Julie's Quest

Hello, and welcome to my blog. My blog is about the trials and tribulations of writing, where we celebrate successes and commiserate our near misses. We tell it like it is here and will do our very best to help you on the road to being published and pick you up after the rejections (they will come!) Whether you are a professional or amateur writer you will find something useful here.

I hope you enjoy reading my posts and will visit again soon.

Happy Writing

Julie Phillips - freelance writer - member of the Association of Freelance Writers - member of the Society of Authors

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Finding Inspiration in flour

My writing has spent some time on the back burner recently. This is partly because I've taken on more paid work outside of the home at nursery and I'm tired! But it's also because I've increased my volunteer reading sessions and have now started a two hour a week new course. It's called SHARE and it's a group of mums who are learning how to help their children learn through play. It was the first session today and I thoroughly enjoyed it!

There were five mums - four of whom I know as their children are in the same class as mine. We sieved some flour in a tray and drew shapes and patterns in the flour - it was fab! It helps the children with their fine motor skills, language and numeracy skills apparently - and we parents just get to have fun!

I was struck by inspiration several times during the session and I'm looking forward to following up on the notes I made for future writing projects. I was supposed to be on a fiction feast fortnight during half term and this week but it didn't really happen as I was too engrossed in finishing off my articles. I have submitted one of them but I'm not happy with the other one, so I'll be doing some more work on that soon.

I did manage to write one short story (1st draft) and write ideas for several other short stories in my notebook though, so I didn't do too badly! I've found that leaving the ideas for a few weeks helps them to evolve and mature, offering up new twists and turns and characters  as it sits on the page in my notebook and dances in the background of my mind. Often I'll be doing something at work or someone will say something, or I'll read something in a paper or a magazine that makes me go "Oh yeah! That would be good for that short story!"  So there is something in waiting before you leap into your fiction.

I either have stories that come to me in their entirety and I can write the complete first draft in one sitting, or they come to me in dribs and drabs and take a while to grow into something I can work with. I don't mind which way the stories come to me as long as they come!

So I'm leaving the last article to stew for a while and in the meantime, from the weekend,  I'll be reading the latest issues of Take A Break, Take A Break Fiction Feast, The Weekly News, That's Life Fast Fiction (Thanks to Mr Whaley for lending two of these to me - he mailed them to me with To Wrekin Writer of the Year 2009 as the title on the envelope! I wonder what my poor long suffering postman Jo made of it?) and writing my short stories up in the hope I can at least one published!

It's my birthday tomorrow and I'll be doing my volunteer reading in the morning, followed by lunchtime assistant job at the nursery -  as far as I know no-one at the nursery or school knows, which is the way I like it! They don't read my blog (they don't know about my blog either!) However, my daughter does know and is liable to broadcast the fact it's my birthday, as well as my age, to anyone who will listen!! Will have to gag her somehow - no sweets if she breathes one word about my age/birthday! There has to be a short story in there somewhere!

I hope everyone else is on target with their writing goals - do tell us about your successes and near misses! I think the support we get from each other and give to each other is important and it spurs us on to achieve more!

Julie xx


klahanie said...

Hi Julie,
Firstly, Happy Birthday!
You do a lot of very worthy volunteer work. For this, I commend you.
It's amazing what can trigger writing inspiration. Seems to me your inspiration has a bit of a 'cooking theme' going on:-) 'Back burner', 'flour' and 'stew'.
I wish you all the very best in continued writing inspiration. I hope you earn some more 'bread' from your writing.
Kind wishes, your way, Gary x

Julie P said...

Thanks, Gary!

Yes, I do have a cooking theme going on don't I! Totally unintentional but maybe my subconscious is trying to tell me something!

I will be making my own birthday cake on Saturday after my hair cut - my daughter has requested a chocolate sponge with a nutella chocolate spread filling! But I think it may be too chocolatety even for a chocoholics like the pair of us - so may compromise and go for a plain sponge with nutella filling!

I love reading with the kids - they are such an inspiration to me and do make me laugh!

Julie xx

Simon Whaley said...

Happy Birthday for tomorrow!

And hey - you know you're a writer, when you're on first name terms with your postie!

Teresa Ashby said...

Happy Birthday, Julie. Enjoy your cake! xx

Joanne Fox said...

Happy birthday Julie x

Kath said...

Happy birthday, Julie! It's my birthday too and I'm 57!
I write in a similar way to what you describe - either it's all there, complete, in my head and I just have to get it down as quickly as possible or it comes slowly - sometimes over years! I've got a short crime-time/spinechiller/twist in the tale I hope to get off to Fiction Feast this weekend that was inspired by work being done on our lifts at the office. Reading FF is inspiring in itself though because the stories are so varied and free from some of the constraints that operate in other mags. I always get an idea for a story after reading it. Have a lovely day!

Julie P said...

Thanks, Simon!

I've know postie Joe for years and he is well used to lugging magazines and letters down the road to me!! Bless him.

Julie xx

Julie P said...

Thanks, Teresa!

My daughter will enjoy making the cake with me - I'm taking it over to my dad's on Sunday - we always have a cake and coffee morning with the family so we're using it as an excuse for a birthday party!!

Julie xx

Wooh hooh! Someone's just knocked on the door! It was the delivery man with my books from Amazon!

Julie P said...

Thanks, Joanne!

Julie P said...

Hi, Kath! And happy birthday to you too! I hope you are having a lovely day.

I hope the story you've been working on makes it into publication. Yes, TAB Fiction Feast has so much variety and that's why I think it's a great mag to target. I look forward to seeing your story (ies) in there.

I'm hoping to get a couple off to TAB Fiction Feast in the next week or so.

Julie xx

Abi said...

Happy Birthday Julie, it's my sons birthday shortly and then mine on the 8th. I've just been through a period of not writing but then seeing two of my articles in print and receiving an email to say that another will be published in the late spring has given me the much needed nudge to continue.

Julie P said...

Thanks, Abi

And I hope you and your son have lovely birthdays too! Seeing my articles in print nudges me into further writing action too, Abi! My husband is hopefully bringing me a magazine with one of my articles in it when he comes home from work tonight. So I hope seeing it will spur me on again (have been flagging a bit recently!)

Onwards and upwards!

Good luck with your future writing!

Julie xx

Elizabeth McKay said...

Happy Birthday Julie. I hope you've had a great day. I'm afraid I have to disagree with something you said earlier though. In my experience you cannot have a too chocolatty chocolate cake! Or anything else too chocolatty for that matter!

Julie P said...

Thanks, Elizabeth!

I think you're on the same wavelength as my daughter who is adamant she wants chocolate sponge AND Nutella chocolate spread!

Julie xx