Getting to know when it’s time to stop blogging, and start writing!

It’s been a crazy few months, and I guess you can say quite a lot has happened. But in my head, I don’t feel like I’ve made much headway at all….

After a bit of a traumatic start to my year, I’ve had to find my feet slowly, taking measured steps in order to get a little closer, to reaching those personal goals.

So far I’ve become a writer for an online paper-writing film reviews- I’ve joined a critique group, I’ve taken a writing course, I’m part of SCWBI, I’m getting new book  ideas, I’m enjoying blogging my experiences to all of you out there, plus I’m [randomly] choreographing a wedding dance!….And I suppose the list is only going to get longer, I want to achieve so many things lol; But recently the realisation hit that I was in need of a break, I had to pull myself away from the day to day, re-juice and unwind, otherwise I felt I was heading for a scary wipe out peeps, so I took off. 

First I hooked up with friends and went to Barcelona….

And then I headed to France….Switching off all my social media was a little disconcerting to begin with, but then it let all this fresh light in, and I soaked it up without flinching an inch, it was beautiful.

It’s great to be back now, and of course share some of my holiday snaps with you. I can’t wait to put pen to paper, and have some fun with my writing again.

I say ‘again’ because being away shed light on how little of MY OWN writing I was doing. I mean, I am doing it, but it’s usually when energy’s low and I’m at the bottom of my barrel. That needs to change, it has to be at the top of my list -do you know what I mean? Or am I alone on this one….I just feel like with all that I’m trying to uphold on the Twittersphere, and land of the Blog, it’s easy to become a slave to that, and although as I mentioned earlier I enjoy it, I really do, my writing has to come first, because by doing that, in a way, I know I’m putting myself first.

Follow, Share, Like

&

How do you switch off, do you allow yourself to take time out- If so what do you like doing? Drop me comment, I’d love to know. 

Advertisements

Writing critique groups, good or bad?

So after a stint at City Lit in Holborn, doing an amazing course for ‘Writing for children’, the fact that I got to meet some brilliant people I would now consider to be friends, was such a bonus!

No one including myself wanted the course to end, it was inclusive, fun and never shy to talk about the reality of the business, which as we are all well aware can be pretty tough. Having said that, I believe no matter what the profession, if you’re good at what you do, it’ll always make room for a good piece of story telling.

Last Friday our group decided to hook up in Tottenham crt road, with the hopes of getting a bevvy down the hatch, to help loosen our tongues -and of course take the gawd awful edge off a busy week. But alas, our local hole was way too crowded to get all deep and meaningful, so we opted for the BFI up the road instead.

After a brief catch up, we began, and I decided to jump in first.

Now I don’t know about you writers/illustrators but I have lots of stuff on the back burner, pages full of ideas, and then I have that completed stuff which needs to be whipped into shape with fresh eyes. The piece that I shared I’d been working on for about 3 years, my sisters are the only people who have had the privilege to read my madness- a middle grade book. Anyhow, I’m please to say it had a fairly good response, and I was inspired to go home, toss it around taking the notes I thought relevant, and put my head down.

So what’s good about having this kind of critique and what isn’t, let’s break it down shall we….

Writing tips by gaia b amman-Tumblr

GOOD

Having someone else read your work- not in anyway like when you read it out aloud, in your undies on a Sunday afternoon- will help to expose the pitfalls, and the gaps perhaps you hadn’t heard before.

Bad

It exposes the pitfalls, and the gaps perhaps you hadn’t heard before.

Good

Hearing others critique things that you loooove in your manuscript, which some think shouldn’t be there, can be a useful way to get to the heart of your story, gauging out the fluff and boring exposition.

Bad

Your Darlings may have to be killed Noooooooo!

Good

An imput of ideas about how to constructively tackle the next step, could be well worth your while, especially as it could save you a lot in procrastination time, enabling you to crack on and WRITE.

Bad

Criticism however it’s laid out should be constructive, but it can leave you in a bit of a funk-and you may even well up with what’s being thrown at you, so be prepared to take the rough with the smooth.

My critique group, did a great job of being as constructive as possible, it was however our first one and I’m sure the more knowledge we gain, the better we’ll get at it.

Although we all have respect for each other, I’m sure it’ll definitely get a little more hard hitting, but I think it needs to be. I’ve shared work on two other occasions with this group, the first went great, the second was ABYSMAL- my fault, I shared a 1st draft, shoddy, miss mash piece- heads up-be able to take a bollocking if you decide to head in that direction, whereas the third was very, very helpful.

I’ve found even as the newbie at all of this, you must be ready for a inevitable fall, with a quick back up to the feet kind of attitude; having a good handle on your ‘story’ is also important, as it’s ultimately your decision whether things stay or go, and you may have to make some tough decisions.

And last but not least….

Good

You learn to Listen.

Bad

You learn to listen, which means you have to hear what’s being said, which means you may NOT like what you’re being told.

Aisha saeed

But look at it this way, it can only make you a stronger writer, either that or a better decision maker, and surely that can’t be a bad thing, to becoming better at sitting at your lap top, progressing by -sitting at your lap top, because you have to show at next weeks critique group, because yes you guessed it, you sat at your lap top and got **** done.

Here are some other fab posts on Critique groups, I thought you might like to get your teeth into, all with invaluable information on the subject:

‘When critique group goes wrong’ By Janice Hardy

https://www.ladieswhocritique.com/when-critique-goes-wrong-crit-group-calamities-with-janice-hardy/

‘Can critique groups do more harm than good?’ By Kristen Lamb

http://authorkristenlamb.com/2012/01/can-critique-groups-do-more-harm-than-good/

‘The Pros and Cons of critique groups’ By Donna Cook

http://donnacookauthor.com/pros-cons-critique-groups/

Follow, Share, Like

&

Would love to hear your critique group stories? Go ahead and fill in the Welcome box below :-]

Getting to know when you don’t need to justify yourself


‘So what’s the dream?’

