London Calling

London May 2015 (55) Boost 2What is it with London this year? It beckons for several reasons, a memoir workshop being one.

I promised an update on the course, but first I would like to thank so much those who have continued to ‘stick’ with me during this time, even when I haven’t been able to blog or visit half as much as I would like.

It really never ceases to amaze me the generosity of this blogging community.  Trying to balance writing (or should I say rewriting…), blogging and managing the stuff of everyday life, remains a constant challenge.

The course gives the first hour split into two half-hour slots for two people selected each week to read an extract from their work in progress.  We have to make sure to have ten copies of our work to hand out so others can read along and if they wish, write comments and feedback on them.  After a short break, there is an opportunity to share a shorter piece for the others.

I have read twice and the helpful and positive feedback I received from both the tutor and a few of the other writers has been very encouraging. This is the first time I had ever read out my work in front of a group of  ‘strangers’ and although a nervous wreck before hand, as I read on, I gradually felt more confident.

I hadn’t realised just how tough it would be, but I can see the benefit of doing so.  Reading my work out loud to myself (or sometimes to hubby if I can corner him, poor man…) is a good way to edit, but reading to a group is something quite different: my writing feels more tangible, the prospect of actually finishing the book and heading towards publication more real.

Listening to others read and gleaning advice from the tutor’s feedback on the different issues that come up is also helpful.  But the problem is there is no time to ask specific questions.

Now I’m back at square one: working on those dreaded rewrites, ongoing since last September.  Some of you have asked how the memoir is coming along (again, thank you for your interest!) which encourages me, especially when I feel ‘stuck’. Writing a first draft was a breeze compared to rewrites.  I know that now.  But I’m gnawing my way through to the core of the story, to the parts I really need to tell.  If only for a few more hours in the day, if at all possible…

This is not without the help of my friends and fellow memoir writers bringing their knowledge, shared experiences and encouragement along the way, for which I am more than grateful:

Jeanne writes of her struggles with the dreaded rewrite in her excellent post,  From Life Story to Memoir: The Rewrite and shares some great advice for anyone facing the same.

Irene is writing a weekly Memoir Monday on Tuesday series (as a follow on to Lisa’s Memoir Monday updates) in which she explores the process and mechanics of memoir.  I highly recommend her posts for anyone writing memoir.

Speaking of recommended posts, but on a completely different subject,  friend and published memoir author DG Kaye, recently asked this in her extremely helpful and timely post: Is #Windows 10 Hijacking Your Computer?   If you’re having a problem with constant pop-ups to update to Windows 10, then I say run, don’t walk to Debby’s site; she gives us great advice to cure this problem, her hard work and research saving us the trouble. I did…thank you so much Debby!

Back then to London and my other reasons for going: not only a family outing planned there later in the summer, but I’m off again tomorrow for the Annual Blogger’s Bash. A huge thank you to the four committee members SachaHughGeoff and Ali who have done an amazing job of organising it. I’m very much looking forward to seeing ‘old’ friends and meeting new.

You can read Hugh’s hilarious post about the Bash explaining how you can join in even if you can’t make it on the day. And of course, wishing all the nominees for the Blog Awards all the very best.

A wonderful weekend to you all and I’ll do my best to catch up better next week.

Love Sherri x

 

 

 

About Sherri Matthews

Sherri has been writing full time since 2011. Currently working on her memoir, 'Stranger in a White Dress', she has been published in a variety of national magazines, websites and three anthologies. Sherri raised her three, now adult children, in California for twenty years and today, lives in England’s West Country with her hubby, Aspie youngest, two cats, a grumpy bunny and a family of Chinese Button Quails. She keeps out of mischief blogging, gardening, walking by the sea and snapping endless photographs. Her garden robin muse vists regularly.
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74 Responses to London Calling

  1. Imelda says:

    Though the going is slow, you have taken several steps closer to your dream. 🙂
    👏👍🐝

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sherri says:

