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Writing Ego


I’m sure every writer would agree that the writing ego, of all professions, has to be one of the most delicate. They’re far too easily deflated, and let’s be honest, with the amount of rejections most of us receive when entering competitions or submitting to publications it’s a wonder that many of us are able to pick ourselves up and carry on. And although as a writer, the more you write the better you become – it appears that self-doubt never fully disappears!

I was shocked to hear so many great authors, with lists of acclaimed books to their credit, admit that there comes a stage in every novel (usually mid-way) where they feel like throwing in the towel. They doubt the current book will ever see the light of day and that even if it is published that it will be torn apart by the critics. But that’s the difference between professional and amateur writers – the professional perseveres regardless, pushing through the pain until they reach that elusive final page. Then, at least, they have the bones to work with – a manuscript they can edit and edit and edit – until it finally becomes the polished work which arrives in our local book shop.

While working on my debut novel the last few years, I’ve entered a number of competitions and submitted to a couple of publications. Sure, they may have taken me away from the novel, but in times of self-doubt, in among the rejections, there have been the highs of being long-listed or short-listed or winning or of having a poem or flash fiction or short story published. They’ve had me dancing around the kitchen, forcing my family to read whatever piece has brought success (that’s if they haven’t already been forced to read it before submission!?!). But more importantly, as two good friends and mentors are fond of saying, ‘success breeds success‘ (Eileen Casey) which helps to ‘keep your bum on the seat‘ (Valerie Sirr). And that’s what keeps you writing.

This week, having just returned from a wonderful trip to San Francisco and Vegas, I was jet-lagged like never before and began a week feeling drained and tired instead of rested and refreshed. But I couldn’t have pictured a better week. On the professional front, the contract in my new job was extended into next year, and on the writing front; my poem, Lavender Scented Memories, was aired by the lovely Brenda Drumm on KFM Radio. Then I received a beautiful, hand-written letter from Rosaleen Thomas (wife of Eamon MacThomais and mother of Shane MacThomais – the wonderful historians and writers) telling me how much she enjoyed one of my short stories which was recently published in My Weekly and wishing me well with my novel. The following day a letter arrived from the Jonathan Swift Awards to advise me that my short story has been short-listed, with the award ceremony taking place next Saturday.

Such an exceptional week really can keep you focused and driven and stuck to your seat, so that you can get words on the page! I’m currently attending the NUI Certificate in Creative Writing for Publication – part short story writing and part novel writing – so right after I upload this blog post I’m signing up to NaNoWriMo. I’ll then be committed, from 1 – 30 November, to writing 2,000 words per day to get my second novel well and truly on the way.

Wish me luck!

#TXS2 Once was really not enough!

 If you thought #TwitterXmasSingle was good, wait until you hear #TXS2 . . .

Due to popular demand – we’re back again.

Comprising of some of the same Twitter crew, along with some new Twitter folk – all to add even more of a sparkle to an already fabulous phenomenon!

We’ve had our rehearsal at The Westin Hotel, Dublin, sang our little (and big!) hearts out and we are now waiting patiently for the final result on Sunday, 9 December.  Now that’s where you come in – it’s all hands-on-deck to promote and sell as many copies of our new single, Holding on for Christmas for our latest charity –  Console – anything you can do to Tweet or Facebook or email would be greatly appreciated.



Last year we recorded Winter Song, which was a huge success, with all proceeds in aid of the neo-natal unit at The National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street.

This year, all proceeds will go to Console – an Irish registered Suicide Prevention Charity supporting the Suicide Bereaved and providing Professional Suicide Prevention & Intervention Services.

Special thanks are due to Brenda Drumm who began this charity snowball on Saturday, 19th November 2011, with a random Tweet to see if anyone would be interested in investing a little of their time to record a Christmas charity single.  It just shows, that it only takes one person with a great idea, to make a huge difference to the lives of so many people.

#TXS2 © Shane Murphy

Flying Hats at #TXS2 © Shane Murphy

The list of people signing up grew and soon included, the wonderful, Ian Callanan, who went on to become the Producer, Arranger and Musical Director of #TwitterXmasSingle and #TXS2.  Without them and everyone they encouraged to join, we would not be here – and what a loss that would be for so many people . . .

Twitter Cake © Emily Coco

Twitter Cake © Emily Coco

One of our photographer’s was Shane Murphy who kindly supplied our ‘Flying Hats’ photo above.  Last year, we even had some fabulous cakes on display.  It was really a shame to cut them – but needs must – so we did!  Check out one of the fabulous Twitter Cakes and maybe we have a budding baker or two out there who could compete?

