Tuesday, 26 August 2014

What to do, what to do...

So, as you may have noticed from this excitable blog post, I finished the first draft of Synthetica on Sunday. And to celebrate, yesterday I made THIS:

It took me the best part of four hours, 12 eggs and 3 different types of jam. I'm a tiny bit ashamed to say that I haven't even had a piece yet (I've been fobbing it off on everyone else - I didn't quite realise it would be so big...), but I'm going to save my bit for elevenses today ;).

I also dyed my hair, and sanded down a bit of the dresser that's been my ongoing project since about Easter. 

And now I'm sitting here this morning thinking...what do I do now? I've already looked up some info on mine and the Engineer's possible trip to Budapest later this year. I've put a wash on. I've (kinda) cleaned our kitchen. I've had a second breakfast (because I'm secretly a hobbit). And now...I'm a bit lost.

But I'm getting the strangest urge....it's like a voice in my head that simply won't turn off, and it's saying 'WRITE, WHY AREN'T YOU WRITING?!' I would've thought that voice would've left me alone for a while, so I could bask in the glory of actually finishing something. But no. Apparently writers don't get breaks from the voices in their heads.

So it looks like today, I'm going to be sketching the outline for a possible new book...oh well, could be worse...I could be doing something useful like cleaning the bathroom instead...

How's everyone's day going? How's your writing going so far?

Happy writing!

Sunday, 24 August 2014


So that's it. The first draft of my novel is officially complete. Right now, I kinda feel like this:

I still can't believe it's true. In fact, at the moment, I'm still going through my manuscript tweaking bits here and there. I know I shouldn't, I know I should leave it for the edits but I've been working on this book so intensely for the last few weeks, I find it odd that I can finally...switch off.

I do apologise if I keep going on about this - but the fact is, apart from finishing my major project at uni, this is probably the biggest thing I've ever worked on and finished (well, apart from all the editing etc that now needs to happen...but let's not think about that yet...).

Tomorrow, I'm going to celebrate by dying my hair and baking a really really awesome cake. Hopefully it'll turn out like this one, but maybe that's just wishful thinking.

I'm going to have to physically stop myself from looking at my book for a while now - this book has inhabited my mind so long, it's going to be strange not thinking about it every day. Although, I do need to write a sequel...does it defeat the purpose of getting the book 'out of your mind' if I start working on other books in the series...? Hmm...

And when I get back from my break, I have gems like this to edit and clean up:

"She was trying to go as fast as she could, but the sheer amount of people meant she was forced to go slower."

I know, I know - my literary prowess astounds me too.

Anyway. It's getting late (for me). I'm tired. I have been writing solidly for the last twelve hours. I am genuinely losing the ability to type coherent words (I just looked over this post and realised I wrote 'I no' instead of 'I know').

So until next time, happy writing and have an awesome bank holiday weekend, folks!

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

The light at the end of the tunnel...

I've been having a sick, twisty feeling in my stomach most of the afternoon.

Now, before you start backing away in horror and reaching for the face masks, it's not because I've contracted some kind of lurgy.

It's because I'm *this* close to finishing the first draft of my novel.

I have never gotten so far with one of my novels before, and while it's exhilarating and I can't help thinking of the millions in sales/the 1001 book deals/film deals that are obviously going to come my way the second I publish it, it's also incredibly scary.

I genuinely can't believe I've got this far. I know I'm not at the end of the road yet. I know I've still got a lot of work ahead of me before I can even think about publishing it, but to me, this is a big deal. 

Never before have I actually written the climax of my novel - you know, that epic scene(s) where everything comes crashing down and your MC has to fight for her life, save the one she loves, while defeating the bad guy with the twirly moustache in a battle to the death (if case you hadn't realised it yet, I have a flair for the dramatic...) - or y'know, whatever your novel's equivalent is.

These are the scenes that I've been imagining since the concept for my book first popped into my head. These are the elusive scenes I've been working towards, but never seriously thinking I'd get to. And today, I finally get to write them. The thought makes me want to squeal in excitement, and run away and hide at the same time. Am I up to writing these final scenes? Will I *gasp* actually manage to finish a book??

