Tuesday, 27 April 2010

If I only had time, only time

So the song says.

Well, I've been making time, and that isn't easy. But it is true what they say, the more you have to do, the more you're able to do it.

In the last few days, I have managed to:

* finish the novel

* get started properly on the play I've been asked for,

* cast a play we're doing for World In Need's International Conference (which I am involved in. I hope to attend some of the seminars.)

* prepare to attend the Christian Resources Exhibition,

* spring clean another part of my house. (OK. At this rate it'll be Autumn before I finish but I am making some progress),

* catch up with correspondence,

* maintain the blogs for World In Need (http://worldinneedwinners.blogspot.com/) and Tunbridge Wells and District Writers Circle (http://tunbridgewellswritingcircle.blogspot.com/)

* prepare the script writing workshop I am doing at New Eastbourne Writers this week,

* work out who to vote for (not easy. They all have good points and bad points. And just when I decide on a party I look at the party leader and think, "But do I want them as my Prime Minister? For the record, the answer is invariably no, in all cases.)

And it's only Tuesday.

I've also been reading and working on a book I found called "The Winner's Bible" by Dr Kerry Spackman. Looks good so far. I'll let you know how I get on with it.

Thursday, 22 April 2010


A year ago, I was getting ready for my first trip on an aeroplane - yes, folks, there are still those of us who don't travel on them every day.

I went to Kenya with a group of friends, on a fact finding mission, learning what work was being done amongst the people in the slums, and in some of the rural areas of that beautiful country. We saw the way people had picked themselves up after the post election violence of 2008, and we saw poverty on a scale it's difficult to imagine when you're here in the UK. But we also saw smiling faces, children with a sense of fun and mischief who chased after us shouting the one English phrase they knew - "How are you?". And we saw hope.

I've turned my experiences into a book about the trip and the work we were privileged to become a part of. The book is entitled "Grasshoppers don't eat grapes" and I'm about ready to look for a publisher for it. Any profit it makes which would normally come to me will go towards the work that is being done out there.

Watch this space for details of when it's published and where you can buy it.

The picture at the top was taken at Likuyana, Soy District, just north of Eldoret. The people there had no church and were meeting in someone's garden shed. Thanks to a generous gift from All Saints and St Richard's Churches in Crowborough,UK, and thanks to the fund raising efforts of the church members themselves, we were looking at land to buy so a new church could be built.

It's an ill wind...

It's that time of the year again.

I'm not sure why it is, but the minute the sun shines, the weather warms and the birds start twitterpating, a young (!) woman's fancies turn to clearing out. An irresistible urge comes over me to clear out cupboards, sort through book shelves, dust away cobwebs and wash down walls.

Don't worry. It won't last. It never does. Although when I've done, I look at my house with a feeling of quiet satisfaction, seeing everywhere looking so much cleaner and less cluttered.

This last week, I haven't been able to do much in the way of spring cleaning physically. A damaged knee ligament has left me hardly able to keep pace with the every day work that keeps a house tidy. I wash up in instalments, and the kitchen floor has not been cleaned properly for several days. I dread to think what I'd say if anyone visited and made their way in there!

The knee problem also means I can't spring clean my body as thoroughly as I intended. I can diet, watch what I eat. I can sleep enough. But I cannot do the exercise I'd counted on.

However, it is an ill wind that blows no good whatsoever, and the news is not all bad. Unable to rush round like a thing possessed, unable to spend hours on housework, having to spend time sitting around recovering from the last burst of energy, all of these things have meant the writing has come on apace.

I'm on target for the amount of writing I wanted to have done by now, and am pleased with the standard of it. I'm ready to go. Deadlines hold no dread for me. If only it was always thus.

I'm also managing to read other people's work, and critique it, as well as preparing the script writing workshop I am giving in Eastbourne next week. I've kept the blogs up to date and written letters to friends. And I've managed to read a couple of books, too.

So, although the knee is painful, and some things went by the wayside - the 10k run is out, it seems - life has not been a total loss.

Like I said, it's an ill wind...

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Life after darkness

Life is getting busy, and I am glad of it.

I've just come through a period when, although I was still writing, I wasn't writing as much as I usually do, and there wasn't as much enthusiasm as there always has been before. Truth to tell, it was a great effort at times. I became super critical of every word I wrote, and I began to question whether I really was any good at this game, after all.

Ironically, just as the self doubts crept in, others started to take more notice of my work, people began asking me for things, or praising my work. Even people who'd seen it before and dismissed it suddenly started being kinder and looking on it as worthwhile.

Which is a little confusing, but I suppose it's better that way than the other way around.

Turned out I was suffering from a great depression. The trials and tribulations of life, things that had been building for years, had finally overwhelmed me and shut down my engines. But I was zooming forward at such a pace, trying to outrun those troubles, that I kept going, even when the power failed. It took many months for me to coast to a stop, months when I was slowing down, not able to do all I had planned and wondering why that was so.

Well, I finally stopped. I got the engine overhauled. And now, I am back in the race.

In the last month, I have done an average 1500 words every day to my novel. Not only that, but when reading them back to myself, I am fairly pleased with their quality. Oh sure, there's been some polishing needed, some editing, points needing clarification, typos to correct. But not a massive amount of total rewriting, when a piece has to be scrapped and taken back to square one. And now, it's nearly finished and I am confident enough to think it should be out there, trying to fly on its own.

It's been a long, dark winter. Now, suddenly, it's Spring.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

It's been a very good week

Determined to be known for what I wrote, not for the excuse I use not to, I have knuckled down and worked this week. Not that I don't at other times - 23 finished plays proves I can actually get the job done when I want, but just lately I have not been as productive as I would like.

That, however, is in the past.

This week, I have written nearly 10,000 words to my novel, as well as a blog for World In Need about the Congolese women who addressed the UN in New York. (Power to them! Read the blog at http://worldinneedwinners.blogspot.com/)

And then I realised it was time for the monthly script writer's workshop for Tunbridge Wells Writers Circle (http://tunbridgewellswritingcircle.blogspot.com/) and the play idea I wanted feedback on was still in my head. Now, it looks very polished in there. Award winning, in fact. But other people can't see it.

So, that day, I left the novel to one side and worked on the treatment for the play - which turned into writing a rough first draft of most of scene one. It looks promising. And funny. Well, it made the critiquers at the workshop laugh, anyway.

I came away from the workshop with some ideas on improving, plus a couple of ideas for things to add I would never have thought of alone. I'm 10,000 words from finishing the novel and then I can write the play properly. I am useless at having two projects on the go at the same time. The characters from one tend to forget their way and head off to take part in the other and it gets very complicated. If given the slightest encouragement, fictional characters act like real life people and do exactly as they want, regardless of what you tell them!

So, onwards and upwards. And maybe, just maybe, one day, that award I see the play winning in my head, will be presented on the outside too. *Sigh* A girl can dream, can't she?

Saturday, 3 April 2010

A request for prayer

Steven Wilson, who heads up World In Need in Northern Ireland, had a heart and lung transplant some years ago. Things have suddenly gone wrong for him and he was rushed into hospital last night and is now on a life support machine, waiting for doctors to come and see him re his kidneys.

Steven had planned to come to England in May for our International Conference, but may not be well enough to travel by then.

World In Need is a charity that helps people in the developing world, mainly by sponsoring children and supoprting schools, orphanages and day centres. Our people are all dedicated to making life better for those who struggle. Steven has worked tirelessly for us.

Please pray for a speedy and full recovery for him.