Sunday, 15 December 2013

LLWG - December

I know, I know, I really have been slacking.  These past few months have been a bit all over the place, but I think I'm back on track so I will be posting about the writing group again.

We met on Tuesday 10th December, and we had a pretty full group.  We keep losing people and gaining others, but it's great to see that interest in the group is still so high.

Homework from last session was to write something about memories.  I don't normally write things this personal, but after a month with heightened emotions, this kind of came spilling out.

I remember when, I remember when I lost my mind.  Hang on.  Wait.  No.  That’s not how this story begins.  That’s the start of a Gnarls Barkley song.  It is, however, how this story ends.  But we will get to that bit in due course.

I remember being in love.  It has only happened once.  I was 19 years old.  Maybe you think that was quite young to be in love, but you tell that to our grandparents who got married in their late teens or early twenties, and never got divorced.  Nothing has come close to that feeling since.  And whenever I think about it, I fall headfirst into the age old question, whether it is better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.  I can’t answer that now.  Maybe things will become clearer in time.

Some of you are lucky to be in love now.  I don’t resent you at all.  I’m extremely jealous, but I don’t begrudge it.  We all deserve to love and be loved.

I remember the day I realised I was in love.  I can’t remember the exact date but the scene plays over and over in my head.  I’d woken up first.  This is something to definitely make note of, as I never wake up first.  Even if I was the last person on earth, I wouldn’t wake up first.  I like my sleep.  It takes a lot to stop me sleeping.  So I’d woken up first and I turned over to see him lying on his side, his head heavy on the pillow.  I watched him sleep.  Not in a weird stalker kind of way; more in a ‘I’ve woken up early and I’ve got nothing better to do’ kind of way.  His hair was wild, which wasn’t really out of the ordinary as his locks were always reasonably unkempt.  He still suffered with bed-head though.  His eyelashes were crusty with sleep, and he had a little bit of dried dribble in the corner of his mouth.  He looked far from his best.  But I looked at him.  I looked at the way parts of his face flickered and contorted, and realised that if he can look this bad and I still want to be with him, it must be love.  It was a bit of an epiphany moment; I’d said ‘I love you’ but it wasn’t until then that I really felt it.  It was one of those ‘the world could end right now and I will die at my absolute peak of happiness’ moments.

I remember being romanced and wooed and courted.  I remember feeling comfortable and safe and connected.  I remember feeling special and treasured.  I remember feeling excited and nervous.  And above all, I remember making someone else feel that way.

In no way am I looking at my relationship through rose tinted glasses.  It wasn’t perfect.  We irritated each other and we fought (not physically I hasten to add), but we always worked it out and got over it.  Well, always, until the last time.  And it is here that I remember when, I remember when I lost my mind.  And I lost my love.


We had a couple of writing tasks.  The first was - what would you do if you were Santa?

If I was Santa I would buy everyone in the world a dictionary, and employ a select team of grammarians to test people before they were allowed to post anything on facebook.  This would reduce unemployment and also keep stupid people off the internet.


The second task was to write about something happening to a Father Christmas in a department store or a snowman.

There he is.  Look at him, standing there all smug, that coaly black smile, grinning.  I bet he thinks he's so great, all high and mighty like he's the king of the garden.  'Oooh, look at me, I don't get cold in the snow because I'm made of snow.  I'm so great.'  Well actually, no you're not so great.  In fact you're rubbish.  You're an overgrown popsicle.  Call yourself a man.  You haven't even got any legs or feet.  You've just got a really fat body.

Yeah, yeah?  What are you staring at?  You want to start something?  Any time!  Any.  Time.


Ha!  You're in for it now.  Don't you try and run.  Oh, I forgot, you can't, you legless wonder.  Here I come, ready or not.  Now, which leg should I cock?  Aah, that's better.


Our next meeting will be on Tuesday 14th January 2014, 7-9pm, in the Navigator Room.  Our homework for next session to write something based on 'new beginnings'.

LLTW - December

I have to apologise for not posting about my teen writing group.  It is still going; I've just had a hectic few months and time has escaped me.  But I will find time from now on.

So we met on Monday 9th December, and I had two of my regular girls and a new girl.

I've stopped setting homework as they weren't doing it.  They have a lot of homework from school and college so I don't really want to add extra pressure.

As it's coming up to Christmas, I thought we would try our hands at writing a Christmas song.  I'm not particularly musical myself, but I managed to scribble down some lyrics.  I don't have a tune for them - maybe someone could help me out with that.

Oh, and it's untitled.

