I signed up late to this challenge (I didn’t sign up until the 14th and it ran from the beginning of February) but I still had enough time to complete it.
The challenge prompt was:
Write a 1000 word story about two characters meeting for the first time. By the end of the scene, we should have a strong sense of the relationship forming between them. Keep in mind that all finished entries must be under 1000 words.
Entries will be due on February 26th.
I sent my finished entry off on the 23rd. Mine was a date scene.
The Character Creation Challenge was fun. I am good at creating characters but I wanted to be even better, so that’ s why I joined the challenge.
There were some livestreams throughout the challenge, and a winner’s livestream today. I didn’t win and never do, but it was great to take part in an AutoCrit Challenge again.
The challenge was free and good fun just like other AutoCrit challenges I have done.
Today has been the best day in a long time in our fight for my wheelchair accessories. It was the first time we got past the “please send us a quote” phase. Because we actually got the quote. We accepted and the Occupational Therapist is going to allow me to trial things.
I am SO glad to have found someone experienced enough to work with me and recognize my complex needs instead of lying to us about their experience, not sending quotes like the others or not even replying to emails and not explaining whether they could help or not. I’ve been very concerned about where we’d get help, so has Alfredo. I have always had the feeling that people were nervous or scared about my disabilities and how they affect me and like I was “scaring people off,” either by mentioning the names of my disabilities, or by further explaining how they affect me, and even more when I explained what I needed.
We say today our prayers have been answered after all this time by someone willing and able to say yes to me and my unique needs instead of ignoring me completely. I believe the people who help me are angels. We prayed hard that we’d get results.
I sent off my entry for the Start Strong Challenge by AutoCrit. And it was day 26 of Bloganuary. The subject was languages, something I love to talk about.
We watched the movie Wonder which we’ve seen more than once. It’s great movie for spreading disability awareness.
I’m currently listening to Tilly’s Tuscan Teashop by Daisy James, which will be on my blog on Saturday. Her books are feelgood and I can’t wait for this new series.
The Self Publishing Advice Conference, or Self Pub Con as it’s known, is an important event in my year.
I’ve taken part in many free online events, and since I don’t have a notetaker like I did at school and university, I always experience some anxiety as to how I’m going to get through so many classes.
Thanks as always to the email support staff who explained things well and helped answer my questions for this session.
The event started off at 10AM UK time on Saturday 29th November 2022 with an opening session with none other than Orna Ross. Orna immediately transmitted enthusiasm and always does.
There were many sessions to choose from on many aspects of writing craft, from book creation to translation to promtion and much much more. I already use TweetDeck, and it works well with dictation, so it was quick and easy to tweet my thoughts and experiences at different points. Check out my tweets at @theglitzqueen. The official hashtag for the event is #SelfPubCon22.
I saw the session immediately after the opening, Fireside Chat: Author Collaboration and the Reader Journey with Nick Stephenson and Orna Ross, and that was great.
I have my blog, but I someday want to create an author website . I have always asked myself how I can create a great one. The Websites that Reach Readers with Pauline Wiles was helpful.
The class that I was really wanting to see was the Emotionally Reach Readers, hosted by none other than Jeff Elkins, aka The Dialogue Doctor. I took part in a course he did in the past and love the concept of the Dialogue Daisy. Jeff’s enthusiasm is contagious.
I was keen to watch the First Line Awards and Prizes with Kobo since I’d submitted my first line. No luck with getting my first line chosen in this contest yet, but I’ll keep trying.
I was really looking forward to Connecting with Readers and Driving Sales on Amazon KDP with arren Hardy and Michaella Parkes. This was another excellent class.
Inclusion in writing is something I always advocate for, and all of my drafts have people with my disabilities or other disabilities in them. I’m familiar with Sacha Black’s name as I took part in the Rebel Diaries Anthology competition, so I had to watch Inclusive writing with Sacha Black, Alex Kapitan, Crystal Swain Bates and Eliana West.
I am keen to get my books translated, so saw that class too. Reach More Readers By Having Your Books Translated with Clare Flynn and Joseph Alexander.
