a writing guy

Week 6: Of Student Strife

Week 6. I’m learning about Grammar. Or grammer, as I once stated to a room full of exec’s on a white board. Not even spotting my mistake. I’m reading. Reading a lot. I’m not writing though. This is bugging me, as I have to wrestle with other words from modules I don’t want to take, and impress people I don’t care about (other students).

Back to grammar… I’m learning that to have a grasp on the fundamentals of basic education, is your first step into getting traditionally published. Before Uni, I sprinkled the shrapnel of state school English class lessons around like grit on an icy road.

Another thing, I don’t think this blog will include any fancy writing. My brain can’t handle it. To be creative during the day, then creative in between the lectures of the day too? A hard ask to task. I will however attempt to record to the language that amuses me:

You-chewb – for example. That interests me. My partner and I, have developed a habit of emphasising the wrong weight of a word. YouTube, becomes You-chewb. Once emphasised, that focus becomes the dominant in conversation and it becomes our little joke. We may ‘chewb’ for hours on end. Or I may ask her to ‘veover’ (to move-over). I’m liking this linguistic fun. It has sod all to do with my writing, but I would like it to creep in somewhere.

I’ve read, Clockwork Orange, Tristram Shandy & Holes.. I’m on the Ipcress File now. All on the Kindle btw, I’m trying not to buy any books… however Ray Bradburys ‘The Martian Chronicles’ the IF, and that isn’t in digital form. Oh well.

Right now, I have a queue of writing and not enough time. Ironic, as I’m camped out in Nero writing a blog post. But I feel it is a resignation of my effort to meet the deadlines. I have a short on the topic of ‘Clocks’ (the timepiece and its associations with my life and connected others). I have a short to write whereby the title must be a cliché… and the story must do it artistic justice. ‘Create a work of Art from it’ I’m told. Fair enough. Sounds like a challenge. I have been given a copy of ‘The Worm In The Apple’ by John Cheever to get inspired from. He did well; I may not.

I have also just finished an academic piece (my first) on the topic of ‘Why It Is Important To Study Media?’. I’m also missing right now a poetry module. Why? Because I need to write this creative ‘cliché’ short. Which I’m not doing. I’m writing this. Ho-hum.

So… lets get on with it. Any questions for a mature student, returning to education after 20 years of work? I’ll answer anything.

Until next time – Mark


Full time creative writing

After 2 weeks of being a creative writing student I have learnt the following things:

  1. I don’t re-read my work out loud and should
  2. I really should have applied for an MA instead of a BA.
  3. The course is not designed for mature students that work as well.
  4. The Uni isn’t ‘tech savvy’ despite what it thinks.
  5. The students are all great and I’m enjoying their company.
  6. I have a lot to do.
  7. My grammar sucks… and I need to sort it out.
  8. I need to read more. A lot more.
  9. Uni organisation is terrible. Academia is like a Quango.
  10. My first piece of writing submitted has been a good experience.
  11. I want to create a digital academics workshop for lecturers and students alike.
  12. My digital self publishing workshop now has an audience.

Oh, that’ll do. I feel like I’m moaning already. However for those that are unaware. I have signed up to a full time 3 year writing degree… and it’s at a very difficult time. I’m not fully employed (self employed consultancy… with not a lot of work around), I have to move home shortly with my partner (really hard trying to find a place as a couple, without a proper job and being students).

So, that aside. My experience as a full time student has been great. I live 3 miles away and cycle in whenever I need to. I love the courses I have, Creative Writing (lectures, seminars, workshops & plenary), Exploration In Prose Fiction (lectures & seminars), Introduction to Media (slightly left-field module lectures, seminars to match my external work) and a rather dodgy module selection of Reading to Write Poetry (I might end up liking it eventually).

This course is giving me a chance to really blast test my Kindle, so far I’ve been emailing everything to it. At the moment I’ve read Clockwork Orange and have loved it. My first book ever, reading with a critical eye. I have made over 80 notes and highlights on the device. It’s not so easy to fan through the pages, like I would a book, but it’s a good start. I’m now reading ‘The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman’ by Laurence Sterne. An 18th Century novel which… I have to admit has not gripped me at all in the opening pages. It’s a real struggle to get into. Last night I started drifting off to sleep after 2 pages! I have no-idea what the objective of reading this title, I might have to email the tutor to explain it a little more.

