All That The Eye Can See!!!

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For those of you who read my posts you’ll know that I’ve just returned to college to study journalism.  A large part of the course involves photography. Journalism and photography complement each other – part of our photography course will tie in with our journalism studies – and this got me thinking – how much has a writer’s role changed? long gone are the days when you would research, write and edit a piece.

To say that the arrival of social media changed how writers operated is an understatement.  Every writer has a blog, at least one, if you’re a glutton for punishment you might have more.  It’s a necessity, a place to showcase your work, let off a bit of steam, allow your personality to shine through and get your name known.  But it doesn’t stop there.  Just as it’s necessary to have a blog, it’s also necessary to be active on social media sites – this is where most of your interaction will come from.  Make no mistake, Social media is all about building online relationships with people and like all relationships it’s a two-way street – you have to interact with other users.  As we all know it’s not as simple as writing,  rewriting and hitting the “publish” button and crossing your fingers.  If you want to get known you have to put yourself out there and build a readership and that in itself takes time. Today, most writers are on multiple social media sites.

You can have brilliant posts, interacting on social media sites but guess what ? No blog today will receive much interaction without good quality visual content – and the standard is getting higher all the time. When I started my blog I just posted.  I was so caught up in what to write and how to write it that my first few posts didn’t have any visual content. At all.  Ahem.  Lesson learned.  To make a post stand out, for it to have as much interaction as possible it has to have good quality imagery.  Look at the amount of news feed that is fed constantly through Twitter, when you’re scrolling down through it, what makes you stop and check out a piece? How likely are you to look at something that doesn’t have a photo, ? Here’s another question to ask yourself: how many pieces on social media  Don’t have any visual content.? None.  There’s a very good reason for this: Of all the information that travels to the brain ninety percent is visual.  Information is better communicated in the form of images. We see so much content on social media sites that we need imagery to break up the content so that we can digest it easier.  Can you imagine twitter or Facebook without images?

Perhaps the one thing that hasn’t changed for writers is how we hone our craft.  Polish the piece so that every word carries weight, not one word is wasted.  Words have the potential to be extremely powerful when used correctly and every writer knows this.  And caffeine where would we be without it? Now pass me the kettle I’m gasping!

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a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/the-golden-hour/”>The Golden Hour

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In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Golden Hour.”

    SIX AM STARTS – NO BOTHER!!!!  

It’s pitch black at the moment when I get up quietly so as not to disturb the rest of the house.  I get dressed quickly, no makeup at this hour are you mad I’m so foggy from sleep I wouldn’t trust myself with a mascara wand or kohl – and head straight for the kettle: one strong coffee, sweet, a little milk.  And then I head into our dining room where my manuscript is waiting for me.

I finished the first draft of my novel over the summer and now I’m editing it. I started it last October and had no sooner written the first two chapters when my mother became ill.  Sadly she passed away the following month and the mini-manuscript was left hiding away on my laptops hard drive.  And then, when winter had finally passed the days were getting longer and summer was approaching I decided that it was time to take it out and continue it.  For the following two months I got up at 5am and wrote for  two hours, if I could manage to write more during the day and at night when the children were asleep so much the better!! I finished my first draft last august bank holiday weekend and, on the advice of all the experts I left it alone for a few weeks.  That was when I decided it was time to start a blog – I’d been toying with the idea for a while but didn’t know where to start – it was the perfect project for me it would take my mind off my novel and I’m having great fun with it I didn’t realise there were so many talented writers out there – I am in awe of you

Last week I got back into my 5am starts and I know most people don’t get it but i actually like this time of morning!! When I finally began editing ( two weeks later than I was supposed to – I was putting it off because I was dreading the task I won’t lie) I was surprised to find that I actually enjoy it.  It’s a way to “fix” my book and leaving it alone for a few weeks meant that when I went back to it I really was looking at it through the eyes of a “reader”  I also enjoy the peace and quiet, I get to have a cup of coffee and some time to myself before the rest of the house gets up there’s something about early morning that I just love – when you’re looking out just as the day is beginning. I confess to a certain smugness when the task is over for the day and it’s only 7am.  Six o clock starts – no bother!!

Just Can’t Get Enough!

