Archive | May 2012

Ill, But Not Doing Badly

Considering I’ve been ill all week, and off work, in terms of my goals, it’s actually been a pretty good week! Yippee!

Monday I really wasn’t feeling well, so I didn’t manage any writing. I did however make it to Tesco (10 mins away) to get some food. Didn’t feel up to it, but at least it was some exercise. Nothing to count towards my goals, but something. Eating was ok, 1388 calories. Not under 1200, but 1388, which really, isn’t too bad.

Yesterday was better. I was starting to feel, not better, but not as bad. I did some writing, and walked to Tesco, AND managed to eat less than 1200 calories. When I say less than, I actually mean on. 1200 calories. How I got so close I have no idea, I bet I’d never be able to do it again!

Today seems to be going even better. I’m feeling much much better. So much so, that I’m going to go back to work tonight. Yeah! I’ve got Friday off, so am going to be so busy tomorrow. I’m really not looking forward to it. Still, Friday off. Just a shame that when I have a day off, AND I’m feeling ok (cause I’m sure I will be by Friday) the weather is going to turn rubbish. Ah well.

So today. I’ve already written 383 words. All by hand as well. At the weekend I started writing from a prompt from my Ideas Book (The Writer’s Ideas Book by Jack Heffron) and have kept that going. I don’t think it’s going to lead anywhere, but it’s now over 1k words, so there’s something there. I’m enjoying it, even if it doesn’t go anywhere!

This is my second blog this week, so well on track for my 3 this week. I might even be able to get 4 in this week, perhaps even 5, who knows. I am very behind on my reviews for my reading challenges so really should get at least one of them up this week.

As I’m not doing any real exercise, I’ve not been doing my knee exercises. I know that’s really bad, but I’m going to try to rectify that one today – after I go for a walk, seeing as I’m feeling much better.

I hope everyone else’s week is going well too.

2012 Reading Challenges So Far

I’m taking part in 3 reading challenges this year – Book Chick City’s Mystery and Suspense Challenge, Chick Lit Plus’ Chick Lit Reading Challenge and Roof Beam Reader’s TBR Pile Challenge. I keep writing down on scraps of paper how I’m getting on with each, so thought it would probably be a good idea to look at each properly and see how I’m doing. As each challenge is 12 books, I really should have read 5 for each. Let’s see…

Mystery & Suspense Challenge:

1) Snapshot by Craig Robertson

2) The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Stieg Larsson

3) After the Snow by SD Crockett

4) Before I Go To Sleep by SJ Watson

5) Memoirs of An Imaginary Friend by Matthew Green (still to review)

6) The Woman Before Me by Ruth Dugdall (still to review)

7) The Lake of Dreams by Kim Edwards

8) About Last Night by Adele Parks (still to review)

9) Never Look Away by Linwood Barclay (still to review)

10) Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult (still to review)

This is amazing. I never would have guessed I’d read so many so far. A lot of them aren’t traditional mystery/thriller books (I still think of the challenge as the Thriller and Suspense Challenge as it was in 2010 when I did it for the first time), but have elements in it – e.g. After The Snow is a dystopian novel about a boy’s survival when his family disappear. Because his family have disappeared, I think that counts, there’s mystery there.

I must say, this year this is the challenge I’m enjoying the most. Historically my favourite genre has always been chick lit, but I’ve found mystery/thrillers have gradually been creeping up on them. This year, if not a tie, I think they might have shot ahead for the fist time. That’s a huge statement for me, I’m not 100% behind it. Also, it’s only May, anything can happen in the next 7 months. I’ll re explore that in December.

Chick Lit Reading Challenge:

1) Between A Mother And Her Child by Elizabeth Noble

2) Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

3) The Brightest Star in the Sky by Marian Keyes (I thought I’d reviewed this, but apparently not!)

4) Goodnight, Sweetheart by Dorothy Koomson (still to review)

5) About Last Night by Adele Parks

Exactly on target – woo! For this challenge I need to read 2 novels by debut authors. I think that’s a brilliant rule for the challenge, I’d just totally forgotten it. Must go looking, and book buying – yay, one of my favourite things!