      Thanks so much Imelda…small steps in the right direction are all important! Hope life is treating you well, have a wonderful weekend with your lovely family 🙂 xo

      Like

  2. restlessjo says:

    Aww, I wondered if you’d be there again, but thought you might be too busy. If I’d known I might have made more effort. Never mind- enjoy it for me! 🙂 Hugs, sweetheart. I know it’s a lot of work, Sherri, but you’re getting there. And look at all you’ve learnt in the process! Keep up the good work 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sherri says:

      Phew…back now and just posted my write up…no posts for weeks and then one both sides of the weekend, yikes! Oh but Jo, how I wish you could have been there, it would be fantastic to meet you. Next year, you must come!!! I was up and down as to whether or not I could make it, but in the end I went and I was so glad I did. And yes, I am despairing a little about the memoir…I think getting away for the day in such a friendly and lovely environment helped a lot. Thank you so much for your encouragement, you are wonderful! 🙂 xx

      Like

      • restlessjo says:

        I haven’t read anything about the day, Sherri, so I’ll pop over shortly. Becky, my Algarve friend, was intending to go but came down with a heavy cold and didn’t make it. Glad you had a good time. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Slow but sure, Sherri. I know the feeling. Great to see you anytime you come out to play. Wish you all the best in your endeavors. ❤ ❤ ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Rewrites are tedious and tiring, Sherri, that’s for sure. And sometimes a section won’t be satisfied with one rewrite, but will require another and another. Six months ago, an 83-year-old member of my writing class used her weekly time slot to present her 5th rewrite on a short story. There were only three minor changes, but the word choices were stronger and more compelling…and the story won second place, a cash prize, and publication in an anthology!
    We all celebrated with champagne and toasts applauding talent and perseverance mixed with pizza (only in America, right?) she brought as a thank you for our help and encouragement. 😉 You’re on the right track, Sherri. Here’s to champagne and pizza in your future! ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sherri says:

      How wonderful Marylin, thank you so much for sharing this with me. That is just what I need to read right about now…I know I need to keep going and it really does come down to those minor changes before realising that there is no more to be done. And those rewrites do get me down at times…but I know they will pay off in the end. They have to! And Champagne and pizza sounds mighty fine to me…I’ll hold you to that my friend, I need your wonderful encouragement. Cheers!!!! 🙂 ❤

      Like

  5. Denise says:

    Always lovely to see a new post from you Sherri xx Hope you enjoy the Bash later in the year.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sherri says:

      Hi Denise, and likewise always lovely to see you too. I’ve been so bad at keeping up blog visits, barely managing to keep up here. And now I’ve posted a write up about the bash…had to be done! I’ll have to have a rethink though with blogging maybe just for the summer while I get these dreaded rewrites finished. I hope all is well with you…we must catch up!! xx

      Like

  6. I really feel for you, dear Sherri, but I’m sure all your efforts will be so worthwhile in the end. Keep plodding on, but take time out to enjoy your weekend. It’s always good to see you when you resurface. The workshop sounds to have been very beneficial, and I’m sure you were happy to meet other authors that are ‘in the same boat’ as yourself. Hugs to you. xx 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much dear Sylvia…you are the voice of calm and exhortation 🙂 It is good to meet other writers but I really enjoyed the Bloggers Bash as you’ll read lol! It was a wonderful day out, just what I needed to get away from all the stress of ‘stuff’. I hope you had a wonderful weekend too…I will be over to catch up for sure!! 🙂 xx

      Liked by 1 person

  7. You’ll get it done my friend…it’s a long and tedious process, but it’s long forgotten once the thrill of completion sets in.
    As for Windows 10, I gave into the constant messages. I kept telling it to reschedule for later, but once I learned I’d no longer receive security updates without it, I bit the bullet. I’ll be honest, I’m happy with it so far. There’s still some figuring out to do…when’s there’s time, but it’s not nearly as scary as I thought it would be.
    I received your lovely email and I’ll respond as soon as I get some work accomplished on my draft. Have a great weekend! Hugs from me and DFD! ❤ ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sherri says:

      Phew…that is great advice Jill, I’ll be sure to remember it! I lose track of any kind of thrill at times…but there are tasters when I know I’ve completed a chapter that was really troubling me and I know I’ve written it just the way I wanted to…you know 🙂 And that is very interesting about Windows 10. That part about the security updates does worry me too. Very encouraging to know that doing the update didn’t give you too much trouble. I’m terrified after my laptop woes of last year! Got your lovely email, thank you, will reply asap… hope you have a good week ahead my friend 🙂 ❤ ❤ 🙂

      Like

  8. Heyjude says:

    You make me feel guilty that I still haven’t done anything with my ‘story’. Writing is so difficult, I admire your tenacity. Just carry on Sherri, you’ll get to the finish line one day, and then it’s just a simple matter of finding a publisher. And enjoying the champagne and pizza 😉

    Enjoy your day out. (That sounds like a Wallace and Gromit adventure) ‘Sherri’s Grand Day Out’

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sherri says:

      Haha…I rather like that Jude…a great blog post title if nothing else! And I happen to adore Wallace and Gromit 😉 Oh I hope I find a publisher…that would be my dream come true. I panic though and think I’ll never get this book finished!! But one day at a time is all it can be. I hope now you’ve moved and once you settle in (and I know that doesn’t happen overnight!) maybe you can revisit your story. And champagne and pizza sounds wonderful!!! Cheers! 🙂 xx

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Norah says:

    It’s great to hear of the progress you are making with your memoir, Sherri. I’m pleased you found some benefit in the course, although the days with their long journeys were tedious and tiring. I hope there’s not too much more rewriting required. With readers waiting you have to know when enough is enough.
    I do hope you enjoy the blogger’s bash. Wish I was joining you. Have fun!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sherri says:

      I hope to get to that point of ‘enough is enough’ soon Norah. The main rewrites from the earlier chapters were the hardest as those were written three years ago and I bashed them out. I’ve since totally rewritten them into a form that fits with the way I want to tell the story. The rest will be some rewrites and a lot of editing. I really hope I can crack the back of it over the summer. Thank you as always for your wonderful support. And the Bash was great fun, but I wish you could have been there too. You will have to plan your next visit to the UK during the Bash…wouldn’t that be wonderful! Hugs to you 🙂 xx

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Mabel Kwong says:

    Good to hear that the memoir workshop is so supportive. Good on you for reading aloud twice – owning your own writing and it becomes real when you hear it and others hear it to. Perhaps you were nervous about hearing your own voice and not so much your writing 😀

    I have to agree that rewriting and editing a book is the hard part. I am still editing the first draft of my book, and progress has been slow. Like you, a lot of the times I feel ‘stuck’ – but a lot of the time I find going away and coming back again, I feel inspired to write and then I do. Good luck with the rest of it, and have a good time at the Bloggers Bash 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you dear Mabel, you perhaps are right! It is strange reading out loud to a group of strangers, but it is also quite liberating. And you are right about owning our writing when we read it out loud…it is a great exercise, I hadn’t realised that before. I am so glad to hear you are working on your first draft, and I totally agree, taking a break (such as I have recently) and just ‘getting out there’ can really make a difference. It refreshes us and helps us clear away those pesky cobwebs. I’m so glad it works for you, renewing your inspiration at such times. Those slump times are horrible…but maybe they are reminders for us to put our writing aside for a time for our own good 🙂 I hope you had a lovely weekend, the Bloggers Bash was really fun, I’m so glad I went. I’ve put pics up and a post..two posts so close, I haven’t done that for a year or so! Had to be done though. Have a good week, take care of yourself and keep smiling that beautiful smile of yours 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  11. So glad to hear the memoir course was beneficial in some ways. And really happy to hear that you are working on it more. Always happy to see a post from you. Hope you had a great day at the bloggers bash. 💕

