Shhh! I’m in the cupboard, don’t tell anyone.

The Easter holidays are in full flow and my patience has hopped on a plane and left for Bermuda. Which under the current lockdown conditions, I feel, is totally unfair, as I can’t follow.

It’s 11am, and the bouncy one is insisting I check his room because he thinks it’s haunted. I’m not sure if the cloaked one still lives here. Mini Napoleon doesn’t understand why he can’t have all the crisps and I’ve stopped three fights and am now in the cupboard, crying and looking for Gin.

Writing with young children is hard enough on a normal day. But writing with children that are all on holiday, all completely different and all wanting my attention, all the time, is the thing that hell is made of.

Despite my general apathy right now, I love being a mum. It’s brought me more love than I ever felt possible, and it’s helped me discover that my voice can do a really high squeaky thing that calls dogs to our door. Sometimes, though, I also want to remember what it’s like to be an individual in my own right.

So how can we keep working on our writing goals, while having the children home during the holidays?

Scheduling is key

I don’t know about you, but I have a bit of a stationary addiction. If you like a paper planner, then there are many on the market that are great. My favourite is The Clever Fox – 13 Week Ultimate Achiever’s Planner. It allows me to break my key goals into chunks and work through them with a review section every week so I can keep on top of my progress. The Legend planner is also pretty great, although not as specific as I need. But if you’re looking for something a little more flexible, Boxclever’s Family Life Book is great for organising your day to day.

If you prefer a digital planner, then Google Calendar is an excellent alternative. You can block book your time and get your phone to give you a reminder before the time is due to start. I always schedule my writing time. This not only allows me to plan, but allows me to let everyone know, ahead of time, that Mum is working and unless you’re missing a limb or dying, I’m not to be disturbed.

Short and long writing sessions

Something I learned from my writing coach, Rhonda Douglas – not all writing sessions are created equal. Instead of planning a two-hour stint and then beating yourself up because you couldn’t stick to it. Decide ahead of time on short and long writing sessions. So if the kids are home and you’re not able to get to your office/designated writing space/ then you’re probably not going to get longer than a few minutes uninterrupted. So plan on a short 15-minute session.

This doesn’t just have to be writing. You could be researching, planning, or practicing your Booker Prize acceptance speech. Plan your longer sessions for when you know you’re going to have the time. This way is reduces frustration and allows you ‘mini-wins‘ throughout your day.

Use the ‘When and Then’

This is a great technique, I learned from a friend, to reduce arguments and power struggles with my little ones.

You reach your scheduled writing time; you sit down at your computer and a little one inevitably appears and wants to talk about everything that’s ever happened to them since birth. Instead of telling them you’re writing and they can’t bother you right now, you can give them a clear focus followed by an action.

For example, you can say, ‘when I have finished this writing session, then we can bake a cake‘, or ‘when this alarm goes off, then I will make you a snack’. This takes away the uncertainty of ‘in a minute‘, answers and your little one understands what will happen and when.

Banish the guilt

When I first announced that I wished to pursue a career in writing, I was told that it was a foolish dream. That, now I had a son, I needed to grow up and have a proper career, I couldn’t be messing around with a dream that would never make any money.

Sad to say, I believed it. Therefore, I got myself a steady nine to five, went for lunch at the pub with my colleagues and filed my writing under ‘hobbies and other stupid ideas that cost me money.’ It took me a full ten years, and reading books such as Big Magic, by Elizabeth Gilbert and The Gifts of Imperfection, by Brene Brown, before I came back round to the idea of writing as a career.

The truth is, I’d let myself feel guilty, like I was letting my family down somehow by wanting to write. That investing money in something that was unlikely to bring about a return was a poor decision. Now I realise that writing brings me such joy, that investing in it will never be a mistake. Even if I never publish a single word. The journey is what matters. I can’t control whether or not my work gets published. I can control how much I enjoy the process.

