While undertaking some therapeutic displacement activity I discovered a whole new genre of planners. Planners designed specifically for writers. I felt that my heart should have leapt, but instead it sank.
Surely the planner junkie in me would be whooping (much like the way the Inner Goddess cartwheels through Fifty Shades). But instead it sighed and clicked somewhat despondently on the link. It was not disappointed.
What do writers need in a planner that engineers, dancers, doctors and flower arrangers do not? Answers on a postcard please, or you could just write on the back of a stamp. When was the last time you saw a planner dedicated to the needs of a butcher? I rest my case. We all have appointments, commitments both one off and regular. We all have to do lists (even if those of my husband are always, without fail, on the back of an envelope) and some of us have goals and monthly targets both practical and emotional.
Most of us need planners. Actually we all need planners, but sadly some people believe themselves to be exempt from this rule. They are the ones whose necks have been wrung on a regular basis (in fact I could even schedule the neck wringing in my own planner). What we do not need are twee quotes “to encourage you along your journey”. I’d love to see what would be selected for a planner dedicated to an abattoir manager. Okay so I am edging on the edge of facetiousness but I hope you get my point.
There are a lot of things that as a would be author I need to know. I can find them all in the wonderful Writer’s Yearbook, or on any one of the excellent blogs and websites dedicated to the writing process. I do not need them in my back pocket or taking up valuable space in my planner.
So here is a sample of the Hall of Shame.
A working writer’s daily planner – your year in writing I note this is the 2011 version ……
Mslexia Writer’s Diary I love Mslexia but why oh why did you stoop so low and why does it have to have a twee yellow flower on the front ……
Writing World Fortunately I suspect that most people would have lost the will to live just trying to find the link to the planner.
Personally I find it all bit condescending.
I read this today.
There was a man entertaining the crowds with his tightrope act, pushing a wheelbarrow across the rope over a deep abyss. He asked the crowds “Do you think I can do this?” “Yes, we believe you can do it!” they replied enthusiastically. “Okay,” said the tightrope walker, “Who is going to get in the wheelbarrow?”
The difference between trust and belief.
How often do we confuse belief with trust?
(drawing courtesy of RSPB)
I have been wondering if I should rethink my submission letters. What about this one?
Dear Sir or Madam
I just know that you are going to love the enclosed novel it is just your thing and you are just the person who is going to “get” the totally new concept of a love story set on the moon between a rock and a sparrow which hitched a lift on Apollo 13. It takes romance to a whole new dimension and is going to be the book that makes your name as the most forward thinking agent on planet earth.
I have taken the liberty of enclosing the whole book (complete at 300,000 words) because I know that you are going to be so hooked and drawn in by the magic of the words that I weave as I create a very unique tale of love lost and found. You won’t be able to put it down, you will be on the phone to me before you have even reached chapter 59 and I will be here waiting for your call. Together we can make marvellous literary music, soar to heights never before reached by a team that will be as fantastically amazing as ours.
I haven’t bothered with a synopsis as I don’t want to spoil the ending for you but as you will see I have a very sparse style of writing, neat and closely edited with carefully constructed sentences that contain only the key essence of that required to get the full meaning of their content across and you will find the book, despite its size, a simple yet meaningful read.
I won’t waste your time with any more of my words as I know that you are just chomping at the bit and dying to get your teeth into “The Rock and the Sparrow on the Moon” subtitle, “The story of a rock and a sparrow who meet on the moon.”
Did anyone spot the deliberate error?
Today is Friday. Today I am having a day off from being cerebral. Today I share with you the essential rules of chocolate. Have a wonderful weekend.
- If you have melted chocolate all over your fingers you are not eating fast enough.
- If you are struggling to carry four pounds of chocolate home from the shops then just eat it in the car.
- Tip for dieters – eat a large bar of chocolate before each meal and it will take the edge of your appetite.
- Chocolate covered raisins, cherries, blueberries, goji berries etc. all count as fruit so you can eat as many as you like over and above your five a day.
- Chocolate covered ice creams are dairy and are also essential for fat soluble vitamins.
- Chocolate comes from the cocoa bean, a bean is a vegetable. See (4) above.
- A Terry’s chocolate orange contains approximately 900 calories enabling you to conveniently consume your daily calorific intake in one go and still have some calories left over for that health giving glass of red wine.
- If you eat plain, milk and white chocolate you have a balanced diet.
- Chocolate contains preservatives and thus will help you stay young.
