Another Night Out and Topping and Company Booksellers

I had another night out last night with a friend from work. Just down to the local for a few beers and a good chat. I had a fun time and managed to unwind after a hectic week at work. As I noticed, and posted about last time that I went out for beers, the mild hangover that I had this morning seemed to lead to some very free flowing writing. I am beginning to think that I may need to investigate this phenomenon further, including running extensive field studies naturally!

On another note, I received an email newsletter which I subscribe to, from a local bookshop a couple of days ago. The bookshop is called Topping and Company Booksellers. I have never actually visited this shop, to my shame, as it is only about twelve miles away. They appear to have branches in Bath and also one in Ely, which is the one that I live closest to. Anyway, this bookshop run a series of book events year round and the newsletter was highlighting the Spring events. There were a couple of authors featured that will be coming to speak that I am interested in seeing. These are Audrey Niffenegger and Margaret Atwood.  I do not know a great deal about either author, although I have read ‘The Time Travellers Wife’ and ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, so I thought that these would be interesting events to attend. Hopefully I can read a few more of their works before the events.

Background Music for Writing?

When you are writing do you listen to music, the tv, anything? I like to write with quiet classical music playing in the background. But it is not that simple. It needs to be a particular type of classical music. My inclination is towards piano sonatas, especially those of Beethoven. Piano sonatas are great background, at least for me, as they are easy to filter out, but provide an ambience. They do not employ any prominent, distracting instruments like many other types of classical music. For me it is either that or silence.

The background for me is also to some degree mood dependent. But this is probably less of an issue than the nature and complexity of the writing I am undertaking. It may be that I need to concentrate on a particular passage or thought, and then it is usually preferable to me that I have no background distractions at all. Other times the presence of some subtle background music can help things to flow more easily.

So basically, it depends mostly on my mood, and the nature of the particular writing I am involved with. What about you? Do you write in silence? Or do you need something to break up that silence, something to inspire you? Let me know what works for you in the comments.

And Finally the Snow Comes

I thought I would get a good night’s sleep Friday night after my long week so I went to bed, read for a bit and settled down to sleep by about 23:00. Then, for some unknown reason I awoke at 04:00, wide awake, with a myriad of thoughts swirling around my mind. They were not even interesting thoughts being mostly about work. I was so wide awake that I got up and wrote for a bit until about 05:30 when I began to get sleepy. So back to bed for an hour and I was awake again. I spent the rest of the day Saturday feeling pretty groggy when I should have been nicely rested. C’est la vie!

And finally it is snowing here. With much of the rest of the country suffering from atrocious weather conditions, even to the extent of cars being completely buried by drifting snow, I have been poorly disappointed by the snow fall here. We had a little yesterday that finally settled, but only a couple of inches, and then nothing more until now, when the snow picks the moment that most of the previous fall has begun to melt. I suppose I should consider us lucky not to have been suffering with poor weather, but I do so enjoy a good covering of snow. At least until it is time to go to work.

Well it has been a relaxing weekend, as anticipated, and the reading has been going well, as has the writing. So, relaxing and productive. What more could I have asked for. I am just going to sit and stare at the swirling snow for a bit before I carry on with Proust.

Long Week

It has been a while since I have posted. It seems that after an initial burst of posting nearly every other day, things have settled down to a rate of maybe twice a week. Ideally I would like to post a little more often, but then I have enough trouble coming up with things to write as it is.

It has been my first full week back at work for a while. It is surprising  just how tired I am now feeling. It has been a bit of a shock to the system. At least the next two weeks will only be four day weeks, with the Easter bank holidays in between. A fairly lazy weekend is planned. I want to relax for a bit. No real plans, just carrying on with my current reading tasks. I am getting on well with Proust’s ‘The Captive’, which I should finish tomorrow, before I then start on ‘The Fugitive’. I should also get a bit of time to do some writing. I have had a glut of small ideas lately and want to try expanding some of them a little to see if there is any mileage in pursuing them further.

So here’s to a relaxing weekend. I hope you all achieve what you wish this weekend.

The Fifty First Post

When I published my previous post, Another Title (and Scrivener), I noticed that it was my fiftieth post. That feels like quite a landmark to me. I started this blog in August 2009. Up until Jan 2013 I had made a pretty feeble 20 posts in 3 years and 4 months. Since then I have made 30 posts in two and a bit months. This is a lot better and I am positive, at least hopeful, that it will last. I have been enjoying writing these blog posts. Whether anyone enjoys reading them I am less clear on, but I do get the occasional like, so I suppose they must be of some interest!

I figured that my next major goal would be one hundred posts and then one hundred followers. So I checked my followers and found, to my surprise that they had already exceeded the one hundred goal. That one had kind of slipped by me. It feels great that so many people have, rightly or wrongly, decided to receive email updates of my posts. This fills me with joy, and not a little surprise. So thanks to everyone that reads my posts and especially those that follow my blog. I will try to keep posting and find some interesting topics to write about.

