Tag Archives: Co-Working

Notebooks, holidays and rain …



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Well where to start! An apology I think – it’s been ages since my last blog and I know you lovely readers must be wondering why! So apologies that it’s been such a long time, I’ve missed writing my blog to be honest.

Part of the reason I’ve been around but not on social media so much was my short break to Scotland with my fab hubby Pete. We stayed a couple of nights in a B&B on the way up the A9 which was lovely but soooo not long enough! Think a fortnight of sleep could have been better 😉 – after this we travelled all the way up to the top and stayed with my aunt for 2 nights, then back down to Inverness and stayed with his Grandad for 2 nights. The Friday before we left, we were told to bring something nice to wear, and to our surprise when we arrived we were told that his Grandad, and Frances, his partner, were getting married the next day and that they wanted us to be witnesses. It was a beautiful service, with a bittersweet undertone as the reason for the rushed wedding was that Frances had recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. They had it at home having obtained a special license as Frances has also recently had a hip replacement so isn’t able to move much at present. I did what anyone would do, and got the bride ready (hair, makeup and nails) and made the bouquet, did the buffet and still managed to remember to sign the register.

I had intended to use the break to get some writing done, but to be entirely honest it was one of those hols that was so full of things to do, I genuinely didn’t have time. Was lovely to get away, though I wish we’d had longer.

The other reason I’ve been away so long is I’ve been absolutely shattered. Over the last couple of years I’ve been to the docs a few times and mentioned it but they’ve never found anything wrong, so haven’t been able to formulate a treatment plan. Recently it’s been the kind of tiredness that seeps into your bones and makes it physically impossible to focus on anything, and it’s been this way for months! Visiting the docs this time though, has proved fruitful. She has found that my vitamin d and calcium levels are really low, one of the side effects of which is tiredness and fatigue. So I’m on supplements (which taste like chalk by the way – yuck!) which should hopefully build the levels back up and get me feeling a little more energetic.

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Had lots going on at work too as was selected to mentor a new starter. I love the mentoring process, lots of people hate it and find it difficult, but I quite enjoy it. It’s nice to help someone gain the tools they need to do the job. Mentoring’s all done now though, and she has her wings and is flying solo 🙂

I think at my last blog I was probably about 30-35 thousand words into book 3, Time to Play. I’m now over 50k words in! Marlo and Ali are really coming into their own, and the whole story is coming together with a couple of twists that even I didn’t see coming. Love it when that happens 🙂 as an author, there are different ways of plotting. Some people are the ‘fly by the seat of the pants’ type and don’t have a clue what will happen until it’s written, others, like my good friend Victoria J Brown, sit and plan the novel chapter by chapter so they know what happens in basic form from start to finish. I suppose I’m the fly by the seat of my pants type in some ways, and a planner in others. I tend to just sit down and start writing, I know my characters inside out and know they will help me build the plot. But if I get a bit lost, or think I might forget an important back story I mentioned in chapter 1, then I’ll do a plan (which invariably never gets adhered to but still!) I also generally work on the laptop, but always have my trusty notebooks with me, yes, you read right, notebooks not notebook. I have a moleskine that I use for character profiles, interesting things I see or hear along the way, writing plans and spidergrams etc, and another that I write scenes in when I’m not at the laptop. I was very pleased to pull a new notebook from my secret stash this week! Such a good feeling.

I was really happy this morning when I got up. I’d woken at some point during the night to the sound of heavy rain falling, and I remember thinking, in my sleep induced state, that I hoped it continued today as I love the rain (as if you guys didn’t know that already!), and lo and behold, when I got up the windows were covered in droplets and rivers, and there was a steady stream falling outside. It’s easing off now, but I think it’s perfect weather for getting to things you should be doing in the house, like writing a blog for example 😉

Well I think I’ve gone over everything I meant to! All the photo’s on this blog were taken using my digital SLR whilst in Scotland – love it there! Always something to look at and the landscape’s forever changing. I promise I won’t leave it so long next time. Thanks for reading, have a fantastic weekend whatever you’re up to, and as always, keep smiling 😀
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Writing, Networking and friendships …

 

