Words from the Writing Desk – Inspirational Spring

Okay, so it is getting scary now!  The sun has been here for days and no rain!  Could it be we have turned a corner?

As I walk to work in the morning, it is still icy cold though, and my breath plumes out in front of me.  I still have to wear my scarf and gloves for now. But I know it is just a matter of time until that sunshine that bathes us in its light also warms our skin.  Spring birds are already chirping.  They know….  🙂

One thing about this time of the year – I seem to get more productive.  It might have something to do with the fact that I have a ton of competitions at this time of the year, or it could just be that I am feeling the world’s rebirth and some of it is rubbing off on me. Despite the mild panic I feel inside about an upcoming deadline, I can still appreciate that.

So here is a little tribute to “Chirpy”, which is what we have christened the blackbird who visits us at this time of the year.

The blackbird on my chimney
Lifts his head to sing
A little ditty that he wrote
About the coming spring

The lyrics are so beautiful
And they bounce across the air
He’s such a gifted poet
And he doesn’t have a care

He sings of things like waking buds
Bluebells upon the hills
Leaping lambs in lush green fields
And roadside daffodils

He doesn’t mind the chilly air
It never stops his singing
And when he leaves us we’ll still hear
His song in our ears ringing

New Beginnings

There have been a few very light snow flurries today, the kind that you can blink and miss. It’s cold, but you can definitely see and feel that winter is on its last legs, and just trying to cling on. But soon it will be gone. The sun is definitely shining more. It looks beautiful streaming through my living room window in the morning. And Chirpy is back! That’s the name we give to the blackbird who comes every year and sits in the tallest tree in the street. He watches over the neighbourhood and sings away like the happiest chap in the world. Sometimes he ventures to a chimney pot or two. His song is gorgeous and I could listen to him all day.

Of course, there is no way of knowing if he is the same Chirpy every year, but we like to think so, and whenever he makes a return, it fills us with optimism that spring is just around the corner, and that Summer will be hot on its heels.

As well as the seasons getting ready to change, and a new cycle to begin, so am I taking on the task of working on the beginning of my novel. I have not been happy about certain small parts of it for a while, and thought it would be the right time to change some of it. Not a lot. Just tweaking. I’ve had some encouraging rejections. Yes, rejections can be encouraging! I know that there is something there, and editors have told me that they enjoy my work but they cannot take it on at present. That’s publishing these days, I guess. I just need to get someone to take a chance on it.

So, to give me the very best chance of that, it will do no harm to just polish it slightly. Yesterday I worked for a few hours, and today will do the same. I am happy with what I have been doing, and feel that it will better be able to stand on its feet out there in the world. I am happy to continue to try, and one day, maybe all my work will pay off and I will get that lucky break I need.

A week on Monday (4th March) is the deadline for the Dundee International Book Prize and I will be sending my book out for that. The prize is a contract with Cargo Publishing and a £10,000 advance. Now, that would come in useful. Apart from prize money though, competitions are wonderful for forcing me to get more disciplined and organised in my writing. I can’t sit on my laurels when there is a deadline to be made. Once it has gone out to the competition I will continue to send it around to publishers and agents, in the hope that what I did to it for the competition will ensure its success somewhere.

After Dundee, the Bath Short Story Award, the Moth Magazine Short Story Prize and the Exeter Writers’ Short Story Competition all beckon before the end of March. I have a couple, maybe three stories to enter for those.

More stuff due in April, May and June – including a script writing contest – so I will be busy all the way to the summer and beyond.

So, the year has started well and hopefully will continue for the foreseeable future.

What writing project do you have? Are you entering competitions, or sending work out to publishers and agents – or just writing for yourself? I would be interested to hear about what you’re doing. Please leave comments below. I will moderate them really quickly, and once that’s done, you can post on here with no waiting time. I hope to hear from some of you.

Happy writing!