All in all, in the first day I watched seven videos around what my husband and I had to do during the day.
The event’s over, but people with a 3 day free pass like me can access the classes until tomorrow, Monday 31st October, at 12 midnight UK time (GMT).
Today, I enjoyed Reaching More Readers with your Short Fiction with Matty Dalrymple and Mark Leslie Lefebvre.
The classes I am hoping to catch up on are in this list and I’m hoping to make my way slowly through all these (although there are even more). Whether I do or not, I have had a brilliant time and cannot wait for SelfPubCon 2023 (by which time I hope to have a book published…..or sooner….who knows?)
Social Media Creative Book Marketing 4 types of digital readers
Easy reader tools Direct reader connection
I’d love to take part next year, too, and all the years I can. I highly recommend the event.
At the end of September, I started feeling like I wanted another writing challenge. Luckily, a message from AutoCrit appeared in my inbox. They were going to hold a horror-based challenge called Write Fright. I’ve taken part in so many of their challenges, but Write Fright is new.
I signed up without thinking about it as there were a few days left to do so.
Soon, I got emails with the rules:
No mythical animals
The challenge started on the 4th of October. I decided to make my story about witches. I had the whole first draft dictated by the 5th of October and I had VoiceOver on my iPad read it out to me. I tweaked a few things before submitting on the 9th.
I enjoyed the challenge and hope it happens every year. It really encouraged me to think outside the box which is what AutoCrit wanted us to do.
I found out about the National Day on Writing quite by chance when I was Googling one day and I thought “I want to check this out!”
National Day on Writing, also known as National Journalism Day, is a day to celebrate writing in all its forms. Here’s more about the day.
Many people manage to learn to write, others don’t. Some make a living from writing and others don’t.
People didn’t know if I was going to be able to write. I didn’t have a dominant hand for a long time. Spastic Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy has made my arms and hands, as well as the rest of my body, stiff and painful. Hydrocephalus would affect my concentration when I got headaches, which I did often. At their worst, they would have me taking lots of time off school, and my teachers would debate as to when I’d catch up on work, as well as constantly telling my parents I should be in a special ed school.
As far as I know, I learned to write when I was five or six, after many many sessions with my assistant and carer, Avis Rance. Avis is sadly no longer with us and hasn’t been for many years.
It soon became apparent that holding a pencil or pen was really tiring for me. My letters were shaky and badly formed because I was trying so hard to see things and had hand tremors. I would feel a whole-body tiredness, as well feel like my arm was about to fall off as it ached so much and I would also have a thumping headache and terrible nausea from the effort of writing. In short, this fatigue would leave me exhausted.
My Occupational Therapist at the time, Maggie Ellis (who is also not with us), did a test where she timed me trying to write. She said she could see how hard it was and asked me how I felt afterwards. I described the feelings mentioned above. She worked with me tirelessly from age 5-17. By the time I was 17, I’d tried rubber pen grips which has a hole in them to put a pen or pencil through to supposedly make gripping more comfortable and a writing slope which was a really bulky wooden slope she’d put on the table and hold paper on top of so I could practice writing in a straight line, but none of those things went well, and at least I tried.
This difficulty with writing has been with me since that day so I know it’s part of how my disabilities affect me, and this is the same fatigue I still get when trying to move anything.
When I started to write, I was still trying to get used to my body and the way it did, or didn’t move.
The number 5 was a problem for me, as I couldn’t put the line at the top well and it would end up looking like an S.
My teacher, Mrs Taylor, was the headmistress (principal) of the school. She was tall, dark-haired, strict and sceptical. She’d been sceptical of me ever since my parents tried to get me into her school, St Nicholas Infant (elementary) School in Wallingford, Oxfordshire, England, first choice as it was near home and they were advised by my doctors to see how I got on in Mainstream school. She thought I was “uneducable”.
I couldn’t trace, I couldn’t draw and writing was hard and exhausting. What solutions did the school have for me? A huge klunky old typewriter that I barely had the strength to press the keys on (that was when my brain sent the message to my eyes to find the right letter). I would spend more time staring at the typewriter rather than actually doing anything, because I couldn’t locate the letters despite my strong glasses because of my difficulties focusing my eyes. I have nystagmus (constant involuntary eye movements) and hemianopia (a type of blindness where half of both of my eyes has complete blindness and the rest has a severely reduced visual field).
