The Mystery of the Missing Blog (and First Excert From my Book!)

Hello again, it’s been a while! Well, not so long as I intended… I wrote a blog a week or so ago, and I can’t find it… not in drafts, not anywhere.

Because it went missing, I’ll do my best to recap on what I said before jumping into what I wanted to say today. Basically, I said I’ve been doing a lot of manga because I’ve been watching Bleach. It’s put me a little behind with my writing, but never mind. Isn’t creating supposed to be fun?

I’ll include a picture for you of some of the Bleach fanart I’ve been creating. I’m pleased today actually, because I have had two requests for characters on Twitter! I’m very flattered guys, so thank you! In fact, today I will be working on Shuhei Hisage, one of my resquests.

But manga aside, I am still writing- honest! I’ve reached chapter nine, which works out to around chapter thirteen or so in the original draft. But to be honest, it’s gone in such a different direction that I’m hardly able to compare the two. As well as working on the final draft of the first novel in the Ithaeron series, I have also outlined my next work in progress, a book about time travel. I’ve been working on this one for even longer than the current one, but I’ve changed it up a lot recently. I’m excited to get cracking on that one as soon as the current book is querrying!

Now, without further ado, I would like to share this tiny excerpt with you! Thank you for being patient!

©‘You can open your eyes now, Star,’ she heard Silven’s voice say beside her. She hadn’t even noticed they were closed.

‘Oh my…’ No further words would come.

Star stood in a new world. A beautiful, bright and shining land, yet somehow, they were still in the forest, still standing in the middle of the clearing. ©

 

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Creative Impasse

During the past couple of weeks, I have been doing some of the activities I used to love. I’ve done more knitting and drawing, which in itself is not odd as I never really gave anything up. But the best part was getting back in touch with manga. I honestly thought I would never draw any again, it’s been fourteen years since my GSCE art, and that was really the last time I drew any! Guess I figured if I’m no good, I should quit. But I am pleased to say that these days I have a much healthier attitude. I owe my thanks to the anime series Bleach, which I read many years ago, but have never watched until recently.

This is a great development, and I am not upset by it! I love all forms of creativity, and always have! The problem is, I struggle to focus my mind on more than one thing. Being interested in drawing, and Bleach, means that now I struggle to fit in time to write. One day, I hope not too far from now, I will find some balance. And when I do, I’ll let you know!

That being said, I have also thought about revisiting my language studies. I have always had a passion for languages, and up to yet have tried my hand at: Japanese, German, Spanish, French and Polish. My favourites have always been Japanese and German, both of which I know a fair amount of. But it adds on another pressure. How can I possibly fit everything in?

My maternity leave is slowly drawing to a close, and I am a little worried about trying to balance work and writing too. If I’m totally honest with myself, that’s the reason I’m holding myself back with the other hobbies I love; I want to get my story completed before I return to work. But is it possible to rush so important to you?

As you may now be understanding, I am at a creative impasse here. Either I follow my heart and add more drawing and languages back into my every day life, or I follow my dream and finish the story first. Every day I write a little less, and draw a little more. It scares me, I love writing! It may not be an issue at all, but when I was working full time before my second son was born, I had absolutely no time to write. That’s why I’ve only just been able to start.

I figured if I poured my heart into words, I would make sense of my creative urges a little more; try to figure out what it is that I want. I have too many hobbies to do them all, and I know I have to drop some, but it’s impossible to pick. Singing and guitar have been pushed further away over the years, and I never really get the time anymore.

With that being said, have I made a conclusion? Not yet, so if you have any advice, by all means let me have it! If nothing else, I have realised one thing: I will never let writing get pushed out the way I allowed with singing and acting, it’s too important to me. Quite the same with drawing, though I have never been amazing, I love it too much to quit.

If I have to, I will drop a different hobby and pick it back up again when my son gets older and I have more time. For now, that answer will have to satisfy me. Writing and drawing will stay; always.

My First Short Story

I’ve been ill over the past week with a cold so bad it’s given me a loud wheeze, and I have been struggling to breathe, and completely unable to sleep. Finally, because of this, I got a diagnosis of brittle asthma. It’s great to have the inhalers I have needed for so long- I’ve known for years about my asthma. The difficulties of being diagnosed will be a story for another day, but it’s taken far too long. I lost my grandmother to the condition when I was very young, not long after my mother passed away (for reasons unrelated). It is nothing to take lightly, so I am pleased I am being taken seriously.

