Tag Archive | ‘Holiday’

It’s been a really long month, but I’m nearly, nearly at the end of my course. I just need to the assignment, which they recommend spending 2 hours on, then I’m done. Phew. My exams we Friday, I think they went OK. All I can do is wait until June (yes I have to wait until JUNE) to get my results.

And now I’m done (or as good as), I can get back to writing, and editing, and you know, having a life. A life, wow, how exciting.

To celebrate being done, we went out for drinks on Friday. They were very heavy, I did nothing yesterday. Today I’ve cleaned the house, having done limited housework while I was studying, and had some friends over for dinner. Now they’ve left, and I can do whatever I want. Like anything. I don’t need to study, I’m not going to do any work work, and I’m leaving the assignment until I’ve done a little more at work.

So anything. I was going to read. I need to read Hitchikers Guide To The Galaxy, which is Novelkick‘s book club book of the month – which I should really read, since I suggested it! I also need to read Safe House by Chris Ewan. What I really want to read though is Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver. I don’t have it, and can’t afford it before payday (Thursday, please come quickly!!), but the library have it, so I’m going to borrow it. Which means not getting into anything.

So what to do? I know… WRITING.

Yep, I’ve done some writing. When I say some, I mean 1,000 words. That’s pretty awesome isn’t it. The problem is it might be too little too late. I want to enter Belinda Jones’ Sunlounger Short Story Competition. With this course thing, I haven’t been able to justify writing, so if I want to enter it, I need to write and edit a short story competition by Sunday. Saturday really because my brother and his girlfriend will be here on Sunday. That’s quite a lot to do in a week.

But you know me, I always like a challenge.

Also, Friday is bank holiday so there’s an extra day. Only I’m going out for dinner on Thursday and my mate wants a heavy one. I guess it depends how I do until then.

I’ve been having a problem with thinking up a story. Granted I’ve not really given it that much thought, but on and off I have. Now I’ve a week I need to get something. And I have. Kind of. One of my novels is set in Majorca (most of it anyway), so I’m going to try to adapt that to a short story. Gulp. I know. I must be made. I’ve chosen a few key scenes and am rewriting, in the hope it will make sense and be ok for a short story. Wish me luck, I may need it.

Oh no, I’ve just realised, I need to think up a title for the story, I hate thinking up titles, and I’ve been trying to think up one for this novel for about 4 years! How am I going to think up one for a short story in a week?

Last Tuesday, I went to see Lauren Oliver at Waterstones on Piccadilly. I was looking forward to it so much. She was awesome, and signed my copy of Before I Fall. I’ll write a blog about it this week.

Right a few more words… then bed.

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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?

Checking in Late

I’m so confused with days at the moment. I woke up thinking it was Tuesday. Could not work out which day it was. This is because I worked last week, then straight from that, I started volunteering as a London Ambassador for the Olympics on Saturday, and have been doing that since. I’m lost.

I’m also really tired. Yesterday (I knew it was Sunday yesterday!) I totally planned to write, and to check-in. The problem was I was so crazily tired, I got home, had a quick sit down to get some energy, made and ate dinner, read a little, then fell asleep on the sofa. No writing for Helen. I’m even more tired today, I sat on the sofa after work and fell asleep straight away for nearly 3 hours!

I think it’s better falling asleep earlier, because it means I’m awake later to write this blog, and to do some writing – which I WILL do.

You may have guessed that stressing how tired I am is leading up to an admission of guilt – I’ve not been writing. I know I did some last week, late last week, but I can’t remember when. The good news is that when I’m writing, I’m generally writing more than my 150 word goal, often up to 250, 350 sometimes even. So writing isn’t a problem, getting down to it is (as always).

As I have been so tired, I’m really not going to beat myself up about it. Especially since I’m doing lots of walking. Exercise isn’t a goal this time, but I need to get back doing it, so if a few days I do lots of exercise, and don’t manage some writing, you know what, it’s fine.

I emailed The Man of My Dreams to m boyfriend the other day. He said that he’d start printing it out slowly, over a few days at work. I feel like when I’ve got a hard copy of that, I’ll get moving on it again. I want to read through it, to see how it flows, and where I need to change it to towards the end, to get it to the end.

