Category Archives: friends

First (Possibly) Annual Bloggers Bash – It's On.

First (Possibly) Annual Bloggers Bash

Seeing as I offered to organise a get together, I should probably put my money where my mouth is and do some actual organising.

Sorry to those across the pond – I’m still working on the technology involved in that part, so this is for the European lot – unless those across the pond fancy a trip to the UK for a summer vacation that is…

Drum Roll please…… Continue reading

Official Launch of the Annual Bloggers Bash

You're Invited

This may well be the post that finally makes you say she lost her mind. I feel a bit insane even considering pressing publish on this one. But I’m going to, because this wonderful little community has welcomed and inspired me more than I can describe, so I’m standing up and saying ‘I’ll do it.’

This is an open invite… Continue reading

5 Reasons Bullying Made Me A Better Writer #1000Speak – Building On Bullying

5 Reasons Bullying Made Me a Better Writer

I had to coax myself into posting this. Not because I didn’t want to do a post for #1000Speak, but because bullying is one of those things that everyone has been affected by, and I am no exception. It’s all a little close to the bone. Bullying is one of those universal topics that touches the lives of almost everyone. But I want to focus on the positive. On why being bullied made me a better writer. Without having been bullied I wouldn’t have focused on writing in my youth, and I probably wouldn’t have realised writing was my dream. So am I compassionate with the bullies? No, probably not, I know that’s the point of 1000speak, but, I am grateful for the experience of bullying. Continue reading

Writing Process Meme

My lovely tutor Esther Newton at the Writers Bureau nominated me for the writing process blog meme. Esther is a fab tutor, always giving such thoughtful and comprehensive feedback, and also an extremely talented writer, my favourite story I have read of hers which had me in fits of laughter was a story written through a series of letters from a very angry customer to a rather naughty hotel owner!

I have to answer four questions and nominate three other bloggers to continue the process. I will do my best at answering the questions, but I might have trouble nominating bloggers, as most of the friends I have made through blogging thus far have been fertility friends rather than writing friends, blogging about writing is still new for me. What I will try to do though is nominate people in my writing group- and then consolidate their answers into one post and pop it up here at a later date.

So, here goes:

1. What am I working on at the moment?

So much it hurts!

  1. I blog, obviously. That’s a constant WIP.
  2. I have written a short story for an adult fairy tale competition, that is sitting on my laptop in desperate need of proof reading so I can submit it by the 14th November. But I’m rubbish at proof reading so I am quietly ignoring it, until I have to submit it. When I will unsurprisingly give it a quick once over, beat myself up AGAIN about being shit at grammar and then submit it anyway, probably full of mistakes. 🙁
  3. My next assignment which is a 4000 word short story about post apocalyptic Earth, due on the 10th December, and thus far I have a title and an idea! and 44.5 thousand words between me and finishing NaNo to have the head space to write it! Gulp.
  4. I run a writing group on Facebook – its a small group of just 16 at the moment, but like anything, if you want it to flourish you have to put the time and effort in, and constantly think of new conversations to generate new writing chat.
  5. My labour of love… The novel I have slaved over, and am writing as part of NaNo. It wasn’t created because of NaNo, I have been working (planning) it for at least a couple of years, although one character and a couple of creatures, have been nuzzled in the corner of my mind since I was 9. I even found the story I wrote about them the other day. This is THE book, the story, that one everyone has in them thats probably rubbish but a complete labour of love. I am in love with my story, I want to live in this world! I know, I probably sound like a complete lunatic!
  6. The second instalment which came to me like an epiphany in a training session, at which point I then scrawled all over my training book with maps, and notes and keys for the story in the tiniest writing you have ever seen so that I didn’t get caught! This is now in the fermenting stage (I’ll explain later)

I think that’s it at the moment.

2. How does my work differ from others of its genre?

This is the hardest question to answer. Other than the fact I am coming up with new ideas (which I guess is the one thing I do pride myself on, my unique ideas) I am not too sure. I guess everyone has their own writing style so that would be different too. Although I don’t quite know how to describe my writing style, maybe I will ask Esther, or some of my friends who have read my work. I guess the one thing my friends say, is that they can clearly hear my voice in my work, they know it’s me writing, so that I guess makes it separate from other writers work because there is only one me!

Ugh, this is actually really hard! I am a bit stumped, particularly because I am really quite critical of my work, so it’s hard to now think of something good to say! erm… A couple of people have said my dialogue is quite good, I am quite good at making it realistic and believable.

Does that count? I give up!

