It might be a much shorter post if I called it, ‘Things I HAVE done this year.’ In terms of writing, reviewing, editing, it would have finished already.
This time last year, I was doing NaNoWriMo. I ‘won.’ I wrote the 50,000 words in the month. And then I stopped writing. I was going to take December off, then edit The Man of My Dreams.
January came. I got into the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s New Writer’s Scheme – meaning I could submit a manuscript to be critiqued by one of their novelists. That was something to encourage me to edit, right? Um, wrong. February came, then March, April and May. Then it was summer, then it was August, I had just until the end of the month to submit my manuscript. I could still do some of it – a few chapters. Then it was 20th. Then 22nd. By 26th, I’d finally admitted I wasn’t going to do anything.
So what’s happened this year?
Well in February I did a course at work, which was really intense and I worked on out of work time too. Then in March I transferred to a new company – in the same role . It was a lot of learning, and quite tiring being the newbie again. Then, in May I got offered a promotion (woo!), and started the new job in June.
Since then I’ve been flat out. Pretty much all the time. I’m contracted to work 35 hours a week, but I’d be surprised if I’ve done as few as that, ever. Most of the time, I enjoy my job, and I’m back to a role where I feel like I’m making a difference, so it’s good. But it’s not good on the writing/editing front.
Also, in May, I started running, training for a half marathon I completed in September. My team and I raised just under £2,000 for the MS Society, which is amazing, and I’m really proud of. I also completed the half – my first, and hopefully not last. All good, but again, it took up so much time.
Sometimes, I feel like I don’t care that I haven’t done anything, I’ve been busy, my job’s demanding, and I’ve done a half. But then, I remember how much I love writing, and miss it. But, as you can see, it’s still not enough to push me back into it. I think a lot of the problem is that what I need to do is edit the novel.
I hate editing. Well, I think I do. I’ve never actually done it, I hate the idea of it. No, I’ve edited short stories, but not a novel, a whole novel. Not 80,000 words, or however many it is.
On a positive note… I’ve read loads this year. I think that’s positive, isn’t it?
I’m hoping writing this, will encourage me to do this.
Hi there everyone, if there’s still anyone out there. I’ve just looked at my page, and I haven’t posted since 1st May. That was a book review. I haven’t written a proper post since April. It’s now July. Almost half way though. My poor blog. It must feel so alone. I must change that.
I have a few reasons why I haven’t blogged. All pretty good excuses, but excuses all the same.
I got a promotion *happy dance* It’s to a similar position, but I’m responsible for more and bigger buildings. It’s more money, more work, more enjoyment – I was getting stale in my last position. I’m loving it. But it’s hard work. I’m not really getting lunch breaks so no blogging during them (you remember, once I went through a month of blogging at lunch, yeah, not quite enough to be a habit).
I also have been crazy busy in June. My mum had an operation – hip replacement – so I went up there – a lot. I also had courses, and of course the new job. I was busy.
At the beginning of July we also went away for my birthday (Dusseldorf, Germany – lovely).
For some reason, blogging and writing and editing haven’t been on my radar. If I think about it, I massively still want to write, and get published etc, but this year, something’s stopping me.
I have an idea what it might be too.
This year I’m a member of the New Writers’ Scheme at the Romantic Novelists’ Association. Because of this, I get to send a manuscript in to them, and a published author will critique it. How incredibly awesome is that.
How incredibly SCARY is that?? That’s a MASSIVE step. My friend Laura that runs Novelkicks.co.uk (who I also haven’t reviewed for, for MONTHS), was a member last year and was really shaken by the critique she got back last year. I’m scared of that. And I think that’s why I’m not editing. It’s just so scary.
Part of me is thinking ‘What if she says I’m terrible and I can’t write and I should give up?’ That part of my brain is almost silenced by another part that says ‘You’ve already sent work into your writing course tutor (remember THAT?), and she didn’t say you were rubbish – she said some quite good things.’ I like that part of my brain.
