Tag Archive | writing course

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!

Last Week

It’s the end of January this week. The beginning of Feb. I can’t believe it. We’re now 28 days into the year. 28. How has that happened? Time is going so fast.

Which is a brilliant excuse for not doing much this week. So little.

No editing. No writing course. No completed book reviews (although I started 2 which is good, not as good as completing, but still good). I managed to get in 2 check-ins for ROW80 (this counts as yesterday’s check in!), 2 fasting days for my 5:2 Diet AND burn 600 calories. Not everything is bad then.

What I did do, is read a book. I actually read it yesterday, as in that’s pretty much all I did yesterday. Oops. It was Lauren Oliver’s Delirium, it was brilliant, totally gripping.

It means that things really can only get better. To get better than this week, I’m keeping my goals the same:

7 hours editing my novel (granted I’m not as far as editing, I’m at reading draft 1 stage)

2 hours on my writing course

2 book reviews

2 ROW80 Check-ins

Burn 1500Kcal in addition to normal walking to work etc.

2 fasting days for my diet

That’s it. And this week, this week, I’m going to do better. I’ve got a really busy week, but I’m going to make time to the things I need to be diong. With January pretty much down, I’ve got a month less before I have to get my novel to the RNA for review. I can’t do what I usually do and leave things till the last minute with this, this is too important to me. So this week, will be my week.

Last Week’s Loses

Last week was a mix of a week. I had some good days, and some really horrible days. That’s mainly just because of work. I hate that work can make a difference to a real life day. Well, I do when I’ve had a bad day.

In terms of my goals, last week was a pretty poor week. Pretty poor. These were my goals, and successes (or lack of them):

7 hours editing – totally failed this one, none.

2 hours of writing course – again, failed totally, not one.

2 Book Reviews – Completed one, drafted one. It’s a good thing I fiinished the one I did, it was for the website Novel Kicks, and on Thursday, it was pubished. Woop! That’s my first review for anyone other than myself. I’m looking forward to reviewing more for them. Check out my review of All That Glitters by Ilana Fox, and enter the competition to win a copy here.

2 ROW80 Check-ins: COMPLETE!

Burn 1,500 Kcals in additional to normal walking to work exercise: 600kcal done. It’s better than none. Plus, I took the big step of going to the gym though. First time this year. That’s a big step!

3 ‘fasting’ days: I only managed 2. I kept putting the second back, and ended up accidently being hungover yesterday, so really couldn’t face the idea of it.

Not a great week, but certainly not a terrible week. I’ve very happy with the review on Novel Kicks. I’m very happy with going to the gym. I’m happy I can at least do check in blogs.

I’m going to keep most of my goals the same for this week, just changing one and adding another. They are:

7 hours editing

2 hours of writing course

2 Book Reviews – 1 for here and one for Novel Kicks. I’m sure they don’t want another one so soon, but if I get it done, it’s ready when they’re ready for it. The one for on here is drafted so shouldn’t take that much effort. She says…

2 ROW80 Check-ins PLUS another blog: My check in blogs are about my progress. I don’t write so much about what I’m writing (or editing in this case). I like those blogs, so I’ll add one of those too.

Burn 1,500 Kcals in additional to normal walking to work exercise: I know I’ve not managed it so far, but it’s good to have a big goal to aim for.

3 ‘fasting’ days.

I’d really like to do a week round up and actually be positive about what I’ve acheived that week. I can’t remember the last time I wrote a blog and was really happy with everything I’d done over the whole week. I think this might be the week. I’d really like it to be, but I do have quite a lot of plans. But saying that, I’ve not got outragous goals; everything is possible.

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.

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.

Still Here, Just Not Doing Much

I am still alive, I promise. I’m just not blogging, or checking-in for ROW80, or actually writing, or keeping up with any of my goals. Why? Well I’m not really sure. I’ve got some excuses though – whether they are actually excuses, or real reasons why not, I have no idea.

