Tag Archives: organising

To pants or not to pants that is the question…

“I don’t think I really want to wait for NaNoWriMo to start this new story idea, but would it be considered cheating if I started this early?”

This was posted on my twitter @CreativeTardy yesterday and I can only imagine my friends sitting there staring at their screens in disbelief shouting “oh, for fucks sake, just start, will you!”

Well, you see, I have never been one for breaking the rules… well… certain rules.

“Bloody Hell, what rules?  Fuck rules! Just get on with it, creativity has no blooming rules”! 

OK, tone down the language please.  No these are not real actual replies on twitter… but, I do know there are friends who talk like this to me from time to time in private.

I frustrate them no end, I can see that it takes a lot for the poor dears not to slap me one when I get like this!

 Usually I plan my stories a little.  I have certain ideas about what I would like to include in the story and the types of characters even if I have no idea of the direction of the book, I usually have some sort of idea about some of the future of the story before I write it – sometimes I don’t know how the stories end, sometimes I don’t know the middle but I know its beginning and end.  I don’t usually pants it, as the NaNoWriMo vernacular goes, I am or was a planner.

I am thinking this new story idea called Dragon 2 will be totally and completely pantsed, but I am fighting against it at the same time.

I am, in my personal life, a little bit of a control freak – I don’t like micromanaging people, I am not that type of control freak, but I like things organised and simplified in my own personal life and I don’t like surprises!  I am prone to panic attacks when surprises jump out at me, my brother often described me to his friends as the “rabbit in headlights”.  I am the sort of annoying person who always asks for reassurance and a reminder of what to expect at certain events and so on and Paul has a lot of patience with me as he tells me for the fifth time that day that it will assuredly be such and such.  I am only like this in certain things, not everything.  I am not constantly like this throughout my life, just things that could potentially… terrify me. 

Funnily enough, I am not somebody who suffers from stage fright or being surrounded by large groups of people, especially people I know even a little bit.  I am not like that.  I am more likely to be jittery around small circles of people I hardly know or never met and I am more likely to be this way around my birthday, Christmas, parties hosted by other people I don’t know well or anything regarding health… occasionally I can be like this when food shopping, I don’t like being around small groups of strangers alone, at all.

Never really understood why – but Paul reckons it has a lot to do with things that have happened in my past with my mother.  My mother is usually antagonistic with strangers especially if she feels there are no witnesses to dispute what happened!  She often dragged me along with her for whatever ride she hoped to have from the event she caused.

I like to be organised – artist friends are astounded at how neat my areas are when they used to visit, how as I painted I would wipe up spills and go back and forth from the kitchen cleaning the water jars I used as I did my work.

Reader friends who note my bookshelves look twice at my shelves and cannot believe that my books are in genre and alphabetical order and that I had at the time eleven bookcases around the house, now I have twelve.

I also have around thirty box files all with different genre story ideas, poems, research files etc., those are not in order at the moment because I am struggling for space and that is damaging my mental health no end, the torment knowing that those are not in order when everything else is – it makes my writing work very hard!

They mostly reside on the upstairs landing balancing on our very wide bannister at the top, that acts like a half wall and guests who use our bathroom sometimes sheepishly quiz us on why there is a box marked vampires and another marked dragons by the bathroom door?

One such visitor joked that they thought perhaps I was some kind of cryptozoologist as a secret life.

No, but it would be interesting…

I know I was a pantser before 2006, but I was told that planning is key, strangely enough my writing habits have been declining slowly ever since! So I became a planner, I know being a pantser should be as easy as it was in the past, but I don’t really know anymore.

Anyway, back to the NaNoWriMo story – I would like to start in a few days’ time, but at the moment I am trying to decide whether I should plan the characters and some of the scenes now or let it flow naturally?

Paul suggests naturally – but I have never worked that way before… I have had a lot of dreams regarding this book; a lot of the dreams suggest it will be very successful if only…

Happy reading!

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Bedlam, chaos and disorganisation

Bedlam has taken over my creative space and moved it around the house.  Naughty Bedlam, I shall punish it later.

Bedlam has its way in bringing out The Evil Queen in me. 

