November Musings

opened book on tree root

The clocks rolled back a few weekends ago, but with the sun still shining and the unseasonably mild temperatures it’s hard to believe it really is November. Anyone that doubt’s the existence of climate change needs to hot foot it over to England right now! As daylight hours get shorter my excuses as to why my writing is taking so long start to dry up. No more digging over the garden, or taking the dog on long walks – November is here and it’s time to get serious! Thoughts of writing aside, it is already a busy month for me. Family visits and lots of day job nonsense mean that my writing is squeezed into the smallest of spaces. Somewhere between showering and my first Teams meeting I can usually find 10 minutes or so to write, but it is never enough, and I can never really give my writing the attention it deserves, so, I have opted for a quick retreat back in Oxford. The only thing on my agenda for the next three days is writing – no distractions – no excuses!

I have just received suggested edits back from my lovely editor so the next few days I’ll be working on these. Timing is everything and for once it is working in my favour. Fingers crossed I put the hours I have to good use and don’t succumb to the curse of all writers – procrastination!

Winter is coming – it’s time to write my heart out during daylight hours then pat myself on the back and snuggle by the fire with a glass of something fruity. I may even grab one of the many books on my tbr pile! Wish me luck!

One, two, three, four, five…

As writing goes mine has been a bit underwhelming of late, but I’m happy to report I am back on the wagon again. There are plenty of excuses as to why I’ve been walking in treacle, but none of them really stack up! So, before the bow strikes the violin here’s the good news – 2 new books are in the pipeline – one is a contemporary thriller (natch), the other is a literary historical fiction novel which dips its toe into the 15th century! I am loving working on two books and wonder why I’ve not considered it before – after all, multitasking is one of my super powers!

Perhaps immersing myself in two completely different worlds has become my way of travelling during this pandemic! Hey, whatever gets you through right? I’m enjoying having the choice of which book to work on too dependent on my mood, the position of the sun in the sky etc.etc. Sometimes it’s just nice to escape back to the 15th century! I’m at about 6,000 words on both so still a way to go yet. Please feel free to remind me it was my choice to go tandem when I start complaining!

I shall keep you posted on the adventures of both… until next time…

Lockdown, Loneliness & Writing

Even before lockdown the stats will tell you that we are the loneliest generation to have roamed the earth. There are over 9 million lonely people in the UK. I find that really sad.

During some research for a short story I’m writing I came across a few projects and organisations who are trying to improve on those numbers. One of them is also looking to break a world record with the written word, more on that in a bit.

Scientific evidence shows that expressive writing in particularly can foster a sense of connection with others, even when we’re not directly engaged with them. Writing provides a way of ordering our thoughts and feelings. It is often easier to write about things than to speak about them, I know this can be true for me sometimes. By picking up a pen and writing about things whether it’s our fears, our hopes, or our dreams, we are helping to understand ourselves a little more and building a sense of connection with the world around us. Writing is powerful – truth!

Here are just a few of the organisations who are doing their bit in the battle against loneliness.

The Campaign to End Loneliness was set up in 2017. They believe that people of all ages need connections that matter. They research, lobby, campaign and inspire people to connect and bring communities together. In 2018 they launched Be More Us – a movement that celebrates small moments of connection. You can watch the video here.

The Loneliness Project is the first in a series of digital archives which seeks to build community and empathy by publishing weekly stories about loneliness. They want to receive letters on what loneliness means to you. There are no rules, no submission guidelines and it is open to everyone. It is free to enter.

Dear Loneliness is an interactive art project that aims to break a world record for the longest length of a letter!

As part of an artistic instillation they intend to create the world’s longest letter by covering a room in over 1,000 feet of handwritten and scanned letters about loneliness, with the ceiling and floor covered in large mirrors that create the illusion of letters on loneliness stretching into eternity. They want to receive letters on what loneliness means to you. There are no rules or guidelines and it is free to enter.

Being lonely is wretched and knowing what to do or where to try and find some solace can be hard. Picking up a pen and checking out the above organisations could be a start…

Taming the Beast…

I have taken procrastination to a whole new level. Today my friends I give to you a short poem which I hope will bring a gentle smile to your face – Enjoy…

Taming the Beast by Nicole Fitton

Sitting here my pen in hand

My thoughts and ideas shift like sand.

To write a 1,000 words at least

The only way to tame the beast

Which sits within my head and cries

Type faster girl for time it flies.

I write without a care for time, or food,

Or drink, or love – I’m blind

To anything that disturb’s my flow

Of how my perfect day will go.

So there you have it – I have found another way to talk about writing without actually doing too much of it!

Hey Shorty!

This week I received an exciting piece of news. A short story I entered into a competition made the Short List. As a writer it is the sort of news that sends tingles down your spine and puts a smile on your face.

Rejection is part and parcel of the everyday when you write, it comes with the territory. So when you get a short list or long list placing you can be assured that your story has had an impact – it is a wonderful feeling. Some days writing is thankless and hard, it can feel as if you are wading through treacle. You try your hardest to make your story sing only to have it land flat. Moments that make you fly are so important. They serve as a reminder that sometimes, just sometimes you can hold a tune!

Thankfully I do not have to wait too long for the results.

Read & Vote

This week I have a piece of flash fiction in AdHoc Fictions ebook. Issue 170, the theme is ‘need’. Try and guess which is mine – sorry, I’m not allowed to tell you! Why not pop on over and take a peak? Read and vote for the piece that you like., it really is that easy! Enjoy.

Sing That Song Girl…

With The Brits oh, I mean The Bryts (I’m so old school…) held last night, I got to thinking about how powerful and inspiring music can be.

Music connects with me in a way not much else can… except…books!

Music reaches into my soul and shines a light into places that are often left in shadow. Maybe it evokes a memory or a feeling. It plays around with parts of me that don’t surface as often as they should.

Recently I set myself a challenge to create a soundtrack for each piece of writing I either completed myself or read. It has been an entertaining and enlightening experience! My musical taste is eclectic to say the least, and I have spent hours pondering whether a character in one of my short stories is more into rock than jazz! If truth be told I would probably want all of my characters to like jazz, but that’s a whole other blog post!

So, what pieces of wisdom did I manage to garner from my quasi experiment? Above and beyond the obvious fact that both mediums tell stories and the sheer good fun of it all?

I’ve learnt that in order to be brave you must be vulnerable. It could I suppose apply to any art form, but my drugs of choice are books and music. They are as interconnected in me as blood and DNA. They exist to compliment each other not to compete. Buried within the words of both is a truth, shared just with me. The wordsmiths have been brave. They  have laid out their vulnerability for all to see. The least I can do is try to hear and understand.

Happy New Year – Again!

2018 spat me into 2019 before I felt ready! The good news is now I’m ready! So, belated New Year greetings!

I have a plan for 2019, well sort of. I slumped my way towards the end of last year after an action packed Spring, Summer and Autumn. I don’t have a crystal ball but this year is not about puppies or kittens or any other sort of fluffy fur-balls as far as I’m aware. This year is about my writing. Thanks to my wonderful diary courtesy of Charlie at Urban Writers Retreats I can hold myself to account. I shall be either patting myself on the back, or slapping myself around the face, depending on how things are going! I’m happy to report so far no faces have been slapped! 🤣 Happy New Year!