So let go of the guilt. You can be a writer and a good parent/partner/international synchronised swimmer, and you have absolutely nothing to be guilty about. In fact, letting your children see you strive for something that’s important to you, is one of the most valuable lessons you can teach them, and something they will hopefully take into their own lives.

Now it’s time for me to leave the cupboard and rejoin the jungle that is my Easter Holiday Home. Have a great week and happy writing!

Are you finished yet?

Some years ago I announced I was going to write a novel. (What a dumb idea that was!).

After that fateful day, I received an almost daily reminder of my complete worthlessness and ineptitude as I plodded ever forward, not working on my novel. In fact, doing everything I could, cleaning, painting, a study of the mating habits of the mongolian silk worm, rather than finishing my novel.

Sad to say, that five years later, I was still no further forward in this endeavour. Sure, I’d had things published between that time. But the elusive novel still seemed so far from my grasp. Therefore, to save any more embarrassment and having to wear camouflage at family parties, I got a coach.

I have an amazing life coach called Natalie Bacon, (check out her website here). And I have been using her techniques to help me move past some blocks in my life with brilliant success. So I thought, if a life coach can help me with the everyday, then maybe a writing coach can help me with my book.

Enter Rhonda Douglas, Writing Coach Extraordinaire. She runs a Facebook group called Resilient Writers and specialises in helping people get past those blocks to writing and completing their first novel.

I read through her website, (check it out here), signed up for the alerts, and waited for the doors to open on her writing programme. When they did, I applied, sent in an excerpt of my work, and waited.

Two weeks later, success! I had a place on First Book Finish, 12 weeks to complete my novel.

Since beginning on the 1st March, I’ve been showing up at my computer every day and getting the words down. What changed?

Namely, me!

Between my two coaches, I am getting all the mindset and writing techniques I need to get me to that finish line. Could I have done this by myself? Possibly. But the truth is, I’d been sitting on this idea for over fifteen years and still hadn’t completed it, so you be the judge.

I’m now over three quarters of the way through my book and the end is in sight. Finally!

I can’t tell you how amazing it’s going to be to write the words, ‘The End’, when I get there. And I will get there. Rhonda’s programme has not only given me the techniques to get past certain blocks, but she has also created a group where we can all get together once a week and share our writing wins and struggles, without that pride-shattering, ‘oh, haven’t you finished yet’, spiel.

I know that getting a coach isn’t always possible. And if that’s the case for you, then grab a friend, (not physically, there are rules against that), and create a group where you can talk about writerly things and share tips and challenges along the way.

But if you are having trouble getting those words down, and you feel that you’ve got yourself as far as you can, I highly recommend getting a coach or mentor. Someone that’s trod the path before you and can show you where the potholes are. Your writing career will thank you for it in the end.

Bye for now and Happy writing!

Not Dead…honestly!

Howdy Everyone!

I’ve been off the writing radar for a while… again, as life things got in the way, (shocking, I know!), and my work had to take a backseat.

But in that time I’ve hired a life coach, (more on this later). Got myself a writing coach, (more on this too), learned to play the ukelele, and discovered during lockdown that there actually is a threshold as to how many biscuits I can eat in one sitting. (Although, I still like to push the boundaries on this one, cos I like a challenge).

It’s been a year of learning for me. Learning my limitations and how to work past them. Learning what I really want and going for it, and learning that I would have made a lousy school teacher and there really was a reason for that algebra all along. All I can say is, I have a newfound appreciation for all the teachers and the amazing job they do every day, so thank you.

The kids are back at school. They have changed so much over the last year. My eldest, now known as the cloaked one, wanders through my house like a wraith, eating food and mumbling incoherently. The bouncy one is still bouncy and I’m pretty sure, siphoning off my energy when I sleep. And my youngest, who we shall affectionately call, Mini Napoleon, is learning the valuable lesson of compromise.

To this, add a house move and the pandemic, and it’s transformed into a really interesting year. But as we near the easing of lockdown, (here in the UK, at least), I am looking at my next steps of where I want to go.