I am thinking though, what if this idea for a novel isn’t any good? What if my characters aren’t any good? What if there’s no story arc? What if it’s too predictable? What if it’s too unrealistic? What if…? What if…? What if…? See, it’s easier to bury my head in the sand than face up to these thoughts, and the realistic fact that any of those could be true.
Plus, so send the novel off, I need to finish the massive holes in it, and edit the silly thing. AGH!
I’m scared. But I know I’m not going to get anywhere if I’m scared. But that’s not forcing me to do this. I NEED to do this. I have to do this. I WANT to do this.
I just can’t do this.
No, I can. I will. I WILL.
Even if it’s just to prove the boy wrong who said I shouldn’t join the RNA cause I’ve not done any writing recently. HAVE to prove him wrong
A novel about friendship, hope and the power of pasta from the bestselling author of Pear Shaped.
According to a magazine, Susie is a ‘Leftover’ – a post Bridget-Jones 30 something who has neither her dream man, job, nor home. She doesn’t even own six matching dinner plates.
According to her friend Rebecca, Susie needs to get over her ex, Jake, start online dating – or at least stop being so rude to every guy who tries to chat her up.
But Susie’s got a plan. If she can just make it the 307 days till her promotion and bonus, she can finally quit and pursue her dream career in food, then surely everything else will fall into place. If only her love life wasn’t so complicated…
A sharp, witty and refreshing novel about love, friendship and enjoying what’s left on the table.
I really enjoyed Stella Newman’s debut Pearshaped when I read it earlier in the year. From the moment I closed it, I’d been waiting for Leftovers. When I got it in the post, I was ¼ of the way through another book, which, although I was really enjoying, I HAD to put down and start reading Leftovers.
I was not disappointed.
Like Pearshaped, the main character in this novel Susie, works with food and loves food. The novel is scattered with food descriptions, recipe ideas and restaurant stuff. For someone like me that loves romance novels and loves recipe books and food, it is just the best. Who needs either a recipe book, or a novel, when Newman brings you both?
I really liked Susie from the off. If I was single now, in my 30-somethings, I just know I’d be like her. She comes across so real, and vulnerable, still cut up over her ex, but not admitting it, and unwilling to move on. She’s not doing her dream job (join the club), and she’s not doing anything about getting to her dream job.
One of the things I liked the most about the novel, was that it wasn’t really predictable. I totally thought I saw where it was going, and was nicely surprised at the ‘One year later’ last chapter. It made it seem more real. I can’t say anything more than that without giving something away.
What I can say, is that you should read this novel. It’s only just come out, and I’m already waiting for Newman’s next book – I just hope she’s writing one!
Hey there. I bet you weren’t expecting a blog from me today. Neither was I, it has been a while.
I’m going to admit, I’m probably only blogging because I’ve sat down to write, so many may call it procrastination. I actually wouldn’t argue with them. Still, I’m writing a blog, and you know what they say, it’s the first step that’s the hardest, so after this they should come flowing to me and I’ll be blogging all the time!
To break me in gently to this whole blogging thing, I thought instead of a conventional blog about writing (as the title of the blog goes), or a book review (as I’m getting better at doing, but still WAY behind where I should be this year), I’d do a blog on things I’m loving at the moment. Bit random, but isn’t variety the spice of life (I’m trying for as many cliches as possible today!).
This weekend, I was loving:
Left Overs by Stella Newman.
I read it as a ‘favour’ to Laura from Novelkicks as she has so much to read, and she wanted a review on the site for when the novel is released at the beginning of May. It’s a tough job, but someone had to do it. I LOVED Newman’s first novel Pear Shaped, and this ticked all the boxes I was looking for in a follow up novel. Yay.
It may be because of Left Overs I didn’t do any writing this weekend. It’s possible, just possible, I stayed in bed for most of the weekend reading it
Today, I’m loving:
The Last Time I Saw You by Eleanor Moran.
It was my turn to choose the book club book this month (well, send out a list of 3-4 books that the group as a whole chooses). This was top of my list, and luckily the group choose it too, woop! I started it last night and am already gripped, and have so many questions. I’m currently FORCING myself NOT to read it. Must get on with other things.