TBR Pile Challenge:

1) Petit Anglaise by Catherine Sanderson

2) The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest by Steig Larsson

3) The Brightest Star in the Sky by Marian Keyes (still to review)

4) Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult (still to review – not so bad, I only finished it last night).

Ah, not doing so well with this one am I? It’s not really surprising, the books on this list have been sitting on my shelf for ages, years even, and I’ve not read them. Is it any wonder that they’ve now been sitting there another 5 months? No.

Well, I picked another one up last night to start – Daniel Isn’t Talking by Marti Leimbach, so I guess, if I could get that read in the next 2 days, then I’m on track! As I’m off work ill, that’s not all that unreasonable. The problem is, because I’m off ill, I really want something easy to read. I’m not sure that will be easy, from the topic it might be quite harrowing, not sure. Not sure if I could handle that now. We’ll see I guess.

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In in all, I’m quite happy with my progress, especially on the Mystery & Suspense one. All in all I’ve read 18 books this year. That’s pretty good going – I think 2 years ago I only read about 16 in a whole year.

The problem with reading this much, is that my writing is definitely suffering. I tend to concentrate on one thing at a time, so if I’m reading a book, I want to carry on reading it when I have some spare time (when it’s a good book that is), not stop to write. I need to find the balance and learn how to do 2.

We’re going to move in either August or March next year. When we do, I think we’re going to move further out of London so we can get a bigger place for the same money, possibly (please) with a garden. Further out of London means longer commute. Longer commute means more reading on the tube (I literally get 6 minutes per journey at the moment). I think if I can read more on the way to work, I won’t be so into reading when I get home etc. But that’s months away (and more likely to be March, I’m not keen on moving during the Olympics, and I don’t think I’d be able to get much time off then. Still, it’s a plan for the future).

As always, my reviews (that I’ve done) can be found elsewhere on my blog. The ‘Books‘ tab is a central place where they’re all listed.

Another Dip, But Straight Back On It

After my week in a row writing, I kind of fell off the wagon, but as  I was encouraged down by my buddy I don’t feel too bad, about Wednesday’s knock down anyway. I was spending time with my other half before he went rallying around Europe (well, that and I went to the pub and got slightly drunk!). That was also my excuse on Thursday (him going away, not the pub). On Friday I went to Brighton to see them off, and planned to write when I got back.

Unfortunately I started getting a cold Friday night, so when I got back here I was feeling really rough so couldn’t make myself write anything.

Yesterday I felt dreadful too (how is it possible, that after half a day on the beach, during the nicest/hottest days of the year so far I get a cold? Seriously?) so didn’t think I’d get anything done. I was alright with it, if I couldn’t take a day or two off when I’m ill then when can I, but then just before I went to bed I got some motivation, and wrote over 300 words. Woop. It may be 22.37 now, and I may need a shower to get the sun cream off, but I’m still planning on writing tonight. Obvioulsy, I’m not planning on being in bed by 11pm tonight!

Nothing else is going that well.

Last week was too busy for any exercise. I planned to go running, but never got round to it. I did walk to the further station a few times going/coming back from work. I also planned to go running over the weekend, but this cold wrecked that plan (they say if you’re ill below your neck you shouldn’t exercise – I’ve got a bad cough!). I manage to walk to the shop yesterday (just, I needed to sit down cause I had no energy when I got there!) and to the park today. Better than I could have done while feeling rough!  This week! Definitely this week.

Eating is still going badly, although over the weekend I’ve actually counted calories, so that’s a massive improvement. Yesterday I had 1591 calories, although that’s well over my 1200 goal, it’s less than I need in a day (about 1750), so good. Today I’ve had 1260, so only just over. Just. It’s a positive step. Tomorrow I’ll make it under 1200. I’m sure.

Hope everyone’s week goes as well as I’m planning mine doing!

