Tag Archive | blogging

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.

Eek!

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.

Hello 2013, and A New Me?

Happy New Year everyone. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas (or otherwise) break and new year. I know I certainly did.

I don’t really want a new me, I’m happy with the old me, but there are definitely some improvements I can make to make this year better than 2012. Not that it was a bad year, it was a great year, there were just a few negatives though.

Writing/editing – that really went down the drain. January – October and December I hardly wrote anything. I say that. When I say hardly anything, I probably mean about 30,000 words. Not a small amount, but not what I was hoping for. Not when you consider I wrote 50,000 in the 30 days of November alone. Writing in those 11 months was a struggle. I want to get back into it this year, and also do some editing. I know, that scary word that I haven’t had the guts to try on anything other than short stories in the past.

I’m going to be joining ROW80 again this month. I’ve been doing it for a few years, and really enjoying it. It means I HAVE to blog at least twice a week for the check-ins. I also love the community feel, and the help and encouragement I get from others. This year I’ll get better at giving it, as well as receiving it. I’m also going to think about becoming a sponsor for one of the later rounds this year.

I currently have a few projects on the go:

Italian Infatuation – my 2009 NaNo novel. Finished but needs editing. A lot. This was a Mills and Boon style novel which I’ve kind of moved away from, so not top of my list.

‘Holiday’ – my (untitled) novel I’ve been on/off/on/off since early 2009. It’s maybe 2/3 done. I’d like to finish it. I think it’s got legs, but it’s my second priority.

The Dating Project – my 2010 NaNo novel. 1/3 written. Good idea, but what’s written I think is terrible. At the bottom of my list, because it needs rewriting. Not so interested in it any more.

The Man of My Dreams – My 2011 NaNo novel. Almost finished the first draft. Top of my list to be worked on. I think I’m going to jump in to starting the read/edit then finish the last few bits as I go along with it this year. Now I’ve got into the RNA – NWS this year (more later) this will be the novel I submit.

Love Authority – My 2012 NaNo novel. I like the idea, but I didn’t do enough prep. I’d like to go back to it one day, but not right now, and probably not this year.

Last night, I tried to join the Romantic Novelists’ Association – New Writer’s Scheme. Each year they take the first 250 new writers to apply. I’ve tried the last 2 years but not got in. This year I made it. I’m massively excited!!!  I now get to go to events, and also send a manuscript in for comment by a real live author. Woop!

Writing/Blogging – I also want to get back into blogging. I feel like I’ve been a bad blogger this year (although I still wrote 103 blogs, it doesn’t feel like it). I really enjoy writing blogs, and visiting other blogs, so am going to pick this back up.

Writing/Blogging/Book Reviews – I’ve always planned to review some of the books I read as I finish them, but in 2012 totally fell behind with this. In 2013, I want to get back into doing it again. I’m not massively confident doing it, so need to push myself on this. Also my friend Laura who runs Novelkicks.co.uk has asked me to do reviews on her site. Woop! How exciting. I’m don’t know how often Laura would like me to review books, but I’d like to do them regularly, at least once a month.

Health/weight – I’m reasonably healthy, but over the last few years I’ve put on quite a lot of weight. I need to lose it to feel better about myself, happier when I look in the mirror and to reduce my chances of getting nasty diseases in later life. I’m also going to think about having the C word in a couple of years (children), and know it’s easier to get pregnant when you’re not overweight.

I’ve been thinking a lot the last few days about how I’m going to do it. My usual diet method is calorie counting, but I’ve been trying that and at the moment I just don’t have the will power to stick to 1,000 calories a day. A couple of years ago I joined Slimming World and lost a bit, but then Christmas hit and I put it back on, and never got back on it. I thought that was going to be the answer.

Then I started reading I Can Make You Thin by Paul McKenna. It was amazing, with just 4 rules for changing the way you eat forever, not even a diet. But again, it takes a lot of will power, which I’m not sure I have. For example, eat only when hungry and stop when you feel full. Great plan, but in reality… I think if I carry on reading it, there will be more exercises to help. And I will, but I’m going to use it in conjunction with the diet I’ve decided on – the 5:2 Diet.

If you read my blog, you may have read when I talked about this last year. I heard about it, where for 1 or 2 days of the week you ‘fast’ (eat 500 calories) then eat whatever you want on the other 5/6 days. I tried it on one day, and it was ok. I failed a little and got 600 calories, but still it inspired me. Then Christmas and all the parties hit, and I just didn’t have the days to try it.

