My Life

Alright, Let’s Do This

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All the way back in October (I think, it was around the for sure I guess, it had to be before November at least) I declared my intentions to attempt Nano last month.

And so I went in with the best of intentions and had all these plans and all that jazz and then like clockwork, and seriously there was a part of me that always expected this to happen, I lost all motivation.

All of it.

Any creative buzz I felt buzzing underneath my skin and settling into my bones in the months prior to that just faded away without a trace.

I got just under 6,000 words.

And they all happened within the first week.

I think.

I kind of lost track of it all to be honest.

All I know is that after about two weeks I did not look at the document once.

It was open, I cast a glance to the tab pretty much every day. I looked at the website a couple of times after that (I think). I just sort of fell all the way off the wagon.

In the past when I’ve done that I have felt super guilty because I felt like it’s just a month of my life and it’s just 50,000 words. If I got into a habit with it then really doing that many words a day isn’t really that hard. I do that usually anyway what with writing posts up for here and everything. But I just don’t do that when it comes to Nano.

I have done a couple of times, but for the most part I just go in relatively blind which is kind of pointless. And I spend a lot of time playing catch up. Which is exactly as difficult as you think it would be. Rolling word counts are a bitch. They are my enemy. We do not get along.

And we really fell out this year.

I kind of didn’t care.

I didn’t feel bad about it.

Work got stressful last month and it’s still stressful. I found myself falling into Netflix binges and YouTube vortexes, I spent a lot of time writing blog posts instead and working out and reading and all that other stuff.

And I didn’t look at the document at all after a while. And I didn’t care.

The desire has not yet returned to start writing again. I’m mainly just focusing on keeping on top of things and finishing up that reading list of mine, which I am still currently on track with and for some reason am still surprised by.

But I’m not worried about it.

I’ve realised that I’ve come to a point with things where I just accept that sometimes the desire is there and sometimes it hibernates. I’ve just got to go with it and not stress about it because that makes it all the worse and that benefits no-one, especially me.

I will look at the document at some point and I will address the fact that I currently have two different novels on the go and neither of them have fully formed plots as of yet, the middles are just kind of murky. I will get to that.

I don’t know when. But I will…

Parentheses count: 2. See you tomorrow!

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Awards, My Life

Blogger Recognition Award

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Just over a week ago I was nominated by Tabby for this award which was a small perk at the end of yet another draining week, so thanks for that!

 

 

THE RULES:
– Thank the blogger who nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
– Write a post to show your award.
– Give a brief story of how your blog started.
– Give two pieces of advice to new bloggers.
– Select 15 other bloggers you want to give this award to.
– Comment on each blog and let them know you have nominated them & provide the link to the post you created.
How I Started
This blog came into fruition because I joined a society at uni and it was part of the project for that year. Posting was sporadic on it and I didn’t really know what the hell I was going to use it for. Arguably, I still don’t, but I started to use this blog more frequently when I was unemployed for like a year and needed something to fill my days. And then I took it even more seriously when I got a job and didn’t want that to be the only thing that consumed my days and so  I needed the outlet. And here we are now.
My Advice
1) Do it for you – Blog about what you want to talk about. Don’t worry about who is reading it and how many people are reading it. Don’t get caught up in the numbers of it all because then it’s very easy to lose track of why you started in the first place. So, do it for you.
2) Pace yourself – By that I just mean, know your limits. And then stick to them. Challenging yourself is great, but don’t do it at the cost of something else. I speak from experience, it’s very easy to get caught up in things and then to feel some weird sense of guilt if you don’t stick to the schedule that you created for yourself. Here’s the thing, for the most part you make your blog whatever you want it to be (and this links to the first one) and if sometimes that means you don’t post for a little bit because you need a break then do it. In the long run, it’s probably going to work out better for you. It will give you a chance to create new content and think about what direction you want to go to. It will take you out of the eye of the storm that is your blog and give you some perspective. So yeah, listen to your heart in that respect and do what works best for you.
And so my nominees are (I’m apparently not going to do 15, so as ever, if you want to do it then go ahead):
Parentheses count: 2. See you tomorrow!