I still just stare as a keyboard as I try to find the right key, but nowadays it’s trying to find the key to turn my computer on, as I can do everything else by voice.
Fortunately, Maggie introduced me to an amazing voice recognition software: Dragon Naturally Speaking, which I could use with my voice. Was my body relieved!
From the moment I dictated my first word there, my movement difficulties didn’t matter, my lack of coordination generally, especially hand-eye coordination, my tremors didn’t matter: my voice was the pen.
She told me “just speak normally, don’t speak too loud or too soft.”
The thing is that I have dysarthria, which makes my speech slow and hesitant and I often repeat myself or forget what I’m going to say. My voice will wobble, I will mispronounce words or I will run out of breath.
I trusted her, and nervously dictated my first word. It appeared on the screen. A smile appeared on my face. “I did it!” I said. I had started to drool and I swallowed, trying to get my muscles to control my mouth. The bullies said that I spat when I talked, and I was, and still am, really self-conscious as to that. Excitement and nerves meant I had more muscle spasms.
But I felt really, really proud.
Those are just some of the experiences I had when trying to find the right tools to help me write.
Have they paid off?
Yes! From the first dictated word up to now, I have dictated my university thesis, as well as numerous novels and writing exercises from online courses and challenges, and this blog.
So, do I think writing is important? Yes, I do. No matter how you can do it, with a special pen or with dictation software, if you have an imagination, you can be a writer. I’m glad I found the National Day on Writing, and from now on I’ll always celebrate this day. Writing is a craft and it is an art and it’s one I’m glad I’m so passionate about.
I hit pan on my Kiko Cream Crush eyeshadow in shade 05, Silver Rose.
July, as always, is Camp NaNoWriMo month. I wasn’t convinced about which project to work on and I couldn’t think of anything new so I edited some short stories I have.
I emailed some magazines as I am still wanting to publish my work. I am trying with short stories first as well as still looking for a publisher for my novels.
I want my writing projects to reach the disability organisations who helped me in my life as well as anyone else who may be interested.
I feel happy that I have started contacting magazines and that some of the disability organisations got back to me.
I didn’t get into the AutoCrit Writing Challenge Anthology, but it was fun working on my story for it this year. I will keep trying to get into the anthology.
I watched the video for the AutoCrit Destination Unknown Challenge, which I did last year. I am glad it’s back again. I saw all the videos that followed and took part in the challenge. I chose 1000 words as my goal to keep it short as I didn’t want to do anything longer. I finished my story in the first week and edited in the second. The story doesn’t require submitting anywhere through this contest.
I am 142 books into my Goodreads Challenge and since I originally thought I’d get through 50, I am pleased to have discovered so many good books.
I have decided to do the Dewey’s Reverse Readathon again. There are eight optional pre-Readathon prompts and the event itself is on August 6th and 7th, starting at 8PM EST on August 6 and ending at 8AM on the 7th, instead of going from AM to PM like the Readathon usually does.
I have now had the two doses of the Coronavirus vaccine, as has my husband. More about that in another post.
Overall, it has been a pretty productive month, especially when I wasn’t sure how productive I’d end up being.
Captain Tom Moore walked 100 laps of his garden during lockdown to raise funds for the NHS. As someone born in England, I have felt humbled that he wanted to do this and that he achieved it through sheer determination and effort.
Anybody who follows my blog will no doubt know by now that I love my challenges. So, when I heard of the #CaptainTom100 Challenge starting today and running the whole May Bank Holiday (for those not from the UK, this means today, April 30, until May 3) I quickly came up with some ideas that would be fun for me to do.
I am still self-isolating for my own safety and protection and out of personal responsibility. I let my mind run wild, as it often does when I am faced with a challenge.
My first thought was that I could eat 100 cookies or marshmallows or do 100 different makeup looks, but then I thought “As much as I love my sweet treats and makeup, I want to do something related to writing (as if I haven’t done enough of that this month with 2 summits, and Camp NaNoWriMo, but I love writing projects).