I started my new job 3 ½ weeks ago. My old job was very, very easy. I could pretty much do it with my eyes closed. This job is different. I have responsibility, I have lots and lots to learn, a ton of different people to meet (and remember) and more work than I can handle.

I’m loving it, but it’s exhausting me. For the first time in maybe a year, I’ve been (sometimes) buying ready meals because I just haven’t always had the energy to cook when I get in. Also, obviously not had the energy to go to the gym. What is good, is that getting the bus to and from the tube to work is pointless – the traffic across Blackfriars Bridge is so bad, that it’s as quick to walk. That means I’m walking 40 minutes a day. Not including walking between my buildings or when I go to head office. Not bad.

Of course there’s this other little excuse, and I don’t know if that had happened because I’m so tired, or if I’ve let the tiredness be the excuse – I’ve really got into Heros. Yeah, that TV series that started years ago, yeah, I know like EVERYONE watched it back then, but I didn’t. I didn’t care. Boyfriend made me watch it a few times while we had dinner (classy us – we don’t have a kitchen or dining table!). I didn’t care much for the first few episodes, but then I really got into it. Really.

We’ve reached the end of the first series (boyfriend has the first 3 series on DVD), so I’m finally able to do something, other than watch it, and think about it for most of my other waking moments (other than when I was working!).

I’m sure I have more excuses, but I can’t think of them right now. Do you want to know what I have done? Not much granted, but every little helps.

On Saturday, I did half an hour work on my writing course. Who even knew I was doing a writing course? I can’t remember when the last time I did anything for it was, but I’m going to put a guess out there at over a year. A year. How mental is that?!

What prompted it? My Mum restarting hers. Originally, back in the 1990s, my mum started doing a writing course. She got a little stumped at the first assignment, and it stayed there. But it put an idea in my head. 4 years ago, I turned that idea into practice, and started doing the same writing course as she had. I got a lot further than she did – maybe assignment 4 or 5 (out of 20), but then I got distracted with NaNo and actually writing novels, and so I let it slip. Suddenly a year (plus) had gone by without doing any.

My mum recently decided to carry on with the course. Or restart it. Her talking about it, and getting excited about it made me think about mine, so much that I got it out at the weekend. I know 30 minutes isn’t a lot (especially as I’ve not done any since), but it’s a start. And to be honest, right now 10 minutes would be better than nothing, so 30 is pretty damn good.

I’m on the writing a novel chapter. I’ve read it all before (over a year ago), but think it’s pretty good and important so am reading again (I need to have read it to do the assignment). The assignment a the end of this chapter, or section, is writing a fully plan for a novel. I’ve decided that, although I’ve written a lot of The Man of My Dreams, I’m going to take a step back, pretend I haven’t, and write the plan for the assignment. Woop!

I also  something really useful from what I read on Saturday. It recommends that while you’re writing your novel, you SHOULD take breaks and write smaller things – short stories. It says that because writing a novel is so hard and long that it can start to get you down. Writing short stories can keep your mind fresh, and give you confidence that you can finish something etc etc.

Whenever I’m in ‘novel writing’ mode, that’s all I write. I don’t let myself write stories, or anything other than blogs and the novel. Right now I’ve been writing TMOMD since November 1st and I’m still ¾ of the way through it. That wouldn’t be so bad if I hadn’t have done NaNo and written 50k in November – it means I’ve done about 23k in 3 months. Bad! Right now I’m feeling a little downhearted about it. It just seems to be going on and on (originally I planned it to be 70k, I’m 3 over that and have a LOT left to write).

I’m going to follow the advice and do some short writing things. Maybe not stories, maybe just bits and pieces from random word generators (which is how I got into writing short stories). Hopefully it will a) get me back into writing and b) get me feeling fresh about TMOMD again, and make me want to go back and finish it.