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My Life

Checkpoint 5

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This check in is late I think…

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I honestly cannot figure out the timings of it. I’m pretty sure it’s late. It should have happened last month but November was otherwise engaged and so it has to open December, which is gonna be festive-ish I guess. I’m not a big Christmas person until it gets to about the 20th and then I’m over it come the 27th. That’s it, you kinda get festive me for about a week, but during that week I go hardLike, I wear a Christmas jumper every day and always buy a new one to wear on the day.

This is kind of festive themed I guess. I mean it’s terrifyingly reaching the end of the year and this is the time where people start looking back at what they had intended to do for the year and seeing whether they’ve achieved it or not. This isn’t quite closing out the whole year because I wrote it up when it was supposed to be written but have only just had an opening to post it, the final check in will come some time in January when I do a 2018 version of this, but this is the last comprehensive update of the year. So without further ado:

1) Take Better Care of My Hair – There’s not really much more that I can do with this one. I had my second haircut of the year back in July and I am due another one in January (hell yeah perks of having hair that only needs two haircuts a year). I continue to wash, condition and deep condition my hair each week. Which is arguably kind of pointless given that during this season so far (meaning winter) and the fact that I work out 5 times a week it spends most of its time tied up. But it remains moisturised and there is some length coming to it and it’s plodding along. Leave in conditioners are my friends and I’m always trying new shampoos and new hair masks. I’m kind of done with this one. It’s become a habit at this point.

2) Take Better Care of My Skin –  Okay, so I have moved away from Lush products since the last check in. This happened mainly so I could see what Glossier hype was all about. I’ve got a full post coming about this later this week but it’s come with a new cleanser, moisturiser and sunscreen. My skin is looking less oily which is good, but the breakouts are still there and I can’t quite figure out why they are happening. I really need to get back to cleaning my face with Dark Angels once a week again for an extra exfoliating kick mid week but I keep forgetting. I mean I’m not treating my skin badly or anything, it’s just decided to go through a second puberty.

3) Tone The Hell Up – Look at some point in October my diet fell to shit and for some reason it now ebbs and flows. I’m not beating myself up about or anything and I kind of make up for it by regularly working out and stuff so I don’t feel bad about it or anything, but I really need to start shaping up with that again. Diet is like half the battle with this one. The exercise is routine now. It happens 5 times a week, I do cardio twice a week, I lift once a week, I do some bodyweight stuff that is basically just planks and squats and I do barre because nothing burns quite like the barre burn. Physically I have baby biceps that come out to play now and I can lift weights now which is changing things slightly and like, I have the hints of abs and my legs are hella toned. Did I do that for the aesthetics? Hell no. I did it to get stronger, to get moving, to help cope with my every day stresses and just really sweat the day away. But the aesthetics of it isn’t a bad thing. We’re approaching Christmas at this point, and while I’m not going to go crazy I’m kind of not naive enough to think that I’m going to completely overhaul my diet in amongst alllll the food. So this will trickle over into a 2018 goal.

4) Start Saving Properly –  Look, this has not gone well this year. It just hasn’t. But I think this is good. It’s forced me to really assess the whole situation properly and truly look at better ways to be saving money and how to get everything under control. So yeah, this has failed. In so many damn ways. But it can only go up from here.

5) Get Better Organised – The diary I bought does get used. But again, it remains super sporadic. It’s habit that I’v never had before and trying to get into one is proving hard for me. I’m choosing Sundays as the day where I sit down and just plan things out. And then I need to keep referring to it. In a similar way to how I do a face mask every Sunday and go through the hair washing process on a Monday, I just need to form a habit of it. And I have the motivation for it, so it’s getting there.

