Amidst the whirlwind that is December, I thought I would take a moment to join in the celebrations hop as I haven't managed it for a few weeks.
So what's been happening here that is worthy of celebration?
* The biggest celebration is that our youngest daughter is coming home this weekend from Uni! We will be decorating the tree and enjoying some family time before all our Christmas visitors start arriving. I am sure I will feel more Christmassy then.
* I had a fun night out with some girlfriends.
* I finally got to see Mockingjay, which I really enjoyed.
* Tonight is our work's Christmas party, which should be fun. Oh yes, and today is Christmas jumper day, so off to work in my lovely snowman jumper with dangly scarf. Hope the kids don't pull it off! It is so warm and snuggly, Don't worry, I will change before the party tonight!
December dawns and for most of us that probably means frantic shopping, cooking, cleaning, decorating ... and the list goes on. I already feel like my on-line presence is dwindling as time becomes an even greater problem than normal. I had hoped to finish my current round of edits by Christmas but I suspect, in reality, this is unlikely to happen. Still, I guess it's not the end of the world if it creeps into the New Year and I am happy with the way it is progressing, which is the main thing. Any progress is good, right?
Most days seem to be a fine balancing act between family, home life, friends, work and, oh yeah, that little thing called writing. It is just a fact of life that some days one has to take priority over the others, and family will always come first. My mainly secret life, the one spent with my characters and their trials and tribulations, is never far from my mind though. It is most definitely 'the little thing' that helps keep me sane. It feeds me through times of trouble and gives me the opportunity to explore and grow. I can not ever imagine not doing it.
"I write to give myself strength. I write to be the characters that I am not. I write to explore all the things I'm afraid of. ”
Sure, I've got loads of writerly insecurities. I think having a creative mind tends to fuel the insecurities sometimes. We are supposed to be good at making things up after all, but for the last IWSG of 2014 I wanted to finish as I started back in January when I said my key words for the year were going to be positivity and focus. There's been a few wobbles, but on the whole, I think I have striven to maintain that goal. I haven't quite got to the place I hoped to be by the end of the year but I am still confident that I will get there in the end. Here's hoping that 2015 will see me realising a few goals and fulfilling a few of my dreams.
"This is how you do it: you sit down at the keyboard and you put one word after another until its done. It's that easy, and that hard.”
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Tapping into the expertise of over a hundred talented authors from around the globe, The IWSG Guide to Publishing and Beyond contains something for every writer. Whether you are starting out and need tips on the craft of writing, looking for encouragement as an already established author, taking the plunge into self-publishing, or seeking innovative ways to market and promote your work, this guide is a useful tool. Compiled into three key areas of writing, publishing, and marketing, this valuable resource offers inspirational articles, helpful anecdotes, and excellent advice on dos and don't s that we all wish we knew when we first started out on this writing journey.
I haven't posted a celebration post for a while so this is a sort of round-up of the last few weeks and there are a few exciting things to report!
I am super pleased to announce that my short story, From Byron to Shelley, is now in print. The story was short listed in the short story section of the Yeovil Literary Prize in 2012. The winning and short listed stories and poems from 2012/2013 have been published in an anthology.
Our recent trip to Dartmoor was fun. We did lots of walking (most of it seemed to be uphill!) and I found time for a little writing. I managed to sort though a plot problem so I am extra happy about that! I still have some work to do but I am moving forward and feeling positive about the way things are progressing.
Stone circle on the moor
View from our cottage window
I just loved these toadstools.
I could picture the little fae folk sitting on them.
I went to an aero biking exercise class and survived! My legs felt like jelly afterwards but I'm sure it must have done some good. I've signed up for another session next week.
I must admit IWSG kind of sneaked up on me this month, so I don't really have much for you today. I will say that those 'end of the year' reflections are starting to creep into my brain.You know the ones I mean, they go something like, what have I actually achieved this year as a writer? At the moment I feel that I have fallen short of where I expected to be by the end of the year. However, I'm not going to let those thoughts take over just yet, instead I will hop around and see what insecurities are flying around for others this month.
For those of us in the UK, today marks the start of half term week for many. I must admit the last seven weeks have been hard work and whilst I love working with children, I am ready for a few days off.
