Getting into the Habit: Writing in the Morning.

Do you write in the morning and if so, how long and how are you finding it?
For many years I have wrestled with the idea of writing in the morning. I’ve read many articles from authors who get up early (3 am or 4 am) and write before the rest of the house wakes up. I considered trying this and pondered that, as it is me and my fiancé only in the house, that when the house wakes up it won’t be that loud and she won’t disrupt my writing anyway.

But at 3 am? Really?

I contemplated trying this for a trial period but realised quickly that sleep is awesome. And that getting a good night’s sleep helps me to be refreshed and more open to solid, useful ideas instead of the weird ones I get when I’m overtired. Although, maybe I should start writing those weird ones down in future? Were they weird? I can’t remember. Anyway, I endeavoured to get out of bed slightly earlier than usual (my alarm goes off at 6.45am and I snooze till 7.15 usually) and write something before I go to work (my bus is at 7.43 or 7.53 depending on how organised I am. Or 08.03 when all hell breaks loose)
This endeavour has been working so far. A bit. I rarely get up earlier than 7.15 but I am managing to get a small amount of writing done each morning. I’ve been doing this now for about 5 weeks and it has been a great habit to get into. Even though I don’t write a lot in the mornings, average 300 words, it has helped me to push along with my current WIP and it is almost finished. About another week and I should be done. Hopefully.
Getting into the habit has also allowed me to read more regularly. I read on the way to work anyway but I don’t give myself as much time as I should to read my ‘at home’ book.

Having written something in the morning I can now read in the evening knowing that I have if in only in a small way, moved my WIP along. It also allows me to watch ‘Game of Thrones’ (I only started watching it when it is finished. I’m up to season 4 now. Some people at work are jealous. I’m not sad about it.) knowing that my WIP is moving along.
I know it’s not a new concept or something revolutionary but pushing myself to change my daily routine has helped. Here’s hoping it can help me in the future.

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The Meeting

Hello,

This story was meant to be my entry into a recently closed competition. A combination of fear and lack of planning found me missing the deadline. Nevermind.

So, here is the latest draft. It concerns a man who is going to meet his new girlfriend’s parents for the first time. And when I say new, she is almost brand new, and he is not sure if he should go through with it or wait a bit longer.

Is she looking at me? Darren thought as he waited at the bar. His hands began to shake as he straightened his shirt and watched her approach.

“You dancing?” she said.

He shook his head.

“Fair enough. Would you like a drink?” She said with a smile. They talked for a while and bought each other drinks before exchanging numbers.

“What’s your name?” Darren said.

“Lucy.” She kissed him on the cheek and his stomach jumped as he watched her leave the bar.

“That’s new.” He said.

*

Over the next six days, they met three times and texted nonstop. Every morning he woke up more alert than the last as he eagerly checked his phone.

Exactly a week later they met again on Saturday for drinks. He suggested the same bar and the quickness of her accepting text confused and excited him. After an hour he was really enjoying the night, he went to the bar and when he came back two women were sat opposite Lucy.

“This is Keeley and Lindsey.” Lucy introduced. Darren smiled and greeted them warmly. Shortly after, the two friends went to the bar.

“Don’t be angry. They’re my sisters. If you like me, you have to like them.” Lucy said. Darren noted the subtle sharp tone in her voice.

“Okay.” He said. They kissed and resumed their night out.

*

“Every time I asked them something, they dodged the question. It was weird.” Darren said as he sat down. His mate went to the bar and brought over the drinks.

“You’re over thinking it, mate. You’ve done this so many times before.”

“But Ed, they barely spoke and only did so when Lucy was there. Without her, they were pretty much just glued to their phones.”

“Just relax mate. She’s nice, right?”

“Yeah, she’s really pretty and has a great smile. I get along with her really well.”

