Sunday, 30 November 2014

To date or not to date. And why envy can be good.

Who knew how hard it would be to meet a man? It wasn’t like this when I was younger. It’s a though once they get to fifty, the men either disappear, hibernate, or get cold feet when it comes to actually meeting someone new.
It’s been a week of disappointments in the world of dating. I managed to meet one man but there was no spark. All he wanted to talk about was electrical equipment and finance! Two more men who I really wanted to meet, chickened out. One put me off, several times, finally asking if we could meet today then cancelling at the last minute. Annoyingly he hasn’t said why yet.
Another, who wanted to write letters before  meeting, eventually admitted that he had this frankly barmy idea that if he wrote letters and sent his phot to 20 women, at least one would fall in love with him before they actually met. I mean how daft is that? Then again, I suppose  it might work on some people. You do hear of women falling for prisoners, and plenty of people profess to be in love with celebrities, so maybe he has a point  All I know is that it wouldn’t work on somebody like me.
He called after my most recent letter saying how blown away he was by my achievements and talents (I sent him one of my books as a gift), and then said that the reason I might not be getting to meet any of the men who contacted me was because I’m too clever for them. As  I hadn’t actually told anyone else about my degree, books, etc, that didn’t wash. Then he treated me to a long, depressing ramble about how hard it is to find decent women, how much he hated the UK, and so on and so forth. I felt as though I was counselling him. Long  story short, he decided we wouldn’t get on if we met, despite the fact that we had plenty in common. After so much effort, he wouldn’t actually risk an hour of his life and so  another one bit the dust. No wonder so many women decide to give up on the whole relationship thing. It’s really hard to keep picking yourself up.
Various things came up in the hypnotherapy. The focus was on unhealthy as opposed to healthy emotions. For example, it’s fine to feel envious of a person if that motivates you to work harder, but not if you feel bitter or jealous. This is something I struggle with. I’m constantly comparing myself to other, more successful or more prolific writers. For example, I’ve just read on Facebook that Della Galton, who I adore, has written fifty thousand words of short stories during November while I have written about ten thousand. I feel terribly envious despite the fact that I COULD have done the same. I made the decision to only work part time a year ago, so that I could try other things and maybe have some fun so why do I still feel jealous? It’s like people who have amazing web sites, or get book deals. If I worked harder, I could do that too. It’s my choice. I need to let go of unhealthy envy, which, believe you me, is b****y hard to do.
At the moment, I’m still concentrating on stories with twist endings as that’s what Fiction Feast are short of right now (one and two pagers). I have three in progress which I should have finished by about Tuesday.
Right now, the sun is shining for the first time in days. The light is so good, I simply have to go and get some painting done. I AM part time you know.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Shrot story writing tip 9and other stuff)

I have decided to stop looking for a man. It’s too depressing. 
If he’s out there, we’ll find each other, somehow. It’s time to let fate step in and ditch the dating sites.  I’m ditching other things too.
I struggle when it comes to letting myself off the leash.  I have taken on duties and roles that I don’t enjoy, and gone to events hoping to meet somebody. From now on, if it isn’t fun,  interesting or potentially rewarding, it has to go.
Now whether I’ll manage stick to that, is another matter.  
November was meant to be novel writing month but that hasn’t happened (yet). 
I respond well to deadlines, IF they come from somebody else. For example, if an agent wanted to see a completed book, I’d get it written, or when I know a fiction editor needs one thousand worders, I can produce them. It’s giving myself deadlines that doesn’t seem to work. I know that’s weird but there you are.
Regarding short stories, it’s been a good year, even though I’ve been working part time so I will take a lesson from that and see if I can make more progress towards the goal of finding the right balance. Work hard, play hard sounds good to me.  I’m making room in  my life so that when an opportunity comes along I can take it. I feel bad about this. I feel bad about giving up voluntary work but I can come back to it later, once my l own life is in better shape.  In short, I need to learn to value myself and not have to rely on other people for validation.
As this blog is supposed to be about writing, I’ve decided to pass on a tip to anyone who wants to write a short story for a woman’s magazine. It goes like this. Ask yourself these  questions.
Does the story have a message or a theme? If so, what is it? If not, why not?  
Can I describe the plot in one sentence?
One of the biggest problems I see when people send me their work for feedback is lack of focus. Stories start in one place then ramble off in another direction. It’s important to remember that a short story is a snapshot, not an entire film, It’s all about focus, making the most from very little. And, for me at least, above all else, it’s about the characters. Once a reader starts to care what happens to them, you’re more than half way there.