The man who asks is sitting opposite his wife, his deep dimpled grin is fixed as I pour his water and silently pray I don’t spill any on his creased Chino-ed knee.

I smile knowingly, and then do something stupid…I answer in the worst way possible.

Look, you may think that what I said was totally plausible, and true, but really it’s ultimately wrong, and I just want to kick myself afterwards. I knew what I was doing, and I needed to be pulled up about it.

I was deliberately trying to separate myself from the common folk? Making out I was somewhat different, that I had a plan, that I was worthy of more than taking menial orders, that I had in fact signed myself up for.

Ayende@Rahien

But I didn’t listen to that part of myself did I? I listened to the hasty, MUST justify my humble plate carrying work for the good of the long term cause…I could’ve feigned all understanding to the man who was now waiting to be ‘comforted’ by the fact that he wasn’t being waited on by a -wait for it- person who’s ambition was NOT doing exactly what they were doing right now.

‘I’m a writer’ I say idiot, me, me I’m the idiot.

Wifflegif

Why? Because in recent years my ambition has deliberately changed, and although I’m a trained Pilates teacher and have been teaching for 8 years or so, I’m trying to listen to what it is I need, and knowing that writing is very much a singular activity- similar to that of my freelance work…For me working in this Cafe, is more than about fulfilling any dream.

It’s what’s going to keep me alert and connected, even more so since most of my time is spent sitting at a desk, throwing a hammer at my face. I’ve been longing to be part of the workforce again, not so much for financial gain but for mental stability- it sounds far out, maybe even on the cusp of the ridiculous, especially when I have the choice of being my own boss, but it’s the daily hum drum of working with others that’s been lacking; and for a bubbly, loquacious soul like myself I’ve felt not only isolated, but quite alone….

Giphy

Ok, ok let’s not get ahead of ourselves, waiting tables is not the dream and I guess it’s not the forever job either, so maybe I did answer correctly. But the truth is I found myself appeasing this toothy mouthed man, because I wanted him to know that I wasn’t hopeless.

My life isn’t a polaroid of fairy lights and unicorns, trout pout selfies, or having the best time of my life stuffs, no, my reality is not that, but feeling like I’m part of a team is, and combining that with my freelance work suits me just fine.

I realised feeling the need to justify where I was in life, was due to silly insecurities. Exercising confidence, without airs or graces no matter how cool we are can be a challenge, we all want to be seen as ‘something special’. But that can only be achieved when we embrace ourselves completely, making room for special things like this to happen….

Recently I got a call about a job, to tell me that I didn’t get the job- I know right?– this was one of many rejections I’ve had in the last few months .

Salon

It was for a proof reader position that I applied for some time back, anyhow they wondered if I’d like to contribute to their online paper as a writer instead, paid.

‘Er….Yes’ I said ‘Yes I’d like that very much’

Groundhog day at the Cafe

‘So, what’s the dream?’ said the man working his fat tongue up and down the front of his tooth, to retrieve part of his dinner.

Justify justify justify!

‘I don’t believe in dreams’ I said.

‘What do you believe in?’

‘Me….I believe in me’

Cheesy I know, not as cheesy as Leonardo and Kate but close….

Follow Like Share

&

Have you ever felt the need to justify you’re actions? If so, I’d  like to hear your stories :-]

 

 

 

Getting to know your home

I’ve been writing a childrens series for a while now, but have been struggling with the ‘world building’ part of it, it’s starting to come together with daily mind numbing thought, and I’ve even started an adventurous miniture version of it which is forming, in an old shoe box-I’ll show you one day, it’s nothing genius, but it is helping me get to grips with how I want this world to feel in my story.

Right now London, my home is feeling pretty weird, I find myself putting the news on in the morning with a tentative click, unsure of what violent siege has occurred while I’ve been tucked up, counting sheep. It’s pretty shitty.

Politics is really not my forte, meaning if somehow I got into a debate about your Left and your Rights, your Reds and your Blues, I’d be the girl crawling on her knees towards the door. Having said that I don’t believe in sitting on the fence, to me having an opinion is better than not. As this poster I took in Borough recently suggests, we’re never going to agree on everything, but these differences surely have to fade into oblivion when people, kids are dying.

And my opinion is that killing the innocent to make a statement is not the answer, not at a concert in Manchester…

Not on a Bridge in London….

and not near a mosque in Finsbury park….It’s truly devastating for all involved.

The fire at Grenfell tower wasn’t a terror attack, but again lives were taken, and a definite injustice was inflicted on those residents who’s cries were not heard in the face of austerity, appeasing those with the cash with asthetically pleasing, and highly flammable cladding. Like so many I watched it on T.V and felt completely helpless….Especially as it was still burning, while the newsreader gave blurry details of the horrific event.

So last week I went o Holland Park to help volunteer….Which is all I saw, community volunteers, local people pulling their weight. There was one official lady with a alluminous vest on, but there was no one else and it was chaos, if you were bossy like me you were arranging and delegating, trying to answer questions as best you could, but the truth was, it was a frigging disaster…

No one knew what to do, where the donations were going, if the donations were going to storage or directly to the victims, I mean I hope it’s better now, but it really was an utter shambles.