So, with this in mind, I have decided to take control of my writing career. Write that novel I’ve been planning for so long. And I’m going to document my journey here. If there’s any other writers or would-be writers out there who think they can’t do it, or they don’t have enough time, or they love the idea of a llama farm, (please get in touch, you are my tribe), then this may give you hope, or at the very least, help you realise that if I, the girl with the attention span of a carrot, can do this, then so can you.

I’m not doing it alone. I have a fantastic writing coach and a group of lovely ladies, helping me along the way. And if I come across any tips and tricks to help make the writing life a little easier, then I’ll post them here.

I will post once a week, usually on a Wednesday. If anyone wants to contact me, please feel free to get in touch at cerys_morgan_writer@outlook.com

Bye for now, and Happy Writing!

Strange Lines – Friday Fictioneers

Not Dead!!!

Thought I’d lead with the same thing I make my kids shout after hearing a loud thump from somewhere in the house.

I’ve been away for a long time with various messy life things, so was thrilled to the see the lovely Rochelle still flying the fictioneer flag. Therefore, I decided it was about time I popped in to say hello with my offering for this weeks Friday Fictioneers,

Lovely to see some familiar faces and many new ones. I’m looking forward to reading everyone’s work again. It’s been far too long.

If anyone would like to have a go, click the link above. Every week Rochelle picks a photo prompt and all you need to do is write a story, no longer than 100 words, and submit. Don’t forget to click the frog and add your link so everyone can see where you are.

This weeks photo was supplied by Roger Bultot. img_20190807_112118

Happy writing , and hope you enjoy my story.

If you’d like to read any of the other stories from this prompt, find them here.

Strange Lines

Kali stroked the thin white lines.

“What are these strange markings?”

“The old language.” Her sister pointed to the scrawl above her head. “Look, this one says War.”

Kali listened as her sister translated the others. Almost no-one in the New Kingdom understood the old language anymore.

“It’s kind of beautiful – in a primitive way.” Kali picked up a ripe pear and breathed in its syrupy scent.

“Language is constantly evolving. One day people will say the same about code.”

Kali stifled a giggle. “Not a chance, code will always exist.”

Her sister smiled. “I’m sure, once they thought the same about words.”

103 Words

A new sunrise

Greetings from the great beyond!

Firstly can I apologise for the non-existent posts over the last year or so. My life has taken a dramatic twist and I am still running to keep up with it all.

After many years of crying and stalking publishers on the net, I had my first short story published. More details on that to follow.

I am now a single parent, and as such I am finding new meaning in the word ‘tired’.

I’ve gone from employed to, ‘oh my god is that beans down your shirt, and please not another episode of Paw Patrol’.

And for the most recent, I am embarking on a business idea with my friend and co-writer Heidi Busby Brown. It could be something extraordinary, or send us into a obliterating despair spiral leading to diabetes and drinking in the day.

All in all, it’s working out to be an interesting and fun-filled year so far.

So now I’m finally able to return and take up the mantle that is my blog. I look forward reacquainting myself with you all and hopefully having some fun along the way.

Please watch this space for all the magnificence and absolute (guaranteed) train wrecks to come. Can’t wait to throw myself back into the writing world and feel like me again.

Happy Writing!

The Devil’s Cry

A bit late with this one. It’s official. My children believe that I live to clean, sweets have been re-classed as a breakfast food and communication only comes in the form of hitting each other with a fake, rubber horse head mask…(don’t ask!)

So please find my offering for this weeks Friday Fictioneers. If you’d like to have a go, pop onto Rochelle’s page and take a look at this weeks prompt, write a story in 100 words or less and press the blue frog to add your link. Good Luck!

Thanks to Piya Singh for this week's photo prompt.

 Thanks to Piya Singh for this week’s photo prompt.

Pieces of slate covered the ground like the scales of dragonhide. She pushed one aside. Black shone from amongst the undergrowth. Her eyes filled with tears.

