From Time Capsule Back to Website

So I've not put a lot of new content on here, I know. It's really going to get in the way of my meteoric stats rise, and that's a shame, but let me explain.

I've been reconsidering where I place my work online, and how best to use my website. For now, I think there's going to be a lot less new content on here. What you can expect are larger monthly update posts. These will attempt to capture what I've been writing and creating elsewhere in the world.

Writing

Now of course, you can always check out my writing portfolio page for a master list of everything I've written and put out into the world, but here's what I've been up to so far this year:

So at a glance, it looks like I've abandoned Ash & Feather for Medium. That's not entirely true, but going forward a lot of my short-form writing will end up on Medium. Why is that? Honestly, because it pays. Not a lot, but enough to usually cover my phone bill each month, and certainly more than the nothing I was getting out of publishing directly on here.

I also won the February qualifier for Hammer & Tongue Solent. They're a poetry slam competition, and I'll be competing in their regional slam in December. If I'm one of the two best poets that night, I'll go on to perform at the national slam at the Royal Albert Hall! So wish me luck!

Speaking of poetry performance, I'm regularly going to open mic nights and improving my technique, and I've started recording my readings. I'm hoping this will lead to a poetry-based YouTube channel, but in the meantime any videos will go up on the Ash & Feather Facebook page.

Workshops

Itchen to Write has been growing as a platform for affordable, accessible writing workshops across a broad range of disciplines. So far this year we've hosted workshops on screenwriting, plot and structure, found poetry, and this month we're doing editing! You can find out more about our events on Meetup or Itchen to Write's website.

I'm also teaching a variety of courses for Eastleigh College:

If you're local to the area and fancy learning a bit more about these subjects, head over to their website and book your place!

Freelancing

My freelance writing work has tapered off somewhat, so if you're interested in working together, please don't hesitate to get in touch. I have a wide range of experience in copywriting, fiction writing, and other forms.

Miscellaneous

As mentioned before, I do have an Etsy shop now. At the moment it's mostly ceramics and vintage books, but I'm hoping to add a wide range of bullet journal layouts, prints, and planner PDFs in the future. If there's anything you think would be good to add, let me know and I'll look into it!

My social media presence has been growing; I'm over 1k followers on Twitter now, and creeping up on 200 followers on Instagram. Neither of these are particularly branded, but I post a lot of nice photography and political memes so if that's your thing consider adding yourself to a growing crowd of people with excellent taste.


Anyway, I think that's about it for now. As always, comments and suggestions are always welcome!

 

Monthly update!

We're closing in on a year of ups and downs, redundancies, temp roles, and dipping my toes in the freelance waters. I've made some really positive changes and significant progress on my mental and physical health, and I think 2019 is shaping up to be a fantastic year indeed.

News!

NaNoWriMo, unsurprisingly, was a bust for me. In retrospect, November strikes me as a really inconvenient month to try and write a rough draft of a novel (or at least 50k of a rough draft). There's Thanksgiving, and Christmas is looming on the horizon. And it's on the back end of Halloween and Bonfire Night.

But, it doesn't mean I haven't been busy! I'm excited to have a few opportunities going:

If you're interested in working with me on proofreading, editing, or writing, please don't hesitate to get in touch.

And what does all that mean?

It means I've been busy, but like a good busy, not the unproductive sort of busy that's plagued my life for so long. I'm happier producing creative content, and I look forward to sharing all of it with you in the coming year.

If there's anything you'd like to see more of on this website, please let me know--I'm always looking for new ideas!

Monthly update dropping like these crisp autumn leaves

Monthly update!

It's a little late, but better late than never. I've been thinking about how I'm framing these monthly updates. They're supposed to be part accountability, part actual news updates to let you guys know what I'm up to when I'm busy not posting. So I might play around with how they're laid out and what I actually talk about in them. If you've got feedback, you know where to leave it.

So what's going on?