Hubby and I are heading to a small cottage on Dartmoor for a few days next week. Not sure how much internet connection there will be there so I will visit blogs when I can. It is a beautiful place. I love the wild ruggedness and the feeling of space. It is so atmospheric and you really feel as if you are getting away from things even though you are only a few miles from civilisation! I am hoping to do some walking and some writing whilst there. Following feedback on my ms I am doing some editing at the moment and one of the main suggestions was that a fight scene should be 'darkened.' I am hoping this will be the place to provide some inspiration to help me with this.
Photo taken on my last visit
I am also celebrating seeing my youngest daughter later today. She has been at university for six weeks now so looking forward to catching up. My eldest daughter has been up in London for a week as part of her university course so she will be home too. Will be nice to have us all together for the weekend.
Thanks to Viklit and her brilliant team of co-hosts
Where are the weeks going, does anyone out there know? October is charging on towards November and I seem to be struggling to keep up. On the plus side, in the UK, the half term holiday is not too far away which means more writing time for me for a week - so YAY for that! More on that next week but for now I will take a few moments to look back at the last seven days and celebrate those small things that often get overlooked. This is one of the reasons I love this simple blog hop, it gives you a chance to reflect and be thankful. So thanks to Viklit for hosting along with her team of co-hosts.
*We had the living room carpet and sofa cleaned recently. It has given it a new lease of life but sadly made the coffee table look sad so we went out and bought some new furniture. A couple of occasional tables and a sideboard. It will take a few weeks to arrive but it is nice to have something to look forward to. Also means Hubby has the chance to paint the ceiling before it arrives!
*I also bought a new purple dress (that always cheers me up). Will look forward to wearing that soon.
*I finished reading Maze Runner which means I can go and see the movie this week.
*I am going to a Salsa dancing workshop tonight. I haven't done it in a while as our local class closed down so it will be fun to put my dancing shoes back on,
A quick post this Friday just to say a massive thank you to everyone who visited or commented on my IWSG post this week. I appreciate each and every one of you and would like to take the opportunity to welcome several new followers to my blog.
As most of you know, I had the honour of being one of Alex's co-host this month and as such have been spending time visiting and reading as many posts as possible. I have learnt new things, been inspired and motivated, had a good chuckle and even felt like shedding a few tears for some of you guys out there. This writing business is hard and often lonely, being able to share with like minded people is so important and it can often be the encouragement a struggling writer needs to continue.
It looks like the Insecure Writer's Support Group anthology is going to be a great new resource.
I will probably be off-line for a few days now so will see you all soon.
To mark the event Alex and the team are busy putting together an ebook that will be free to download in a few weeks. Full of helpful tips, anecdotes and links it is sure to be a must-have for any writer embarking on their writing/publishing journey.
I don't think I have any 'new' writing insecurities this month (yay for that!) but I am suffering with the age old problem of time management. I want to write - I have notes and diagrams and pictures all neatly fanned out on my writing table just begging for me to sit down and act on them. I am just finding it tricky to find the time. I am hoping that things will calm down a bit after this week and I will be able to get organised. Anyway, I have decided not to stress about it for the next few days, it will get done. In the meantime, I am off to visit as many of you as possible this month to see what insecurities are doing the rounds at the moment and check out some of the tips and advice being shared.
There's a definite tinge of autumn in the air. The days are getting shorter and the leaves are falling. Local shops are displaying an appealing array of cosy sweaters and fur topped boots and, for the first time in months, I feel like closing the curtains, lighting the scented candles and settling down with a hot chocolate!
I love writing at this time of year, I find it so atmospheric.
I received some really positive feedback on my ms this week and I am looking forward to settling down and working on it over the next few weeks.
I also love this time of year because Strictly Come Dancing is about to start. Time to dig out the sequins and sparkly shoes!
I haven't been around the blog much this last couple of weeks. My focus, and brain, have been engaged with family and work. The start of the new school year has seen my role at work change. I am working with a different age group, bringing fresh challenges, and I have needed to attend some additional training. But mostly my attention has been centred around getting our youngest daughter off to university. I have been experiencing a tumble of emotions! But I am celebrating the fact that she is at the university she wanted, doing the course she has been working so hard for. It is a period of adjustment for us all - I cooked far too much dinner this evening!
In other news, we went to a fancy dress party. The theme - come as something beginning with 'S.' Easy, I could go wearing spots or stripes or even just turn up as myself! But I don't really do easy and so I went as a sausage dog. It kind of started a while ago as a bit of a joke but I thought 'hey why not give it a go?' So, to make you smile, and because I know some of you will ask, here is a snapshot!
