Sarah Ann Hall

Reporting on writing in progress or, more probably, not.

Archive for the ‘Excuses for not writing’ Category

Not #FridayFictioneers – 30/6/17 – haiku alternative

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Every Wednesday Rochelle Wisoff-Fields publishes a photo prompt to inspire writers to write 100-words of flash fiction or poetry.

At any point during the following week, the Friday Fictioneers post their 100-word tales. Read the other stories by clicking below.

 

© Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

 

urgent work demands

push aside weekend writing

flash again next week

 

I really like this photo, but the writing gears haven’t engaged, and a busy weekend means I won’t be able to read the other entries either, so I’m bowing out this week.

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Written by Sarah Ann

June 30, 2017 at 6:42 pm

I’m useless

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Well, maybe that’s a bit strong, but I’m not finding it easy to juggle full-time work with writing.

There’s not much writing going on, but quite a bit of reading about writing on the train to work, and there’s been no blogging, as you’ll have noticed.

Instead of flogging myself and worrying about not keeping up, I’ve decided to not try for a while.

Hopefully I’ll return in 2016 refreshed and with a little more time.

 

Written by Sarah Ann

December 13, 2015 at 8:16 pm

AWOL

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I can’t quite believe I haven’t blogged anything since February. I can’t remember what caused me to miss writing one Friday Fictioneer story, and what happened the following week, which meant I missed two.

Before Easter I was writing, reading through my WIP, making changes suggested by fellow writers who’d read chapter one, trying to develop it into more of a story than a series of scenes. I had finished by the end of March and planned to leave it a month before I went back to it to get the first 3000-words agent-ready. Six months later I still have to return to those 85000-words to perfect the first 3000.

I’m not the only one who seems to have stopped writing. The two writers I met this time last year at a ‘how to hook an agent’ event have similarly been beset by life events that have redirected the focus of their activities. We have met a few times since last September and shared our re-writing and search for agent experiences. This summer, though, seems to have over-taken all of us in different ways.

Mid-summer saw me organising a big family party, and then, when life was just about to return to normal, hubby was knocked of his motorbike. It was a slow speed impact and he was very lucky to only break his ankle, but this meant he wasn’t able to drive for nearly three months. Yours truly, with nothing scheduled work-wise, became chauffeuse for the summer, sitting in the car while hour-long meetings over-ran to three. This lack of brain-activity prompted me to start looking for a job and I will be working full-time for the next six months, commuting to and fro by train. I have planned to use this time to read, maybe I’ll even get to write a little. Perhaps my Friday Fictioneer stories will compose themselves as I walk to the station or stare out of a rain-streaked window. Whatever happens, I’m hoping a strict routine might bring me back to writing.

 

Written by Sarah Ann

September 25, 2015 at 11:59 am

Missing inaction

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Writing, blogging and reading have taken a back seat as hubby and I rush to get a friend’s house painted before autumn arrives.

 

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Currently busy elsewhere.

 

Oh, and then there’s Dad to look after while Mum’s in convalescence care for two and a bit weeks.

Hoping to fit in some flash fiction, but I’m already exhausted and we’re only four days in.

 

Written by Sarah Ann

September 6, 2014 at 10:10 pm

Normal service will resume …

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I had intended to write that, after weeks of feeling as if my head’s not been on my shoulders, life and writing are returning to normal. My muse has peeked out from the recesses of my mind, and descriptive imagery has flitted across my consciousness instead of just lists of things to do. I had planned to pick up the flash fiction baton once again, but I’m not sure I can yet do two things once.

Clearing my late aunt’s house, organising the funeral, liaising with bank, estate agent and family, has taken more of a toll than I had imagined. When I went on holiday in the summer, I itched to be writing, fought not to check flash fiction challenges and read blogs. Over the last couple of months, there has been no time, and I have lost my drive and inclination. The quick-firing neurons that dash off flash fiction stories have turned tail and disappeared. Over the last few weeks I have looked at the prompts, and even scribbled down a few lines, but nothing has fallen into place. If I came up with a story, it wasn’t finished before the challenge deadline.

