Posted in Art, Creative, Family, writing

500 Words

BBC Radio 2 is running their short-story writing competition for children again.  “500 Words” is open for children aged between 5 & 13 to write a short story, about anything they like, up to 500 words long.  Simples.

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Why wasn’t this around when I was little?  Then again, why wasn’t the whole internet around when I was little? It seemed…no, it was…so much harder to find information back then.  There are so many opportunities these days for anyone; without having to go searching or subscribing to magazines or waiting for the school to subscribe to something and submit you. internet

I remember subscribing to “Writer’s News” and searching avidly through the pages for any hint of writing competitions/  I can remember sitting for hours in a dark corner of the library having discovered Spotlight (the directory of professional actors) and dreaming of one day being listed in there.  (It’s now online and a lot of aspiring actors don’t even know that it was once a thick reference catalogue).

There is a lot of dross out there on the internet, of course, but there are so many opportunities and yes, ease of access to all of these opportunities does mean heightened competition; so if winning were down to chance alone, the odds are further against you.  However, with luck, talent will shine through just enough to make it past each judging stage and may just get some recognition.

So, point in favour of T’internet.  Just don’t read the comments…

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I’ve just submitted #2’s story, written last year after last year’s competition had ended; and they’ve issued a certificate of participation already. I’m pleasantly surprised to say that it doesn’t seem petty or condescending at all.  It’s not overly sentimental.  It simply certifies that #2 named on the downloadable PDF certificate is “an official storywriter for 500 words 2017”.

snoopy

I’m quite proud of #2 to be honest.  No help required in foremulating the story; bar from me asking “so, what happened next?” at certain points to prompt the continuation of the story.  Then we sat together and typed it out and read it back to each other so it made some kind of sense.

However, point #2 in favour of the internet (supported by the amount of homework they are sent home with which requires ‘logging on to xxx app we’ve been using in class and completing the tasks/games/assignments); even if it were not so easy to create a story from scratch, there are plentiful online resources, for child and adult writers alike; with prompts and advice; like this one for example.

I’ve taken the tribe to the library a couple of times.  And they love books and stories and so on.  But I’m suddenly feeling a nostalgia for dusty old reference libraries; but more importantly, the effort it took to actually find a piece of information.  Sometimes, it seems to easy just to have it at your fingertips, like we’re somehow cheating.

Enough of my musing for now – good luck to any and all participants in this year’s 500 words. I’m still slightly miffed that I don’t remember it being this easy when I was younger!

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Posted in Acting, Christmas, Family, Home, Life, writing

Happy New Year

I know, I know, it’s almost 2 weeks into 2017.  Most people have stopped wishing each other ‘Happy New Year’ by now.

So much so that when someone said it to me yesterday I had to do a double take, and was so stunned into silence that a slight stutter in response was all I could manage before they were out of earshot to hear me return the sentiment.

Well, the darling laptop is home! Finally.  I realised, from finding my last blog entry, that it was 6 months ago that she ‘died’ … and I’ve survived that long! I know, right?

laptop

As explained to friends the other day (via messenger chat, on the laptop! Woohoo!) … 2 months for the actual fixing (she had to be sent back to the manufacturer’s regional HQ across the Irish Sea since the repairs were beyond the capabilities of the little local repairman – so much for supporting the local High-street!) followed by 4 months of trying to scrape together enough money to spare to pay him. Yes, it’s that bad. It wasn’t even that much in the grand scheme of things; but to us, me, it was. I even did the Mrs Claus thing again this past Christmas, with all the good intentions that a short-lived regular income would pay off the small list of items I had prepared.  No such luck.  It got frittered away on Christmas luxuries like feeding the children and paying unauthorised-overdraft-charges and late-payment-fees at the bank.  Still, just about managed a couple of Christmas presents; a pile of Christmas cards which ended up never getting posted (Sorry!)

(It’s a whole other story what I think of a certain bank charging £££ for my account having accidentally strayed a whole 70p into the red for LESS THAN 24 HOURS – it was actually about 7 – before I found a little bit of cash to pay in to bring it back to normal)

But, this post isn’t about that.

In all honesty, I’m not sure WHAT it’s about specifically… in which case, I apologise for boring you!

What did strike me, on the school run yesterday, was that when I originally started writing here; I intended to at very least, write a short entry each day.  I even had a handful of titles, themes, trains of thought, to start me off.  I sometimes wrote 2-3 a day and scheduled their publication so there would be one each day.  And…

…as with other ventures, it trailed off.  I began to tell myself it was OK if I maybe only posted every couple of days.  Which turned in to once a week.  If I was lucky… And then, the whole laptop gone thing didn’t help because we do have an ancient desktop in the corner of one room, which is nice and compact for a desktop and it’s surrounded by the computer desk meaning that’s where the printer and all my belov’d stationery happen to reside also; but…it’s ancient (in terms of technology) and therefore is very slow and for the most part unresponsive.

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I barely managed to file my tax return online using it, and that was only after putting it off for 3 months longer than I would have, simply because I lived in hope of getting the laptop back in time to file on there before the deadline of 31 january.

Even though the computer desk in the corner is usually…well, at one point, always was…one of my (very few) happy places; even sitting there once a day/week/month attempting to write a blog on the old PC didn’t appeal.

Concerns such as “The children play computer and other games in this room” or “I can’t curl up comfortably on the end of the sofa, laptop resting on the arm, and write from a position of relaxation if I want to” (Yes, I was that petty.) Besides, I had other stuff, like winning acting awards (YAYYYYY!), looking for somewhere to live, getting a new Christmas Job and such things on my mind.

What the heck, I thought, no-one’s reading anyway.  Well, 2017, that’s not the point, is it?

Then, it struck me…DOH!  There’s all the things I was using as excuses to not keep up the blog (regardless of readership!) and yet…there’s instantly the beginnings of a list of posts.  Woohoo!

So, in case you missed it the first time, and in an attempt to get in my 750 words for today… Happy New Year.  I hope yours has started as you wish it to continue.  Or at the very least, better than last year ended.