I’ve also been feeling a want to start writing ‘Holiday’ again. And maybe to find a proper name for it! Every summer for the last 3 years, I’ve spent a few months on it, so I’m feeling a little lost this summer not. However, I’m more into TMOMD, so I think I should stick to that. Maybe I’ll do NaNo then jump into Holiday after. Like I ever do ANY writing in December!

I can’t start thinking about that now, not winter, not when SUMMER has finally come to London. I’m sat here at 10:30pm with every window in the flat open because it’s so damn hot. It’s great, except I’ve not been drinking enough water so have had a few headaches over the last few days. It’s brilliant not to be  working working (real working that is) in this weather, but to be outside in it. The last two days I’ve been down at Southbank – which if you don’t know London is this area near Waterloo station on the south bank of the Thames, with so much going on – restaurants, shops, street performers, book stands, a food market… loads. It’s brilliant year round, but in the sun – it’s just amazing. And I’ve been there, in the sun, helping tourists. Awesome!

Anyway. I need to go and do some writing before boyfriend gets home and interrupts me (doesn’t that sound like it would be his fault – rather than mine, he he!).

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?

The Seven Facts Tag

A couple of days ago, Em tagged me in The Seven Facts Tag game – how excellent. The idea is that you write seven facts about yourself, then tag people in it to do the same.  

I’m copying Em, who copied Juliana and using writing as the topic of the seven facts about me:

1)       Unlike many other writers, I can’t listen to music when I write. Actually, I’ve not tried since before university, so I don’t know for sure I can’t, I just prefer not to. Oddly enough though, I can sometimes write when I’m in the same room as a TV that’s on, or where computer games are being played.

2)       My writing accomplishments so far are: 1 written, but not edited Mills and Boon type romance novel; 1 half written YA novel; 2 half written chick lit romance novels, and 1 finished and edited short story. I’d like to one day actually edit something other than a 1000 word story!

3)       I don’t remember what made me want to write. I’ve read interviews where people talk about a story they wrote when they were a child, but I have no memories of that. I don’t know if I wanted to write when I was little, or even if I did that much writing. I just remember always wanting to do it. I don’t even know when I tried it for the first time, I thought it was just after uni, but then found something from when I was AT uni, so maybe there are things somewhere that go back even further. Who knows?

4)       We don’t have a desk, or even a table at home, so I do all my writing either sitting on the sofa, or sitting on my bed. You’d think my back would get sore from it, but it doesn’t.

5)       I’m doing a correspondence writing course. It’s taken a back step at the moment (that moment lasting a couple of years), but one day I’d like to finish it. My Mum is also doing the same course. She started it about 20 years ago!

6)       I hate naming novels or stories. The novel I started on 3 years ago is still called ‘Holiday’. When I finally come up with the titles to stories/novels, I tend to love them, but it’s getting there that’s hard. Ironically, I’ve got a really good name for a novel, that I totally love, but I don’t really know much about the novel, just a basic starting point! Love the title though.

7)       I really, really want to get a novel published. Not for the money, because there’s generally not much money in it (unless you become super mega famous, I doubt that), it’s not for the fame (I don’t really want to be famous, I’m very shy in real life), it’s because I want to move people with my words. I was saying the other day that it’s great when you get taken away with a novel and feel for the characters when they go through good/bad things. I want to be able to take people away, and really move them with my words.

 

So there we have it. My Seven Facts Tag. I’m supposed to tag people in this, but I’m going to be a bit different. I want to tag you reader. I don’t know much about my readers, or the people subscribed to my blog, so please, consider yourself tagged, and let me get to know you.

NaNoWriMo 2011 T Minus 6 Hours

NaNo 2011 starts in about 6 hours. That means it’s 726 hours until it’s over. That doesn’t sound all that much really!

This morning boyfriend suggested I wrote 1,000 words in preparation. Good idea, however I want to save all my energy for tomorrow. He he, any excuse eh!

I do have a plan for tonight – to plan the hell out of this novel. I was thinking about it earlier, and although I’ve done lots of planning, I don’t really know what’s going to happen when. That’s pretty scary! The first day or so of writing is going to be easy, it’s a really exciting scene that I can’t wait to write. But after that, I’m not 100% sure. I’m so unsure I don’t know if the novel is going to be from 1 POV or 2, or maybe even 3.

