Tag Archive | editing

Things I Haven’t Done This Year

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.

Gutted.

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.

My Poor, Poor Blog

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.

Wait…

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 ūüėČ

Incredibly Busy, If Only It Was With Writing

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.

Sigh.

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.

Happy 4th Blogiversary To Me

Happy 4th Blogiversary To Me,

Happy 4th Blogiversary To Me,

Happy 4th Blogiversary Dear Meeeee,

Happy 4th Blogiversary To Me.

Guess what? My blog is 4. 4 and 2 days if we’re going to be exact. Just over 4 years ago, my boyfriend suggested I started a blog to chart my progress through my writing course. I hated the idea. I didn’t know there was this community of writers out there that had blogs. I thought if I did it,¬†no one would read it, that people would laugh at it, and I’d hate it.

Well, they did, they didn’t, and I don’t – I love it.¬†Blogging is great. It’s like writing a diary, only for other people to read. I write comments that come to mind, and sometimes they inspire people to read them,¬†and sometimes¬†write¬†a comment¬†back to me. It’s brilliant.

The writing course didn’t go too well. I started it, but then got into writing novels (NaNoWriMo and more) and so haven’t carried it on. I need to speak to them to check I can carry on with it, and I need to carry on with it.

The blog’s done pretty well. It’s been up and down, sometimes I write a lot, often, sometimes I go a while without writing anything.

In total, this blog has had nearly 16,000 views and¬†nearly 1,700 comments on 615 blogs,¬†with 820 tags (820 different things I’ve talked about?). The busiest month was April 2011, where it had 831 views! Even the quietest of months (always December when I’m so knackered after NaNo I hardly post anything), it had 122 views. 104 people subscribe to this blog, and everytime I post, my 374 twitter followers hear about it.

That’s pretty awesome.

I can’t wait to post the stats again in another 4 years – if I carry on this way, I’ll have 32,000 views by then. Wow!

Enough of this bragging (if you can’t on your blogiversary, when can you?) and on to my week – it’s going well.

This week I’m rocking my goals. Steve is on a course this week, and has ‘homework,’ so while he was studying yesterday, I was editing. Today, I had the day off work, so¬†I spent about 2 hours on the novel. I’ve now printed off all the bits of it (who knew I had 2,000 words stored in a seperate document here, and 5,000 in another one there?), and read through everything. I next need to make notes on the last 20 pages I read, then write up my post-it notes, which should help with what I’m missing, where etc.

I hope.

So I’m feeling pretty good.

Today I’ve also been to the gym,¬†where I¬†did almost double what I did on Sunday. Woop! I think I’ll go again tomorrow. I know I shouldn’t push myself too much when I’m first starting, but I wanted to get 2 diet¬†fast days in this week, and I’m only going to manage one now, so want to make it up in another way.

I still need to do a couple of book reviews (one I started today), spend an hour on my writing¬† course, more on my novel, and then I’m pretty much on track for my goals this week. And I’ve got 4 days to do it. Feeling pretty good!

Also today, I’ve made a cake. Or, I’m making a cake, it’s still in the oven, then I need to put it together, and marzipan it. I’m doing a Battenberg cake. With 4 layers.¬†Yum! Photo will be coming!

End of Week Check-In

It’s been a busy old week this week. I haven’t got half the things done that I wanted to, but I did get a lot of things done. Maybe not the things I’d set goals for, but hey.

On Tuesday I went to a work event in the evening, and Wednesday an Avon book events in the evening. Yesterday I had a day out at a friend’s (watching old Christian Slater movies – was awesome). Today I went out for lunch and to the gym. All in all, I’ve not had all that much time to work on my goals:

Edit for half an hour a day: I managed just over an hour over the whole week. The idea of only having to do half an hour each day (instead of an hour) helped in getting me doing it on the 2 days I did. I’ll keep this goal the same next week.

Spend 2 hours on the writing course: Nope. Next week (she says…)

2 book reviews: Um, no. But my review of The Girl You Left Behind (from last week) was posted on Novelkicks on Thursday. Check it out here.¬†Again, will keep this one this week, because I’d like to get another over to Laura at NK, and I’m already 2 behind on this blog for my reading challenges this year.

2 Check-ins for ROW80: This is one. I missed Wednesday’s because I was out, then on Thursday posted a blog about other things (BOOKS!). As I also did a blog on Monday, I’m not counting it as a fail this week. Next week, I’ll get my 2, and hopefully some additional ones too again.