There's only one way to find out.

I'm not going to be blogging again until my first draft is finished. So you could very well see me in a day, a few days or a few weeks. But however long it takes, my story that started out as a tiny little idea way back in March will finally resemble something that looks like a book. An actual book.

I'll see you on the other side.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Today I was forced to do something I haven't done in a very long time....

...I drank coffee.

Yes, that's right, coffee. I only drink coffee in the direst circumstances i.e. if I'm forced to get up ridiculously early to go on holiday, or if I have a deadline to work to. Today, it was the latter.

But it wasn't just the deadline that had me reaching for the Nescafe and a large teaspoon of sugar. Today, I simply didn't want to write.

If you've caught my Twitter over the last few days, you may have noticed I've been celebrating writing 7,000 words a day. It's my goal that by the end of the summer holidays (actually, earlier than that as I'm going away for a few days next week) I'll have finished the first draft of my novel, Synthetica.

I am unbelievably close to finishing - out of the 17 page detailed synopsis I wrote a few months ago, I have 5 pages left to flesh out. 5! This is the closest I've ever come to finishing an actual novel, and I am over the moon about it.

However, this does mean that I'm currently writing like crazy. I love it, but at the same time, I ended up hitting the dreaded wall today. I just did not want to write. At all. I don't know if it's because I took a bit of a break over the weekend and got out of the swing of it, or if the writing frenzy of last week was finally catching up with me, or if it's because The Engineer woke me up in the middle of the night to change bedrooms (don't ask).

So today, I procrastinated by baking and doing jobs around the house, before going for a walk in a last ditched attempt to clear my head. I ended up writing 3,000 words - and although I wish it was closer to 7,000, at least it's something. And that's cheered me up slightly - every other time I've hit the wall in my writing, I've left it for days, or weeks, or sometimes abandoned the novel altogether.

So at least it's progress. I'm hoping tomorrow after a good night's sleep, I'll be back on form :).

How's your writing going? Let me know!

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Reflections for a rainy day...

This time exactly one year ago today, I was touching down in Shanghai to begin six months of teaching English to kindergarten children. I forced myself to go to China because I despised my job and I couldn't bear to be there a moment longer. Breaking out and going alone to such a different country really opened my eyes, and I can't help reflecting on how different my life is now, to how it was a year ago...

So what has happened in the past year?

Well, I came home from China early in December because I couldn't bear to be apart from the Other Half, and my family and friends any longer.

I got a fantastic job in a school I love.

I got engaged.

I got 40,000 words into a novel I started during NaNoWriMo when I was in China - and then discarded it.

I am now 52,000 words into my current WIP, with no signs of slowing down - I absolutely love this novel, and I can't wait to share it with all of you. At the moment (due to a challenge my Other Half set me) I'm writing 7,000 words of this novel a day and I'm loving every minute of it.

If anything, this year has shown me that there's no knowing where life can take you. Did I think two years ago I'd go to China? Hell no. Did I think this time six months ago I'd be this enthused about a novel? No way. And yet, here I am.

Life is indeed what you make of it. I've had my share of difficulties along the way, but I'm surrounded by fantastic people that I love, who I know will support me through anything (seriously, you should've heard my mum when I told her I was going to China. I thought she was going to have a heart attack, but she ended up supporting me all the way).
Right now, I'm just happy to see where life takes me - and, obviously, writing along the way ;).

So how about you? What has this year brought you so far? Did you think you'd end up where you are?

Happy writing!

Monday, 11 August 2014

Patience is a virtue....

You may remember last week I posted about starting my own herb garden - well, I have some good news: IT'S STARTED TO GROW!!

Apologies for being so excitable about this, but when you somehow manage to kill everything you try to grow, this is a massive achievement. Especially considering the seeds only cost 30p...

After a week of excitedly checking my plants several times a day, this is the sight that greeted me on Saturday morning:

That right there is my very own basil :). In the soil next to it, I can see some of my other seeds started to germinate, which is pretty cool (I'm also convinced I can smell garlic already from the garlic chives, but that may just be my overactive imagination).