Monday, 10 November 2014

Emotional overload

Until I married my fourth husband (the oft mentioned John) in 1999, I had NEVER lost my temper. Not once, not even a tiny bit.  When the marriage floundered, after a couple of years, I suddenly found my anger. It erupted out of me like a volcano,  violent, destructive and very scary, not just for John but for me too as I had no idea how to control it. I raged, threw things, even hurt John once or twice as I struggled to understand what was going on. It took a while but I learned how to handle my anger. These days, I don’t erupt. I can take a step away, think rationally, calm down. I still get cross, but it doesn’t last long and I don’t lose control.
I think I’m having the same problem with other emotions. For most of my life I lived a half life, keeping quiet, accepting things as they were. I was depressed but didn’t know or even care. Now, as I start to come to life again, I realise that I am like a child, having to learn about love and jealousy, sadness and joy.  I think that’s why when I fell for Richard, I fell so hard. I didn’t know how to handle the strength of my feelings for him. At the moment I’m finding it all very difficult. A careless word can hurt me far more than it should.
Right now I’m struggling with being rejected by John’s family. Everything seems to have worked out for them which is great. What hurts me is that I only know this because I saw something on facebook. Since she moved back home, they are refusing to respond to calls or texts. It doesn’t make sense but that’s the way it is. What I have to do is stop fretting about it and move on. It does b****y hurt though.
On the plus side, all these new emotions and feelings should help my writing, if only I could make up my mind what I want to write next….  

Saturday, 8 November 2014

The ups and downs of a writer's life

The truth is, I’m struggling.  I probably always will. I simply don’t know what I want out of life and it is, as they say, doing my head in.
I’ve been in contact with several men over the past few weeks, thanks to Two’s Company but so far, only actually met one. He was nice enough but sadly rather dull. The rest have fallen before even reaching the first hurdle. It’s made it very clear to me that it’s not just ladies who are scared to take the risks involved in starting new relationships.  It’s all very enlightening but at the same time, very frustrating but there’s not a  lot I can do about it.
When I’m feeling positive, I simply say, onward and upward, and try again, but when I’m feeling down, I consider battening down the hatches and becoming a hermit. That way nobody can hurt me, but it also means turning my back on any kind of fulfilling relationship. Recently, I’ve been dithering over what to do for Christmas. I went away with my ex last year and thanks to the weather, had a good time, but it did feel like running away. So I might brazen it out this year, or I might change my mind at the last minute and book a hol. Who knows. I certainly don’t.
I have done very well this year as regards short story sales but even there, I’m not sure what I want to do from now on. I’ve written so many stories, maybe it’s time for a change, but how do you get off a treadmill that pays the bills?
I’m meant to be using November to write something else, e.g. a book. I have started one, but at the moment, my heart isn’t in it.
At my last therapy session, I told the lady that almost all the writers I know of have a ‘significant other’ in their lives. Somebody to encourage, listen, offer sympathy and so on. I told her how hard it is at times when you don’t have that positive influence in your life. She basically told me to get over it, that thousands of people have no-one and that if I needed encouragement I’d have to find a way to provide it myself. Easier said than done, even though I know she’s right.
I have been painting quite a lot recently as it gives me pleasure. The question now is what to do with the results. I’m working on a picture of David Tennant so it’s highly unlikely he’s going to want to buy it from me. I can’t even give it to him. 
I’m still finding that if I HAVE to do a painting, i.e. somebody asks me for one, I tense up and the results aren’t good.  I need to get over  myself, and soon, or those hedges will go back up and I will end up getting two or three dogs and never be seen in public again….