Hello everyone. Just to let you know, I have been busy creating a new website for my writing and editing services: www.playle-editorial-services.com.
I’ve been blogging since 2009. My blog started out as a place to document my education, career and literary journey, but as these aspects of my life have developed, strengthened and divided, I have found the need to separate my web presence.
So I’ve moved all the stuff relating to my editing and critiquing service over to the new website. I’ll also be moving the resources for writers over to that site, and I’ll going back to my roots on this domain, focusing once again on my own writing journey.
Thanks for your patience and support during this upheaval!
So it’s been around six weeks since my last update – probably the longest I’ve gone between posting. Once again, I am becoming overwhelmed with how fast time seems to be moving these days.
What have I been up to these past few weeks? Well, I am in the middle of creating a separate website for my writing and editing business, which will enable me to keep this site a bit more personal and focused on writing and creativity.
Further to that, I’m now working in-house a few days a week at a design agency as a copywriter and social media manager. I think the work is going well, and I’m enjoying what I’m doing. Having a regular schedule is incredibly useful.
I’ve manged to get a bit of writing done, but not as much as I’d hoped. I need to be more strict with myself and set aside a day or two a week to focus on it.
I’ve got a long ‘to-do’ list this month, including putting together the long overdue latest issue of Inkspill Magazine, updating the Inkspill website, finishing my business site, finishing two ebook guides for this website, and keeping up with my writing… Right now I’m off to finish re-decorating the bathroom!
Last year whizzed past. I’ve been in shock recently: has is really been a whole year since I was setting my writing goals? It seems like only last week.
Looking back over the goals I set, it is disappointing to see that I didn’t achieve many of them. The reason why is painfully obvious: I set the destination goal, but I didn’t work through the steps it would take to reach those goals. So I wrote them down at the beginning of the year, and I just left them there, to gather metaphorical dust.
But I’m not going to let that get me down. Instead, I’m going to focus on what I did achieve, and what I learnt.
- Completed a Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector (PTLLS) course.
- Gained several new clients for my critiquing service.
- Worked three months in-house for Pearson, helping create a fantastic educational product.
- Worked freelance for Penguin, helping research and plan a (still secret) project.
- Wrote and published an ebook on writer’s block.
- Created a new website for Inkspill Magazine.
- Published three new issues of Inkspill Magazine.
- Wrote and had a a short ebook accepted for publication (under a pseudonym).
- Signed a contract with the Janklow & Nesbit literary agency.
- I was long-listed for the Escalator Literary Award (results at the end of Jan! Fingers crossed!).
Towards the end of 2012, I was feeling quite low. Despite all that awesome stuff I’ve just listed. I suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which basically means the dreariness of winter really gets me down. I allowed myself to disconnect for the last two weeks of December. I went home for Christmas and banished worrying from my mind, telling myself to focus on and enjoy the moment.
So I’m letting 2013 be a Fresh Start.
2012 was a transitional year for me.
2013 is going to be the year I start believing in myself.
What’s to come in 2013
I am currently working on expanding my Writer’s Block ebook into a guidebook collection + playbook called Reignite Your Writing, which will launch on Monday 14th January. It contains a wealth of in-depth information and practical guidance on kick-starting your writing, and becoming more creative and productive. I spent a lot of time researching the information in this collection last year – I read tons of books, websites, journals, and took various online courses.
And to give you a heads up, I’m also going to be setting up an online write-a-thon type course in the near future. The idea behind this is to help writers develop a writing habit by using community, micro-habit, deadline and motivation. More details on that to follow.
Sign up to my shiny new mailing list (in the sidebar) to keep up to date with courses, products, publications and articles.
Here’s to a happy and creative 2013!
A few days ago, the BBC reported that around 600 libraries in England have been closed due to budget cuts. This is something that has been in the news for a while now. I find it very sad.
I have always loved libraries, since as long as I remember. My love of libraries was probably the first sign of my bookish personality.
