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Archive for the ‘Snippets on Writing’ Category

Motivation. A word of empowerment that is often elusive, hiding behind a long list of excuses.

My list has been substantial of late, and while the reasons have been honest, tangible and time-consuming, the results created confusion, apathy and a feeling of being completely overwhelmed. As I write this, I have realized how tired I had become and how much I am benefiting from my new regime of walking and taking time out for me.

Last week I was set the task of creating an Acrostic Poem using the word motivation as the prompt. I thought I’d share it with you, along with a photo I took some years ago of Forget-Me-Nots. The two connecting,  reminding me to move forward, reach for the stars and enjoy the journey.

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WheatI’m not shouting from the rooftops and saying ‘I’m back to Blogging‘. Instead it is a quiet whisper to those of you who have followed my blog and been such a support over the last eighteen months.

It’s been a long time between posts. Too long on some levels and not long enough on others. Those of you who have emailed and enquired as to my whereabouts, I can’t thank you enough and you should have received a personal email. People write about their ‘Blogging Family’ and it has warmed my heart to know that people really do care and that my ramblings are missed.

My writing ventures have not ceased, instead I have wound back on everything,  in an attempt to do an internal audit and set a fresh vision. I wondered why the road I was taking seemed so confusing and confronting, why my enthusiasm had waned and eventually asked myself where God wanted me to take my skills and talents.

This confronting thought came about, when a young musician friend launched into producing an album, signed up for Twitter, Facebbook, Instantgramme and a host of other Social Media sites. Suddenly, her God given vision was interupted by the voices of her supporters, all making valid suggestions, which consumed her time and distracted her from the real task ahead.

With that revelation, I have come to understand why I cut out a few sites myself, some months back. My days of checking replies, commenting, reviewing and posting had robbed me of some or the simpler pleasures of just creating something original. Something that guided me on my journey, allowed me to be me and set my course for the future.

I am still hanging in there, with a spark of desire to start hitting the blogging keyboard again. This time I will not be in a rush to race ahead. Instead I will take it grain by grain and see where I end up.

(c) Sandie’s Snippets, 2013

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A recent writers group activity was to create a character based on a collection of objects. My eyes were drawn  to an ebony pointer, reminding me of countless stories I have heard and read, where teachers have ruled classrooms by fear and intimidation, rather than generating a healthy atmosphere for learning.

My own schooldays are fondly remembered in most instances, with some teachers remembered for their creativity and others…….. Well, let’s not go there, not today anyway.

The piece written below is not attributed to anyone in particular, but a product of our group activity. Proving that sometimes an object can inspire us to create a credible character.

intrepid

 Class Rule

The wooden pointer is dark and foreboding, like the extension of an arm, with the ability to pierce to the heart. Its age is unknown, yet it feels Victorian, the kind you would expect to find in the hands of a school master back in the late nineteenth century.

***

Bernard conducted his lessons in every way, shape and form. The dark timber baton, ordering the classroom to perform to the tune of respect and authority, for the position he held. Chants bounced around the room to the beat of a tap, words repeated in multiples, if the annunciation was incorrect. Each child was terrified of the ebony stick, its power holding a greater influence, than that of Bernard Billings himself.

They didn’t see the wizened old man, with failing eyesight, arthritic joints and a balding head. Instead they felt intimidated, prisoners in their box like class room. A half drum roll on the ancient oak desk had the ability to bring a deathly silence, where you really could hear a pin drop.

When the tip was pointed in your direction you grew by inches, rather than centimetres. Decisive answers had to be produced in an instant and debate on current issues would not be entertained. Pounds and Pence have since become Dollars and Cents, yet Algebra, Fractions, Times Tables and Logarithms were everyday currency, during long tedious maths lessons.  It was an era where errors in factual information, grammar and spelling were marked in red, the pain of correction bleeding off of everyone’s page.

Then there was that heavy-handed thwack of the cane, which caused a global unrest. Where eyes stole glances over blurred pages, imagining the frightened faces of their peers.

Horror stories ran rife among the student population and even though no one knew of anyone who had actually suffered at the hands of this man, no one was willing to put those tales to the test.

Now I have the character. One day I may have to put him into a story.

©Sandie’s Snippets

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The ocean has alway been an important part of my life and this image show a beach in Melros, Western Australia, which is a place that we often visit with a group of friends. Cheap accommodation enables us to stay with another three couples and we enjoy endless beach walks, the challenges of 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzles, games of scrabble and Red Wine sunsets.

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I grew up on the East Devon coast of England, near the Regency town of Sidmouth. It is a beautiful area of outstanding natural beauty, sitting a short drive from the Dorset border. A twenty-minute walk, through hedged pathway and lush public open space, could have me sitting on the pebbled banks, hankering over some of my wildest dreams.

When I stare out to sea, I can be anywhere in the world and generally feel more connected to the place I still call home. It has the universal ability to tune me into an amazing creator God, enabling me to reach new spiritual depths. Problems and concerns seem to magically lighten, as the reflective waters twinkle, dancing in delicate footsteps on the ocean’s surface.

On a daily basis, the skies and oceans work collectively to bring some of the most amazing scenery. People like me revel in taking happy snaps, photos that attempt to capture an aura of the Divine and choosing just one to share was hard, as many also include magnificent sunsets. I decided on this one, as it links in with a ‘Freestyle Poem’ that I wrote at Writers Group this week.

The prompt was to write a poem linking a favorite place to an emotion. Even I was surprised by what I wrote in the time-frame we were given.