I’ve sat here too long. Gotta go get food and read! More later, sorry.

Urban OS

smart cities with Urban OS

Great story from the ‘Brave New World’ / ‘1984’ ideology – love it.

Day 1 of Freshers Week

So far:

  • the laundry is on
  • I’ve run out of oats for breakfast so mouldy old bread is toasted
  • I’ve got to clean the cooker

I might blog this entire thing as a mature student taking a degree in Creative Writing.

{Edit: I might not]

Writing tips by top authors

amazing tips on becoming a better writer by 99percent blog.

I really love all of these and have discovered many for myself already.

No More Nanowrimo

I have decided today, that nanowrimo is no more. It’s been a great ride, the last 4 years, however I’ve been able to see it’s warts whilst benefiting from it’s strength. Currently, my warts need removing.

The strength of nano, has given me:

  • discipline,
  • momentum (albeit for a month),
  • pride,
  • speedy fingers,
  • silencing my inner editor,
  • a focus on content,
  • optimism for the future as a writer.

The weaknesses of nano are:

  • the focus on quantity not quality,
  • the absence of commentary on progress,
  • lack of structure, planning & editing,
  • operating in a silo (I failed to get to the nano meet-ups)
  • whittling a good idea
  • completion of writing from beginning to end
  • feedback
  • monetising
  • promotion
So, this means that nano is no more. I may return to do another one, but only after I have successfully completed a full novel, published and offered it to friends to read/sell.
One month out of the year isn’t much to sacrifice, but it takes 11months of planning. Right now, I do not need another first draft on my hands. I need a completed novel.
My love of nano will remain, as will my precious hoodie, my donations towards the project and my enthusiasm for any budding novelist to take the same path I did in order to develop a writing routine with great rewards. What now?
Look at the weaknesses above. Every one of those will be my focus.

Man Booker Prize 2011

The Longlist:

Julian Barnes – The Sense of an Ending (Jonathan Cape – Random House)
Sebastian Barry – On Canaan’s Side (Faber)
Carol Birch – Jamrach’s Menagerie (Canongate Books)
Patrick deWitt – The Sisters Brothers (Granta)
Esi Edugyan – Half Blood Blues (Serpent’s Tail – Profile)
Yvvette Edwards – A Cupboard Full of Coats (Oneworld)
Alan Hollinghurst – The Stranger’s Child (Picador – Pan Macmillan)
Stephen Kelman – Pigeon English (Bloomsbury)
Patrick McGuinness – The Last Hundred Days (Seren Books)
A.D. Miller – Snowdrops (Atlantic)
Alison Pick – Far to Go (Headline Review)
Jane Rogers – The Testament of Jessie Lamb (Sandstone Press)
D.J. Taylor – Derby Day (Chatto & Windus – Random House)

Captcha Story By Gabrielle de Vietri

The How To Write Guide

Every line is a classic… if you don’t understand them – you need to look them up. Brilliant.

New stuff

Hey-Low! I’m alive and kicking… writing regularly in a local college evening class and accepted to the prestigious Bath Spa University for a 3 year degree in Creative Writing. What the hell have I let myself in for?  I’m technically unemployed at 38 right now, bills to pay and have challenged myself to set up my own consulting business in Social Media, Branding & Employee / Customer Experience. What a handful to take on… I must be mad. But fuck it, you only get one chance in life and I know more than anything that carving out the next 20 years of my life to make some proper money is the best use of my time. Even if it’s scary as hell and means I’m going to be working my ass off and getting into debt a lot. My back up plan? Sell my flat and finance the whole she-bang until I either make money or run out of money. Whichever happens first, I’m not sure but going to do my damnedest to try as much as possible to set myself up for a decent future and I know that isn’t going to happen sitting on my arse working for someone else.

Anyways… now that’s off my chest… what am I doing here? Well I’m just researching a few places and have found some great writing links… first up, ranks of the US Police force… very handy. Also Weird California. The other two links below are





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