“Your eyes just lit up.” Ed said and patted him on the shoulder. Darren looked across the pub at a couple kissing and sharing a private moment. They looked about his age and the blonde woman reminded him of Lucy and the man’s short brown hair acted like a mirror for him. He smiled and drank his beer.

*

“Will you meet my parents on Friday?” Lucy said as they held hands and walked through the park the following Monday evening. Darren looked up a tree and around the park a few times before answering.

“Okay. But, isn’t it a bit…soon?” He said. Her grip tightened on his hand.

“You can’t put a time on true love.” She replied. His stomach jumped again as she kissed him.

*

“True love?” Ed Said as they rested after their Thursday evening run.

“I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say that in real life.” Darren said. They laughed as Darren unmuted his phone and raised his eyebrows as he registered the number of texts and missed calls.

“Is that what true love looks like?” Ed said.

“Maybe.” Darren replied. He smiled as he read the messages of encouragement about his run and their upcoming meeting with her parents.

Darren spent all of Friday thinking about the meeting. That dinner time much like the others during the week he visited different shops looking for a new outfit but never bought anything. He finished work and registered that it was Friday evening. We meet tonight then. His palms became sweaty as did the back of his neck as he looked through his wardrobe. He sat on the edge of his bed and stared back and forth between his wardrobe and his phone. He flinched as a text came through.

“My parents just wanted to confirm that you were still coming tonight and are REALLY looking forward to it. What takeaway you would like? I vote for pizza. Can’t Wait! xxx”

Then, Darren’s stomach jumped.

“Sorry Lucy, I don’t think I can make it tonight. You know that food my boss brought in today as a thank you for all our hard work? It’s been doing backflips in my gut and I’ve been to the toilet more times than I would like. Could it be moved to next week? Sorry again.” He paused before hitting send. He exhaled and instantly relaxed. Later, as he got in bed, he kept checking his phone.

*

Darren awoke with his phone still in his hand. He turned it off and lay in bed until midday. She’s angry with me. He got up and then settled into his settee and turned on the TV. After a few hours of watching nothing in particular, he remembered to switch his WiFi on. As soon as he did, a few messages came through from Ed and they all mentioned Lucy and the news. He checked his news app and immediately sat up straight.

“Are you joking?!” Darren said loudly. He slowly scrolled through the article about a huge police arrest made in the early hours of the morning. “That’s Lucy’s house!” His phone rang and Ed’s face came up on the screen.

“Darren! Are you alright, mate? I’ve been trying to get hold of you all morning.”

“Yes, mate. I didn’t go to meet her parents. Got cold feet. Faked food poisoning. I’ve just read an article about it. The police received a tip-off from one of the guests at her parents’ house that a man and woman were going to be killed as part of some ritual. Apparently, the ‘sacrifice’ of the new girlfriend and boyfriend of the leaders of the ‘The Greater Good’ group was to appease their god. Lucy was a leader!” Darren could hear his heart thump faster in his ears as he spoke.

“Will you be okay?” Ed said.

“I’ll be fine. I just need…a minute.” Darren said and ended the call. He sat back and exhaled. “That was a close call.”

Out to dinner.

The restaurant around them hummed with conversation. The dark reds and blacks on the walls and the table cloths gave the restaurant a brooding feel. So much so that anyone who made a slight nose or spoke at a higher volume drew glances from their fellow patrons. Richard finished his meal and calmly placed the knife and fork on either side of the plate. He fought the overwhelming urge to lean back and grab his belly.

“Rude.” Said Rachael to his left. Her curly hair was almost in her food as she looked from his plate to his face a few times before exhaling loudly.

“What exactly is rude about me?” He asked. Rachael looked up quickly and her eyes widened.

“Well, …it’s not general restaurant etiquette to finish before everyone else.”

“That isn’t a rule of dining out. Or dining in. Or dining anywhere! And if it is, it’s ridiculous.” He replied. Rachael looked opposite to the woman sat to his right and back to her plate. The woman kept eating but paused before putting her fork down.