6) Try And Be More Creative/Just Write More – I’ve learned this year that I need to not force this. I need to just let it do what it wants to do. And some days it wants to write 3,000 words in a day and others it wants to write 0. I need to learn to fall into this and not feel bad or feel like a failure when I don’t. I also need to not just let myself fall into a habit where I do not write anything for days on end. It’s just kind of frustrating the way it works, but I need to stop worrying about that. I also think that I am going to start making a habit of just writing for half an hour each night, and not just for this blog but outside of it. It’s just half an hour and yeah sometimes that half hour will fly by in a flurry or words and sometimes it won’t. I just need to roll with it and not fight it. My NaNo attempt was behind from day 2 and it sucked, but it wasn’t the end of the world and realising that lifted a huge weight that I hadn’t even known I was carrying.  So yeah, I have written more and I’ve also not, but this is a ongoing thing for me and I have written a lot of stuff so I consider it a win.

And that is the 5th and final full check in for my 2017 goals for the year. Some have been good, some have been truly ignored and nothing has come from them. Some of them are ongoing beyond just this year and this was just the foundation for them.

Parentheses count: 2. See you tomorrow!

 

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Books, My Life

Changing Attitudes to Literature

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I wrote this title and then nothing else, leaving present me to try and figure out what the fuck the brainwave was that prompted this title. I think I’ve figured it out though.

Or maybe I haven’t and past me is hella pissed at present me for doing this to her post.

Basically I think what I was banging on about was how the way that I view literature has changed.

I used to be very limited in terms of what books I would be willing to read and I kind of didn’t move away from that. I hung about in the YA section for years, and still do, but I only really went with authors that I trusted and stuck with topics that I kind of felt safe with. I read many a variation of teenagers falling in love. I considered Hunger Games a real step out of the box.

I was comfortable in that.

And then I did A Level English and I kind of had to force myself to read a bit differently. Find books related to one topic (one year war, the other year love. One year was reeaalllll cheery…) and then read them so I had a better chance at doing well in the exam. I had to read a lot of classics that I never even would have considered. I read a lot more poetry then I ever have before. I started looking at literature with a more critical eye.

And then I had the crazy idea to do a degree in it and that came with it’s own reading lists as well. And meant that I had to widen my horizons even further. I had to read a lot of books that I never even thought of reading before, at one point I had a whole week that was all about Chick Lit which was just never on my radar. It opened me up to a whole new variety of books that I would have just passed whenever I went into a Waterstones.

Once it became apparent that I had opened the floodgates then a whole bunch of new genres were open to me and then everything got stressful. Because now I have soooo many books to choose from and I want to read everything. And the list just seems to get longer and longer each day.

But on the other hand, there are still books and genres that haven’t been able to win me over completely yet. Like historical fiction for the most part. There are some areas of fantasy and sci-fi that are a bit too sci-fi-y for me and something that I can’t quite mesh with yet. I also don’t do horror. Yet. I mean I wanna read IT so I feel like that might change.

Basically I have stopped writing off genres because I realised throughout the latter stages of my education that I was limiting so much potentially good literature. I was missing out on potentially finding my new favourite book. Like The Night Circus. That book very much fucks with fantasy and yet it could have been something that I never read because the extent of my dalliance with that was just Harry Potter. Same goes for The Bone Season. Or The Graces. In fact I’m going to stop listing all the potential books that I could have missed out on because I could go on for a while.

It also meant that I didn’t limit myself to sticking to genres so much anymore. I’m in my mid-20’s and yet I will always spend an equal amount of time in the YA section as I do the ‘adult’. I am drawn to covers in a big and I rarely read blurbs anymore. I like the surprise of going into a new book. For the most part these days I don’t even truly register what section of the bookshop I’m in. I just pick up a book, judge it by its cover and then sometimes fall hard and fast in love with it.

This very much only applies to novels at the moment. My relationship with poetry is relatively minimal and the only plays that I really get involved with are written by Shakespeare and then you can chuck in the odd Pinter play too. So, that’s something that I am consciously trying to introduce into my reading habits because I know that I am missing on some great stuff there.