Burn 1,500Kcal through exercise: I got 600. Not great. BUT, I did make it to the gym this week, which is only¬†the second time this year, so I’m very happy with that. Hopefully I’ll get there a couple of times next week. Same goal.

2 fasting days for the diet: Done. Both days I really, really didn’t want to, but I stuck with it, and I’ve lost another pound. I think I’ve pretty much got out of the ‘feasting’ on the ‘feast’ days. Some people said it was the terminology – calling it a feast day makes you think you can pig out. Now I’m calling them normal days, I seem to be doing better. Says the girs¬†that’s so crazily full at the moment after enchiladas and Lemon Meringue¬†pie for dinner!

This week will be interesting. I’ve got Wednesday off work (had to take an extra day off before I move companies at the end of the month – such a hardship!) where my plan is to do lots of editing – as well as making a valentine’s day cake – ahhhh, get me! Tuesday is pancake day, woop, and my cousin is in town so wants to meet for a drink after work.

Steve’s doing a course for work this week, and will have ‘homework’ each night. Means we’ll get in¬†and not turn the TV on. That means I’ll cook then work – edit, blog, read etc. Maybe I’ll even do some writing course… that will be interesting!

Feeling Good

I had one of those really horrible Mondays at work. Loads of people had complaints, I didn’t really know how to deal with some, and didn’t want to deal with the others. People kept interrupting me, and then I had to go to another site and wait for a telephone engineer. Thought that would have been ok, but my internet wasn’t working well, so it¬†took me about 20 minutes to write a 3 line email. RAR!

In the end I decided to give up at 4.30pm. I left the engineer on site, and went home, with the plan to do half an hour more work when I got home to make up for leaving early.

I got home and started the long process of dying some clothes. I’ve never done it before, so was pretty scared (still am). I had to wash the clothes, dye them, then wash them again. After the dye they looked awesome (just re-dying some faded black clothes, but they looked awesome and BLACK again – woop!). I now need to take them out the machine and wash¬†the machine¬†again. Without clothes, to get rid of any residual dye. I’m scared the black on the rubber is going to stain – worrying as 1) we live in a rented flat, and 2)¬†the machine is¬†almost brand new. Ah well. My black cardigan is black again ūüôā

So, then tonight got good. I found a link to an author event (only Lauren Oliver, whose novel Before I Fall was one of my favourites of last year, and Delirium, her second, I read in 1 day last weekend), which I knew I had to go to, so I emailed off to get a space on it. Then I remembered I hadn’t emailed about the Maggie O’Farrell one at the end of the month, so I did that. Then, seeing as I was booking my diary up, I went through the RNA events listing page to work out which events¬†I could go to.

I dropped an email to my friend Laura, who’s also a member of the RNA (New Writers’ Scheme like me) to encourage her to come too (not as easy as she’s not in London). I’m really pleased that I’ve now got a whole load of writing events in my calendar for the next few months. That, along with the work course I’m doing at the¬†end February and most of March, I’m going to be mega busy! Can’t wait!

I then spent a lot of time on LinkedIn looking through people I know, and inviting them to be, well, LinkedIn. Then I did some work emails, thus catching up on when I left early.

I felt like tonight was going really well, and it was only 9pm.

Then, I planned to do some editing. OK, I admit it, I’m not editing yet, I’m reading and noting how the story goes – plotting in reverse.¬†This will show me what I’ve done and where I’ve gone so I know what¬†what works, what doesn’t, so what needs to stay in, what needs to be removed and what needs to be added. Yesterday I was on (double line spaced,¬†printed A4) page 94. I’ve got 150 pages altogether.

Instead of this,¬†I got dragged (by myself) into cleaning the bathroom. It’s now spotless. And it was still only 9.30pm (it’s a tiny bathroom, I just faff!).

Then I started the ‘editing’ process. And now I’m another 12 pages down, and you know what? I’m feeling pretty good about the story. On the whole, it’s working. There’s a lot that needs to be added, some that needs to be taken away, but for a first draft (and for one that was mainly¬†written in NaNo), it’s ok.

It’s when I get a little further and I have a decision of which way to take it, I’m going to get stuck. I went one way, but I think maybe it was the wrong one. I’m not sure. I guess I’ll have to just see. I think if I plot from when it could go either way, to the end, I should be able to see which works better.

I hope.

I’ll tell you what is terrible though. My spelling, grammar and punctuation. But, I wrote it as I was going along, I didn’t let myself go back and read it, or even look at it, so things like that will be bad. They’ll get better in the edits, once I’ve sorted the big problems. Plus, my mum did a proof reading course last year, she’ll sort it out for me.