I’m not surprised at the anger that’s seeping out, homes have been burnt down to a cinders, lives lost…However, amidst all the madness, the love among all involved was deafening, I could hear it in the few I interacted with, egos had been thrown out of the window, and they were hell bent on making the best out of a very bad situation, the resilience was unreal.

This sentiment clearly followed through to a heaving Borough market, when I was there last Friday, it was as if everyone had collectively stuck their two fingers up at terrorism and said:

‘Y’know what? Eff that, I’m gonna sit here with my mates, wolf down a scotch egg, and there’s not one thing you can do to make me fearful of that’

This is why I love home so much, because we’re a force to be reckoned with, we won’t be bullied and force fed this bulls*** violent behaviour.

And we never will.

A buzzing Borough market after suicide attack.

Follow, Share, Like

&

Love to those victims all over the world that have been targeted by terrorists and the like, stand together, hold hands together, stay strong forever. 

You can do more than you think….

It’s always scary to start something new, but when you do you can open up an avalanche of surprises. This is what I call living.

Reddit

The scary, the say what??? and the wonderful all neatly folded into a tight corner of the mind, that portion we mostly only dream of unveiling to ourselves. Confessing to the world usually comes much later, well for me anyway.

I think coping with the first is the worst, fear has a lot to do with getting jammed in the starting blocks, letting all your cool ‘maybes’ sink to the bottom of your converse. What a waste, I mean it really is when you think about it.

The huffington post

Recently I started to log my own mini achievements, the good, the bad and the didn’t quite work out :-] but tried anyway, and when I look back at it I can’t quite believe it, so much has happened….I’m not talking about climbing a mountain or swimming the Nile here. Just things like, reading my work out in public, completing unfinished books and creating new ones, becoming more efficient at the plotting process, averaging reading 3-4 books a week…And going to my first swing class, tonight! 

Swing patrol

So I ask you writers, poets, illustrators, mums, dads, artists, mathematicians, and Costa coffee workers.

What do you want to do differently today or any other day? Big question I know. Maybe have a look at this cute dog & cat for a wee while, before making up your mind, but not for too long, otherwise you might miss your surprise. lol

barkpost

Follow, Share, Like

&

Let me know what you decide, I’ll be right here…

x

Sitting next to Quentin Blake

If I’ve had a late one on the weekend, I’ll usually doss down at a mates house then in the morning head to the library in Clapton, it has a nice childrens section bean bags the lot. On a normal day I’ll go to my usual in Haringey, which is usually heaving with ‘Snifflers’ those whose job it is to annoy the f*** out of their neighbour and do a damn good job of it ‘Go get a tissue already!’. But on special occasions when I can afford to go out of town, it’s The British Library.

Little bay farringdon

Getting something down when faced with a blank surface can be a real push to say the least, but being habitual with the whole thing seems to be working, and the more I push, the more I wanna know how far I can go, that’s until I go nuts and throw a wobbly. If only for a second.

Reactions gif

The day before yesterday I had a good 4 hour stint of non-stop tapping of the keys, in a drafty corner of the British library. After which I stood up to go for a stroll, but was surprised to realise that I was sitting besides half of the reason why I’m in this sorrowful mess as a ‘writer’ in the first place :-]….The other half being, Roald Dahl. 

Yes to my left, Mr Quentin Blake was exhibiting ten wonderful pieces to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of Dahl what a treat! Like many others, I remember reading ‘Charlie and the chocolate factory’ under the covers, when told to turn out the lights. Although, to this day I still don’t know whether it was the story that was keeping me transfixed, or the chocolate. 

But as Easter is fast approaching, I think I’ll say the latter.

Popsugar

What I’m really trying to say with this post is that, as much as I’m enjoying reading and writing, and I am very much enjoying it. Looking up and living in the present is just as important, I mean, if I hadn’t gotten up to stretch my legs, I would have left the building, and not been any the wiser at what was illuminating beside me.

Taking in and observing your surroundings for me, are as much part of the process as anything else. Stuff like, having one too many and falling into a bunch of bins, hooking up with friends from out of town and getting up to all sorts of mischief, or even, on occasion meeting eyes with Joe public, all have its place in the archives, right?*Don’t make me feel bad, just nod your head, yes, keep on nodding lol*

Follow, Share, Like

&

Happy Easter everyone!

Writers: Bury. Head. Sand. No, Let’s Talk Money….

First of all, I’m not here to remind myself or anyone else that ‘doing it for the art’ is payment enough, and I’m not even gonna spin the yarn that exposure will always pay me in kind. In the end.

I don’t think any of you need to hear the thing we are all very much aware of, which is when starting out or trying to get ahead, volunteering your services or doing an internship can give you the BEST and the MOST invaluable experiences of your career.

BUT, what I am here to challenge is that time in your writing career when you’re able to make those piddly sums add up. Wouldn’t you want somewhere to go that could protect you and your money?

I’ll help you out, the answer is YES! So let’s just Jump right in.

 

The Authors licensing and collecting society

The ALCS is a non profit organistaion, boasting a solid 90,000 members. It’s an organisation that collects owed monies for the author, monies which can often go undetected. 

These include such things as photocopying, cable retransmission in the UK and overseas, digital reproduction and educational recording’ ALCS website

Once a member they also have an online royalties checker, so you can see if there are any outstanding monies in your name. Fantastic for the published author, but could be a godsend for those that free lance as well, having a recognised body would work as a third eye working on your behalf to getting you what you deserve.