Like I said, it’s kind of horrifying having so many options because I’m terrible with options, but it’s also great because I have so many options.

I’ve questioned quite a bit whether an English degree was the right move for me for countless reasons, but the one thing that I am thankful for is that it forced me out of my old reading habits and introduced me to new things and it instilled a greater want to dive further into some genres and to really try an unearth my new favourite book.

What about you? Has the books that you’ve been drawn changed a lot over the years?

Parentheses count: 1. See you tomorrow!

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My Life

Fall Book Tag

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I was just doing some blog reading earlier this week and came across this blog and on there I came across this tag. And well, I love me a tag post and this Anansi Boys review is still not writing itself. Nor are the others that I need to get done. So here we are (side note, I hate the fact that I’ve had to call it fall, and also I am ignoring the fact that it is most definitely winter now…)

Crunching Leaves: The world is full of colour – choose a book that had reds/oranges/yellows on the cover

Ummmmmmm, Brideshead Revisited. Or my edition is those colours at least. I bought it for that very reason actually…

Cozy Sweater – It’s finally cold enough to don warm cozy clothing: what book gives you the warm fuzzies?

Okay, so it took me almost no time at all to bring this book up, in a turn of events that almost everybody saw coming, so brace yourselves, The Night Circus. I re-read the parts where it felt like you the reader were in the circus and they were just so good. They made me feel so happy.

Fall Storm: The wind is howling & the rain is pounding – choose your favorite book OR genre that you like to read on a stormy day

I mean I’m not fussed. It can be pretty much anything. Rain is like a default here, I can’t really be choosy about this. I will read anything that I haven’t read yet. And sometimes books that I’ve already read.

Cool Crisp Air: What’s the coolest character you’d want to trade places with?

I mean, it’s Ron Weasley. I nearly said Harry and then realised that he came with slightly more drama. So Ron. Always Ron. And sometimes maybe Hermione, but like, she had to do that Obliviate thing and that sucked. (And yes, I know Ron lost a brother, but at least he wasn’t a pseudo orphan come the end)

Hot Apple Cider: What under hyped book do you want to see become the next biggest, hottest thing?

I do not know. I’m trying to think of an under hyped book…I mean I don’t really know how hyped The Muse  was, but I think that everyone should read it because it so good. Better than The Miniaturist.

Coat, Scarves, and Mittens – The weather has turned cold & it’s time to cover up – What’s the most embarrassing book cover you own that you like to keep hidden in public?

I’ve long stopped giving a shit about this kind of thing. I will read what I am going to read in public and just live my life. Having said that, a part of me did kind of hate reading The Secret on the train, for reasons that I honestly cannot pinpoint, but yeah. It happened.

Pumpkin Spice: What’s your favorite Fall time comforts food/foods?

Chocolate. And roast potatoes. I’ve gotten really into Crosstown Doughnuts this past month or two and yeah. They are where it is at right now. I’m a big fan of eating whatever the fuck I want, almost year round, but especially as Christmas draws closer, eating a shit ton of doughnuts is what this season was made for (hello chocolate truffle).

And that’s the tag done.

If you wanna give it a shot than go for it, I would like to see your answers!

Parentheses count: 3. See you tomorrow!

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Books, My Life

The Lack of Plays

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This is still not a book review, don’t worry we will get back to them shortly I can assure you. But recently I have been thinking about what I might dare to read once I have come to the end of this year’s reading challenge, which gets closer and closer to actually happening with each back cover I turn to. And as I have been looking at all the novels that I really shouldn’t have bought I have realised that they are just that.

Novels.

And then a couple of poetry collections. But I mainly have mostly novels.

And no plays.

I did a few plays during my time at uni but they were few and far between and so I didn’t ever really feel like I got to grips with them.

