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Boxes are unpacked. The desk is positioned, and everything is now in its place. So no excuses for not getting back to writing. My February submission to the DANKY’S PIQUE was supplied a week late but the column is proving to be a success. (See Articles page).
My first published work when I was a lad was an article in a magazine Hobbies Weekly. I lost my original copy many years ago, but was surprised when searching Ebay to find many old copies being offered. Not being able to recall the year it was published, I plunged in and bought a cheap set of forty copies spanning a couple of years. I cannot describe my excitement when trawling through a copy dated the 28th.February 1962 and finding THE PURSUIT OF HOBBIES by DK printed on its yellow-aged pages. The embarrassment felt reading that initial effort was tempered by the feeling of nostalgia it engendered. It has been added to one of the box files containing copies of items published over the years. (See bottom of Articles page) When the rejections arrive too frequently it does no harm flicking back through the files and realising that it hasn’t all been disappointment. Boosting confidence v Resting on your laurels.. a delicate balance.
After much searching I managed to find a bungalow to move to at the end of the month. Packing and making the move has taken up every available hour. The keyboard has been used solely to make contact with utility companies, and numerous other offices that stretch out into the sunset and well past bedtime. Files and other paraphernalia associated with writing are spread across a number of cardboard boxes, and my notebooks have barely been opened . However, the forced break from writing has created an enthusiastic urge to get started again once my desk is set up with everything in its usual exact place. (There’s nothing wrong with being organised!) One of my first pieces of forwarded mail was an acceptance by Scribble of a story FRAMED THEFT which will appear shortly.
My exasperating experiences dealing with estate agents and their financial assessors has given me enough material to fill a book. Whether moving home, buying a car, or planning some investment etc., there will always be an opportunity to pen a ‘How to…’ or a ‘What to avoid when…’ article. All our encounters with the challenges of life offer us the chance to write about them.
I have begun to seek a new home to rent. I have found it to be a bigger challenge than I expected. I wish I had started earlier. Online descriptions have proven to vary greatly from the actual properties, and I understand why estate agents are still the number three most hated ‘profession’. Reliability, honesty, trustworthy are not words I would associate with their practices. While standing in the back garden of a bungalow property, surrounded on three sides by multi-story residential blocks, the estate agent described it as, ‘secluded and not overlooked,’ as though I was devoid of sight.
Writing everyday while trying to scour the area for a new abode has been difficult. I have managed to pen a few short pieces and send them on their way, plus the latest DANKY’S PIQUE column for February (You are Asking my Opinion on What?) There are a number of submissions still under consideration too. So my writing business isn’t quite dead yet. Although there will always be some distraction in our lives, it is still important to scribble something every day, even if only our grumbles.
This month I had another humorous article published in The Short Humour Magazine entitle AGED MARRIAGE ADVICE. In addition, Estuary Life, who have accepted a number of my articles in the past, are to publish a regular monthly 500-word contribution from me. It will be under the heading of DANKY’S PIQUE. The articles will be a tongue in cheek grumbler’s corner about modern life. The first will be published in January entitled CUSTOMER SERVICE? ~ WE DON’T HAVE A SYSTEM FOR THAT.
There is nothing like being set a task by someone else to ensure something is likely to get done. This holds true for writing, particularly when story ideas are lacking.
Being given an exercise as part of a course can provide the impetus to get the pen scratching away. Another great stimulator I have tried is a free online random plot generator. They randomly suggest a character, situation, prop, and setting. Some of the results can be bizarre and will often stretch the creative imagination.
My favourite programme has four wheels, which spin like a one-armed-bandit machine. Here are the results of two spins I have just made:
Character Situation Prop Setting
Junk Sculptor Runs away Embarrassing Yacht
Runner up Meets someone Lucky penny Amsterdam
This unusual combination can help to avoid tired hackneyed and predictable storylines.
This year I produced little writing. What I did submit deserved the rejections they received. It has been a period of re-assessment of the direction of my life, when I have read much more that I have written. Of course, there is no substitute for the regular practice of putting words down on paper.
Reading concentrates the mind on style. It is an excellent way to expand your vocabulary, study the magic of pace and rhythm, and improve presentation. But, if you haven’t written for a while or achieved publication of late, there is the danger of becoming despondent by comparing what you are reading with your own neglected craft.
A routine of daily writing (and editing) is essential to build the confidence necessary to achieve writing success.
I have begun to take a determined approach to my writing to recover from the break this year, resulting in the acceptance of two short pieces of work. A flash story, NEEDY SOUL published in Turnpike Magazine, and a humorous piece in Short Humour Site entitled BEACH WIND.
……………see archived entries for 2017/8