The ‘Ten Minute’ Test…

Photo by Krivec Ales on Pexels.com

Lately, I’ve been getting myself in a bit of tiswas…

It’s all to do with time. Or rather the lack of it.

Finding time to write in a very hectic season of life can feel utterly impossible.

Today I almost gave up.

What was meant to be a ‘day off’ swiftly snowballed into a whole heap of chores. I find this happens to me a LOT.

So I said to God – “I can’t do this anymore – this writing thing. I just don’t have the time. Maybe you’ve asked the wrong gal’. Maybe I’ll give it another crack when I retire. But right now, Lord, I just have to let this go. I give up!”

A voice inside me said: “Do you think that life will be any less busy when you retire?”

I sighed. “Lord, will there ever be time?”

I made a cup of tea and sat for a moment and stilled and quieted my soul before God. I sang. I prayed. I surrendered.

I looked out of the patio doors – out into the garden. I could see one of the beds needed weeding and dead-heading. Uugh… Another job I never seem to have the time for.

I glanced at the clock. 2:50pm. I had ten minutes before I needed to leave for the school run…Just ten minutes.

Then I had a crazy idea!

‘Why don’t you set a timer on your phone and see how much gardening you can do in ten minutes…?”

Okay. Sounds a bit bonkers. But I’ll give it a go!

I threw on my coat, grabbed a garden fork and got to work.

And this was the result! Who would have thought that just ten minutes worth of gardening would produce a whole pot-full of weeds, old dead stems and garden waste?

As I tugged out those tufts of Chickweed, and snapped off the dead-wood, I remembered the advice my nine year old had recently given me: “Mum, just try to write 50 words per day. And keep going. That’s all you need to do.”

What a wise little owl! Was God trying to show me something here?

It’s true – I might not have great chunks of time to spare during this season of life. I might NEVER have great chunks of time.

But I could find 10 minutes. Surely?

Just 10 minutes a day.

What a revolutionary thought! You know, 10 minutes a day might just be doable.

And progress, however small, is still progress. In fact, maybe the whole point of progress is consistency – not speed.

I applied the ten minute test to my writing this afternoon. I grabbed my notebook and pen. I set my timer, and guess what? I didn’t just write 50 words. I wrote 140! Perhaps I can do the same tomorrow. And the day after that. And little by little, who knows – perhaps 2022 really will be the year I finish that book?

And I might have a garden to be proud of too.

Enjoying The (Writing) Journey!

As an Early Years Practitioner, there are a few classic Picture Books that never fail to enthrall and delight the children I look after.

These stories are often about very ordinary things, such as having tea at the dinner table – coupled with an added twist, such as a tiger knocking on the door and inviting himself in…

One such story is Michael Rosen and Helen Obxenbury’s ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’ – a delightful tale, about a simple family stroll, on a beautiful day.

The twist is, that as the children are walking along, they pretend that they are off to find a Bear! They’re going on a Bear Hunt. They’re going to catch a BIG one!

As their walk continues, they meet LOTS of different obstacles along the way, such as:

  • A deep, cold river
  • Thick, oozy mud
  • and a swirling, whirling snowstorm

Because everybody knows, that every good story must contain OBSTACLES!

And anyone that has read the story will remember the repeated refrain:

We can't go over it. 
We can't go under it. 
Oh no! We've got to go through it! 

It struck me this morning, as I was reading the story for the gazillionth time, that a writer’s journey is very much like this…

As we attempt to write our stories, to dream up vivid characters, to create a solid story arc, to nail the perfect ending, to hook our reader from the very beginning – we come against MANY obstacles along the way.

It can be so hard to keep going when we feel stuck in the thick oozy mud, lost in a whirling snowstorm and totally unable to cross the deep cold river (or face a blinking cursor on an empty page…)

We journey on, through the ups and downs. We finish our stories. We do our best to query agents, to enter competitions, to send our stories out there.. only to be faced with knock-backs, closed doors and rejection letters. It can feel like an endless journey fraught with obstacle after obstacle, set-back after set-back.

But something within us keeps us going… The sense of adventure keeps calling us onward. The beauty of the journey – the high-point of connecting with one reader – helps us get back up again. The thought that the journey is leading us ‘to catch a big one’ – keeps us pressing on…

The thought that we are doing all we can to use our gift for the glory of God, makes it all worthwhile.

And we know instinctively that there are absolutely no shortcuts. There are no easy routes through. We know, along with all other writers, that:

We can’t go over it. We can’t go under it. Oh no! We’ve got to go through it!

So, at the start of 2022, let’s keep pressing forward. Let’s seize the day. Let’s pull our coats ever tighter around us and brace the wind, the rain, the snow! Let’s say together: “We’re not scared!” and enjoy this beautiful day, this beautiful opportunity that we’ve been given! Let’s enjoy the journey! You never know, we might even discover a bear at the end of it!

The Story So Far

Photo by Maria Tyutina on Pexels.com

Hi! My name is Angela. I write stories and poems for both children and adults.

Around fifteen years ago, I began to take my life-long love of creative writing to a new level and started writing Picture Books.

Like in every good story, there have been plenty of obstacles along the way! It’s been fifteen years of stops and starts, highs and lows, plus a few depressing rejections in between! But, thankfully, the story isn’t over just yet.

Some of my Picture Book stories feature:

  • a noisy, guitar-playing goose
  • a squirrel who loses a treasure
  • and a loveable tortoise called Hugo.

Hopefully, one day, you’ll get to read them.

Kids, Kids, Kids!

Besides writing, I’m a busy mum to four growing kids, including a set of twins! I also work as a Child-Minder, specialising in Early Years, which gives me plenty of scope for the imagination! Our house is constantly full of children (of all ages) and there is never a dull moment!

Breaking into Print!

Back in 2015, I wondered what would happen if I combined my passion for writing with my faith. Soon after, I received my first ever YES from a publisher, when two of my short stories, ‘Pitch-Black Patch’ and ‘Hidden Blooms’ were published by Keys For Kids Ministries in their quarterly devotional.

It was so much fun, that I went on to write a few more stories, some of which include:

  • Don’t Forget the Toothpaste
  • Teacups and Trainsets
  • One Hundred Percent
  • Only God Can Do That!
  • That’s Not My Job!
  • and The Doll’s House

I’ve also contributed articles and devotionals for Unlocked, Devozine and Creation Illustrated.

To order your copy, read or listen online, visit https://www.keysforkids.org/

Learning

I love to learn all I can about the craft of writing, and have recently completed courses in Picture Book writing, plus chapter books for older readers.

I have recently discovered and joined an amazing Writer’s Group, called ‘Write For A Reason’ and I am currently working on my first kid’s Novel.

Connecting

I’m a member of the SCBWI and enjoy being involved in the writing community on Social Media. I am a firm believer in learning from and helping to encourage others along the way and love to connect with other writers and creatives.

Relaxing

When I’m not writing, chances are I’m either curled up in my favourite arm-chair, (book in one hand, cup of tea in the other), cooking up a storm for the family, or pretending to be a country singer. I’m also a bit of a novice gardener, and keen wild-life lover.

I live in London with my amazing husband, Nathan, our four kids, two Rescue Tabby Cats, and our adorable Fox Red Labrador, Amber.