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The noise of the alarm cut through the room waking her with a start.  Still groggy from her broken nights sleep she tried to collect her thoughts as best she could.  Where was she? Then it all came flooding back to her. She reached for her phone.  She had to make contact  …..

She got through the usual breakfast chaos, making sure the children got off to school  safe in the knowledge that for now at least all was well. Somehow she managed to get to college.  However as the morning went on she found her thoughts straying more and more.  What was going on? What had happened since they last met? She checked her watch, how much longer would this lecture last? another what.. fifteen minutes? Finally she couldn’t wait any longer she had to see.  Even if just for a minute to check that all was as it should be.  She slunk away from the others at the end of class if she was quick no one would even notice….

She made the next class with moments to spare.  Flicking a stray hair out of her eyes she hid the glimmer of a smirk of satisfaction she didn’t want to arouse suspicion.  Making no one the wiser she sat down and concentrated on her class as best she could. She was satisfied for now she realised but how long would that last? Sighing she realised that it was getting more and more difficult to manage… it was becoming an obsession.

Lunchtime came and she was agitated.  She was doing her best but she just couldn’t keep away. She knew she had to stop this, countless times she’d made many empty promises. This was all consuming  it was taking over her life.  Just once more she told herself. She ate her lunch quickly, making idle chit-chat with the others. She took the first available opportunity to excuse herself from the table without causing offence. A quick glance at her watch told her they had around forty minutes of uninterrupted pleasure.  She walked down the corridor and found “their” spot.  She stopped and took out her phone a smirk playing on her lips…social media it’s addictive  !!

Love Conquers All

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In response https://elliezthoughts.wordpress.com/2015/09/08/la-vie-est-belle/ready steady done

Sophia shivered, pulling her jacket around her.  It was so cold – in the pitch darkness of the night the only sound to be heard was the intermittent wailing of the sirens reminding them how life was far from ideal at the moment – it can be snatched away in a moment.  Where was he? this wasn’t like Victor at all , Md Sloine would be getting ready to lock up for the night she thought grimly as she blew on her hands to try and keep warm.  Well aware that the formidable house keeper would not take kindly to Sophia’s absence.  “Meet me tonight, I have to see you” he had whispered to her earlier that morning in the parlour.  She had looked at him and instantly regretted it only too aware of pairs of eyes watching her.  They had to be careful.  He had told her time and time again.  She had nodded quickly “oui monsieur” and then busied herself with her morning duties.  “Sophia! vitement” “oui Madam” she had left the room and went down to the kitchen how foolish to forget that. But it was the way he made her feel…..

How much longer should she give him though? She’d been here over an hour already.  She looked up at the statue in front of her.  In the darkness she could still see its outline if only he could talk she thought gazing up at it what stories he would tell……………………………….

And that’s it my ten minutes of writing over as per challenge.!! Of course there’s more , I’m working out the story as we speak and i’ll post it for you at the weekend  if you like but I want to stick to the rules of the challenge. So, for now that’s it. I start college tomorrow so spending today getting organised – and ( maybe) a bit nervous. Hope you enjoy my ten minute writing challenge –  I really enjoyed writing it for you!! ellie

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BLOG!!

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Happy birthday blog!! My blog is one month old today – So looking back over the last month I thought I’d share with you what I’ve learnt about writing this past month, biggest challenge for me was time management!!

  1. Thou shalt write.  Everyday.  This is absolutely necessary.  When I made the decision to spend more time on my writing and develop it I was amazed at the amount of time spent on social media sites.   Social media sites are necessary if you are writing but you also have to spend time honing your craft.  Whether you write longhand and then transfer it to your wp or if you sit at your kitchen table and type it all out (like me) it doesn’t matter.  What matters is that you actually write.
  2. Thou shalt juggle time like a pa: Hands up anyone lucky enough to “just write” Thought not.  Most writers juggle parenthood/ jobs/taxi service (those of you with children know what I’m talking about)
  3. Things don’t always work out:  Even the best plans don’t always work out.  Homework took longer than you thought.  There’s a deadline looming in work that you can’t miss and the upshot of all of this is that you don’t get to do any writing.  Try not to stress take a deep breath and move on. When I get stressed I lose all my creativity it completely stops.  “In the beginners mind there are many  possibilities, but in the experts there are none”  And that’s true in order to think of ideas your mind has to be open to accept them.  Think about it .  So the next time something unexpected happens – and it will because that’s life – take a deep breath, prioritize what you need to do and carry on!
  4. Writing is re-writing and re-writing and re-writing.  Words have the ability to be very powerful.  Check out http://inoirvelvet.com/  I love Nina’s six word stories very thought-provoking and evocative!
  5. It takes time : There’s no way around it. I have yet to write an article and submit it without re-writing and polishing it.
  6. When all else fails there’s always chocolate – seriously what is it about the lure of the fridge late at night and you know where there’s a last square of chocolate……

#monday blog Smoke, Fumes…..FIRE!!!

