Tag Archive | win

#ROW80 Check-in and Win Books!

Yes, you read that right, win books. Yesterday I celebrated my 555th blog, with a competition to win 3 books – The Making of Us by Lisa Jewell, Never Look Away by Linwood Barclay and Emma Heart LA by Keris Stainton. The competition is still open if you want to win – just click here.

Now on with the bad bit, the check-in.

It’s gone all bad again. Well, this week is bad. This week is almost terrible. Until today I had only written 50% of days. Granted there’s only been 2, but it feels bad. To be honest, I’m really stressed at work, so don’t feel too bad taking some time off. However, as I always have some kind of excuse, I probably should.

My ROW buddy Laura and I decided at the weekend to kick ourselves back into action by seeing who could write the most each day. We’re checking in at 9pm each day. So far, we stand at:

  Helen  Laura
Saturday 0 707
Sunday 350+ 500+
Monday 0 375
Tuesday 296 300+

Well, we can see who this is working for, and it’s not me. It’s great having someone to kick my ass, even if it’s not working. At least it makes me think about writing, which I wouldn’t do without her. Thanks Laura. The new round starts in a couple of weeks, I think it’s going to be our round. I think we’re both going to smash it!

Nothing else is going particularly well either.
I did my Just Dance thing on the Wii on Sunday, but haven’t done any other exercise. I am back in the habit of 20 mins walk to and 20 mins walk from work, so that’s good. I just need to push it that extra and go to the gym, or running, or more Just Dance. Just remembered I got off the tube a stop early today, so had an extra 12 minutes walking, that’s good (even if the reason was delays rather than exercise!)

Not doing great blogging either. I’ve got a great excuse though. I decided last week to celebrate my 555th blog, but I’d just posted my 554th. That meant until I did my celebration 555 blog, I couldn’t do any others. And I dragged my feet arranging it. I’ll try harder.

I’m not going to bed early, I’m not doing my daily exercises, I’m not dieting very well (today might go ok, except I’ll probably drink half a bottle of wine – not so good, but needed, see above re work!).

This time last round I gave up. I’d done so badly running up to it, that I just couldn’t be bothered with the last week. Writing this, the thought went through my mind again, but this time, I’m stronger. I’ve not been doing well, but without ROW80 (and Laura), I bet I’d be doing worse. One week to go, lets see if I can make it count!

555 Blog Competition

This is my 555th blog.
555.
I started blogging just over 3 years ago, which means, on average, 14 blogs a month (on average, sometimes there must have been more, because sometimes there’s been a whole lot less!). That’s quite a lot. Certainly worth celebrating anyway.
A few months ago, WordPress changed. When you posted a blog, it started telling you how many you’d posted. And it started giving you goals. Rubbish goals to the next 5 above where you were (500, 505, 510 etc). I hated it. How dare WordPress tell me what MY goals were? I had my own goals.
That’s when I made a decision. I was going to get myself a massive blog goal. A really good one. 555. That was going to be it, I love repetitive numbers.
And to celebrate hitting it, a competition.
One of my favourite things to do is read, which I think is something I share with lots of the readers of this blog. It’s obvious then isn’t it, what the competition is to win. BOOKS!
It was really easy to decide which books to give away as well – ones by my favourite authors. Yes, ONES, I’m giving away more than one. More than two in fact. I’m giving away three.
Two of my favourite current books are The Making of Us by Lisa Jewell and Never Look Away by Linwood Barclay. So those two. Then another of my favourite authors – Keris Stainton – has just brought out a book, Emma Heart LA. I’ve not read it, but if it’s anything like the last two, it’s going to be great. Three. Easy! Three books, one winner.


So, fancy winning 3 books? I’m not going to make it hard, just leave a ‘pick me’ comment (leaving your email address, for my eyes only), by midnight (BST – London time) on Friday 22nd June. After that, my independent adjudicator (boyfriend) will pick a name out of a hat (or more likely a bowl, or mug, or maybe, to make it special, a champagne glass). I know a lot of people are non-UK based, so the competition is open internationally. For an extra entry, tweet about the competition – remember to let me know you’ve done it though and your twitter name if it’s not the same as your name here, either on here or directly on twitter (@new2writinggirl).
Good luck everyone.