Keep tuned to #TXS2, where on Sunday, 9th December from 2pm you will be able to HEAR our wonderfully Irish, wonderfully charitable song – Holding on for Christmas.

Your Christmas shopping list is sorted – you can pick up copies of Holding on for Christmas for family and friends, while at the same time supporting a worthy cause – surely, you’d agree, the best Christmas present of all.

Follow #TXS2 on Twitter to watch Holding on for Christmas unfold in all its glory and thank you, in advance, for playing your part in making it a huge success . . .

Santa’s ‘Winter Song’

“I want!  “I need!”  “I have to have . . .”

Santa’s head was melted!

He felt a sharp tug; his ever-present smile wavered, as his eyes began to water.  He peered down, through his half-rimmed glasses at the little boy on his knee.

“I want my lolly!  Santa, give me back my lolly,” pouted the little boy, as he tugged harder.

“Molly, can you bring the scissors again?” called Santa to one of the elves.

Molly arrived into the Grotto and carefully cut the red lollipop from Santa’s snow white beard.

“Maybe a cuppa and a Twitter break?” asked Molly kindly, as she raised the volume on the music; ‘Little Drummer Boy’, she knew, was Santa’s favourite.

Santa nodded as he spoke gently to James, telling him to keep his room clean and help at home so that his name would be on Santa’s Good List for Christmas Eve.  James nodded, smiled for the photo, grabbed his present and was gone.

Santa always got the words wrong, but he tried to sing along, “little baby, pa rum pum pum pum, me and my drum . . .”

As he sipped his cup of tea and munched on a gingernut biscuit, Santa scrolled down through his Twitter account to check that his elves were manufacturing the most requested toys.  It was then that he came across some unusual Tweets about #TwitterXmasSingle.  He looked at his watch, gulped back his tea and shouted to Molly that he had to fly, but he would be back later – and just like that he was gone!

Twenty minutes later he was unrecognisable, dressed as a Friar, with his white hair and beard now brown.  It was 1.00pm on Sunday, 27 November as he entered The Westin Hotel in Dublin.  His heart was thumping loudly with anticipation, but he did not want to get his hopes up – just in case!  As he came to a Reception desk he was asked to put his Twitter name on a label and wear it – so that everyone would recognise him.  He scribbled @Santa, but conveniently lost the label as he opened the doors in front of him and walked into a magnificent room, crowded with over 140+ characters – all with smiling, happy faces.  His heart soared.  He could not believe it.  Over the last few days he had become sad at the shouts of “I want!”  “I need!”  “I have to have.”

But here, in this room, it was all about ‘giving’ . . .  He sipped a cup of tea and listened in to snippets of conversation all around him.  “Hard to believe that a random Tweet from @BrendaDrumm to record a Christmas charity single . . .”  “it’s in aid of the Neo-Natal Unit at The National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street, some of those babies are only the size of a bag of sugar, you know . . .”

All of these people had turned up today, most only knew each other through Twitter, and everyone was keen to introduce themselves to squeals of joy as they were ‘physically’ recognised.  Santa hoped that his disguise would hold and that no-one would recognise him!

Then it was time for the singing to start.  Santa thought things might go downhill a little here.  It was great that all of these people had given up their time and energy for others, but he hoped it would not be like some of those reality TV show’s.  Would there be screeching divas and walk-outs and sulks?  But, he need not have worried.  Brenda Drumm advised how they were going to record ‘Winter Song’ and Ian Callanan had the rows of singers, wearing their Santa hat’s, practice until they were pitch perfect – only then was it recorded.  Santa decided to stay at the back, close to the wonderful Twitter cakes which had been donated for the day.

Eventually, there was a break and more tea and coffee.  The scrumptious cakes were sliced and eaten – the sugar-hit improving the vocals even more, if that was possible.  Santa felt better than he had in days but thought he should return and get on with his job of talking to the young boys and girls to make sure they were ready for his visit.

He kept an eye on #TwitterXmasSingle and decided he would return at 2pm the following Sunday, when ‘Winter Song’ would be launched.

This time, as he walked into The Westin Hotel, he could FEEL the excitement!  Twitter friends, united in their cause, had returned and were catching up on the previous week over a cuppa.  Everyone donned their Santa hat’s again and a hush settled over the room.  They sat, waiting with baited breath, to hear ‘Winter Song’ – for the very first time – as it was officially launched on Twitter.

You could hear a pin drop, as the haunting music, the beautiful solo’s and the heartfelt choir sounded around the room . . .

When it was over, thunderous applause and cheers filled the room.  Mixed among the smiles and cheers, Santa noticed plenty of sniffles and moist eyes as the crowd stood as one, to hail their mighty leaders; Brenda Drumm and Ian Callanan for all they had done to make it happen!

