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End of year review 2016 (here we go again!)

So here we are again, at the end of another year and once more, like nearly all writers, I am doing a look back at the year blog post and, in terms of writing, what a year it has been. Right, after that  really long sentence let’s begin.

I always start off by reviewing my targets from the year. I specifically kept them simple in 2016 to avoid disappointment and another year of failure, simply put all I planned to do was ‘do some writing’ and I certainly did that. It is probably clearer to look at my three successes…

 

Poetry – as you may know I am bad at poetry, but that has never stopped me writing it! I managed a whopping six new poems that included topics such as Nintendo, love, Star Wars and not being able to write well. I have never had a repository for my poetry so decided to make one rather that it just sitting on this blog. That meant that ‘Bad Poetry you probably never want to read’ was born. I popped in my older poems that were on this site along with the new ones. As it is a work in progress it is only available on wattpad at the moment. You can read it here. There was to be a seventh poem for the year but nanowrimo took over and it was abandoned. Please feel free to ignore my poetry but if you do read it can you leave a review? It can be good or confirm my belief that I am terrible at the medium.

A Close Shave with Destiny – I finally finished my first draft of the story I started in October 2015 for Movember. It turned from a 5000 word short story to a nearly 40,000 word novelette. I finished it just before the start of nanowrimo so it still needs a proofread and a cover created. Expect it out in paperback and ebook format in 2017.

The Fifth Coin – this was my story for nanowrimo, which I am happy to say I won thanks to sticking very close to the target daily word count. I really like the story and have pushed myself to keep writing it in December, although not at nano pace. I am now on 60,000ish words and only have three chapters to write to finish the first draft, two of which I am already half way through. I hope to have it out next year as well.

 

So overall nothing published but a lot of words down, the most in any one year. This is largely thanks to Google docs which allows me to write from anywhere. I often sit for five minutes and add the odd hundred words which does add a little to a novel and keeps you in the flow. In fact I am writing this blog post on Google docs on my phone whilst my daughter is asleep in my arms.

Right on to next year, there is a lot I would like to do but the ‘just write something’ idea worked really well this year so I am keeping it. That said, in an ideal work ‘A Close Shave with Destiny’ and ‘The Fifth Coin’ would be published and I would have started work on something else as well as a few more poems being released. We will see though!

Thank you to everyone who has supported me this year, I look forward to 2017 in the hope that it is good for writing. Thank you to new followers through the media hop set up by Raimey Gallant, I do look at your posts even if I rarely comment. I do hope you enjoy this blog and find it useful. Anyway, to every out there good luck in whatever you do next year, unless it involves hurting kittens, then I am afraid I cannot condone it!

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National Poetry Day 2016

A friend told me yesterday that today, if you are reading this on the day it was posted, was National Poetry Day. I seem to miss these things. When I got home from work I quickly checked the theme and wrote a poem. The theme this year is ‘messages.’ I had no idea what to do so I wrote a poem about not being able to send a message with a little humour in there for added measure. It was written really quickly and I abandoned rhyming early on. I am actually quite happy with it. It is called ‘I tried to send you a message’ and, as per usual, can be read below or in my poetry collection on wattpad, ‘Bad Poetry You probably never want to read.’

 

I tried to send you a message

I tried to write a letter but I couldn’t find a pen

I tried to phone but you didn’t pick up

I tried it in an email but the computer took too long to load

I tried to send a text but I was out of phone signal

I tried to contact you on social media but the Internet was down

I tried to send a fax but realised it was an outdated communication method

I tried to shout it from the rooftop but did not have a big enough ladder

I tried to tell your other friends but they said they weren’t seeing you till next week

I tried to get some flowers and a card sent from a shop but I didn’t have enough change

Then I saw you, walking in the street, I tried to tell you but forgot what I needed to say

Probably wasn’t important

I’m not that good at poetry

Just a quick blog post. After watching Dr. John Cooper Clarke on a TV appearance recently and loving some of his minimalist poetry I decided to write a quick poem about how bad I am at poetry. It is, subtly, entitled ‘I’m not that good at poetry.’ You can read it below or on wattpad in the collection ‘Bad Poetry you probably never want to read.’

 

I’m not that good at poetry

I’m not that good at poetry

The rhythm seems to flow

But when it comes to rhyming

I can’t find the words that bananas

 

The other good news for poetry fans is that I am working on another poem all about how my baby daughter keeps stealing people’s glasses. It is going to be a classic!

