10 Things I Hate About Writing

We were on a family holiday this past week and I had the joy of having my nails painted by my granddaughter, my exercise routine sorted out by two of my sons, family meals around a long, large table, and so very much besides – including glow sticks, toasted marshmallows and crackers. We had fun in the garden and fun in the lake and the joy of cosying round the fire to watch a film with our children and grandchildren.

The film we watched was ’10 Things I Hate About You’ and it gave me the idea for a poem to go on this blog post. Like the film, it’s a bit of fun. Enjoy!

10 Things I Hate About Writing

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I hate it that I love to write

more than I love to play

I hate it that it takes up much 

of every single day

I hate my writing follows me

everywhere I go

I hate how even while I sleep

a story seems to grow

I hate how everyone I meet 

becomes a character of mine

I hate they each seem well equipped

with ready storyline

I hate it that the more I write

my vocabulary grows

I hate it when the right word comes

oh, how my story flows

I hate I always want to write

I hear its daily call

I hate my writing means so much

I don’t hate it at all

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And I hate writing so much, I have suffered through the publishing process 9 times now! What a chore! Nine novels! Sigh! How I suffer for my art 😦

You can find all nine books here on Amazon

including my latest release

Gold Plated

Rosanna and Paul are celebrating fifty years of marriage.

Their daughter, Heather, has helped plan their Golden Wedding Anniversary party, and it looks like being a wonderful night: sixties music, all their friends and family present, and Rosanna has bought the perfect golden gift for Paul. What could possibly go wrong?

When an uninvited guest shows up, Rosanna’s world is shaken and she is forced to look back over their fifty golden years and see them as they were.

Were they golden? Or just gold-plated?

Available now in ebook format and coming soon in paperback.

Getting the Most from your Writers’ Retreat

You’ve gathered a few writing buddies together and you’ve booked a cottage in the country, you’re all set to try your hand at creating a Writers’ Retreat. So, how are you going to get the maximum benefit from it while putting the minimum time into planning it? Because, let’s face it, we’re writers.

We want to write.

Not spend hours and hours organising ourselves to write.

Do have a meeting or a virtual meeting before you go, to decide the main things in advance.

My friends and I have tried different approaches and each time we have gone away for a week, we have structured it a little differently so perhaps the most helpful thing for me to do would be to tell you some of the things that work well, not necessarily the things we have done.

One of the things to remember is, although you are going to your retreat to write, you will also need to eat, so planning a rough menu beforehand is worth considering. Shopping for that menu can be done in advance if you have room in the car for the shopping. Failing that, perhaps locate the nearest supermarket to you cottage and, after you unload the car, you can go back out for a shopping trip.

This is where the planning meeting is useful. You can decide things like:

Will you share the cooking, perhaps on a daily rota? Or will everyone fend for themselves?

Will you share the shopping or will one of you volunteer to bring the supplies to the cottage and everyone chip in with their share of the cost?

Your meals need not be elaborate affairs. As long as there are plenty of basic things like bread and cheese, salad and fruit, wine and coffee, everyone is usually happy to see to themselves for breakfast and lunch, with one or two being responsible for producing a simple evening meal.

Simplicity is the key.

No-one wants to spend the best part of the day in the kitchen — unless cooking is their passion, of course. In which case, enjoy!

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Something else you might want to discuss beforehand is whether you want to use the retreat as a quiet place, conducive to writing, where you can each get on quietly with your WIP uninterrupted, or would you like to also have some structured writing time.

Starting the day with a little light physical exercise, like a short walk or such, followed by a timed writing exercise or two can be useful to wake up the body and the writing muscles. Similarly, it is important to incorporate short breaks in the day to stretch out the muscles, get some fresh air and refresh yourselves.

After eating the evening meal, it can be pleasant to spend time relaxing together for a while, perhaps watching a film, playing music, or just sitting chatting over a glass of wine.

This might also be a time you would enjoy reading out some of your day’s writing to one another and getting some feedback.

Set goals.

