Something I tried out on my other blog….

A writing prompt and the invitation to join each other:

“Is it really Thursday again? Wow, how time flies! This means it is time again for a “Lean against …. and listen!” writing prompt. 

I have been thinking a lot about writing prompts, and when I stumbled upon Linda Hill’s blog I loved her “Stream of Consciousness Saturday” a writing prompt she is giving every Saturday. Linda invites her readers to share their stories and read at least one of the other readers stories. 

In the WANA tribe, I got this prompt from I have been reading some great “Lean against… and listen” stories and I am so curious to find more of them.

Therefore, I invite you to share your link to your story here, and I will tweet about it (you want some gain from it, don’t you? 🙂 ). I also invite you to visit one of the other readers links to find some more great stories (once you guys take part of course 🙂 you will, will you?)….”

Please read more at The River is flowing….

Image

down time

When I came back from work last Friday I realised I was terribly exhausted. Another laryngitis has raised its ugly head in my poor sore throat and work had been stressful at the least. I decided to let Saturday go its own way and plan nothing just concentrate on reading and sitting on the sofa with loads of cups of tea.

But well as it happens of course I had a sudden rush of initiative which lead me

1. to read many blogs and advertise for them on Twitter and Google+

and

2. to write a blog post on phoenixrisesagain even though I had promised myself to not blog at the weekend.

And now of course I had an idea for my Zara ~ a writing story – blog post and as not to forget I wrote it directly and scheduled it (I love WordPress).

One of the blog posts I read were from the lovely Cheryl  Fassett on Catching Fireflies where she pondered about the fact that we sometimes have such trouble to just give ourselves some down time to do whatever comes to mind.

Why is it that this “unsupervised and untethered” as she called it seemingly freaks us out so much? Isn’t it exactly what we are looking for in our busy lives and isn’t it what is good for us?

Who has told us it is a bad thing to relax?

Well of course our parents, teachers, professors, bosses ect even thought I think they do not do that so much nowadays but certainly in our childhoods if you are a 40 something. But haven’t we experienced enough that you can not go on forever being busy?

Or is it just that if we stopped for a moment and just sit, drink a cup of coffee or tea and just listen to music that we start thinking about our lives and realise what is not right in them? Is it maybe that our higher self or however you want to call it tries to tell us we have to change something and we are not ready to do so.

Or we are just too scared to get into action?

Well, I have changed a lot in the last 7 years of things that I have not been happy about in my life. Curiously I have started to relax a lot more since then and allow myself often enough time out just to play around a bit and enjoy life.  And curiously enough it had a pretty good impact on my creativity 🙂

got going….

Ah at last I got going:

Had my thinking cap on on Sunday and realised that I got writing much better when I did some planning in the beginning of the week. So I wrote down all my blogs and what I want to do on them this week as well as what to work on short story wise.

Think I told you that had not taken part in the short story competition in Bath which is a shame but well sometimes your inner critic is just too strong. The next one I have chosen is the Doris Gooderson 2013 Competition which supports the Severn Hospice. I suspect this will be easier for me as it supports a cause. Thinking about my writing and doing more with it made me realise that “just earning” money with it would not be enough for me. It actually is not the reason why I really want to write.

I love to support the people around me both the causes they support but also to make them aware what they really want to do and to support them to just get on with it and do it. Some years ago a friend and me were talking about things we want to do and it made her realise that she loved photography. After our conversation she bought herself a good camera, took a photography course and had done several big journeys which she captured brilliantly with her pictures. You can not imagine how happy it made me to see her doing what she really loved. That is who I am and therefore my writing has to go into that direction as well.

I have no idea yet what the short story might be about but that will come in good time :-).

Besides that I have chosen the poetry I want to put into my little poetry book as well as the pictures I want to have with those poems. Strangely it was more difficult to chose the pictures than the poems. I guess that has to do with the fact that I knew since a long time which of my poems I want to publish. Have been working on them and I think I improved some of them. The editing so far has just been reading them but I will do another round with reading them out loud because it gives you another idea of how they sound. I think poems should be read out loud anyway as their sound so often gives another dimension to them.

