ROW80 Begins Again – 2013 Round One

Howdie fellow ROW80ers, and everyone else *waves*

I made some goals at the beginning of the year, and although I haven’t started them yet, it is only the 7th. And when I say I haven’t started them, what I really mean is I haven’t done much. Because yesterday, I took a really big step, and PRINTED The Man of My Dreams. All 160 pages of it (in addition to the 10 I already had printed.). Woop. My plan now is to read through it (12 pages done yesterday) and make notes of what happens as it goes along. Then when I’ve done that I should (I hope) be able to see which path makes the most sense – the way I took it originally, or the way I veered off to.

I’ve got a push to do it and edit it this year, the biggest push I’ve had so far. I got into the Romantic Novelists’ Association, New Writer’s Scheme. Double, (no triple, cause it’s that exciting) woop. I’ve been trying for 2 years before this, and always applied too late to get a place, so I’m so so happy I’ve got in. As well as going to their events (with speakers, novelists, publishers, agents, and new writers like me), I get to send them a manuscript where a published author will comment on it. Eek!

So I have to finish, and edit, and get The Man of My Dreams as good as I can by August.


Keris Stainton (author or the *heart* series [Jessie *heart* NYC, Emma *heart* LA]) sent me a link to a page on Holly Lisle’s site – One-Pass Manuscript Revision: From First Draft to Last in One Cycle’. I’ve read about half of it, and it gives some good advice. I need to read further as I go along the process, but I think it’s going to be really helpful once I get there. Once I’ve read it, and decided which way to take it.

This round, I’ve decided to make weekly goals like I did in a previous round, because they seemed to work really well for me. Here we go then, for this week, Monday 7th – Sunday 13th January

– 7 hours working on The Man of My Dreams. I know this week it will mostly be reading, with some note taking, and I’m fine with that. I’m sure I’m not going to make an hour every single day, but if I can do the equivalent of an hour a day I’ll be really happy.

– 7 hours on my writing course. Writing course. Wow, remember that? I hardly do. I’ve not done it for so long, I need to call them and find out if I’m still ok to carry on, or if I need to re pay for it. I signed up about 4 years ago, so I think I’ll be fine. I’m sure I signed up before they put a time limit on it. Fingers crossed. I figure with the revision of the novel it will be good to work on this in conjunction. It will remind me of what I need in it, but also, the next assignment is to plot a novel, I think plotting TMOMD would be a good idea. OK, so the novel is mostly written, but it can’t help to get comments, and advice on it can it?

– Write 1 book review for here and one (my first) for my friend Laura’s website Novel Kicks. I’ve already read one book this year, and have 20 still to write-up from last year for my reading challenges last year. I’m late, but better late than never (some of them are likely to be never, but some of them I should, and want to review).

– 2x check in blogs (in addtion to this). As it says on the tin.

– Decide on reading challenges for the year, and write a blog about them. I’d like to do Room Beam Reader’s TBR Pile Challenge again – I failed it last year, so feel I need to redeam myself this year. Last year I took books of my shelf, this year I think I’ll take other books that I’ve been meaning to read for a while, but which aren’t necessarily on my actual physical shelf.

– Burn 1500 kcal through exercise on top of normal walking to work etc. I’ve joined the gym again this year, and am determined to use it more than last year. Plus I’m going to sign up to a 10k run in May/June so need to get back into training. On top of this, I now work between two buildings which are about 15 minutes walk (100 cals) between each other. If the last week is anything to go by, I’ll be burning about 600 just walking between them.

– 2x fasting days. I’ve started the 5:2 diet, where you ‘fast’ (eat 500 calories) 2 days of the week. So far it’s going well. Week one went well anyway. I’m slightly worried that some people said it can cause headaches, and I got a migraine earlier, but I’m sure headaches and migraines are actually caused by and totally different things, so probably not related. I’m going to keep an eye on it though.

That’s it then. It’s quite a lot, but it’s doable, I know I can. As long as I work a little each day, and take each day as it comes, I should be fine.

Laura has agreed to be my buddy again this round. We have a brilliant way of pushing each other, through Twitter, texts, Facebook and emails. Whatever it takes. It’s really good to have someone I know is going to push me, and it’s a good feeling knowing I’m making a difference by pushing her too.

I hope everyone has a good week.

My Birthday Weekend (Read: Excuses For Not Writing!)

