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Writer's Forum Introductions

(60 Posts)
AussieSim Wed 14-Apr-04 17:58:05

So far 16 MNers have expressed interest in participating in a Writer's Forum and I think we will get a lot more interest once we get going. In particular I want to make the exercises short and fun - and let's face it everyone is a writer on here and isn't shy about sharing their writing.

Anyway, first of all intros.

I'm 35, married, DS 14mths, in Germany. Have been journalling on and off for about 8 years. I did the first semester of a writing course in Australia but had to drop out to move here. During the course I wrote a short story (4000 words), it was set in a mining town near the coast of Western Australia during a tropical cylcone with two stranded women as the main characters. I've never been published, but I'd like to have a go at all kinds of writing - fiction, non-fiction, poetry, lyrics, screenwriting but I guess my greatest fantasy is to publish a novel. I want to make a go of this forum mainly to keep me motivated.

Your turn ...

Janstar Wed 14-Apr-04 18:08:06

I'm 42, married, dd1 14, dd2 11, ds 3. Live in Herts. Attended creative writing for about 12 years with the same fantastic tutor, small group of about 10 of us, four of whom have been published. I also attend a poetry group in my village which is decidedly more amateurish, but interesting and fun.

I have written approximately 70 poems, maybe 30 short stories, a couple of lyrics, a few essays. Wrote about 25,000 words of a novel years ago and got fed up with it. Am now attempting another novel so far about 14,000 words.

Last year I informally edited a good friend's fantasy childrens' novel which is now being published by Penguin.

I'd like motivation to make more time to keep up with writing my novel, and I'd like to help other people with their writing.

My No 1 ambition is to be a successful novelist who could make people laugh and cry.

popsycal Wed 14-Apr-04 18:56:06

Hi - 29 (30 next month...). Live with DS of 20 months and DH in the north east of England.

Am a school teacher - Year 6. Love teaching kids to write - which many many teachers absolutely hate.
Started writing for pleasure at about 15 years old - poems, observations about things which annoyed me, interested me, made me laugh. Wrote for Uni newspaper and was going to be a journalist. Then got side tracked by men and teaching. Write lots of poems but not very 'intellectual' ones. Have note books where I write bits of short stories, observations, etc. Have several ideas for novels but since DS was born, I haven't had the time. Well, I haven't 'made' the time I suppose.

DH is always nagging me to write - he is the only person who has read my stuff. Apart from one poem which I wrote and read out at my son's naming ceremony. Am nervous about sharing my work. Worried that it may be good enough for teaching children but not 'good enough' IYKWIM.

Tried to enrol for a local writing course but was a little over qualified (they said I may wish to do a GCSE in English if successful on the course - they looked at me as though I was crazy when I said I was a teacher. LOL)

Need motivation and need to assign a 'writing time'. Like deadlines and 'assignments'!

Really pleased that this TALK area has got off the ground.

That's me!

papillon Wed 14-Apr-04 19:26:20

I am an avid book worm and many books inspire me to write. Ben Okri is a favourite author of mine. I am reading `Journey by Midnight´by Antal Szerb at the moment and even though it is a translation, I am captivated by the way that the story is woven and the perceptions that it evokes.

I am also wanting the motivation of a group to help encourage me to to begin writing. I have not written before - but have done abit of report writing and essay procrastination!

I am from New Zealand and am married to a Swiss/Kiwi. We live in Bern, Switzerland (3 years now). Our dd is 5 months old. Age 33.

AussieSim Wed 14-Apr-04 20:18:40

I got a delivery from Amazon today and I'd ordered 'The Dark Room' for the MN April Book Club. I opened it up to read the little bit on the author and it says she was born in '71 and that it was her first novel - and bloody well nominated for the Booker Prize. I don't want to sound ungracious but ... 'what a bitch - I hate her and I hate her even more if she is thin.'
And damn it she is .

fisil Wed 14-Apr-04 20:21:15

Did anyone see my contribution on here? It should have been 3rd post. Shall I type it all in again?

popsycal Wed 14-Apr-04 20:22:05

fisil - dod you type it o the other writers thread?

spacemonkey Wed 14-Apr-04 20:28:57

I'm 36, freshly single with dd 12 and ds 10 and I live in Essex.