Santa headed back to the Grotto, but not before he had downloaded ‘Winter Song’ by #TwitterXmasSingle from iTunes.  He kept an eye on photo’s and blogs and video’s all showing the fun that went into the making of something so wonderful.  Best of all it would benefit the little baby boys and girls; and their children; and their children’s children, that would, over the years, come to his Grotto.  What a wonderful story he would tell them . . .

Molly stuck her head around the door, “Santa, will I put on your new favourite song?” she asked, with a twinkle in her eye.

Santa nodded, the sound of ‘Winter Song’ bringing back all the goodness in the world . . .

TwitterXmasSingle Part II

‘WINTER  SONG’,  In All Its Glory, Has  Emerged!

Graphic produced by Fiona Hanley (@greenclouds4)

Arriving to The Westin Hotel, at 2pm on Sunday, 4 December, was slightly different to last week.  Then, no-one knew quite what to expect and who, if anyone, would be there.  This time, the Reception desks were unmanned and as you pulled open the door of the Banking Hall you could FEEL the excitement!  The hard work was done – this was the celebration.

Thanks to The Westin Hotel, who once again, housed the 140+ twitter characters.  We donned our Santa hat’s again and live-twittered over a cuppa with friends we’d only made the previous week.  Suddenly a hush settled over the room.  Everyone took to their seats, waiting with baited breath, to hear ‘Winter Song’ – for the very first time – as it was officially launched on Twitter.

As we listened to the haunting music, the professional solo’s and the heartfelt choir, you could hear a pin drop . . .

Until it was over – then, thunderous applause and cheers filled the room.  Mixed among the smiles and cheers were plenty of sniffles and moist eyes as the crowd stood as one to hail our mighty leaders; Brenda Drumm and Ian Callanan for all they had helped us to achieve!

An achievement that is still snowballing; the charity and goodwill of the people on this island and beyond knows no bounds, as donations are starting to roll into the Neo-Natal Unit at The National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street.  Who better to benefit, especially at Christmas, than our future generations . . .

If you were there, I’m sure you have already bought your copy of ‘Winter Song’ for .99c and if not, you can become part of #TwitterXmasSingle now, by spreading the word and purchasing your copy.

With YOUR help, we aim to reach #1 in the Irish Charts!

Available all over the interweb iTunes, eMusic, Zune, Rhapsody, Nokia, VerveLife, NB: AmazonOnDemand



Keep tuned to #TwitterXmasSingle on Twitter , for more on our wonderfully Irish, wonderfully charitable version of  ’Winter Song’.

Flying Hats at TwitterXmasSingle © Shane Murphy

Your Christmas shopping list is sorted – you can pick up copies of ‘Winter Song’ for family and friends, while at the same time supporting a worthy cause – surely, you’d agree, the best Christmas present of all . . .

TwitterXmasSingle I

WHAT an absolutely WONDERFUL DAY!

It was so great to be part of such a vibrant, uplifting group of Twitter people at The Westin Hotel in Dublin, on Sunday, 27 November – all with one goal – to record ‘Winter Song’ for charity.

TwitterXmasSingle Poster © Shane Murphy

Arriving to register at 1.00pm, we slapped a label with our Twitter name onto our festive red or green attire, plonked a Santa hat on our heads and entered a truly, magnificent room in The Westin Hotel.

A welcome cuppa was on hand, and although most people only knew each other through Twitter, everyone was keen to introduce themselves to squeals of joy as they were ‘physically’ recognised.

With over 140 characters singing their hearts out, in aid of the neo-natal unit at The National Maternity Hospital, Holles Street, it could only have been fun!

Twitter Cake © Emily Coco

We practiced hard and were rewarded with a break, and another welcome cuppa, along with a slice of one of the fabulous Twitter cakes on display.

For those of us with a sweet tooth, we arrived back to our vocals in even better form than before.

Hard to believe that a random Tweet from Brenda Drumm on Saturday, 19th November, to record a Christmas charity single, came to fruition on Sunday, 27th November!

Keep tuned to #twitterxmassingle, where on Sunday, 4th December at 2.00pm you will be able to HEAR our wonderfully Irish, wonderfully charitable version of  ‘Winter Song’.

Flying Hats at TwitterXmasSingle © Shane Murphy

Your Christmas shopping list is sorted – you can pick up copies of ‘Winter Song’ for family and friends, while at the same time supporting a worthy cause – surely, you’d agree, the best Christmas present of all.

Follow #TwitterXmasSingle on Twitter to see ‘Winter Song’
unfold in all its glory . . .

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