I also have written to some celebrities and newspapers about the Aurela campaign and so far one has written back. Hopefully I can write an article about the campaign and get some more people to support the little girl.

And I am writing about shadowing the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize with my reading group in Norwich. That is really exciting as the books are brilliant and I think I will see if I can read all the long listed books but not until the Readers Day on the 18th of May :-). Originally I wanted to write about it in this blog but as it is a prize which concentrates on translated fiction and it honours the translator as much as the author I realised that it has to be in my bi-lingual blog :-).

Last but not least I have decided what to do with my NaNoWriMo writing from last November. I wanted to write a novel for so long but lately I realise that shorter genres are much more my liking and there is one scene in that story that I really like. So I decided to work on that one and change it into a short story.

And then it is nearly May which means #frapalymo Petra Paul’s writing challenge is right in front of my doorstep. Can’t wait ~ I just can’t wait 🙂

Oh and then of course reading. Shadowing the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize means to read two of the short listed books and then discuss them but also to tweet about them and write about them on your blog. The Twitter hashtag is #iffp but so far not much has been tweeted which disappoints me a bit. There some brilliant blogs out there commenting on it. It is worth for you to look  the hashtag up and follow the links.

I also have set myself a challenge to read Steampunk novels as I just have discovered the genre and quite like it. Unfortunately not the first book I read which was “The Anubis Gates” from Tim Powers. I somehow could not get into the story and I did not really like the characters. The next one on my list is “What lies beneath the clock tower” by  Margret Killjoy and the introduction I read so far sounds good.

And then there are all the books from the International Fiction Reading Group and Fantasy of course. Oh life is so good ;-)!

Exciting projects on my plate I think  and it is nice to be back into some creative life :-).

What about you? What are your creative and reading projects? I love to hear from you!

IMG_20130423_165613

“Traveller of the century” by Andres Neumann & “The Detour” by Gebrand Bakker which we read for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize

 

 

no matter what…

On Tuesday I had a little Twitter conversation with @ElectricMidnite who was quite frustrated that his writing had not found a lot of readers yet.

And don’t we all know that feeling so well?

I do! When I started blogging no one was interested at all. Well, a few lovely friends have always had a look but it is not the same like having over 20 followers. Yes “over 20” was my first goal ;-). Still can’t believe that phoenixrisesagain has over 100 now. That makes me really happy.

What changed my “success”? Well, for one I read up on SEO which means search engine optimization. Well, still not good at it but I followed a few steps and it seemed to help. I also read up on “how to get more readers for your blog”. The main ideas are: add links to other blogs or pages to your entries, comment on other blogs, and give the readers the possibility to “spread the word” with buttons to post them on social networking. That and my “Thank you project” seemed to have done the trick. It is a question of good organisation though.

Of course we would love to spent all our time sitting on the beach writing our stories and poems but alas earning money with our writing is a business and therefore we have to tackle it like a business. Me myself and I have decided to stay an amateur writer being happy with my blogs and self-publish what I want to publish with Blurb. And taking part in competitions just for the fun of it really.

But I suppose you have to decide at one point how far you want to go with your writing and where you want to go with it. And then teach yourself or do courses. It is not easy to earn a living with writing because there is so much competition and the market is changing dramatically in the internet age.

But the internet is also our best “companion” in getting where we want to be as it offers us the information we need mostly for free. I have always followed my intuition and it usually lead me to where I needed to be at that stage. There are many more or less expensive courses out there nowadays and if you play around with keywords on google or the other search engines you will find what you need. Just get out and do it and do not forget to write. Write, write and write that is the only thing to get you going and get you better.

It has also helped me enormously to register that most famous writers had to do a lot of “day jobs” until they were able to get a living out of their writing. And I suppose most writers today do both. That took away an awful lot of pressure and I started to concentrate on what counted. The writing itself.