It was my birthday on Thursday, which obviously means I’ve pretty much spent the weekend celebrating, especially since my brother and his girlfriend were in town. Thursday I worked then boyfriend cooked me dinner. Friday I had the day off, so really should have done some writing, but I went shopping instead. We then had a night out.

Saturday we entertained my bro and his girlfriend by taking them sightseeing and then for dinner. Today they went home. And I’ve watched TV and finished reading my book. It’s now 10.30pm, and I’m just getting round to writing this, then I’ll quickly do 150 words or more, then bed.

As I checked in on Wednesday, which was the last time I did some writing, that really is all I can say. I think I can find some more though! 

The words I’m going to do tonight (and I am going to do them, I’m not just saying that), are hopefully going to be on my novel The Man of My Dreams. Wednesday’s words were on it, so it’s kind of fresh in my mind.

I still want to start editing it. I guess I could just read it through while I don’t have a printer, to see how it flows, then print and edit in August when I can get a printer. I dunno. As it’s late and I’m tired, today I’ll think about the words, tomorrow I’ll think of the bigger picture.

I hope everyone’s had a more productive weekend than me – here’s to a better week.

Well… I’m Enjoying Reading

I am enjoying reading. That’s important to be a good writer you have to be a reader. Of course to be a good writer, you have to be writing too…

This happens every year since I started doing NaNo (3 years ago). I’ll write ferociously for the 30 days, I’ll get the 50,000 words done, and then a couple of weeks later I’ll stop writing. I’ll try to motivate myself and I will, but only in dribs and drabs. Eventually, in the summer I’ll start writing properly, then in October I’ll realise NaNo is just a month away and I’ll increase what I’m writing.

Every year that happens. It was slightly different after this NaNo, in that I carried on writing in December, and January. At least I’m getting better. We’re now halfway through March (if anyone knows how that’s possible, please let me know), and less than 2 weeks away from the end of this ROW80 round, and I’ve pretty much done nothing for 6 weeks.

I have my excuses, but they are just that – excuses. Yes, I’ve started a new job that’s taking up a lot more time, and brain power than the old one, so I am exhausted, but the same happened last year. And the one before.

It seems I can’t write without a deadline – and a self-imposed one isn’t good enough. Even having a ROW80 goal doesn’t seem to push me, maybe because I’m not losing if I I fail, I’m just a failer!

I said this before and a couple of people questioned why MY goals weren’t important enough to push me. I don’t know. I just don’t.

my boyfriend’s being really good at the moment – he keeps trying to make me write (well, keeps mentioning I should be), but I always seem to come up with some reason not to.

Just after my last post, I decided I was going to take some time off my novel, and just do random writing. That worked – on that day. I read something in my writing course that said it’s good to write short stories while you’re writing your novel – it helps you feel like you’re achieving something (by writing THE END – something you’re not going to do on the novel for a while). It’s a good idea, but I didn’t stick to it.

I’ve just remembered that Novelicious are running a novel competition. The deadline is 3rd April, so that’s something for me to aim for – an actual goal. I need to edit the first 3000 words of the novel. Fine. Maybe everything else will come back after I do that!

Like I said in the title, I’m really enjoying reading at the moment. I’m reading Before I Fall Asleep by SJ Watson for my Book Club. I’m totally loving it. I seem to really love novels that have ‘before’ in the title  – Before I Fall (Lauren Oliver) and Me Before You (Jojo Moyes) were both really really good books. I also seem to be really interested in memory in novels – The Memory Collector (Meg Gardiner) was brilliant, and also in films – Memento (I guess 50 First Dates too, but I’m talking more serious stuff). I’ve really enjoyed everything listed above. No idea why, seems to be something I’m in to!

My other goals are eating well, and exercising.

Exercising isn’t going TOO badly. I’m walking to and from the tube to work – that’s 40 minutes walking a day! Today I’ve got my gym kit, so hopefully I’ll go there after work!

This week I’ve started Slimming World again. So far days 1 and 2 have been a joke, but day 3 seems to be going well. I’d like to make it the first of going brilliantly!

I hope everyone else is doing better with their goals than me!