Today, I’m loving:
Oh. My. God. A website dedicated to gifts for readers and writers. Top of my Want, want, want list are a ‘Go Away I’m Writing’ cotton tote bag, and the tons and tons of post it notes, and the Utility Task Clips. Oh, oh, and the Smart Women Read Between The Lines Book Lover’s Journal. I’m glad it’s my birthday soon! I may cry if I don’t get something from on here. Also, I now need an office at home to house all the things I want to buy!
Today, I’m loving:
The 5:2 Diet/Fasting Diet.
Eat 50 calories a day, twice a week, eat what you want the rest of the week. I did this in January and lost about 5lb, then put them back on when I went on the pig out that was the course I did in Feb (cakes and biscuits at EVERY break, almost 2 main meals a day!) when I stopped doing it. I’ve been back on it 2 weeks and have lost 3lb. Very happy with that. Today is a ‘fast day’, and I’ve only eaten 450 cals, so have another 50 (weight watchers yogurt) to eat when boyfriend has his tea.
I bought my Mum Kate Atkinson’s book about the diet, so hopefully it will convince her to do it too, I hope so, will be fun to do it with someone I know (and can swap food ideas with).
Today, I’m not loving: That I have nothing else I love. Now I need to get on with this writing, reviewing and editing. Sigh.
It’s been a really long month, but I’m nearly, nearly at the end of my course. I just need to the assignment, which they recommend spending 2 hours on, then I’m done. Phew. My exams we Friday, I think they went OK. All I can do is wait until June (yes I have to wait until JUNE) to get my results.
And now I’m done (or as good as), I can get back to writing, and editing, and you know, having a life. A life, wow, how exciting.
To celebrate being done, we went out for drinks on Friday. They were very heavy, I did nothing yesterday. Today I’ve cleaned the house, having done limited housework while I was studying, and had some friends over for dinner. Now they’ve left, and I can do whatever I want. Like anything. I don’t need to study, I’m not going to do any work work, and I’m leaving the assignment until I’ve done a little more at work.
So anything. I was going to read. I need to read Hitchikers Guide To The Galaxy, which is Novelkick‘s book club book of the month – which I should really read, since I suggested it! I also need to read Safe House by Chris Ewan. What I really want to read though is Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver. I don’t have it, and can’t afford it before payday (Thursday, please come quickly!!), but the library have it, so I’m going to borrow it. Which means not getting into anything.
So what to do? I know… WRITING.
Yep, I’ve done some writing. When I say some, I mean 1,000 words. That’s pretty awesome isn’t it. The problem is it might be too little too late. I want to enter Belinda Jones’ Sunlounger Short Story Competition. With this course thing, I haven’t been able to justify writing, so if I want to enter it, I need to write and edit a short story competition by Sunday. Saturday really because my brother and his girlfriend will be here on Sunday. That’s quite a lot to do in a week.
But you know me, I always like a challenge.
Also, Friday is bank holiday so there’s an extra day. Only I’m going out for dinner on Thursday and my mate wants a heavy one. I guess it depends how I do until then.
I’ve been having a problem with thinking up a story. Granted I’ve not really given it that much thought, but on and off I have. Now I’ve a week I need to get something. And I have. Kind of. One of my novels is set in Majorca (most of it anyway), so I’m going to try to adapt that to a short story. Gulp. I know. I must be made. I’ve chosen a few key scenes and am rewriting, in the hope it will make sense and be ok for a short story. Wish me luck, I may need it.
Oh no, I’ve just realised, I need to think up a title for the story, I hate thinking up titles, and I’ve been trying to think up one for this novel for about 4 years! How am I going to think up one for a short story in a week?
Last Tuesday, I went to see Lauren Oliver at Waterstones on Piccadilly. I was looking forward to it so much. She was awesome, and signed my copy of Before I Fall. I’ll write a blog about it this week.
Right a few more words… then bed.
I can’t remember the last time I wrote a blog, and I’m too ashamed to look. I know I’ve done a few book reviews in the last few weeks, but nothing really writing about me.