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I think it’s wonderful that you have a writing group to share your group with, and receive constructive feedback from. I can only imagine the courage it takes to share your words aloud the first time. Wishing you well with the (re)writing! Cheers from Canada! 🍁

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much Marlene. Your support and encouragement all along the line has been amazing. I was really nervous the first time, I felt like a kid back at school ha! Glad I did it though. I hope things are going well for you…we need to catch up and we will soon. Cheers to you from England! (Love the Maple leaf!) ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Tom Merriman says:

    Keep on keeping on, Sherri! Every step is a step closer, and you’ll get there!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. dgkaye says:

    Wow Sher! What an action-packed post! First, kudos to you hopping that train every week and going to the writing group and sharing your WIP, that takes courage. How rewarding it is to get that feedback, even though you know it’s going to cost more time with more rewrites, lol.
    Second, thank you so much for mentioning me and my about page and Windows post, you are a gem of a friend. But I want to thank you for introducing us to other memoir writers and their links, which I’ve visited and now following.
    And of course I want to hear allllllllllllll about the Bash next week when you’re settled back . . .and recovered, lol. Big hugs my friend!!! xoxo ❤

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you so much Deb!! I knew you would understand about those dreaded rewrites! It’s a pleasure to share your posts, they help us all, and how wonderful of you to visit my other memoir writing friends. Together we can offer each other moral support through the process, although as a seasoned published author,I always wait with baited breath for anything and everything you have to share on memoir alone 🙂 Big hugs back to you my friend, feeling the squeeze! 🙂 ❤ xoxo

      Liked by 1 person

      • dgkaye says:

        I’m beyond flattered my friend. And I loved you in Hugh’s video!
        I’m drowning in rewrites now, lol. 🙂 ❤ ❤ xo

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sherri says:

          Aww thanks Deb! Of course I said absolutely nothing about my blog, totally blew a great opportunity there didn’t I lol!!! Too much being silly…but that’s what it’s all about, right?
          Oh that drowning…you have my sympathies my friend…but all for the good! 🙂 ❤ ❤ ❤ xoxo

          Liked by 1 person

          • dgkaye says:

            So true Sher. And like I said to Hugh, it’s funny how so many wordsmiths in one venue were tongue-tied once the camera was on them, lol. I would have been the same. 🙂 ❤ ❤ xoxo

            Like

  15. Sunni Morris says:

    I definitely know the feeling of reading ones work aloud to “strangers.” I belonged to a writer’s group when I lived in CA. We met once every two weeks. At first it was very nerve wracking, but at the same time very helpful as different ones would make suggestions and comments. After a while we all got to know each other and became like one happy family. I learned a lot by going and joining the group. I’m so glad I did it. I wish they had a writer’s group where I’m living now because I do miss it.

    Best of luck with finishing your work. You’ll get there.

    Sunni

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sherri says:

      I’m so glad your writer’s group in CA was helpful and you all became such good friends. Sadly I didn’t have quite that same experience as I am unlikely to see any of them again and it was a bit of a rushed affair for me with having to dash for the train and not much time inbetween, but yes, I am always determined to take away from any experience the good parts. Reading out our work gives us a sense of ownership that was quite the revelation! I don’t have a nearby writer’s group either. Thank you so much for your encouragement Sunni, means a lot and always lovely to hear from you. I hope life is treating you well… 🙂 ❤

      Like

  16. Ali Isaac says:

    And wasn’t it a fab day?I would love to know how to get rid of those windows 10 popups, so I’m hopping over to Debby’s blog now… thanks for the tip!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Oh Ali, it was fab, absolutely wonderful. I wish we could have had more time to talk. I was so touched by your concern for me, you are such a dear. I really wanted to see how you were, how things are going with your family, but I know you had your BB duties to perform and I expect you must have been quite tired by the end of the day! You all did such a fantastic job, I loved seeing you and everyone again. Debby has great advice…glad to link to her post, you’ll love her blog, she is lovely…like you 🙂 ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ali Isaac says:

        Sherri I tried my best to get round as many people as I could, but the more people that come, the harder that gets! There was no sitting around the dinner table this time. I quite enjoyed that last year, but then I guess you only get to mingle with those you are sat beside. Anyway, I hope you found the experience uplifting after what you have been through in recent months. It was a fabulous day!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sherri says:

          Yes, it isn’t easy, especially with the Bash getting bigger each year! And thank you so much, I did find it so uplifting. Just what the doctor ordered, the best tonic at the right time! Big hugs Ali 🙂 ❤

          Like

  17. It must be wonderful to participate in the workshop!
    Gary from Fiction’sFood, calls editing, “drediting”!! Dreaded editing!
    Have fun at the Bash!!

    Liked by 2 people

  18. So much fun to hear more details about your memoir class Sherri! I can only imagine that it would be nerving to read your writing in front of a group. Thank goodness it sounds like everyone is very supportive and gives constructive feedback. Matt is currently in the process of writing and re-writing his proposal for his thesis dissertation and has been stuck in this process of re-writing for quite a while. It can be challenging!

    Thank you for sharing the link to the post on how to remove the Windows 10 updates! They always pop up and have been driving me crazy!

    So good to see a post from you Sherri 🙂 I know life is busy but it’s always fun to get a quick update!Hope you have a lovely beginning to your week. xoxo Heather

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sherri says:

      Oh I feel for Matt! ‘Stuck’ is the right word; that’s exactly how I’ve been feeling. I’ve got a lot of hand-written rewrites from my time on the train to and from London, but yet to type them up. Getting that non-distraction time to write is getting harder and harder lately…it’s the thinking time, the processing time. And then when the time arrives…well, deep breath before plunging in! A challenge for sure. I wish Matt all the very best wtih his dissertation. Glad to help with the link and thank you so much Heather; your visits always make me smile 🙂 A busy week but a good one (spending time with my boys!), and I hope the rest of your week goes smoothly, leading into a wonderful weekend! ❤ xoxo

      Like

  19. Charli Mills says:

    Sherri, I’m in awe of your commitment to your memoir. Revision is the hardest and it’s a huge challenge to juggle the focus it requires with the tugs of life. Yet, here you are, committing to a workshop, too. Like you, I’ve discovered the benefits of reading out loud to others. I take new material each month to an Open Mic Night in Sandpoint. The poet who runs it calls it an incubator — a place to test your words on an audience. Though it’s poetry, I read flash fiction and I include short pieces of my novel as flash! I’ve started reading some personal essay, too, the closest I’ll ever get to poetry, but definitely an influence you’ve had over me with your memoir writing and how powerfully you write. Keep up the good work and in time you will be surprised, traveling to London for book readings! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Wow Charli! I’ve had an influence over your writing? That’s made my day, I am in awe!! You know how I feel about writing flash fiction and the way it’s opened up a new vein of creativity I didn’t know existed in my writing, so to know that my memoir writing has opened up yours into personal essay (and reading extracts out at Open Mic…!!) makes me want to do a happy dance with you! That’s so wonderful. Fantastic too you get to read extracts from your novel. I bet your audience loves hearing you read; I would be glued! Interestingly, I saw a sign for an Open Mic night at a pub on my recent travels to see my boys, that was the first time I’ve seen one over here (of course, it would have to include booze over here lol!!). I didn’t know we had them! I’ll have to keep an eye out locally, now I know just how beneficial open reading in public can be…an incubator indeed, love it! Charli, thank you so much…I love reading your comments and feedback…you encourage me so very much…and goodness, a book reading in London? Now that would really be something, and I’ll say it right now: You just better be there!!! 😀 ❤