A Little Late To Be Improving

The last 2 days of January totally ROCKED for me for writing. On Monday I went to a NaNo style write in. I wrote 700 odd words by hand. When I got in I typed them up, then carried on where I’d stopped in the cafe. My count ended up being 1492. Woop!
On Tuesday I wanted to keep the momentum going so after watching a film, I went to the bedroom and churned out another 1055 words before bed. Woop again.
The problem is that is all a little too late. The Man of My Dreams may be coming on pretty nicely (ish), but ultimately I’m only on 72,612 (I say only…). It’s not finished. I’m nowhere near the ending. Well I guess I’m semi close, but I’ve got a lot more to do. How much I don’t know. But more. Maybe 20k more? I don’t know because I don’t really know how I’m going to get to the ending yet. Well only a very rough idea.
When I started this novel I thought it would be about 70,000 words long. Apparently that’s quite a nice length for a first-time chick lit novel. I didn’t know how I was going to get there, but that was my goal. During NaNo I got 50,000 words. That left 20,000 to go. I planned to write them in December. That didn’t happen. At the beginning of January I was mad with myself for not hitting my target, but I extended it by a month, so the end of January to finish it.
Ahh. Well that was January there *points to the past*, and I’m still not done. That’s not at all good. No siree. The only positive thing I can think to say is that I’m now at the word count where I planned to end it. Past that in fact. That’s not much comfort though is it, not when in December I’d already known it was going to be longer.
Looking at the figures, I wrote 10,385 words in January. That means I must have done 12,300 something in December. January was worse that December? That’s shocking! I’m really not happy with that. It’s like 300 words a day. That’s 200 less than I was aiming for.
As there were a lot of days where I didn’t write, it does mean that I had a lot of good days – on 9th, I wrote 2099, 10th 1084, 24th 1159, 30th 1492 and 31st 1055. If only I could get more of those days!
I now don’t know what to do towards finishing it. Should I give myself another month? Another two? Should I stop giving myself goals so I stop failing them? Should I say I need to have it finished before I start the new job (a week on Monday – way too ambitious I think, but an idea). I don’t know. I’ll have to have a think.
What I do know, is that I seem to be on a roll. I want to keep it going as long as possible. If I could make 5 days in a row green, I’d be so happy. A week and I’d be thrilled. I’m trying it, I really am.
In other goal related things – eating’s going badly again, but exercise is cancelling some of it out, and that’s going well. Reading’s only going ok this week.
Here’s my chart:

Another Bad Weekend

I was quite tempted not to write this blog, and to skip yesterday’s check-in for ROW80. But, that would be cheating in my book, so here goes.

Thinking about it more, my weekend wasn’t THAT bad. Just bad on the important things. My goals are:

Eat less than 1400 cals

Exercise more than 30 minutes

Write 500-1000 words

Read (still not decided on a measurement for this).

This is how I did (I know it would be a lot easier if I had the chart, but I forgot to copy or send it to myself at work this morning).

Eating – Pie & Mash Friday lunch, Chinese Friday night and a bucket full of vodka (all with DIET coke though…) so not even going to go there. Saturday I had a crepe at the market, then Indian for dinner (most calorific one I could – Korma!), again lets not go there. For breakfast on Sunday I had a poppdum and popcorn. I made lasagna for dinner with lots of veg, but also had a ton of bonbons. Lets just forget this goal this weekend!

Exercise – this isn’t AS bad. In fact probably pretty good. On Friday, after work and before the pub I walked to the gym, then spend half an hour there (yep, I made the effort before the pub – showering and getting ready there!). Total cals: 370 cals , 52 minutes. Plus, on the way home we got off the tube at the further away stop – so an extra 12 minutes walking – woop! On Saturday we spent a few hours walking round Camden Market. That’s totally going down as at least 30 minutes exercise in my book. Yesterday I walked to Tesco and back. I think it’s about 22 minutes. Still, it’s walking so happy with that.

Writing – next (nothing to say ’cause I did NOTHING!)

Reading – I rented Snapshot by Craig Robertson from the library on Thursday night. I started reading it on Friday morning. I finished it yesterday afternoon. That says SUCCESS to me – woop! Also – brilliant book!

In my head eating and writing are the most important. I guess exercise is up there too, but reading is less so (only because I spend so much time reading anyway). This week, I’m going to concentrate on these three. I was supposed to be going out tonight, but I’m really tired so am not going to bother. I’ve had my main meal today too, so when I get home I’ll hit the laptop and write!

It’s nearly the end of January – my second goal for finishing The Man of My Dreams was the end of January (having not made the first goal of the end of December). I don’t really know how much more I’ve got to write because I’ve kind of changed the direction it’s going in. Still, I COULD get it done in a week. Would be a struggle, but I’m going to try…

I was actually thinking a lot last week about editing the novel. Unlike my usual self, I’m actually really looking forward to it. I think that’s because at the moment I’m a little lost on when the days are – I think they might all be week days with hardly any weekends in between – so want to read it to get it straight in my head. I guess I wasnt to read it then more than edit it. I think I want to edit it too.

