 813 year old tradition. I was amazed. Teenagers were standing on top of telephone and electrical boxes – as these were the best vantage point. I watched as the crowd surged back and forth chasing a giant pumpkin ball in the name of honour. I hung about for 30 minutes, before returning home to capture my images and memories in a short poem. I have entered the event as yet another unexpected opportunity on my April Fool List.    

Wednesday night - at The Mad Hatter's meeting, I read a short story called 'Happiness' which I’ve written as a competition entry. It received a mixed critique from the other members; an incorrect setting and era were imagined, repetition of a name sounded clunky and a general ambiguity suggested that I had to re-edit the story. It may seem harsh but it is only from listening to readers’ comments that you can judge what needs attention and so, I spent two hours today re-editing to iron out the issues. Thankfully, I was able to systematically address each one until I felt the piece was complete – that was the finale for me. I managed to polish, print and then post the story off to the desired address, ahead of the closing date 1st March 2012. This is now the second short story entry of my desired six entries for 2012.

I organise myself in a way that I always enter the postal details into my admin submission records, with a note in my dairy in relation to the release of results. If I don’t hear any news by 23rd April, I’ll re-print this story and send it to a women’s magazine – writing is ever wasted.

My attention will now turn to the next competition ‘Bristol Short Story Prize 2012’ with the closing date 31st March. I have many short stories which simply need a polish to adapt them to meet the competition rules. For further details

Thursday night – was a strange night. The Grace Dieu Writers’ Circle were invited to attend the viewing of a film. I’m not even going to name the title because I really don’t wish to be unkind. But blimey, just because you can hold a film camera doesn’t justify being a film maker. I can hold a guitar, believe me when I say, I am no Jimmi Hendrix! Me and four other members sat through the 25 minutes film – words failed me, thankfully they didn’t fail the others! I’m still trying to justify a lost hour of my life but hey, I’ll put it done to experience. Thankfully, our usual meeting occurred straight afterwards where the delights and humour of our members made up for the short fall of the film. We cried with laughter when one member read his account of giving a cat a worming tablet – wow, it was good enough for comedy stand up!

I plan to spend Saturday proofreading ‘Her’ – it’ll be a hard slog seeking punctuation and poor grammar – slowly, slowly catch a monkey seems to be the current pattern. I still have a half complete synopsis calling my name so maybe I’ll alternate between the two tasks.

Sunday has evolved into a day dedicated to planning for the day job – so I’m sure the routine will continue this week, much like any other.

I have a Grade 3 music exam next Thursday – so my spare moments of next week will be spent learning my Italian terms in preparation. Though I am sure to have plenty of evenings writing in an almost empty week.

A quick shout out to my visitors from overseas – I’m always amazed by your returning visits to my little blog. Remember you can follow me on Twitter by searching for odwyer_author.

Wishing you a relaxed weekend and fingers crossed, you find inspiration to be creative. Enjoy!   

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Pandas, poems and plays

Evening folks – I’ve been away to Edinburgh for a week’s holiday so I'm behind with my blogging. I have to tell you with great excitement that I've seen the two beautiful pandas at Edinburgh zoo, sooooo gorgeous it is untrue. Both Sunshine and Sweetie performed perfectly well for our viewing session by gamboling about and eating bamboo like true professionals. So, I can tick another event from my April Fool List – I haven’t many weeks left and still a few too many items remain, check out the panel on the right hand side.

We managed to visit many of the tourist sites that we’d missed on a previous visit, climbing the Scott monument, camera obscurer and for me, The Elephant House cafĂ© where JK Rowling penned parts of her first novel. I marvelled, as I had previously, at the loyalty of Greyfriar’s Bobby – the terrier that lay upon its owner’s grave each day for 14 years! Edinburgh – what a wonderful place!

Anyhow, whilst visiting Scotland I managed to write two  short poems and plan a short story for a competition entry.

Whilst away and unable to proofread – I had a little spring cleaning session regards productivity. I can proudly say that since October 2011, I have written 52 poems, three short stories and edited/proofread twenty six chapters – not a bad inventory for a gal that works full time, studies and is part way through her teacher training. I thought the ‘stock take’ was rather a thought provoking task so have decided to repeat the activity quarterly – it’ll help keep my momentum going if nothing else.

For the day job I have had to read Goldsmith’s play ‘She stoops to conquor’ - yet again, I have discovered a little gem outside the confines of my usual reading choices. I’ve had to read it to assist sixth form ‘A’ level students – but have thoroughly enjoyed the little farce. My next text, which I am hoping proves to be just as enjoyable, is Tennessee Williams’ ‘A streetcar named Desire’ – I’ll let you know how I get along.

This week, I found myself trying to explain to my mother about ‘writing’ – oh, it proved difficult. Why is it that strangers are always so much easier than family? She nodded, ummmmed and arrrred in all the right places, yet I just know that she didn’t get what I was trying to explain. It seems so natural to me to wander about shopping, queuing and living whilst my head plans and organizes a chapter or a short story. Only to come home to draft, edit or re-arrange the piece. My mother’s expression announced that she obviously thinks we’re all simply mad, reinforced by her remark ‘Oh, no. Sounds like your brain never switches off,’ – is it supposed too?

I have two writers' meeting this week; Wednesday - Mad Hatters and Thursday – Grace Dieu. At both meetings I shall read  a short story called ‘Happiness’ which I drafted last weekend as a competition piece - though it needs a little polishing before its unveiling. Thursday’s meeting is being held at Coalville library as we’re having a guest for the evening, Lauren Westwood who is showing a film called ‘Life in the woods’ – everyone is welcome to attend, for further details please visit

It has been a long weekend and so I’m going to love you and leave you now – but remember you can follow me on ‘Twitter’ by searching and following odwyer_author – please pass this blog onto others who may be interested. Enjoy!

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Juggling, charging and a vow to try harder

Morning folks – am I glad to see you guys. I have had a tiring and pretty stressful week with the day job. I have attended three days of interviews to secure a job for September – only to be rejected on the smallest detail. I am literally gutted. It would have been my 2nd dream job (1st being writing full time). Anyhow, onwards and upwards as they say, so be careful with me - I am delicate at the minute.

The trouble with dividing your energies is that something has to give. Yes, you've guessed it, my writing. I haven’t, and this is no word of a lie, I haven’t even switched my lap top on since last Sunday!!! Shock confession but I have to be honest with you guys. It has called my name each time I have walked passed but I’ve mastered the deaf/blind persona each time as the guilt has risen in my throat. So much so, today I will be writing all day and to ease that guilt, I even promise to clean my screen before hand, as a treat for her being so patient.

The experience of this week, has yet again brought forth my constant compliant that if only I didn’t have to juggle, my debut novel would be complete by now, and who knows where that could lead. I feel cheated. I’ve put aside my beloved writing to secure the day job only to have my creative side feel robbed and erased, feeling second best. For those that haven’t read this blog from the beginning, I have been pursuing two plans: plan A - writing my book and plan B securing a career as a second option for the last six yeaars. I know I’m not the only one that has to do this, lots of authors before me have struggled to secure their chosen career – but the energy it takes is immense.

O.K. less of the moaning more of the action. Today, I am going to indulge myself at my desk. I have lots of ideas swimming about in my head, a small poem came to me this morning whilst cleaning – oh yeah, my cleaner let me down as well this week (shakes head, roll eyes).

I must tell you about a book I’m reading called 'Room' by Emma Donoghue – a fabulous little story about a young boy, it captures your interest from the word go. I’ve nearly finished, but I’d definitely recommend it from Kindle at the shock price of just 99p.

Whilst talking about Kindle ebooks – my short story is doing very well. I have to say at every stage in life you learn a lesson – I have learnt much from this little project. Some which I shall keep to myself, because as mum always says ‘if you haven’t anything nice to say don’t say anything at all’. So I won’t, but I have taken note. I’ve realised that it doesn’t matter how much you support others it isn’t always two way traffic. People would prefer to tell you lies than fork out a small price to enjoy your work, some even feel the need to ask for it for free so they don’t have to spend any energy getting to a book site. Honestly, this little project has shown me so much in regards to human nature as my psychology degree ever did. Now, I realise that many new writers may be reading this and asking why am I complaining if others are buying it? I suppose it’s because I’ve had to justify why I am charging for my work. As a writer, I have given away many short stories, to aid my CV – I expect to do that for editors and magazines. I will add, I think it shows an element of goodwill towards creating a rapport and name for ones self. But, there comes a time when I have to respect the amount of hours that I have sat alone, away from my family, working on a single piece, refining and editing to the point of madness. The final draft of some of my stories has been draft twelve or even, fifteen. So, yes, I am now charging for my work, as a writer should. This doesn’t rule out me ever donating work in the future, I am certain I will. For this particular story ‘A front row seat’ I chose to publish on Kindle to assist my writing career by showing agents and publishers that I am prepared to venture into publication and marketing.

I think I should also add, never have I not supported another writer or poet when they have gingerly offered me a copy of their anthology priced much higher than I have requested for my work. So, I hope that has stated my case or even got other folk, new to writing, thinking about their own talents and efforts. Your time is precious, don’t give it away without good reason.

If you have purchased a copy of ‘A front row seat’ on Kindle eBooks I thank you from the bottom of my heart, if not, why? Sorry, only joking. Could I ask that buyers return to complete the feedback section as it helps other potential buyers to decide.  Details of Amazon/Kindle eBooks site is posted in the left hand panel.

Plans for the week ahead, I am on holiday for a one week and so I am out and about with the family. I will be taking my Ipad, I will be writing and I will be researching. I vow to you that I will have exciting and witty news to share next week. Apologies for being such a lazy mare this week, but the sensible day job persona took over well and truly – but now, the arty, creative gal is back in charge and raring to go.     

Remember you can follow me on ‘Twitter’ by searching and following odwyer_author – please pass this blog onto others who may be interested. Enjoy!

Update: Sunday 12th Feb 2012

As promised yesterday, I made sure that I spent the entire day at my desk and am proud to announce I wrote a short story plus three poems!!! Just what my creative soul needed to kick start my creative holiday. See you next Saturday for more announcements. Enjoy!  

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Synopsis struggles, blurred life and an OBE for Juggling

Afternoon folks, I am quite late with today’s update but given the week I have had I’m simply pleased to be posting.
A whirlwind seems to have descended upon my life this week and whisked it into a hullabaloo so that I don’t know my head from my elbow!

I had an absolutely fabulous writing day last Saturday, which I thought had set me up for the week – sadly not. With the house to myself, I’d worked all day, indulging my love of silence. I should mention that this synopsis business is really getting me down at the minute. I am literally adding and removing text all over the place – I shall be bald by the time it is written to a standard I desire.

Anyhow, Monday saw an action packed day at the day job – which I then resented once home. I was drained of all energy, ready to throw the towel in regards human beings were concerned. Honestly – it was that bad!

Tuesday saw an almost Ground hog day of Monday, except I didn’t get lunch nor breaks! And developed a stinking headache. And yet again, I returned home determined to emigrate to a planet without humans – or at least a two week vacation.

So neither night did I work on my writing – when really it was the one thing that would definitely do me some good!

Wednesday - my spirits were lifted by a notification that Marian Keyes had posted a blog update. I dashed to her site in order to read and follow a brave lady who has been honest about her recent absence. I actually had a smile dawn upon the old chops – it literally made my day, no correction week, to read of her return.

Thursday was a blur as I managed a fifteen hour day at the day job – I kid you not. I didn’t have time to think let alone compose a sentence.

Friday, saw me return to my old school after 25 years to experience their teaching. Boy oh boy – did I feel old. Though, I was amazed at remembering specific conversations as I walked about the school site. Friday, 5pm and I was dead on my feet, I sat on the sofa for the first time since Monday and.... fell asleep. No meal, no drinks, no wine – simply sleep.

I woke this morning knowing that I had a feat and a half to conquer – to writer a 1200 word essay on Pugin and Catholicism. And, yes, that is what has taken up the best part of my day so far. But, and I feel like screaming this. I am about to take the dog out for a long trek, then when I return I am firing up my laptop and ignoring the bods in my house because I am going to indulge my mind and write. I am not even going to look at the synopsis but write from fresh..... bliss.

So my dear followers, you can see I have had a nightmare of a week, the outstanding tasks and pile of shite heading my way doesn’t seem to be getting nay smaller but I shall do one thing at a time and see where I end up – fingers crossed, I will eat and sleep in between the to-do-list entries. But I promise, I shall be attending my two writers groups this week, Wednesday and Thursday night and that in the midst of madness I will Tweet - as this too has gone by the by this last week. I would hate for my followers to think I was neglecting them – honestly, I think of you often.

One good thing about this week has been my collecting short stories entries that I haven’t had chance to even read but now sit as a new collection upon my desk calling my name. Hello little flyers, I shall now read you and may begin the process of creativity whilst on the dog walk. If all else fails, I break up on Friday for a week’s holiday, so I shall keep you safe until then.

From a hurried writer, who is at the end of her tether wondering if the day job is truly worth any of this juggling? In fact, I self nominate myself for an OBE for Juggling. Now, that would put a smile on my face. Enjoy!