Thursday, 7 October 2010

Wednesday 6 October | Exercise 11 - Who am I?

 I like the idea of this exercise but it didn't work too well for me on this particular occasion. I will return to this one though. The idea is simple. You start the question and then keep writing to see who drops by to say hello - you can start with yourself, or write as a different character or someone you can see from your cozy writing spot. You can also try the question. Who are you?

Wednesday 6 October | Exercise 10 - observation

A man in a cheap pinstripe, hunched over a cheese and pesto toasty, keeps delivering "good ol' boy" slaps to his lunch partner who, smiles weakly each time and can't stop himself glancing at his shoulder to check for greasy fingerprints left on his leather jacket.


I do have lots of suggestions for some exercises, and I will make a start on them as soon as I stop coughing and snirching with this cold which is surely past it's sell-by-date now? For now I am just trying to get some writing done each day, and read some other writers too, maybe to find some inspiration and comfort, definitely to remind myself that I'm in the game, I may not be the best, but I can hold my own on a good day, with a fast writing pen.

Yesterday I spent my writing time with observations of people going by and I did have the germ of an idea for something bigger. I've decided not to share that little nugget, I think I made the mistake of talking about my last idea for a book, so much - I ended up just enjoying the reveal of the synopsis and I became completely blocked even after doing quite a lot of research and structuring - when I came to actually write it I felt stymied. I won't rehash that plot again here - you never know it might resurface...

I've recently read a number of writers on the business of writing and they all have their advice and tricks. I've decided to keep a list of things I need to remember, I'll add to it as I pick up more advice.
  • You are a writer if you write. So write.
  •  Loose tongues cost lives. You'll kill your character and plot if you yap about them too much, too early. So don't.
  • You have every right to write. It doesn't matter if it's good, bad or really bloody awful. So write.
  • Mood is not required to write, your presence is. So write. (Nicked from Emma Newman, Bristol writer)

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Tuesday 5 October | From the desk of a dissappointed woman ...

Some days I feel lost in the achievement of others. Today is such a day. While my partner beavers away quietly and efficiently beside me, juggling several fee paying contracts and a very big and jolly important Directorship - I am collecting up the fallen strands of my shop-bought hair and rolling them into little hairy balls and dropping them into the plastic red bin under the desk.

Right now he is just one in an apparently limitless line of achievers, queuing up from my grubby front-door to the post-office, waiting to mock me. My windows are dirty, the front sill needs painting, there's unironed washing slung over the backs of chairs in the kitchen. My hair is whispy and unkempt as well as falling out in handfuls - I moult worse than a mangy labrador - and my body too has also decided to join today's list of 'things that are rubbish because you are an underachiever'... by getting fatter and older, without me even trying.

A friend turned 50 today, and although I fully understand that we are no longer allowed to look, feel or act our age - I felt that really she ought to be able to sink back into a comfy chair and utter a sigh of relief, if only for a few hours, on her birthday. Fifty, is a bloody good age to acheive. It's a big, weighty number and it means you've done your time, earned your chops, learnt to move around the court efficiently. You might not have the energy of a 20 year old but you've got the moves and the cunning that comes with experience. Surely you can relax at 50?

Except now, I find out - we're expected to have all that and look like we're at least 10 years younger, enjoy an energetic, nightly shag off our equally youthful partner (who either matches us on the lean legged, heart-healthy gorgeousness scale or is actually 10 years younger - fuck you Demi bloody Moore) and be able to wear our original bell bottoms to our next door neighbours' retro party. BTW (fuck them too and their up-all-night-just-one-more-drum-solo live music shindigs).

A few years ago I lost the weight, squeezed into a Prada dress, and relished all day in 6" heels - demuring prettily at the cries of disbelief from younger women on hearing my actual age. Now they look at me politely and nod understandingly - even my genes have failed me in my dotage. I've not reached 50 yet but today I suspect that I will be a sore dissappointment when I do.

Time was I could look forward to my red hat and purple coat by the time I was 50, now I'll have to wait until I'm 60 and with my luck by the time I get there - it will be the preserve of 70 somethings to drag their sticks along railings and arse barge younger women out of the way in shops...

Here's a list of things I have not achieved to date ...
  • a career or any sustained period of joyful, gainful employment
  • a kid
  • a size 10 waist
  • good, even, white teeth (despite £1000s in orthodontal fees and a whitening kit off ebay)
  • long legs
  • needlework, crochet, knitting or patchwork (that's wearable, saleable or finshed)
  • a souflet
  • the ability to confidently spell soufflet
  • an appreciation of slippers, curtains or opera
  • inner peace
  • outer peace
  • the age of maturity, enlightenment or any of the seven ages of man or woman
For balance here is a list of things I have achieved:


Monday, 4 October 2010

Monday 4 October| Exercise 9 Just write ...dee doo dahh dahh

I’m staring at the yellow wall of our office, hoping to make a start on today’s writing practice but really I’m just waiting for a decent amount of time to go by before I feel justified in getting up from my computer and pottering into the lounge to waste more time, watching the telly.