My earliest memory of being a member of a library was when I was very young – perhaps five years old – and I took part in the summer reading programme. We got our worksheet stamped whenever we finished a book, which created a path through a jungle. At the end, I got a certificate.
I loved going to the library. It was big and bright and full of interesting things. It was also very near where my dad used to work, and sometimes when we visited him, I was allowed to go across the road to the library, which felt like a big journey to me. I can still remember the smell of the library, and how it felt safe and warm. A refuge.
By the time I was a young teenager, we had moved town. I spent many long hours in the little library by the old church. I remember moving from the teen section to the adult section, and feeling like a new world had been opened up to me. That’s when I discovered Ann Rice’s ‘Vampire Chronicles’, and became totally obsessed.
Our school library was old, dark and dingy. The librarian was sour-faced and mean, a scowling shh!-er. But the school eventually renovated it, and employed a new librarian. The new library was wonderful. Cold blue had been replaced with warm red. New desks, new swivel book-shelves, new books! And a new librarian. One that was passionate about books, kind-hearted and always smiling. She would accompany our English trips to see Shakespeare plays.
The library became a popular refuge. A neutral meeting place for friends in different form groups. I remember writing a collaborative short story in the library for an English assignment. I remember long, philosophical conversations with my friends, full of wild ideas and big questions.I don’t have fond memories of my university library. It felt crammed with books, and void of personality. You could never find the book you wanted, as someone else had inevitably checked it out. There was no warm community feeling. The computer area was out-dated and always crammed with stressed students.
Now, my local library is the Millennium Library in Norwich. It is hosted in such a beautiful, impressive glass-fronted building, which also contains a BBC radio studio, coffee house and pizza restaurant. Located next to the town hall, there is always plenty going on at the library, from art exhibitions to market stalls. It’s got a great array of books, and it is always buzzing with activity. A great place, even if I did have to pay £6 in fines last week…!
“I received the fundamentals of my education in school, but that was not enough. My real education, the superstructure, the details, the true architecture, I got out of the public library. For an impoverished child whose family could not afford to buy books, the library was the open door to wonder and achievement…” - Isaac Asimov
Libraries are a place of community, refuge, information and knowledge. The service they provide is invaluable, and free! The BBC are reporting that the mass closing of libraries may in fact be unlawful, stating that it is a legal duty to provide a comprehensive and efficient service under the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964. Whatever the case, I hope we don’t lose our libraries. It would be a massive blow to our culture and community.
Two months into the year and I’ve only ticked off one book from my reading list. Yet I’m drawn to read other books, books that aren’t on my prescribed list. It has occured to me that certain books call to us at certain times. We crave different types of book depending on our mood, our current outlook on life, how much spare time we have, even our age or possition in life.
I once spoke to someone (or read somewhere – I can’t recall) who said that reading A Clockwork Orange as a teenager is all about the thrill of adolencent rebellion, but reading it as an adult, it is all about the fear of revoluting youths against society. Reading is always a deeply personal experience. Reading a book at a certain time in your life can give it a whole different meaning.
I found it impossible to get through my reading list as an undergraduate student. Not only were we expected to read three primary texts a week for various modules, but so many books on those lists looked dry or uninteresting. I could appreciate their literary merit and the context in which we studied them, but since I physically couldn’t read that fast anyway, I would select only the books that called to me. Gulliver’s Travels over Tristram Shandy, for example. Or Titus Andronicus over King Lear (I know, I know…)
In a way, I worry that I won’t read the right books at the optimum time in my life. In other way, it’s quite freeing to just pick up the text that feels right at the time.
I should be reading Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, but instead I’m currently reading Under a Canvas Sky, the autobiography of Clare Peake, Mervyn Peake’s daughter. I find it nostalgic, inspiring and tragic – emotions that are keeping me tethered at the moment. Or providing a sense of escapism. Probably a bit of both.
What are you reading at the moment? What drew you to that particular book? Is there anything you’re meant to be reading instead?