 

New Poem – The First Word

Now the summer holidays have come I am tasking myself with writing for at least ten minutes each day so I can get something out before the end of August. Sometimes I find, like most writers, that I just need to get the first word right to allow my writing to flow. I know what I want to put down but cannot always start. For some reason today I felt like writing a poem and thought this writing conundrum was a worthy topic. Unlike the ideas behind the poem the actual writing of the poem flowed and I was able to produce it quickly. I tried to get symbolism in there rather than focusing on rhyming like I have with most of my other poems, you can not only tell this by the metaphors but the fact it does not rhyme at all! For once I feel like I did a good job and am rather proud of myself, a little bit smug you could say! You can read the poem on wattpad or take a gander below…

 

The First Word

Shaking, trembling, the perspiration falls

I have so much to say

So much to give to the world

Like a torrid ocean my mind swirls

I know where this will go

I just need to find its hand

So I can lead it to its destination

But alas it blocks my path

My kryptonite

My achilles heel

My dark side

My temptation

My inner demon

A vast land stretches before me

But I am stuck behind a wall

Peering through the bars of a gate

If only I could get the key

Turn the lock and be allowed to run free

I look, I stare but all is bare

As I fumble in the undergrowth

I find what I am looking for

Cold metal on my sweaty palms

But there are more and more

Some copper

Some plastic

Some card shaped

But which is right for me?

The land changes as I move each one close to the gate

It turns to fire, then ice, then sand

All will work, but only one is right

Which I pick could shape my destiny

Keep me flowing through this land

Carving out a channel through the rolling hills

Until the next wall appears and I must choose again

I use the first key I saw

Poke a toe out, the grass feels rough

It is like thorns pressing into my foot

I pull back in pain

Maybe the plastic one will do

I try again but this time I feel water

It is cold, ice cold but does not feel bad

What is that? Swimming there?

Sharp teeth, dark eyes, wide jaws

I retreat again, to the safety of this place

Behind the wall, waiting for the inspiration to come

Waiting for the right choice to be made

I search some more, there are keys

Keys everywhere

Some hang from trees, pretty and ornate

Some are deep in the ground, covered in dirt

Some give an aura of hope

Some tell of despair

And so this will go on and on

Find a key, try the lock

Taste the air and feel the ground

I will keep going

For minutes

For hours

For days

I will find the right path

I will be able to run free

But I cannot think of that now

Now I need to hunt

Now I need to search

Now I need to find my first word

World Cup Dreams – two copies to give away

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I’ve got two copies of World Cup Dreams to give away, just write me a football poem.

Euro 2016 starts in less than a week so to celebrate I thought I would do a different type of promotion to those I have usually done. I have made a book free for two days, which is quite easy when they are on Kindle. However, the Extra Time Edition of World Cup Dreams is both on Kindle and in print. So this time I am going to give away two print copies of World Cup Dreams: Extra Time Edition for FREE. As I have had to purchase the books before sending them on I am going to make you work a little for them. What you need to do is write a poem about football, it could celebrate the Euros coming up or the World Cup. It might be about your favourite club team or a great manager or player. It might even be about grassroots football. The only rules are that it must be original, it must be about football (sometimes called soccer in some countries) and it can be a maximum of 250 words long. To enter you need to fill in the form below. The competition will finish on Friday 3rd June at midnight UK time. I will then pick my two favourite entries (very subjective I know!) and contact them for an address to send the book to. When the competition has ended I will put some of the entries up on this blog (both the winners and other good entries) and will link to the websites/blogs/twitter/facebook of the writers (so you can get a little promotion yourself.). Right then, all there is to say now is good luck and I look forward to seeing the entries.

 

World Cup Dreams competition entry form

A Star Wars Limerick

Today is National Limerick day (yeah I didn’t know either until I saw it on twitter a few hours ago!) and as I am a writer, of sorts, I thought I would pen my own limerick to celebrate. Also they are really quick to do so I have not had to spend too much time on it! I thought I would write a limerick on one of my favourite things in the whole world, Star Wars. So here goes. Oh yeah, I should say SPOILER ALERT incase you have not seen Episode 7 although if you have not then where have you actually been? Anyway, here’s the limerick…

 

There was a young boy called Ben

Who was seduced by Snoke and then

The Jedi he killed

With darkness was filled

And became the evil Kylo Ren

 

I have added it to my collection, Bad Poetry You probably never want to read on wattpad. You can look at it there as well along with some other of my truly awful poems.

Nintendo Fan Boy (a new poem)

As an ICT and Computing teacher I come across a lot of students that are gamers. The vast majority are either X-Box or PlayStation lovers and have a bit of a chip on their should when it comes to Nintendo. This seems to stem from the thoughts that Nintendo make kids games and that the graphics are not very good. I try to explain it is about gameplay but they have none of it. This frustrates me, but what frustrates me even more is that if you mention games like Mario Bros., Zelda, Mario Kart and Smash Bros. they think they are great games. Also most used to own a Wii and enjoy playing on it. Now I know that I am not a first person shooter aficionado but I can see the merits of different gaming systems, why are youngsters so close minded? To release my frustrations I have written another bad poem entitled ‘Nintendo Fan Boy‘. You can read it in my collection ‘Bad Poetry You probably never want to read‘ on wattpad. I hope you enjoy the irony in it.