Monday, 27 February 2012

Keep calm and carry on ...

A couple of weeks ago I attended a brilliant afternoon of talks from 3 pretty famous children's authors.

Wanna-be children's writers huddled up together in the library for story time.

'Don't ever be put off by rejection letters because it [your precious manuscript] probably hasn't been read !'

Well, what can we say ???

Answers on a post card - or leave a comment.

Keep writing everyone - Don't give up - We'll get there in the end !


The Fantastic ...

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore ... no comment required - just watch - Brilliant !!!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

100 things to do ... maybe ...

Try this for motivation ... even if you don't want to do any of them ... bet you will do something !!!

100 random things to do  ...
1  Join a rambling club
2  Write a letter to yourself
3  Draw your lunch
4  Read a book
5  State 5 good things about yourself
6  Go to a gym
7  Give yourself 3 pieces of advice
8  Buy something inexpensive as a symbol
9  Visit an elderly relative
10 Find a poem you like
11 Re-write it and stick it on your fridge
12 Fill an envelope with things you have collected on a walk
13 Do some gardening or buy a houseplant
14 Check out your photo album
15 Spend a day drawing only blue things
16 Make a list of everything you bought last week
17 List everyone you know
18 Buy some flowers for someone else
19 Make cakes for a neighbour
20 Chalk something on your path
21 Tidy out one cupboard
22 Make a map of everywhere you went in one day
23 Draw your shoes in detail
24 Make a shopping list of everything you want in life
25 Draw a tree
26 List 3 habits you have
27 Slice an apple and eat it
28 Learn something new
29 List 5 all-time favourite songs
30 Begin a diary
31 List 3 famous people you respect or admire
32 Go on a train journey
33 Run on the spot for 5 minutes
34 Join a choir
35 Organise a charity event
35 Go swimming
35 Play a board game
36 Make something silly with card or material
37 Clear a storage cupboard 
38 Make a private den in the garden / shed / garage 
39 Learn a joke and tell it
40 Cook something new
41 Read a story or poem out loud
42 Contact 2 friends you haven’t seen for ages
43 Make a blog
44 Enrol on a course
45 Give blood
46 Write a letter to someone you admire
47 Draw your food shopping list
48 Bake some biscuits
49 Go for a run - join a running group
50 Save glass jars and make them useful
51 Listen to the birds
52 Sit on a street bench and listen
53 Study the faces of your work colleagues
54 Doodle a whole page
55 Take unwanted items to a charity shop
56 Make a home-made greetings card
57 Make a list of all the places you have lived
58 Pick apples and make some chutney
59 Draw your favourite room in detail
60 Describe yourself in 5 words
61 List all the things in your garage / shed / loft
61 Go on a bike ride
62 Write a letter to your local newspaper
63 Draw all the things in your handbag or pocket
64 Clear our your wardrobe
65 Write a journal
66 Draw a map of your town / village / environment
67 Name 3 favourite characters from your childhood stories
68 Go to a beach in cold weather
69 Make a collage
70 Go to a market
71 Write a list of colours in your favourite order
72 Do a crossword
73 Make something for your home
74 Research another culture
75 List 5 things you want to do one day
75 Change your hair-style
76 Set the table for someone else
77 Go to a car boot or table top sale
78 Look up 3 words you don’t really understand
79 Draw some of the doors from your life
80 Join a dance class
81 Collect some flowers and press them
82 Research a Greek myth
82 Choose a colour. Go for a walk. Recognise anything in that colour
83 Mend something that’s been broken for ages
84 Make up with family members
85 Find a new hobby
85 Write to a magazine 
86 Go to a poetry reading
87 Look at photos of you as a child - say how you felt
88 Write out pent up feelings in large letters
89 Visit an art gallery
90 Write a list of all the places you want to visit
91 Find a new word and use it all week
92 Make dot to dot images - ask other people to connect the dots
93 Go on a picnic
94 Research someone from history
95 Have a street party in your house
96 Visit a zoo, wildlife park or conservation area
97 Find a library
98 Cook your favourite meal for a friend
99 Go to the countryside - or the city
100 Do something useful today
101 Write a list of 100 things to do 

Please feel free to add to the list - add a comment, tweet, Facebook or email

Enjoy, Gillian

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Did you know ...

Did you know that Roald Dahl was 6 foot 6 inches tall ? ? ?

No wonder my big favourite of children's authors had so many tall stories to tell.


Saturday, 4 February 2012

It's a good day to turn your life around ...

Courtesy of - check it out  - great for writerly triggers !

So, why not turn your life around?

Other than my pre-children life, I've only really re-learned to focus on creative projects over the past few years - I've been a busy fool - putting all the little things in place to clear space for the big things ... Obviously that hasn't been working from a business and writer's point of view [although it did work for children's birthday parties, the school run, uni visits; food hampers, laundry, washing up 12 pans of dried food, laundry, tea in the pub and twenty quid dropped in the pocket for no apparent reason. But now the nest is empty - at least Mon - Fri - and I have time to focus on new Big things. Writerly things.

Researching for a recent writing project, I realised that turning your life around doesn't have to be one huge leap [there I go, thinking 'little things' again!]. Making small changes [oops], trying new things or re-visiting things you used to do in the olden days can be so rewarding - and useful for writers in the re-seeing, re-remembering of events [ a bit like Proust's 'little crumb of madeleine' ]. So for me, one thing I've done is join Poulton People's choir, mastered by the wonderful musically talented [obv] and energetic Tony Brindle [see Facebook page].  [oh and ps - thanks Gareth Malone for reviving the choir - and all things singing].

From a writer's pov [and this isn't the reason I joined a choir], the opportunity to explore and examine 120 expressions, tones, non-verbal mannerisms, idiosyncrasies, costumes [thank-you singers], on a weekly basis is wonderful. In truth, apart from the music, the energy re-vitalises me, presses a creative button and there I am ... writing till gone two in the morning [not to be recommended].

Even in these times of constraint and financial gloom, there appears to be more opportunity to join in with creative stuff - or is it just that I've re-surfaced? People seem to be joining in with creative community projects, book clubs, poetry groups and mini-lit festivals appear to be popping up all over the country. My next project is to seek out Blackpool's Dead Good Poets [see Facebook page] which seems to be going from strength to strength.

But back to the small changes. At the choir, I came across an opportunity to join an Am-Dram group [more expressions, mannerisms, costumes ...] from there I met a freelance journalist, after that, we formed a writers' group. Triggered by this, I invented two characters; a short story which I extended it into a novel with ebook and series potential. Okay, the second part isn't totally true - but isn't that fiction?

And back to the little things. Turning your life around doesn't have to be a massively colossal, hugely overwhelming project ... it's quite often the little things that count !

Join something new. Get involved. With people. Write. You know you want to.

Hope it works for you, Gillian