The First Year

Thoughts from Debs

A little over a year ago, David contacted me with this idea he’d had – an idea for a fiction blog – and asked if I’d like to co-host?

Once I’d got over feeling all fluffy and complimented, there were oh soooooo many thoughts – but simply put, they fell under the heading “another blog?” My fellow bloggers, you’ll understand the thoughts underlying those two little words …

Will there be enough time? Both David & I work full-time and each produce two other blogs individually. I have a burgeoning new business whilst David is a hands-on father to two young children. Time is always of the essence. And there’ve been ideas we’ve not been able to fulfil – yet – because of that limitation. But few ideas are so time-sensitive that they have to be scratched from the potential list, ‘cos frankly, those which are that time-sensitive, tend to happen!

One thing you may not realise is that we respond to our monthly #ff prompts in real time. Only when that tweet goes out do we even start to think about it – honest! They’re scheduled in advance and are promptly forgotten about. We write to the published deadline too, and I can assure that we write right up against that deadline every single month!  Hence our new #TortoiseFlashFiction page …

Will I have enough ideas? Inspiration is a funny thing. I’m the scheduler, so I tend to be the worry wort. And it really doesn’t help – does it? You’ll not be surprised to hear that whenever I force myself not to stare at my spreadsheet, the ideas come. So I’m channelling Davids’s sang froid …

Having the confidence to label myself as a writer of fiction – and this was the big one for me. But, I’ve gone for it and have learned to be self-critical constructively. And the ‘likes’ and comments from you lovely lot do help muchly.

But, the biggest thing I’ve learned is … it’s been Fun.

And so, dear reader, I plan to keep on doing it … and I look forward to seeing you all at our second birthday.


Thoughts from David

Wow. A year sure does go fast!

In some respects I have a really bad memory – I don’t tend to remember events very well. But back in January 2016 I talked to Debs about the idea of being writing buddies. We’d been talking about various writing projects for a while and I’d made some New Year’s resolutions about what I wanted to do with my writing. A writing buddy seemed like a no-brainer: someone to talk shop with, share goals, and provide a pre-beta read through of various writings.  I can remember sitting down in the café to discuss the idea and see where we would take it.

(I think it was about then, although not at our very first writing-focussed chat, that Debs mentioned the April A-to-Z challenge.  It seemed like such a good idea at the time…).

A few months and a few meetings later, April A-to-Z completed and some bits and pieces written and discussed, and we started talking about a shared blog where we could trial some of our writing in a more open forum. We launched the blog in September 2016, and the rest, as they say, has been blogged over the last year.

One of my biggest disappointments is that we’ve not been able to get more people to join in with the writing prompts, but on the other hand I’m very grateful to the people who have given this go and tried something that they wouldn’t normally do.  I remain hopeful that we’ll be able to entice more people to give it a trial, but I will be honest and say that I hadn’t realised how big a market, as it were, that this is – if you wanted you could easily do a different prompt everyday of the week for several months and not go to the same website twice.

One of my great delights has been to get some of these stories out into the world.  They are not perfect, but it has been incredibly useful to get into the habit of writing – in the day job I frequently have to write-edit on the fly and so my inner editor is frequently in play.  Giving him some money and sending him off to the flicks so that my writer can have some elbow room has been a interesting experience.

And, at the risk of sounding gushy (don’t worry, no Oscar acceptance speeches here), the blog really wouldn’t work without Debs.  I don’t know if you ever saw Lenny Henry’s sketch about the African Dictator spending the aid money on spurious projects like the ballistic badger launcher?  Well, the set-up here is nothing like that.  Seriously, we don’t have any insane plans here…oh, except the one where we commit to writing two stories a month for the blog. One of the brilliant things about writing buddies is that they always have something to teach you (I hope that’s true in Debs’ experience as well).  Ironically, Debs is by far the better researcher in this area than I – she always has an on-point blog, piece of writing advice, PInterest page or whatever to point to and go “This!”.  I try and pull my weight around here, but it is very difficult, and I am incredibly lucky that Debs likes to find appropriate art-work for the pages, and quite likes spreadsheets listing where we’re going next…

We’d do this anyway, but it is great to have the support of the community and there have been some great comments over the last year – thanks for reading and for your support: do help your self to a cake.




Author: debscarey

Tweets @debsdespatches My personal blog is Debs Despatches, where I ramble on a variety of topics. I write fiction on co-hosted site Fiction Can Be Fun, where my #IWSG reflections can be found; and my Life Coaching business can be found on

3 thoughts on “The First Year”

  1. Dear Debs,
    ‘Will there be enough time?’
    I am allegedly ‘retired’ but there is still not enough time for me to be able to post a piece in response to your Friday prompts, so thank you for the Tortoise page. I hope that I may be able to contribute there, but as Ogden Nash once memorably wrote ‘Procrastination is all of the time’ :-). I am always entertained by your writing here and in teh despatches. Thank you.

    Dear David,
    Thanks for the cake – that’s busted the diet for this week! 🙂 Thanks too for the opportunity to exercise my latent pedant. Yor internal editor occasionally needs to stop seeing so many pictures and concentrate on the day job. Yes, I know that the back of the envelope is not an academic paper, and I deeply sympathise. The chances are that there will be at least one typo in this piece which I will not spot until after I hit ‘post’.

    So thanks to both of you for an entertaining year and I look forward to the next 12 months.


    Liked by 1 person

  2. Alan, thank you – you’ve been a great support and supporter. I look forward to your contributions on our #Tortoise page when you do finally find that time!


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