Just Another New Year Related Post…

Okay, so it’s finally 2015, and I know it’s a few weeks late, but  after all the busy excitement that was Christmas and New Year, it’s time to take a breather and reflect back on the, um, interesting year that was 2014. Don’t worry this isn’t going to be a gushy post about how 2014 was such an incredible year for me (because quite frankly, it was a mixed bag) and I’m not going to go on rabbit on about it being new year, new me. (If you really wanted to change something, why wait until New Year to do it? Just saying.)

Anyway, yes New Year. It’s generally the time to make New Year resolutions and forget all about them by February. As you can probably tell by the last paragraph, I’m not one for making New Year resolutions. Also, when I do, I tend to make them around my birthday because I find I’m more likely to keep them, it’s weird. But this year, just because I can, I am going to make an exception and make a couple of simple (and hopefully easy to keep) resolutions. So in no particular order *cue fanfair*, they are:

1. To get back into a regular writing habit.

2. To get back into a regular blogging routine.

3. Finish my online novel writing course.

4. Read The Silmarillion and actually finish it this time.

There. I think those are all very doable and realistic goals. I really want to get back to a semi regular blogging routine because I have a lot of ideas for this blog and the direction I want to take it in. Also, I miss having a regular writing habit and I can’t let my characters all fall into oblivion now can I? Besides, I know that finishing the first draft is only half the battle but it’s still better than having yet another unfinished novel lying forgotten on my laptop. And by finishing something I’ve started, I know I’m already doing better than the people who keep saying they want to write but never actually start. Right?

Well, I think that’s it from me for the time being. Sorry for yet another brief rambling post I will try and get back to a regular blogging pattern again. I know I’ve been saying that for months now, but it’s hard trying to fit writing around work and seeing friends.

It’s That Time of Year Again…

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It’s coming towards the end of October and it can only mean one thing, that the scariest, most stressful (for some) time of year is almost upon us. It’s fun but frustrating, it sends you crazy but we still do it. Some of us EVERY year (not me unfortunately) and some of us win whilst others fail (not quite so) miserably.

Yes, folks it’s NaNoWriMo!

*cue screams, cheers and looks of confusion*

For those of you who don’t know, NaNoWriMo (Or National Writing Month) is when thousands of writers all over the world write 50,000 words of a novel during the month of November the idea being that you make time to write 1665 words a day. It also gives you permission to cast away any insecurities you have about your writing and write really terrible prose because you don’t have time to write the same sentence over and over six billion times until you get it just perfect. Besides, it’s only a first draft, you can edit it all in December after you realise you’ve left it too late to do any Christmas shopping.

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Why am I telling you this? Well, because I’m taking part. (Who needs sanity anyway?) I’m not starting a new story (although I have a few ideas for some.) and I’m just going to continue on with my current manuscript. It’s sort of cheating I guess, but never mind. Also it will be interesting, since I have to do some work experience for the first two weeks of November but I can fit it around that. Hell, the first time I took part, I was in my third year of uni, had two assignments to finish right slap bang in the middle and still managed to reach 50,000 words. So it is doable.

Anyway, I digress. One of the things that NaNoWriMo taught me to do (and something that I still do.) is to never edit until you have finished the thing that you’re writing. It may sound obvious, but how many of us have tried to edit as we go, spending ages polishing the beginning and never actually finishing anything? I feel it takes the a lot of the pressure off the first draft if I just write the words that pop into my head. It’s very freeing and allows you just to focus on your ideas and the story you want to tell rather than the words. I mean, sure the words are important, but you can make them all pretty and articulate later.

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Another thing that I learnt from doing NaNoWriMo is the importance of telling your friends and family about it (it does eat away at your social life and you kind of need to let them know what you’re doing.) because if you tell someone that you’re writing a novel, they will probably occasionally ask you about it and how it’s going. It helps because then you feel as though you have to finish it at the very least to avoid awkward conversations about how you never got past writing the fifth chapter.

So yeah, let me know if you’re also going to take part in NaNoWriMo, maybe we can share our tears and triumphs as the month progresses. Sorry, I haven’t been posting as regularly as I should be lately, it’s kind of difficult to get back into the habit of things.

Blog Block Strikes Again…

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I googled Birthday Cat and found this…

Okay, so I seem to still be suffering from my bout of blog block and I’m not sure why. I mean, there’s a tonne of things I could blog about, I had my 25th birthday a week ago (thanks to everyone who helped me celebrate it by the way. As for those who couldn’t for whatever reason, you were there in spirit.) and it was great. I guess I could write about what I’ve learnt in that time (not an awful lot, I must admit.) and get all reflective about life and the past year (it has been a bit of a chaotic one, I guess) or I could write about my thoughts on Matilda when I watched it the other day and all the happy nostalgia it brought back. I’ve tried, but neither of those things particularly interest me right now. (Though Matilda was brilliant.)

