Counting Tomatoes

September – gosh, what a year. It is only now that I’m feeling better that I realise just how ill I have been. I haven’t blogged or vlogged for a very long time!
Scary.
Somehow, and despite all advice I received at the start of the year, I carried on juggling paid work and did my best to fulfill commitments. Result? I got fatigued. But now months down the line, I’ve ended up with a diagnosis, and I’ve sort of come to terms with the fact I need to make significant changes in my lifestyle.
So, now it is the not so simple task and putting said changes into action.

1. Remembering and consistently taking my medication.
2. Adopting a ‘spoon’ lifestyle – more about that another day.
3. Initially, checking in with my better half when accepting work to stop becoming over committed.
4. And not beat myself up about my editing/writing goals – but carry on using what I call, my tomato technique.

It’s actually called the Pomodoro Technique, and it’s a time management technique developed by Francesco Cirillo and was super big in the 90’s, when I sort of stopped using this method when an evil ex broke my egg timer. So I was trying to recover, and feeling guilty and frustrated about the lack of work I was doing when fellow SCBWI member and picture book author Chitra Sounar challenged people to doing tomatoes on Facebook. It was just the gentle nudge I needed.

What is the Pomodoro Technique?
The pomodoro technique is a proven and popular time management life hack.
The main premise behind the technique is to work in blocks of time, typically 25 minutes long (called pomodoro sessions), followed by a 5 minute break. Each pomodoro session should demand your full attention on one task, every break requires you to step away from your work to rest.
The result is greatly improved productivity during focused work sessions that can be maintained through effectively managing distractions and taking regular breaks.

Cheap as chips, you don’t even have to buy a timer, you can use your phone or the many free apps on line.
Like everything there are good and bad points. Do really successful people need a timer ticking away? It’s all or nothing, you have to do your twenty five minutes to get your tick in the box.

But – this tried and tested method had meant that over the summer I have done something. No I am not at the point I wanted to be at. And some days I only managed one tomato. But I have been able to chip away at a mammoth task.
So, the glorious six weeks of the summer with my girls has helped me put things into perspective. We have had some amazing days out, squeezed into my oldest daughter work heavy schedule. I have had a massive Spring? Summer? Nearly Autumn clean. Sorted out the car and the garden. And best of all got back to looking forward.

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedin

Memories of the Edward King Project

2017 has been a rough year in some ways, but in others, eventful. Perhaps, the universe has sent me a bit of support because this year it has been my privilege to be one of the writers on The Edward King Project.

The painter Edward King is connected to Portsmouth through his time as a patient at St James Hospital in Milton and is notable for painting scenes of the blitzed city.  King moved to South Harting near Petersfield with his brother in 1884 where he eventually married.  However, when in 1924 Edward’s wife Amelia died of consumption he suffered a breakdown as a result. King was committed to St James Hospital in 1925, where he lived until he died of a stroke in 1951.During his time at the hospital, King continued to paint and draw, encouraged by the staff to try and help alleviate his depression.  He became a familiar figure in the area as he sat painting scenes of houseboats or the hospital farm.  After the Blitz, Denis Daley Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, commissioned Edward King to paint the bomb damage to the city.  King went out each day, with an attendant and painted a series of over 30 scenes that graphically show the war torn state of the city.

Local writer Annie Kirby, put together a team of fourteen writers who were challenged to write and performed stories based on his artwork in the hope of promoting the artist and mental health problems.

More information and the stories can be found here:

https://www.writingedwardking.com/

I have worked with many of the writers before, but still I was in awe of the level of work they produced. And I thought I would share some images of the event.

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedin

Edward King Project

So proud of the members of ‘The Writers at Lovedean’ who are doing their bit to raise awareness about #mentalhealth #EdwardKing

Edward King Stories at The New Theatre Royal.

Saturday 27th May

Times: 11am, 1pm, 4pm, 6pm

Location: Minghella Studio, New Theatre Royal, 20-24 Guidhall Walk, Portsmouth PO1 2DD

https://www.writingedwardking.com/project/new-theatre-royal-edward-king-stories/

Writing Workshop

Charlotte Comley with be running Children’s Story Writing Workshops at Portsmouth City Museum on the 31st May.