Go and check them out!

http://www.alcs.co.uk/

https://www.alcs.co.uk/Search-for-royaltie-s

http://www.alcs.co.uk/Hidden/Wise-up-to-copyright/Maximising-your-income2

 

The Society of authors

Eventbrite

So I mentioned this Union on my ‘Author rights’ post, but thought they were worth mentioning again for advice they can give in regards to pay.

http://www.societyofauthors.org/Advice/Rates-Fees

Public lending Right

Authors licensing and collecting society

Oow this is my fav, Public Lending Rights is a system put in place to pay authors/illustrators each time their book has been loaned from the library. To apply you have to register, but how cool is that…I’m super enthusiastic because my life literally revolves around libraries. Of course I’d love to sell thousands of books :-] when the time came, but I’d be even more ecstatic if they were ever borrowed from the library ‘Oh, the mind of a poor writer!’ lol!

https://www.plr.uk.com/

Look at what happens when you stand up in the silence and -are established enough- to invoke change for others in the writing community… 

Articles: Phillip Pullman

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/jan/14/philip-pullman-resigns-oxford-literary-festival-patron-pay-authors

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/nov/29/oxford-literary-festival-agrees-to-pay-authors-ending-work-for-nothing-row

Good Eh? 

Follow, Share, Like 

&

What are your views on the subject, I’d love to hear from you!

Writers: Getting to know your author rights

Ok so I’m the aspiring, not quite there, but feel every bit the writer as for example *Ahem* Maya Angelou, YES I am indeed walking through a delusional pink haze and I must say it feels particularly fluffy.

I just thought, whether I’m there yet or not I should do myself a favour and find out where the hell it is I’m going by adorning some trojan like amour. So I’ve been out for a wee Hansel and Gretal walk in search of those common pitfalls, to gain more of an understanding of my rights as a creative.

Meanwhile you lucky lucky things get to sit back put your feet up and scoff on a bacon buttie, or a vegan bean wrap, or whatever it is that gets you in the mood- NOOOOOH not that, wait until I’m gone to do that.

 

Getting to know your accredited writers bodies

The balance

I’ve done the hard bit, but I recommend that you do your own research, go on site, talk to others and find out their experiences before you commit to any of the suggestions highlighted below. 

The writers guild…

Wikipedia

They are a union which offers protection against exploitation, ill treatment and/or harassment. Giving sound advice, and contractual vetting, for both UK writers here and abroad, they have been able to help debut and seasoned professionals in T.V, Radio, animation, drama, comics, video games, books and poetry. It’s worth a sneak peak at their site and membership schemes to see what they’re up to.

https://writersguild.org.uk/

The Society of authors

 

Weaver words

Is not only a fantastic hub for writers, illustrators and translators to go to for useful advice and support. They campaign and lobby for authors rights offering grants and guides on tax, copyright, accountancy and any sticky legal issues you may have to deal with.

http://www.societyofauthors.org/About-Us

I also LOVE their group page where events and social gathering are highlighted, check out the link below it’s for childrens writers and illustrators. 

http://www.societyofauthors.org/Groups/Childrens-Writers-and-Illustrators

The copyright licensing agency

The copyright licensing agency

It’s common knowledge that once you’ve put your name to an original piece of work that you own, it’s automatically protected by you. But what if you’re using someone else’s work or want to know more about international policies. Then this simple, friendly hub will soften the overload of unnecessary jargon and get you started.  

http://www.copyrighthub.co.uk/

 

The writers and artists handbook

This book is a MUST for the writer/illustrator, it isn’t so much a book about your rights, but it has got amazing tips that those who aren’t on that published shelf-like moi- could use.

The thing is, most of the times when you want to become a member of one of these things, it seems you can only join if your published *I’m soo sticking my nose up in the air right now lol* But then who’s looking out for you, shoot- whose looking out for me! Well, this book is the biz and take it from me, it highlights a lot of things to look out for when you’re starting out.

Don’t skip stuff and head straight to the Agents and pubs bit. Read it ‘cos it’s worth it.

https://www.writersandartists.co.uk/store/9781472927651/writers-artists-yearbook-2017

Getting to know your Gut head

Margie Warrell

It’s a controversial one I know, but that sinking omg feeling isn’t there for nout. Yes, sometimes our intuition is off kilter absolutely, but you’ll agree about 95% of the time it’s generally on the money.

I think you have to be present with both gut, and head, asking yourself logically and practically what’s right for me, right now? Do I feel good about this and if not the next question should be What are my rights? 

That’s when you start using your gut head, I’m telling yer it’s a potent combo.

Follow, Like, Share

&

Any views on the subject would be most welcome!

 

Who can I dress up as, without playing the animal card?

sabrina_069

Earlier today I went to catch up with a friend of mine, and after our steaming hot coffees had arrived I told her how excited I was for World book day, but there was a problem. I had no idea which character to channel and so wanted to know if her ‘well read’ brain could think of a cool black heroine I could play…..

‘Erm…So there’s….’ she starts.

‘Uh huh’ I nod.

‘Well, I mean there’s also, what’s that kids name again?’

‘Oh yeah er….No, no it’s gone’ We shake our heads in unison then burst out laughing.

‘Oh my god that is sooo bad’ 

‘I know, but I mean there is a lot more out there now’ I somehow manage to bite my middle fingernail off its hinge.

‘Really, is there?’

‘Erm…Not really, no’ We laugh again.

‘You could be the Gruffalo’

‘Or an underpant wearing dinosaur!’

‘Or an inanimate object…What about an out of work Crayon!’

‘I AM an out of work Crayon…’

At this point all we can do is wet ourselves.

So not funny and yet you can’t help but laugh-seriously no offence to the amazing books referred to above- but I would hope that there would be more than a handful of recognisable human characters with my skin colour to choose from, but there just isn’t.

