Tuesday, 30 March 2010

A self published Handbook

I'm thinking that I have to set myself a goal, let's call it a target of sorts.  In 6 weeks, is it possible to self-publish a Handbook for writing Personal Statements? (working title, haven't thought of the exact sexy title yet).  I'm thinking that this could be a tough call, but then, let's see ... working day, say 7 hours, 5 days a week, that's 35 hours a week, I know I could do more hours than that, *I'm just being generous on 35*.

I have all the resources, the ideas, the plans, the notes and the experience to do this.  Can I set myself the challenge to produce something that I will then make available?  Could be really useful for young people, adult returners, in fact anyone going to University and at a loss when it comes to writing 47 lines of 4000 characters on their UCAS application form.

Hmmmm, something to ponder on the next couple of days.  I want to put it out there to help other people -  it has been on my mind for years.

Bought another blank journal to bring all the notes together - to make it happen.

Once again this is a reminder that if I sit about and not do it, then it doesn't get done.  If I just do it, then I can at least tick it off my list, relax and move on to the next project.

Monday, 29 March 2010

To have an Art Studio or not, that is the question.

My art studio at the moment is a collection of boxes, shoeboxes, plastic containers and an old cardboard box that sits tucked in a corner in the lounge.  I always thought that I would need a studio (even a desk!) for me to begin to sketch, paint, mess, moodle, wax.  Little did I know that actually when I have my stuff out and near me, it inspires me to just start musing with it all.  As it's all near me, there's no excuse not to.  I can sit and look at the colour of paints, pick up my sketch book and begin to just let the lines flow.

All this time, I have been waiting for my studio but I have realised that the studio is within and I can take it anywhere.  I came here to France never realising that this would be something I would learn.

Learning.  This whole l'adventure en france has been about learning.  Learning to adapt, to live smaller than small, to appreciate what I have and who I have in my life, to get in touch with my inner creative muse that loves playing with colour.

Tomorrow, a new phase begins as Will leaves to return to the UK and I remain here for 6 weeks with Lucy.  It's a time to stay focused and plan my time.  To return in May with paintings, writing, proposals and hopefully self published.  I'm going to make an agreement with myself to do just this.

Spring has sprung : )

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Work in progress

Have been working on the little lady above on birch plywood.  She's not finished yet but coming along nicely I think.  It's all about layering.  It doesn't just happen and takes a while to build up the layers, adding and subtracting, the rise and fall of the piece.  Got her hair to think about, not sure what's going to happen with this, I'm feeling pony tails!

Touch Typing my words onto Mac

I feel like I have had a productive day today as I went through my writing in my pink book and typed it up, editing as I went.  Oh, the joy of being able to touch type.  I owe that to Mrs Jolley when I was 14.  I decided to take a typewriting course when I was in secondary school (all those many moons ago).  We learnt to type on manual typewriters and she was a stickler for knowing exactly where the keys were placed.  We had to practise with a piece of a paper over our hands and read the text quickly.  I'm so glad that I had this grounding as it really has set me up for this computer led age.  I only have to see people who struggle with three fingers and I wish it was taught as it makes things so much easier.  To know where the keys are on the keyboard is a real blessing.

The cat sat on the mat - that was the phrase I remember.  I'm sure there's lots of people who remember this too!!

Well today it really did come in handy as I was transcribing my writing.  

I also spent a good hour or so going through the Writers and Artists 2010 Yearbook.  I have already gone through it with post it notes to highlight the publishers and literary agents who would be suitable to send my proposal.  Making a list of them all and starting to visit their websites to see their submission guidelines.  Maybe a little premature but I think it's all part of the research and it also gets me into the mood.  The W&AY is a great resource with lots of great articles written on how to submit to agents/publishers.  It's all about the first impression.  When writing a non-fiction book it's not the whole manuscript they require, it's a proposal, synopsis and sample chapters plus bio about the writer.  