7- 12 year olds 10:30am – 12:30am

Children’s Story Writing Workshop (Free) ages 7-11, Charlotte Comley ***FULLY BOOKED***

12-16 year olds 1:30pm  – 3pm

Children’s Story Writing Workshop (age 12-16) (Free)

Pop Up Readings

Jackie Green

Sunday 28th May

9:30am Milton Piece Allotments, Locksway Road – next to produce shop

Margaret Jennings

Tuesday 30th May

10:15 Denmead All Saints Coffee Morning Garden, Hambledon Road, Denmead PO7 6NN

Jackie Green & Charlotte Comley

Thursday 1st June

10:15 Denmead All Saints Coffee Morning Garden, Hambledon Road, Denmead PO7 6NN

Charlotte Comley & Christine Lawrence – please note this is for students only

Date to be confirmed, week starting 5th June

Havant Six Form College

New Road, PO9 1QL

Radio

Charlotte Comley will be interviewed on Express FM on Wednesday 31st of May 5:30.

Drop – In Gallery Readings Portsmouth Museum

Project writers will be dropping in throughout the day to read their Edward King stories. This event is free.

Saturday 3rd June 2017

10am – 5pm

Portsmouth Museum, Museum Road, PO1 2LJ

PLEASE CHECK OUT OTHER EDWARD KING EVENTS

https://www.writingedwardking.com/about-us/

 

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedin

Joanne Mallory Thunder Moon

In 2012 I was one of the Writers to Watch, a group who performed their work in Portsmouth and had their stories published in an anthology. It was a great experience, and I made some fabulous friends, including Joanne Mallory.

So I’m excited that Jo’s debut novel, Thunder Moon is going to be released on Amazon on Tuesday 17th January. I’ve already pre-ordered mine! I’ve heard a few chapters at The Writers at Lovedean, so it will be exciting to get a chance to read the full novel after all the editing advice Jo got from independent publisher Crooked Cat, and to see the work in its entirety.

Jo’s an incredibly talented writer when it comes to capturing a setting, and I know from the extracts I have rejoanne-mallory-thunder-moonad that she’s made the most of this skill and has used the local area as inspiration, especially Langstone.

I wish Jo luck, and I’m counting down the days until I can get my hands on this new magical romance!

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Thunder-Moon-Joanne-Mallory/dp/1540557499

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedin

Baubles Book Launch

front-cover

Saturday 3rd of December was the book launch of Bridge House Publishing latest anthology. So few publishing houses are willing to invest in short stories, so I was especially delighted to be included in the ‘Baubles’ collection. The launch, held in London, and since I have just completed my Master’s degree, my lovely husband offered to take me to lunch in the city. We found a delightful pub called The Mudlarks near London Bridge and found a quiet corner. After a carb loaded meal to keep the cold out we ventured to a new part of London, Chalk Farm and off to the launch. Gill James is a fellow SCBWI member and is on the Words and Pictures team, so it was fantastic to meet a Facebook friend and colleague in the flesh.
It was a fun afternoon of networking with other authors, listening to readings and a surprising bit of marketing training from Gill’s daughter.
The Baubles anthology can be purchased:
Baubles via Amazon
If you are looking for a place to submit short stories, it is well worth taking a look at the Bridge House page: Brigde House Publishing

p1020508p1020515

p1020516p1020519p1020523

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedin

Congratulations Kate Rawding

I’m pleased to announce that one of the members of The Writers at Lovedean, Kate Rawding first novel, The Unlikely Rescuers is now available for pre-order. Kate has attended my writing group for many years, and I have heard so many snippets from the novel that I am pretty excited to read the whole thing. It is interesting to be in a position where you witness a creative project from those first early days of a concept to a beautifully finished and polished version.

The main protagonist, Bravol, is a traveller boy, bullied in mainstream education. The Unlikely Rescuers is the first book in a trilogy and is out Christmas 2016.

You can contact Kate for more details via her website: http://kjrawding.com/home
kate-rawding

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedin

How positive people aid success!

It’s been an exciting week on the writing front, requests for full MS, one of my short stories appearing in The News, and lots of support for The Writers at Lovedean writing competition. However, as delighted as I am with the input of good news, I am aware that I couldn’t have done it alone.

