Monday, 25 January 2016

Cake and the A to Z Challenge 2016

How is it Monday again already? Does anyone else feel like someone sets the clocks to run extra fast on a weekend, then slows them right down again for Monday?

Anyway, this weekend the Engineer and I went into the city on Saturday - he bought a load of stuff for trip to Sweden for the WRC in February, and I treated myself to some decent make-up (hello MAC, where have you been all my life??). We went out for lunch, and then we headed home before going to see The Hateful Eight on Saturday night. It was so lovely to spend time with the Engineer that's more than a few hours at night - it felt like we were in uni again with all the time in the world!

On Sunday though, the Engineer once again abandoned me for his cars. I didn't mind though - I used the time to break through the 30,000 word mark on my current WIP. For some reason, this number gives me great satisfaction - it's like it's starting to become an actual novel instead of just a random collection of scenes (which if I'm honest, that's actually all it is right now) - it feels like the book is finally starting to have a shape. This is the first full length novel I'm trying to write without an outline. I have loads of ideas for scenes and chapters, and how they'll vaguely fit together, but I have no detailed synopsis. Which in a way is great, but equally, I do occasionally find myself wondering how all these loose ends are going to tie up.

So to celebrate, I made some buns. I'd post a photo, but I deliberately didn't decorate them very well because I was too eager to start eating. But yeah, that's basically my reward for any time I accomplish something to do with writing - I eat cake :).

In other news, the A to Z Challenge 2016 sign up list is now live! If you'd like to find out more about this awesome challenge, you can find out more on their website here. I took part last year, and I'm definitely signing up again this year. I've already got a possible theme, but I'll let it germinate for a bit, before deciding whether or not to commit to it.

So that's it for today! I'm going to leave you with this wonderful quote my boss sent me over the weekend. Even though it doesn't really have anything to do with writing, I love love love it!

What do you do to celebrate when you reach a goal in your writing? What did you get up to this weekend? Are you participating in the A to Z Challenge this year?

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Mid-Week inspiration...

So while I was looking up images for Monday's blog post, I got a bit caught up in the world of internet quotes. I don't know if it was just because I was feeling inspired because I'd spent most of the weekend writing, or if I was just happy because the sun was shining for the first time in weeks, but I couldn't help thinking as I looked through the images, 'YES! THIS IS IT! THIS SPEAKS TO ME! THIS QUOTE DESCRIBES EXACTLY HOW I'M FEELING RIGHT NOW! AND THIS ONE! AND THIS ONE! AND THAT ONE TOO!

So I thought that I'd share my absolute favourite ones with you, as a bit of a mid-week inspiration for you to keep writing :). I am starting to find that the more I write, I genuinely believe what these guys are saying - especially the quote by Mark Haddon. I didn't choose to be a writer. I simply am one. And I wouldn't change it for the world.

Happy Wednesday!

What are your favourite writing quotes? Who/what inspires you to keep writing, even when you feel like giving up?

Monday, 18 January 2016

Not so blue Monday...

So apparently today is the most depressing day of the year (see below for the formula which apparently 'proves' this). No one has any money, the weather is bad and we'd all just like to go back to bed and hibernate for the rest of January instead of going to work. I actually feel rather positive about today - mainly because tomorrow is payday and I've been counting down the days until the 19th for the last three weeks when I ran out of money. Whoops. So for me, Monday isn't looking so blue (yet).

I went out on Friday night for a meal with The Engineer's family, to celebrate his dad's 60th birthday. If I'm honest, I had been dreading it because I hate large social gatherings, but it was actually surprisingly good (and the food was great too). Then on Saturday, The Engineer went out with his dad for the day, so I stayed at home and caught up on some chores, before sitting down and writing all afternoon. It felt so good to be sitting down and doing some writing again. It was lovely just to carve out some 'me' time and spend it doing whatever I wanted to do - writing, eating chocolate and drinking tea. Bliss.

Then yesterday, we decided to have another lazy day. However, The Engineer is the kind of guy who can't sit still for more than five minutes, so he ended up tidying up the house before laying some more of the kitchen floor. Luckily, for most of this I was again left to my own devices. Which meant that, yup you guessed it, I got to write some more. Hooray!

Over the weekend I've managed to write about 5,000 words on my new fantasy novel. I'm still in love with the story and the characters, and I'm so looking forward to this being an actual finished book that I can read. Like I mentioned a while ago, this novel is just for me, and there's something very peaceful about the fact that once it's done, I can read it, then do whatever I like with it. I may show it to a few people if I think they'll like it, or I may not. But to even have that choice feels so good. I'm not rushing it, I'm not constantly worried about what people will think - I'm writing it simply for the pleasure of writing.

Hope you all had a lovely weekend! Have a great week!

Do you feel down about 'Blue Monday'? What did you get up to this weekend? How is your writing going?

Thursday, 7 January 2016

January IWSG: Show me the grit...

Welcome to another Insecure Writer's Support Group post! I must apologise for how late this post is - I'm a day behind this week, as we had a training day on Monday and the kids came back in on Tuesday so my routine has been thrown. I totally thought all of yesterday was Tuesday until a parent told me otherwise...whoops.

Anyway, firstly - if you'd like to get involved with IWSG, you can find out all about this lovely group on their official website. I strongly recommend you take the take to visit all the other awesome blogs out there on the list - they tend to be more punctual than me.

I don't have any insecurities to share with you this month. That's not to brag, it's just the truth - I haven't done much writing since before Christmas, so really, my main goal this month is just to get back into the routine of blogging and writing again. Whenever I have been writing, I've been working on my new project that I've been writing just for me, and if I'm honest, I'm still in that honeymoon everything-is-wonderful phase. No doubt the feeling will wear off soon enough, but for now, I'm just going to enjoy actually enjoying what I'm writing.

Actually, the main thing I wanted to share with you all today is a concept that we strongly promote throughout my school - grit. I'm not talking about tiny rocks - I'm talking about grit and determination. Every single day, we encourage the children to never give up, and to keep going, no matter how hard they might find the challenge. The look on a child's face when they accomplish something they never thought they would achieve is simply amazing. It honestly makes my job worthwhile.

But it's only recently that I've started to use this concept in my own writing and indeed, in my life goals. Instead of throwing in the towel when things get tough, I've found myself taking a step back and thinking, 'okay, this is the problem. What can I do to solve it?' And when I've worked through a difficult scene, or that character that's given me issues, or even when I've finished a draft - there's nothing like that rush of thinking, I did it. Seriously, I think I am forever indebted to my school and the children and the staff there for teaching me this valuable lesson. Grit is something that everyone needs, no matter what job you have or where life chooses to take you. But I think that as authors, especially self-published ones, we find it easier to throw in the towel and quit, because we're not answerable to anyone but ourselves.

So the next time you feel like giving up your writing - don't. Show your grit and determination to get the job done. You can do it. Below is a video also about grit that I found online - I could't find the one I saw in school on Monday, but I love this one anyway. Even if it is mainly talking about grit in children, I found myself relating to large parts of this video. It's only five minutes long, so if you've got a spare couple of minutes with a cup of tea, watch it and let me know what you think.

I'm going to leave you with two quotes from the video that I think will resound with authors everywhere:

"Grit is passion and perseverance for long term goals."

"Talent doesn't make you gritty."

Who else wants that last quote on a mug or a t-shirt? I know I do!

Do you show grit and determination in your writing? What did you think of the video? How's your writing going this month?