I had every intention of making a Halloween post, but then I spent the night chasing loose cattle around the village, so that didn’t happen. It’s been a very busy, intense couple of days and we’re feeling it now, but I messed around on my iTunes yesterday and made an “alternative” playlist of romantic songs.
I made it into a Spotify playlist, and listened to it while I was cooking tea.
I got some very beautiful roses for Valentine’s Day. My first ever Valentine’s flowers! However in an uncharacteristic show of forward-planning (or unplanning), I had wrapped up all my vases, so at 5.30 this morning we were looking for alternatives. I think we did alright, don’t you?
As much as Valentine’s Day is a day to spend with loved ones, I’m going to jump on the self-love craze as well. In our busy lives it’s very easy to forget ourselves. As someone who feels pressure and gets anxious very easily, I’m trying to take more time for me in the day. That’s not very easy in the lifestyle I now lead, and sometimes I have to force myself to put that laundry basket down and just take five minutes to do what I want: read a chapter of a book, have a nice drink, light a candle. Today I was feeling particularly glum so when I ran my bath I threw the last of my Joules fizzy bath bombs in. It made the bathwater go radioactive yellow but it was a nice relaxing time for me. It’s very easy to get caught up in everyone else’s lives. Things like Facebook and Instagram make it very easy to feel in competition with your peers, and sometimes we need to take a step back and rediscover what we enjoy in life. I took Bilbo for a walk this afternoon and even got Valentine’s Day kisses off my doggy.
Happy Valentine’s Day, one and all!
I do believe that sometimes we read books at a particular point in our lives for a reason – whether it reflects something within us, or something we are looking for. I’m heavily in the re-drafting process of my first book and I think I needed to read something awe-inspiring, just to really inject that spark back into it. This book turned out to be Ruth Ozeki’s A Tale for the Time Being.
Continue reading “A Tale for the Time Being – Review”
So, after a month of trying to stick to writing 500 words a day minimum, how have I done?
Well, there were a couple of days where I didn’t write anything, despite all my best intentions. Sometimes it just happens like that – there might be a lot of things going on at the farm, and by the time we get home I just collapse on the sofa. There was some success with getting up a bit earlier and managing my 500 words before breakfast, but other days I could snatch some time before cooking tea. A few days it would be the bare 500 I could manage, however I’m happy to say a lot of days it was a good more than 500.
In total, over the month I wrote 14 chapters, so it averages out as just under a chapter per two days. Some of these chapters are barefaced edits – straight rewrites of previous chapters I have been happy with. Others have had to be complete overhauls. And I have been quite ruthless. A lot of chaff has been cut. To put it into real terms, I’m writing what is now Chapter Seventeen, but in the second draft equated to about Chapter Twenty-Five. There are still one or two chapters that I have rewritten that could potentially be for the chop. And within the chapters themselves, I’ve gone from a single chapter easily exceeding 10,000 words to a much more realistic 5,000. My only concern is I’ve maybe been a little overenthusiastic with my executioner’s axe!
I’ve really enjoyed taking part in #my500words. More than anything else, it’s been a personal motivator, and it’s worked. There were 69 chapters in total for #MFB (make of that what you will). If I can manage to cut 7 out of the first 25, maybe I can do the same over the next part. We are however coming to the end of the part that was for me the most indulgent. I’ve had to do some serious chopping and changing to streamline this part, but at least now I’m happy with its continuity, and I feel it reads a good deal better.
So I will continue with writing a minimum of 500 words a day. I have a feeling I will hit something of a mental block in a few chapters’ time, as previously I have had issues with timing and locations for my character, so if I miss a day of writing, I would hope it’s for the sake of ironing out some continuity issues.
How is your writing going? Are you on track? Do you have any motivational tools you use to help you get on? If you do, I’d love to hear them!
A couple of days ago I did something quite major for me, and booked myself a place at the How To Get Published conference, part of the York Literature Festival. I think all the ladies in my Writing Group will be attending, so it should be a good day. It’s a full day packed full of talks and discussions, not to mention a panel of writers and literary agents (!) I’m hoping it will be really helpful.
I’ve always written but never had the confidence to go to anything like this before. Last year I went to a free talk as part of York’s Festival of Ideas (and I wrote about it here) and that was all about the benefits of a Writing Group, which is how I found my group. After attending the sessions I’ve got a bit more confidence about myself, so I bit the bullet and booked myself on the conference.
The conference is at the end of March which gives me just over 2 months to get my act together and *finish* the third draft of #MFB. It also coincides with a new time in my calendar, that of lambing. Now granted we don’t know when this will start or how long it will go on for, but as far as I know the world stops for lambing time. So my idea is to get this third draft bossed by then, so I can a) have lambing time to distance myself from it and approach it afterwards with new eyes, and b) have something in a form like finished to talk to agents about.
So that’s one goal for 2017. But I have some others, and I figured if I wrote them here and stuck them on the internet I might actually have to honour them, as opposed to having them in my brain and thus easy to forget.
- Writing Goals for 2017
- Finish draft three of #MFB
- Draw maps for locations in #MFB
- Set up a Facebook page to directly link my writing progress with my social media
- Work on my blog, including updating the images and dividing it into ‘writing’ and ‘blog’
- Increase my activity on social media
- Attend more writing and literature events (online and in person)
- Enter some competitions
- Look at #MSB and decide on how old my protagonist is going to be
I think that’s enough to keep me going for the year! Who knows – things might change. I’m really excited about the conference but it’s a long way off yet and I have lots to be doing before then.
Do you have any writing goals this year? Maybe you’re going to the conference too! Let me know!
So at the beginning of this year I decided I would read more. I have three houses full of books now and it’s high time some of them got read! So I set myself a relatively easy goal: 12 books in the year, 1 book a month. I went through my bookcase in my house and picked 12 books. Some are fiction, some are non-fiction. Some are brand new, some are second-hand shop finds. The idea is to read 1 a month. If I finish that month’s book early, I won’t read the next one for the month. Then I’ll have to pick another book up. A good solid plan.
January’s book was The Magicians by Lev Grossman. A former coworker of mine used to rave about this book and I thought it sounded right up my street: a magic university? What happens when Harry does his degree. I’m a big fantasy fan and I like me a good bit of magic realism too, so I was happy to start off with this one. Continue reading “My Reading Challenge 2017 – January recap”