Unfinished projects

I find it impossible to stick to one project with all the ideas floating around in my mind.  As soon as I get them out I want to start work on them, even though I have a thousand other things to do (creative or otherwise).  I have a bank of unfinished stories, rough draft poems and half-formed ideas, and only a small handful of completed works.

Maybe if I finished something I would have to let someone read it…


Dreaming of an Orangey Christmas

orangesThis smell reminds me of Christmas. Oranges, clementines, satsuma mandarins and tangerines always filled my family’s fruit bowls over the festive season.

And I always had some satsuma mandarins in the heel and toe of my stocking.

No stocking fillers were ever the correct shape to fill the heel or the toe of a Christmas stocking.  Other stockings flap around at the foot while the leg is bursting out at the seams.

But not mine.

I had a satsuma mandarin in the heel and the toe of my Christmas stocking.

stockingChristmas morning we would all open our stockings together upstairs.  I being the only child always had plenty left when everyone else had emptied their stockings. Before going down stairs to open our main presents Granny would make us all breakfast leaving the rest of us to admire our miniature gifts, and fill the air with an orangey aroma as we ate the satsuma mandarins from the heels and toes of our Christmas stockings.

Everyone always had a cooked English breakfast as a Christmas morning treat, except me. I only ever wanted porridge with honey.

And the satsuma mandarins from the heel and the toe of my Christmas stocking.

and the words come pouring out…

Writing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How do people who like to write, develop ideas, or get them started? There’s the obvious keeping a notebook, (or phone, Ipad, dictaphone; whatever you prefer).   Sometimes just sitting at a computer and writing whatever comes out is a great technique.  Other times it might be better to plan what to write before writing it.  There are also writing prompts and websites that push you into writing using various techniques.

I am a pen and paper girl, as regular readers of my blog will know, so I like jotting my ideas down on a blank sheet  first.  But even better than that is a white-board.  A plain simple white-board.

I have a white-board in my home which I have always used for planning essays and writing lists among other things.  I find it’s a great help for mind-mapping because it’s so big and I can rub out, draw arrows, use different coloured pens for different categories etc.

I start by writing down ideas and before I know it more and more ideas just came from nowhere.  It is as if I have a magic white-board!


Getting Organized. Day 21. Phase two.

Yesterday I found a little note book full of short stories I wrote a few years ago.

The day before I found ten purple document wallets in a box, each with a label such as; “poetry”,” notes for ‘Berthe’ story”, “notes for ‘Garden’ short story”… etc. Each contained handwritten notes on paper, backs of envelopes, space on leaflets; anything I could get my hands on, I guess.  (I was more prolific in my late teens and early twenties than I realized!)  This was obviously an earlier attempt to get organized which I boxed up and abandoned.

It was not a bad idea though.  My current plan of typing everything up and organizing into folders on my new USB stick is still working, but it means spending more time cataloging  and sorting old material than working on completing something.  By sorting my handwritten notes into clearly labelled purple document wallets first, it means I can type up all the notes from one project at a time, thus allowing me to finish something, and stay on top of my ‘getting organized’ project.

There were a few short stories in my small notebook, most of them completed in a rough draft.  I picked one and typed it up yesterday and made a few changes.  It just needs a few more re-writes before I’ll be happy with it, but it’s well on its way to being a finished story.  Finally.

Finding Time to Read

Like lots of people, I’ve always got a book on the go. But my problem is that I always seem to read several books at the same time. This is very disruptive to each story and it can get confusing. The most confusing time was when I was reading Dracula on my lunch breaks in work and The Historian at home (also about Dracula). Reading a book just on lunch breaks during the week means it takes a long time to finish. If it starts getting un-put-down-able I will take it home; which then puts my ‘at home’ book on hold.

Why don’t I just read one book and take it the work with me? I think the reason goes back to the days when I didn’t have a car. I enjoy walking so rather than take a bus I walked to work, so the less I had to carry, the better. That’s why my locker in work was stocked up with food and books to save me carrying them every day. Good plan – then. Now I drive to work but my reading habits remain the same (thankfully my eating habits have improved!). In fact my reading habit has become worse. I now have a ‘car book’: A book that lives in the car for when the person I’m picking up from work (boyfriend) isn’t ready and I’m waiting in the car. I sometimes have two books for home; a heavy reading for downstairs when I’m alert and my brain is working, and a lighter one for reading in bed. I can add yet more to this. If I’m going on a long coach journey by myself I take an audio book (for planes and trains I prefer to read a print copy). That’s potentially four books at any one time. It’s no wonder it takes me an age to finish reading any one book.

This has to stop, hasn’t it?

So today I took my bedtime book to work (sorry H.G. Wells, you’ll have to wait). And I will also read this books if I’m reading downstairs (sorry too, Emotional Intelligence, you will have to wait for a weekend when I can give you more attention). James Thurber I will keep in my car for now. There will for certain be times where I will be stuck in my car waiting for boyfriend to call it a day and let me drive him home. I’ll probably have my reading book with me – that’s the plan. But if for some reason I don’t, Thurber’s hilarious short stories are short enough to keep me occupied until my car can start moving.

The first time I tried to become the type of person that carries the same book with me, it didn’t work out too well. I started with Slaughter-house 5 because it was small enough to carry in my bag. For that fact alone Slaughter-house 5 became my ‘bag book’ – a book only to be read when I find myself without my regular book, as this book will always be with me (as long as I have my bag!).  But this time it will work.  What can possibly go wrong?  Watch this space…