- Chocolate is keeping the Spanx industry alive. Would you want all those people to lose their jobs?
- If you cannot eat an entire box of chocolates in one go you need more practice.
Finally, calories are afraid of heights. If you break your chocolate bars in half and put them on a top shelf for 24 hours all the calories will jump out.
“Four things on earth are small, yet they are exceedingly wise: the ants are a people without strength, yet they provide their food in the summer; the badgers are a people without power, yet they make their homes in the rocks; the locusts have no king, yet all of them march in rank; the lizard can be grasped in the hand, yet it is found in kings’ palaces.” Proverbs 30:24-28
There are plenty of proverbs (both Biblical and otherwise) that point out the strength both physical and mental of something apparently tiny and weak. In many cases it is through working together as a team that they make their achievements, in some they work alone but the point is that the appearance is deceptive. Just because something looks weak or its challenge looks impossible doesn’t mean that it is.
We all have the same words, granted some people invent their own, Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll were particularly prolific word generators and there is hardly a family in the land that doesn’t have its own shorthand for even the most everyday items. We, for example, put our dirty dishes in the washdisher. But on the whole we communicate using a prescribed set of mutually understood words. There is nothing special about our words. They have no innate power to change. But change they do.
It is when they are placed together in a certain way that they power behind them is intensified.
I tried to think of some novels that had changed me, made me behave differently or changed my views or way of thinking. It was very hard, I could think of a plethora of novels that I love, that I read again and again. But had they changed me? I didn’t know. Then it occurred to me that perhaps I was not meant to know. If I knew then the change would have been more superficial. For the change to be fundamental, to really change me then I would not notice the change for the change would be of me.
But what about novels that change not just individuals but whole nations? Can there be such novels. Of course, essays and non-fiction can and do. From Mein Kampf to The Age of Uncertainty writers have set out to change individuals and nations. But do novelists aim to do the same? Or do we just want to tell a story?
Posted in Creattivity, Words
Tagged Age of Uncertainty, ant, badger, Edward Lear, Lewis Carroll, lizard, locust, Mein Kampf, novel, Proverbs
Silence. I cannot write with the radio or television on, but I do like to write with other people around me so long as they are not talking to me. I often work alongside my children as they do their homework. Mutual encouragement perhaps.
I used to have Radio4 on pretty much all the time but recently I have taken to silence instead. I wondered why.
As many of you will know I suffered from a sudden and severe bout of depression last year. I have been on medication which is brilliant. I also realised I had to slow down. I have been practicing yoga for several years and recently have taken up meditation. I make an active effort to be mindful of all that I do. I don’t multitask, I do one job at a time and concentrate on what I am doing even if it is just putting the ironing away. I have a morning ritual that includes, prayer, Bible reading and meditation. I have kept a gratitude journal for five years and write in it daily.
I am realising that I don’t need or want the background noise. Previously it was my prop, or perhaps better described as my insulation. Alone in the house with no radio I have to listen to myself, there is no insulation. Sometimes, at first it was rather scary, I wasn’t sure I liked what I was hearing, who I was. But I am getting to know me better, I know what makes me tick (I’m nearly 50 so it really is about time).
When I think I am too busy to meditate, to write morning pages, to pray; when I skip a yoga class; it shows. I tend to turn on the radio, I seek out noise and avoid silence.
I prefer the silence. It tells me more.
I am editing the house. It has accumulated far too many adjectives, they are quite surplus to requirements and need to be evicted. I have moved everything into the Barn and Gin Gan which means that the rest of the house is more pared down, neat and exact in places. Unfortunately open the door between the Barn and the Kitchen and the evidence that this is not true editing, that I have cut and pasted and kept all the extraneous stuff in another file “just in case” is plain for all to see.
I was forced to focus on this problem when it transpired that rodents have eaten yet another bit of wiring (I do hope they don’t have little wellington boots and they fry as they chew) and the lights in the Barn and Gin Gan were turning themselves off and on in the style of a fast moving Samba. The lovely chap from Tom Hibbert Electricians return to inspect the damage and performed exquisite gymnastics over the carefully built obstacle course behind the Barn/Gin Gan door. The fact that the lights now stay on only highlights the severity of the situation.
In the manner of a master wordsmith I intend to edit this house from the kind of book you buy at an airport because it is three inches thick and will last the entire 12 hour flight regardless of the quality or storyline to something more akin to Julian Barnes. Small enough to slip into your handbag to read at the bus stop or in a traffic jam. Enough in a couple of paragraphs to satisfy.