Gazette column: Thornbury may have a Sunday Times accolade, but it needs to learn to share itself

It’s “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my weekly Gazette newspaper column to my blog so you can have a read…

This week my column for the Gloucestershire Gazette is about the town of Thornbury and how that, with it’s recent fantastic award by The Sunday Times as being one of the best places to live in the South West, the town needs to learn to share itself  and its good fortune with others.

To read it, simply click to my Column page.

What do you think? Should Thornbury welcome in new people and housing developments? Or should it close its doors and preserve it as it is? Let me know.

**OUT THIS SATURDAY: My latest column for  Gloucestershire Citizen and Echo newspaper.  Catch the Weekend Magazine on their website link here**

**Look out for  Wednesday Wafflings next, um, Wednesday, where I post the latest entry in My Diary of a Hopeful Author**

Diary of a hopeful author: Why you have to tell yourself ‘At least I tried’

It’s “Wednesday Wafflings” when I post the latest entry in my Diary of a Hopeful Author…Photo of a Diary

I don’t  care for preaching, with its do-a-I-say approach and the way that really, when you think about it, you don’t listen anyway. But realisations? Realisations I can do. Realisations are good.

Realisations, see, are like sun bolts. You aren’t really anticipating them, but when they do arrive, they shine a light so bright, they feel so warm and wonderful and well, right, that everything is better.

Don’t worry, I’ve not gone all evangelical on you, hang on in there. See, this week, a phrase, a thought popped into my head at a time when I was tired, tired with writing, tired with working, finding myself, as I did in my shattered state, wondering whether I should have put myself out there in the ways I have done recently, work wise. And the phrase? Well, this is it: at least you tried.

That phrase, what it means, its effect – that is my realisation, my sun bolt. At least you tried. I’m saying it again because it instantly makes me feel better.

Not believe me? Think I’m nuts? (actually, don’t answer that…) Okay, think of something, some kind of work project or piece of writing you’re doing, something where you’ve maybe approached someone about it or sent something off on spec, or maybe even applied for a job, anything. Got something in mind? Okay, now I bet, I can guarantee, that at times, with that action you’re thinking about, you’ve had doubts, right? I bet you’ve thought, damn it, they probably won’t get back in touch/read it/want to give me the job etc.  And that feeling you get from that thought, that sinking that you get, that sucks, doesn’t it, makes you feel rubbish? Okay, so imagine that feeling, and now, now say yourself, ‘at least I tried.’ Done it? Poof, like a waft of Harry Potter’s wand, the sinking feeling is gone. See? Sun bolt. Who said magic was just for spectacled wizards?

I’m not preaching here. Nah. That’s bobbins. But what I am doing, with my small realisation, is I’m saying that we always have to try. And it’s that trying, you see, that giving it a go, that’s what counts. ‘Cos when the day is done, when life hits the stop button, you can look up and say, hey, at least I tried, folks. Because, there are times when things won’t work out the way you really wanted them too. But if you tell yourself at least you tried, you are then, see, not a failure. Quite the opposite – trying makes you a success. The fact that you at least gave it a shot – that’s the achievement.

The work I pitched for, I got, in the end. I was mighty chuffed, a gamble that pulled off.  Edit number three of my novel is going fast and good. Soon, for us, it’s holiday time, a week and half of fun, and I can have a rest. I’ll be able to kick back, have a laugh and eat cake. And when I scoff it all, as I inevitably will, that yummy cake at 4pm after skiing all day, I can tell myself, at least I tried it. The cake, at least I tried it. Yes, realisations, turns out, come in the form of baked goods.

How do you get through things? Do you have your own realisations, phrases? Let me know.

 **Out tomorrow “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my latest Gazette newspaper column to my blog…**

My Citizen & Echo column: Julia Roberts & the great shaving debate

Welcome to “Monday is the new Saturday” where I pop the link to my Weekend magazine column ‘The Last Word’ from the Gloucestershire Citizen and Echo…

My Weekend column on Saturday was all about hair, beautiful, messy bodily hair and how, like Julia Roberts, to shave or not to shave is always the question. I’ve stuck the column on my Citizen column page here so you can have a read.

