Friday, 30 January 2015

What's On My Desk

The wonderful Cole posted this great post about her desk and tagged me to do the same. How can I resist? I adore seeing other writers' desks and so I leapt at the chance to do this myself. It just so happens that I recently sorted my desk, so it appears a little more organised than the usual chaos! At least it means that hopefully you'll be able to see things.

Like Cole, I don't really have all the post it notes everywhere like planners do, but if I'm just beginning something or editing something, then there are usually pieces of paper and stray post its everywhere with notes that I have made! 

I made an attempt to create an annotated picture, which you can see below.

But, here are some un-annotated ones.

Here you can see the stack of notebooks (mainly used, although there are a couple of unused ones lurking in there), the star chart, inspired by Victoria Schwab, Laura, Cole, Emma, and anyone else who uses this system. It's working so well so far, I love it! 

You can see more of my inspiration board in that picture too - including many Daphne du Maurier pictures and Harry Potter/Hufflepuff things! Plus, the wonderful notebooks that Laura has made for me.

Here's the annotated one, un-annotated, plus another angle of my desk. I'm lucky to have a pretty big desk, but still at the same time, I want it to be at least double the size!

The main people reading this will already have been tagged, so I challenge anyone else reading to do this! And make sure to link me to the posts, I can't wait to see what all your desks look like!

And for inspiration, have a look at a wonderful picture of Daphne du Maurier at her writing desk here.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Fowey (again)

I have just, once again, returned from Fowey. What a surprise - it seems to be all I write about these days, which I guess is just a massive hint to get on and move there. But you know, things like jobs have to be sorted. I can keep dreaming anyway... I'm hoping to volunteer once again at the Festival this year, which will be ace!

We had gorgeous weather while we were there, and it made me fall in love with January (a month I usually hate). We had a little bit of rain, but we were also treated to a gorgeous rainbow.

We walked, and drank lots of coffee and cider, and wrote lots, and read. It was pretty perfect really. It's always hard to leave, and this time, somehow it was even harder to do so. Hard to wrench myself away!

And of course it just feels like a dream now. 


Till next time.

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Amanda Palmer and the Art of Asking

You may know Amanda Palmer, for many different reasons - her TED talk, her music, her kickstarter, her marriage to Neil Gaiman - or you may not know her at all. Whether you know who she is or not, if you're a creator/artist/writer etc, you need this book.

Before I received Amanda's book for Christmas I knew Amanda in the sense that I followed her on Twitter, and knew a bit of her music (but not much), had followed her Kickstarter, loved Neil Gaiman, and she was just there. And then she started writing a book. When this book was released, I added it to my Christmas list, intrigued to see what Amanda had written.

Although I wanted to save this book for sometime after Christmas, I found myself starting -and devouring it - in two days. After a rough period pre Christmas, it left me feeling inspired and motivated again - and relieved that despite being completely different people, with different ambitions (like I'm not a performer at all), there was someone who understood, in some sort of way.

Amanda talks about the fraud police (something which I'm sure affects every writer I know), asking for help, doing what you love, and so much more. She writes,
When you’re an artist, nobody ever tells you or hits you with the magic wand of legitimacy. You have to hit your own head with your own handmade wand. And you feel stupid doing it.
She further writes,
There’s no “correct path” to becoming a real artist. You might think you’ll gain legitimacy by going to art school, getting published, getting signed to a record label. But it’s all bullshit, and it’s all in your head. You’re an artist when you say you are. And you’re a good artist when you make somebody else experience or feel something deep or unexpected.
She talks about taking things - "take the flower" and wanting things and working hard and how it has tot hurt enough to make you really want it: "it doesn't hurt enough yet". 

She writes,
There's really no honor in proving that you can carry the entire load on your own shoulders.'s lonely. 
She writes about art and creating:
Collecting the dots. Then connecting them. And then sharing the connections with those around you. This is how a creative human works. Collecting, connecting, sharing.
There are so many fantastic quotes in this book, it would be impossible to share them all here. This book was inspiring, reassuring, and motivating, as well as incredibly moving. It was beautifully written and I loved the way that Amanda shared such personal stories, and anecdotes. I never write in books, but I was scribbling in this one, underlining things, and circling things. This is going to be a book that I carry around, that I refer back to when I need to.

Amanda reminds us that it's okay to ask, even if that's the hardest thing to do.

And that I think is an important lesson for us all. 

Take the flower.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone! Who can believe it's 2015 already?

I can't believe how fast this month is already going. I've been making the most of the month so far though, and have started using the calender reward system that Victoria Schwab, and many of my friends (Laura, Cole, Emma, and more) favour. Victoria has written about the system here. And so far it has been fantastically successful! It's rewarding to see the stickers build up and be able to see exactly what you've achieved. Otherwise, I find that it's so easy to forget what you've actually done and just spend your time feeling bad about things. I highly recommend it! I do need to get some more stickers though, I wasn't really prepared.

The rest of the month promises to be busy, and while of course I'm hoping for lots more reading and writing, I'm also returning to Exeter for graduation, spending some time in Fowey (eeek!!), and then visiting school friends in Leeds - so it's going to be a busy couple of weeks. A mini holiday I suppose - and I think I need it! Will be good to get some perspective, make plans, think about the future, forget about inboxes full of rejections (both from agents and jobs).

But that's life I suppose. And compared to all the grisly and really depressing, scary things that have been happening in the news recently, it's nothing.

I am busy both editing and writing, which is going well so far - one of my resolutions for this month - and year - was to not let myself get bogged down in too many projects or get worried about what to work on. I've set myself clear targets for what I want to achieve and all the other ideas can wait, for now anyway. So far it seems to be working! I've got to remember that there's time for everything - although it doesn't seem like that sometimes. I feel like I have to be working on EVERYTHING all at once. But I've got to remember to take it slow and easy - and there you go. One of my goals for this year, which is so far going well. I hope to keep it up!

I hope that everyone else is having a productive 2015 so far, and are managing to stick to their goals and keep being creative! How's it going for everyone?