Bedlam puts my work both writing and art into strange unconnected folders and boxes then distributes these folders and boxes all around the house in random crevices and nooks, playing hide and seek with my work is not fun!

What is this bedlam of which I speak?  My family, primarily my loving husband who tries to keep house when I am bed bound sick, when I get well again it can take up to two weeks sometimes more to find my work so I can get back to it again.

So far I have found my vampires mingling with my fantasy stories and even my paleo recipe folders.  I guess human blood can be thought of as a paleo food, but still, it’s in the wrong place!

I have found trolls in my box of pagan things hiding underneath packets of patchouli incense and dried agrimony and dragons playing with unicorns in my learning how to read music bag.

I have even found a baby ogre in my knitting kit – and please do not mention the flying octopus!  For some reason I found that partially hiding underneath the chest freezer.

And then there are the eyes, eyes, eyes everywhere!  Hanging on the bedroom wall, hidden on a bookshelf, under the bed, on top of the rabbit cage and in a shoe box!  The eyes have it!  Or rather I have had had enough of the eyes! 

Of course I am talking about my various works, whether it be fiction writing or pieces of art I have done, I am not talking about the imaginary friends I have, not yet anyway – why are you looking at me like that?  Every writer has them.  Imaginary friends that is, how else do you think you get stories?  Though sometimes I wonder if my imaginary friends are all that imaginary as weird things are noted around my house by guests, but we never speak of those, do we?  You could say I am insane and I accept that opinion of yours because what is normal to me is ludicrous to you.  I can stay at home for three months solid and forget that it’s not normal and be quite happy actually and very occupied with various things, whilst Joe Bloggs down the road goes insane after forty eight hours.

The biggest work for me at the moment in gathering all my work back into its former place is the fact that two of my vampire folders have  fallen off a sideboard and behind it and has intermingled with other papers in an attempt to try and gather them for me.  This had meant that the four drafts I have done of one particular story is meshed together and I have to work it out like a jigsaw puzzle because I have done all four drafts to the seventeenth chapter and the novel is not finished.  What makes it worse is I am ever so slightly absent minded as a trait I was born with, so therefore many things have been printed twice and are not noted until an accident like this happens… yes I am a nightmare.  But honestly, when people leave my work alone, I am actually very persnickety about filing and organising, it is really hard living with someone who will store anything anywhere and doesn’t have a system.  It really messes my time and system up – unfortunately I live in circumstances where I don’t have a spare room all to myself and I do not have the funds to organise a heated shed in the garden for work, so I have to fight to work, literally, every day, not only my health, but the flipping disarray in the house and have to blooming accept my work being meddled with on a daily basis!  Because my husband, bless him, is a recovering hoarder. He is recovering because whilst living with me he doesn’t have a bloody choice!

So when I get bed bound sick, I have the added stress of knowing that he will slip back into his hoarder care-free ways and its muggings here that has to clean it all up again, when I get the good days back, rather than working or gardening.  It’s all made worse by the fact that he doesn’t work outside of the house, he is home almost all the time.  Love him, but I wished I had time to sort things out for a few hours a day without him following around me in a panic all the time.

I am desperate to paint, I love to paint as often as I read and write, but again, I have no specific place to paint.  I have to rely on a clean dining table to paint and often it’s cluttered with my husband’s essentials and bottles of condiments and a laptop.  So when I have the energy to leave the bedroom to go and paint, it takes me an average of 45 minutes to tidy away enough space and find my paints and materials in order for me to work, often by that time, if I am still sick, I am too knackered to work immediately after clearing that I need a rest and then by the time the rest is over, its dinner time.  Creative people will know how I feel about living like this and you are right, I do feel that way too!

It’s a battle with my health but it is also a battle with my living arrangements and housemates.  My work productivity suffers greatly because of these things and it isn’t because I don’t try, because I do, even on my sickest days, but you have no idea how hard it is to live with these battles day in and day out, I will admit that I have mental health problems normally anyway, but since having my work affected as a result of this lifestyle (if you can call it that), I have for the first time in my life around five years ago, become suicidal as a result.  It is something I have discussed with my husband and he does acknowledge the cause, but what can you do with someone in their mid-sixties who has never lived any other way?

I am not used to a house like this.  I don’t accept a house like this, but I have to make do.  So when I use the work bedlam I do not use it lightly.