This editing process has made me realise how much I must have written in December 2011. I wrote just over 50k for NaNo, and yesterday I read the bit where I finished NaNo. I know it was that bit, because I had a small amount of time left in the NaNo writing event, and I really wanted to get it done that night (28th I think). I stopped punctuating, I stopped speach marks, I changed names to letters… and it worked because I finished with just 1 minute to go that night. Phew! Editing it is going to be a pain though.

That was yesterday though, I’ve still got another 50 pages to write. Out of 150 pages, 2/3 were written in NaNo. December must have been a good month! Maybe I did some early last year, I can’t remember. Still, I’ve written loads more than I thought, after NaNo. Yay!

So there we are. I’ve done all this tonight, and written a blog, and it’s still only 10.40pm. I feel like I should treat myself to something to celebrate? I’m thinking maybe starting to read a new novel? I can’t let myself do that though. I need to concentrate my reading on my novel, not someone else’s. What else could I treat myself to? Not food (I haven’t mentioned I’ve been ‘fasting’ today. I didn’t manage 500 cals, but 715. Not great, butnot terrible). Maybe I’ll go wash up.

Rock and roll kids!

Nearly forgot. Laura from Novelkicks said tonight that she loved my review of The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes and will be posting it on the website soon. My second review. Yes!

It’s been a great evening!

Another Week Gone – And We’re In February Kids

My end of/beginning of month blogs must be so boring, they’re so repetitive. But still, how is it February already?

January started off really well, with me reading through the first 84 pages of The Man of My Dreams in the first week, but then I failed, and did no more for the rest of the month. I have no excuses.

I’m hoping February is going to go better, and it’s starting pretty ok – I’ve just done the next 10 pages (30 minutes). It’s not a whole lot, and I got totally into it, so felt like I could have carried on going, but I want to do a blog, and I need to do some ironing, and want to watch another NCIS: Los Angeles.

One of the Sky channels is showing the first few series of it during the day. I made the mistake of series linking it, because I’d never seen or heard of it, and I love the original NCIS, so wanted to see what it’s about. What I didn’t realise was that they were showing 2 episodes a day – so the sky box got pretty full pretty quickly. And I didn’t notice.

It got to the point it was full and wouldn’t record any more. So we started watching it. And must admit got massively into it. Which is my very long way of saying this is what’s coming between me and this first read through of my novel.

Well, that and in the last week I’ve read 2 really, really good books (Deliruim by Lauren Oliver and Sister by Rosamund Lupton), and when I’m reading a good published book, it’s hard to make myself put that down and read my, rough, first draft novel. Very hard.

So, instead of picking up another novel, I’m not going to, and I’m going to crack on with reading mine. Of course it’s harder to read on the tube going to work, because it’s A4, it’s not stapled togetehr, and Im trying to make notes on it, but tough.

I had some goals for RWO80¬†this week, this is what they are and how I did, and why not throw in what I’m doing this week for a goal on each one too:

Edit TMOMD for 7 Hours: I’ve done half an hour today. It’s bad, but it’s better than nothing, which I’d done the last few weeks. Next week:¬†15 minutes editing a day. I’m reducing it to try to get me working on it.¬†15 minutes is so little, I could just start it and be done before I know. Hopefully though, starting 15 minutes will make me do more. It’s my test mile…

Writing course – 2 hours: None. Oops. Next week: Same, 2 hours over the whole week. Hoping one day I’ll hit this.

2 Book revies: Done. One on here – You Had Me At Hello by Mhairi McFarlene, and The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes for Novelkicks.co.uk. I’m not sure if the review of¬†TGYLB is suitable for NK, it’s got a lot of me in it, so maybe it should be on here. I’ll let Laura decide. Next week: I’m still behind on reviews from last year, so lets say 2 again.

2 ROW80 Check-ins: Today, check, but missed Wednesday because I was out at my bookclub. Yes, I could have done it when I got in, but didn’t. I’ll try harder next week. And, Next week’s goal: 2 check ins.

Burn 1,500 calories (on top of normal walking to work etc): I haven’ t worked this out yet. It won’t be 1,500 calories though. Maybe just below 1,000? Don’t know. Next week: 1,500 calories again, including 1x visit to the gym.

3 fasting days for diet: I only managed one. Next week, just 2 days.

And one additional goal for next week:

Social Media: Visit other ROW80 blogs, and reply to my comments on here.

My ROW80 buddy Laura tried to push me to write on Friday, but I was out in the pub. This week, I’m going to get in the habit of checking in with her, someone to be responsible¬†to each day helps me to write, or in this case, hopefully edit.