You can also catch me each week on the Citizen and Echo Weekend magazine website. There’s lots of other lovely weekend stuff on there, too. 

The Citizen & Echo Weekend magazine comes out every Saturday. 

What do you do – shave or not shave? Think Julia Roberts was right back in 2007 not to shave her pits or wholly wrong? Or is it just know ones business? Let me know.

**Look out for Wednesday Wafflings on, um, Wednesday, where I post my weekly entry in my Diary of a Hopeful Author**

Gazette column: School buildings are crumbling around us

It’s “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my weekly Gazette newspaper column to my blog so you can have a read…

This week my column for the Gloucestershire Gazette is about school buildings and how the governement is not doing enough to help create better environments for children to learn in.

To read it, simply click to my Column page.

What do you think? Are school buildings a mess? Do the Government need to do more? Or does it not matter where children learn? Let me know.

**OUT THIS SATURDAY: My latest column for  Gloucestershire Citizen and Echo newspaper.  Catch the Weekend Magazine on their website link here**

**Look out for  Wednesday Wafflings next, um, Wednesday, where I post the latest entry in My Diary of a Hopeful Author**

Diary of a hopeful author: Keep your mind on the finish line & you’ll make it to the end

It’s “Wednesday Wafflings” when I post the latest entry in my Diary of a Hopeful Author…Photo of a Diary

 You know when you feel punch drunk? That feeling when you haven’t touched a drop but you’re so tired you feel like you’ve tanked a bottle of wine and 2 tequila chasers. That’s how I feel today. Exhausted. Yawning. Cream crackered.

But it is with good cause. It is with such good cause that I don’t care for the tiredness, I don’t care for the heaviness that I have in my arms, a heaviness that is making it, right now, tricky to type like I am using my laptop in mud, a tiredness that will make sure I keep this blog post short because I just can’t, well, see.

The cause is this: I have finished my second round book edit. Finished. I like that word. F.i.n.i.s.h.e.d.  Thank the lordy lord. Last week I thought I wasn’t going to make it. I looked at the amount of pages I had to get through, the fact that I had a busy work week, the fact that, deep down, I knew I wasn’t 100% well. But I had given myself a deadline. Easter. The Easter holidays are coming up and I wanted this book done. Complete. Finito.

But I was at that point, last week, were I couldn’t see the end. So I did something. Now, I suspect this sounds loopy, but it worked. For me, it worked. What I did was this: I wrote out the words ‘The Finish Line’ in a big marker on a piece of paper and stuck it to the wall in front of me where I sit with my laptop.

And that was it. I was off. I went in every day last week and I saw those words. They stayed with me. Even when I wasn’t at the laptop, those words, like a good friend in hard times, they stayed with me.

It worked. Each day last week that phrase did the job as I ploughed on through the edit, throwing words to one side, cutting, re-writing, shifting scenes. It got to Monday and I had a few miles left, but for the first time I felt the finish line was around the corner – and there was no stopping me. It was a bit like the way I run a half marathon – as soon as I get to the last three miles, I know I’ll  make it and, even though I’m shattered, I move, I go faster.

And I went faster with my writing. Yesterday, Tuesday, I started at 5am. I worked on through. I got a call from my daughter’s school at 11am – she had a headache, could I come pick her up. I got her, had a cuddle, put her lying down watching DVDs, eating cake, then I began writing again. I stopped for the school run for daughter number two at 3pm. I fed, watered kids, sat with their homework, ran their bath. Then 7.30pm, I fired up the laptop, poured a glass of wine and went for it. And at midnight I had finished. Like I said, fast. I’ll admit now, I had a little cry.