If I’m honest, I just want to finish writing it now. I’m not bored of it, but I just want to skip to the next part of this process. Why oh why do I have to work? I bet it would be finished now if I was at home all day! 😉

Getting Back On It

I’m back!

Well, I’m coming back anyway. Maybe today doesn’t count as really being back because I’ve got the day iff, so it’s not like I’m fitting writing in with real life, but still, I’m writing – that’s great.

So how am I doing on the ROW80 challenge so far this year? I’m going to create a chart for it, because we all know how I love a chart, and I seem to work better whan I have something to fill in – I guess I’m more accountable. Plus, you know, I get to put a pretty graph on my blog 🙂


Today, like I said, I’ve been writing. So far (I plan to write more) I’ve done around 1,500 words. As I’m off work I’d like to do more. I’d also like to so some shopping and other stuff, so I’m not 100% certain I can, but I’d like to.

1,500 is by dar the best I’ve done so far this year. On Wednesday I wrote 100 words. That’s shocking, but I’m actually proud of myself for it. I knew I didn’t have time for my goal of 500 – 1000, so usually I would have not bothered, but I figured that some was better than none. 100 may not be that many, but it is definitely better than none!

On Friday night I wrote 200 words. I wanted to write more, obviously, but by the time I’d stopped reading, I was tired. Too tired to write more than that.

Yesterday I wrote 236. Not great, but getting better. The best thing about those 236 words were that again, I didn’t have much free time, definitely not enough for my target, but I had some. I took that some and turned it into writing. Yay!

I hope this is a change. I’m getting back into writing The Man of My Dreams now too. I think I’m past the hard bit that I wasn’t sure about, so hopefully it will be plain sailing for the next 10k or so words. I think editing is going to be a huge job, because I think I should have been where I am now much earlier in the story. I feel like too many things are going to happen and I don’t have enough time to resolved them believabley. I guess it doesn’t help that yesterday I added in a major event. Still, it’s good and hopefully will make it a bit grittier. If ‘grittier’ is a word I can use for this romance. We’ll see.

I’m really looking forward to finishing it so that I can read it. I desperately want to know how it flows, if it works and if it’s believable. I just have to write loads before I can get to that stage. Maybe if I carry on like I’ve done today, set myself a goal – NaNoFiMo (National [??] Novel FINISHING Month) for the rest of January… ROW80 is probably enough really,. I’d like to get back to writing 1,667 words a day, and it’s not like I’ve got much money to go out until payday, so no distractions there or anything. Lets see (no goal changing just yet!).


I’m doing really well with reading. I’m more than halfway through When God Was A Rabbit by Sarah Winman. My feelings for it have been a lot like they were for Petit Anglaise – I like it, a lot, but I’m not addicted to it. Having said that though, I keep picking it up. I think it’s reading that I’m really enjoying at the moment, and I’m reading good books, which makes such a difference to the end of last year!

I am reading A LOT. Yesterday we went to the darts world championship (boyfriend works for one of the sponsors, so we get *huh hum* free tickets. Not sure I’d want to go if we didn’t, but it’s a damn good day out!). We had to go all the way out to Farnborough which is about an hour from London. I read there and the way back. Saturday, I spent most of the day in bed reading, and every night last week I came home and read for ages. I’m properly in a reading buzz at the moment. It’s not a bad thing, as long as I can balance it with writing.


Seeing as I wasn’t able to go the gym last week (they haven’t added my corporate membership to their system yet – hopefully tomorrow!), you would have thought I’d be playing on the Wii a lot, wouldn’t you? No. On Saturday I did 30 minutes, today I did 35 both on Just Dance 3, but other than that, nothing. BUT, I have been walking. A lot. Thursday, Friday and yesterday I think I walked more than 4km each day. That’s good.


This is up and down. Some days I’m good and stick to the 1400 calories, others not so much. If I’m honest, there’s more when I don’t than I do. Regardless, I’m trying. This week will be better, it will!

How’s your week starting out? How did last week go? I’d love to hear!

Progress, Planning and Philosophising

It seems a little wrong checking-in today for ROW80 when I only wrote my goals yesterday, but seeing as I should have written them on Monday, I guess I should. Plus, you know, it’s good to check-in on time. I should have put that as a goal this round too.