In memory of Tina Downey who passed away on August 23rd 2014. Tina loved her sunflowers and the blogging community loved Tina. Tina, we will miss you, your sunny personality and positive attitude touched the hearts of many. We will remember #Life is Good.
It's time once again for the monthly posting of the IWSG. The Insecure Writer's Support Group is the brainchild of Alex J. Cavanugh. Head over to find out all the information and to join our ever increasing group. This month is an extra special posting for the group as it marks their three year Anniversary. Happy Anniversary Insecure Writers everywhere! A big thank you to this month's co-hosts - Laura at My Baffling Brain,mark Koopmans,Shah Wharton, and Sheena-Kay Graham.
I have had a productive summer writing wise. I feel happy that I achieved (most) of what I set out to do and started something new, which was actually unplanned and took me rather by surprise! I feel I am moving forward again, I have a plan, and that is brilliant. Happy writer face. I have sent my work to readers and am awaiting feedback. Anyone who has ever put their writing 'out there' knows how stressful that wait can be. Obviously, I am hopeful for positive feedback, something that will help me perfect the MS ready for submission. But what if it's not so good? What if it needs loads of work or worse, what if they think it sucks big time!
You see, and then the insecurity sets in ...
What if I never get it right? What if I never get where I want to be as a writer? I know in my heart I am a writer, but what if no one else ever thinks of me as a writer? Can I live with that or will it leave me unfulfilled and continually questioning whether I could have tried harder, done more?
I will leave you with the words of poet, Robert Browning. I have them written in the notebook I keep at the side of my computer. When in doubt I re-read them, and take strength in their fortitude. (Robert Browning quotes on BrainyQuote)
"But what if I fail of my purpose here? It is but to keep
the nerves at strain,to dry one's eyes and laugh at a fall,
and baffled, get up and begin again."
Taken from the poem, Life in Love by Robert Browning
Just thought I would drop in and share some photos. We spent a pleasant afternoon watching these tall ships leave the harbour at Falmouth for the start of the race that will see them head towards London and up the River Thames to finish in a few days time at the port of Royal Greenwich.
It looked a really impressive sight in the late summer sunshine.
I am running late this week; to be honest I sort of forgot it was Friday! That happens when you are not at regular work, the days all get mixed up, but the upside of that is that everyday this week has seen writing action. Yay for that! I have done some editing, drafted and re-drafted a synopsis and even started something new. Something I hadn't been planning at all but a spark ignited and I just had to go with it. Love my fickle muse! I've written a couple thousand words today so really happy with that. Am making the most of it because there are only a few days left of the summer break now and I will be back at the day job by the middle of next week.
I have been trying to slowly ease myself back on line over the past week, if I haven't managed to catch up with you yet, apologies, I will get there soon! I have been taking the opportunity to work on my ms while I had the chance so my focus has been there. I can report, that following another round of edits, I am feeling quite pleased with it. Time to seek an outside opinion from a couple of readers! Always a tense time.
I did take a few hours away from writing to go shopping with my girls. University supplies mainly, but it was fun to spend some time together. Also had a nice evening out with hubby, just the two of us, which was a change. We both definitely feel as if we are embarking on a new chapter in our lives, with both girls at university the next couple of years are likely to bring fresh challenges for us all. Maybe it is the writer within me that always thinks of major changes and life adjustments as new chapters, a chance to move forward and grow in different ways. We may have an outline in our head of what the next page will look like, but until we actually turn the page and live it we will never know. Scary ...? perhaps, but also a little exciting.
Happy Friday friends
Full details of this fun and easy hop can be found at Viklit
I thought it was about time I returned to blogging and what better way to start than to let you know what I have been up to. To avoid this post becoming too long and boring I am going to use a few pictures to help me. There are a couple of links to more information on the area should you be interested in finding out more about the ecology and history.
This was my home for 7 nights ...
I took several daily swims in here ...
Caught a local boat and wound my way through the tranquil reed beds that were home to much wildlife ...
Which half an hour later led us here. The beautiful Iztuzu beach and home to these guys ...
There is no development here as it is a protected area. People are only allowed on the beach for a few hours a day and there are strict guidelines to protect the turtles breeding grounds.
As this post is my contributions to the weekly 'Celebrate the small things' hop there is one other really important thing to add. My congratulations to my youngest daughter who yesterday received her A level results. Obtaining a whopping 3 x A's and securing her place to study at Exeter University. My baby's leaving home next month - warning expect a teary post from me when the time comes!