As for now I am still working hard on getting through Proust’s ‘The Captive’ and ‘The Fugitive’, along with brief forays into E.M. Forster’s ‘Aspects of the Novel’. I am going to have to start on a few easier to read books after I have finished the ‘In Search of Lost Time’ series (or cycle), otherwise I will not meet my 2103 Goodreads reading goal. I am currently quite a few books behind schedule. I am sure that ultimately I will complete it though. Still nine and a half months to go I suppose.

Another Title (and Scrivener)

Unfortunately I am off work again today sick. Don’t get me wrong, I am happy to have days off work, but I prefer them to be holiday days. A sick day is generally not great. For a start, I feel sick, so not much fun there, and then I also feel guilty for not being at work. It always puts increased pressure on others when you are off sick, and I do not like that, although you have to get better, I know.

The dodgy title here is because I can never think of good titles for blog posts. I know a good title should be descriptive of the post content, but when I am just musing, and let’s be honest, in this case, just generally complaining, I cannot think of anything appropriate.

As always, not being at work should afford the opportunity for increasing the available reading time, but feeling sick, and a bit spaced out from the painkillers really ends up in meaning that I probably get less reading done that usual. SO a sick day is not really much of a win for me.

I have also downloaded Scrivener as a tool to aid management of writing projects, and am currently working through the tutorial. So far I am quite impressed and can see many ways in which this software could be useful. In particular, as a general content management tool to allow research composed of different file types to be stored together with text, it should be very helpful. The ability to view different types of content from within the same interface, and concurrently is very handy. I have just added the parenthetical part of the title to try to make it more descriptive of the post content. See what I mean about my poor titling skills!

Has anyone else tried this software? What do people think about it?

Book Four Finished

I had intended for today to be a highly productive day of  reading. I was up early writing, revelling in the vistas of the overnight snow. Snow was still falling gently, but was never going to settle. Most peaceful.

However, a trip over to my mother’s house for mother’s day (today being mother’s day in the UK) and then the inevitable lure of the television led to my being somehow totally side-tracked. It is still my goal to get the final part of Proust’s ‘Sodom and Gomorrah’ finished today, so I will get off and try to get that done before finishing this post …

And I have finished, finally. Now to start on the 800 pages of the next book, the combined volumes of ‘The Captive’ and ‘The Fugitive’. I will be back at work tomorrow after a day and half off sick, then the weekend, where I was able to get a reasonable amount of reading done. Things will slow down again now I am back at work, so another few weeks before I finish this book I imagine.

Day off

I had the day off of work yesterday. This would have perhaps been enjoyable were it not for the fact that I had taken this day off for a hospital appointment. I was there to have a procedure that was supposed to be reasonably painless. I generally have a relatively high pain threshold, but I ended up needing gas to get through it. Today I returned to work and only lasted a few hours, and I wouldn’t have stayed that long if I hadn’t needed to get some stuff done in the absence of my boss. Still, now I am at home, albeit in a little discomfort and can get some reading done.

My reading has not been going great lately. I seem to keep finding things that I cannot put off, such as working late, and then other things like perusing many of the blogs that I follow, and indeed some that I don’t. Anyway, I am forging ahead with Proust’s ‘Sodom and Gomorrah’ and I have high hopes of actually getting that completed by the end of the weekend. This should leave a little time to read some of E.M. Forster’s ‘Aspects of the Novel’, which I have sorely neglected during my lunch breaks as it seems so much easier just to gossip with colleagues, before I start on the next part of Proust’s ‘In Search of Lost Time’, which should be in one physical book, ‘The Captive’ and ‘The Fugitive’.

So those are my immediate reading goals. Not much to speak of regarding any writing, but I am still managing to do a small amount of free writing each day, just random stuff.

Kick Start

Since being nominated for the prestigious Sunshine Award my mind has typically been devoid of anything resembling an interesting topic to post. Not only that I have found little to write about in other areas. To kick start the creative process I tried lying down on my bed in total darkness and just thinking of nothing. Mostly all I managed to achieve was to nearly fall asleep, followed by almost blinding myself when I did finally turn on the light and sit down to write. In fairness I did have a few ideas about how to proceed with my latest project, so some use came of it.

On another note, I subscribed to The Writer Magazine in a dull moment during my Christmas break from work and have finally received the first copy. I am going to peruse that during the adverts whilst watching television, as I find that watching television is pretty much all I feel like doing on a Friday night after a hard week at work. If it is any good I will let you know. Out of interest has any read this magazine before? Anyone found it to be useful?

Plans for the weekend? Mostly catching up on some reading. I am doing well with Proust. Then out for a meal and a few drinks with a friend in Cambridge on Saturday night. Sunday will be all about the Tottenham-Arsenal game.