Well. Four main goals, here we go – day 1.

Writing – Well… I thought about doing some writing… then got sidetracked. Yesterday’s blog from Kait on the A Round of Words in 80 Days blog, was all about ‘The Test Mile,’ in exercise the way to make yourself go out is to say you’ll just run a mile (for me 10 minutes) then see how it goes. It works to get you out becuase such a small thing seems to easy, but then when you get to the end of that allotted mile (10 minutes) you usually feel good about it so carry on. Kait suggests we writers use the same principle with writing. GENIUS! On days that I don’t want to run, if I say to myself I’ll sit down and just write 100 words, I BET once I get to 101, 102 etc I’ll want to carry on going. Hopefully tonight I’ll want to write, but if not, Kait’s Test Mile is something I’ll be trying.

Reading – What did I say yesterday? That I seem to either write or read? Guess what I did last night? Yeah, I must have spent a couple of hours reading. I’m reading Petit Anglaise by Catherine Sanderson. I’m really enjoying it, but was thinking about it last night. It’s not what I’d call ‘unputdownable,’ but I keep coming back to it. It’s good, and it’s making me think about going to France and learning better French (more of this later).

Exercise – I’m rocking this one too (you know, in the one day I’ve been doing it). I wanted to go to the gym yesterday, but I had to go home to take a library book back (lame excuse I know, but it works for me). Instead I walked to the tube (2.2km) then from home walked to the library and back (1.6km). Not a bad start. Tonight I go to the gym.

Eating – I had chocolate yesterday. And cheese at lunch and dinner. Considering that, I didn’t do too badly – I ate 1650 calories. Not the 1400 I was aiming for, but still enough to lose weight. I also got my 5 portions of fruit & veg. Yay!

I’m planning on the rest of this week going better than yesterday did, I’m planning on hitting all 4 goals, not just 2. I can do it. Today is the day to show myself I can!

If you’re a regular reader of my blog, you’ll know I’m a big believer in things (everything) happening for a reason e.g. I didn’t get into the NWS this week. Maybe that’s because I’m destined to get myself published without help. (Or maybe I’m destined not to get published – lets not think that way though); And when my boyfriend and I split up last year, it was horrible, but when we got back together, it made us stronger.

Things happen for a reason. Also, coinsidences happen a LOT! I like to think more the first – gives me hope in some things I think.

Yesterday, this happend twice.

Remember my blog yesterday? The one where I read Laura’s goals for the year and remembered my writing course? I was thinking about it more after I finished the blog. The next assignment is to plot a novel. I was thinking that maybe when I’ve finished draft 1 of The Man of My Dreams, I might ‘plot’ it and use that for the assignment.

Last night I went home and read for a while. When I finally dragged myself away from the book, I decided that instead of writing, I was going to hoover behind our bed. I’m not sure if I can admit that I’ve not done it since we moved in. It needed doing, but I’d been putting it off for ages. The bed is in a corner, so wall on 2 sides. I’ve been putting it off for fear of what I’d find undermneath – dust, spiders, dustry spiders? dusty paper? I just didn’t know.

I took the plunge. What did I find? Only the module booklet for the novel plotting assignment. Spookey eh? I literally had not thought about the course for months, and had been putting off doing the hoovering for weeks (fine, months). I think it means something that both these things happened in one day. Especailly when boyfriend came home and asked me what inspired me to finally do it – I had no answer?!

The other weird thing.

Boyfriend has dreams of one day living in France. It’s quite a good idea – I’ve been there a few times and quite like it and used to like the language (at school I was really good at it!). I’ve told him that if we ever do plan on moving there when we have kids (forward planning!!!) we need to teach them French from when they’re born. Which means us speaking French too.

This book I’m reading – Petit Anglaise – is about an English girl living in Paris with her boyfriend and little girl who is learning both languages side by side. Over the last few days it’s got me thinking more about France and how cool it would be to relearn the language – and to better than GCSE (age 16) level. Also I’ve been thinking that it would be awesome to go to Paris again (I’ve been a few times, and thought I was sick of it – seeing as there’s so many other places that I’ve never been before).

Last night, boyfriend comes home with an idea of going to Paris for a long weekend. Hmmm.

It feels like there’s weird things going on in my life at the moment. Weird, but maybe things pointing me in certain directions. Or maybe there were just a few coincidenses yesterday!