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There was smoke everywhere.  It would hang in the air later lingering long after this catastrophe had been sorted out and life had returned to normal. Blinking furiously I still couldn’t see anything in the room , the dampened cloth I had placed over my mouth was black already from the smoke which filled the air. The room was thick with smoke and it all came from the centre of the room.  There on the table stood the source of all this trouble…..

 We are all different however when it comes to technology I believe  that there are two main “types” of people:

technogeeks -These people appear normal at first glance.  Mention anything to do with computers/technology and their eyes light up they are overcome with a zealous normally reserved for the elite.  They are super up to speed with all types of technology, spin out comments like “How many g of data? Is that all?” regularly zoom between social media sites, these people would have no bother installing printer etc. They can often be found working in computer shops, anywhere there is wifi or an Xbox!

technophobs:  These type of people resemble rabbits caught in head lights when faced with any type of technology-based “problem”.   They appear normal enough at first glance however mention any type of technology based problem at all ie install the printer and they come out in a cold sweat.  They can’t help this.  It’s like a type of dyslexia only with technology instead of words.

As you’ve guess if you’ve read my previous posts (and to both of you I’d like to say thank you from the bottom of my heart) I am not technology minded.  Picture the scene there we were in the shop about to buy the printer.  I ask the nice man in the shop “So how do we install this?” (what I mean is you install this printer for me) he smiles and replies “oh it’s no bother” I reply  “I see” ( I am now telepathically sending him messages: install her printer, install the printer….) He continues to smile (thinks aha! I bet she’s a technophob) I wilt under his gaze, swallow hard and smile bravely in the face of defeat. “That’s great no bother, thanks we’ll take it ” (thinking i’m screwed i’ll have to do it myself) It’s the middle of the school summer holidays so my two smaller children are with me. They remain quiet.  Finally my daughter (8, nearly 9 very sensible) pipes up : “How easy…” she begins to speak and I “eye” her to be quiet.  The sales man/technogeek beams at her “Mammy will be able to install this in no time, she might let you print a pretty picture when it’s done” She glowers at him.  She’s no fool and can smeel flim flam at a thousand paces. Sales man/ Technogeek is unaware of this fact and we carry on with the sale.  And so we leave the shop with our purchase.  How hard can this be anyway?

                     Later that night when the children are in bed I begin to install the printer.  And guess what! Hah I install it first time.  How good am I ? maybe I’ve been a technogeek all along I just didn’t realise it. I fly through the installation process, practically whizzing through no bother at all.  I place the paper in the tray like I’m supposed to I switch it on , it makes a whirring noise like it’s supposed to and the paper feeds through and i’m chuffed I really am no more geek me and then it starts to smoke, little whiffs at first so slight I barely notice them ( just warming up surely?) and then …more…smoke and then well lots of smoke. And even more, the whole room is covered in it!! I rush to pull the plug out of the wall before we have an actual fire stubbing my toe in the process and let out a yell that can be heard in the next field!! The children run down to find out what’s happened and when they see the smoke they look at each other sigh  and nod.  I am technophob here me roar!!

 

Hi check out my new post – Emergency Dash to METEOR!!!!