So that’s it. Book edit 2 is done. Next is edit number 3, but this should be a quick one. Stylistically, I have ironed out the novel, so edit 3 is checking continuity, clarity, that kind of thing. Then there will be one final edit, edit 4, for a proof check and, rather like a car, a final wax and polish, if you will, of the writing.

Today is newspaper column writing. My hands hurt. My knuckles, finger bones, they physically throb from typing, but what the hell. Tis no problem at all. Because I have finished. I got to the finish line. And now, I can hear the kids are up, and the day has started. Where’s my coffee? The sun is shining. Here we go…

How do you keep yourself motivated to finish? Let me know.

 **Out tomorrow “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my latest Gazette newspaper column to my blog…**

My Citizen & Echo column: Why Justin Bieber is in meltdown

Welcome to “Monday is the new Saturday” where I pop the link to my Weekend magazine column ‘The Last Word’ from the Gloucestershire Citizen and Echo…

My Weekend column on Saturday was all about teenage popstar, Justin Bieber and how too much, too young means the lad is going into meltdown – now. I’ve stuck the column on my Citizen column page here so you can have a read.

You can also catch me each week on the Citizen and Echo Weekend magazine website. There’s lots of other lovely weekend stuff on there, too. 

The Citizen & Echo Weekend magazine comes out every Saturday. 

Is Justin Bieber going the same way as Britney Spears? Or is he simply having a good time? Let me know.

**Look out for Wednesday Wafflings on, um, Wednesday, where I post my weekly entry in my Diary of a Hopeful Author**

Gazette column: Less car parks, more state subsidised public transport, please

It’s “Thursday Thoughts” where I post my weekly Gazette newspaper column to my blog so you can have a read…

This week my column for the Gloucestershire Gazette is about car parks and how the answer is not to build more, but to have better, state subsidised public transport instead.

To read it, simply click to my Column page.

What do you think? Is better public transport the answer? Or are more car parks essential for towns and villages to grow? Let me know.

Nikki Owen_RND 2013**RED NOSE DAY ALERT: Remember, all the royalties for my book, The Boy Who Played Guitar, are going to Comic Relief and the Red Nose Day appeal to help raise vital funds for people who live imaginably tough lives.

To buy the book in paperback or for Kindle now, click here. Tell everyone. Let’s Read & Raise!**

 

Diary of a hopeful author: I’m donating my book royalties to Comic Relief!

It’s “Wednesday Wafflings” when I post the latest entry in my Diary of a Hopeful Author…rnd13 logo

 This week is a different kind of post. Because this week I’ve announced that I am to donate all the royalties from my book, The Boy Who Played Guitar, to the charity, Comic Relief.

Yup, between now and 29th April, 2013, every time my book – a contemporary fiction novel – is sold, the royalties will go to raise vital funds to help people across UK and Africa who live unimaginably tough lives.

Nikki Owen_RND_13
Me, my Red Nose Day nose & my book! Read & raise, people!

You can buy my book two ways: in paperback and for Kindle.  I’ve stuck the links below for you to follow. Ooo, and just to reassure, it’s a great read – 5 star rated on Amazon. Quick synopsis: Tired teacher starts a choir to help troubled students get their grades, but things don’t quite work out the way he planned. It’s funny & sad all at the same time.

Once the royalties are gathered, as well as writing (hopefully a huge) cheque for Comic Relief, I’ll report back to you on the blog about how it’s all gone.

In the meantime, if you can tell as many people as you can about it, if they could buy the book, too, it means we’re generating more funds, helping more people out of poverty. Spread the word!

I’m calling it ‘Read & Raise’ and in advance, a MASSIVE than you for reading and raising with me to make people’s lives better.

Have a cracking week.

Nikki

Getting The Boy Who Played Guitar:

For Kindle UK click here

For Kindle USA click here

For paperback UK click here

For paperback USA click here

The Boy Who Played Guitar is also avaialble via Amazon Europe. All royalties to Comic Relief.

 Want to know more about Comic Relief? Click here

Red Nose Day does something funny for money this year on Friday 16th March on BBC TV from 7p.m