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When Is The “Right” Time?

I sat down for ten minutes today, thinking about what I am going to blog about next, and it hit me that the only things coming into my head are the negative things.   If I sat and blogged about all the things that are bothering me, I would bore you silly, and you’d probably be rolling your eyes into the back of your heads.  I’ll leave those for another day.

Then I decided to tell you (again) about the huge positive thing in my life at the moment that keeps me sane.  I write, profusely.   If you read my blog, you are probably not surprised by that, as it is mentioned all over the place.

 I am finally finishing some of the projects that I started over the years when the kids were smaller.   Two are in revision stages, which I am loving, as these are nearing my pedestal state of “finished”.  I don’t yet know if they are any good or not, but I am happy with the achievement in getting this far, and keep adding to, and changing the plot to make them the kind of story I would love to read.  There is definately an art to finishing, and I am finally mastering it.

To keep my momentum going, I intend on self publishing my book of local language poems as I don’t believe a publisher will find these marketable.  The scottish population is too small for it to end up on any best seller list.  I am going to publish it though, and it will just be for the experience, and to be able to have my name on something that I have written publically.   I do intend to query the manuscript to a few agents as a tester for later in the year, and I am very very close to that.   The poems are just for fun, and my kids love reading them.

I haven’t yet entered any competitions, but I am planning to submit some short stories and poems this year.   I made the decision that this year, my work is going to go public, and if no-body likes it, then it can be revised until people do.  It has taken me a lot thinking and soul searching to be able to do this, and I am still quaking in my boots at the thought of going “public”.

Yours worriedly
Scottish Mum

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How to be a Scottish Mum

Looking at how people find my blog today in the statistics package, I was struck by how many people find it by asking the words “how to be a scottish mum.”

I’m not really sure how to take that.   Then I had to think about what makes a scottish mum different from say, an english mum, or an irish mum, or an american mum etc etc.  I could not think of anything, and then it got to me thinking about how some people must portray us as the scottish stereotype.

Would we be pictured in some peoples’ heads as wild and wiry, long haired, tartan wearing lovelies, such as the Christoper Lamberts onscreen wife in Higlander 1?   Are we seen as knife wielding, redhaired, freckled wild women who fight for their families ala Liam Neesons onscreen wife in Rob Roy?

The truth is quite mundane these days.  There are very few tartan wearing women, and even fewer who live in the wilds, in their little mud huts unwashed and jigging around swords with their tartan sashes and fighting for their families and lands.  That is the stuff of history and fiction, rather like the American Wild West.

Yes, there are some communities which are living in the more traditional type houses, and a few even still living without running water and electricity, but these are very few and far between.

I can tell you about some scottish women in the recent past and what motherhood meant to them, but it might take a whole book to tell that story, and one day very soon, that is what I am going to do.

In the short version, my family came from Skateraw, around Newtonhill in the North East of Scotland.  Life was hard.  The menfolk were fishermen and the women had to be hardy.

The cold winters were the hardest.  The women might have several of the family menfolk in the same house, all working at sea in the fishing industry.  It was a very steep hill down to the pier where the boats set to sea.  The womenfolk always went down to meet the boats, and carried the fish up the hill on their creels.

The next day, they would leave early, before light, and walk to Aberdeen with their creels on their backs, and sold as much fish at the market stalls as they could.  Every day, they would make that walk until all the fish was sold, a round trip of more than 10 miles every day.  Their families were well fed, as there was always fish to eat as long as a family had men at sea.

Inbetween walking to Aberdeen and back, these women had to provide food for their families, and wash the sea salt loaded clothes, which would take much  more water than they could carry in one or two trips to the communal taps.  The clothes had to be ready at short notice for their mens sea chests.

Sadly, many young children died, as when the mums  and grandmothers had to work, there was no-one to look after the children, and often young children succumbed to fatal accidents.  Many fell into the house fires where the supper was cooking, or down the cliffs into the sea.  It was a tough existence, and many a fishermans wife had a broken heart for the tragic loss of her “wee ones.”

When the boats were ready to be loaded out again, the womenfolk had to pick up their men and carry them to their boats, to ensure that they managed to get aboard with dry feet.   Imagine the dainty womenfolk of today managing to carry their six foot husbands out to a boat in freezing water, yet these women did it.


Once their men took off to sea again, the women then began the chores of fixing the nets, a thankless task that was both difficult, and caused many a raw blister.

This was only 120 years ago when my great grandmother was young.   The speed we  have moved forward in since that time is incredible, and todays fishing industry, and the expecations and duties of scottish mothers has been transformed.    Back then, a toonser woman would not have wanted to marry into a fishermans family.  They might have been well fed, but they sure had to work hard.

So how can someone be a scottish mum?

I don’t have the answer to that.  I am a scottish mum, but have no idea that the difference might be.  Perhaps we cook some slightly different foods, perhaps we have a funny accent.