I’ve been twiddling my thumbs for days now, wondering which well known misfit I could dress up as, and yes I could rake up a practically anonymous unsung hero from this world of stories but to be honest why am I still looking out there in the back when there’s room enough out here in the front. I’m so over this boring discussion now really, I mean this shouldn’t be a game of ‘token’ numbers made up by the very privileged, it should be the **BEEP*** norm.

Follow, Share, Like

&

If you wanna guess who I choose in the end, write in the welcome box below and let me know x

 

 

 

Writers: Getting to know your Doubt

Sabrina_122

Sorry guys I’m crumbling a bit, I’m taking huge deep breaths for no reason because everything’s troubling me, the writing, the world, everything.

Ok, so as well as still being out of work, out of home and out of the gym *Stuffs another cream bun in her mouth lol* None of that really matters in comparison to the last session I had on my writing course, I know I’m so dramatic, but just hear me out will you.  

So, we were encouraged to talk about a work in progress [we were basically pitching] and had to go around the room to hear each others ideas, everyone had some really good stuff to share and lots of positive feedback, but then it was my turn and…..

I sort of fell apart, it was bitty, incohesive, and worst of all it RYHMED! [That’s another post altogether]

Despite the above gif, I’m laughing out loud as I write this because in no way am I telling this for you to tilt your head and say Arr. It is what is, and it wasn’t good peeps, I’m not gonna lie, its just that I get SO stupidly nervous. Definitely something to work on. So these tips that I’m gonna dish out, are not only for you but for me too.

Getting to know your pitch

As I’m still in my infancy when it come to this, it’s only fair that I share what the experts say on the matter, and take note lol!

Helpful tips on picthing

http://www.writersdigest.com/editor-blogs/guide-to-literary-agents/7-tips-for-pitching-to-an-agent-or-editor-at-a-conference

Pitch questions you may have…

https://thewritelife.com/tips-for-pitching-a-literary-agent-at-a-writers-conference/’

Getting to know your style

I remember when I read Caitlin Morans debut book ‘Chronicles of Narmo’ which she wrote when she was only 15, I was struck by how she used similies and metaphors, it was MENTAL in a good way, and Gillian Flynn who’s world I’m always so easily sucked into, has a brilliantly economic but deadly voice. Goody for them right? But what about you, can you ever write like that? I doubt it, and I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy your book if you did. I’d like to purchase an original YOU thank you very much! And I reckon if you’re willing to sit at your desk to find out just who that is. The rest will come.

Getting to know your competition

Ok so this is something I do do, I read loads. Some classics, some I’ve been recommended, but mostly up to date stuff- which I think is the way to go. You want to connect with what’s out there, what get’s your motor going so to speak, getting a better idea of  WHO your audience is, I mean there’s a reason why a bestseller is a bestseller and knowing what is on the market is crucial, not in a copy, follow the leader kinda way but in a savvy, feed your mind, writer kinda way.

Reading is like a mad and wonderful school where anything can happen, you can learn so much from it.

Getting to know your doubt 

I think knowing more about what it takes to be writer, which mostly consists of DOING IT is when confidence can start to bloom. There is always going to be someone who you think does it better, who’s got their style down, and is pitch perfect, but if you’re in it for the long haul it won’t be long until you’re part of that competition.

But for me right now that doubt stuff is creeping all over my skin, I don’t know if what I’m doing’s right, I don’t know if working hard- is enough, I don’t know if I can make anything out of anything really…But is that the point?

That, no one’s supposed to know.

Because if it is that’s great, yeah…Quite comforting, I mean if I’m gonna come out of the other end of this with scratches and burns I’d be much happier knowing I wasn’t alone in the furnace.

[And you thought I was sweetie pie! [MWAA HA HA HA!!!]

Follow Share Like

&

Ill see you on the other side :-]

That Lion love

Sabrina_141

I didn’t want to go, especially after my last experience to the cinema when seeing highly acclaimed La La Land was not good, I hated La La Land, sluggishly slow, hapless, and lazy, I mean how many times can you reprise a piece of music I know, I know you guys loved it.

I didn’t.

So as my sister and I squeeze into the red creaky seats and feel the weight of the lights go down, I brace myself. However, by the first 20 mins I have to discreetly wipe my face, I’m watching as five year old protagonist Saroo is getting further and further away from home, he is lost. And I am lost with him.

Variety

The film ‘Lion’ is about that finding home, and it’s becoming abundantly clear that everyone in the movie theatre are just as invested in the story of this little boys struggle as I am, I’d go as far as to say that we became his parents, his friends, his shadow, we were ready to reach out and give him a place to stay in our damp council flat in Hounslow, this is how powerful it was, how tangible it became, it somehow held you by the thin skin of your neck and dragged you in.

Pinterest

The fantastic performances and well thought out scenes made room for delicate intricacies, such as Saroo miming in perfect Chaplin-esqe style his desperate need for food, by mirroring a man eating his lunch in a nearby cafe, to the flapping pale butterflies he’s swarmed with in the first shot.

pin up picks pen up

I also liked that it was refreshingly un-rushed or bomb blasted with Hollywood tinsel, the reel seemed to roll flat on its back with no awkward flashbacks, no weird obscurities– which don’t get me wrong I can be quite partial to, no, it was purposeful, every dusty step of it, placed while being displaced, the build, the world, the plot urgh! Soooo good. Let’s just say I cared, and so did the woman beside me plucking at her transparent tissue….