7 Great Writing Days

I’m so happy with myself today. If I manage to do some writing today, that’s 8 days in a row. 8 days writing in a row. 8! 8! I’m so so happy with that.
To be honest, I’ve not written that much each day, but over 150 each day. 150 is my goal, so 151 would be better. I don’t have my laptop with me to know how many I’ve done each day, but I know at least 1 more than 150. Woop! I feel like it’s the beginning of a new thing. I hope it is, but I don’t want to jink it… so I’m not saying anything. 😉
Other goals are so-so. I’ve not done any exercise this week, but have been walking a lot, and doing my knee exercises. Eating is going badly, but no change there. All others are so so.
So lets focus on the writing. I’m in a writing habit. Fingers crossed please for me staying in it!

Books, Books and More Books, And Not All of Them Mine!

 

About two months ago, we bought some new shelf things for the living room, each one made up of 40cm x 40cm cubes. This was in addition to the 4×4 (cubes) shelf unit we had already, in total we now have 40 of these 40x40cm cube units.

When we only had the 4×4 (so 16 units) I was really happy because 6 of them were entirely mine. Mine for what you ask? Do you need to? Mine for books! I had 2 shelves of cookery books, then 4 of fiction books. It was amazing. And if I’m honest a little bit of a lie.

As we only had 16 of these, I couldn’t fill all 16 with books (which I probably could have done), so I double layered the books on each shelf. Yes, it meant that you couldn’t see the back ones, at all, but that was fine, I sorted it so that the ones I haven’t read were at the front, and the ones I have read, but want to keep were behind – piled high. Yes, even my favourite ever books were hidden behind unread ones. Not ideal, but I was happy. I had a shelf of chick-lit, and shelf of thrillers, and 2 of various genres.

My boyfriend only had 2 shelves of books.

I couldn’t complain.

Then we bought the new shelves. 24 new cubes. Boy did I get excited. This meant that I could stop double layering my books, and have my favourite ones out on show again – didn’t it? Well, no, because there was another really exciting thing that I’d forgotten about – more books in our storage unit.

Obviously we got them out, and spent a great afternoon sorting them out onto shelves. I coupled in genres, colours, sizes, etc. It was great. My books had to mingle with HIS books on some shelves, but it was fine, because they matched. He then had more than his 2 just to himself. Somehow, I didn’t get any more space, and all the cubes were filled up. Hmmm. How did that happen? It was fine though, I was happy with my six shelves, and part user of another three. He had five, then was a part user in the three I was part using.

Then today, he went to the storage unit again. And found another box of his books. I don’t know how he managed that, I was sure we’d been through them all (part of me wonders if he just went to a shop and just bought a box of books?).

Tonight he moved stuff around, and created a spare cube which he proceeded to fill with the books from the storage unit. Wait a minute, if there was enough space for more books, why were mine so cramped? Remember, the new shelves came about 2 months ago, I’ve bought a lot of books in that time.

So now, I have my 4 shelves of fiction books. I have 2 of cookery books, and them I’m part using three. He now has part use of three and six of his own.

Hold on, that means we’re even. How is that fair? I’m the writer, I’m the one that HAS to read (because writers read), and if we’re going to be honest – I’m the one that reads. He doesn’t. Not much. He’s read 1 this year (one I gave him to read, one of my books, not even one off his shlef). I’m reading my 17th.

How is that fair? Really? I’m sulking a little. He’s got a whole load more of them for other things too – xbox games, cds, lego, dvds etc. All in all, he’s got sole use of 13. I have 6. This is not fair.

Conclusion? Well, we need more book shelves. Totally need them. Of course, we can’t get any more book shelves, because the flat just isn’t big enough. Therefore, we have to move. We need a bigger place, where I can have more of my books out on show (did I mention there’s another half box of books of mine in our cupboard because there isn’t space for them on the shelves). Now… if I can just convince him of this… ‘Honey…’

As I’ve been talking a lot about my boyfriend this blog, I may as well carry on…

He, along with three friends are raising money for the Teenage Cancer Trust by driving from England to the Ukraine via 10 other countries – dressed as the characters from the film Anchorman. If you’d like to help them get to their goal please donate here. If you’re interested in the ridiculous costumes, and crazy antics they’re going to be getting up to, take a look at their blog.