  1. I've been accepted to teach an introduction to poetry course through a local college! I'll also be teaching some IT and marketing related courses, so be sure to check it out!
  2. Itchen To Write also had a very successful workshop on editing your writing with writing coach and screenwriter Craig J. Rickard. We've got more in the works; watch this space!
  3. I was featured on Medium, in their publication I Quit!, a collection of the best times we quit the worst jobs. You can read my contribution here.
  4. My first poetry collection, BELTS: A NATIONAL SNAPSHOT IN POEMS, is available on Amazon! It's less than £1, so please consider downsizing your coffee one morning to make room in your budget for a copy.
  5. Ash & Feather is on Facebook now, officially. I post industry news, behind the scenes snippets of what I'm working on, and the occasional bit of new content. Give it a like, what've you got to lose?
  6. I've had a chance to work on my photography, and I think it's getting really good. You can find out for yourself, either on Instagram or on the photography website YouPic.
  7. If you like what I get up to on here, and poetry's not your thing, you can buy me a coffee now, or if you're in it for the long haul, become a Patron.

Whew! And all that while juggling a re-entry into the workaday world, even if only as a temp. There's been a lot of positive energy and good momentum behind me lately, so don't be surprised if you see more posts like this, jam-packed with new content and achievements!

I'm also looking for opportunities for freelance writing and editing, so if you like the feel of my writing, please drop me a line.

Monthly update!

June wasn't exactly the rip-roaring month I was expecting, but in many ways I think it's for the best. There were some reality checks and I've really buckled down on assessing my priorities and developing a workable strategy. I started a Patreon to help support my writing habit as well as subsidise Itchen to Write so that I can offer workshops very cheaply or for free depending on the support levels. Currently, Itchen to write relies on donations for its meetings, and the workshops have fees. I'd like to eliminate those because I'm a filthy socialist. Sue me. Become a patron. Or buy me a coffee.

Additionally, if that's not your jam or you're not able, consider doing your shopping on Amazon through my affiliate links. They don't add to your costs when purchasing, and I get a kickback. You can find affiliate links in all of my book reviews, and anything you buy in the hour following the clickthrough applies, apparently.

I've got a lot of projects going at the moment, most are in the startup phase, so hopefully once the foundations have been laid, I can reveal these in their neat little schedules. But I'm really excited about developing new material!

Reviews!

I'm still getting back into the swing of making regular reading time. It's a bit strange that it's so hard, because I always enjoy it when I do. A bit like going to the gym, another thing I've not done in a long time.

However, we're getting down to the wire time wise, as I may be starting a new job soon. More on that as and when (and if) it happens. A nice deadline like that is usually really good for my productivity, and I've got an exciting TBR pile to work through. So I think it's fair to say I'll get several reviews out this month!

Writing News!

 

I've been rapidly growing as a poet, including developing poetry workshops and a short poetry course to offer. My current thing I'm into is found poetry, which I plan to start sharing on my Instagram, so follow now to avoid missing out!

You can also expect to see a greater focus on self-published material from me, and I've been laying the groundwork to really diversify my online presence and build a solid fan base, so y'know, watch this space!

And of course, if there's anything you'd like to see here, let me know!

winchester writers festival

Image result for winchester writers festivalLast week I got to spend the whole day amongst my fellow creative types at Winchester's 38th Writers' Festival.

It would have been great to spend the whole weekend there, taking full advantage, but I just had neither the bandwidth nor the finances to make that happen. Maybe next year!

What's it all about?

Writing! Publishing! Editing! Marketing!

The festival programme was packed with informative sessions led by proven, knowledgeable speakers. Three days of workshops, panels, discussions, readings, and networking.

While I had to step out of two of the talks I attended for 1-2-1 appointments, I thoroughly enjoyed attending Jacquelina Saphra's interactive talk on poetry, hearing Hanna Jameson talk about writing tips, as well as learning about commercial women's fiction from Sareeta Domingo and short story structure from Susmita Bhattacharya. They were all really interesting sessions, and I also got to meet other writers and make some friends.

Fun features:

The open mic night was a wonderfully intimate place to read pieces, and people from all walks of life read novel excerpts, flash fiction, poetry, and even script snippets (scrippets?). I read a few of my more politically motivated poems to enthusiastic applause. The added benefit of it being entirely for and by writers was that you also got more helpful feedback after reading.