3. Why do I write what I do?

kidnap

I’m joking, kind of! Writing isn’t a choice though. It’s not a want, a like or a desire. Its an out and out MUST. I HAVE to write, I NEED to do it. Writing quiets my brain from the incessant noise all my characters make in my head. If I don’t write, they scream at me, or prod at what brain cells pregnancy left me with, until I write their stories, and tell their tales.

I mean, of course, like any budding writer, I want to be published. I want to be the next JK Rowling, or Stephen King, or Veronica Roth. But we all know the odds are infinitesimally small. So that doesn’t drive me. An intense need to quiet my characters does!! Ok, a need to tell the stories that fill my head, create the worlds I always wished I could read about. Writing, is a therapy, its cathartic, it allows me to live in another world, where possibilities are limited only by my own mind.

4. How does my writing process work?

HA! 64 million dollar question. Erm. Well, I am a bit of an epiphany kind of girl! I will have a Eureka moment, when something pops into my head, whether it be a character or concept, or plot twist, and then I will spend a lot of time padding it out. I would say that the majority of my writing process is unconscious thought. I need time, not to consciously think about my story, but to let it ferment unconsciously in my head. I just need it to sit there quietly in a corner of my brain whilst I carry on with day to day life. Generally speaking I hate detail, in life, mostly work, I’m awful, I can’t do grammar, I can’t do numbers or spreadsheets. It always surprises me when I can delve into such depth with a character or setting. I spend an awful lot of time noticing little intricacies about people, friends and colleagues. If I meet an interesting person at work, I will scribble notes in my work notebook about that person or character right next to some important work notes! I remember in a meeting once a few years ago, I was so flabbergasted at the sight of a particular person, I was gobsmacked that no one else in the room was as intrigued as me. This gentleman was late 50’s and had skin so deeply grooved and lined he looked like a sculpture, he had a beautiful afro, that reminded me of my grandad, and his big dark eyes made him look ever so slightly like a lion. I had to literally force myself not to stare at him, so instead, I spent most of the meeting snatching glances at him, and unashamedly drawing a picture of his face on a post it… which I still have!

I write notes about my characters and settings and storylines EVERYWHERE. Literally, I have a notebook on me constantly, whether in my work bag, handbag, or on my phone, I have scraps of paper, project files, and document after document clogging up my phone.

I draw them all together and generally speaking put them either into a word document of notes that I develop into  a short story. Or if it’s for my novel into my Scrivener file. Genuinely don’t know where I would be without Scrivener.

I am annoyingly organised. I would say that for novel writing, I drive myself utterly insane with planning and preparation, to the point where, for an entire year, I put off writing my novel because I didn’t feel I had prepared enough. I also have a tendency to hold a lot of information in my head, which usually results in me having mental bandwidth issues, and monging around like a zombie at the end of the day when I physically can’t hold anything else in my head! If it wasn’t for NaNoWriMo, I don’t think I would have ever gotten my novel written.

For short stories, I am much less uptight. I can generally speaking let them evolve naturally, you don’t have time to put all the detail in, it’s short sharp and to the point, I generally take a week to get a story down, then spend a few days editing and re reading it. I have a few friends who tirelessly read the drivel I write, so I often send copies of stuff to them just to have a second third or fourth opinion. My poor wife, usually gets roped in to read them, as does my mum. Both of whom aren’t really readers, and don’t enjoy this part of my writing process! but do it anyway because they love me, and I nag them! haha.

There are two other bits I failed to mention:

1. Pinterest. I am a hugely visual person, and I love a good scrap book / mood board. Pinterest has become the bane and love of my life. I use it constantly drawing boards together for inspiration characters and stories and research.

2. Research, I love research, particularly if there is a theme in my book, in my novel, the different places are based on different themes, so I had to do a lot of research on those topics. But for the 4000 word short story, I am currently doing in-depth research on ‘alternative history’ there is a whole culture out there that believes aliens have visited and our history is not what it seems, so my story is partially inspired by this. I love a conspiracy and anything unusual, so I regularly take snippets of odd things I hear, or strange topics for inspiration.

3. I’m a night owl. Mostly I write at night, after my boy is in bed.

That’s it. Possibly my longest post ever, and a little insight into my strange brain!