While my writing has faltered, I have been reading. Following various sources of advice, I have looked for books similar to mine, found agents’ websites, and read books of the authors they represent. Reading for work rather than pleasure has been a release, enabling me to see the author behind the words; where they use a particular word or technique frequently. I gave up on one book when the writer used, ‘It was as if X had read his mind,’ to circumvent character dialogue twice in the first 20 pages. I noticed the plodding, over-bearing language of one historical novel, the continual repetition of another, as if the reader had the memory-span of a goldfish. I cringed at character dialogue designed to let the reader know a character was away at school that was written in such a way it informed the mother who had sent him there. And I got caught up and rushed through a contemporary crime novel, only to groan five minutes after I’d finished. I may be wrong, but are people really imprisoned on confession-only evidence these days? Would only one policeman know that the forensic evidence pointed to self-inflicted stab wounds while everyone else thought otherwise? I just need to adopt the same critical eyes and editorial mindset when I read back over my own WIPs.

I had so many plans at the end of the summer  but all deadlines have been passed. On the positive side, my recent reading has shown me how to end Pippa’s story. Beta-readers were concerned the book ended with a funeral. I have added an extra page or two so the reader can enjoy a happy ending, knowing life goes on. Over the next month, I plan to draft a ‘letter to agents’ and seek comment and advice on that from a friend’s mother, a published writer of many tomes. I will read and edit Pippa and polish it ready to send out come January.

A Year in 200 Words has suffered with me writing 200-words/ day for only two weeks out of the last two months. Still, I have 271 200-word entries and enough emotion and character development to work with in the future. And I have three weeks of December left to write about my character’s impending wedding.

My plan to publish my short stories has gone by-the-by. I might return to it, but for now I do not have the time or energy to commit to self-publishing and marketing. Maybe once the agent-ready draft of Pippa has been sent and is being read and rejected, I might revisit my short stories.

And I hope, slowly, to return to the blogosphere. I have an email account for my writing, separate from the one that copes with day-to-day correspondence. It has been neglected. My blog reading and commenting has been non-existent. Do I yet have the headspace to be able to focus on getting my work published traditionally, AND take up once more the pleasure and challenge of flash fiction? Watch this space.

Written by Sarah Ann

December 6, 2013 at 4:33 pm

Steam-rollered time

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After posting recently about how I seem to always be catching up, life, in the form of a death, has squished time even thinner. Following the recent demise of my aunt I am writing more lists of jobs-to-do than usual and precious little else. The funeral has to be arranged, post has to be sorted, subscriptions cancelled, friends contacted, and family negotiated with. It’s exhausting and my imagination has been boxed away in a cubbyhole, the flaps taped securely. I didn’t want this to happen, but there’s no space for her to flit about and procreate. Hence my WIPs are in the doldrums, my flash fiction is absent, and my reading of blogs non-existent, for which I apologise.

In the midst of this, I attended a talk this week entitled, ‘If we can write, so can you.’ This entailed a member of our local library services asking Essie Fox, Julia Cohen, Scott Andrews and Kate Mayfield a series of questions – where they get their inspiration, who chooses book covers, and others that I have forgotten. The questions were more interesting than I’ve indicated but they faded quickly as the answers given fed each other and made for an entertaining and useful evening. There was a lot I already knew, but my revelation was the fact that I might have finally found my genre – contemporary issue-driven romance. Well, not the romance bit, but contemporary issue-driven definitely fits. So now I read Julia’s book and see if mine is of a similar ilk, and then I look for equivalent books, and then I look for the agents who represent those authors in order to approach them. It’s great to have a plan, but it feels like I’m starting another long process and I see my self-imposed deadlines evaporating.

 

 

IT induced rant – feel free to ignore

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My 4¾-year-old MacBook occasionally throws a strop. When I have 20 tabs open in Firefox she goes slooooooooooooowly. And she’s not too good at waking up from sleep either. Before I learnt to readjust to her middle-aged way of thinking, I was getting a little frustrated, and hubby was getting a little annoyed with my wailing as Mactilda and I almost flew to opposite sides of the room.

My solution: open fewer windows at a time; restart Firefox regularly; treat her gently.

His solution: retire her as a word processor; buy a Samsung Netbook like his (it never plays up) for going online

His netbook is so old we had to go for something newer. It has more RAM and a bigger processor so should work even better. Wrong. It moves more slowly than Mactilda and freezes constantly, whether connected to the internet or not. After all of a week even hubby is throwing in the towel.

It (the new black box of impenetrability) won’t work with Firefox – it refuses to let me ‘Like’ blog posts and opens an empty window instead. It will not allow me to make comments. I was already behind with my writing challenges and blog reading because of work commitments, before technology intervened and stopped me completely. For those who might have missed me reading and trying to comment this week, I apologise. Mactilda and I are reunited, online together again, and trying to catch up.

 

 

Written by Sarah Ann

May 25, 2013 at 1:54 pm

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