Since Tessa Ditner took over running Portsmouth Writing Hub, there has been a flurry of opportunities for creatives. If you suggest something to Tessa, she does her best to make your idea a reality; I believe a member made a comment about collaborating with The News, and now hub member’s stories are in print. All writers understand the thrill of seeing your words in front of an audience, but there is always behind the scenes hard graft to any printed piece of work. Portsmouth Writing Hub is a fantastic resource for artists, but you get what you put into the group. Although there is support for book launches and writers angst, it is mainly a home for positivity, a spot where creatives can discuss plans for creating art and liaising with others to make something new and awesome. You only have to look at the projects that are supported by the hub to see that, Darkfest, Day of the Dead, Dark Cities, and the Edward King Cityscape Project. These aren’t the activities of naval gazing writers lamenting how hard it is to get published; it is an energetic and vibrant mix of creatives wanting to push the boundaries of their work. My advice, don’t sit on the sidelines jump in and see where the opportunities take you!

I was delighted that Solent TV invited two members of The Writers at Lovedean into their studio to discuss our first charity short story competition. Long-time member Lynne Stone and relatively new member Jackie Green bravely stepped in front of the cameras. These two ladies are examples of what real creatives can do; they are delightful members of the group with such an inspiring ‘what can we do to help’ attitude. I know they were both terrified at the prospect of appearing live on TV, but they did a fantastic job.

You can read my story in the news here:
Short Story Punkat By Charlotte Comley in the Portsmouth News

Check out Portsmouth Writing Hub:
Portsmouth Writing Hub Facebook Page

The Short Story Competition:
The Writers @ Lovedean Short Story Competition

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedin

Damon L Wakes:
Writers – Why you should blow up a dog


 

Today, I was lucky enough to get an incredibly talented young writer to come and give a writing session at The Writers at Lovedean. Damon L Wakes novella is looking for pledges on the Unbound scheme. Not sure what that is? Well, Unbound is a crowd funding project, where writers have the opportunity to get published by Penguin. Damon came to the group to explain how the scheme works and to ask for pledges for his novella, Ten Little Astronauts, an Agatha Christie-inspired murder mystery novella set on board an interstellar spacecraft. He also explained why it is a good idea to blow up dogs in his five great writing tips!

I do hope you will check out his page on the Unbound and think about pledging!.

unbound.com/authors/damon-l-wakes

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedin

The List Writer

So in a moment of madness, I decided to have a go at Vlogging!

I am a list writer. Over the last few weeks, I’ve received one or two negative comments about my list and actions plans. But I’ve decided that they are part of who I am. Everyone has their own writing process, in fact, I sometimes find that different projects need different approaches. And it’s easy to worry that perhaps you are not using the right approach – but instead I’ve decided to celebrate the way I do things.

Also, I made what I now think may have been a rash decision. I’ve decided to stop using Nutella for emotional support.

On the up side, it was a fun way to connect to my tech fan youngest daughter during the holidays!

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedin

Fat and Running

Fact: I’m fat.
Fact: I run.
I started running not because I wanted to lose weight but help combat the depression. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE)recommends that people with mild to moderate depression take part in about three sessions a week, lasting about 45 minutes to one hour, over 10 to 14 weeks. But if you want to get the chemicals you need to battle the blues, you need to break into a sweat.
Despite all the advertisements claiming that you can go from couch to 5k in 12 weeks, I knew that was an unrealistic goal. So with the help of a trainer called Alec, we set out on a twice-weekly programme. For the first few weeks, we walked a lot and ran a little. It took twelve months, but now I run 5k twice a week. I haven’t lost a lot of weight, but I haven’t dieted.
But my mood has improved. When I do hit a bump in the road, I recover faster. I’m fitter, and a few other health problems have improved.
So here are a few points should you decide to get your trainers on and go for a run.
Start small and make yourself some realistic goals to get back into shape.
If you are a fat woman and running alone there is a chance you may hear, ‘who ate all the pies,’ or ‘fatty.’ Ignore it. If you can look in the car, you may be surprised at how fat the driver is! Don’t pay any attention, if they knew then pain you had to run through they may hesitate. But people who hurl abuse aren’t the sort who can walk a mile in someone else’s trainers.
Which brings me to the point of trainers, you need a decent, but not massively expensive pair. After all, if you keep it up, you’ll have to replace them often.
Fat makes running harder, but not impossible. A good sports bra is an incredible asset.
Over the last few years, I have tried everything to keep the depression in check, and this has hands down been the most successful.

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedin