Tag Archives: writer

How Not To Write …

artistI was flicking through, ‘How To Write A Best-seller in 72 Hours’ the other day, when I had a thought.

It’s really hard to write.

I started blogging almost four years ago due to sheer frustration, and with no one else to talk to about MS in such depth, having bored my dearest friends to death already.

I’d always wanted to write ever since one of my essays got an A+ when I was 12, and harboured visions of myself signing books, scattering bon-mots in interviews and generally being regarded as a leading light in a brand-new literary genre.

Now I’m coming to the end of my Master’s in Creative Writing and I’m not feeling very creative. At all.

I need to produce the beginnings of a novel – 6,000 words to be precise – plus a proposal and a critical reflection. Huh?

I have a few days off work to tackle the three assignments so this morning I got down to work: cat fed, three cups of coffee, quick look  through Twitter, and I was ready. New document in Word. Title. Page One. Mess about with fonts for half an hour.

Time for another cup of coffee and loading the washing machine.

Back to the computer: ‘She entered the room slowly, gently feeling her way softly across the vast, huge, vaulted-ceilinged room. ‘Where are you? she asked with a solemnity belying her tender years.’

Cringe. More Mills & Boon than Martin Amis.

I backspaced. ‘She stands in the large room.’ Then, nothing. Delete everything. I cast my mind back to all the advice I’ve read:

  • Write about what you know.
  • Read a lot.

Ok. I know about:

  • MS
  • Teenagers
  • Cats
  • Chocolate

A novel about a woman with a teenager who works in a chocolate factory and along with her trusty cat, solves crimes with astonishing detection?

Just as I was about to begin again, The Teenager thumped downstairs, gym-kitted and clutching his protein shake.

‘Goooood morning Mother. Off to work out. Need money. Ta.’

‘Hang on … I’m just finding the right word.’

‘Muuuuuum, gotta go – friends waiting. Money? Hello?’

‘Gah. I’ve lost the word.’

‘Mum! What’re you doing wearing my old Penguin t-shirt? What?! It’s from when I was fat – you promised me they had all gone to the charity shop. Muuuuum!’

‘It’s comfy.’

‘You can only keep it if you promise never, ever to wear it when my friends are here. Promise? Too tragic.’

With a fiver in his hand for a protein bar, he was gone. And so had my train of thought.

Back to square one.

‘It was a very dark and stormy night with pin-needle rain, forking down upon the unfortunate souls who forged their way through the blackness towards possible fortitude and redemption.’

Nailed it.

Tagged , , , , ,

Careful, Or You’ll End Up In My Novel…

starving artistThe life of a fledging, blossoming ‘writer’ – dramatic yet slightly pensive sigh – is not an easy one.

By day I don protective clothing and slide around in mud (sounds odd until you remember I work as a project manager for a builder, plus it rains a lot in Wales).

However come nightfall, I transmogrify into a wandering scribbler, jotting down the Remarkable  and not-so-Remarkable Things I Experienced Today.

Now I’m taking a course in Creative Writing, I’m learning to see the remarkable in the unremarkable and the unremarkable in the remarkable. I think. Confused? Me too.

In short, some kind of inspiration. So much so that I’ve become totes pretentious and have started to carry a battered notebook with me at all times. Unless I forget (easily done) in which case I send a text to myself, full or random ramblings.

Anyway, I digress. Essentially I lead quite a boring life, unless you count the mud, so I don’t really get to do exciting writeable things. Yet I have found that inspiration, words, phrases and a bit of other things strike when I least expect it. Seems however, my work-mates expect it.

Like today, we are currently working up a mountain and were sitting outside rushing to finish our coffee before the wind whipped it into a frappe. It was freezing but the clouds were stunningly beautiful. I pointed this out to my colleague, mesmerised and staring at the sky with misty eyes. He checked his phone, made his excuses and swiftly went back to banging bits of wood, muttering. Then the slabs of insulation danced and skittered in the wind, as if by an invisible hand (quickly scribble note).

‘There’s a story in that’ is my most commonly-used phrase at work, followed by ‘Shut up, boss, s’not funny. I tripped’.

However, in the last few weeks, I have upped the ante. After a particularly exhausting day keeping the boss in check, I told him in low Bond-villainnesque tones that I would put him in my novel, provisionally entitled, ”Two Bacon Butties To Go, Ta, And Go Easy on the Ketchup’.

Much to my dismay, he seemed delighted and played up to his role. So now I have to put up with even more Christmas songs on a loop courtesy of the evil elves at Smooth Radio and he has cut my caramel shortbread ration. Today we had fairy cakes. No comparison, even if they did come with plastic Santa Claus rings on top (which I collect and push into the air vents in the car).

So, no, the life of a struggling author/writer isn’t easy.

But! This challenge will surely be the making of me?

Tagged , , ,

Erm, What Am I?

starvingOk, ok, violins out – my chosen career path is, well, dead. Withered. Mothballed and shoved to the back of a cupboard in the spare bedroom next to the Nordic walking poles.

Apart from the fact that there’s a distinct lack of translation jobs in Cardiff, not many companies are inclined to convert their English brochures into Norwegian. And why would they?

And that’s fine. Honest. Gulp. Takk, and all that.

So now, who exactly am I in the grand scheme of things?

Well, pull your Ikea chair closer, for I have The Answer.

I. Am. A. Writer.

I know, strange, huh? We had a new peep on board this week at our latest project. He took in my overalls, my notepad, my, ahem, probing questions about the job. And then he asked me what I did in my real life. Hmm. I stumbled. I stuttered, ‘well, I, like, you know, erm, blog?

‘You’re a writer then.’

‘Erm, ah, no, not really, I, you know, blog, kind of…..’

‘You’re a writer then?’


*Pauses for a very, very long time to let this information digest, totally forgetting that I am enrolled on an MA in Creative Writing*

‘Erm, Yeah, s’pose. Never thought of it like, you know, ‘Writer’.

Eek. A writer?

A seductive thought. The clouds, they are very dark and they are bright. And dark! And light again.

Tagged , , , , ,