Thursday, 10 December 2009

Getting Into The Writing Mood

I didn't get much sleep last night but it wasn't too much of a problem because I had enjoyed some extra hours in bed yesterday morning. I was awake about 6.30am, I jumped out of bed, got myself into action mode and managed to be ready to leave the house at just after 7.30. Then it was a quick walk up the road to the bus stop to catch a bus. By 8.10 I was in McDonald's ordering a bacon roll for my breakfast.

Yes, this was a bit of a cop out; I could have made myself a bacon sandwich at home, but I didn't have any bacon and the bread ran out last night. I sat myself down in a corner to enjoy my bacon roll and to help pass the time I got a book of Suduko puzzles out of my bag and got stuck in to them.

The reason that I was on the go so early this morning was that I needed to get to the library for opening time at 9am so that I could find myself a quiet corner, unpack my laptop, course material, writing paper, pen, pencil and rubber, and then get down to the important task for the day.

I was late starting my present OU course (A174 Start Writing Fiction) because I was in hospital. By the time I was home again and getting into a frame of mind where I could realistically hope to make some sense of the course material and get to grips with what was required for the first TMA it was almost time to submit that TMA. I had sent my tutor an email when I was in hospital (yes, I did occasionally manage to get my fingers on a computer keyboard) informing him that I was a patient in a psychiatric hospital and that I wouldn't be able to start work on the course until I was home again. The first TMA was due in last Friday, but I negotiated an extension from my tutor and I had told him that I thought that I could get through all the necessary course material and do the TMA (that's five weeks studying and a week for TMA preparation) in two and a half weeks and that an extension of one week ought to be enough.

I managed all the reading fairly easily, and I must admit that I cheated a little and didn't do all the writing exercises because I just didn't have the time. I even managed to come up with possible scenarios for two of the short stories that comprised parts 1 and 2 of the TMA. The third part required me to listen to the radio and pick up something that was on air which I could use to write another short story. I put my headphones in my ears, called up BBC Radio 4 on my computer and listened to a short snatch of Woman's Hour. I couldn't believe my luck. As I started to listen there was a brief discussion going on about the difficulty of buying Christmas presents for men.

It didn't take me long to think up a little story about someone going to do the last bit of Christmas shopping and the difficulty that she was having buying presents for two 20-something males. I needed to write 500 words and they flowed from my pen at an impressive speed. As I completed each paragraph, I would take a break and quickly count up the words that I had written. As with all OU courses, the word count is important and tutors will dock you marks if you exceed the word count by more than 10%.

Trying to put together short stories with such a strict word limit can really exercise the mind, but this morning I managed to write three short stories, all of which were slightly over 500 words in length, but none of them anywhere near where I could have marks taken off. I need to finish typing them up now and then I can use the electronic TMA system to send the finished assignment to my tutor. I hope he is kind to me when marking it; I don't think I could cope with a poor result at a time when I am just about managing to keep myself busy so that I don't have time to think about being depressed.

(Just so you know, there are 741 words in this post)

4 comments:

Karita said...

when I am just about managing to keep myself busy so that I don't have time to think about being depressed.

I'm glad you had such a productive day. I'm trying to do exactly the same thing.

Achelois said...

Goodness me there is nothing like fitting it all in to one day! I have to pace for pain management and I wonder if there should be similar courses for emotional wellbeing. I hope your brain isn't all fired up from today without needing to spend the next couple of days in bed. Its difficult with deadlines I think for both you and I. I am sure your work will gain good marks - you write so eloquently here afterall and along with your aptitude for all things crafty I am sure both of these skills along with life experiences are an excellent grounding for the course you have enrolled upon. I have always yearned to sign up for an OU course but get no further. I worry about the cost and whether it will affect dla etc.

I am absolutely sure your marks will be good and I have faith in you. A productive day indeed - now we just need for you to have faith in yourself.

I hope all this productivity hasn't exhausted you. Don't feel guilty about the McDonalds breakfast its so much better than not eating at all. You are to harsh on yourself methinks.
I listen to Radio 4 24/7 really without it I would be a wreck - I like its structure and variety.

Kind thoughts as ever.

Alison said...

Firstly... thank you for mentioning McDonalds! It’s just going on for 5am, I’ve been up since 3.30am revising for my Biology exam which is at 11am and now I was a Sausage and Egg McMuffin! (+ a Hash Brown!)

20 something males, currently trying to think of what to buy a male, my cousin who I have technically not seen since he was 16, he’s 28 now but is in a mental health hospital for at least for the next four months – it’s complicated but you could say this is the first Christmas in which he’s going to have a more normal one in that he can presents to open so I thought I would send something.

Okay back to my coffee!

Lily said...

If you came up with any brainwaves about what to buy 20-something year old men while writing that story I'd love to know.

So far the best thing I've come up with is a plastic chameleon that plugs into the USB and makes faces. Probably not the best present I've ever found...