My First ‘Win’

Well, not win, I’m a runner-up – but to me that feels like a win! Every week on her Facebook author’s page, Rowan Coleman’s started a Status Short Story Competition – you have to write a complete short story in just 420 characters – including spaces. On Friday, I was a runner-up (I found out today). Yay. How exciting is that. Not only that, but Rowan chose me for ‘making me laugh the most’ (yes this is a direct quote from Rowan herself).

For the second time, I took a story I already had and shortened it – this time I took the story I did last week for [Fiction] Friday and cut it down to 420 characters. I think it’s a really good exercise in editing – taking something that’s a lot longer down. This week’s started at 616 characters and I got it down to exactly 420. The original (first draft) is here, and the one I used on Facebook is:

I knew it was a mistake the moment it was over, but hadn’t had a choice. I tried not to,but my body ignored my sensible head. I was only answering to myself, but that was bad enough-I was disgraced with myself. It had been fun, magical, amazing. It had been the best thing I’d done in the last 3months. I’d pay for it-but wow-it was worth it! I threw the cake wrapper in the bin, knowing the diet would continue tomorrow

I’m taking today as a very good day – the first of hopefully many winning stories. Hey, look at me being all positive!

Last week I did quite a bit of work on my next writing course assignment – and I’ve been doing some of it today. It’s really hard. Well, I’m finding it really hard anyway. The part I’m working on now is a description of a maternity ward at a hospital. I have to convey the excitement, the joy and the companionship between the mothers. I’m just not very good at describing things – I think mainly because I know I need to SHOW not TELL, but find myself telling. Next is the same hospital, but a geriatric ward. Ugh. Oh well, it’s good I’m being stretched, doing things I’d normally stay well clear of.

I read Della Says:OMG by Keris Stainton this weekend. I had so much travelling on the tube to do, that I literally read it all on the tube. Except the 20 minutes I should have been going to sleep last night but HAD to stay up and finish it.

A year ago I wouldn’t have been interested in reading it – I thought YA books were exactly that – for young adults. Then I started this whole blogging thing and ‘met’ Laura Best – who’d just released a YA novel. And people – adults – were telling her how much they loved it. It thought it was a little weird, but then Laura did a post about adults reading YA books, and I started to reconsider. THEN I bought a book that I hadn’t realised was about teenage girls. But, I read it, and loved it. THEN I read Twilight. All in all, I realise YA can be brilliant. I’m now a YA fan.

And now a massive Keris Stainton fan too – and I’m not just saying that because she’s a lovely person. OMG is written 1st person, present tense. I love books written like this, I feel you connect with the MC more than if it was 3rd or past tense – it’s like you’re there, then (hence the reason my 1/4 written novel is 1st person, present tense). It’s a lovely story about first love… ahhh. If you like any form or romance, I’d strongly reccomend it.

Now though, I’m stuck for what to read next. Really, I should take one of my 80+ books on my TBR pile – but you know that’s not what I’m considering at all. Oh no, I’m considering BUYING more books. I seriously think I have a problem.

I NEED to buy The Girl Who Kicked A Hornet’s Nest, I’ve read the first two millenium books and have promised my step mum I’ll buy this one and lend it to her in the next few weeks (she’s just about to start the 1st one). I also want to join in with One Book, One Twitter (#1B1T), so need to buy that book – American Gods. There’s also a list on a post-it inside my diary of books I know the library’s got, and I want. Then there’s my list on here of books I want to read. And one on Ubernote. He he, I’m so bad. Could do with winning the lottery so I could give up work to just read (and write) all day. Which reminds me, I’ve not checked Saturday’s results…

I’m doing badly at this writing 250 words a day thing. Bad me. I’m going to try VERY hard with it this week. VERY hard 🙂