“Apologise.” Martha said. Richard exhaled and closed his eyes as his shoulders slumped slightly. He surveyed her ginger head as she continued to eat.

“My dear Martha. The apple of my eye. Do you remember that long conversation we had some six months ago? I want the exact opposite.”

Martha’s fork clangs down onto her plate and the sound lifts some heads from those close by. Her mouth drops slightly open.

“Can I ask you something, Donna?” He says to the girl opposite. Her short, silver hair shoots up from her plate. She nods.

“Throughout your long and I can only assume agonising relationship, has Rachael ever said that anybody was being rude for finishing their food before the others?”

Donna contemplates this and ignores Rachael’s glare.

“Yes. Plenty of times.” She replies in a small voice.

“Do you agree with her when she has done this?” Martha nudged him with her foot under the table. He moved his seat back slightly and crossed his legs so she could not repeat the action.

“No.” She replies instantly. “There is nothing in any etiquette manual or article that I have come across that says it is wrong to finish early.” A small smile crosses her lips. “And that is one of the many things that has annoyed me about being her girlfriend.”

Donna looks at Rachael and she looks down at her plate to avoid her eyes.

Richard takes out some money from his wallet and counts it a few times before placing three notes in the middle of the table. Donna begins to do the same but underneath the table. He leans back and groans with satisfaction while stretching his long arms towards the floor. He turns to look at Martha who crosses her arms. He blinks slowly taking a deep breath.

“I hope you find someone exactly like you and someone that possesses a forehead befitting of your thumb. And Donna, good luck and all the best in everything that you do.” He said glancing at Rachael. Donna smiles broadly and slips the money she has counted into the shoulder of her dress and finishes her meal.

Rachael slumps into her seat. He stands up and grabs his glass and downs what remains of its contents before leaving the table. He stops, turns, and retrieves the money he just counted and puts it into the inside pocket of his suit.

“You’re not going to pay for your part of the bill?” Martha asks looking up at him. Richard feels his hands shaking in his pocket.

“For two years, I have paid for every drink we have had whenever we have gone on a night or day out. With the only two exceptions being both my birthdays, which I had to convince you to do. And you stormed out of both of those parties. Consider this paying your debt.”

“How…dare you? You…enjoyed doing that for…me. Didn’t you?” Martha said. Richard looks into her eyes and the moment seems to last forever.

“…really?” Richard said. Martha looked for help where there was none before slumping back into her seat and wiping a tear from her eye.

Richard places one hand on her shoulder. She squeezed it before he leaves the table and the restaurant.

“Goodbye.” Martha whispers as Richard kisses her on the top of her head.

“Hold on.” Said Donna. She stands and grabs her bag to leave.

“Donna? Where are you going?” Rachel said as if to an insubordinate child.

“Away. From you. Finally.” Donna said rolling her eyes. Rachael looked back at the table and then to Martha.

“It’s still fairly early, fancy getting responsibly drunk?” asked Richard.

“Definitely.” Said Donna.

 

 

 

 

 

A sample of my own writing entitled…Untitled Project.

Hello,

It has been almost ages since I last posted and I have no excuse for it. Work? Life? Whatever. I sit here now annoyed I haven’t posted sooner so here it is. The following is the first page and a bit of the last story I finished. It concerns a charity shop owner taking revenge on those who attacked him and tried to destroy his shop and his livelihood. It is the first draft so apologies for any errors.

This is as yet untitled. My first title idea is ‘Charity Shop Lad’ but this will almost certainly change.

The unfortunately familiar sound of an item smashing against his wooden floor took Joe’s attention away from his and the shop’s finances and other important shop related things all of which he would rather do quickly so he can go to bed. Saturdays are always busy, he thought with a smile.

“Don’t worry about that, mate. It wasn’t worth much anyway.” Joe said.

“I wasn’t going to.” Mumbled the blue hooded man at the door. His friends giggled. Joe turned away and back to his books.