Lizzie, the MC, is going to have the main part. It’s her novel after all. I think maybe Ben should have one too, it might make it interesting (or hard?), but then if Ben (‘The Man of My Dreams’) has one, then surely Nathan should too? I’m thinking a chapter per person – or something like that. But I don’t know. Maybe it should just be Lizzie’s story? The only reason I think it shouldn’t be is that I’ve got one scene in mind for him, when Lizzie isn’t around. So he’d have to have his own bit.

Of course, I could do the novel 3rd person, which would make it easier, but I’m a really big fan of 1st person. I’ve said why so many times, so sorry if you’ve heard it before, but this is my reason: I think 1st person gets the reader more involved. You discover things as the character does, which I like more. Besides, NaNo year one I did 3rd person, Holiday is 1st person (present) so 1st past will give me a selection of them all.

For ‘Holiday’ a couple of months ago, I made a pretty pattern on my bedroom wall with post-it notes making up the time line. I really want to do this (need to do this!) for this novel. At the moment I have no idea about where anything is and I found the post-it notes helped. The problem is I only have boring yellow ones, I want fun ones. For ‘Holiday’ I used these funky pink lip shaped notes, I want something like that. So much so… I’m going to go shopping when I’ve finished this to see if I can find some. He he. Boyfriend’s going out tonight so who can say what wall will be decorated when he gets home? Top of my list is the floor to ceiling mirror in the bedroom, but I’m not sure how that will go down?

Right, I’m off home (shopping) and then home to get on with some plotting. I can’t believe the madness starts soon. 1,667 words a day. I’ve done it twice, lets hope I can do it again!!

NaNo Plotting

After my blog on Monday about not writing, I went home to write. Wouldn’t you know it though, boyfriend was on the laptop watching old TV shows. Can’t complain it’s his laptop. When he (finally – after we’d had dinner, I’d done washing and cleaned the kitchen) gave it to me for writing, I decided I didn’t want to write ‘Holiday,’  I wanted to plan my NaNo novel.

I’m now the proud owner of 4 or 5 scribbled A4 pages of ideas. I moved a character name about (Nathan is so much more a boyfriend’s name than another man’s), found other ideas for plot and brainstormed titles. I’m quite happy with my progress.

I think I’m there with the title, but not 100% sure. I’m not very good at titles. It took me so long to come up with The Dating Project last year (in the end I loved the title, but it took me so long to get there). Italian Infatuation actually came to me before I even had too much of an idea about the book. That was easy, but it’s not been easy since. Jeez, I’m still using the working title of ‘Holiday’ for my other novel. 3 years in and I can’t think of anything better. And I have been trying!

Although I’ve not done any actual words this week, I feel happier that I’m making progress on NaNo novel planning. It’s helped me feel a little more relaxed about the daunting task ahead. 1,667 words a day? What am I doing? Surely doing it twice before is enough punishment for one person?

It’s the NaNo Kick-Off Party in London tomorrow. Woop! I actually thought it was tonight until this morning when I double checked where it was! Oops! Lucky I did check! It’s good that it’s tomorrow, it means I can go to the gym tonight (I got a 3 day free pass for one round the corner from work!), then go home and do some more plotting. Or maybe ‘Holiday’ writing.

By tomorrow I want to have decided on the novel’s name. I’ve made the decision that it’s going to be an adult novel (I was toying with the idea of YA – I think it’s going to be better as an adult one, more ideas for conflict in it) so the next goal is a title. Then I’ll think more about the content. And the ending. Maybe just the middle – I know how it’s going to end!

In other news, I’ve just started a new novel – Die for You by Lisa Unger. I’m at the beginning (well page 20) but already I’ve been sucked in. There are so many questions already! Brilliant.

I’d never heard of Lisa Unger before I went to the library last week and looked for a ‘U.’ This is why I’m loving this A to Z Reading Challenge – there is no way I would have found her without it, and from what I’m reading so far, she’s an author I want to know!

Right, I’m off to visit some more ROW80er’s blogs. Catch them here.