Winchester Writers' Festival also offered 1-2-1 sessions with industry professionals. Some of these were purely to workshop a piece submitted in advance, but there were also a lot of literary agents handing out offers. I pitched one of my works, and received some really great feedback that will help me improve future drafts.

The flipside:

THE PRICE. HOLY CATS THE PRICE.

And this is frankly endemic in writing festivals/conferences/conventions.

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As someone who has done events management and budgeting, I feel like the steep prices could be undercut, and still have a good event. But I also get the feeling that the fact that there is no other event like the Winchester Writers' Festival anywhere near Hampshire does allow them to hold their delegates hostage.

While they do have about ten scholarship slots that receive free cost of attendance plus accommodation, and a small bursary fund (I qualified for one of those bursaries), it still leaves a lot of people with a searing hole in their wallets.

We need events like these that are affordable because otherwise the writing and publishing world turns into this classist community where your own bank account is gatekeeping you out of it.

That's why today I'm at the much more reasonably priced TLC Writers' Day at the Free Word Centre in London. I'll be writing about this event for my next blog post!

Monthly update!

The year is half over and I'm pretty offended about it if we're perfectly honest. The humidity is settling in and the heat is rising and it makes it pretty hard to get things done here in a country with no home A/C. But I've persevered.

The recovery from April has been a little slower on the visible side of things, but rest assured, my absence here has been supplanted by a surge of activity with my writing group, Itchen to Write, and really working hard on my main projects.

Reviews!

We've gotten off track with book reviews and social media scheduling reviews, but I can safely say the ship's been righted and there are no less than four book reviews forthcoming this month, as well as resuming the social media scheduling series with a look at Later.

As always, please note that my buy links in my reviews are Amazon Associate links, so if you make a purchase I may get a little kickback from that. It doesn't increase your prices, just helps to support the site.

Writing News!

IT'S PITCH SEASON YOU GUYS.

This month, I've got three opportunities to cram my pitch down as many agents' throats as possible. I'm going to the Winchester Writers' Festival on 16 June, as well as the TLC Writers' Day on 23 June in London. These are both amazing events I'm really looking forward to, and as of this writing tickets are still available for both so make sure you get in on that action.

Additionally, #PitMad is coming up on 7 June, so you can keep a look out for my tweets as I try and catch the eye of a lovely agent. Wish me the best of luck!

 

I'm also teaching another poetry introduction towards the latter half of the month, so things are really heating up around here, and for once I don't mean the muggy weather.

Monthly update!

April was a wash. I spent the majority of the month just treading water and I think it's pretty accurately reflected on this site. I'll be going into why that happened in a much later post I've got planned.

Reviews!

This month is already set to get back on track, with two book reviews already scheduled, and last month's installment of my social media scheduling series being pushed forward to this month. We're basically going to pretend April didn't happen.

Writing News!

The submission rejections keep rolling in, but I'm not bothered because rejections still mean progress is being made. You can read a really good article about why rejections aren't bad here.

Another major achievement is a far more robust schedule for Itchen to Write, my Hampshire, UK based writers' group. You can check it out on Meetup, or on Facebook. Choose your poison.

And lastly, I'll be giving another poetry lesson in June, time to be determined. I'm pretty excited for the way my poetry career seems to be inadvertently flourishing.

 

Monthly update!

Let's start with the biggest news: I was made redundant. I'm hoping that years later I'll be telling people in a keynote speech about how this was the turning point, and when I really started to thrive as a writer. I've also got other opportunities in the pipelines, so in no way whatsoever am I counting this as a defeat!

Additionally, I broke my finger, which I did whine about a little bit on my Twitter, but we're all mended now. It was my first broken bone in my entire life! I must admit feeling a little underwhelmed.

I have a fresh perspective to make the most of this opportunity, so hopefully you can look out for some big things going forward. I've been unemployed before and utterly failed to capitalise on a wide open schedule. Working again has shown me how I took for granted my time, and this time around, I'll be able to really put out some good writing.

Reviews!

Between various things, my reading's slipped quite a bit. But I'm hoping to recover on this front along with several others. It's gonna be a huge exercise in learning to better structure my days.