I collected some links to give you some ideas of how writers made ends meet and to motivate you not to give up:

Huffington Post

The Millions

Mental_floss

The Guardian

CreativeBloc

@ElectricMidnite’s texts on Insanitysuperman’s Blog are quite raw and genuine. That is what makes them interesting. So please pay him a visit and raise his spirits with some feedback! Thank guys!

 

IMG_20120610_111911

 

A challenge

Wow have I set myself a challenge!

I did not know what I got myself into when I decided to do the ABC of poetic forms. Don’t get me wrong I still enjoy doing it and have a list for practically the whole year. But well doing a formal poem is quite a challenge and you have to really work on it. Maybe Stephen Fry is right with his criticism of the free modern verse :-).

I suppose I will learn a lot and will have a lot of to try out this year as well. For now I want to work more on the Balassi Stanza meaning I want to do some more because it has proofen to be quite tricky to make a good one.

What else is going on writing-wise? Nothing much to be honest. Was quite motivated to blog last week this week is a bit more difficult but that’ll go soon I suspect. It seems to be more difficult to blog at the end of the week as I work more and feel usual quite tired. So I will probably pre-write my posts to keep up not with the Kardashians but with my readers ;-).

I have not started on my #NaNoWriMo Novel again ~ seems like it has to rest for a while longer. But I have thought about it last week and got some more ideas which is encouraging.

What I like is my  meetings with a friend to take pictures. Had a nice one this Monday which kept my mood up.

Well how is your writing or other creative activities going on? Are you in a down or does the new year (and the survived end of the world for that 😉 ) motivate you no end? Feel free to share with us :-).

100_2314

Attention: #amwriting bi-lingual/Achtung zweisprachig

(Attention some links are in German)

Tuesdays will be bi-lingual day in the future. My mother tongue is German but I love to write (and read for that) in English the heavens only know why. I used to sit in front of our old record player and listened to the Beatles and sang with them without knowing what I was singing. Therefore I blame it on them ;-).

My bi-lingual blog is phoenixrisesagain (just in case you want to read some old posts of mine) which ranges from philosophy to utopy to books and writing and….. you  name it.

I write the English part first and then after the picture comes the German translation. Today conveniently it will be about November, #frapalymo and #NaNoWriMo :-).

November is usually a very dreary month and a preferred one for my depression to flare up. This year though surprisingly it just popped its clogs it seems. At the beginning of October I read about #NaNoWriMo and in a mad instant decision decided to take part. Little I knew what I brought myself into but at least I prepared my blogs with pre-writing my entries. As family festivities stopped me from starting at the 1. of November I started a the 3. and I had little hope I would manage the thing. But I did. My story and characters went into total different directions as planned but I hope that means they have a life of their own and are at least a bit readable ;-). This project has taught me so much I am still full of it: I know now I can work to a deadline; it is fine to let the story go its own ways; am looking forward to edit the thing and most of all learn to edit; it is possible to write 5000 words a day; you can always catch up somehow and writing really is it!  It occupied my days and my nights ~ no time for being depressed and that I am extremely thankful for. I think I need to let the office of letters and light know :-)!

Most of you English speaking readers do not know what the #frapalymo is. You might have read in my poetry blog about it though in May when I first heard about it (of course) on Twitter. #frapalymo is @FrauPaulchen’s lyrik (German word for poetry) month which means 30 poems in 30 days in the style of #NaNoWriMo just with poetry. Sophie Paulchen gives a prompt every day for writing a poem and if you take part, you let her know by blogging your poem or writing it on her comment box under the prompt and she tweets about it. She has brilliant ideas taken from tweets, poems, poets, pictures and other interesting things that cross her path.

It was quite a challenge to do both and I have to admit I forgot all about #frapalymo for about a week. But it was fun. A writing frenzy without guilt, inner critique or boundaries. Just writing to the full. I advice everyone to so next year :-).