Been a beautiful day here in France so managed to do some of this outdoors.  Nice.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Mixed Media days

For these past few days I have been doing some mixed media art and really enjoying it.  Working with different textures is pretty meditative - makes my mind drift off to think of other things.   I have been doing writing every day and picking a sub-topic, just letting my mind unfold and reflect on the experience I was recollecting.  Recently I was writing about the support group experience I had when I was newly diagnosed with M.E/CFS when I was in my early 20s.  It really was an eye opener as I recall the lady who came to see me, to tell me about the support group meetings, she walked in, or should I say, hobbled in, on walking sticks.  She could barely walk and told me that she had been ill for 20+ years. She was in her early 60s (I think, though don't quote me).

How I did not want to hear this?  At 20, it wasn't what I wanted to listen to.  I wanted to speak to someone who had got well, who had overcome it and re-healed.

And so this is what I was writing about in my pink book.  It made me realise, in that moment all those 21 years ago, that I wanted to read about the success story of a young person - I wanted inspiration and hope.  That's what made me want to write this book ... and that's why I will keep on with it, hoping it will see the light of day, in whatever format.  To help and inspire someone else who was newly diagnosed.   I feel lucky to have come through the ill health and only now, all these years later can turn back to write about it. 

It has been a beautiful day here in France, the sun shining and the forests full of wildlife.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

Day 2 of writing - and I chose to write about my Mum

Believe it .. with all the pomp of unveiling my new pen, it ran out shortly after posting and I had to finish off writing with my mechanical pencil.  Now I do love my french mechanical pencil - I do alot of sketching with it - but writing - it felt slightly weird.  Back home I have a lots of stationery - I'm a bit of a freak when it comes to stationery.  Love it Love it Love it.  I have so many pens of different shapes and colours and there's nothing quite like going to buy a new pen.

I know - I've been told.  This is strange.

And so today we stopped off at the local french supermarche for my to buy my new Bic ReAction Gel Pen and when I got home, I began writing.

Choosing a topic today (I've mapped out lots so that I can just pick something up when I have a moment of clarity and reflection).  I decided to write about my mum's role in my ill health with ME./CFS all those 20 years ago.  I realised I could write an entire book all about my mum and how she supported me, it's not all doom and gloom, no way, there's also lots of laughs in there, we had to, to cope through the reality of the situation.  I'm quite pleased with what I wrote and I'm sure I'll add to it.  But for now.. Mum's the word : )

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Sharing Pink Writing Book

This is the lovely new addition, plus pen!

Actually Starting Writing Today - Rediscovering the pen.

I have been planning my book for about 20 years.  Yes I know this sounds ludicrous!! I have been writing snippets, notes, creatively bloomed the themes in lots of journals and notebooks.   Being in France since December, I have done more of the same, with new post it notes and scraps of paper.  Only recently I bought this massive pink notebook and have started just writing all different chapter headings and sub headings.  Each one on a separate page, giving it lots of blank space.  I thought I'd try using a pen rather than my mac (although I adore my macbookpro), I decided to step away from the tecky and get in touch with the pen again.    The whole point of this *I tell myself* is I can go back and when I fancy it, choose a particular topic and then write about that experience.  *I know I can do this on mac but it's the pen I think I need to rediscover ( I love all things pen-like, all things stationary so a book and a lovely Bic Intensity ticks a box for me)

And that's what I've done today.  Yippee! What an achievement.

What am I writing about?  I'm writing about my recovery from M.E (myalgic encephalomyelitis) also known as C.F.S (chronic fatigue syndrome).  I was really very ill when I was 20 until the age of about 26.  (I'm now 41).   Title headings range from What is ME, About ME; Symptoms; Family/Friends; Food; Body image/Weight; Environment; Sprituality; Arts and Crafts and getting creative' Pets; God/Goddess; Love life; Books; Dreams; GP Support; DHSS; Consultants; Support Groups; and a HUGE section on all the complementary therapies I experienced as part of the healing process. 

This has given me a good feeling today - it reads back well and I feel like I have begun.  Yay!

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