Thank you for reading!
Thank you for reading!
I feel like I’ve been talking about NaNoWriMo all year – with doing writing challenges every other month to ‘train’ for the 50,000 word challenge in November. But it didn’t go quite as expected…
My intention was to write the final draft of the novel I started eight years ago in my first (and only ‘winning’) NaNo – but then I ended up using the story of my novel for my masters dissertation project and the thought of having anything to do with it so soon after handing in was too much for my little anxious brain to handle.
I decided very early on that I was going to write some fun fanfiction instead – I’ve been watching a lot of Harry Potter cosplay tiktok and I was super inspired to write something, so I took that inspiration and went with it.
The other barrier I faced was again my dissertation project – I got a one week extension due to my mental health so my deadline wasn’t until November 5th, thus meaning I couldn’t think about anything else until it was done (still SO PROUD that I did it!). I didn’t start writing until the 7th of November and I calculated that I only needed to write just over 2000 words a day to finish on time, as opposed to the usual 1667 words.
I started writing and as my days were significantly emptier without a big uni project, I managed to catch up relatively quickly. At my most productive, I wrote 4000 words in a day but I was feeling really good – I was writing about characters I already knew and loved without the pressure of writing something good, original and ‘final’ in my own novel project.
I enjoyed writing again! With my fiancé still being away with work 3-5 nights a week (despite a national lockdown, because watching a bunch of grown men play rugby is so important…), I could really focus on writing and I got into a good routine. Not a healthy routine, as most of my writing was done between 10pm-1am from the comfort of my bed, but I was writing and that was the important bit.
In the last week or so, momentum tailed off – I don’t think I’d really given myself the time to mentally recover from my dissertation hand in but I’d been preparing for NaNoWriMo all year and I really wanted to do it. Thousands of words a day turned to hundreds of words a day and staring at a screen for hours whilst I felt like my original characters were sticking their tongues out at me.
In the end, I made it so-close-but-not-close-enough at just over 47,000 words between the 7th and 30th of November. If I’d even written a few words in the days I was finishing my dissertation, I’m sure I would have been able to do it, but we can’t change the past, we can only learn! And I still wrote forty seven thousand bloody words!
NaNoWriMo this year was a real experience for everyone participating – it was unusual circumstances, motivation and inspiration are running at an all time low and though in theory people have ‘more time’ because we’re staying home more, it doesn’t mean there was enough mental brain space to really write like life is normal.
I do feel more motivated than ever to really ‘win’ next year – I’ve got my monthly training challenges all planned out, I’ll probably stick with writing fanfiction because it’s fun to experiment and control characters I love (though that makes it sound much more sinister than it is) and NaNoWrimo 2021 is going to be my year – my first win since 2012!
Thank you for reading – I hope you and your loved ones are happy, healthy and staying safe!
Another month, another set of mini goals to work towards! Having reviewed my goals for the year and looked back on my June goals, in July I’m really working towards stripping things back, focusing on what’s important to me right now and setting SMART goals (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound… I think).
Hopefully with the weather being a bit brighter and restrictions easing things might feel like they’re a bit closer to getting back to ‘normal’, but I’d rather be safe than shopping so taking things day by day!
Hopefully my July goals are SMART enough to make some progress! These are my goals for the month:
And then my ongoing monthly tasks of have a date night and read at least one book still stand but I’ve managed six months with date nights and I’ve read 26 books so far this year so I think these two will be okay.
My motivation has been pretty bare minimum last month so I’m hoping to try and work to more of a routine in July. But with the world being so uncertain and changing so much, being adaptable and not putting too much pressure on myself is the main focus.
Thank you for reading – I hope you and your loved ones are happy, healthy and staying safe!
I go through phases with feeling inspired in what blog posts I want to write – sometimes I’m bursting with ideas and I plan a whole month’s worth of content in one go, sometimes I end up turning to Google searching for ‘blog post ideas’ (which never works) or searching for what other people have been blogging or making videos about to try and spark some inspiration.
But the crux of it all is that I want to write about something insightful – sometimes it’s just indulgent, diary-like posts, writing about the things I’m excited about and showing my pictures from recent trips but I try not to do those too frequently. People turn to blog posts for education (in a way – stick with me!) – a new recipe, a new skincare product recommendation, tips and tricks to achieve something whether it be working for home or having a better sex life. The trouble is I don’t feel like I know enough about anything to be able to contribute anything about a particular topic.
And that’s not to say that every blogger has to be an expert in anything – finding someone who’s learning something along with you and documenting their progress can be encouraging to watch. This year I’ve been really into reading and I hit my goodreads goal for the year in March, then I noticed that a creator I already follow The Anna Edit was reading at roughly the same pace as me as documented on her Instagram page so I’ve loved comparing my progress to hers and making more book related content online.
But then I don’t want anyone who stumbles across my blog to think that I’m writing a post about the basics of cross stitching from a point of reliable information. I don’t know anything! The first cross stitch I did, I realised far too late that I was meant to separate the thread into smaller strands and that’s why I ran out of thread and had to improvise – I’m not qualified to teach anyone anything! And I’m an awful teacher.