The point is, because I’ve been so ill, I’ve had a break from writing, and I felt terrible about it! I’m not ashamed to say that I sat around watching Disney films, and catching up on one of my childhood favourites (Sabrina the Teenage Witch). I was struggling to even pick up my baby, and I couldn’t go out because I couldn’t breath after a few paces. However, now the inhalers are starting to work, I have my life back! I have been catching up on my writing like never before! I can’t put it down! To that end, I finally have a short story published on Wattpad!

It’s taken me far too long, because I’m so unbelievably critical of my work, but finally, I have one polished just enough for me to allow people to read it! At last there is some proof I am a writer!

Giving myself the title of writer has been difficult. It feels as though I don’t deserve it, because I have so little work out there. But then, thinking about it, what does that matter? I write every day, every night. So much so, it makes my husband irritated! So I’m trying to kick the feeling of inadequacy now. With that, I leave you with the link to my first finished short story- let me know what you think, I handle criticism well (when it comes to my writing at least!)

https://www.wattpad.com/741216910-casey

Casey2 (2)

https://www.wattpad.com/741216910-casey

Criticisms and Praises

I’ve hit a bit of a wall this week. My dad finished my second draft of my novel finally, and said he isn’t sure about a lot of it, and I should consider a rewrite. Boy that’s not the feedback I’d hoped for! So I took it to twitter; what do other people think about this? The level of support I received is truly mind-blowing, from being told not to give up, to offers to read my book for free! (Thanks again to all my lovely followers for that!)

It’s given me a lift, and I will not give up- not that I was ever in danger of doing that (if you’re a regular reader, you know my attitude by now). Honestly, there’s a lot of truth to what he says, too. It didn’t make me want to give up, but it did make me re-think everything in the entire book. He did tell me I have done well though, I don’t want to paint his honest opinion as a bad thing here. I am always eternally grateful for honesty, and am also pleased he managed to read the whole thing!

So the main advice I received from the writing community on Twitter was to let other people read it- which I will. Both my sisters have a copy (as you well know, Lorien loves it!) and a friend of theirs too. My friend also has it, as well as a few select other wonderful people who have offered to read it (you know who you are, and thank you so much!) so I’m hoping the target audience will have even more helpful feedback for me.

In other news, my three short stories are awaiting my edit after I’ve let them sit a little while. I’m just itching to get my hands on them again! I’m also working on the first draft of my second book in the sequence because I want to get it all down, it’s simply begging to be told. As Maya Angelou once said- ‘There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you’, and it is so true.

So now, I write, I read, I keep pushing. I’m reading at an alarming rate, going through several books per week, and writing every day, always to at least two thousand words. I’ve never felt a drive like re-discovering my love of writing! And I’m enjoying the ride; every painstaking change just increases my love and awe of the written word.

So to everyone who critiques and praises my writing, thank you for your honesty. I’ll never stop now; I fear I couldn’t if I wanted to.

A Change in Routine

Have you ever read a book that inspired you; that pulled you out of your slump and made you want to write more? I have. I read a book like that, and now I can’t seem to put my pen (or more accurately, my keyboard) down!

This is partly due to my inspiring read, but I also credit my new schedule (inspired by said read). Here is how I operate. I have to plan with a life as busy as mine, or I would never do a thing of value! This is the heart of the blog really… how I manage to cope writing and being a mother of two… I’m not quite sure what will happen when I go back to work, but for in the meantime, here it is:

  • Wake at 7am, and get my son Nicholas ready for school, and Cole (my baby) ready to leave (that includes all the weaning fun we’re going through at the moment, and the inevitable shower because he’s filthy at the end of it!)
  • Read or write when Cole has his first nap of the day at 9am, usually ending at around 10am
  • Chores when Cole wakes up, done in short bursts so I can spend time playing with Cole too.
  • At 12, on Cole’s second nap, read
  • My husband gets home between 12 and half 1, so I set aside some time for him here. I also try to fit in any more chores that I can.
  • At 4-4:30pm- read. I try to encourage the whole household to read here. Cole is napping, and Nicholas enjoys reading once he sets aside time to do so.
  • After that, until eight, it’s simple family time- more weaning fun, playing a game or watching a film, and putting Cole to bed.
  • Every night without fail, 8pm brings an hour of writing, no ifs, ands or buts.
  • Have a break for a while, spend some time with my husbands, and then back to work from 10:30pm to 11:30pm.
  • Then I read again for another half an hour to an hour.
  • I must be in bed by half past 12 in the morning to ensure I am up again for 7am, to start the whole thing again!