For now I feel like I am on cold turkey because I have no word count to fulfil, no prompt to follow and I have to get back into blogging and finding new projects. Well, as if that is a problem for me ;-): There is still that poetry book I want to self-publish, a first draft of a novel to edit (I won’t start that before January though (only if we are still alive then of course the 21. 12 is calling 😉 )), an ABC of poetry forms to #MondayPrompt and loads of tweeting and instagramming to do.

You see I won’t get bored ~ really do not worry :-)!

Fakenham Church

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dienstage werden in Zukunft zweisprachig sein. Meine Muttersprache ist Deutsch aber ich schreibe und lese lieber in Englisch und der Himmel alleine weiss, warum! Als Kind sass ich immer vor dem Plattenspieler und habe mir die Beatles angehoert und mitgesungen ohne zu wissen, worum es da ging. Ich gebe ihnen deshalb die Schuld ;-).

Mein zweisprachiger Blog ist phoenixrisesagain (einfach nur falls Du ein paar alte Eintraege lesen willst), der von Philosophie zu Utopie zu Buechern und Schreiben rangiert.

Ich schreibe den englischen Teil zuerst und nach dem Bild kommt dann immer die deutsche Uebersetzung. Heute geht es ganz passenderweise um November, #frapalymo und #NaNoWriMo :-).

November ist gewoehnlich ein duesterer Monat und ein bevorzugter fuer meine Depression, sich aufzuspielen. Dieses Jahr allerdings, scheint sie einfach ins Gras gebissen zu haben. Anfang Oktober habe ich zum ersten Mal ueber den #NaNoWriMo gelesen und mich in einer verrueckten instant Entscheidung angemeldet. Da wusste ich zum Glueck noch nicht, worauf ich mich da eingelassen habe. Da Familienfestivitaeten mich abegehalten hatten, am 1. November zu beginnen, startete ich am 3. und habe nicht daran geglaubt, dass ich es schaffen koennte. Aber ich habe es geschafft. Meine Geschichte und meine Charaktere sind total andere Wege gegangen, als ich es geplant hatte aber ich hoffe, das bedeutet, dass das Ganze wenigstens ein bisschen leserlich ist  ;-). Dieses Projekt hat mich eine Menge gelehrt und ich bin immer noch ganz davon eingenommen: Ich kann auf einen Abgabe Termin hin arbeiten; es ist ok die Geschichte, eigene Wege gehen zu lassen; ich freue mich darauf, sie zu ueberarbeiten; es ist moeglich, 5000 Worte an einem Tag zu schreiben; man kann immer aufholen und schreiben macht riesig Spass! Das Projekt hat meine Tage und Naechte beansprucht und so war keine Zeit, depressiv zu werden und dafuer bin ich enorm dankbar. ich denke, ich muss das das office of letters and light (Organisatoren des #NaNoWriMo) wissen lassen :-)!

Die meisten englischsprachigen Leser und viele der deutschsprachigen werden nicht wissen, was der #frapalymo ist. Vielleicht hast Du darueber in meinem Gedicht Blog gelesen, als ich davon zum ersten mal im Mai (natuerlich auf Twitter) gehoert habe.  #frapalymo ist @FrauPaulchen’s Lyrik  Monat: 30 Gedichte in 30 Tagen in Anlehnung an den #NaNoWriMo nur mit Gedichten und Impulsen von Sophie Paulchen. Sie gibt jeden Tag einen Impuls und wenn Du teilnehmen willst bloggst Du Deine Gedichte und verlinkst mit ihrem Blog oder Du hinterlaesst Dein Gedicht in den Kommentaren auf Ihrem Blog und sie tweeted darueber. Sie hat geniale Ideen, die sie von Tweets, Gedichten, Dichtern, Bildern und anderen Dingen, die Ihr ueber den Weg laufen, nimmt.

