Pay, Pals and Poetry

I was so excited to get my first poetry reading fee, I took a picture. Did you ever hear about writer’s block? I heard it’s when your imaginary friends won’t talk to you. In my case, it’s when I’ve too many things going on and not enough time to write. I’m lying, of course. I have time to write EVERY day (I keep a personal journal). Oops, that’s not right. I don’t lie, I write fiction. Even in my journal sometimes. Truth versus fiction, writer’s block, where to find inspiration, getting paid to write* – we’ve had some interesting discussions … Continue reading Pay, Pals and Poetry

May I?

So, what’s the best thing to do when you’re really, really busy? Yep, that’s it – find something else to do as well. So here I am, just surfacing after the head-wrecking weekend that was Strokestown International Poetry Festival, participating in a social media training course. (Don’t laugh. And no, I probably shouldn’t have responded to my terror of Facebook by deleting my page recently, but that’s another story.) While I’m at it, I could have a go at developing my memoir-writing skills with the legend that is Michael Harding, couldn’t I?  Roscommon Arts Centre’s Bealtaine course this year. And … Continue reading May I?

Watching the Dust Settle

I’ve been busy lately coaxing dust bunnies from under the sofa, not least because I’m mad for cleaning when I’m stressed or sad.  When I’m laid back and cheery, I can’t see dust, so my house is a mess. But right now, there are lots of things going on and I’m trying to fix them with a (faux) feather duster. When I’m not waving a microfibre cloth at dirty skirtings, waiting for the phone to ring with more sad news (long story), I’m getting ready for my book launch at Strokestown International Poetry Festival. Less than two weeks to go … Continue reading Watching the Dust Settle

Creative Thinking?

I’m riding a particularly delicious literary wave after winning the Hennessy Award two weeks ago – my feet have hardly touched the ground, but in a nice way. I shouldn’t really have had any time for thinking, let alone writing, should I? What with radio interviews, trips to Dublin, and all those Facebook and Twitter messages to respond to (and I was the reluctant social media participant a while back. Ha!). But here’s a surprise, I’ve been as busy writing as ever, scribbling away, plucking poems from the ether and wondering where such creativity comes from. I like to think … Continue reading Creative Thinking?

On the Winning Side

Competitive creative writing. Now, who would have thought I’d buy into such a thing? I swear I’m not a competitive person, although I’ll have a tantrum if someone beats me at Scrabble. But creative writing competitions? What’s that all about? I don’t hold with that, do I? Um, well, yes, I do… I’m involved in running a little creative writing group in Charlestown, County Mayo, and I’m often to be heard urging members to submit their writing to competitions. It’s that third party validation thing that I’m always on about. Winning, or being shortlisted, in a writing competition offers proof … Continue reading On the Winning Side

Getting to Grips with Scrivener

I’m not that keen on New Year’s Resolutions – I know it’s nearly the end of February, but please don’t judge me  – they are usually a good idea, but untenable. So, I rarely put much effort into making them – or keeping them. But when 2018 arrived, I had the nagging feeling that I should be getting to grips with certain aspects of my writing career, so I resolved to fix a few things. I tried not to call them resolutions… Top of the list was my need to master Scrivener. But it is SO difficult! I’ve talked to … Continue reading Getting to Grips with Scrivener

Do not disturb!

Remember when you were small and you were lying awake waiting for Santa to deliver that bike, or the doll’s house, or the boxed set of Enid Blytons? You just knew the next day was going to be absolutely fabulous. Well, that’s how I’m feeling right now ahead of my trip to (deep breath) Annaghmakerrig next week. As someone who is always bemoaning the fact that I’ve no room of my own, no regular writing time, 101 (valid) excuses why I can’t finish my work, well I’ve been called out with the chance of a whole week’s writing retreat. Seven … Continue reading Do not disturb!

Hopelessly Devoted

Every writer should have a dog – and cats, lots of them. Although, as someone who used to be terrified of dogs (after being savaged by an Alsatian), that’s a pretty radical statement coming from me. The benefit of having pets in your life is well documented, and a quick trawl of the internet will show you that cats and dogs seem to feature in the lives of many famous writers. This story is mostly about my dog, Tully, although I’ve been the mad cat woman since I was three years old and was introduced to an energetic tabby kitten … Continue reading Hopelessly Devoted

Imagine that!

One of the best things about being a writer is having free reign with imagination. Writers can create whole worlds – plus all the creatures that live in them.  And they can make up characters and force them do whatever they like. What power! There’s that fridge magnet/bumper sticker that says something like: ‘I’m a writer. Yes, of course you’re going to be in my book. You come to a grizzly end on page 27’. I feel a bit that way at the moment as I’m writing a longer-than-usual short story based on something that’s been going on in my … Continue reading Imagine that!

The Numbers Game

I’ve been crunching numbers over the past few days, trying to figure (excuse the pun) if I should take up a new pastime. This writing lark has cost me a lot of money one way or another (residential poetry masterclasses don’t come cheap), and I’ve managed to crawl to my 100th submission this year. That averages out at less than nine submissions a month, which doesn’t sound too excessive. And included in ‘submissions’ are applications for grants, pitches for freelance articles, and several other writing activities. I enter a lot of free writing competitions (there are a lot about), and  … Continue reading The Numbers Game