So, this got me thinking: everything needs time - growing herbs, baking a cake, writing a book. You just need to have a little patience and be willing to work at it. It might sound like a completely cheesy thought, but that's what I'm going to try to remember about my novel. So what if it feels like it's taking forever to write? I just need to knuckle down and be prepared to work at it. And in the end, those like shoots of an idea will eventually turn into a flourishing book (y'know, if I don't forget to water it, that is).

Happy Monday, and happy writing, everyone!

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

August IWSG: Same old, same old....

Welcome to this August's Insecure Writer's Support Group!

IWSG was set up by Alex J. Cavanaugh (you can view his blog here) and the group now was it's own awesome website here. Make sure you check them both out!

I'm afraid to say I'm going to be rather boring again this month. My project over the last month was the idea of keeping my novel 'open' - i.e. I don't forget about it, and I try to work on it every day, even if it's just thinking about how a new scene will go.

Overall, it's been fairly successful....or at least, if I haven't been able to work on my novel for whatever reason, it's been enough to guilt trip me into writing extra hard the next time I can access my computer.

To be honest, this month I'm just going to try and keep going with this idea. As I have a lot of time to fill until September, my initial idea was to have the first draft completed by the time school starts again. I'm already freaking out that I won't get it done, as I haven't been able to write much over the past few days (Since Monday, I have broken two cars, smashed my mobile up and broken a set of fairy lights...so much for things coming in threes...but naturally sorting these things out has taken time!) - and my friend is coming to stay with us today until the end of the week.

So, I think my main fear I'm going to have to keep under control this month is my anxiety that I won't get my book written at all. I've already been freaking out this week because I haven't been writing as much as I wanted too, but I just need to calm down and tell myself that even if it doesn't happen immediately, it will happen eventually. Just like my herb garden ;).

Oh, and if you're a member of Authonomy, I've posted up the first couple of chapters from my book if you want to check them out :) - the link is here. I'm still open to CP offers btw ;)!

Happy writing!

Monday, 4 August 2014

'Thyme' to get busy...

...oh come on, it wasn't that bad was it? I'm actually quite proud I thought of that all by myself!(...this is what happens when you're left on your own for the day in the summer heat...)

Bad puns aside, please bear with me as it does have a point!

So I went back up t'north last week to visit my parents, and it was great to get away from everything and just relax and enjoy looking after the cows/calves/other farm animals for a while (in case you're wondering, yes, my parents do actually live on a farm - I'm not crazy, honest...)

Anyway, while I was there I couldn't help noticing my dad's vegetable patch. The last time I saw it at Easter, he'd just begun to put the seeds in...now, well, it looks amazing! There's rows of green beans, peas, carrots, lettuce, beetroot, tomatoes....we had the honour of eating some of the beans (in a soup) and the lettuce (actually, most of the lettuce) and everything tasted fantastic!

This got me thinking. I have 5 weeks left of my summer holidays and I am the worst person to just sit around doing nothing (in all seriousness, having nothing to do does have a negative impact on my mental health - it takes me back to when I wasn't in such a good place, and well, I won't bore you now, but it is healthier for me if my mind is kept occupied) - so I thought, hey, why don't I do that! Unfortunately, I know exactly what kind of person I am, and I'm the kind of person who gets all excited about an idea (much like my writing), starts it, then loses interest (exactly like my writing).

So I came up with a compromise. My project for this summer is going to be starting my own herb garden. Smaller, easier to manage and you still get some delicious home grown produce out of it! At this point I'm going to chose to ignore the fact that every plant I've tried to grow up to now has died....not through neglect, just through me not having the green fingers necessary to keep them alive.

Luckily for me, the Other Half tends to go along with my whims (not that he has much choice, bless him), so yesterday we went out and bought a planter and some compost (I'd already bought my seeds for 30p from Wilkos the previous day).

And today, this is what they look like!

On the left I've planted some parsley, in the middle is garlic chives and on the right is basil! Okay, so I know it's not much to look at right now (not that that has stopped me from obsessively checking them every half an hour...) - but I'll keep you updated on it's progress :)

Oh, and here's another little something we picked up yesterday too - pretty cool, huh?

So now that that distraction is out of the way...back to writing it is!

Happy holidays!