Well what a wonderful picture to start my blog with (obtained from the Morritt’s own website)! The above is a front view of The Morritt, at Greta Bridge, just off the A66. This was the location for the amazing writing retreat I went on this week with the lovely Victoria J Brown (http://www.victoria-brown.com/) and the equally lovely Eileen Wharton (https://www.facebook.com/eileen.whartonwriter). The event itself was hosted and organised by Judith Lesley Marshall (http://judithlesleymarshall.com/). The day started with myself, Vicky and Eileen heading to MacDonalds for breakfast, naughty I know but I had just finished night shift at 3am so was entitled to a little greasy energy. Some of us enjoyed it, some not quite so much but it was all good as we jumped into my car and headed down. Naturally, I misjudged the time it takes to drive there and we arrived over an hour early, which to be fair gave us the chance for a good girly natter discussing the virtues of hair dye, drunkenness and of course, throwing up in your fish nets (I’ll point out I don’t own fishnets so that one wasn’t me!!)

This was my second writing retreat at this location, and I can honestly say it’s worth every penny. There were about 12 of us in total, and we chatted during the networking times with a cup of freshly brewed coffee and home baked shortbread and cookies. It’s always interested to me to chat to other people of the artistic variety, and the types of artist at these venues are so different! We had poets, crime writers, chick lit writers, a graphic designer who was looking for other directions to branch out into, and people just wanting to get something down on paper. It provides a lovely environment, with dedicated ‘head-down’ time to write which just inspires creativity. If you ever get the chance to go on one I highly recommend it – if you’re unsure of when these come up in the North East drop Judith a line, there’s a link to her website in my links section.

As a result of this retreat, myself and Vicky got chatting to Tony, the graphic designer, and a ‘co-workers’ networking event came up in conversation which was set for the following day. I’d never heard of this, but basically it’s an event where people who do solitary work at home can meet up with other solitary workers in an environment that promotes co-working for the day. It was discussed and we quickly agreed that if there was spaces then we would also attend this event. Unfortunately Eileen had to work (dratted day jobs) but the following day myself, Vicky and Tony pitched over to Dovecot Street in Stockton where we met the lovely Rebecca Sergeant (http://www.colleaguesontap.com/) of Colleagues on Tap, and the other lovely people who attended the event. I must admit to being nervous, I’d never attended an event like this and didn’t quite know what to expect. But, everyone was so friendly, and eager to share the jobs they did at home. Everyone sung the praises of the Co-Worker days and I have to agree. For people who work in solitary roles these days give the perfect opportunity to network as well as do some work. They’re easily accessible and operate all over the North East. Rebecca was an very gracious host, constantly making tea and coffee for everyone, and the lunch from a local deli was really tasty (it’s included in the price too!)

Suffice to say over the course of these two days I met a lot of really nice people, no doubt some of whom I will see again and perhaps one day, utilise the services of. I also managed to write a whopping 7100 words on book 3 which was fantastic, The days left me feeling invigorated, inspired and admittedly a little tired, but it has been fantastic. I’ve added some of the contacts I made to my links page so if anyone’s interested in speaking to them, you can drop them a line directly.

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It really has been a busy few weeks! Even just the above days aside, I’ve gone back to my ‘day job’ after 4 weeks off, which were mostly due to illness – I’ve had a really bad sinus infection which somehow managed to invert both my ear drums – honestly I was so ill, I couldn’t even write! I am getting there now though you’ll be pleased to hear though test results pending on some further bloods. I’ve been scribbling furiously over the last couple of weeks and have managed to get to 31,000 words on book 3 which isn’t bad going at all! I’ve had an interview for a VCSI job which I hadn’t mentioned much about online as didn’t want to jinx anything but I should find out next week if I’ve been successful. If not then no problem, though I really would like to get back into forensics. My current job is fine and the new shifts I’m on do provide more writing time. And I’ve been looking round at pretty things to photograph, like the crocuses above, I love the vibrancy of this image. The flowers actually look painted on!

My next set of rest days will incorporate a submission day where I shall send book 1 off to prospective agents, as well as further writing time. I’ll be taking my trusty notebook to work also so I can work on it during lunch breaks etc also.

I love how the future looks at the present time, it’s great to know that I’ve finished writing 2 novels, have a third being written, and a basic plot line for a fourth. I bask in the knowledge that one day I will be published and people will be able to read my novels, and not just hear about me talking about them, or read the taster prologues on this website. Who knows what else the future holds, but I know whatever I want, I can make it happen. Such is the nature of dreams.

That’s it for this weeks blog – take care and keep smiling 🙂 I know I am.