Yesterday I found a book (by women’s lit author Kate Harrison), and this morning I’ve watched a BBC ‘Horizons’ documentary on it, and I’m totally sold. Not only does it help you lose weight, the health benefits are amazing. It’s not been officially tested on humans too much, so they kind of recommend not doing it, but the presenter was going to carry on with it, and so many other people do it, I’m going to give it a go.

You may wonder why, when I’m saying I have no will power to stick to a 1,000 calorie diet, I’m able to be sure I can do a 500 calorie one? 2 reasons. First is it’s only 2 days a week. If I want something on a fast day, I can tell myself I’ll have it the next day instead (the ‘feast’ day). If I want something bad on a 1,000 calorie a day diet, I can tell myself I can have it… when? When I lose all the weight I want to? When I break the diet for a day? The second reason is that on a 1,000 calorie day, I tend to just make things I know will be low calorie and tot up when I’m done. It can mean over eating, and quite often if I go over 1,000 calories, I think sod it, I’ll just eat more and start again tomorrow. Then ditto the next day. When I know I only have 500 calories to play with, I plan ahead.

I’m excited about starting it. In fact,yesterday was my first day fast day, and I ate just below 500 calories. In that I had a really nice homemade curry. Woop.

Health/Exercise – Last year I was really bad with exercise. I hardly went to the gym, I walked home occasionally from work, but not often, and I didn’t do much running – and certainly no challenges.

This year that’s going to change. I’ve rejoined the gym this year, through work again. I’m basically paying just under £60 a month. I need to make that worth it, because I could do so much more with £60 a month than throw it away on a membership I don’t use.

I’m also going to do at least one running challenge. There are a couple of 10km runs in May/June, so I’m going to sign up for one of those. If I have a goal, I work much better than doing it just for me. I’ve also done a 10km run before, so I know it’s not THAT hard, well, I know I can do it.

House – I must admit, I don’t clean and tidy as much as I should. We’ve decided to stay where we’re living until the summer, and I want to make it a nice few months. We live in a tiny flat so the housework really isn’t a massive job.

So that’s it. While it feels like a lot, it also doesn’t feel like all this is unachievable. I guess we’ll see in 12 months.

What are your plans for this year?

2012 Blogging in Review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 3,200 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 5 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Sunday Check-In, Good and Bad

It’s just days to NaNo. For the last 3 years, October has been the most productive month of the year, not so this year. Usually I think I need to get ready for writing 1,667 words a day by consistently writing daily. I think I kind of forgot that this year. Maybe this year I’m going for resting before NaNo!

Lets look at my goals this week, and how I’ve done:

Writing: 100 words a day on 5 days, or NaNo prep on those days. I did some prep on Monday and Tuesday. That is all. Just a few days left till NaNo, so I guess I’m doing a lot of prep in the next few days. Storyline, character names, character personalities, etc. etc. I’ve got a lot to do! I can do some tonight, it’s not too late.

Writing: 1,000 words creative writing posted to my blog. SUCCESS. On Friday I posted a story I wrote last year about Aliens and microwaves. That’s £5 in my fund from the boyfriend.

Blogging: 1 book review, 2 check-ins and the creative blog. Done, done, done! Woop!

Exercise: Gym or run 2 days. Pass.

Eating: ‘Fasting’ 1 day, 1,400 for 5 days. I did the ‘fasting,’ although I managed 623 not 500 words, but it was still good, so happy with that. Not so happy with the other 5 days and the lack of counting over those. How about I try again this week?

 

I like these goals, so I’m going to use them this week. Well until Thursday anyway. Thursday –  Sunday my writing goal will be 1,667 words.

Usually, I’m feeling good about NaNo, but this year I’m just feeling a little dread. I don’t know if it’s because I’m not doing chick-lit, and a little worried that I’m not going to be able to do this thriller/black comedy thing. I don’t know if it will have any comedy. I don’t know if it will be a thriller. All I do know at the moment, is that it’s called Love Authority. At least I’ve got a title, that’s better than the one I started in 2009, it’s still called ‘Holiday,’ with the ”.

On a final note, My Christmas cake is in the oven. I’m really excited, it’s the first one I’ve ever made. It’s going to be in the oven for another couple of hours. Unless I had it on too high a temperature for the first 2 hours. Oops!

Enjoy your last couple of days of freedom before NaNo if you’re doing it!