As always, please note that my buy links in my reviews are Amazon Associate links, so if you make a purchase I may get a little kickback from that. It doesn't increase your prices, just helps to support the site.

Additionally, I'll be continuing in my appraisals of alternatives to Hootsuite. Last month I took a closer look at Tweetdeck, and this month we'll be looking at Buffer.

Writing News!

Well, as expected, I bombed out of the first round of NYC Midnight's Short Story Competition. actually really liking my story. But there's nothing stopping me submitting my story elsewhere, and I think it's strong enough to do well outside the constrains of prompts. I'm also waiting to hear results on a couple more competitions I've entered.

In more positive news, I was featured on Who Writes Short Shorts? with a short sci-fi story, which you can read here. Additionally, on the 19th of March I had the great pleasure of being a guest instructor on a creative writing course. I taught a two hour lecture on poetry, which went down a treat. It's looking to become a more regular thing, and may lead to more writing workshops, probably falling under the Itchen to Write umbrella.

Speaking of Itchen to Write, it has its own, standalone website now. So you can find my Hampshire, UK, based writing group here, on Meetup, and on Facebook. With my newfound free time, I'm really looking forward to growing this group!

And what does all that mean?

I'm developing myself as a writer. It's part of a larger trend of spending more time on myself and prioritising myself and my ambitions. All of my goals fit nicely together, and working towards one works towards all of them, so I'm very excited about what the future holds. And of course, if there's anything you'd like to see here, let me know!

Go on. Try it.

Maybe start with a word. The most lovely word. Your favourite, in fact.

Describe its colours. Describe its sound. Tell us about the music it forms in your mind.

Set that paragraph into a context. A scene. A moment. A memory.

Put someone in that context. Maybe you, maybe not-you. Maybe not a person at all.

What do they do? Do they paint those palettes you created? Do they sing the music you wrote? Does their voice sound like that word? Do they reverberate with the same frequency?

What emotions do they have? Are they that of your word, or are they reactionary? What are their thoughts? Do they share your love of your word?

Think about the world they live in, a world of your word. In an instantaneous moment, it sprang forth from a seed that you cultivated. Are you not a god in this act of creation?

You have created from nothing, in defiance of all the known laws of the universe.

How mighty you are, how powerful and wise.

Carry this knowledge of your strength, your wisdom, and your vision, in a special place within you.

Draw upon it in your hour of need, and nurture it in your times of triumph. Keep it hidden, but easily accessed. The world you inhabit fears the dark, but it fears the light even more. We praise it in its absence but seek in terror to snuff it out in its presence.

Guard your light. Guard your nugget of truth. So that you can share of it with the world, linking it up to all your infinities.

social media scheduling tweetdeck

In this third instalment of my social media scheduling series, we've got another well-known contender. We've covered SocialPilot and Social Booster. Next up is TweetDeck. This review is being done with authors in mind.

Overview:

Focused purely on Twitter, this site allows you to schedule, monitor, and analyse your social media presence. It offers a clean, easy to navigate UI and just enough features to be useful without a lot of clutter you don't need.

What fired me up:

I love the UI, and the ability to search hashtags and set up columns to monitor them. It's not quite as organised or broad in scope as Hootsuite (for example, you can't have different tabs to organise your streams) but it provides more oversight than either SocialPilot or Social Booster. It was also quite easy to schedule several

What fizzled:

The obvious initial hurdle is that it's only for Twitter. If you wanted something to juggle multiple platforms, this isn't the site for you. Additionally, with their hashtag monitoring, the stream updates in real time, which means you can be reading content and it'll suddenly jump down the feed, buried by an avalanche of new tweets. A minor annoyance, but if you already have any sort of difficulty scrolling content, this isn't going to win you over.

I also wish it was a bit tidier and organisable. But that's probably more down to personal preference than anything else.

Verdict:

If you only use Twitter, this is a great way to corral everything you need. Excellent for someone that's just beginning to dive into the world of social media marketing, and needs a little help staying on top of things. However I feel it would be easy to outgrow TweetDeck and need something meatier.