I decided that each day will be a theme related to writing or books.
Today’s is 100 Writing Prompts, so here they are. Pick as many as you like and see what you come up with. There are different genres here.
Can’t find one?
Prompt number 100 is create your own prompt!
Your best friend has a dark secret and you have to find out what it is. What do you do?
Your puppy has just turned a year old, how do you celebrate his or her birthday?
You go to the doctor’s for a routine appointment but they find something shocking. Write about your experience.
You never thought you would be able to have children, but you are pregnant. Describe the moment
A much-longed for vacation goes wrong
You are about to buy your first house
Your parents have just been told that you, their baby son or daughter, has a disability. Describe the moment.
A haunted house is at the end of your street and you want to go in, but something doesn’t want you to…
You had a sister who passed away and she wants to contact you
You are a dog walker and the dog goes missing in the woods
You are going to have your first sleepover at a friend’s house.
You find a magical book in the library. What do you do?
You have to make your best friend’s birthday cake
You have just moved house and all seems well, until you discover a ghost in the cellar/ basement
Describe your first kiss
Describe your dream vacation
Describe your identical twin sister
Describe your pet
Your favourite season and why
A spring day
A summer day
A summer’s evening
A winter’s day
A snowball fight
A Christmas scene
Going to church or your place of worship
Your bilingual family
A long-lost cousin/aunt
The perfect date
The Evil Witch
A fairytale of your choice
Good fairy, witch or other character
Tall dark and handsome
Witch and wizard in love
The Twilight Saga retelling
Your favourite book
Your favourite movie
Retell your favourite book
Retell your favourite movie
Something you love
Something you dislike
At the pool
At the movies
At the shopping centre/ mall
A hobby of yours
Getting back at someone
Pick a character from your favourite TV show and write a story from their point of view (as if you were them)
Pick a character from your favourite movie and write a story from their point of view (as if you were them)
A day in your town or city
Your favourite place
Your brother or sister wants what you have in life
Best friend or frenemy?
Caring for someone in your household
You have a son or daughter who has a disability but they are denied help. How do you fight for them?
I have done a few summit events by DIY MFA and also their 3-video course and reading challenge. Every single event has been so memorable, and DIY MFA is the go-to site I come back to for advice, resources and courses.
When I got an email announcing the poetry summit, I signed up straight away.
A big theme to start off each class is that of the “origin story,” or how you came to be interested in writing. I will include that specific origin story in another post, but for now here’s my poetry “origin story”.
When I was in the early years of Primary school (around the ages of 6 0r 7 and up for those of you who are not from the UK), I can remember that our usual teacher was away at one point and we had a substitute teacher called Mrs Wainwright. With her curly salt-and-pepper hair and kind, approachable manner, she soon became one of my favourite teachers.
She taught us poetry. I can remember feeling a lift inside my heart when it was reading time. I also recall that what I first enjoyed about the poetry genre was the rhythm of the words because, even though I didn’t understand all of them, it felt like music and was relaxing. I would try to look for the story in the words and was constantly curious as to what the poem was trying to say, and why the poet may have used specific words. I remember how the words of the poems would swim around in my head and intrigue me all day.
I decided to work on a poetry book for Camp NaNoWriMo some years ago because I wanted to represent myself in poetry, my life, my likes and dislikes as well as my feelings. At the time, I was part of Inked Voices online critique group and submitted some there. They did quite well there.
Since then, I have not gone back to poetry for lack of what to add to the project and also because of working on others, but now I have done the poetry summit by DIY MFA I am inspired to go back to my poetry as I have some topics I feel I could build a poem from.
The Poetry Summit included a video a day of around 45-50 minutes and there was one that was an hour long. I found this workload manageable compared to other summits.
There was a choice of what videos to sign up to during the signup process and as I love to learn and learn as much as possible, I signed up to them all. I was sent an email to say I was in and another with my schedule.
With other DIY MFA summits, I was able to view the videos directly via their website after signing up, but for this summit, I had to enter my email on the video page then check my email with the access link. The video then opened and loaded.
