Writing Workshop #30 – Transitions, bangs and being in charge
Welcome back to your weekly Writing Workshop. Thanks for your patience last week. I was recovering from a bad Fibro flare-up and then there was Kai’s birthday and an AMAZING day to go and see the Picasso exhibition at Tate Liverpool (a whole other blog post) And, it seems, it wasn’t just me feeling a bit weary last week so no bad thing to have a breather perhaps. We’re back to normal this week though, so I hope a week off has given you a renewed energy to get writing.
For any newbies (and it’s never to late to join in), here’s how it works: I’m going to give you 5 writing/blogging prompts. Pick one, pick two, or do them all if you’re really keen – it’s up to you. How you respond is your choice. You could share a real-life story, or make one up. You could write a poem or just free-write without thinking too hard and see what happens. It can be funny; it can be serious; it can be emotional. It can be whatever you want it to be. The only rule is to enjoy writing your post and get something out of the process.
Prompts each week take their inspiration from blogs, current affairs, daily life, or just whatever everyone happened to be talking about that week. If you’d like to suggest a prompt for a future workshop then send me an email or catch me on Twitter – I would love to hear your ideas.
And remember! We’re not looking for perfection here! Just have a go! The best way to get better at writing is PRACTISE. All the best writers aren’t afraid to write badly. So turn your inner-critic off for a while and just see what words come out.
Here’s this week’s prompts!
1. What’s your therapy?
- Inspired by Kerry-Ann at Falling Starlett who has been using music to give her inspiration and peace.
2.Tell us a story of something that happened with a bang.
- Inspired by Emma’s beautiful firework photos over at Me, the Man and the Baby.
3. Who’s your boss? Who (or what!) is in charge of you and your life?
- Inspired by Geeky Mummy’s four year old’s impeccable logic…
4. Share your experience of a difficult transition. A moving ‘from’ to ‘something new’.
- Inspired by the Bubbleboo and her son’s Transition Day at school.
And finally, the last prompt is just one word. This should allow you a bit more creative freedom if you feel like taking the safety harness that particular week.
- Inspired by World of Walker who has been finding her running feet again
Now here’s what you have to do. Write your post and publish it on your blog between now and THURSDAY. On Thursday come back and use the widget that will be up to paste in the URL of your post to share. Then take some time to read some of the other entries and leave some comment love! We’re not here to critique – just to have fun and support each other in our writing experiments. So be kind please. Anyone who would like to submit something via email, or even anonymously will be more than welcome to do so. I’ll post them on the site here and include the link in Thursday’s round-up.
Feel free to use the Workshop badge on your blog or as part of your post if you like. Code is here:
Note: I’m told Blogger does something a bit funny with the code so you’ll need to copy and paste it and then retype the quotation marks (“) as Blogger changes them for some reason. See you Thursday then!
This Writing Workshop is brought to you in association with Mama Kat’s Losin’ It – who’s lovely author came up with the concept and runs her own workshop over in the U.S.
Today we sat by the marshes and talked about the wind. The sky was low and heavy and your blonde curls blew about your face like white light as you stood above me, blocking out the sun as you took in the world around you. With your nonsense words and your expressive hands you told me about the ducks on the pond and that they were hungry; that there was a train and that mummy rides on the train; that the wind on your face felt funny and that you thought it might rain and that playing football makes you happy. And I listened and smiled that smile at you that only you know. And we talked some more with no words, just by being together and connected, which we are.
I am so proud of you, my son. I am proud of the way you hold a pencil and think about the marks you are going to make before you make them. I am proud that you have learnt colours but not numbers, because let’s face it in our world colours are far more important. I am proud of the way you dance and move and use your shoulders when you make tunes on the piano or on your little guitar. I am proud of the way you kick a ball and run and run. I am proud of the way you use your hands to describe the things you see, just like your mama, and that you use words that make sense to you, though not always to us.
I am amazed and delighted by everything you are. I could sit and watch your frowny face for hours and hours, waiting for the thing that makes it break and smile. I want to crawl into your head and watch your thoughts, because I know you have so many and I know that they are yours and they are beautiful. I love to watch you play, so absorbed, watching your imagination and your creativity grow and grow every time you do so. I love to hear you laugh. Your laughter is like mine and bubbles up from your toes, moving your whole body. I hope you will always laugh like that.
I love the way you say my name. I am so glad to be your mama.
I know that I am not always as perfect as you deserve. I get cross and tired and frustrated so easily. She feels things, your mama, just like you do. They push her to want to do many, many things. Sometimes she finds it hard to get the balance right, to make the right amount of space for you and everything else. She is like a kite pulled about by lots of strings right now, some of them are a bit tangled and it hurts. But she is trying and she will be ok. Because we trust the wind, we do. That’s what people like us do, and it will take us where we need to go eventually.
I love you. More than paint and words and sunshine. More than anything. I have so much to show you. There is a world of beautiful things out there. And I am going to show you as much of it as I possibly can. I promise. I can’t promise you an easy ride, but I promise you one filled with wonder and discovery.
Thank you for being you, and being mine, if only for a little while.
Happy 2nd Birthday my darling.
Things to do with CyberMummy Swag
What DO you do with 40 breastpads? Well, I gave mine to passing lactator but I was NOT missing out on the chance to do something creative with the rest of my Cybermummy swag as suggested by my very lovely new friend, drinking partner and waiter oggler, Claire from The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly.