I went to a writers' group for a year or so a few years ago. I find writing hard, but therapeutic. During that time my writing consisted almost entirely of poetry.

I have no ambitions to be published. I love words and have so far found poetry to be the best form for me because it allows more freedom than other more structured forms.

I've done some journalling but I'm undisciplined.

I've used Julia Cameron's book The Artist's Way: A Course in Discovering and Recovering Your Creative Self
but my favourite, favourite source of inspiration is Natalie Goldberg's book Writing Down the Bones - it's fantastic.

The writers that really make me burn to write are George Orwell and Kazuo Ishiguro. I always think of them as very *precise* writers and that attracts me.

AussieSim Wed 14-Apr-04 20:35:27

Spacemonkey, I love The Artists Way, or more specifically I love the morning pages she recommends - difficult to do since having DS I've found, but thanks for reminding me - maybe I'll start up again. I will also check out your other recommendation.

Sorry Fisil - I do think you introduced yourself yesterday. Can you cut and paste it in here - if I do it it might be confusing.

spacemonkey Wed 14-Apr-04 20:38:24

AussieSim, the Goldberg book is an absolute treasure chest of inspiration and ideas. It's not a structured "course" type of book, more a collection of short inspirational pieces with ideas for freeing up the creative juices. VERY highly recommended.

SenoraPostrophe Wed 14-Apr-04 20:40:16

Well I worked in a Bookies in the worst part of Brighton for 2 years because I wanted to meet some characters to write about - I actually said that at the interview and got the job. Sadly motivation failed me and I trained to become a teacher (English Language, English for foreigners and IT). And now I'm a web programmer, but I do all the copy writing for our sites so I'm still a bit creative - and published in a way.

I've been collaborating on a film script with my sis for a long time (must get that finished and back to her for the next edit! ) and have recently been inspired to write stories again. Used to write poetry but not in years.

Also could do with more motivation!

Flip Wed 14-Apr-04 20:41:31

I'm 27 on Monday and live near Manchester with my dh of five years and our two ds's, 5 and 4.5 months.

My mother suggested me starting to write when I was twelve. I was really struggling with not being one of the "boys" anymore. All of my friends were boys and a girl of twelve was no longer welcome. I still wasn't ready to grow up so I threw myself into writing. It started off with a factual account of one of the adventures I'd had and then it soon turned into fiction with different characters who I became totally absorbed with. This has continued for the last fifteen years and now runs into thousands of pages and hundreds of adventures. I only feel able to write children's fiction but I'll try anything.

Since finding mumsnet in January I've only managed about a dozen pages but I do enjoy writing.

fisil Wed 14-Apr-04 20:44:34

Actually it should have been the 4th post, because I've realised I was typing it during the Archers - so I probably got distracted and hit the wrong key!

So, here we go again. I live in London with dp & ds (15 months). I'm also a teacher and I want to write non fiction. I've written various guides, handbooks etc. which have had a very small circulation, and I'm involved in writing a handbook which will hopefully be published next Easter. I wanted to publish my MA dissertation, but I've left it too long and I am no longer up to date with the subject matter. I'm looking forward to motivation and discipline on this site!

SenoraPostrophe Wed 14-Apr-04 20:59:53

Fisil: what is the handbook about? and the dissertation?