I have done another course with this layer of protection, but if you haven’t do not let this put you off. It’s a quick process, and nowadays with internet security going up, it is a good thing.
Once I was in, the fun could begin. Topics and speakers from the course were:
Reading, Writing and Building a Poetic Life by Kim Addonizio
Exploring Poetic Forms by Marilyn Singer
A Writer’s Journey. From Prose to Poetry by Kim Rogers
A Poet’s Eduction by Manuela Williams
A Deep Dive into Poetry by Danielle Mitchell
Imagery and Detail by Michael Torres
The Art of Teaching Poetry by Brendan Constantine
From Page to Stage by Marcus Omri
Can You Afford Not To? The Business of Writing Poetry by And I Thought Ladies
Building a Career as a Poet and Writer by Joseph Bruchac.
I thoroughly enjoyed them all. I loved Kim Addonizio’s enthusiasm, Marilyn Singer’s wit and Kim Rogers’ journey was fascinating. I gained a very good insight into Manuela Williams’ education as a poet and I identified with her love of libraries and books and still do. Danielle Mitchell’s deep dive was informative and she explained concepts well. I identified with her more difficult start because of the difficulties I experienced due to my physical disabilities.
Imagery and detail are something I love and include a lot in my writing projects so I identified with Michael Torres’ passion for this and gained an insight into the link between art forms (graffiti and poetry).
Brendan Constantine gave an interesting presentation class on teaching poetry.
From Page to Stage was insightful. I am a fan of books that reach the stage or cinema screen and have often wondered about the process so this showed me how to get there. This is what I would one day like for my books, for them to become a film or musical.
And I Thought Ladies were fun and realistic. I already do some of what they suggest as in use social media for sharing but was fascinated by the business side and indeed the clothing side.
Joseph Bruchac has a great story to tell and I enjoyed his and Kim Rogers’ mentions of indigenous culture within their lives and writing.
I would definitely recommend the Poetry Summit and liked it so much as it is a different approach to poetry, with author stories and anecdotes as well as a very good class from all the speakers.
Highly recommended whether you have experience with poetry or not.
Last Easter, we were in lockdown. This Easter, Alfredo and I watched some movies. We saw Noah yesterday (the story of Noah’s Ark) as well as Mr Magorium’s Magic Emporium. I realised Star Trek Into Darkness, the second of the most recent Star Trek films was on, so we saw that.
We are self isolating still but wanted as relaxing a day as possible. We ate our usual salad and soup and had one of my favourite foods, pasta. Easter eggs not forgotten, we ate some of those, too.
Camp NaNoWriMo started on April 1. I am working on a short story which is in the paranornal romance genre and am 1,800 words in.
I liked Daniel David Wallace’s recent summit and he was hosing a 6-day course called Copying the Greats. It finished today and involved coming up with my own paragraphs from excerpts of famous novels. I found some parts easier than others but I am glad I took the chance to do this short course. Each task took 10-15 minutes and was challenging. The course, like the summit, was free.
I have not worked on my creative projects at all this year, so Camp NaNoWriMo seemed a good place to start.
Wanting to get back to my writing, I signed up again to the Weekend Writing Sprint this past weekend. The course consists of six short videos and 27 minutes of recordings in all.
Everything covered focused on tips for planning such as setting smart goals, mapping out three ideas, organizing and setting time limits.
Rivalry is something that’s found in any activity. The course will give you tips for avoiding this and being true to your own writing.
Inspiration may be what is needed…or not. The course debunks myths surrounding whether you need it to write or not.
Gabriela teaches us that embracing wins, and indeed any type of progress, is good and that above all we should never give up.
The course is quick yet has some interesting details and examples as well as tips that made me think they were all good suggestions.
Gabriela teaches in a way that things are clear within the time limit and it was enjoyable. I think the course is good for all skill levels and if you have done it before like I have then it is a great tool for revising concepts.
My advice is to sign up for DIY MFA emails and follow on Twitter @diymfa.
The course is free of charge but it is available for a limited time every time it is taken out of the DIY MFA vault.
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