Getting Back On It

On Sunday last week, I decided this would be the week that I’d come back from my writing/exercise/eating slump. Unfortunately, on Monday, I didn’t. Nor Tuesday.
Wednesday though, I wrote a blog, and actually did some writing. The on Thursday I did some more writing, on Friday and Saturday too. Now all I need to do is some today, and that’s 5 days in a row. That has to almost be a pattern right? I’m so pleased with myself, I didn’t see this actually happening, so to be having such success (I know it’s early days), just makes me so happy! Yay!

I don’t think we should talk about the eating goal. I’ve not even been counting calories it’s been that bad. I’ve just been shopping for the week though, and bought loads of salads for lunch, and fruit and good things to snack on. Last week was my writing coming back, lets hope this week will be my eating coming good again.

Exercise is so-so. I’ve been pretty good most days at going and coming back from work – I’ve mainly gone to the station 20 minutes walk from the office, so I have that to do. I’ve also done Just Dance 3 on the Wii three times – twice for 20 minutes, then 30 minutes today. That should really be good, not so-so, but as it’ not running, or going to the gym, I don’t think it’s quite as good. Still, it’s exercise, and I’m doing it. Yay again.

There’s a lot of green on my chart this week. It’s almost as green as it was way back when this round of ROW80 started, back when I was doing well. I can totally see it carrying on next week too. The week after my boyfriend goes away for a couple of weeks, which means I’ll probably go to the gym lots, and eat much better (salads and veg for dinner!) and probably write lots more cause I won’t have him here to distract me. I’m having to look at the positives so it seems like 2 weeks won’t be as long. ROW80 goals are my positives. But there’s still 4 days until he goes – those are going to be good days too. They are.

Loving my positivity today.

So, how are YOUR goals going?

Next Steps

Something very interesting happened to me last night. I went to go to bed, then remembered I hadn’t written anything today. Although it was like 12.30am, it’s Friday, so I thought I’d do some writing before bed.

Boyfriend’s laptop was on, so I thought I’d use his rather than turn mine on etc (I know, it takes like 30 seconds, how lazy can you get).

I looked at his desk top, and saw a word document called ‘TMOMD – Nathan…’ Ooh, I was intrigued – TMOMD is my novel, The Man of My Dreams (you may remember from way back, when I used to write it!). I opened it up to have a little read, but then decided instead of reading it, I would carry the scene on a little.

I did, and I wrote about 200 words (can’t remember the exact number, and I can’t be bothered to open the document again and check – I’d rather write this long expaination, which is probably taking more effort that looking would have done. Sigh!). Woo! Those 200 ish words are the first I’ve written on the novel since maybe January, perhaps Februaury. Well happy with myself.

And not just for that reason.

As I was writing, I realised that the scene had been written out of order with the rest of the novel, and my idea for it changed before I got this far, making this scene obsolete, and changing the whole direction of the novel. And, as I was writing, I started to think that maybe that’s been my problem. I changed the direction of the novel, changing what could happen, and totally lost my way. Maybe if I’d stuck going the way I origianally planned, I would have been able to carry on with it all those months ago.

I’m thinking, I’m going to go back and take out the bit that changed the direction – save it somewhere else, it might be useful for something else in the future – and add this back in. It might  not work, but I feel like it’s time to get back into the novel. If not now, then I don’t know when.

Usually around this time of year, I start writing my other novel ‘Holiday’ again. NaNo burns me out and it takes until the end of the spring/beginning of spring to get back into the groove. I could go back to Holiday. I’d been thinking I could, and also print out what I have of TMOMD to recap, and maybe start editing,  but maybe this idea of changing it will get me back.

Who knows, but it’s worth a try right?