Why being a lesbian mum is exactly the same and completely different

There are some fundamental things about motherhood that just don’t change. You will change umpteen nappies, and as a result you will get baby poop and other bodily liquids over most of your limbs at one point or another. Generally speaking however you obtain a child (no, not theft, I’m talking adoption, fertility treatment or in a plethora of other ways) it’s come from the same place – a womb. There will be a time – if you have a newborn or very young baby – where you don’t sleep, you will feel like the walking dead and you won’t know who you are; one day you will find you self sat on the sofa in yesterday’s underwear, bloodshot eyes with bags the size of houses, unbrushed teeth that still look clean because you can’t remember the last time you ate, smeared with poop, a few bubbles of sick down one arm, and some crusty snot thrown in for good measure. That happens. To everyone who’s a parent believe me. There’s other things, like the fact that once your a parent there really is no going back – particularly for those that have carried and birthed a child, once you have that baby your life will never be the same again. It takes time to go back to feeling like yourself, but that self is very much a different self. Whoever you were before you had a child is gone, held captive by your long forgotten and never to return youth. Whoever you were is most definitely not returning. But that’s ok. This new you is a better you anyway!

Thats the stuff that’s the same. Seems like everything, right? Wrong. The differences are invariably cultural. Its always cultural. It’s those little things that make our lives that bit harder. The worst bit, is it starts before your child’s even born.

Take your antenatal classes – a class full of straight couples. Where does the non birth mother sit? For the sake of this and any ongoing blogs I post (and my word count!) the non birth mother will be referred to as ‘mama’ and birth mother (mum). Where should the mama sit? It’s not really with the mums – they are all discussing the trials and tribulations of pregnancy and their fears of labour. But it’s also not really with the dads who are more concerned with discussing where the closest dominoes pizza place is to the hospital.

Throughout pregnancy I felt sorry for my wife – she would tell people she’s having a child and within about three seconds a haze of confusion would melt over their face as their eyes would unsubtly drop to her stomach and back to her face a few times. It’s still not ‘normal’ enough for people to just accept that two women can have a baby.

Even after pregnancy and labour it continues – but the problem is – the differences are between your friends and you. I am sure that to a certain extent straight couples who have kids young experience similar things. The friends who begin to slip away because they ‘just don’t get it’. They are incapable of compromising or being understanding to the fact that organising a night out is the equivalent to party planning for the royals. It takes serious time and effort, you can’t just go out at the drop of a hat. And, lets be honest, most of the time you don’t want too either, not because you’re a bore, but because if you do go out – the consequences will reach further than just a saturday morning hangover. You’re going to be tired long into thursday – especially when your child decides to start teething again – at that very moment you went out and let your hair down – commence a week or two of exhaustion. That bit – is probably the same.

But for the LGBT circle, the current generation of young’uns (17-35) we seem to be taking life in the slow lane. The majority of people who are having children in this gayby boom are 35 plus in the LGBT world – obviously I’m not saying everyone, there are also pockets of exceptions – but in my world – most if not all the LGBT parents I have met are 35 plus – in fact thats kind of mimicked with the hetero-parents I’ve met too. The difference this makes is – most of my friends are still in the culture of being concerned with where the next night out is coming from and who’s round is next. most still live at home with mum and dad, and few have careers sorted or any kind of concept of where they want to be when they grow up. Indeed any kind of mention of commitment and you got yourself a full on epi pen needing allergic reaction. Why is our generation of young LGBT so frightened of commitment? few if any of my friends have had relationships longer than a couple of years. It makes me feel like a freakshow – not only am I LGBT and therefore in a minority group as it is – but I’m a minority within a minority – a young LGBT person with a child, who actually had the child in a lesbian relationship and whats more, gave birth.

Other major differences include the ‘questioning’ when you come across a straight couple with a newborn – usual questions include: Oh how adorable – how much did they weigh? How was the birth? Do they sleep?

Now – we tend to get one or two of those normal questions and then you get hit with the- ‘I’m going to look really awkward and shift from foot to foot because I know what I’m about to ask is rude, but I’m going to do it anyway!’ – face and then the barrage of “oh so, er, how did you do it then?” most of the time I feel like responding with an equally stupid answer “do what? get my hair styled this way?, do what look this good on no sleep?” etc etc. Other stupid questions include “do you know the donor?” “are you both called mum”

Seriously, next time a straight couple asks me how I ‘did it’ I’m going to ask them how they got pregnant too, see how they like them apples!

I’m ranting – but I have a point, we face regular interrogations from joe public, and even from our parents. My own dad commented that he wasn’t really sure how it would ‘be’ raising a male child with two mums. “Where’s the balance” I remember him saying. He ate his own words though when he visited because he then said “I don’t think I’ve met a happier child.”

There are probably a million other differences I could name, but my rant just ran out of steam! For any of you LGBT mummies out there – anyone else able to add irritations to the list?