Maybe there is something that differentiates us, but I don’t know what it is.

If someone has any suggestions, then I’d be happy to listen to them, and now, finally, when someone finds my blog in the search for how to be a scottish mum, they will actually find a post related to what they are looking for.



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NaNoWriMo – I Won 2010 Woo Hooo

I just had to post this for myself and to myself.  I only found out about Nanowrimo late on the 1st November by following the tweets on twitter.  I decided there and then to join in with a story I have been threatening to write for 5 years, but have just never seemed to find the time to start.

I always knew I had a lot of words inside of me wanting to get out.  The speed of doing this has surprised me, and although I am nearly 10 days early in finishing, I now know I have the ability to commit to writing, which is what I have always wanted to do for pleasure rather than the business it was before my children came along.

In the end, this is a totally self indulgent post, and I am not ashamed to say that I am really proud of how I have stuck the project, and completed 50,000 words in 21 days.

Go me.


Onward to finish the novel is my next goal.

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NaNoWriMo Update 20,424 words.

Just to keep you up to date of my #nanowrimo progress.   I am on day 9 and so far I have written 20,424 words out of the 50,000 target.  A lot of those words I am not happy with, and in the normal run of things I would edit as I go.   Writing for me normally has me finishing one piece, while going back and changing what I don’t like as I go, or as I think of better things.

With nanowrimo, the challenge to have a first draft in a month means that there is no time for self editing as you go, and you literally throw the words down and move on.  The words are coming out at a fast rate, but as a mum of three with house and food to get ready, the time to do it is my biggest constraint.   I type as fast as I can, whenever I can get a minute.  I am averaging approximately an  hour a day at most and I am happy with my word count for my time spent. 

As to the quality of my writing, well that is a whole different story.  I am still enjoying the challenge so far and I am still on target to finish. 

Wish me luck.

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NaNoWriMo – What is in it for me?

If you have been watching a twitter or facebook stream in the last couple of days, you will have seen much about a thing called nanowrimo. 

Today is day 2 of nanowrimo.  For my sins, I have decided to take part in this years event.  It is run in November and is based around National Novel Writing Month.

Running from the 1st to the 30th of the month, it says on it’s website that it is “thirty days and nights of literary abandon.”  

I have scoured and searched the website and the informaton gained on it.  The thing that does stand out for me is that around the country they are having #nanowrimo meet ups for support and assistance.  There are also forums on the website to help when we hit the dreaded “writers block,” which we all do.

From what I have seen, there seem to be several types of people who are taking part.

  • Those who take it deadly serious and using it as a publicity awareness exercise.
  • Those like me, taking an idea as far as they can to see if it can be turned into anything worthy of a publishing house.
  • People who fancy the idea of writing a novel, but have never put pen to paper before, and just fancy giving it a go.
  • Those who cheat.

There are probably other groups of people out there, but a lot of the entrants I have come across seem to fall into one of those categories.

What do writers get for taking part in the exercise?

The answer to that lies in the heart of every entrant who is striving to reach their 50,000 words in the month of November – as that is literally the simply target. 

30 days and nights to write 50,000 words of a novel, using your own imagination, experiences and abilities.  Each novel will be different from the next and the amount of words that will be written over the next month in this competition will be staggering.  At the end of the month, those who reach the 50,000 wordcount will “win”.   The prize will be the knowledge that you have written 50,000 words of a novel, and then it is up to you to continue to write, or to begin editing and working on the piece of work you have created.   Winners are also allowed to use a special web badge which shows that they are a nanowrimo winner.

The idea is not to edit, rewrite, or correct grammar in what you are writing.  It is a simple exercise similar to a brain dump of your novel in progress.  How you get to the end point is up to you, and how much time you wish to spend on it.   With a daily goal of approximately 1700 a day to write, it is process that needs a little commitment to get to the end. 

My evening mealtime wordcount is sitting at 4614.  I need to get ahead for a couple of days toward the end of the month that I will not be able to write. 

Why am I doing this?  I don’t really know.  I have had ideas running through my head since I was 15 and up until now I have limited my writing to the more corporate requirements of business in operation.    I am now away from that environment, and with the freedom to express myself in my own words, the urge to write for leisure has begun to bite.

I am away from the more general aspects of grammatical perfecton.  They tell us that it is like riding a bike and is something that you never forget, well believe me, it is not.  I am waiting on a grammar book to arrive for when I decide to take any of my ramblings to the next level.  For now, I am enjoying the baby steps in commiting myself to 50,000 words in 30 days. 

Will I make it – well, only time will tell.  What I will do, is update my daily word count in the sidebar in my blog to remind myself how far I need to go. 

I hope some of you will be joining in this journey.  It is a personal journey, but one which we can share with ease, especially in the blogging world, where we are almost all aspiring novellists, just looking for a way to translate our energies into our work.

I wish everyone taking part the very best of luck with writing and forming their ideas.  We rock.