Quick! It’s time for a mad tidy up around here. We need the place spick and span because next week it’s my turn to host the Rough Writers Tour of the World after the launch of the first Carrot Ranch flash fiction anthology.


Yes, people.
I am published!



It might not be the memoir but it is time to celebrate. I’m feeling proud and humbled to be part of this first posse from the Carrot Ranch.

Flash fiction has definitely improved my writing skills and to my surprise, I also discovered a creative way to beat perfectionism. Since moving to Warwickshire, I’ve been trying a couple of others. Public speaking and Painting. The first much more stressful than the second – at least to start with. But it’s another opportunity to craft something out of words, my challenge is to fill the time slot with as few words as I can – as I tend to gallop through them under pressure. I’m learning a lot about where an audience finds the points to pause which I think is beginning to tell me something about the delivery of the written word too.

…Back to tidying up around here, which I think has a number of metaphorical implications.

  • That of a physical decluttering, even if that’s only your desk or kitchen counter. (I also had a good go at my wardrobe before moving house.)
  • Or a mental decluttering which might be anything from pointless worrying to trimming down commitments to those which actually serve the essentials in your life.
  • And also in the current day, perhaps an on-line decluttering. I’ve spotted a few other bloggers I admire, taking a break from their blog and I’ve decided it’s okay to come here, say a few things I hope are either useful or interesting and then bugger off. I’m busy. You’re busy. No waffle. This blog is the tail on the dog. Not the other way round.

I’ve taken to Instagram518JOV2CdML._SX314_BO1,204,203,200_ to post snapshots of living my life. It’s ordinary and not, at the same time. I know there are some of you who find it helpful to see me surviving on. Others who might appreciate my three cats..

I’ve drawn a lot of inspiration to review all this ‘stuff’ from a book called Essentialism – The Disciplined Pursuit of Less. Recommended by a good friend who reads it over the New Year every year to reaffirm her personal intentions, I’ve found it a punchy and practical guide. McKeown manages to help you confront the big stuff –  what is your purpose in life? – through to practical sections on everyday issues, like how to say no without actually saying no. In about eight different ways!

So, a little bit more spit and polish and I’ll be ready for next week. I’m looking forward showing people around on the world tour but I’ll explain flash fiction here, in case I can tempt you to have a go. You don’t need a blog to participate. Charli has an online form to stick your words on. You could even do that anonymously if you wanted. To be honest this week’s prompt is tricky to get my head around. Some things don’t translate as well as they might from ‘American’ to ‘British’ but don’t let that stop you keeping an eye out for another week to have a go!

Flash Fiction – a fictional work of extreme brevity that still offers character and plot development. (Wikipedia)

99 made up words takes no prisoners but needs no training or qualifications to have a go. You could have a go, right now, if you wanted. The online community generated by Charli over at the Carrot Ranch provide each other with buckets of encouragement. Each week all sorts of people come together to have a go at her prompt for 99 words of fiction.

Every word must count, so the discipline of regular practice soon declutters the page, shedding flowery prose, unnecessary prepositions, adverbs and adjectives. Follow the link if you want to know more. See you next week!