Another New Goal

I know it’s more than halfway through the week, but I need to adjust my goals. Not massively. In fact, it’s not so much adjusting, as adding to.

My current goals are (with this week’s progress)

Writing – 100 words a day for 5 days, or work on prep for NaNo for those 5 days. Monday – lots of prep for NaNo. Tuesday a little prep. Wednesday none. That’s fine, I’m going to try to work everyday for the rest of the week, because Tuesday’s prep really wasn’t up to much!

Blogging – 2 Check-ins for ROW80, 1 Book review. Monday posted a book review (The Snowman by Jo Nesbo), and now toady’s check-in. OK, so the check-in is late, but better late than never!

Exercise – gym or run twice. Not done anything yet. Planning to go to the gym tomorrow, and running Saturday, but not too confident on that one.

Eating – 1400 or less calories a day for 5 days, 1 day ‘fasting’ (500 calories). Today is my fasting day. I’ve had strawberries, blueberries and yogurt. I’ve got salad for lunch, and vegetables in tomato sauce for dinner. My stomach knows I’m dieting even though I would have had that for breakfast anyway – it’s been growling since 10am (I only had breakfast at 8am!). Lets not think about the other days where I should have eaten 1400 or less.

Those are my current goals, which I’m doing ok with. Now, my extra goal.

Blogging – post one blog with my creative writing a week.

This was my boyfriend’s idea. A few years ago, I used to take part in Fiction Friday, where you were given a prompt, you wrote for at least 5 minutes from it, then you post it. Yes, you post what you wrote, you didn’t even have to edit or anything.

It was scary at first, but when I’d done it a few times, I got quite used to it. It became, dare I say, easy to post my stuff. It was great, because I was getting comments on my stuff, but more importantly, I was doing that getting my stuff out there thing.

Boyfriend pointed out yesterday, that I haven’t posted any of my writing for months, or maybe years, which means when I’m in the position of sending out my manuscript to get an editor, it’s going to be even more terrifying than it could have been when I was posting stuff weekly.

Therefore, he’s decided that for every week that I post some writing (not including blogs) of over 1,000 words, he’s going to put £5 in a pot for me, to spend on anything I want. Oh, with the exception of anything I NEED, because I should be buying that anyway. Woop! Do I not have the best boyfriend in the world?

So now I have another goal this week. I’m excited, but also a little scared. That’s another think I need to think about. However with NaNo round the corner, it’s going to be ok. I hope!

Speaking of NaNo, I’m going to the London kick-off party this evening. I can’t wait. I was debating whether to do NaNo this year or not, but the thought of the parties and events was enough to make me want to! Forget the writing, it’s about the social life, right?

Mid Week Check-In

I do hate doing this. I’m writing a post, being all positive about how well I’ve been doing, because I am, and because the last few weeks have been terrible. I hate doing them, if then the next day, or the day after that, I stop being all productive. Lets just hope that doesn’t happen.

My weekly goals are fourfold this week – writing, blogging, exercise and eating. Lets take them one at a time:

Writing – 100 words per day. Monday 144 or something. Tuesday – no writing, but spent a lot of time thinking about my (potential) NaNo novel. And doing a little plotting on paper. Yeah, it’s not words, but I’m counting it as a success for Tuesday.

Blogging – 2 check-in blogs (Wednesday and Sunday), 2 book reviews, and another blog. obviously I’ve got the Wednesday check-in blog tick. I also reviewed All That Glitters by Ilana Fox yesterday. So far, so good.

Exercise – gym 1x and run 2x. I’m going to the gym tonight. Not sure how I’m going to fit in the 2 runs though. I’m going out tomorrow night, and will be too hungover on Sunday, which would leave Friday and Saturday, but I shouldn’t really run two days in a row. Well, I can, that’s probably a bit of an excuse. No, it’s not really, you do need to give your body time to rest after exercise. Oh well, I’ll work that out later. Important thing here, I’m going to the gym tonight. First time for… (other than the 1 exercise class I did the other week) way too long. Months. Still, I’m going. That’s great!

Eating – eat well and ‘fast’ one day. I must be eating well, because I haven’t really exercised this week, but I’ve lost 1lb. I’ve not been recording it, but I  haven’t been REALLY bad. Yesterday was supposed to be my fast day, but that went wrong when I went to Tesco on the way home, and got sweets for my boyfriend (who was ill at home). Wouldn’t have been so bad, if I hadn’t eaten some of the sweets, or bought some chocolate, that I also ate. Oops. Today can’t be the fast day as I’m going to the gym, nor tomorrow as I’m going out so will have a glass of wine, or two. Maybe Friday? Maybe Sunday? Hmm. Look at the good bits, I’m eating well.

