WEP/IWSG challenges are open to all.

On the 1st of the challenge month, there will be a get-your-thinking-caps on post. The badge will include the dates of the challenge and the winner’s prize.

Going forward, the InLinkz sign up will open on the third Wednesday and close 3 days later. Participants link up with the DLs.

Team members collate a SHORTLIST and Nick Wilford judges WINNER, RUNNER UP and ENCOURAGEMENT AWARD.

The BEST COMMENTER AWARD will continue, shared by different people, so keep on reading wonderful people!

Monday, 23 September 2019

#AUGUST WEP WINNER'S POST - RED WHEELBARROW - READ ABOUT KALPANAA AND HER COTTAGE IN THE HIMALAYAS!!

The WEP team would like to emphasize once again what a treasure trove of excellent writing the August RED WHEELBARROW prompt was. Picking three out of so many is always difficult, but this time at least we were all unanimous that the outright winner was Kalpanaa. Judge Nick Wilford said:

"An intriguing story that works, I think, because of the questions it raises - sometimes it's good to leave the reader guessing. A hint of the supernatural and a portrait of a strained family dynamic that allows us to empathize with Kelly."


If you haven't already, please visit the previous post to read all about the winners and other news.

It is our pleasure to share with you a guest post from Kalpanaa. As well as winning the critique prize from Chrys Fey, Kalpanaa writes a guest post for WEP and the IWSG newsletter which will be out soon.

Here's Kalpanaa's post:


A WRITER FIRST


Are you a writer first and a _______ second? With the blank representing whatever career or money earning occupation you fill your days with that keeps you from your writing but pays your bills?

Some of us don’t have the luxury to just write, others don’t want to be dictated to about what to write, which means that like me, you’re a writer/teacher or a writer/something else. It isn’t exactly an ideal solution because teaching is a job that needs horrible amounts of keeping of records. Since I wrote the story for the Red Wheelbarrow WEP prompt, I've written a couple of blog posts but the bulk of my writing has been lesson plans, lesson reflections, emails and WhatsApp messages.


I consoled myself with these lines from the  book we are reading for the IWSG Book Club. It’s Betsy Lerner’s The Forest for the Trees: An editor’s advice to writers. Betsy writes, “I believe there is still enormous value in a piece of writing that goes no farther than the one person for whom it was intended, that no combination of written words is more eloquent than those exchanged between lovers and friends, or along the pale blue lines of private diaries, where people take communion with themselves.’


Those lines took the edge off my not-writing-anguish.  I’m striving to change my circumstances so that I have more time to write things other than lesson plans.  But my WIP weeps copious tears at this sop – that all writing (even lesson reflections) is writing. There is an urgency to my figuring out my life so that I can work remotely and not at a desk for eight hours. So that I can live, for most of the month, in my cottage in the Himalayas.


That cottage is not a distant dream but a five-and-a-half-hour train journey to a station called Kathgodam where butterflies are the size of small birds, fluttering from blossom to blossom with the bluest sky as a backdrop and the scent of fresh air wafting down the green hills.



writer first

Winding up the hills to the writing cottage

After another hour  up a  winding around many disorienting hills, over bridges spanning exuberant aquamarine rivers hurtling over rocks, a couple of spring-fed lakes with forests on their shores we stop at a market town. I buy eggs, fruit, vegetables and wine before we drive up the last twenty minutes leaving behind the lakes, the hill houses and the paragliding stations.


The garden is asleep under the sun, a new rose has opened her petals. Ingredients are put into the bread-maker, a cup of tea is brewed and I plant myself on the porch with my laptop. Distractions are gentle, the song of a starling, a moonrise, an eventful sky, a bunch of visiting monkeys snacking on blossoms. They don’t count as distractions but as opportunities to stop and stare, to think about what I’ve written and to inspire me to get back to work so that I can reach my word count before wine o’clock. Can’t allow myself that glass of red otherwise.




View from the porch

Writing at the cottage is my plan for the future. In the meantime I sneak in a couple of paragraphs here and there like someone having an affair with writing. I can’t wait for the day when I’m married to my novel.


How do you write? Are you married to your writing or having an affair with it?



Check out ideas from the WEP 2019 Challenges Page for the next prompt. It doesn't have to be horror. October is always our most popular month and we'll have special prizes!!



Also please check out Denise's guest post at the IWSG website. She's talking about, you guessed it, WRITING TO PROMPTS.

FOR THE WEP TEAM!

29 comments:

  1. Oh. That cottage in the Himalayas sounds like complete bliss to me. Heart balm at its very best. I do hope you find a way to spend more time there, and more time with your muse.
    My writing and I have a very casual affair. It is not second but probably fourth or fifth on my list (on a good week). Friends with occasional benefits?