Flitto content

This is a story about love, and for someone who is presently picking hers off the floor piece by piece I’d like to think I’d recognise if it ever brushed its hand against mine again. What would be the point of writing one more word if I didn’t? 

I know this blog is mostly childrens book related, and you’re probably wondering why I wrote a post about it, but I had to…Because everything about how this story is told is the reason why I write.

It’s just so damn good, there’s no doubt that I unequivocally trusted all that it told me, until it hung weightlessly in the darkness. I urge everyone to go and see it, but most of all writers; This is a master class in simply showing you the story instead of telling it. And boy is there a difference.

If you do go take tissues you’re gonna need them.

Follow, Share, Like

&

Happy Valentines day.

 

Writers: Top five ways you can benefit from social media

Sabrina_085

What’s the story with this seriously?

Ok so, I was speaking to a publisher after an event not so long ago and after a while she asked…

Do you do much social media for your writing?

Hmmm, I try to but there’s so much out there and time’s a bi-

How many followers do you have?

*NUMBERS, NUMBERS, JUST SAY A NUMBER*

Er….

*NOT EVEN A NUMBER SABS, NOT EVEN A. NUMBER. *

Babbling: I mean, I was never head-girl if you know what I mean, and as for now I don’t reckon I’ll ever get that popularity click for being all glossed up and cutesy and hey my real name’s Zoella, nope, don’t think that’ll change…. *Wild chuckling ensues*

Oh. Right.

Silence…..Not gonna lie stings a bit. 

At this point someone behind me begins practising the Hiemlich maneuver. I blame the volovents wild chuckling has nothing to do with it.

So why does this sort of thing matter?

One word SALES

An invested following have already invested in you meaning they already want your paperback, your hardback, your workshop on sock puppeteering the lot, those guys & gals are the ones who are more than willing to dig in their pockets and root for someone they think they know over someone they don’t know at all.

How can you build a following?

These days to be taken seriously you have to jump on board the BRAND wagon, be a perfume, be a presenter, be an expert, be a charismaic t**t. I dunno, all I know is that knowing who you are, what you want to say should be given careful consideration, then and only then can you really explore this thing.

Personally, it can feel like one BIG personality contest which doesn’t excite me at all. Sure, I would like to be a known writer but there’s a lot of pressure to be LIKED nowadays before you even begin. How much people BUY into you and your work is almost a pre-requisite to getting plucked off those dormant shelves and placed on the bestsellers list– which is why celebrity’s have been doing such a cracking job.

What if the persona you create doesn’t get you traffic to your site[s]?

You can do all the work you want from understanding SEO’s to igniting a few firecrackers, but if the world smells a cake load of FAKE you’ll be dropped like a hot potato. So hey here’s something crazy, why not try being authentically you, it’s a real game changer believe me, you’ll feel better about what you put out there instead of hiding in the bushes.

Top five ways you can BENEFIT from putting yourself on the social media map.

Consistency

1.Be consistent-something I’ve definitely struggled with in the past- if blogging’s your thing DO IT, if you instagram or youtube DO IT, and if you want to be heard just bloomin’ DO IT. Don’t let that thing grow too many cobwebs, you’re building a community that like what you’re doing, you want them to come back.

Sharing

2. You’ll most likely meet like-minded people in your field, this is great because you can share tips and information you may not have heard about otherwise.

Your platform

3. You will be able to show off visible content that is indicative of your style, your thoughts, your voice, which will ALWAYS be different to someone else’s, erm, hello that’s why we love you.

Those who GET YOU

4. You will create a fan base that will begin to like what you do- and even if they don’t it’s important to you stick with it, you can always switch things up later down the line-however never do something just because, your heart won’t be in it and it’s likely your viewer will sense that.

Information

5. You’ll learn so much, the jargon, the inevitable technical side, but most importantly about that specific community you’ll be entering.

To summarise…

Be consistent, do the work and here’s the bonus tip be kind to yourself, don’t get down in the dumps if you’re not getting those HITS You’ll only get dispondent. If you enjoy what you’re doing you’ll end up doing more of it and the BEST thing is you can only get better.

What are your views on Social media? Go ahead scribble, in the welcome box below I’d love to know.

 

Getting to know your Selfie

img_20161021_105214img_20160922_145615img_20160921_152954img_20161014_115626img_20161002_010239img_20160924_185013

So how much are we obsessed with ourselves?

I’d like to think not much but in the light of Reality T.V and Social media I don’t think I can. We want to know everything don’t we? Only the juiciest of gossip will do, with absolutely nothing left on the table.

But what about your characters how much do you want your reader to know about them, are you prone to giving clusters of TMI. Do you have a tendency to go into detail about erm…EVERYTHING I mean why not, it’s your story right?

The Kardashians

Wrong, because it doesn’t matter HOW eventful the event is or How incredible the overflow of explanation, if you lack the REASON why, it can fall on deaf ears And no one wants to feel cheated.

Image result for What happened? gifsThe Walking dead guide

I believe stories should take us on an awesome journey, not with unnecessary bombs going off all over the place but giving the reader something to invest in, so that in the end they are left to rip roar through the pages and find out what the pay off will be.

There’s no way I’ve got this thing down, I mean I like to flower and self indulge like the rest of the world but honestly reading back over old work *squirm* I can see that has much improved. I can see why cutting down on dumping copius amounts of information can lose the audience and play havoc with the pace, which is why it’s soooo important to edit, edit, edit, and avoid getting all up in your Selfie if you know what I’m mean *See what I did there???*

Oh yes, our attention span is much shorter then ever and as writers we must take that into consideration, an e-mail can be sent in an instant and we’re able to switch over channels in the first brutal 7 secs if we don’t feel like we’re being entertained. The 21st century kid growing up has a first class ticket in and amongst it all and children’s literature should reflect this in some ways.