So it’s going well. I’m likely to mess up the doing well, but usually October is a good month for me (with the pre NaNo ”I haven’t done enough this year/ must finish novel before NaNo starts” madness). I’m hopeful.

Yes, so I’m doing NaNo again. This will be year four. So far I’ve ‘won’ each year. Year 3 is the one that lots of people fail, so having passed that is good. This year, I’m not very confident about my novel. Yeah, I’ve only been thinking about it for a day, but I’m just not sure. It’s not my usual chick lit, so I’m not too confident, plus, I don’t really know what’s going to happen. All the novels I’ve got that I’ve written well in NaNo have been plotted out before 1st November. The one time I didn’t bother, I finished the 50,000 words, but was still only at the beginning. I need a plan.

With two weeks to go, I can’t start stressing about it yet. Probably once I start the planning, it will go swimmingly. In the meantime, I just need to get the time to do it, and try to get some writing in too. With shorter working hours, that shouldn’t be a problem. She says…

The End = Kiss of Death For Writing

Hi! Remember me? You may have seen me here before, a week or so ago (maybe two, I daren’t look) . I blogged about how I’d written the last words of my novel (I think I did, I may have only tweeted it). I said I had to go back and write more to fill in gaps in the middle, but that at least I’d got to the end.

Do you want to guess how many words I’ve written since then? Actually, I’ve written 1,000. But that was last Thursday. I’ve written nothing since.

Worse than that though, I’ve just realised it’s Thursday, which means it’s One Thousand Thursday. Awww. That means I’m going to have to write 1,000 words tonight. Last week I wrote 1,000 words from a random prompt. I feel like I should go back to the novel, fill in the middle. The problem is, I can’t remember what is in the middle, so I’m not really sure what I have to fill in.

As I’m writing this, I’ve been thinking about which scene I could write, and I’ve decided. It does mean that the last scene I wrote needs to change, but that’s hardly a surprise is it. Now there’s an awesome bit of multi-taking.

I’ll tell you what I have been getting good at since I stopped writing (and blogging, but I’ve not even got to that!) – exercise. Or good-ish anyway. Today I had planned to go running, but I left work late so it would have been dark when I was running. Running in the dark doesn’t really appeal to me. Even though I can run in really public areas. It’s why I like the gym in winter. When I can make myself go.

So I missed today, but, on Tuesday, I went, to my very first, ever, spinning class. Apparently I’d agreed to it when drunk. Actually no, I’d insisted my friend took me to her class when I was drunk. I had no idea until she text me on Monday asking if I was still up for it. I nearly died when I read it.

But I knew it was a good idea so I went along with it.

Now, I don’t know if you’ve heard anything about spinning classes, but they’re supposed to be really, REALLY hard. People crawl away because they’re so hard. I’ve never been to a class, thinking it would be incredibly hard.

3 minutes into the class I was wishing it was over. It was a 45 minute class. 3 minutes in. 3. The next 17 minutes were hell. Then it got a bit easier. Or I started missing bits out. Either way. I walked away. Just. I was expecting massive pain on Wednesday, but I had none (except from sitting on the stupid seat – that hurt, still hurts!). So I expected the pain to come today. Still nothing.

Now, I wouldn’t usually be upset that I’m not in pain. But I am. They say ‘No pain, no gain’ for a reason. Now I feel like I didn’t work hard enough. I’m pretty sure I would have thrown up if I’d have worked any harder though. I felt close at the end.

What have I learnt from this experience? Apparently nothing, because I’ve looked up classes at my gym, and am going to book myself in for Monday or Tuesday. Yes, I think I’m mad.

So back to writing, or moving on to blogging I guess. I’ve been so bad. I can’t look at when I last blogged. But I know it was a Loooooooong time ago. I really enjoy blogging so I need to get back into it. I also need to catch up on some book reviews.

I’m not reading too much at the moment either. I’m a bit apathetic about the novel I’m reading at the moment, so it’s not making me really want to read. It’s ok, but it’s not brilliant. Which is strange because my step Mum recommended it to me, and usually I like what she likes.

Right, enough of this. I need to go write 1,000 words. And then I need an early night, because I’ve got an early start in the morning. Sigh. Least it’s Friday, and even better, I’ve got a half day tomorrow. Woo hoo!