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Happy National Poetry Day – 3rd October 2019

Whatever you write – think about the poetic element.

Today is the day to give poetry a fresh start. I never liked it at school because we were forced to learn poems under threat of detention.

It wasn’t until I was in my thirties and did a workshop with Canadian poet and novelist Carole Burns that I rediscovered its magic. Since then I have been writing and publishing poems. Most of my story ideas begin as poems – which gives me a second chance at publication. Some of them join forces and become novels.

For further inspiration – take a look at my book ‘Writing Success: poetry, flash fiction & short story exercises.’

Read more poems. Get writing!

My Year of Living Magically Begins!

I’ve had my ‘Year of Living Dangerously’ which involved lots of published work, a collaboration with an artist, co-writing with a historical fiction writer (more news about that project in due course) and ending with a link up with a quilt-maker. (Again, more news soon).

My workshops at Number 8, Pershore, are now in their fifteenth year and are going from strength to strength. I am also having great fun at The Suffolk Anthology, Cheltenham and Tesco Community Room, St Oswald’s Road, Gloucester running workshops with Joy Thomas.

My Year of Living Magically will involve completing a play about 17th century witchcraft and a quartet of Regency novels.

I also have a long list of places I’m looking forward to visiting.

Watch this space!

Poetry in Colour – 2nd – 30th September – Evesham Library

Painting by Lindsay Tether

The exhibition featured artwork by Lindsay Tether and poetry by Sue Johnson and was part of the 2019 Evesham Festival of Words. Sue wrote poems in response to Lindsay’s paintings and Lindsay created artwork in response to Sue’s poems. Each item in the exhibition tells a story. They are all linked in some way.

The exhibition and workshop on Monday 16th September was a sell out.

Many thanks to everyone who attended the workshop and/or viewed the exhibition and left us such lovely comments.

September Inspirations

Keep challenging yourself! Don’t worry about what other people do or say. If I’d done that, most of the poems, stories and novels I’ve had published would never have been completed.

Keep submitting work to competitions and publishers. Be proud of the rejections you get. It proves you are a writer.

Take a look at Dahlia Publishing on Twitter. Have a go at their Short Story September challenge. I did this last year and completed 30 flash fiction stories – many of which have been published.

Also take a look at Inktober – this gives you a word each day in October. The idea is that you create a piece of art but I’ve found it worked equally well as a prompt for poetry. If you’re really feeling adventurous, do both. #amwriting

This then leads on to November and NaNoWriMo – which stands for National Novel Writing Month. The idea is that you do 50,000 words in November. However, it doesn’t have to be a novel. You could do a short story collection if you want to or outline several projects ready for a flying start in 2020.

The Glass Prison

I’m very happy that my historical story ‘The Glass Prison’ is published in the new issue of ‘Woman’s Weekly Fiction Series.’ Venice is one of my passions and getting this story published has been an exercise in persistence.

If you’ve written a story that you feel passionate about, then stick with it however long it takes. It will get there.

P S Since the publication of this story, two further stories that other editors didn’t like have been published. They could so easily have stayed in the computer file they were skulking in! #amwriting

Money in the bank

Buy yourself a notebook (if you don’t already carry one). Use it to jot down ideas for stories, brief descriptions of people and places and fragments of overheard conversation.

Use the information to create short, experimental pieces. Aim to finish one every day. Aim for 100 words. (This can be developed and expanded into a longer story).

Treat the stories and information you gather like money in the bank or a harvest of fruit or vegetables.

Threads – spinning the web of time

Almost exactly a year ago I went into a shop called Quilters Corner, opposite the library in Evesham, Worcestershire. It was a wet Saturday in March 2018. I was attracted by a beautiful quilt hanging in the window. It was log cabin pattern, using a variety of dark green, rust and cream fabrics. As a former patchwork addict, it was like a magnet. However, more surprises were to come! Inside the shop I came face to face with a black and gold Naumann sewing machine similar to the one owned by my Great Grandmother and passed on to my mother on her marriage to my father. It was the machine I learned to sew on – with varying degrees of success!

I stood gazing at the machine as time span backwards, did a loop the loop and left my brain spinning. I left the shop, went to the nearest café and sat writing a torrent of ideas. A year later, the result is this book. So far, this book has exceeded any expectations I had. The book signing in Quilters Corner (held on a wet Thursday in early April) was an amazing event (photo of me with Charlie Gannon, owner of Quilters Corner). The book is selling well – I have a small following in Germany – and appears to be leading to other projects I would never have thought of doing. I am also researching another novel set in Liverpool and Belfast.

Several people told me not to bother with this project. I am so glad I disregarded their advice and just did it. 

The book is continuing to do sell well on Amazon and via my website www.writers-toolkit.co.uk

I’m developing some of the ideas as short stories. Never waste a good idea by only using it once!

Right to Write Workshops – Tesco St Oswalds, Gloucester

Joy Thomas and I offer a monthly workshop in the Community Room in Tesco, St Oswalds Road, Gloucester – usually on the second Wednesday of the month.

The workshops run from 10.30 – 12.30 and cost £8.00.

Tea, coffee and biscuits are provided.

The next workshop is on Wednesday 9th October 2019. For further details and to book a place, please contact Sue on 01386 446477.

Flash Fiction & Poetry Workshops – Cheltenham – Second Tuesday of the Month

I run these workshops with Joy Thomas at The Suffolk Anthology Bookshop, Suffolk Parade, Cheltenham on the second Tuesday of the month from 10.30 – 1.00.

The cost is £12 and this includes a cup of tea or coffee.

The next workshop will be on Tuesday 8th October 2019.

For further information and to book a place, please contact me: sue.r.johnson@outlook.com

The Girl With Amber Eyes

This was originally published as a ‘My Weekly’ Pocket Novel.

It is now published as an ebook and a paperback. This is available on Amazon, Kobo, Barnes & Noble and via my website www.writers-toolkit.co.uk

The latest update is that recording as an audiobook with ACX is now finished and I am currently awaiting approval from them.

More news soon.