Tag Archives: practice

A Post in want of a Title

I’m watching Pride and Prejudice on TV and resorting to the netbook because I will only have half and hour to post if I wait until the end. Obviously I could go through to the computer in the other room, as I know how it ends, but it wouldn’t be the same.

I’ve generally liked Jane Austen on TV, but do have trouble with it on the page.

I suppose it’s better to watch it on TV rather than have no contact with it at all.

The rest of the day has been quite busy. We had eleven parcels to do, four sales to conduct via email and half a dozen  vacuous enquirers to answer. I really don’t know how it’s possible to be stupid enough to ask these questions but intelligent enough to use a computer.

It is half-day closing for us today, so I was able to be home before 1.30, and set to work on my own projects.

I managed to get some of the planning and research done for my talk on Peace and Tribute Medals and beat the computer at Scrabble (once in three attempts). Finally I took a lot of words from a list I had made last night and tried to fashion them into a sonnet. It is not going well. The trick, as they told Miss Elizabeth Bennett tonight, is to practice. I really don’t have the mental stamina to practice sonnets, so each attempt is a fresh trial. Mostly they end in failure.

I’m going to have another try now. Submission windows are going to be opening at an alarming rate for the next few months and I have nothing to send.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Huddersfield Peace Medal 1919

 

 

A New Start

Time, I think, for a new start.

I’ve allowed myself to lose focus in the last month or so and I actually missed a deadline this week. Normally I have a list of deadlines to work tom but I’d let it slip. Suddenly I realised that the 30th June was only days away.

I hate submitting at the end of a submission window because you’re never sure if a rejection is due to quality or due to the fact they already have enough good stuff.

Add an extra variable, that I hadn’t been completing  enough material, and I had to make the tough decision to let the deadline pass.

I didn’t like doing it, but it’s better to leave it than submit rubbish. It was due to go to an editor I hadn’t sent anything to before and I didn’t see any point in making myself look unprofessional.

I have now set myself a number of targets, which I’m not going to share until I see which ones are working. This is, I admit, a bit of a cop out but I feel happier that way. It’s also erring on the side of modesty as I’ve set myself some stiff targets. If I hit them all and tell you about them it might look like I’m boasting.

However, one I will reveal is that I’m back to daily posting. This Day One. It’s the easy one. Day Two might be trickier.

I will also reveal that I’m setting myself a target of at least 185 words per post. That avoids the temptation to take shortcuts because it’s about practising writing, not just ticking off the days.

Fine words. Let’s see how it works out.

The pictures are poppies in the front garden. Each morning three or four open up. By the evening they have blown away. We have several clumps of them and, apart from some minor deadheading, we don’t do anything to them. They even planted themselves. You have to admire that in a flower.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Poppies growing from cracks in concrete. The rumpled effect smooths out as the day draws on.

 

Why I Started Blogging

 I started blogging for two reasons. One was that I thought Quercus Community needed a profile on Social Media. That reason has passed, as there is no group now, and I really should change the name. I did say I was going to do this a year ago but I am famous for my inertia.

The second was that I needed more practice writing. I’d become slack and lazy and unproductive. I’m still slack and lazy, but it has made me more productive. I can, as I found yesterday, knock out a thousand words in an hour. I didn’t mean to time it but I had about an hour to fill and I did two posts in that time (one still to be published) which came to 970 words. In my world that’s near enough a thousand.

The reason I wanted to write more was that I enjoy it. I had also looked at something called “content writing” and thought it offered a way of making money. Not a fortune, but enough to keep us fed. Unfortunately, when I had a serious look at it the sites offering employment they all seemed to be full of American students offering to write for next to nothing.

My plan of writing to keep us supplied with groceries collapsed. That sort of money is only enough to buy biscuits and, to be honest, it’s easier just to give up biscuits and write things I enjoy but don’t get paid for.

At the moment I’m going through a bit of a slump with the blog and failing miserably at my self-inflicted target of a post a day.

It’s partly to do with time, partly to do with inclination and partly to do with equipment. I still haven’t had the laptop repaired and the netbook isn’t very inspiring. In other words, I only have myself to blame.

And that’s it. Just 300 words in twenty minutes today, because there’s not much more to say. However, it is interesting to note, as with poetry writing, that the more you do, the more fluent you get.

I’m avoiding the word “better” as I’m not convinced my writing is better than it was – just that there is more of it.

Haiku Challenge – 1st Report

A thousand haiku in a hundred days.

I seemed simple enough, even after reading this article.

Buson started his original challenge on Buddha’s birthday.  Joan Zimmerman started hers on 4th July. I started mine on the day I thought of it. That was the first lesson – if I’m going to be arty I have to start looking at the details.

So, how is it going?

Well, I’m twelve days in and should, to be on target, have produced 120 haiku. That’s a lot, particularly as I find them quite tough. I actually missed a day but managed to pull it back by writing extra the next day.

I’m actually ahead of the count, but that’s not really important.

My main problem with haiku is that even though the 5-7-5 syllable count is not now considered necessary there are still several rules to follow – season words, cutting words and such – and I tend to cramp up when composing.

Making myself write haiku in quantity was hard for the first few days but I’m now more relaxed about it and they are coming more easily. I’m even writing a few decent ones. In time I hope to become both more prolific and a better writer.

So far it seems to be working.

 

 

 

 

Seven Percent

As I wrote it, I thought the title seemed familiar. Entering “Seven Percent” into Google confirms that it was the title of a Sherlock Holmes film, though one of the later stories. That’s “later” as in after Conan Doyle died, though I do note that the seven percent solution was mentioned in some of the original stories.

That is just a diversion, the real purpose of the title is to report progress on my 100 Post/100 Day challenge.

I’m sure Derrick J Knight and Tootlepedal have posted for years with no interruption. I have managed over 100 days of successive posting several times but I’m not as well-organised as they are. I’ve also noticed a difference since I started work again – after a hard six hour day battering a keyboard and posting parcels I often find I’m too tired to post. I’m getting soft, which is one of the reasons for the challenge and its public announcement.

I’ve been practising my poetry skills for the last couple of years and trying to write something every day. It’s been hard work getting back into practice and I’m not sure I’ve really returned to my levels of 14 years ago when I had my other, brief, career as a poet.

That, plus the blog, was as much writing as I could comfortably do.

The rot set in when I started looking at ebay as part of the process of getting back to work. That takes more time than you’d think, even though a lot of it isn’t really productive.

Add a job to that, even if it is only six hours a day, and the catering and blogging have been suffering. Hence the need for a challenge.

It came about because I needed more haiku practice. Someone had written a blog detailing their challenge of writing 100 haiku in 100 days, and the benefits they gained. I thought I might try that, as I need the practice and polish, but before I started, I read this.

My report on the 1,000 Hiku challenge is that I’m five days in, and I’m ahead of the count. I’m already learning a lot, but that’s a discussion for another day, though one of the things I’ve learnt is that I really ought to stop taking this sort of thing on, and I should stop telling people I’m doing it.

100 in 100 days would have been plenty…

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Sumac Tree and Sunshine

For pictures I’ve used two pictures of the sumac tree in the MENCAP gardens – I’ve used them both recently but not together. They are about two weeks apart.

Time is passing.