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    1. If you write so well when writing is just a friend with occasional benefits, Sue, I'm terrified at how sublime you'd be if writing came first. Hey, not so terrified. Completely falling at your feet!

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    2. Hahahaa - your writing and you may have a casual affair but it's absolutely amazing. Love what you write Sue. The cottage really is one of my favourite places in the world.

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  2. Kalpanaa, this is a dreamy post. I want to borrow your cottage in the Himalayas! I'm coming over next year!! Bring in plenty of wine to go with that home made bread. Drink and write and snack. Perfect.

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    1. What a wonderful idea Denise. Let's make that a reality. Writing retreat?

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    2. That does sound wonderful! Beautiful views, writing, and wine sounds like the perfect combination.

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  3. I've written 3 books, all at difficult times in my life. I suppose it says a lot for how happy I am right now that I struggle to work on a 4th that has been in the works for almost 7 years now. For a while I wrote "for money" - blog and web posts that were published under someone else's name - on generic websites. I stopped when I found one of my articles while researching for another. I think that really took the fun out of writing for me for a very long time. Now my writing and stories are just on my blogs, but I still dream of it becoming a full time job. I just don't want it to feel like "work" again. I want it to always be something I enjoy doing.

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    1. That's quite a funny story - finding your own article while researching for another! I look forward to your fourth book and am heading over to your blog to check out the first three.

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  4. That writer's retreat sounds to die for.

    Very few writers make enough money from their writing to be able to give up any other livelihood though. Even T.S. Eliot worked as a teacher.

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    1. True! I guess I need more will power to push through the tiredness after a day at school. TS Eliot? That's someone I look up to.

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  5. Hi Kalpanaa - delightful cottage high in those mountaineous mountains - which must give solace to the soul to be able to spend time there writing - I'd probably spend my time musing and just loving the surroundings ... not sure I'd settle - after a while perhaps! Wonderful ... I'd happily join you - cheers Hilary

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    1. Come then! You're invited. And yes, musing at the mountains and smelling the roses does take up some of the time but there's very little else by way of distraction so I eventually get down to writing. I think you would too.

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  6. Every year, I read about a writers’ retreat on Lanzarote, my favourite island, and sigh. As full time carer, those days are over, but I keep writing and dreaming 🤗.

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    1. Never stop dreaming. And I hope you get to Lanzarote some time.

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  7. Hi Kalpanaa,
    I love your post because I love the mountains. But I enjoy sitting beneath them and watching as the sun goes behind them. I don't know whether I am married to my writing or having an affair. I think both, if that makes any sense. I've always been captured by it. Writing is something that took over my life when I was a young child and it hasn't let me go.
    I hope you are able to marry your writing soon.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G

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    1. Thank you Pat. I love the mountains too - trekking through them, sitting and staring at them, photographing them.

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  8. Your cottage sounds like a dream place where creativity flows.

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  9. Wow—a cottage in the Himalayas sounds like a dream :).

    I think I’m mostly carrying on an on-again off-again relationship with my writing.

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  10. On-again-off-again sums up my writing relationship too - life is always getting in the way, whether it's fights between daughters, a broken coffee machine or a runaway cat who wants to play hide-and-seek.

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    1. Yeah, my kids can make writing a bit challenging, but they offer a lot of inspiration too. A broken coffee machine, though-I couldn't recover from that.

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  11. Gorgeous, gorgeous view!!! Well worth the hours of travel to enjoy that!
    Teaching is an all-consuming profession - we find the time when we can, but it is tough!!!

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  12. That quote from Betsy Lerner’s The Forest for the Trees - which I'm reading as well - reassures me as I have periods where my fiction writing is non-existent. I may have retired and become an ex-equestrian journalist, but retirement due to ill-health is not a recipe for steady writing. I admire everyone like you that writes amidst another career, whatever that may be.

    The cottage is gorgeous - my memory of the Himalayas in Nepal enhance your wonderful photos and descriptions. At least, after three years, we are going to a mountain cabin for the weekend; I'll take a notepad as my muse will inspire me for sure.

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    1. We all write when we can. I'm glad that, in spite of life's challenges, you're able to participate in WEP!

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  13. Your writing cottage sounds absolutely lovely! Though you don't have a lot of time to write, it's good you have such a beautiful place to get those words in. Thanks for sharing some pictures!

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  14. Your cottage sounds amazing. Lovely pictures.
    I wish it wasn't so, but I too am having an affair with my writing. I am at let happy to like my day job. Perhaps one day when it's behind me, I'll allow that experience to inspire a story.

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    1. Toi, you're doing well for someone having an 'affair' with writing.

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