Freedom Coast

My prison holds no walls

Emotions creating their own boundaries.

Escape is a road trip

Fueled by dark days

Powered by the need for sunshine.

Sand snatches at my feet

Grabbing at my stability

Until solid ground holds firm.

Distance is unfathomable

And waves roll to my heart beat.

Space and rhythm

Washed up debris

Working to erase the shadows.

Lighting my spirit with inspiration

Encompassing all things beach.

(c)Sandie’s Snippets 2013

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After a delightful breakfast with a writerly friend I was planning to come home and do some housework. Hmmmmm. So much for that idea, because instead of doing a grocery run, I came straight home, made another coffee, checked Facebook, read emails (some of which still need replies), set up a services page on my blog and am now writing a new post.

writingThe services page has come about, because a writing group friend has been studying and setting up a home based editing business. During my time at writing group, she has diligently edited all of our short stories and poems, so they could be placed in an annual anthology.  As many of us know, self promotion within the writing industry is hard work, so as well as offering her the space to promote her services, I thought some of you may appreciate adding your area of expertise to the page as well.

As an enthusiastic writer, I have not as yet had a complete book/novel published, sometimes I wonder if I ever will. I don’t believe this is a bad position to be in as writing for me is like a drug. Words on a blank page(or screen), paint pictures, reveal heart-felt truths, expose hidden dreams and create my own personal masterpiece. Once I have finished writing something I yearn to write more, it’s in my blood, I just can’t seem to help myself.

With my poor grammar and spelling skills I will always need a good editor to set me straight. My good friend D.J. from Stutely Tales(http://stutleytales.com/), spent hours with me, editing a short story a couple of years ago. Her support and advice was incredible, where I learnt a great deal about the craft of writing and dissecting the text, realising that I still have a lot to learn.

My local writing group has also been a great resource, as we regularly hand our work over to group members to be critiqued and edited before submitting to magazines and competitions. I am often amazed at how diverse the comments and feedback can be, within such a close-knit body of people.

When it comes to moving forward with my writing, I took the plunge last week and opened up my NaNoWriMo file for the first time since December. Although I was a little upset to realise that I did not save the last 2,700 words, it made pretty good reading and a buzz of excitement stirred within. With my ‘Bottled Sunshine’ (Vitamin D tablets) improving my mental health/attitude, I am preparing to launch into a fresh season of polishing up a potential book.

So I am feeling a little more encouraged and motivated at the moment and that is a very good place to be.

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sunshineI have been very slack when it comes to posting blog updates of late.

My reason?

Well I have been journeying through this place called ‘Overdoingit’, trying to juggle my way through far too many things. It was one of the main reasons I thought I’d better get my long overdue biannual health check done with my GP, (my last post tells you how that went). If all the results came back fine, then I needed to take a look at lifestyle issues and cut some more things out of my life.

I can tell you that my needle phobia sent the trainee vampire into panic mode as she attempted to find a good vein for blood. My eyes watered up and breathing became laboured, all the while I was struggling to stay calm, face my fears and not levitate out of the chair. The poor woman buckled under the pressure, turned to her supervisor and said, ‘You can do this one’. I apologised profusely when it was all over and left their chamber of horrors stating, ‘You think that was bad, you should see me at the dentists!’ On that note, a reminder for a dental check up came in the post last week and I have the good old mammogram booked in for later this week.

It seems I am once again on ‘Bottled Sunshine’. Despite our sunny Australian climate and my time spent out in the sun, I was very low on vitamin D. Probably a major cause of me feeling so overwhelmed with all that I have been trying to achieve of late. There were a couple of other issues that needed to be looked at, but on the whole I have come through it with a clean bill of health and a form to get another blood test done in a months time. Starting to dislike this very thorough GP.

Lifesaving for BeginnersOn a more positive note, I was thrilled on Saturday, to have a book review published in our Weekend paper, ‘The West Australian‘. I am now looking forward to a prize pack of five new releases.

‘Lifesaving for Beginners’, by Ciara Geraghty is a delightful read and one I would have overlooked, had it not come recommended. It sent me on a roller coaster of emotions. One minute I was smiling at the naive wisdom of Milo, a nine year old boy who wants to become a lifesaver. Then, I found myself cheering on Faith as she struggled to take on a parenting role after her mother was killed in a car accident. Kate Kavenagh also has a touching story to tell, as she is forced to connect with her past and face some family secrets. The Irish Sea separated these two families for years but that all changes with a skillfully woven series of events. With believable and thought-provoking characters, this is a novel I will remember for a long time.

Now it is time to get on with the rest of my day.

Next on the list is to follow my Doctors orders; make a cuppa and sit in the sun for at least twenty minutes.

(c) Sandies Snippets 2013

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writingThis week I had the amazing job of leading our creative writing group, focusing on an image for a competition that is coming up later in the year. Work-shopping ideas and focusing on different points of view, brought about a great deal of discussion and debate, while our creative minds wrote some thought-provoking pieces. These will hopefully move us forward in the preparation of entries.

Poking my toes into the sea of competitions has stretched my writing boundaries. While I may not have won anything as yet, I always read the winning entries and have found their style and structure educational.

Poetry is slowly becoming a form of expression that I love. It grips me emotionally, tugs at my heart strings and brings out what is deep within. These short, sharp lines, have the ability to create a visual impact, making me feel as though I am painting a canvas with words. Sometimes I need to adjust the tone, paint over a section, revise my spelling, double and triple check grammar.

Then I must teach myself to stand back and say, ‘I did that’

(c) Sandie’s Snippete 2013

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