At the planning stage, it is good to discuss together what each member of the party hopes to achieve. Whether some of you want to set yourselves a daily word count, or a weekly one, whether the aim is to edit a certain number of pages, poems or chapters, the best way to achieve the maximum benefit from your retreat is to set clear goals and encourage one another to work towards them.

Respect one another’s space.

Respect the silence.

Respect each other’s writing.

At the end of your week or weekend together, celebrate!

Discuss what worked and what didn’t, what helped and what hindered, and plan your next retreat.

~~~

What about turning your annual vacation into a personal writer’s retreat?

If your friend or your spouse likes fishing, skiing, white water rafting and you don’t, why not book a log cabin where he or she can do their thing and you can write, sharing a meal together in the evening, a glass of wine by the fire or in the evening sun, sharing the stories of the day.

My husband and I do this from time to time, where he pursues his interests during the day while I enjoy some quiet writing time and we share the evenings together. It works.

~~~

I would love to hear your suggestions.

What have you tried?

Have you enjoyed the luxury of a Writers’ Retreat?

~~~

Sleeping with my Sister

For most of my life, I have had sleep problems, including delaying going to bed, snapping wide awake as my head hits the pillow no matter how tired I am, and wakening frequently throughout the night in a state of alarm.

I have examined this problem many times, tried various remedies and suggestions, gone to bed early, gone to bed late, eaten black cherries, nuts and oats, drowned in Camomile tea. Tried silence, tried music. Light on, light off. You name it, I’ve tried it.

Then, last week, I was watching a few of the excellent short videos Carol Tuttle produces as part of her Dressing Your Truth series. It was an attempt to lull myself to sleep. To help me relax, ready for zzzzeds.

It wasn’t any one thing, but a few things she and her daughter chatted about that resonated with me and got me thinking. Perhaps it was time to revisit my childhood, something usually painful, so usually avoided.

This time I went there, and I remembered….

Sleeping with my Sister

Sometimes the blood-curdling scream, sometimes the kick in the gut
Always sudden, always brutal.
Jackknifed forward by the gut pain, to meet the fingers, curled like talons,
Slashing out to rip the eyes out.
Afraid to open lids in case they’re gone, sockets gaping.
Tasting blood on lips, feel it trickle down from forehead.
This is no way to be awakened in the dark night.

Sometimes shrill, shrieking screams, sometimes guttural, gasping growls
Curses raining down like blows.
Starting up to reach the light switch, meeting headbutts, bites and punches
Vicious kicks and frantic lashings.
Calling out now, fear a mirror of terror crouching on the pillow.
Light revealing wide, gaping mouth, jaw breaking with the tension,
Eyes wild and vacant seeing something that was not there.

Sitting shivering on the floor, feet tucked under little nightdress
Heart beating hard and fast now
Tears held in knots of pain between shaking shoulders
While mother lies beside my sister, soothing coo-ing, stroking better
Nightmare gone, I was a part of, forgotten now as sleep resumes unbroken.
My heart reaches out to hold her close now, that little girl
Who was me at five or six or seven.

Sitting waiting, cast out of cosy, teeth a-chattering, heart a-hurting.
I hold her now, as I would have then, had she been my child.
Having soothed the dreamer, turned to the injured.
Instead, sent back to bed with naught but frustration
What did you do? What did you say?
Get back to bed, she’s sure to sleep now.
Don’t you disturb her, just go to sleep.

Go to sleep! You must be joking! Hormones of flight run amok
Afraid to sleep, awaiting repeat of pattern.
The light switched off, in dark of night, still able to see that frightful sight
A nightmare’s terror in face and body, a sleeping child
Who sees me, but as a monster.
Hold me now, please hold me now.
Honour my pain as well as hers.
And for pity’s sake buy me a bed.

~~~

Searching for Summer Book Trailer

If you know me at all, you’ll know I love to chat. Today it’s not about me chatting, it’s about the beautiful trailer for my latest novel, Searching for Summer.

I’ll let it speak for itself.

I hope you enjoy it.