I also have the very writerly trait of nosiness

fisil Thu 15-Apr-04 07:51:51

SP, The handbook is about leading a mathematics department and the dissertation about numeracy summer schools and stopping the lapse in learning over the summer break. I admire nosiness.

sibble Thu 15-Apr-04 08:35:16

I'd like to join too. I'm 38, living in NZ although originally from London/Essex. Have DS 4yrs and am 23 weeks with number 2. have no 'formal' qualifications in writing but have had some research and work related pieces published in medical journals. Am interested in writing fiction though and have recently sent off a short piece to a 'junk' mag for publication and have 2 other pieces sitting on the computer while I try to decide what to do with them.
Have over the years started a few novels but am very self critical and have stopped before they were finished.

JeniN Thu 15-Apr-04 09:37:35

Hi there, I'm another one who has been distracted by mumsnet recently...love writing and periodically try to make more space for it in my life. I'm 31, one gorgeous baby, supportive dh who tries to encourage me to write more (think he's banking on the bestseller saving us from poverty - dream on!) I really struggle with plotting and with actually 'finishing' anything. Went on a one-off 'starting to write' course at the cheltenham lit festival last year where we did exercises and really enjoyed it - it's scary sharing writing though, don't you think? Thanks for starting this thread.

JeniN Thu 15-Apr-04 09:38:03

Oh, and I work 4 days per week in mental health.

Janstar Thu 15-Apr-04 10:11:50

I am really enjoying reading these introductions. It has just hit me how many people don't show anyone their work, something I hadn't considered much before, since I have been going to my class for so long. It's very easy to dismiss our own work as rubbish or be afraid to show it to anyone for fear they will confirm this. But it is far more likely that people will think it is good, and encourage you to write more.

Pennypocket Thu 15-Apr-04 10:43:00

I am 26 years old, live in South Yorks and have one DS aged 2.5. I live with my DP who is a chef.

I have always read avidly and began writing at the age of 7. My ambition has always been to be a novelist but finding the time is very hard as I am currently studying for mortgage exams and DP works evenings so I tend to be rushed off my feet then.

I have managed to write 2 chapters of a novel and aim to write 1 more before sending them off as sample chapters. I also do not let anyone read my work though not sure why - probably because to a certain extent writing is very personal.

My pc is down at home so I am using the one at work, but when it is up and running again I would love to become involved.

lemonice Thu 15-Apr-04 11:23:18

Hi I am really attractedto the idea of starting writing again But am really anxious about not being able to any more Never done anything properly but went back to college as an art student about 12 years ago and started writing quite a lot then combined with art work. Last writing experience was a weeks course nearly five years ago at hebden bridge at end of which i came home and told exdh was leaving him. Haven't written anything outside work since. I think about it but am rather scared.

Used to write poetry but would really like to write fiction but perhaps too lazy. And like someone else said I'm not very good at finishing things (at college this was called fear of failure)

spacemonkey Thu 15-Apr-04 11:26:19

lemonice, your post rang bells for me

writing can be very powerful and scary!

lemonice Thu 15-Apr-04 11:35:36

Spacemonkey just flipped back to your post have made a not eof your recommendations See you used the word therapeutic which was interesting i think I found stirred things up was a factor too.

I get quite obsessive about things once i start eg haven't read any fiction for ages but once i start i can't stop and end up slightly not sure how to putit. Detached or like living in a parallel world. I think there is a word for it. It applies to people who can become absorbed in books to the extent that they don't hear any body talking to them and have to physically yank themselves back to thereal world. Used to be like this when young always up a tree or in bed reading.

spacemonkey Thu 15-Apr-04 11:37:59

I'm the same! Am absolutely notorious for going into tunnel vision mode when reading or working on the computer. It's become a joke in my family now - my mum shouts "MURA" at me to force me out of my concentration (italian for wall, as in LIKE TALKING TO A WALL!!!)

lemonice Thu 15-Apr-04 11:45:17

I'm on the computer a lot during the day well partly because I've found this site but also because it does have to be used for work. It is next to me at the shop counter and so I am half turned away from shop front and now started jumping out of my skin when a customer comes in which is quite embarrassing (quiet shop!)

Someone else mentioned Ben Okra - The Famished Road was one of the books that really influenced me when it came out.

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