I’ve always loved to write, I’ve always enjoyed reading and I’ve always loved books.
Clayton Green library was like a second home to me when I was a teenager. The library staff knew me by name as I would be there every single day in the long summer holidays.
I could be found sitting in the corner reading books as my library card only allowed me to take four library books away. I could read four library books in a couple of hours back then. I am talking Sweet Valley High’s Wakefield sisters rather than the Bronte Sisters, so the books were thin rather than War and Peace volume.
I enjoyed being in a fictional world with characters that I would never come across on a Saturday afternoon in Preston.
I also loved to write my own stories using those fictional characters that I read about.
Secretly, I longed to see my name on the front of a book cover like all of those famous authors whose work I enjoyed. I would wonder whether Francine Pascal or Jackie Collins would get excited about seeing their words in print for the public to see. I bet they did.
So I’m delighted to say that tomorrow afternoon I will be spending an hour taking part in a book launch for Write for the Stage Publications (WFTS) and my first play Bleeding with Mother is on sale.
I still can’t quite believe it. A play written by me, in print, with my name on the front cover. If I never do anything again, at least on my bookshelf which is stacked with printed copies of stageplays and screenwriting bibles; Willie Russell, Lena Dunham, Blake Snyder and Robert McKee is now a Sarah Cassidy. Does that mean I can say that I’m a proper writer now?
The Write for the Stage Publications launch event is part of Greater Manchester Fringe Festival and is taking place at 4pm at The Kings Arms, Bloom Street, Salford, M3 6AN
There is good reason for the blog silence over the past few months. A real creative surge!
This play has seen a very long, yet incredible journey from concept to the rehearsal room in just under three years. I am currently scribing a separate blog about the birth of this play. It holds very dear in my heart as I feel that ‘Bleeding with Mother‘ has grown in character as much as I’ve grown as a writer over the past three years.
The community radio soap which I co-write Station Road is also back on the airwaves this week after a long break. It is wonderful to hear it again, and reminds me of how much I have developed throughout that incredible experience of being part of a writing team for the past two years. You can listen live on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 5.30pm on ALL FM 96.9
And finally I’ve been undertaking an intensive block of script development sessions with Scriptwriting North which resulted in a first draft of a brand new radio drama which was table-red by professional actors last week.
To say 2016 has been a productive year is an understatement. It’s been fuelled by coffee, a new laptop and a great deal of support.
Station Road is a continuing radio drama about life in a fictitious and gritty Manchester street. Not only do the characters work and live on Station Road but there is also a public house, café, urban farm and a corner shop.
Hearing the scripts come alive for the first time on Saturday was quite simply marvellous. A couple of the writers, myself included were interviewed live in the studio at ALL FM prior to the episode being aired.
The episode was played mid-interview, and it was pretty special not only hearing our scripts come to life but we also have a theme tune. An actual catchy theme tune that we’ve since been humming in our script meetings.
A surreal moment yesterday as I left work to drive to the weekly Station Road writers meeting, the pilot was played out again during ALL FM’s Drivetime show and as I sat in traffic, I felt such pride listening to the scene that I wrote
This month I have gone back in time by three years, as I have purchased a paper moleskin diary in an attempt to get myself more organised.
I’ve been struggling to manage my time and the amount of tasks that I do during the week – and this is not even tasks to do with the day job.
Since beginning high school at the age of twelve I have kept a paper diary. I’ve even still got old diaries hidden away in my cupboards which now and again I’ll have a look at.
Three years ago I decided to embrace technology more, ditch the paper diary and keep everything on my electronic calendar which is on my mobile and on my work Outlook.
It works a treat. Every single appointment for myself, the kids and even the husband are added to the electronic calendar.
I’ve even gone as far as colour coding the various appointments.
It was working a treat until last month I ended up being asked to take on regular online writing, putting together match programmes for my sons sports team, arranging interviews for my weekly radio show and not to mention my own writing deadlines with the radio soap.
A lot of deadlines to remember every week, and I was starting to feel overwhelmed that I couldn’t keep a track on tasks and appointments.
Being organised is one thing that I am really good at in my day job. I can organise as many activities that are thrown my way, multi-task, prioritise and delegate.
Yet in my personal life I always feel like I’m drowning.
So I decided to go back to 2010 and purchase a paper diary so that I could see if it would help me in my aim to organise my private life.
Not that I need much encouraging in purchasing new stationery items. I decided to purchase a small moleskin diary which has the week listed on one side and a lined sheet on the opposite side which I use as a to do list/reminders.
Not to mention the colour-coded stickers.
Amazingly going back to the retro paper based product has worked a treat.
There’s also something really satisfying about crossing off items on a ‘to do list’ as well.
It has also made me realise just how much writing I am actually doing each week.
I may not be making progress on my personal scripts. I am however, writing two scenes per week for my collaborative radio soap, several features for a sports programme per week, online articles and submitting sketches and one-liners for a BBC radio show.
Have you ever ditched paper for paper-less, did it work for you?
MY NEW YORK ADVENTURE A-Z BLOGGING CHALLENGE
There are a couple of things to bear in mind when visiting the Big Apple.
The food is very cheap, and I have already marvelled at the “all you can drink” coffee that gets refilled for as long as you sit in a diner/restaurant, but what I didn’t mention is tipping.
We always put a tip of between 10% and 20% onto the food bill no matter how good/bad the food was. The reason being as above, but also because the staff in New York were always so friendly, polite and helpful. If you need tips to pay the rent then of course you will be polite, but nevertheless it was a fraction of the normal food bills we have on the rare occasion we dine out in Manchester.
Prior to going to America I was told a few stories (surprisingly by people who hadn’t actually travelled over the Atlantic so no doubt were confusing their facts with television). One story was that New Yorkers hate us British.
That may be so, but in no part of my five days in the City did I experience anybody being rude to us. In fact I found the opposite. Whenever we stood on a street with our map in front of us trying to find our next destination, every single time a New Yorker would stop and ask if they could help us.
Let me tell you if you were standing with a map open in Manchester you would be ignored and would end up having to ask for directions. As for London? – well the folk in London would never notice you as they never look up from the ground to make eye contact with anyone. And yes, I have experienced this in London where the code on the underground is to stare at the floor.
Secondly, I cannot stress enough how important it is for you to make sure you have decent, comfortable shoes for walking around in. I didn’t fully appreciate how large New York City is and how much walking we would do, and I got blisters, sore heels and swollen feet. Thank goodness for the Nike shop who kitted me out with trainers that felt like I was walking on cushions.
Finally, plan your days. We didn’t end up doing half of the things we wanted to as we misjudged how much we could fit into a day.
But for anybody reading this who hasn’t been to New York yet – I am really jealous. It is fantastic, the most exciting city I have visited so far on my journey and I will certainly be back there to see her again.