Tuesday, 31 December 2013

PONDERING THE PAST AND ANTICIPATING THE FUTURE



Regret is not something I do very much – what’s the point? I try to learn from my mistakes, not always successfully, or I bury them deep where they can rest in peace. On the other hand I do believe in having a dream – something to work towards and give your life meaning.

Most of us need goals to take us step by step in the direction we want to go. For me, trying is even more important that attainment because as long as you’re trying the hope of success is alive, and if you’re trying, you’re certainly closer to your dream than if you made no effort at all.

The end of the year seems an appropriate time to review how near I am towards achieving my dream – to write and be published.

This year I ventured into the world of social media and started a blog last February. I'm finding it a good writing experience. Blogging is immediate, it’s out there as soon as you press the button, and it’s all you, the writer – no narrator or character between you and the reader – so you're more exposed. I’m gratified I persevered and found the discipline to post once a week, and I’m definitely going to continue blogging.

I probably could be more active on Google+ and Twitter (which I joined later in the year), but find it a juggling act to balance the rewards (support from others, alerting the world to your existence) with the effort and time it consumes. I’m hoping to continue creating friendships and links with other writers in the coming year.

I managed to collect enough haikus to epublish a short book, Gold Dragon Haiku, on Amazon. Success has been small, and I have no plans to publish any more poetry – other than the weekly haiku on my blog, and the odd one on Twitter. However, the experience of preparing, formatting and uploading the work - dipping my toe in the ebook ocean - was invaluable.

Writing Update

The more I learn of what it takes to be a writer (silly me, I thought you just had to write) the more I respect those who have achieved publication. This past week I’ve had the pleasurable experience of writing a synopsis – a skill worth honing, because reading what the agent/publisher wants is vital if you hope to get more than your subject line read. Next on the list is the cover letter and trawling those lists for agents and publishers.
 
I find it hard to believe but my novel is almost at the point where I feel confident enough to send it off for consideration. I’m making the choice to try traditional publishing first, partly because they have the publicity, printing and distribution chain in place. And I guess having a book accepted for publication by the establishment still feels like a worthwhile acknowledgement. My next step towards achieving my dream is to pursue this route first, and if unsuccessful, I will epublish.

Although I started several years ago, the last two years of planning, writing, redrafting, editing and proof reading this story has occupied so much of my inner self that now it’s almost finished I may be suffering from empty nest/book syndrome. There's sadness and a sense of emptiness where the story lived. Writers invest not just their head space, but their heart and emotions in their writing – they live their stories. Without doubt, the answer is to start the next one (plans are simmering), but letting go of the current one isn’t the same as closing a book someone else wrote.

I do believe in my story and I do want it out there for readers to discover and enjoy. This novel may be as ready as I can get it, but the journey is far from over, and I'm looking forward to seeing what 2014 brings!

Today’s Haiku
NEON
half lit sign glows red
sends sporadic messages
in alien code

Useful links:

mslexyia provides great links for lists of agents, publishers etc.
Writers & Artists website and book are still good places to start a search.
My haiku ebook Gold Dragon Haiku can be found via the following link:

To all the lovely people who've supported me on this writing adventure, on New Year’s Eve, 2013, I wish you all a brilliant 2014! May all your writing dreams – and your other ones – at least come closer to fruition!

Join me on Twitter at: teagankearney@modhaiku

To all story lovers out there, good reading, and to those of you who write, good writing.

Monday, 23 December 2013

REFLECTIONS ON WRITING



This is going to be a short post, and not just because I've shopping to do, a house to clean, and food to start preparing, but because those of you who are celebrating festivals probably don’t have writing advice high on their list of priorities for Christmas Eve. So, today, just a few thoughts on writing fiction. 

To start with there's no rule that says you can’t just sit down and write a novel. After all, we use language every day, and most of us have been doing so for a number of years, so using words is a skill we mastered as children. Nonetheless, you can find innumerable courses, books, retreats and groups where you can practice and hone your writing skills, as well as getting (hopefully) constructive feedback.

However, creative endeavours have several aspects. First there is the preliminary phase of incubation/rumination; next the absorbing active productive period; finally the contemplative/reflective stage. A good question is what do we get out of these enterprises, other than the activity itself? Producing work, whether art, music or literature (or even finger puppets) that you view as successful is a challenge. And it may be that wider  public acknowledgement or reciprocation never comes. 

So why do people rack up, for example, eight nano novels? It must be because the enjoyment in doing the activity outweighs anything else, including the effort involved in transcribing and expanding something which can, in the beginning, be no more than a glimpse of an idea. A certain amount of self-belief, which may or may not be justified, investment of your time and a determination to improve are definitely needed. Yet none of these criteria act as a deterrent when a story begins to live in a writer’s imagination and the urge to share it with others takes precedence.

I think we undertake these pursuits because, ultimately, we find them deeply satisfying. For me writing is about emotion, with the character, plot and setting aimed at eliciting a particular response from the reader. Each writer starts and ends their writing journey in a separate place, and although we share certain commonalities, each journey, just like each individual, is unique.

Today’s Haiku
WINTER
snow lies on the ground
one red apple left hanging –
blackbird finds a feast

Useful links:

If you’re looking for a gift for someone who has a kindle, check out these two links:
http://amzn.to/197yrbN   Roads Taken (5 great short stories) by M. Joaquim
http://amzn.to/18SbSaG  Gold Dragon Haiku  - my first attempt at publishing poetry!       
Check out these two links if you’re feeling down – laughter’s a great medicine.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=57dzaMaouXA

I would like to wish everyone, especially the six people who clicked the follow button on this page, my friends on Twitter and in the Google + communities, and anyone who reads this blog, a great Christmas - may you all be merry and bright -  and a brilliant 2014!

Join me on Twitter at: teagankearney@modhaiku

To all story lovers out there, good reading, and to those of you who write, good writing.


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Apart from writing, I'm compiling a bucket list of places I'd like to  visit...from Iceland to Hawaii and onwards....
         

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