Wrap yourself up inside of your coat
And pull your hat down on your head
Or stay inside where it's nice and warm
And snuggle up cosy in your comfortable bed

It's winter, it's cold
Ice drips from your nose
But that's how it goes
When it's nearly Christmas

Stock up your cupboards with mountains of food
And eat it all until your gut explodes
Sitting on the sofa, watching specials on the tells
Hibernating while the gritters blanket the roads

It's winter, it's cold
Ice drips from your nose
But that's how it goes
When it's nearly Christmas

Do your shopping online to escape the queues
And have your gifts delivered to your door
Spend your evenings in your pyjamas
Wrapping presents, sprawled out on the floor


That's as far as I got.  Perhaps I shouldn't give up my day job!

Anyway, our next meeting will be on Monday 13th January 2014, 5-6pm in the library cafe.  If you're interested in coming or you'd like some more information you can e-mail me at   

Friday, 13 December 2013

College Writers

Today I went to a local college to speak to the writing group there.  I had been asked to go along to talk about writing and publishing.

I was a bit nervous about doing it as I didn't know how I would be received.  But thankfully I wasn't booed out of the building.  There were eight people in the group but they were all very quiet.  I understand that being involved in any of the arts can be daunting.  You produce something but you don't want to share it because it's like you're baring your soul, and you don't want to hear criticism.  

We spent some time discussing what 'creative writing' is, and I was pleased to hear their responses.  They see it as a form of expression and escapism.  We also discussed what types of writing constitute 'creative writing', and one girl answered with 'everything' - the answer I wanted to hear.  So many people think creative writing is limited to fiction stories and poetry, but it stretches a lot further than that.  People seem to forget journalism, essays, travel writing, song lyrics, letters, diary entries (and so much more).  However, the teens today were aware of these styles, although I'm not sure how many they write.

We also spoke a bit about publishing, and as young, new writers they hadn't really thought about it.  One person asked about getting an agent, and other asked about self/e-publishing.  Although I would love to have an agent, it's not easy.  I explained about sending pieces off and getting rejections, which can be really disappointing, but it is worth doing as you never know what will happen.  But if you do want your work out there, self/e-publishing is the way to go.  It gets your name known and you never know who might find out about you.  As an author it's so important to promote and publicise yourself and your work however you can.

We did a couple of five minute writing activities just to get their creativity flowing.  They seemed to enjoy them - well I hope they did.  They weren't very verbal, but that will come with time.

I really enjoyed the session, and even though I would have liked it if they had been a bit more chatty, it was great to see so many people there who were receptive to what I was saying and seemed as though they really enjoyed writing and wanted to take it further than a hobby (a couple of them have started to write novels).

Monday, 9 December 2013

How I deal with rejection

A couple of weeks ago I got back on the submissions train and sent my 12 Days of Krista May Rose manuscript off to a traditional publisher.  Having done a bit of research into publishing, I've noticed that not many places are interested in taking short stories so when I came across a publisher who has previously published short stories I thought that I should give it a go.

Last night I received an e-mail rejection:

Dear Rebeccah,

Thank you for sending us your manuscript for consideration. 

I’ve now had a chance to look at this. Although it’s well written, the book’s themes and subject matter don’t fit our profile and its hard to see the book fitting in with our existing list. 

I’m sure that a more mainstream press will pick this up, or a press that could give it a serious pre-Christmas push. Thank you very much for the opportunity. 

Yours sincerely


Obviously I was a bit deflated when I read this.  I know there are hundreds, if not thousands, of people out there who are trying to get books published and having no luck.  I also know that some of the greatest authors received rejection after rejection before having their work published.  But sometimes it feels like a never ending spiral downwards.

About a year or so ago I was going through some personal problems, and found myself to be extremely negative about any situation I found myself in.  Even when other people pointed out the positives I refused to see them.  I like to think that I'm better now.  This rejection, although crappy, isn't the end of the world.  I self-published this particular book through Createspace and it's available to buy as a hard copy or an e-book from Amazon (UK, US, and Europe), and while it hasn't been selling in its thousands, it has been selling - and not just to friends and family.  I have also sold the paperback at Christmas fayres and at Lowestoft Library Literary Festival.

I admit, I used to say that self-publishing was for those people whose books weren't good enough to be published.  This was before I'd taken a step inside the world of publishing.  It's not as easy as I thought.  But self-publishing is fairly easy and is becoming a more acceptable way of getting your work out there.

So I could have wallowed in the news that one publisher didn't want my work, which is what I probably would have done a year ago.  Instead I'm going to continue to promote my (self-published) book and sort out a lot of work I have floating on my computer and put those in (self-published) book form.  I write things for them to be read.  If I have to self-publish in order for them to be read, then that is what I will do.

So if anyone wants to buy a little literary stocking filler, please pop over to Amazon to ensure delivery before Christmas!