And that’s my routine. Of course I have to deviate from it times, for example at the weekend, when Nicholas and my husband are home too. But the part that remains unchanging every day is the 8-9pm writing session.

I that time, I write all sorts from short stories to drafts of novels. I even throw in some writing exercises. And I feel all the more confident for it! My ideas are flowing, my writing is coming on, and I also feel I have time for other things now! Before I introduced the set routine, I would grab a few minutes here and there whenever I could. But that meant I was shutting out my family, or neglecting what I need to do.

I didn’t like the change at first; wanted to write when inspiration hit- but that feeling soon dissipated when I learned that I can have even better ideas if I set aside an hour or two at the same time every day!

In total now, I have written the first drafts of three short stories, my first novel, and a third of my second novel (Still waiting for a lot of that precious feedback!). It turns out I was worried about all the wrong things. I set aside my first short story (the one I have wanted to tell since I was 17) and placed it in a shut binder where I can review it in a month, as is my new resolve- write a draft, leave it a month. I’ll let you know how that goes once I get to the first of June!

I wonder if any of you out there have a routine for writing? It’s annoying I had to pencil in reading too, but I know if I didn’t, I would never get round to it. That’s another promise to myself- read more, more even than I already do; classics, horror, adventure, sci-fi, the list goes on- so long as I read!

Short Story Struggles

So I have been working on a short story for a while now. I’ve taken an idea that I had when I was seventeen, ten years ago now… perhaps that’s the issue.

I can’t seem to make it go anywhere. Every time I think I’ve got it, I go back and change the whole thing. I’ve tried different perspectives, different tense, and even different endings. In fact, I’ve probably changed it up more than I have my entire novel.

This time was the most infuriating… I got as far as being happy with it, and even made a little cover so I could upload it to Wattpad, just to realise at the last moment that I had been influenced by something else I had read. Maybe that’s ok, but I ask you, is it ever acceptable to continue with a plan knowing you have done that?

Though I often do think about forgetting the whole thing; maybe I’m just not cut out for short story writing, I can’t seem to manage to say goodbye to it. It’s a story I’ve wanted to tell for a decade, and I don’t want to let it go.

Every other idea I’ve ever had for a short story has been turned into the works of a novel. I really struggle to let the depth show through in such a short word count… and there’s always something else in the background that I have in mind that would turn it into a bigger one.

Sometimes it scares me- am I a bad writer because I can’t seem to make a short story work? I don’t know. There again, I guess my fears could be unfounded; there are plenty of novelists who do not try their hand at short stories, perhaps they even have the same issues as myself.

I guess the problem here is that I want to write it. I’ve recently had the pleasure of reading some short stories from the pen of my own father, and let me tell you, they are better than any of the ideas I have had. In fact, I feel they surpass a lot of published work I have read. There’s depth, intrigue, and good writing. I can’t seem to do it myself.

What’s the conclusion I’ve come to you ask? Well I suppose I’ll just keep going, because that’s me. I never give up. Even if I wanted to, once I set my mind on something, I simply can’t. So when my family wonder where I am and what I’m doing, you can bet I’ll be working on something I just can’t let go of. And that will be this short story. There’s no way I can leave it; end of.

But I am interested, does anyone else struggle with this? Or is it just me tearing my hair out over a seemingly simple plot spread over very few words?

The Search Begins

Well… I’ve finished the second draft of my novel, and sent it off to my nearest and dearest for opinions! It’s been about a week, and I have yet to receive more than a page of comments, but fingers crossed everyone will enjoy it. I do realise however, that you can’t please everyone!

In the meantime, while working on the second book, I have decided to look for an agent. So between waiting for feedback, writing my second book, working on my short story, and trying to juggle all of this with my baby, boy, and husband, I now add searching for the perfect agent into the mix. I know that person is out there so, thank you in advance!

I had originally planned on publishing my trilogy on Amazon, but after so much work and effort, and finding out that my sister (15) just LOVES my story, I have decided to attempt to get it traditionally published.

To those who say I can’t do it: I’m not interested. I’ve always been a dreamer, and I enjoy the chase! You have to believe in yourself above all else if you hope to achieve!

To those who support me: Thank you so much! I know I can be difficult to deal with when I run off into my own world, and I am grateful to you all for putting up with me!

In the meantime, I would like to share with you all this image I have been working on of my main character- Star.

Thank you all again for your amazing support! It helps when I feel like giving up!