The glass was smooth and still warm. She threw her head back and screamed.

A guttural rumble shook the earth. Pieces of volcanic glass flew upward, melding together, one by one till it hung in all its former glory.

She gazed into the mirror.

‘There you are.’ She smiled sweetly. ‘Just where I left you.’

His eyes widened. ‘How? No, not again.’

She laughed, a cruel, mocking sound. ‘I promised you forever, brother.’

99 words

The Return

It’s been a while, but anyone who knows me, knows I’m a sucker for a sea picture.

So here’s my contribution for Friday Fictioneers hosted by the lovely Rochelle. If you fancy having a go, write your story, approx 100 words, to the prompt on Rochelle’s page. Then add your link. If you’d like to read the other stories in this weeks story challenge, click on the blue frog 🙂

WavesPHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Tara shuffled her feet forward. She teetered on the edge of the large granite rock, pockmarked from centuries of saltwater.

Air rushed through her, the type that washes you clean, as if everything she’d done was forgiven in that moment.

Waves fell over each other, rushing, racing, desperate to be the one to consume her.

She stepped in. The icy water sent shockwaves through her body. She shivered.  Her skin turned a silken deep brown and her eyes flashed lilac.

‘Seven years gone, to the sea I return,’ she sang. ‘For the life of a Selkie and the ocean I yearn.’

101 words.

Poetry Challenge #26 – Constanza

If you’d like to have a go at this week’s Poetry Challenge head over to Jane Dougherty Writes and take a look at this week’s prompt, and good luck!

cropped-sunset_1.jpg

Maybe Tomorrow

Maybe tomorrow.

We could pick the pieces up,

tell ourselves that we’re enough.

 

Maybe tomorrow.

Our world won’t seem so dark,

or the smiles so far apart.

 

Maybe tomorrow.

We could catch ourselves a break.

Convince the crowd we’re not too late.

 

Maybe tomorrow.

We will hold our hands up high

and confess, we really tried.

They Said – Friday Fictioneers

Happy Wednesday everybody!

Here’s my contribuion to Friday Fictioneers this week. I hope you enjoy it. If you fancy having a go, click here and head to Rochelle’s page where you will find the prompt for this week. Write something in 100 words or less, and post.

If you would like to read more stories for this week’s prompt, cick on the blue frog 🙂

Thank you to Emmy L Gant for this week’s photo.

PHOTO PROMPT - © Emmy L Gant

They Said

‘Leave it in the bin,’ they said. ‘You know, the one on the roof, near the old market hall. No Police.’

Kirsty dropped the crumpled Sainsbury’s bag. It made a dull thud as it hit the metal.

She glanced around her once more. Greasy-looking rooftops shimmered in the late afternoon sun and the spire of St Jude’s pierced the sky like a needle. Other than that, nothing.

She pulled her coat tight and made for the stairs.

As long as the money was there, they’d give him back.

She’d followed their instructions exactly.

And now they had no reason not to, right?

102 words

Decisions – Friday Fictioneers

 

It’s time for Friday Fictioneers, and here is my contribution.

If you fancy having a go, pop onto Rochelle’s page and take a look at the photo prompt. Write your story in 100 words or less and don’t forget to post your link with the blue frog. Good luck and Happy Writing!

PHOTO PROMPT - © Sandra Crook

Thank you to Sandra Cook for this weeks superb photo.

Decisions

The old woman turned the dial. Opalescent sand poured into the bottom of the glass.

‘I hope they make the right decision,’ said  a deep voice. Gorran stepped out of a break in the hedges.

The woman recoiled.

‘As long as you leave ’em be, they’ll be fine,’ she said, edging her way towards the hour glass. But he was too quick.

Gorran lifted his hands and the sand turned black.

‘You can’t do that,’ she said. ‘You’re not supposed to interfere.’

‘Looks like another bad day,’ he chuckled.

Somewhere in the distance, a scream pierced the silence.

98 words

 

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