“A? How much for this?” Barked the hooded man. Joe walked around from behind his counter and over to him. From a distance, they looked menacing and almost fear-inducing. Up close, however, they were disappointing.

“The necklace?” Asked Joe. The hooded man grumbled. Joe noticed that his friends admired the necklace very clearly. “I can’t remember.” He lied. “Where’s the tag?”

“There.” Said the hooded man. Why so loud for a necklace?

“Ah. I see it. Fifty pounds. Hmm…seems a bit low. Wait here. I will check my book.”

“Low? The price is the price, mate. No changes.”

“I can change the price as I see fit, Sir. Let me just…”

“No, you don’t, mate.” Said the hooded man.

As Joe turned with the necklace in his hand to walk to back to his counter and his pricing book, the hooded man grabbed his arm. Joe put the necklace in a nearby vase before looking down at the hand gripping his arm.

“Please, Sir. I don’t want any trouble.” Said Joe. The hooded man’s friends had stepped over and now blocked the door.

“Well, you’ve got it, pal.” Said the hood. The man swung with his free right hand but as he did so, Joe kicked him in the shin and twisted the right hand and the arm round sharply. The hooded man screamed as his face hit the floor.

“Now, gentleman. Like I said, I do not want any trouble.” Joe said. He slowly twisted the man’s arm until he heard a small crack. “If I go any further, it may cause him some damage. I don’t want that to happen.”

The friends looked at each other and back at Joe quickly and with sweat forming rapidly on their foreheads. One friend lunged with a poor attempt at a punch which Joe grabbed with his left arm. He twisted the friend’s arm until it matched the hooded man. Joe, with two men’s faces, pushed against the floor and an arm within each hand, looked up at the remaining friend.

“Now, they will hurt for a few days but if they take it easy they should be fine. Maybe they will be okay for work on Monday. What jobs do they do? Do you all work together? Is that where you know each other from?” Joe asked. The remaining friend stared wide-eyed and unable to answer. Joe stood up and dropped the arms he was holding. The remaining friend jumped and ran out of the shop.

“Look, I’m sorry about that. But I did say I didn’t want any trouble.” The men walked out holding their damaged arms. “Just take it easy tomorrow and you should be fine for work.” The men ran out and Joe closed and locked the door. He watched as they were swallowed by the almost pitch-black night. He pulled down the blind over the shop door window and exhaled, putting his hands on his knees. He composed himself and looked around his shop. He savoured the calm and quiet before settling on a vase. He reached inside and held up the necklace.

“How much are you worth then?”

Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you would like to, please leave your thoughts and such in the comments section. Thank you.

Bye Bye for now!

The Types of Writing Advice You Should (and Shouldn’t) Take to Heart — Novelty Revisions

Hello,

I came across this awesome and really useful article regarding writing advice from

Novelty Revisions https://megdowell.com/.
We’ve all read writing advice but it isn’t always clear which to use and which to throw away. And who to take it from. This goes a long way to helping solve the problem. Here is the first part of the article:

 

‘How do you know if the writing advice you’re being given is worth listening to?

Does it matter if someone is a published author or not?

Who is “qualified” to give the best advice?

These are all tricky questions. So here are some of the types of advice you’ll generally get about writing, who they tend to come from, and how to apply them (if at all) to your own writing life.’

For the full article, click the link below the picture.

 

How you should interpret writing advice depends on who — or where — it comes from.

via The Types of Writing Advice You Should (and Shouldn’t) Take to Heart — Novelty Revisions

A cold that was a writing break in disguise?

Hello,

So, around the middle of March, a snowy, windy, coldy, all-round menace of a weather thing that the media dubbed ‘The Beast From The East’ terrorised the UK. This ‘Beast’ caused a lot of snow and then ice and then more snow on top of the ice and so on. Usually, I enjoy the snow but when the ‘Beast’ came so did a nasty illness. I take pride in how little time off from work I have and keeping generally healthy. But this illness just hit me all of a sudden. I’m sure it was linked to the sausage and bacon barm I had for breakfast the day I got ill but it manifested itself as a banging headache, blocked nose, and tickly cough, which I have only just gotten over.