I’m not going to say anything about my goals. They’re there. I’ll try, but I sometimes wonder if trying too hard makes me stay away from them – weird I know, but then I’ve never professed to be anything but!!!

Better, But Still Not Very Good

Well, this check in, for the first time for WEEKS (I am not kidding), I can actually report that I’ve done some writing. Not, much but some. I have my buddy Laura to thank for it.

So how much is not much? A piddly amount – 791 words. I guess that’s not that few, but it was in 1 day. Just one day. Oh dear.

Laura and I were texting the other day, and she encouraged me to try to write JUST 50 words. 50? That’s nothing, I could do that. So… I… didn’t. I got home that night and just didn’t have the energy. The next night though, I did.

I’d made a decision that I was going to read the first 3000 words of the novel that night, and that would be my work on it for the day. 3000 words because Novelicious have a competition running where you have to enter that much of your chick lit novel. Prizes include novel critiques, Kindles and books. I read through it, liked some of it, hated some of it, and… nearly cried ’cause it was so sweet. Ahhhh.

I think it’s got potential. If I could just finish it and edit it…

After reading the first 3000 words, I got an idea for a scene later on (possibly the last scene). I’d already turned the laptop off, so I grabbed a bit of paper and pen, and started plotting it. Then before I’d got too far, instead of planning, I started writing it. What I wrote wasn’t as good as what I’ve got in my head for this scene (I’ve been going over it again and again in my head for the last couple of months), but it’s words, and words are editable. Brilliant.

I’m going to do some writing now, but after this I don’t really know how to decide what I should do. I want to finish writing the novel, but I need to edit the first 3000 words. I should really finish writing it before I start editing, but maybe I should just edit this bit, then go back to finishing writing it.

What I’d really like to do is stop writing, read it and start editing it. I really, really want to do that, but I think I shouldn’t. I think I should get it all finished, then read and edit. What my problem is, well what my problemS ARE, are: 1) I’ve missed out a massive side story that I need to wiggle back in, I’m going to have to change, or add a lot to add it back in, and it was a good side story, so I want it in there; and 2) that I don’t know how I’m going to finish it.

These two points make me think that I should go back, read it and start editing. I just don’t think that’s how it should be done. Of course, everyone’s different, and so maybe that way would work for me? Or maybe I’m just saying that cause it’s giving me the get out clause I need to stop writing now. I just don’t know.

What if I carry on writing it, finish it, and then when it’s time to edit it, I don’t want to? Should I just be editing now while I want to – because I’ve never actually WANTED to edit something, maybe this is a sign I should do it while I want to? I just don’t know.

Ah well, it’ll work itself out, somehow. Closing date for the Novelicious competition isn’t until the beginning of April – maybe I could finish the novel, and edit those 3k by then… You never know!

In other news, my mum is thinking about re-starting the writing course she’s got – the one I’m also doing (supposedly). That’s made me think about picking it back up (because you know, I can’t decide whether to write or edit at the moment, so why not throw another thing on the pile?). It would be good to do that, but if I’m completely honest, I don’t want her to finish it before me (even though I started it a LONG time after she did – we’re both rubbish and left it). Sigh. I don’t know.

I’ve just had a thought. When I was at school, during GCSEs, I managed to juggle 9 subjects, during A-Levels four, then at uni a few modules at once. Why now can’t I juggle two things? OK, so I admit juggling writing and editing the same project probably isn’t a great idea, but why not juggle writing/editing with the writing course? Some might suggest that if I don’t ‘have time’ to do 1, then I really shouldn’t be telling myself to do two. They might be right. AGH. Guess what? I just don’t know.

Seeing as I don’t know anything at all, I’m going to go. If anyone had a great idea about what I should do, please, let me know your thoughts.

Oh – I have 3 other goals for this ROW80 round: exercise, reading and eating well. Um… I’m walking a lot. Reading a little, and eating a lot (I know it’s supposed to be eating little, but never mind). Maybe this week will be better! Fingers crossed please guys!