I bring you
Thank you people at ASDA.
You can see what else people have been creating from their left-over goodies here. Oh, except I seem to be first. Fancy that.
And that, my friends, is my last post about CyberMummy. Tomorrow is Kai’s birthday! So I shall probably be talking about that.
P.S. Thank you for all my get well wishes. I crashed rather spectacularly after the weekend but I’m feeling MUCH better today. That boinging sound is me bouncing right back…
A Blogging Manifesto – thoughts on Cybermummy
Yes. This is another post about Cybermummy. But before those of you that didn’t go instantly pull a face and click away I would ask you stay and listen a while. Because this isn’t JUST a post about Cybermummy. And it’s kind of important. Well, it’s kind of important to me.
This weekend, as most of you know, I had the pleasure of attending and speaking at the UK’s first Parent Blogging convention. I’m not going to talk too much about the conference itself, other bloggers have done that far better than I and you can find a great long list of all their wonderful posts here. There’s some fab photos too, most of which seem to involve me eating but that’s no great surprise to anyone that knows me.
Two things though.
Secondly, those of you that read the accounts above there, and who followed the days events on Twitter will have noticed one over-riding message. And that was that everyone had a bloody brilliant time. It wasn’t a lot of sanctimonious spiel about “follow this magic formula for instant blogging success”, it was, over and over, words like community, atmosphere, respect, friendship, support. I know it sounds very self-important, and no doubt at least one of you reading this will be already rolling your eyes at all the talk of authenticity and emotional connection and getting back to the heart of blogging.
But you know what? Tough.
Because that’s what it WAS about.
It was about remembering why we blog. It was about being proud of our own stories and what we had to say. It was about not being ashamed to say “blogging is important to me”. And yes, there was the other stuff. Talk of how to make the most of opportunities that might present themselves to you as a blogger, but they were firmly secondary to the more important matter of this community of an inspirational and extraordinary people, and celebrating who we are and what we stand for.
(It was also about laughing till my sides ached and drinking far too much and making some wonderful new friends. And the best pub quiz IN THE WORLD).
I came home so proud to know that people that I had met that day. And sad for the people that couldn’t come. And excited about all the great bloggers and friends I hadn’t yet met but WOULD, and are a part of this community, whether they were there or not.
But then. Because yes, there is a but to this post…
Within twenty four hours? We had lost it somehow. There started to sneak back little strands of negativity and bitterness, or lost confidence, or feeling left out. It was quiet, mostly drowned out by a lot of excited, happy people, but it was there. And it made me sad.
It is so easy, behind our computer screens, to fall back in old patterns. Old reflexes.I guess it showed me how pervasive all this can be.
So I am writing this post as a reminder. And on those days I find myself falling sway to those negative feelings I am going to come back and read it.
Here it is. My manifesto of blogging, as learned from Cybermummy and the women I met there (and Tim, love you too). It doesn’t have to be yours, but this is what I stand by and I would love for you to read it and think about it, at least for a minute:
- People behind blogs are real, and almost without exception they are interesting, complex, unique people with valid, often inspirational stories to tell. Without fail they deserve to be heard and treated with respect.
- The blogging community should be empowering people to tell those stories. It should be making people feel like it is ok to be them.
- Blogging is about writing AND connection. It is about finding ways to express yourself, in whatever ways that feel right, and about finding ways to share that with others. This means not just writing and sitting back to let the world come to you. It is about seeking out people that you connect with, it is about not being afraid to make friends. Because there are PLENTY of friends to be made and people that will support you. It is about giving out, but not just to receive. It is about karmic blogging.
- Good writing, good content comes with practice and with authenticity. Yes, that word. It is about writing from where you are at. It is about writing honestly about the things that matter to YOU. That means not being afraid to write about pain. It is not about being perfect. If you don’t feel like blogging, don’t blog.
- Your blog is your space, no-one else’s. You have permission to make it anything you want it to be, without guilt or without obligation. Equally, though, understand, though, that people are under no obligation to READ your blog, and should be able to, or not, also without guilt or obligation. Welcome the people that DO connect with it, don’t worry about the others. And, as a reader, if you don’t like it? Politely go elsewhere.
- If you haven’t met someone in real-life, I would probably hold off making too firm a judgement on them. Words are no substitute for face to face conversation, probably over a bottle of wine or six. You will probably find, like I have, that people are exactly who they say they are. But it’s worth getting to know the person behind the words.
- If what you have to say someone is something you couldn’t say to their face, then you probably shouldn’t be saying it all. the people behind blogs are real and have feelings. They have busy and complicated lives. They do not need your hate. Veiled passive aggressiveness is cowardly and creates bad feeling. Don’t do it.
- Indexes and metrics don’t define a blog’s worth. Only you do that, through the connections you make through it and the stories you have to tell. No metric should define how you feel about your blog. If it is spoiling your enjoyment of blogging or making you question your self-worth, you should withdraw from them. It is not worth it.
- Blogging should be fun. It should make you feel good. It should be therapeutic and make you laugh and make you cry and make you feel. If it doesn’t, you need to change something cause you’re doing it wrong.
- And, which is what I said in my talk and I’ll say it again here: blogging is ABOUT your life, it is NOT your life. Your blog will be soulless and boring if you are not getting out there and living. So switch off you computers and go and do something different and fun.
And that’s that. Thank you for an amazing weekend. Here’s to you lot, all of you, and a thank you for letting me walk this amazing journey with you.