With all that in mind – why do I blog at all? I love writing, that’s the point; I love rambling and getting my thoughts into words and sharing it, but who am I to think that it needs to be shared with other people?
The conclusion? It doesn’t – if I stopped blogging no one would really miss it, I could carry on writing my personal, diary-like, introspective posts in a journal without having to share my life on the internet, but I can’t stop? I love blogging, I love looking back on where I’ve been and what I wrote about when I was 20 and thinking about what I might write about when I’m 26 if I still have time to blog then. I’ve been doing this for almost six years – I started trying to write really formal news style pieces and reviews, then in 2015 I did a 365-day blog writing challenge (successfully, whilst being out the country and away from technology for a month, might I add).
My blog isn’t huge – it’s never going to be my career and I don’t have the energy to put in the effort to make it successful, nor do I have a specific enough niche or knowledge to write anything useful.
So I’ve managed to write a whole blog post about how I don’t know what to write, I don’t know why I write and how I’m not going to stop – success! Sometimes these ‘stream of consciousness’ posts are my favourite to write. I’m sure I’ll think of something to blog about by next week, but until then I’ve spent 9 weeks in quarantine and I’ve got a new found love for cross stitching, so I’m going to get back to that.
Thank you for reading,
I’ve blogged before about how reading was such a big part of my childhood and I’m really hoping to rekindle that love this year. I’ve set a goodreads goal of 12 books this year and I’m on track at the moment!
I’ve got a list in my bullet journal of some of the books on my shelf that I haven’t yet read (though I have just found another chunk of books that I have since added to my shelf!) and I thought I would have a little ramble about the books I’m most excited to read!
Genre isn’t something that normally sells me on books – I like fantasy adventure, I like romantic chick lit, I love dystopian fiction, I like magic and interesting characters and open discussions about taboos like mental health and disabilities amongst other traits that make characters a little bit different.
There are other books that I want to read but at the moment I’m not letting myself buy anything until I’ve read everything I’ve already got, so these are my top 10 books that I’m most excited to read from my ‘to be read’ list!
The book based on the cover and blurb alone seems like one of those Lord of the Rings-esque historical fantasy books and I used to be super into those. A lot of my books were bought from this discount warehouse my family used to go to on holiday when I was a teenager and I’m catching up on the books I bought then. This is one of them – I’m still intrigued by the concept even now I’m in my 20s.
On the other end of the scale, concepts of a human future where something drastic has changed is an interesting thing to explore in fiction – the Hunted explores a world where humanity has sacrificed fertility and children are a commodity (I think?) and I don’t know much more about it than that. I’m not sure how Shearer is going to explain how humans got to this stage so I’m really interested to see how thought out this book is.
The blurb seems like a stereotypical ‘boy meets wildly different girl and somehow they make it work’ but the main reasons I want to read this book are 1) it’s super hyped and I want to see if it’s worth all the positive reviews and 2) the cover is pretty. Mostly 2.
I wanted to write ‘I’m a huge fan of John Green’ and I am – I love the content he makes on YouTube and I still haven’t watched the fault in our stars movie because I loved the book and I didn’t know if it would translate well on film but I haven’t read any of his other books and I ‘looking for alaska’ is one of the only books I’ve never finished. Unless you count the books I was meant to read for my english literature a level. I know that when TATWD came out it got a lot of glowing reviews for its characterisation of mental health and I’m genuinely excited to read the book for that reason.
‘Fangirl’ stands as one of my favourite books of all time – ‘Carry On’ is the spin off, full length version of the fanfiction written by the main character. I want to reread ‘Fangirl’ before I read ‘Carry On’ but if they ever make a film of the book, I want to be in it. Just wanted to get that in writing.
Another one purely for the hype except I’m literally a decade late to the party – it’s a book I bought cheap and I want to see if I like or if I’m going to donate it to the charity shop but it’s another one with an interesting concept!
More hype/film adaptation hype. Lily Collins and Sam Claflin are in the film and I silently watched bits of the film over someone’s shoulder on a plane once and I liked the look of it. The main thing putting me off is the fact it’s a chunky book and I’m a fairly slow reader, but the picture of Lily Collins on the front is a good selling point.
The sequel to ‘if I stay’ which I think had a film adaptation that looked pretty rubbish, but I actually enjoyed the book a lot about seven years ago when I read it. I want to read both books in succession and remind myself what I liked about it. I always found it funny that by calling the sequel ‘where she went’ suggests an answer to the title of the first book ‘if I stay’ and that still makes me laugh.
I’ll be honest, I didn’t realise this was a sequel until I was finding the Amazon link but this one was a cheap buy with a pretty cover. ‘Be With Me’ seems like one of those easy read YA-chick-lit-esque books that I’d take on holiday or read after finishing a heavier book. Maybe I need to invest in the original!
Do I read most books because of hype and film adaptations? Potentially but I know very little about this book, but I love a sob story and ‘dying girl’ seems like a character that fulfils this desire.
Some of these books are really new, some of these books are a bit older but I’m really excited to read all of them – there’s only four books left on my reading goal for the year but I’m not limiting myself to only 12, if I want to start book 13 you can be sure I’m going to!
