Sunday, 24 November 2013

Goal List Week Commencing 24th November 2013

Leicester in November - Maria A Smith

I've been busy catching up with stuff, I've managed to get topside of my outstanding emails, and also made a dent in the household chores, I've been trying to clear the decks, so I can get on with my novel from where I left off, but its not quite worked in my favour. Lots of stuff has happened in the background requiring my time, as it often does, and work is as busy as ever.

Anyway, on the writing front, I've done a flash fiction piece, attended and chaired the writers group on Saturday, and afterwards spent time in the library doing some research for both novel, and a new short story. And then, for no good reason at all, I started to feel low. As if a black shadow had fell over me, and the nagging voice of doubt crept up on me, trying its best to fill me with angst! It wasn't even saying anything in particular, in fact it was more a feeling of foreboding about many things. I'm sure many of you reading this can identfy with me.

I didn't see it coming, and have tried hard to kick it into touch today. Self-doubt is one of the worst enemies of the writer, and I can't allow it to take hold. I'm giving myself permission to calm down, and look at the big picture. I'm a creative, we're notoriously good at this whole self doubt thing, its destructive, and I'm not buying into it! This week I'm going to clear my head of all this nonsense, and find the cure.

Firstly, I need to get some perspective, find space, so I'll walk, read, drink tea, eat cake, socialise, do whatever it takes to turn this around. Let my brain work out what's wrong. Okay, maybe it is a sign that something isn't quite right, some aspect of my writing life might not be working, I suspect its time management, and I need to shuffle things around, get into a new routine, maybe its that, or perhaps, I'm not really happy with a chapter, whatever it is, I'll get topside of it this week. I won't be beaten.

So tell me folks, how do you deal with self-doubt? Do you stand back and take stock? Or do you throw yourself screaming and kicking back into your WIP?

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Goal List Week Commencing 17th November 2013

Shrewsbury - Maria A Smith

My Mac is back, it needed a new trackpad, expensive on the pocket, but, at least I'm up and running again. I felt totally lost without it, but after the initial shock I improvised, and penned the first half of a new short story. Working on my novel was too difficult without the laptop.

What I've been up to...

Reading - The Shining by Stephen King and thoroughly enjoying it! This is Kings third book, published in 1977, it is said that this novel established him as an author of horror. The characters are believable, each having their own demons to deal with as well as the horror that waits at the Overlook  hotel. The book is way better than the film, which seems to have omitted so much of the storyline.

Where I've been...

Shrewsbury - Is a lovely market town, the street plan is mostly medievil and the buildings are a delight! I spent most of my time looking skywards above the shops at the variety of Georgian and Tudor architecture. Although, if shops are your thing, there is no shortage of them, Shrewsbury caters for all tastes, and there are many high street vendors as well as lots of smaller individual traders with much to offer.

Whats new...

Pink Fir Apple Potatoes  - In my veggie box last week, a strange looking long potato, with a distinctive nutty flavour. A little more difficult to peel, as they are quite nobly, but can be boiled mashed or roast. Unpeeled they are a pinky red on the outside, and have a firm cream flesh on the inside. Worth trying if you see them in the shops.

The week ahead,

I'm playing catch up, theres lots to do, a couple of chapters on the novel, a flash fiction challenge for Saturday, and other writerly stuff I've neglected in the last couple of weeks.

The weather is changing, its getting colder, wintery conditions are setting in, so wrap up and stay warm and well.

What have you been up to?

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Goal List Week Commencing 10th November 2013

Ever had one of those weeks? My best laid plans got turned upside down very early on. My 'to do' list wasn't awfully long, nevertheless, things altered and very quickly I realised it was going to be a week of issues.

My Mac isn't working properly, the track pad has a mind of its own and its freezing after twenty minutes of use. Its frustrating, how can one write! I've spent far too much time looking for a solution myself. It might be the battery at fault? The machine is sixteen months old, I'm disappointed.

An Uphill Battle - Maria A Smith
I was even more surprised when I took it to the local Apple shop on Saturday, to be told no one could look at it until Thursday!  I had no idea you had to book an appointment. Honestly, I didn't. Now I have to back up ALL my files. Another task. But then I am fairly good at backing up regularly, so there isn't much to do there.

Progress on the novel skidded to a stop, Word is affected, as is any keystroke. I can tell you there have been times when I've wanted to chuck the Mac out of the window. Never mind the 'Maccy Love' although to be fair, I've had issues with Windows PC's and laptops in the past. They are all rubbish when they go wrong! I really wanted to write another word, in place of 'rubbish' but good manners prevailed there. Not much makes me feel as helpless as not being able to fix my laptop.

I didn't meet up with my friends either, I was disappointed, one of them is unwell, and I understand all about that, we will reschedule in 2014, when hopefully things will be resolved. If that friend is reading this, then I'm hoping you are well on the mend now.

The family meal did go ahead, it was lovely to get together, and the food was lovely too. Its increasingly hard to get everyone together these days. Next time will be Christmas. Ugh! I've mentioned the 'C' word, not usually uttered until December where it belongs don't you agree?

Work last week was horrendous! Everything I touched seemed to be problematic, mostly I just get on with it. I'm in a service industry. Stuff happens! But, if I'm honest, it started to get to me, and the week was miserable.

I won't even mention the washing machine! Albeit to say, I now have a new one installed, and the service at Curry's is excellent, no wonder I keep returning...

On a positive, I managed the flash fiction challenge for Phoenix Writers, its not too bad writing 200 words on your phone. The meeting was well attended as usual, everyone eager to read, and offer constructive critique. I'm off the hook now, I won't be back in the Chair for two weeks as I have a prior engagement.

The week ahead is busy. Full of scheduled stuff, mostly work. Its hard to juggle it all, so I'll be happy with any writing this week, I need to get my Mac fixed, this is my priority. After that I'll rework two chapters of my novel.

I hope you week is good, and happy, and you are productive!

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Goal List Week Commencing 3rd November 2013

Watching The Clock - Maria A Smith

Sometimes, we're so busy going about our lives, clock watching, rushing here, there, and well, all over the place, flitting form one thing to the next. We forget the small stuff, the things that makes us happy, and bring value into our lives. Those really little things that happen, like when someone says 'hello' and stops to chat when you're feeling blue, or when a total stranger gives you their unused parking ticket, or someone says the right thing, at just the right moment. Or maybe, finding a fiver in the gutter, when you've just lost your last pound.

The stuff that seems small and inconsequential  to you, like passing on old magazines you've read, giving someone a lift, or popping in on your elderly neighbour, these are small pleasures to someone else. I'm lucky, my life has been rich with small pleasures this last week. I've been treated to tea and cake, shared lots of laughter with fellow writers, seen autumnal trees in dappled sunlight, listened to music as I rewrote the first chapter of my novel, and I've experienced satisfaction at completing something that has been niggling for a while now.

 I've seen pleasure on someone else's face when I paid them a compliment, and took time out to listen to someone whose life has been thrown upside down. Most of these things were lovely and special, and some, although they felt sad at the time, have hopefully made someone else feel better, or valued, or gave them a minutes respite from their own situation. And that makes me feel good about taking the time to listen or help, and yes we're all busy, but in a lot of cases it only takes a few minutes to make a difference.

This week I'm looking forward to catching up with friends, continuing with my rewrite and a family meal out to celebrate my daughters birthday. Everything hinges on time management though, something I try to master every week. Last week I won the battle, did you? Lets see what happens this week. What will you be up to?

Making Things Happen

Bluebells in the grounds of Chatsworth, Derbyshire - Maria A Smith Nearly two months ago I made this list of goals - See how I've g...