Pinterest

However, trends will come and go but the motivation for writing your story in the first place will never go out of fashion, only of course if you have nothing to say…Which I’m sure is not the case.

Getting to know your all time low

Sabrina_028

My boyfriend and I have broken up and I feel like I’m gonna die, well I did, it’s been a process of death, hopelessness, crying, silence, to walking around in very bad underwear in a complete an utter daze.

He was the love of my life. 

But right now I have to go on and re-find myself, without him…Current situation is Not great. I find myself What did the form that I was filling out today say? Oh yes, homeless, well I’m couch surfing really, but there wasn’t a box for that.

Then there’s…

‘So Sabrina I’m gonna be honest with you, we could go through all of this the man says gesturing to my papers but it’s highly unlikely that you get a penny for 3 months’

Location: Job Centre.

‘What are you telling me Frank?’- his name isn’t Frank. ‘I’ve been working in this country since I was 16, and have contributed every time, yes hands up I’m in a bit of a bind, I need help, what are you saying exactly???’

‘I’m saying that if you are not seen as an at risk person then-‘

‘Right well, I’ll just cut off my big toe now then’ Blood squirts all over Franks crumpled I’m gonna kill myself in a minute if I don’t get a shit break soon, shirt.

The End.

Erm what else has happened…taps fingers, Oh yes there was that other thing, but I can’t seem to remember- Not to worry, it’ll probably come to me as I FALL DOWN THE ESCALATORS.

So how do we get ourselves out of these lowly low sticky situations.

Getting to know  your situation

Ok, so your situation may not be as harsh as mine but funnily enough I still think of the glass as half full, and in the scheme of things it really isn’t that bad *Sobs into coffee mug*. But seriously, people have had to deal with much much worse-which shouldn’t ever undermine anyone’s circumstance, because there’s always a light under the tunnel or wee crack somewhere.

Getting to know your strength

I don’t know who wrote this shizz whizz quote but I don’t feel v. strong right now.

Different things happen along this path called life which have a knack of whacking us over the head with a rusty old pole, for me, I’m probably at my lowest but strangely enough I’m the most relaxed I’ve been in a long time. Don’t get me wrong, when it all sort of happened I didn’t think I could get up in the morning-But I did, I didn’t think I could brush my teeth- But I did, I didn’t even think I could walk more than two feet down the road for fear of breaking in two and becoming an obstacle on the pavement.

But I did.

Getting to know yourself

img_20161226_001028

Ultimately this is it, keeping an ear to the beat of your own heart, the thing that makes your tick, and weep and grow and love.

Listening to your own voice in the midst of all this noise is not easy, but it should not be ignored, it should be listened to and given a chance to breathe. 

Getting to know your love

One thing that came out of this muddy blue storm was my love for reading and writing, it’s really all that occupies my thoughts from the time I slip under the duvet to the time I wake up in the morning, there are always crazy, senseless ideas jumping about on my wallpaper.

But surely I’ve known that all along? Yes, this is very true….

The difference is this time I listened.

 

[I’m sorry for the sporadic posts, want to keep them regular from now on- life just keeps on getting in the way. Those of you who have stuck around, please do a little longer and tell your friends x]

Look at my desk it has….

Sabrina_053

1x Fake plant [For people who don’t notice when something is dying of thirst]

1x Bottom hugging chair [For people who like their bottoms….Hugged]

1x V.Dusty Lap top [For people who write more than they clean]

1x Sabrina Doll [For people who have been at the desk so long, yep you guessed it they forget what they look like!]

2x Coasters, 14x Pens, 3x Photographs, 1x Lamp, Stupid number of Books

Oh and a rather large wall to bang head against when the tapping of keys is something only those in IT do [Bandages and plasters can be found in the white box]

img_20161106_0916061

This space is mine. It’s where I go when I don’t want to hear anything else but me and ‘them it’s where eating goes out of the window and caffeine becomes king.

I also have a tendency to go to a cafe nearby, where I usually endure loooong relentless silences-in my head-waiting for that elusive lightening bolt to strike.

The fact is your writing gettaway doesn’t have to be a desk or even a chatty Starbucks, it can be anywhere you want it to be, pen or no pen, paper or no paper, just LOTS of ideas running naked in your head. Which by the end of you’ll be hunting down whatever knobby crayon you can to make a note of.

I love the hunt. It’s the best, usually wrapped in all things firey and raw…Just waiting to be found.

Follow, Share, Like

&

What does your writing space look like? I’d love to know, feel free to write in the welcome comment box below.

 

 

I don’t want to read black books

Sabrina_021

Before you GAUGE an eye out and tell me to look in the mirror, let me explain. I know this subject will obviously be up for contention, but I’ve gotta say it, because it’s true I don’t want to read black books, as much as I don’t care for gay, or disabled literature.

I’m sorry, but I’m not interested in reading about that wrung out OLD stereotype for the 100th time, a 2D image with no substance and nothing to say just to fill that great BEEP*** hole in the market and push more “diverse books” on our shelves. Nope, I’d rather not thank you.

I don’t want to read a book about people who think that because of the colour of my skin, the disability I have, who I pray to or even sleep with is everything that I am. That I should pop up during Eid celebrations, black history month, gay pride or whatever’s flavour of the month that season like some over eager Jack in the box being grateful to get a look in, then shrink away into the darkness when it’s all said and done.

Why can’t this amazing space be shared???