Es war eine ziemliche Herausforderung, beides zu versuchen und ich muss zugeben fuer eine Woche habe ich den #frapalymo total vergessen. ABer es hat Spass gemacht. Eine Schreibekstase ohne Schuldgefuehle, innerem Kritiker, und ohne Grenzen. Einfach nur Schreiben. Ich empfehle es jedem, das naechstes Jahr mal zu probieren :-).

Jetzt habe ich allerdings Entzugserscheinungen, weil ich keine bestimmte Anzahl an Worten schreiben und keinem Impuls folgen aber dafuer einen Weg zurueck ins Bloggen und neue Projekte finden muss. Als ob das ein Problem fuer mich waere ;-): Da gibt es immer noch einen Gedicht Band selber zu veroeffentlichen, einen ersten Entwurf fuer einen Roman zu ueberarbeiten (was ich nicht vor Januar tun werde (falls es uns da noch gibt (der  21. 12 ruft 😉 )), am ABC der Gedichtformen fuer die  #MondayPrompts zu arbeiten und dann muss ich ja auch noch viel zwitschern und instagrammen.

Du siehst also, mir wird nicht langweilig werden ~ ehrlich Du musst Dir keine Sorgen machen :-)!

 

 

I spoil myself…..

Writing

…. with this post!

“WHAT?!” I can see you think “What the heck is she writing about?!”

I am writing about the fact that I have planned my writing day today and I have reached my goals and well this post is my prize so to say. Just a post to enjoy and share what’s going on (besides all those medieval, celtic, pagan videos I am sharing on Twitter lol).

Well, I think it is important to get an award when you achieved what you wanted to achieve especially when your job is to write where you never really know what comes from it. Awards motivate you to go on when it gets tough and they can look differently. Yesterday it was reading the rest of Suzanne Colin’s “Mockingjay” which I really enjoyed. I think you can learn a lot from her Hunger Games Trilogy.

Today it is writing this post and tomorrow it might be a cup of coffee or a cookie. Who knows 🙂 (I try to stay creative with my awards (and I already had the cup of coffe today 😉 )).

What have  I learned today?

Research can confuse you more than clarify anything and it can lead you astray. (“What?! Again?!” I hear you shout now)

I was working on a character chart for my main character of my NaNoWriMo novel and needed an age. Now she is from Germany, had been abused and the question for me was: “Is the limitation period over or not?” Blimey difficult to find out even though German is my native tongue and I have studied social work so I know a little bit about German law (Nothing I want to dwell on it is sooooooooo boring).

Well I figured in her case the limitation period is just about to expire and therefore found her age. Brilliant. But that research needed ages and I was so keen on getting on with those character charts. It felt like a waste of time and it also confused me because more and more questions came up which not necessarily had anything to do with the story.

I got back on track though. My inner critic was raging but I told myself that it is necessary to get that age right. Changed the whole story a bit I have to admit but I suppose that might happen more often until its finished. That seems to be the nature of story writing which used to drive me mad and made me think I am such a failure and not able to write properly.

One part of my writing day is to read some of the blogs about writing. One of them today was the blog of the office of LETTERS AND LIGHT which was about the question if you plan or just get on with it (http://blog.lettersandlight.org/post/33164071079/pantser-planner-percolator).

Well, as you know I try my way through the planning (Snowflake Method) which is somehow against my nature. But when I just was writing along I used to lose the plot (literally 🙂 ) so I needed to try something else.

I like the idea and expression of “percolator” though. Isn’t that that Italian coffee maker you put on your hob and it heats up water and steam makes the coffee????? I have not idea why that might be a middle thing between planner and panster but in the end: “Who cares!”

 

 

 

 

What have I done?????!

 

Oh dear what have I done?

In a mood of “I really really want to write that novel now, soon ah I don’t know when and I had decided not to write any novels anyway….!” I signed up for the “National Novel Writing Month” which is all November every years since 1999. I had heard about it since autumn last year but as I had not idea about word counts or what mine might be I found the idea to write a first draft for a novel in one month pretty daunting.