      Like

  20. Just letting you know I’m out here rooting for you. No response necessary. Hugs. M

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Thanks so much for the mention, Sherri. It was wonderful seeing you on Saturday, but I’ll catch up with you about that on your post of today. You looked terrific on Saturday. Just wait until you see that video of Geoff and you. It’s so funny. I’ll be publishing it on Wednesday as part of the first video of the day.
    Don’t know about you, but I still can’t stop thinking about The Bloggers Bash.
    xx

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sherri says:

      Ahh…that’s so lovely, thank you so much Hugh! I always feel a bit of a wreck, ha!!! And I was absolutely thrilled to see you again, I think you could tell from all the hugs lol!! 😀 I can’t stop thinking about the Bash either…but as I just posted on FB, feeling a mix of buzzing and missing you all…it was such a wonderful, amazing day. And as for the video…yikes!!!!! I’m nervous already, haha! I’m with my boys today until Thursday down in your old neck of the woods, but taking my laptop with me so will be sure to keep current with all your posts…bring it on!!! 🙂 xx

      Liked by 1 person

      • Please say a big ‘hello’ to Brighton & Hove for me, Sherri. Enjoy the time with your boys. I’m sure they will spoil you and I bet they will want to know all about The Bloggers Bash. Just read you post about it. It was a brilliant write-up. I’ve read nothing but posts about the Bash for the last two days, but I’m loving every minute of it. 😃
        xx

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sherri says:

          Duly done Hugh, waving as I type!! Ahh…thank you so much, my heart always glows when I’m with my boys 🙂 I’m thrilled you enjoyed my BB write-up. Like you, I’m still buzzing! And I absolutely loved your post and video, can’t wait for the next one! I realise I didn’t say a thing about my blog once again…oh well, there’s always next year and I think I had better bring a prepared script! Although I’m very grateful for the diversion of Geoffl’s magnificent purple beard…what fun we had didn’t we? That’s what’s it all about. Such a fantastic time…and great re-living it as you say via everyone’s posts. And great for you as now you can enjoy reading them all knowing that all your amazing hard work paid off!! 🙂 xx

          Liked by 1 person

  22. Annika Perry says:

    Sherri, the first time I read my work out at a writer’s course I was literally shaking and my voice breaking. So embarrassing but I found everyone so helpful, giving positive as well as very constructive comments in a gentle manner. Doing this kind of reading aloud is invaluable, especially to like-minded writers of the same genre. A real pity though about the lack of time for questions – it seems it could be twice as long each session! Good luck with the continued re-write – I feel you’ve come over the worst hurdle? Is that right? As for more hours in the day – I wish!!😀

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sherri says:

      I’m so glad that you found the constructive comments and feedback at your writer’s course so helpful and encouraging Annika. I was not expecting the benefit I gained from doing the same and am glad to take away that experience. But yes, I do wish we had had more time for more specific questions. Time…ha! There’s a thing! Thank you so much for your always such kind and supportive comments. I haven’t had a chance to get back to those dreaded rewrites for a little while now, but really hoping to knuckle down very soon. All those hand-written notes from my train journeys taunt me from my coffee table as a constant reminder to get on with it! But yes, you’re right, I do believe the worst hurdle is just about cleared which is a good thing. And so we write on! And hope to stretch our days! 🙂 xxx

      Liked by 1 person

  23. You’re making progress Sherri, even if it is hard at times 🙂 I’m glad you got some value from the memoir workshop, I had to read out loud for the first time to the group when I was at Arvon and it was a very daunting experience, but in hindsight, it’s a great memory – that special feeling of sharing something with other writers and them sharing their own writing.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sherri says:

      Thank you Andrea, I know you understand! I hadn’t realised it was your first time sharing your writing out loud at Arvon 🙂 I’m so glad that you too found it beneficial with hindsight. Something important!

      Liked by 1 person

  24. You’re getting there. Jealous of the bloggers bash. Would love to be able to meet and chat in person to everyone – you especially.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Sherri as you can see I am way too far behind reading posts but sounds like a great way to learn and share your words. Have a wonderful saturday, cold and windy here.

    Liked by 2 people

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