I dunno, I think the problem stems from two places. The first is that I have way too many ideas for posts and when I try to write about them, I get bored. The other is that I’m still a little unsure about the direction I want this blog to take. I mean, I really want to switch things up a bit (short stories will be coming at some point.) but I’m also wondering whether I should have a blog that’s a little more focused. (The answer is probably yes. But I like writing about a lot of different things.) Another problem is the fact that I’m working on a lot of things at once (Something that I’ve only started doing writing wise in the past year.) so I still have a couple of short stories I haven’t finished  and a load that need editing and re-writing as well as the story I kinda want to publish on here. (The first draft is finished. I just need to redraft it because I’m trying something different) I’m also trying to finish the first draft of my gorram novel which is proving more frustrating and stressful then anything. (Mostly, because I have a lot of things I want to change and also I’m a little indecisive about what direction I want the plot to go in. Curse my indecisiveness.)

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I’m not really sure why I’ve started writing so much in the past year. It might have been because I had to write a lot for my internship and I tend to find that the more I write, the more ideas I have to write about. (I guess that’s why my old creative writing lecturers meant when there’s no such thing as writer’s block.) This is the whole reason for this post I guess. I dunno, I guess having writer’s block when writing for the internet is no different for when you write for yourself, you still lose the momentum of writing every day, except with novel writing, your characters fall into the abyss and you walk around with terrible terrible guilt for weeks.

Talking about writing, I’ve started a novel writing course. It was a birthday gift from my parents. I’ve only completed one of the modules so far. But it’s been really useful. It’s reinforced some of the things I’ve already learnt from my degree as well as teaching me new things, such as not writing when I’m tired. (Which I’m not totally doing right not. *shifty eyes*) It;s also keeping my passion for writing alive (It sort of become more of a habit. Something that I have to do so that I can sleep at night.) and I actually feel like I’m learning something which is always good.

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Um, also on a life related note, my housemate (Hi, Matt!) is starting a Dungeons and Dragons campaign, I’m really looking forward to it because it’s going to be interesting how everyone’s characters will play off each other. I am actually playing a female character this time which is a first for me as I usually play male characters for some unknown reason. (I dunno what that says about me. It’s just what happens to come out of my head, I guess.) I’m playing a Drow (Yeah, my DM loves me) warlock. I won’t go into the back story here because this post is starting to get rather long and rambling, and there’s some aspects of my character I don’t want the others to find out about yet.

I think that’s about it for now. Sorry for the rambling, unfocused nature of this post, I guess that’s what happens when you start writing with blog block.

My Date with Neil Gaiman and Other Stories.

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So I was lucky enough (and actually had money) to go and see Neil Gaiman read The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains at the Barbican last Friday. As you may or may not know, I am a huge fan of Gaiman’s work. I love Neverwhere, American Gods and most of his short stories, especially The Price so I couldn’t really miss the opportunity to see him, could I?

I would go on to write a review of the evening, but since I love his work so much it would not be a very objective review. (I think one of the reasons I like him so much is because when I picked up Fragile Things, I realised that it was okay to be dark and twisted and more importantly, you could be dark and twisted and still get published.) But I enjoyed the stories that he read out, particularly The Day the Saucers Came and the October story from the Calender of Tales. I loved the illustrations by Eddie Campbell which seemed to enhance the story for The Truth Is A Cave.

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Um, apart from that. I haven’t really been up to too much. Though I’ve finally reached 30,000 words of my novel. (Yay!) I don’t know why but for some reason, I suddenly have inspiration to keep writing it. (I mean, I want to finish it. But it doesn’t feel like a chore.) It’s like something has flipped a switch in my head and now the words just flow easily and I’m actually happy with them. (Though that is probably going to change.) Writing is weird sometimes. I always seem to get inspired by the most random things. Though maybe it’s the fact that I’ve been so bored from being unemployed that my mind needs to focus on something else for a change. I’ve always thought that I need to be bored to be inspired. I tend to have more daydreams when I’m bored and these tend to end up as story ideas. (Though they end up being completely different stories a lot of the time. But that’s another subject for a different post.)

I don’t know. The human brain is strange I guess. I’m still enjoying the process though. I’m used to writing short stories since they don’t require much planning and there tends to be more room to experiment. But I like writing my novel for the most part. (Though I have big changes I need to make and a few chapters that need to be written and slotted in and certain points.) Some of it is frustrating though, especially when you end up writing yourself into a corner or realise that you have to re-plan and restructure the beginning for parts of it to make sense. I’m determined not to go back and start again (since I’ve already done that once.) so any big changes will have to be made in the second draft.

Anyway, that’s all my news for now. I’m sorry this post has been rambling and not very well thought out. I’m sure I will think of something better to write about next week. (I really need to get better at posting every week.)