Do you know what ‘Umwelt’ means?

I didn’t know what it meant until recently.

I met the 1 Hundred Works guys via the AtoZ blogging challenge, which I took part in over on my fiction blog. Akhil and Ayush are two lovely, zany guys who have a passion for blogging and developing an international community around it.

They started a blog called 1 Hundred Works and aimed to get 100 articles written by different folk, about different subjects and I was privileged to be one of the hundred. But that was only the start of it. Their next challenge was the ‘Project 100 contest’.
100 bloggers all writing on the same word prompt and that word is ‘Umwelt’. The competition will be judged but 15% of the marks are given for ‘likes’ and comments on your post. This is to raise the profile of the site but also to encourage folk to work on their marketing and promotion skills.

medium_6155996438 (1) for umwelt on
In the story Sebastian is a man who likes his privacy says  ‘umwelt’ means “the environmental factors, collectively, that are capable of affecting the behaviour of an animal or individual; from the German Umwelt meaning environment.”

I decided to write a fictional story that was kind of inspired by my new neighbours and how their style of living (which is very different to the previous tenants’) has changed my day to day living experience.

If you have time to pop over to read my Umwelt post entitled Moving the Threshold that would be great. If the subject itself intrigues you and you have some time, have a read of a few of them. The different ‘takes’ on the word are amazing – it’ll take me a year to read them all 🙂

On the 23rd of June the counting stops and the judges’ decision will be announced on the 25th.
I haven’t had much luck with competitions but hand-on-heart, I am really enjoying them and every time I enter one I learn something. 🙂

photo credit: fiddle oak via photopin cc

A Win-Win Weekend!

I won a signed copy of Louise’s book while I was there 🙂
Last weekend I went to a wonderful Weekend Writer’s Retreat in Carousel Creates. I met some great people including the lovely Louise Phillips, author of Red Ribbons.
I’d actually won the weekend. When booking a 1 Day Retreat, I entered the competition on the website. The challenge was to write a piece entitled ‘I am a Writer’ – 300 words or less. I knew I wanted to be one, but wasn’t sure that I could say that I was one…
So I wrote something quickly and entered the competition before I had time to change my mind… and it came 1st… yeay! Here it is 🙂

I am a Writer

I said if for the first time recently. It was actually in a fairly heated email exchange. I was trying to explain to my friend why my Facebook page was suddenly flooded with mentions of my blog and other stuff I’m working on. Typing fervently on autopilot I said “Maggie, I am a writer! That is what I do and it just happens that lately I’ve had more opportunities and I’ve wanted to share that…. !

Reading back before hitting the Send button I was shocked at that phrase. “I am a writer” I couldn’t believe I’d said it out loud. I’ve been wanting to for so long. But there’s a voice in my head, telling me how presumptuous I am to even think it.

When I meet new people I introduce myself in terms of my work, my husband and my faith. I never put ‘writer’ into that initial summary of who I am. Eventually talk of my blog will come out, or I’ll start to talk about my MA studies and what I hope to do afterwards. Once someone actually said…
“You’re not Annmarie Miles who writes for Vox are you?”
Yes that’s me… quite happy for you to say it, but I couldn’t possibly…

So who decides when a bloggette, a woman with a head full of stories, a gal who can run you up a song as quick as a sandwich, a complicated missis with the desire to make folk laugh but not be laughed at…. who decides when she can call herself a writer?

Maybe I can give myself permission to say it out loud. I just need to practise saying it in the mirror. I need to get used to the sound of my own voice uttering those words.


I want to wriiiiiiiite!
From November 1st I’m going from full time to part time in my job. So I’m going to have a lot more time. I feel the need to take this writing stuff seriously. Watch this space…
 (Please note: you’ll probably be ages watching this space before anything happens – feel free to go off for a coffee or something. The space will most likely still be here when you get back :D)