I’ve been busy though, so busy.
I’m in the middle of a course called NEBOSH, if you’ve not heard of it, it’s a workplace health and safety course. It’s thrilling. And long. We did a whole 9-5 week there a couple of weeks ago, then a week back in the office, and now we’re back for another week. I am shattered. Today was our last learning, tomorrow is a revision day, then next Friday we have 2, 2 hour exams. And then there’s a practical report section too.
If this wasn’t enough, I started working for another company last Monday. I’m still managing the same buildings, but now have a different company I’m reporting to. Not what I need in the week between NEBOSH weeks.
On top of this, I applied for a job with my old company, which I really wanted, and didn’t get it.
All in all, I’m pretty exhausted. Mentally and physically (because I’ve been to the gym tonight). I’ve got a glass of wine in front of me, and totally see myself going to bed in an hour or so (is 9.30pm too early to go to bed? I probably won’t sleep will I?).
So, because of all this, I haven’t done any writing or editing. It’s fine though, because I decided before it all started that I was going to give myself these 4 weeks off. As soon as we get to 23rd, I’m back on it. Well, probably 24th, I’m totally going to go out and celebrate it’s all over on 22nd, so probably won’t do anything on 23rd!
You know what I’ve done though? I’ve only gone and forgotten about Belinda Jones’ Sunlounger Short Story Competition. Closing date is 31st March. Eek. I need to think about that. I haven’t even got an idea yet, or characters. AGH!
Also, I found another competition I want to enter. National Express (yes, coaches) have a short story competition, with the subject travel. It closes 28th April. The winner gets their story published in Jenny Colgan’s new book The Good, The Bad and The Dumped in August. Exciting.
When I’ve posted this blog, I’m going to have a QUICK play on Twitter and Facebook, print off some stuff for tomorrow, and then think more about these stories.
I’ve got a couple of plans for April. I can’t decide which to do, or if I should do both. I’d really like to take part in the A-Z Blogging Challenge. Post a blog a day for 26 out of the 30 days in April, with each day’s blog being based on a letter of the alphabet. That would get me back into blogging for sure. So far 1058 people have signed up, I really wouldn’t be alone on this one. Also, if I do it, I’d want to add a category, but would I chose Writing or Books. Of course it would be writing, but I like the idea of writing about books too. You can’t have two categories. Damn.
My other idea is Camp NaNoWriMo. They’ve changed the rules this year, only for camp, it doesn’t have to be 50,000 words. That would suit me, because if I did it, I wouldn’t want to write 50,000 words. I wouldn’t want to write any actually. I’d want to edit. I was originally thinking of editing for 50 hours. But now the blogging challenge is a maybe, I might go for 25 hours. Or maybe 12.5 hours. Half an hour a day. 12.5 isn’t much though. I’ll have to think about it. Maybe once I’ve done the Sunlounger story!
Ooh, my second review of You Had Me At Hello by Mhairi McFarlane (first being the one I posted on this blog), is live on Novelkicks today, check it out here.
To celebrate world Book Day today I’m going to:
- My monthly Book Group meeting to discuss our latest book – For One More Day by Mitch Albom.
- Finish reading said book
- Decide which book to read next. Top of my pile are:
= Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (Novelkicks book club book for March, and on my TBR Pile challenge, some might say I gave Laura the idea for having this book this month),
= Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver (The final book in the Delirium trilogy came out on Tuesday I think, so should read the second before I get the 3rd, plus, I’m going to see her at Waterstones on 25th so would be good to have them all read by then).
= Men I’ve Loved Before by Adele Parks (because, oh my god, I’ve not read it yet. AP is one of my favourite authors and I’ve not read this. It came out in 2011! What have I been doing?!?!)
= Yours Truly by Kirsty Greenwood (because I bought it on my kindle a while ago and still not read it)
= The Liar’s Lullaby by Meg Gardiner (on my list as well for TBR Pile Challenge, and I really want to read it!).
I guess that’s all I’ll be doing. Happy World Book Day all.