The fame monster

Only saw this when I was returning a couple of books to Leicester Central Library yesterday – the physical version of the Grassroutes gallery is a-coming!

There’s a mini-preview in the foyer to the library until October 31st, then it’ll be available to see at the David Wilson Library at the University of Leicester from November 1-30th. Check it out, there’s my name an ting:

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Just above Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze too, how fab. And here’s the full list (apologies for the rubbish quality of the pics, they were taken on my iPod of all things as I’ve lost the USB to my phone):

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No-one’s recognised me in the street yet, but I suppose it’s only a matter of time (autographs gladly given)…

Apart from this, I’ve been having a bugger of a few weeks, writing-wise. Junking an idea for a story, then coming back to it, then junking it again, then coming up with an entirely new idea that I’ve only just finished, a few hours before deadline and work. In case you’re interested, it’s for this. Fingers crossed etc.

Plus there’s also the novel to revise, but like the Olympic-standard procrastinator I am, that’s being put off until the new year.

Also, I am cold. Only 29 years until the heating allowance, though, eh? Which will no doubt will be scrapped by 2020.

Freezingly yours,

Amy xx

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Nothing to see here…

So, yeah, not been doing much writing recently. Life has kind of got in the way. And a ton of rejections. Oh, so many rejections. Not all of them writing-related, but they’re bound to knock one’s spirit nonetheless.

I’ve also been, y’know, trying to earn enough money to keep myself afloat, now that I have to be a proper grown-up with a mortgage and stuff, so writing’s been kind of pushed to the sidelines. I sit with my gob hitting the floor when I read about women (or occasionally men) who after a full-time job and children to look after, sit down and write for a few hours until bedtime, or get up at the crack of dawn to fit in some scribbling before the school run.

Basically, I’m a lazy sod.

But one who, despite HAVING ALL THE REJECTIONS!, still believes in herself and her work. Well, someone has to.

September will be a busier month; I’ll keep you updated as to that if you care, or even if you don’t. TTFN.

Happy news

I was picked to be one of the University of Leicester’s Grassroutes project‘s 50 Leicestershire-based writers for their virtual (and hopefully eventually physical) gallery – have a look at my profile here!

In other news, my workshop for the Ladyfest Bristol fundraiser was good – sparsely attended, but well-received by those that did come. That’s the party line, and I’m sticking to it.

As far as submissions and stuff go, I entered Dazed And Confused’s ‘Feed Your Head’ short story comp with a tale inspired by this awesome song. I also sent a story in for Crystal Clear Creators‘ Hearing Voices magazine – it was one I originally wrote for the Grazia short story comp, which I failed utterly to place in, so I don’t know if that was a bum move? I’d originally planned to send summat else I have been working on in to them, but y’know, it’s not finished. Life got in the way again. Bah.

I’m also hopefully going to apply for – eek – a creative writing PhD at the University of Leicester, as they have a fee waiver place for one lucky person. Fingers crossed that lucky person is me, otherwise they’ll have to be paid in Monopoly money (or I’d have to withdraw, one or t’other). This, however, means that I need to brainstorm a decent, suitably impressive idea for my second novel and send it in to them this week. Yeah, no biggie….

The myth of the tortured artist

I was talking to a friend* about both writing and quitting smoking a couple of weeks ago, and he suggested that I pour my torment from the latter into the former.

At the time, I was all like, ‘Yeah, I could, thanks for that’, because I wanted to keep him sweet, but really, I can’t. I know a lot of people believe that writing is a catharsis – and to a point, it is for me as well – but you can’t just pour any old shit onto the page. That’s what a blog is for, heh.

For me, anyway, I’m more productive when I’m happy and can think straight, not while having my head clouded by regret, heartache, depression or, indeed, nicotine withdrawal. Planning a story, writing the best you can, requires focus, nuance. I’m not nearly talented enough that a screed of my stream-of-consciousness would rival Virginia Woolf. I doubt even Woolf wrote what she considered the best bits of ‘To The Lighthouse’ while in a dark place.

Personally, I think having knowledge of real sadness, of anger, of pain can make your work more authentic, if that’s how you want it, but when you’re going through those things, you’re more likely to want to retreat to your happy place than put pen to paper (or well, fingers to laptop).

It’s easier for musicians, I think, as songs don’t have to stand up as works of art quite as much, and just a few heartfelt words can say much more than some cliched piece of doggerel or poorly-conceived piece of prose ever could. I was reminded of this last week when I was listening to Nirvana’s Unplugged In New York. Music seems to heal me more than writing in that way – Kurt’s pain became mine, and vice versa, when I needed it to most, when I couldn’t even begin to consider my next writing project.

So yes, creative people may be more prone to feel things more deeply, and some of them many be able to turn that into a great song, story, poem, piece of art. But I can’t. Sorry mate.

 

*who I want to be much more than a friend, really, but that’s a story for another day…

Always the bridesmaid…

Okay, so another minor success…. I was shortlisted for the Birmingham Book Festival Short Story Competition, although I only found out through a random Google search. That is good news, although I wonder if I’m good enough to ever win anything? I know, practise makes perfect and all that shizzle, but sometimes it’d be nice to know when you’re going to reach that Holy Grail of being good enough to win.

Still, not bad. I’m currently in the process of writing another short story for this, which I hope might be accepted despite me not living in Brighton, nor London (does having friends in Brighton and London count?)

Oh, and I’m running a creative writing workshop in Bristol in June, which I’m a bit excited, but more scared, about – watch this space….

More competition anxiety

So… the results of the Birmingham Book Festival Short Story competition have been announced, and surprise surprise, I’m not a winner, nor a runner-up. These things are a crapshoot anyway, but there’s always that slight hope in the back of your mind that the judge/s might see the potential in your work, and that there aren’t tens, if not hundreds, of people better than you. This hope is swiftly dashed, of course.

The story I entered, called ‘You Were Here’, only had a couple of very brief mentions of clocks, the theme of the competition, hidden within, so I suppose that didn’t help? To be honest, I was struggling to build a story around the theme, so used the idea I already had and just added these mentions to make it relevant.

Ho hum. I thought that story was alright, so have since entered it into about three more comps. Watch this space for resultant joy/hope-dashing as it comes.

Please allow me to introduce myself…

…I’m a woman of wealth and taste. Well, not the former, and I know that some would query the latter, but, anyway…

My name’s Amy B, and, well, I write. I’ve been writing for years, pretty much ever since I was a wee bairn, with varying degrees of success. I write short stories, and I’ve just completed the first draft of my first novel, which I will be revising this year, if I don’t decide to throw the whole thing in the bin in a fit of despair.

I have an MA in Writing from the University of Warwick, have performed my fiction at spoken word nights across the Midlands, have won a couple of competitions and been long-/shortlisted for others, and have completed the Writing East Midlands mentorship scheme, which has proved an invaluable help in writing my novel. You can read one of my stories here. And another here.

This blog will chart the highs and lows (but probably mainly lows) of being a writer trying to make it in this godforsaken world, or act as a place for me to have a bit of a whinge after my umpteenth rejection.

At time of writing, I’m not going to whinge, though, as I was shortlisted for the Adventures in Fiction Spotlight Competition a couple of weeks ago for the first page of my novel. Didn’t win, natch, but I like to think that that’s somewhat of an achievement. At the very least, the first 300 words of my novel are alright. If the other 300+ pages are up to the same standard, then I’ll be golden.

So, yeah, check in if you wish. And if you’re an agent, don’t be shy now…