Index cards, school-runs and leaving an over-worked first page to rest.

Index cards, school-runs and leaving an over-worked first page to rest.

Happy New Year!

Two of my children went back to school yesterday, relatives left and my husband went back to work. I went straight to Office World to buy some index cards.

I’d call my relationship with routine “passionate”, rather than “happy”.  I rail against it when it’s here, but goodness! am I glad to see it after a long absence? School drop-offs that force me to start my day by half past seven. The sense of purpose I get just writing an invoice.  The freedom to catch up with my emails, rather than eating another mince pie.

And not having time to look at the first page of my novel, again!

Last month, I showed my first three chapters to my writing group. After two hours of critique, I was as grateful as I was exhausted.  They were supportive, encouraging, but rigorous and my first page received most of their rigour.

There’s so much it has to do: introduce a setting and two characters from one person’s POV; keep to the ground rules of grammar, and interest someone long enough to make them read on.

Whining won’t get it written, but I don’t think working on it at the moment will help either. Like cooks and elves after Christmas, it needs a rest.

 

 

 

Advertisements

The wrong temperature for a reset.

The wrong temperature for a reset.

Am I alone in thinking New Year is a very strange time for a reset? For one thing, I am in a state of over-relaxation, where it’s hard to take sudden school drop-offs and homework seriously. For another, it’s freezing. Like a reptile, I slow down when I’m cold. I’m torn between my need to keep on top of things and a desire to curl up in front of the fire and go to sleep.

But I’m finding end-of-day lists really helpful. They not only provide a “sign off” before I switch back to parent mode for school pick-up, I know where to start the next morning, circumventing the need for decision-making much before lunch.

A couple of journalistic firsts (for me, not mankind) this week:

One of my editors suggested I write under a pseudonym. I had a happy minute or two trying to work out a name that would baffle the authorities before I realised, as I’m not indulging in espionage, my maiden name would suffice.

I saw one of my pieces advertised in the “coming soon” section of a magazine. And that was how I found out it had been accepted.

Happy New Year. Thank you for reading my blog. It justifies my pleasure writing it.

New Year- good or bad timing for a restart?  Anyone else slow down in the cold?

 

 

 

 

 

Blanket forts, flying Santas and parenting special needs

My ten-year old’s used all my useful single sheets, my chairs for the dining room and a broom, but this is a pretty good blanket fort. I made everyone stand up for dinner last night.

img_1282

Someday, I’m going to write a piece about den architecture. Meanwhile, my article about Beales’ Christmas marketing campaigns is in December’s Dorset Life. (Father Christmas flew over their Bournemouth store by plane in 1913. Top that Macy’s!)

dscf0916

And I write about how the church can include children with special needs and their parents in the new Premier Youth and Children’s Work (actual link). I am very grateful to the three friends who allowed me to invade their lives and tell their stories.

 

Is it OK that all is so calm?

Is it OK that all is so calm?

I have no idea whether my life is going well or not at the moment. Six weeks ago, I had little time to eat. But now my next official deadline is May. Though anyone who looked at the pile of washing on my sofa, would assume I’m still desperately busy:

20161206_143721

Or the washing piled up in the sink:

20161206_143747Am I wasting time when I should be pitching more article ideas? Or am I doing the sensible thing- not panicking – getting the house under control after everyone was sick, catching up with abandoned friends before they shop for new ones and drafting a novel while my brain’s not cluttered with “proper work.”

I am writing my novel. Working on a story no one except your sister cares you write, is not proper work. National Novel Writing Month has been immensely helpful however, declaring November the month to write for the sake of being creative, because it’s a good thing to do. Now I have a work-in-progress.

And my attic is down six or seven bags of children’s clothes. My Christmas cake is made. Yes, quiet has been good. (Note to editors: busy is nice too!)

Look my cake (I did have help- thanks Beth!)

20161206_143621-1