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Trapped in a stream of traffic on a blistering hot day was not the ideal time to make this journey. Anxiously I tapped my fingers on the steering wheel willing the traffic lights to turn green.  I could do without this right now and the day had started so well. Picture this: two weeks before the kids go back to school,just home from town I stagger into the kitchen laden down with bags after combining weekly shop with back to school stationary and uniform supplies.  The kitchen table is covered with grocery bags, Buddy (dog, new member of the family) is barking like mad, the children are high on a mixture of chocolate and back-school-it is.  I’m exhausted ,shocked and in foul form I’ve just spent a fortune on back to school essentials and I can’t believe how much it all costs. I’m giving out stink about book publishers, stationary suppliers and the like – seriously if a Folens rep called to my door right now or an educate.ie rep I’d give him a piece of my mind.  Anyways, I switch on my phone cos I need to make a call……..

me: My phone won’t work!! It won’t take my pin

Daughter(nearly 9, very sensible and practical child) “Let me see.  What have you done?”

me: “It’s the phone! I’ve typed in my pin.” (show her official card with pin on it) “No, it’s no good it won’t work. (Accusing stare at 7 and a  half year old son) this is your fault I told you not to download “mad eating shark things”

Son (sensing trouble ahead) “Sorry ma”

Me: “Ok well I’ll have to ring customer care maybe they can help”

So, I rang customer care and a very nice girl listened to my woes, would I try the pin again? I would of course.  No, sorry made no difference phone won’t work. She tells me that I’ll have to bring the phone into the shop as there’s obviously an issue with it.

Me: “Ok kids we’ll have to go back into town.”

Daughter: (studying me carefully) “Are you sure ?”

Me: “Yes look!!… ( show her the phone)… and the girl said I’d have to bring it to the shop.  It’s not working.  There’s an issue with it! Come on we have to go” (grabbing car keys)

Ignoring the bags of groceries which need to be put away we all trundle off into the car. Which is where my post started today.  Town was chock a bloc and eventually after circling the car park a couple of times we park up and make our way to the shop. Son is now walking ten paces behind quietly.  Daughter is fine.  She’s not in any kind of trouble she’s on top of this!

me: “Hello , I’ve a problem with my phone I’ve just been talking to someone in customer care and she said to bring the phone in here.  Phone won’t accept my pin when I type it in.  And look (producing official pin card) it’s the right pin!!”

man: “What button did you press?”

Me: “This one” (press button again just to prove it)

man: “It’s the wrong button”

Me:” Oh!!”

daughter: convulsions of laughter.

son: (realization dawning on his face) “So it’s not my fault?”

lots of customers eye balling me oddly

me: (ahem) “oh right yes I see thanks.”

man: “no problem” (smiling)

Well.  I was absolutely mortified. Ihaveneverleftashopsoquicklyinallmylife!! The children had big grins on their faces.   Absolutely thrilled at what had just happened. They really can’t wait to see their friends.   Back to the car and home to sort out the groceries.  At least I got to make my call….

Grown up Coloring in Books

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Do you remember when you were little the waxy smell of new crayons and a brand new colouring in book? Even better if you could persuade your mother to let you paint at the kitchen table (“of course I’ll wear an apron, no I won’t make a mess/paint the dog/terrorise the cat”)

                Pass any book shop at the moment and chances are adult colouring in books are featured in their window display. Recently “Publishers weekly” released an article  pwne.ws/1pbrtax which poses the question are these colouring books the future of publishing? I do not believe that the future of publishing houses will be a wordless one.  We read for a variety of different reasons: research/knowledge, mental stimulation: think of a piece that can move you to tears or make you laugh out loud, expand our vocabulary: yes it’s true the more we read the larger our vocabulary becomes. However just because I don’t see a ‘wordless future doesn’t mean I don’t envisage a future for these books. Adult colouring in books have thereupeutic values and that’s what I find most interesting. These days our minds are rarely still, even when we are quiet we are most likely checking out something on the internet. Look at the amount of news feed that comes through constantly on twitter. How many times do you “login ” to any of the social media sites to see what’s happened while you were away? We never stop.  Not really. Think about this: how many times have you went to a restaurant with your children and they were offered crayons and colouring pages? More often than not that’s all it took to channel their (sometimes) chaotic energy.  And it’s the same for adults.