This year I read about it again and suddenly felt I had nothing to lose just to have a look. And then I got hooked :-). Well, I know now that I can easily write 600 words in a day but 1666 every day for a month? Still daunting to be honest. But it also feels like a pretty cool challenge which is worth it.

The initiators of the #NaNoWriMo how it is abbreviated and used as a Twitter hashtag are a non-profit organisation called “The Office of Letters and Light”  which goal it is to help adults and kids reach their creative potential. Now if that is not a fine value :-)!

They organise many events one of which is the #NaNoWriMo. They offer and enormous amount of help with prep-talks, word count calculators, working with libraries and forums. What really took me in at last was the fact that they have a similar program for children and work with schools as well. What has started in the San Fransisco Bay Area with 21 writers just for fun has become a world-wide phenomenon with many novels written and even some published. (I just had a look ~ its actually quite a lot published 🙂 )

I like the whole idea and I like to finish at least one novel in my life even though I seem to have a change of mind quite constantly lately about the length of my preferred writing form. Well, who cares as long as I write lol.

No doubt I will wake up every morning until the 31. of November and ask myself “What have I done?!” but maybe you like to share my fate and join in as well????????

 

 

 

 

 

 

Writing with pen and paper II.

Well, I would have loved to write with pen and paper and it did start great on the ferry to the continent. Had two hours and spent most of them writing but that was really it.

Firstly it was so hot you could hardly move which dried out my brain and consequently my creativity and secondly I was so busy helping my gran and spending time with my family that there was none left for writing.

Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed that thoroughly but I missed writing though. Was reading Virginia Woolf’s lectures “A room of ones own” and experienced in reality how true it is that you need a space for yourself and time for yourself to be creative.

That is maybe the best input I got for my creative work: my thoughts about feminism and todays female artists.

Are we still fighting with the same problems like the creative ladies of times gone by?

Do we have the same freedoms as male artists have?

Is it really a question of gender or is it a question of how society sees and treats art?

Had a discussion on Twitter with a very conservative feminist lady a few weeks ago who said something: women bear children that is why they are more peacefull and try to protect more and men are violent which makes women victims. Men have to change then everything will be ok.

That seemed to be a much too simple explanation to me and it made me think ever since. Things are not that simple especially not when humans are involved.

I will go on thinking and see what comes from it.

image

Paradigmn~Change

 

Kirsten Lamb said it before and I want to repeat it: “Today is an amazing time for artists!”

The internet and social media has changed the possibilities artists have enormously. Besides all the old routes of publishing with a traditional publishing house or showing your paintings in an exhibition you can self-publish e-books or blogs or just show your art on YouTube.

Of course there are those who bemoan the “good olden times” when everything was so much better but let’s be honest: All times have their good and their bad sides.

Just yesterday I was thinking about the 80’s when I was a teenager without a pc and a worldwide connection to other artists and writers. We still wrote letters by hand of course to other countries but it needed at least a week until the letter arrived and then another to receive one back. If you lived in the country there were hardly any poetry slams or other creative projects available. You were lucky if there was a theatre group travelling and bringing some classic to your village.

I suspect those who miss those times are those who had a lot of power in the artistic circles way back then but losing it now as everyone can publish their products in the blink of an eye. Of course you can discuss the quality of those publications but as far as I can see most artists want to improve their work and learn so much via Twitter, blogs and all the other opportunities you have today. And artists are a sharing bunch. They do not hide with advice and support. There has not been any other time where you could learn so much.

I also suspect that we are living through a change as big as the invention of the book print. This is exciting! This is brilliant!

My hope is that this change means that money and making money becomes a lot less desirable but your own development be it in an artistic, spiritual or any other non-monetary way. In my opinion the latest revolutions, riots and protests around the world show that this  paradigm-change is already taking place.

My hope is also that artists of all shades take the possibility to shape our future to be a more fair, peaceful and healing one.

Let’s go and shape!