With all this happening, I said to myself that I would try to keep on writing. This did not happen. Sad face.

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In work, I stare at a computer screen. I could not bring myself to do that when I got home and the illness put me off doing anything for a few weeks. I found that I wanted to write but I couldn’t bring myself to do so. My WIP was constantly spinning around in my head, which I could not keep writing and it drove me a little crazy. But, as I dosed myself up each day, the illness slowly departed. It was like my writing inner beast was slowly winning the battle against the ghastly ill that ravaged my body. Those few weeks were also a writing break. Was it one that I needed?

It appears that the illness was…dare I say it…a blessing in disguise?

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I spent weeks feeling awful and it was all just so I could take a break? Was my subconscious working with the rest of my body to force me to take a break and recharge my batteries? I am beginning to wonder because of how ill I got and how quickly it just seemed to hit me.

I am now writing as normal and moving my WIP along at a brisk pace so it will be finished soon. Within the next few weeks hopefully. I am also looking forward to entering more competitions over the rest of 2018. Last year, I entered one competition. This year, I’m hoping to enter more and flex my old writing competition muscles.

So, I have a question, have you ever taken an unplanned writing break that turned out to be really helpful?

 

The virtues of reading two books at once…almost.

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Currently reading: The Breathing Method: A Winter’s Tale by Stephen King.

Also currently reading: The Good, the Bad and Me: In my Anecdotage by Eli Wallach.

Hello,

Recently, I have been reading Stephen King’s Different Season’s and really enjoying it. I always wonder though, with every book I read, what book I should read next to keep the enjoyment going. Usually, I wing it but recently I have started to plan ahead when I was coming to the end of The Body (Stand by Me) and starting the last story of Different Seasons. I thought, why not read two books at once? I have never done that before. Let’s see how this goes, shall we…

Well, actually, I have tried two books at once before but it didn’t work very well. I just ended up focusing on one book and forgetting about the other. I would always have to go back to the beginning of book two when one was finished. This time though, I have the ten minutes or so before my second train departs to take me to work and the twenty minutes on the train that allows me to read one book in a fair amount of peace. Beforehand, the bus or tram had mostly been my method of travel. Or walking. Each with plenty of things to stop me from reading (mainly concentrating on the road and other people. Laaaaame.) But waiting and travel with plenty of space available has helped my cause.

I thought of many books that could be my second book. As I did this, I began to hear something. What do I hear? What is that noise? Thousands of little voices but from where? I follow the sounds and they get louder and clearer as I approach my lovely bookshelves. All the books and their characters giving me their own reason why I should read them instead or as well as my current book. They say “Kindle is killing books, you smell lovely, you should be worried as you’re hearing voices from books”, and so on. I looked around and saw one book I’d been looking forward to reading since Christmas. Eli Wallach’s biography The Good, the Bad, and Me. He played The Ugly (Tuco Benedicto Pacífico Juan María Ramírez aka “The Rat”) in my favourite film of all time so naturally, I wanted to read it. And so, I now have one book for home and one for travel.

I’ve found it very useful and enlightening for my own writing to read two different authors and their very different styles. Each I enjoy and each is pushing me to make mental notes to use in my own writing. Stephen King (for obvious reasons) and Eli Wallach for his straightforward and unflinching account of his life. Most of the notes lean towards helping me to describe effectively and to try and make the reader feel what I want them to feel for a particular scene.

I’m also reading fast and racing through my books. But what of the next two books? Oh no. I hear the voices again…

Before you go. Quick question, if you do read two books at once, are they similar? Or different? And for either answer, why?

Thanks for reading. Have a good rest of the week!