 We need time to unwind, to zone out from all of the stresses around us, even if it’s only for a short time. Now for the science part:  When we are colouring in we activate different areas of the brain.  The action involves  both logic (colour forms, staying between the lines) and creativity (mixing and matching colours) The relaxation that it provides lowers the part of the brain involved in controlling emotion that is affected by stress.  To put it simply colouring has a de stressing effect because we are focusing on a particular act and not our worries.  Interestingly it has also been proven that people use different colours depending on the moods they are in.  And that’s got to be a good thing, right? any past time which encourages relaxation , and helps us to de -stress  without the use of drink/drugs has to be beneficial. Adult colouring in books first came to prominence in 2013 when Joan Basford published “The secret Garden” the book was an instant success selling 1.5 million copies, she has since released “The enchanted Garden” and has another book due for release in October. The pictures are much more intricate and complex than in a child’s colouring in book. Her illustrations are beautifully drawn, elaborate and unique, every illustration has a character hidden in it, a robin or a butterfly –  there are layers of depth and detail in every piece she has illustrated.  Bassford was so impressed with the variety of styles that her public sent in to show her that she opened a gallery on line for them to display their work. However she’s not the only one, different illustrators have their own “take” on what pictures to colour in.  In uk Mel Simone Elliot draws pictures of celebs : lady gaga, Kate Moss (Tatum Channing anyone???just wondered….) What do I think? pass me the red crayon I see a gap I need to fill in.!

A Trip to the E.R.

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A sudden explosive noise like the discharge of a gun moved through the air with lightening speed.  It was followed by complete silence. She heard a scream followed by a stream of profanities.

He came running in, his eyes wide-eyed with shock.  “Calm down, calm down” he surveyed the scene.  She nodded and grabbed her car keys without speaking.  There was no doubt this was an emergency – what was the quickest route? With great care they managed to place the patient on the back seat of the car.  However it was obvious to them that there was no time to lose.  The heavy evening traffic and sheets of rain beating against the front windshield of the car made movement almost impossible.  “Come on, come on” why weren’t they moving? Impatiently she tapped her fingers on the steering wheel – would these lights never change? After what seemed like an eternity they turned green and the convoy of cars began to move forward.  She swore as a car cut out in front of her. She could do without this right now.  “Alright back there?”  “Yes” he spoke through gritted teeth the strain audible in the tone of his voice.  Ben hadn’t meant for any of this to happen.  What would they do now? how would he, they manage without… It was unthinkable. She didn’t deserve this.  It just wasn’t fair.  “Won’t be long now” he said deliberately lightening the tone of his voice for her.

Nonetheless she put her foot on the accelerator, going as fast as she dared in this weather. Another few minutes and they’d be there.  Where to park though? the rain was coming down even heavier now. The car was quiet, silence broken only by the wipers rubbing against the front windshield. What on earth would she do now? how would she cope with this? She eyed her son in the back seat, his brow furrowed in concentration his lips set in two grim lines.  They would sort this. Somehow…

The car screeched to a halt.  “We’re here” “You can’t park here” “What choice do I have? Come on ” she unclipped her seat belt. “Are you sure?” “Of course I’m sure” with an effort she heaved herself out of the car taking care to pull the hood of her anorak over her head.  Her legs were shaking.  “Ok” he got out of the car and nervously awaited further instructions.  She sighed and moved towards the back seat “On three one…two…”

They walked in through the automatic doors together, each carrying a share of their precious cargo.  “Excuse me, It’s our laptop, it’s caught a virus” Ben looked down shame faced he’d been told not to down load any more games. “A virus? It’ll have to be wiped I’m afraid, the receptionist said smiling “but it can be fixed” Relief swept through them and for the first time since the laptop had crashed earlier that evening they grinned.  Welcome to laptop er!!

Bear Assaulted!!! Boy held for Questioning………

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The bears head slammed against the wall with a sickening thud, his eyes wide open in shock. Unable to speak he didn’t make a sound. The boys fists tightened into balls by his side. Every muscle in his body tensed.  If he didn’t act fast he would be in a lot of trouble for sure!! With a ferocity that surprised him he hurled himself at the bear, giving a loud battle cry.  Fists flying, kicking with all his might the bear gave a ferocious growl and then lapsed into silence, his fur standing on end, his eyes wide open as though he were in shock.  With a ferocious growl the bear appeared to come back to life, the boy was beyond caring now, this was a fight to the end.  With all his might he hurled the bear against the wall.

There was a loud thud and then total silence.  She knew immediately that something was seriously amiss and ran as fast as she could hardly daring to open the door, dreading what she would see…..

And sure enough the display cabinet lay broken on the ground, shreds of glass around it.  The bear lay discarded against the wall.  She picked him up “Aaron how many times have I told you!!! No playing wwf with bearamy  it’s way too dangerous!!”