I would like to see are more VISIBLE diverse groups in a juicy story, headlining as the protagonist or, or just a well rounded character which isn’t vaguely drawn out, meaning people, children know that there are others like them in books experiencing and sharing their likeness’s and difference’s, and that it’s not such a strange thing to be apart of stories, which in the 21st century should really be a thing of the past.

Honestly, if see a black kid on the cover of a book I’m still like….OOW!

I get bubbles of excitement and I can’t wait to look inside! Because usually kids don’t see the difference unless it’s pointed out to them most are blind to this exhausting argument, which is great. But, do they want to know if the baddies will slay the dragon? Do they want to know if the MONSTER will eat that horrible teacher? Do they want to know if they can be the hero, and get the girl, and be the wizard of wonderful things….

Of course they do!!!

But we’ve got to meet them half way, there’s got to be books that say it’s possible, we see you.

The Huffington post

Our history and what makes us who we are is incredibly important but tell me what your story is,make me fall in love with you, hate you, weary of you, understand or emphasize with you, don’t just tell me your plight, tell me how your plight has been affected, that’s what’s gonna blow me out of the water with INTEREST not because you played it safe by holding up the race card -or whatever else that LAZY bag of stories of yours holds.

I believe having more cultural diverse groups higher up the publishing chain would help enormously, by understanding the business and bringing forward good quality literature to the masses will further our ability to include opposed to IGNORE, which I think is more damaging than anything we’ve set out for ourselves and our children.

Alex Wheatle

It’s not all doom and gloom of course, there are some spectacular authors and books out there-but there’s room for more-to name but a few Zadie Smith, Alex Wheatle, Chimamanda ngozi adichie, Tanya Landman, Malorie Blackman, Candy Gourlay, Jacqueline Woodson, Kwame Alexander all who feature characters that may be different on the surface but at the crux of it, are very much the same as me or you. I reckon it’s that Human thing…It has a way of getting us all, in the end. 

If you have anything to add to the discussion, or want to recommend any ‘Got to read’ diverse books I’d love to hear from you! Just add your comment below.

See you a fortnight on Tuesday peeps!

I also have a new youtube channel coming soon, can’t wait to share!

 

 

Getting to know your bad bad habits.

Sabrina_045

Don’t worry I’m not going to tell you off or indeed give you any tips on how to ‘better yourself’ instead I’m gonna share what I hope some of you are guilty of too, and if not, please just forget I said anything ha!

 

My Top 3 bad habits!

[Do you do this?]

1.

Say no to stuff because you’ve got VERY IMPORTANT writing stuff to do, which absolutely cannot wait because if it waits nothing will get done meaning, you’ll fall behind and will absolutely never catch up, and that just cannot happen.

But, there’s a good chance…

You’ll stay at home in your pajamas, watching re-runs of ‘Homes under the hammer’ stuffing your face with A LOT of anything salty, ice creamy or of sugary bready type texture. The only thing that will get you even close to your desk is when you hear the familiar latch on the door !CLICK! When you’ll competently hover a nearby pencil over paper then scribble just about anything, yeah, I’m working LOOK, No don’t stand there go 10 feet back, now LOOK.

2.

Pay day seems a lifetime away, you can’t afford those new shoes even though the ones you’ve got have a dirty BIG hole in the sole, you can’t borrow money to family member who really needs it for reasons you can’t recollect now, you can’t afford to go to the movies with mates you haven’t seen for years, but who’s counting???

Because there’s a good chance….

You’ll be able to buy 21 books on Amazon, or was that TWENTY TWO!!!! And be rattling with excitement all day until the door knocks, and it’s the bailiffs.

3.

Quick jump on, yes! Thanks driver you say plonking yourself down in a nearby seat clutching your chest, that was a proper sprint, nice one, no gym for you tonight. Right, time for a spot of people watching- Wait, you’ve got a book, why don’t you take an incey wincey look….

Really? Because you might just miss your-

Last stop, everyone off! ‘But I don’t know where I am! And I don’t have money to get back home and, and do Ann and Gilbert get together in the end???’ *Sobs*

Some people call them bad habits but I call them priorities, what are yours?

Follow, Share, Like

&

Write in the comments below, I would love to hear from you x

 

 

 

Getting to know when it’s time to move on

wine at xmas

….And just like that my life changed, and a New year was upon us.

I haven’t blogged for almost a year, I couldn’t, there was too much to contend with, too much to sort out. One things for sure, it was time to get out of London, it was time to see if I could survive on my own again, like I did when I first went away to Uni, or worked in France or first aired that I wanted to be a writer…

The boyf and I had a good ole send off with a number of I miss you’s and smeared mascara- him not me, then swiftly packed our lives up and got on a plane.

We’re now living in Spain, I’m teaching English and the week before Christmas I introduced Shirely Hughes acclaimed ‘Alfie gets in first’ to my students for reading and pronunciation purposes, they loved it, but I think I loved it more lol!

Alfie

Being out here has been trying at the best of times, but I’ve been on the search for something new for a while, and looking at past posts this ‘change’ was definitely on the cards. The language, the people, the way of life is all very different to what I’m used to. But I am getting used to it.

Why so drastic you may ask? I don’t know, you only live once right, and it was feeling far too comfortable back home, to the point of boredom, I was curious and still am about the effects different types of decisions if I so wish to take the chance can have on my life.

I have no idea what’s in store for me in 2016, I really have not got a scooby and that’s weird for me I always have a plan, we’ll see….

dancing snowman

So from me and the dancing snowman Happy Christmas everyone, thanks for sticking around and…

I’ll see you in the New Year!

x