The swing and the birch tree

What I did at the weekend

The book was stuck in the mud, I was still feeling sorry for myself after a bout with the flu and suspicious the germs were coming back for another round, and my good lady wife was determined to give the flat a major dusting. “Why don’t you go out to the cottage?” Why not? The cottage is actually owned by my sister-in-law, but it’s been my wife’s family’s seaside retreat for decades. Mostly used in the summer, though I’ve had writing retreats there before when the snow has been piled high. Now it was cold and raw and rainy. I packed my (non-Internet connected) laptop, a change of clothes, my sleeping-bag, some food and set off. So that’s where I’ve … More…

Iwritelikeme

I write like … a hell of a lot of people!

There was a flurry of Internet interest, a few weeks back (as I write now), over an Internet site called “I Write Like”. Here. In a text box, you can paste a piece of your writing and the site claims to analyse “your word choice and writing style” it, compare the results “with those of the famous writers” in a database of (presumably) similarly analysed published authors, and then tell you who you write like. To celebrate having completed a draft of the first section of Elin’s Story the other day I thought I’d give the site a trial. I started by posting the whole 17,000 or so words of Section 1 and running them through the analyser. The result? … More…

Elin and Aeyland

A week or so ago I started uploading to this new home page my earliest posts to At the Quill, the ones from July 2008. The ones I wrote from before I had a homepage to write for. Of course, I read them too. It was interesting, but also depressing. I had such high hopes, then, such ideas of how short a time it would take me to write Elin’s Story. Now here I am, two years on and what do I have to show for it? Two sections of the story written in second draft, about 14000 words all told; about half the book in first draft, notes, quotes, chronology – the journey to England and the first year … More…

At the Quill – Writing diary #3

I’ve written almost every day this past week, but my average (696 words a day) is down on last week. I’m still having difficulties keeping account of my time spent on writing and other creative things. (Read: I’ve given up trying for the moment.) I think it will become easier to register hours once I get into a regular rhythm after we get back from Spain in September. At least, I hope so. [It didn’t – Note added 4/12/08] Elin’s story In the meantime I have decided (90% decided) to write Elin’s story. I’ve been talking about it on and off for months now. Though I do swing away to Beastsburg, or to Sweden Observed, or to Dan, Susan and … More…

A Tangled I – writing diary #2

Tangled up in words – a writing diary entry and a brief account of blogging elsewhere – and a visit to Borås and the sculpture I call a tangled eye. A Tuesday morning, peaceful. I must accept that keeping an account of hours spent doing things other than writing is not going to work. I have been able to keep up my notes on words written this week (to the tune of 751 on average each day, slightly down on last week), but I’ve completely lost track of the time I’ve spent on other things. It’s probably just as well. Although I aspire to time-consciousness, and though I often work well to a deadline, it really goes against my nature. … More…

A Few Opening Words – Writing diary #1

A few opening words for my new WordPress blog. A ramble through my motivations and achievements, possibly some whistling in the dark… and a few seagulls It is a Monday morning in July, comfortably summer-warm with the windows and the door to the balcony open and the sound of seagulls outside. They think of these blocks of flats as cliffs, and with each generation the memory of the sea and of diving for fish recedes. Their webbed feet are atavistic reminders of the harder, wetter life their forefeathers lived. I have been planning to start writing this for a couple of weeks now and decided this morning I had better actually start or find myself dissatisfied and disappointed when the … More…