I’m currently reading Wilde Women by Louise Pentland and I’m thoroughly enjoying it – this series of books is really comforting and I whole heartedly recommend them if you enjoy watching family vlogs on YouTube because it’s like reading a cosy family vlog, I love it.
What books do you enjoy reading? Are there anything you think I’m missing out on? Let me know if you’ve read any of the books on my list!
Thank you so much for reading,
At the beginning of every month I get so excited about a new month, a fresh start and a new focus – deciding on what goals to work on this month! It only gets better when the month starts on a Monday, now that makes my heart happy.
Last month’s goals didn’t go very well – I got a bit too in over my head and expected far too much of myself and with a lot of unexpected last minute plans, I didn’t make a lot of progress on many (if any) of last month’s goals. But rather than letting that hold me back, I’m using what I learnt from it to adapt my goals for this month.
And this is what I’ve come up with!
The way I make my goals is generally by picking one thing from each of the categories in my New Year’s Resolutions (link), having a glance at my ten ‘bucket list’ style goals for the year and see if any of those are relevant, then anything else that’s relevant! It works really well for me to have lots of lists of goals – between 2019 goals, monthly goals, weekly tasks and even a 5 year plan/goals chart I have no reason to feel like I don’t have anything to do!
That being said, I still feel a bit lost sometimes – I’m still looking for a graduate job and with it coming up to a year since I finished my degree and graduated, it gets harder and harder to motivate myself but with all these lists and personal goals, even if my life takes a different turn I’ve always got something to focus on!
If you make monthly goals, tell me what they are! Are you still working on your New Year’s Resolutions? Let’s share and motivate each other!
Thank you so much for reading,
He couldn’t get the words out of his mind. The first line his eyes had glossed over before he balled the parchment paper in his hand and tossed it towards the waste paper basket.
‘I’m sorry, I never meant for it to end this way.’
The words made his eyes sting and his vision blur but he couldn’t face it, he couldn’t accept it. Yet, every time he emptied the waste paper basket he left it on the floor, just next to the trash. Deep down, he knew there was no way he could throw it out without knowing what it said but he wasn’t ready.
Days past – a cold winter turned into a warm spring and a surprisingly hot summer had passed. He’d nearly forgotten about the letter. He’d been so busy with work and family and friends that the letter found itself kicked under a jacket that he’d dropped in front of his wardrobe. His sister had told him his flat was a tip and they were having an intense cleaning day with the occasional break to run to the coffee house on the corner to get hot chocolates and Christmas songs were ringing around the apartment.
He’d picked up the jacket and saw the same, scrunched up piece of paper on the floor.
He smiled, almost fondly – maybe forgetting the letter existed at all was his way of knowing he was ready.
He dropped the jacket back where it was on the floor and flattened out the A4 paper, wondering towards his bed and sitting heavily.
‘I’m sorry, I never meant for it to end this way.
I was careful. Perhaps too careful, that you never suspected, but clearly not careful enough if it ended this way. I’ve had this letter written for a long time, originally it was addressed to my parents but as soon as I met you I thought about rewriting this letter.
I suppose at this point you know – I’m a spy. I go undercover on a regular basis and I’m shot at nearly every day.
I don’t need to talk about that though, it’s irrelevant now – all I want to say is I’m sorry Charlie, I hope you’re safe and happy and I’m sorry I never told you about who I really was. I just want you to know I love you with all my heart – when I turn 35 I hope this letter has never been delivered and I can retire with you, I want that so much.
I hope it’s all okay. I hope you still spend Christmas with your family and put that dorky singing dog in a Santa hat on the mantle piece at Christmas.
I love you Charlie, even now. I love you.’
“Charlie, what’s wrong?” The only thing that tore him away from the letter was his sister’s panicked words as she stood in the doorway to his room. He looked up and smiled, realising tears had been streaming down his cheeks.
“Nothing, I’m fine. Genuinely.” He smiled, folding the letter neatly in half and placing it on his desk, pulling his sister into a tight hug and getting back to their tidying.
He’d been so angry that she’d lied to him for so long when she first passed, he didn’t know how to not be angry with her. But a year later he understood – she was protecting him and she still loved him, in the same way he still loved her.
Seems like this post is in the wrong order – it’s not, I just didn’t want the story to be prefaced with ‘hi I’m going to do some creative writing!’ and interrupt the flow.
I used to write posts like this fairly regularly – it was good for me to do a little bit of creative writing and I really enjoy writing these little posts so I might do them more regularly this year! I got a book last year called ‘642 things to write about’ so I might post a few of them here.
Finding time to write is something I really struggle with so being able to write here occasionally feels really refreshing and enjoyable – I miss how I used to write all the time and work on stories and characters and plot lines.
I will get back to it, I’m working on getting back to it, it’s just picking my battles and my priorities but I am working on it – I am!
Also bonus Sunday post to make up for my being ill last Monday and missing a post. Regular posts again next week!
Thank you for reading, I have a lot of love for this blog and being able to write these little posts if I feel like it!