I try to stay light hearted about things, but it is a BIG try.

It is gut wrenching to force yourself, as sick as you are, to cough and choke your way through two rooms to clear and tidy and clean, only for the very next couple of days, for it all to revert back, because your husband is motivated in another room unsupervised and doesn’t understand how to do it, he just moves things from one place to another and undoes your work in just a few hours.  Then you’re in bed exhausted, chest clogged up worse for all the dust and you can’t move for another week.

The thing is, writing this makes me feel guilty.  Because he is my carer, he cares a lot, he does a huge amount, and more than any man would really.  He is twenty seven years my senior, he does everything for Henry, everything for me.  He does the shopping, the laundry, the ironing, he cooks, he shops, he deals with all our problems and I have never known a man like him before.  Complaining like I have done, feels wrong.  But it is a big reason why I struggle to work lately.  I am fighting for a work space, but I have less than 3ft square to arrange things in and my art and writing stuff is much bigger than that little corner, the box room would be an ideal office, but it is Henry’s bedroom, the big bedroom can’t be used at all because we have a leaking roof we can’t afford to fix.  In an ideal situation we would move our bedroom into the big room, Henry into our current bedroom and I would use the box room as an office.  But at the moment I can’t.  We have had a survey on the roof it will cost us 5k to fix it, that is around 15yrs of savings for us currently.  Not feasible, especially with the storms we get up here.

Am I so wrong to need to get this off my chest and explain myself?

Tis bedlam here.

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My work thinks I’m scary!

I have this problem where I believe that most of the things I’ve put on my blog is worthy of deletion.  I have very little confidence that it’s anything interesting, and I am pleasantly surprised at how many people like the posts and are following me.

I find it very hard to not delete posts, I feel very tempted to delete one or two poems and the Kithara story because I don’t think Kithara is going anywhere, even though I do have a game plan for her.

I also feel that some of my personal stuff should also be deleted, yet, I feel that my readers should know me.

This has been my problem my whole life.  I’ve never approached a publisher because I don’t feel I am any good; also I never wanted fame, I am not saying I am fame reaching nowadays, not at all, but I am more comfortable in people knowing me now, because I am more confident in myself generally.

I know a lot of writers aren’t famous, yet they’ve probably done more work than the big pots.  I am also smart enough to realize that writing and being published doesn’t mean you’ll have a stable income, I write for pleasure, I want people to read my stuff, I want people to enjoy my stuff and if I am going to be completely honest with you – I write what I want to read and what I would like to see on the television.  Silly I know, but that’s my fuel.

Now you’re probably thinking that there isn’t much need for televised poetry, well, I know this blog concentrates mostly on my poetry, but, as a rule, I write epic sized novels and series type books because I never know when to shut up, basically.

In the past I’ve been known to write a lot, and I mean a lot!  I used to write enough to pile up knee high every three months on average, the amount of work I wrote, but – because I don’t feel I am good enough, I used to have regular bonfires!  SHOCK HORROR!

That depresses me, because there’s many stories I flung into the flames of hell, that I wished I kept, because actually, thinking back, they were quite good.  Thing is, I forgot most of what I wrote, ha-ha.

I’m a nightmare.

Thing is, I am in the situation of having very supportive friends and family these days, family as in my husband’s side of the family, not my own.  So, instead of having my regular bonfires, I am now considered a paper hoarder and it’s driving me nuts.

I have an old cot that used to belong to my son, it is the paper holder these days, in a disorganized filing system (if that’s what I can call it) it’s overflowing, I promised myself to sort through it all and try filing it properly, but to be honest, that will take me a few years.  Gosh, I can’t believe I am admitting this so publicly.  Well anyway, I am in the terrible situation that I’ve been told at the end of July one of my husband’s nieces need to move in with us and needs that room, so GAH!

I feel tempted to light the flames of hell again, but my husband is the knight on guard duty for my work, so it seems.

Anyway, I decided that I will try and squeeze all of that work onto the computer somehow and whatever I write from now onwards will be stored on memory sticks and only printed when I need to read it out loud to someone.  The idea is giving me headaches.

So that is a little journey into my never-so-spotless-mind.

Scary, huh?

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