Shine, Pumpkin, Shine!

Bang bang bang went the door

Woo woo woo went the wind

Creak creak creak went the floor

Rattle rattle rattle went the broomstick in the corner

The pumpkin said nothing

Bang bang went the door

Woo woo went the wind

Creak creak went the wooden floor

Rattle rattle went the broomstick in the corner

The pumpkin sat still. He said nothing.

Bang went the door

Woo-oo-ooh went the wind

Creak went the floorboards

Rattle went the broomstick in the corner.

The pumpkin smiled. He smiled and smiled. It was Halloween and it was his turn to SHINE.


My Process

This is where I am in my process so far: Every morning I write three foolscap pages longhand, whatever comes to mind. That is important to clear my mind of all the thoughts and concerns of the day and sometimes to gather new ideas and intuitions. Later in the day, at any time, I type into my laptop for forty-five minutes. At that time my rule for myself is that I am working on a story, or nonfiction writing on a theme, or developing a plot, but the time is dedicated towards developing my writing craft. It is quite simple really, and is working well for me even in busy times. Also I have committed to myself that I will submit one story, essay or poem a month, either to a competition or to a magazine. That keeps me in the habit of facing the challenge of completing something and sending it off.

Writer’s Doubt

I am participating in the Overcoming Writer’s Doubt Contest by Positive Writer.

Reading through what I’ve written on this topic, I have decided to share some of my journal entries, made during an attack of Writer’s Doubt. I have edited these slightly for clarity and to avoid repetition.


Writer’s doubt. Today or yesterday, I had a huge meltdown because my story about Grandpa would not work out and I felt like a failure. I felt stressed because I envisaged working and working on creating different plots that did work, pouring all my energy into it, until Sunday, and maybe it would still not be good enough to send. Meantime I had two workshops to prepare for and give, day workshops, so I was going to burn myself out. I felt panic stricken. I remembered the prayer: I’ll take care of the quantity; You take care of the quality. I scaled down my expectations of myself considerably. I decided that even if I gave a hundred per cent attention to the little stories in every spare second until Sunday, I was not going to be able to redress the learning I had not done about creating plots, nor indeed the weakness or limitation on my part in that area. The point is that I need to send the story off anyway; it is important for me to hold to that rhythm. The process of sending it off, of sending the submissions off is an important one for me. It is a connection with the outer world, so that the inner does not remain inside me. There is a movement in me as I send off my brain child into the ether that has an importance for me. It is a letting go, and a trusting. It is adventurous. It is almost like magic. I do everything I can and then I push it off into the unknown. It is my little communication to the out there. It is satisfying to me. It is myself in communication to the beyond me. It is almost like a conversation with somebody or some bodies.


I did not sleep well at all last night. I had a horrible dream of a blank cream wall. It does not sound awful, but it was, shocking and juddering, and I woke up. I thought, well, maybe this picture book writing just is not something I can do. Maybe it just is not what I’m called to. Maybe I am forcing this. I had a horrible feeling in my head, with blocks of things moving around, very stressed.


This morning I felt calmer. I  tidied up my story as kindly and gently as I could, with love, and sent it off. This freed me. In the morning light I told myself that even if I do not have a natural gift for creating plots, it is a skill that I can learn. Right then and there I applied myself to finding out whatever I could about plot structures for children’s books on the internet.

Me too

Today I decided to make a sortie into the brave new world of blogging. I discovered that I could create a free blog through WordPress. Good. I came up with a few titles for my blog, titles that I thought were rather meaningful and evocative – unusual.

“Always writing”, I wrote. Unfortunately this address has been taken, the computer informed me. I tried “writing for life”. Very nice, I thought, it says something that’s important to me. Already taken.

“Journalling for life”? Already taken too.

Are they trying to con me, I wondered. Do they just want me to press that button that says I’ll pay 18 dollars to get the name I want? I tried a few more.

“Life writes”. That’s really smart. I congratulated myself on this witty bit of word play. Already taken.

Life.writes? You may only use lower case letters and numbers, I was informed. No interpolated full stops

Defeated, I ended up with “Always writing 2”.

Me 2 (too), I’m always writing too. I’m journalling for life too. And I have life writes. I have all of that good stuff. OK, I came in a bit late, down the queue somewhere. But I’m here 2 (too).

writing about writing