Searching for Summer by Christine Campbell

Searching for Summer

http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B00TDYRLGK

A Team Pow Production

http://www.timpowfilms.net

Wild Mountain Thyme – Aimee and Tim Pow

Catching the Muse

Writing prompt, writing prompt, what shall I write?

I’m hoping to capture the muse.

If I stare at this empty screen long enough.

I’m sure she’ll bring something to use.

~~~

For better or worse, I seem to be in poetic mood today, so, in response to Amanda Staley’s writing prompt in #The Writers’Coffeehouse, I have written a poem.

~~~

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A Dense Forest

Words rise up, a dense forest
Each one seeks the light of the page
Some rise higher than others
Each gives a reason to save

Choose me, I am clear and explicit
Choose me, I bring pictures to mind
Each word has its own limitations
The best becomes harder to find

Not grandiose, impressive or splendid
Imposing, affected, genteel
Pretentious, important or flaunting
Or dancing a waltz or a reel

I’m here in this forest of letters
I’m here at the back of your mind
Don’t use one of my fancier sisters
When I am just perfectly fine

I’m simple and homely, fit neatly
And tell it just as it is
I cut through the forest that hides me
Plain-speaking and clear on your lips

~~~

I hope you enjoy my little poem, but do keep in mind that I make no claims to be a poet.

I just enjoy flirting with the form.

~~~

Procrastination

They say it’s the thief of time.

Whoever ‘they’ are.

Hmmm! Think I’ll look that one up.

Edward Young (1683 – 1765) an English poet, seems to have coined the phrase: “Procrastination is the thief of time.” 

Charles Dickens (1812 – 1870) an English author, used it and added an injunction: “Procrastination is the thief of time, collar him.”

Don Marquis (1878 – 1937) a New York newspaper columnist and humorist said: “Procrastination is the art of keeping up with yesterday.”

I believe them all.

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But they also say, “Procrastination is the mother of invention.”

Whoever ‘they’ are.

Hmmm! Think I’ll look that one up …

Oops! Yes. I am unashamedly procrastinating. Even in writing this blogpost. I sat here at my computer for one purpose and for one purpose only: to edit my WIP, my next novel, Traces of Red, the second in my Reluctant Detective Series.

So what’s the problem? I want to finish it. I’ve got two more in first draft form. The clock ticks away. Why can’t I get my head round this?

Truth be told, I know exactly what the problem is. Just not so sure how to fix it.

When I first wrote this novel, it was not called Traces of Red, it was called Have You Seen My Daughter? and, having edited and edited, polished and refined it, I sent it off to a few agents and publishers (Not all at once, of course. That would be naughty!)

They all came back to me with the same advice. In short: this is not one book, this is a series. What they, without exception, wanted me to do is break one novel up and spin it out over a few books. Sounds easy? Think again.

I’ve struggled with deciding what belongs to which book, taken chunks out, then put them back in, lost the plot, found it again, thrown the whole lot in the trash folder, retrieved it again, and written and rewritten it.

There is so much good about it, too much, I think. If there were passages I felt were rubbish, they’d be easy to discard. If there were scenes that didn’t further the story, I’d take them out. I want to keep them all, but know, in the interests of keeping your attention, I need to slash and burn again.

But, just before I do, I wonder if you know who said, “Procrastination makes easy things hard, hard things harder.”

I just looked it up, so I can give you a clue, if you like.

There’s this other  proverb I’ve heard….

~~~

#procrastination #the thief of time #editing

Summer Sunshine

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Summer sunshine

Peace and laughter

Happiness

Is all I’m after.

*

If you see me

Stop and wonder

Don’t pass by

Face like thunder.

*

To hold you up

Is not my plot

Stop and look

At what I’ve got.

*

A wond’rous view

A pretty flower

Perhaps even

A meteor shower.

*

The point I’m making

Is not so hard

Relax and rest

Let down your guard.

*

Summer sunshine

A wond’rous view

Happiness

Can be for you.

*

Christine Campbell 2014

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