Then of course there is Shakespeare who is my one, true literature love and I have read several of his plays (a few of them more than once) and love them all very dearly and I for sure need to read all the plays that I have never had to study (or at least haven’t had to yet). But when I’m in a bookshop (Waterstones, it’s almost always Waterstones. I don’t think I’ve even stepped foot in a Foyles before…) I don’t even go and browse the plays section.

There are so many good plays out there though and so I don’t see why they’re never something I am drawn to because they should be, just as much as any novel.

I think there is a part of me that is like well plays are meant to be performed and so reading them is never going to provide the true experience. And that is true on some levels, I’m not going to deny that. But I’ve studied plays and the fact that I’m not watching them has never really been a problem. In fact it makes it all the more interesting.

It makes you think about all the ways that an actor could interpret one line or scene. Or how a director would interpret the stage directions, or in some cases the lack of stage directions. How a stage would be built, how the actors would interact when they are in the scene but not saying anything. A play actually sparks a lot more of your imagination than a novel because you have to make up so much more. They challenge you just as much.

I found it such a bore to study them though. Probably because it did require so much more analysis. There’s more to think about when you’re studying a play and sometimes you just wanna take the easy way out and just speed through the play and then move on.

But when I have reached the other side of this year’s reading challenge, which let’s be real will now probably be 2018 I am going to make more of an effort to read more plays. I want to be better and wider read and I therefore need to include more plays in my reading repertoire. In the same way that I sometimes have to throw in a documentary into my viewing just after I’ve blitzed my way through RuPaul’s Drag Race.

It’s all about balance.

Parentheses count: 1. See you tomorrow!

 

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Books, My Life

How I Choose My Books Tag

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I am taking a break from the book reviews today just as a bit of relief and because we all know that I love me a tag post. I saw this one on Orange Owl Diaries alllll the way back in September and instantly knew that I had to just file it away for some day this month. Today is the day.

Real talk, I don’t own a bookshelf, I chose a lot of these books by memory and from the ones that I could see because they’ve not been fully put away somewhere. So, without further ado:

FIND A BOOK ON YOUR SHELVES WITH A BLUE COVER. WHAT MADE YOU PICK UP THE  BOOK IN THE FIRST PLACE?

Freedom, Jonathan Franzen. The books that are on my reading list for the rest of year are in plain sight so that I can just pick the next one up when I move onto it. And therefore this is the only one that I have just lying around.

THINK OF A BOOK YOU DIDN’T EXPECT TO ENJOY BUT DID. WHY DID YOU READ IT IN THE FIRST PLACE?

I will be honest, I didn’t think I would like Brideshead Revisited. It felt like it was going to be one of those books that you ‘should’ read because it’s considered a classic and well I’m an English Lit grad and to not have read some classics is almost a crime. So I read it, and I was surprised at how quickly I read it and how much I enjoyed it. This surprise also came from the fact that I tried to watch the adaptation of it and got bored very quickly, which was weird because it had Ben Whishaw, Matthew Goode and Hayley Atwell in it. All people that I love usually. Maybe I need to give it another shot now that I’m older and have a better understanding of the text.

STAND IN FRONT OF YOUR BOOKSHELF WITH YOUR EYES CLOSED AND PICK UP A BOOK AT RANDOM. HOW DID YOU DISCOVER THIS BOOK?

The first book I can think of (told you doing this from memory) is The Red Queen. This book was on my radar in the peripheral of my brain because I had seen it on some book blogs over the last couple of years and it’s on my TBR, but the reason it came to mind is because I have a special edition of this book. I was called to this book because of the special edition. It was just sitting pretty and I couldn’t help myself, before I knew it I had picked it up and was buying it. Then I read the first page and knew it would be my kind of thing, when I finally got around to reading. Whenever that may be.

PICK A BOOK THAT SOMEONE PERSONALLY RECOMMENDED TO YOU. WHAT DID YOU THINK OF IT?

Someone recommended Station Eleven to me and I am honestly so thankful that they did. It’s not necessarily from a genre that I read very often just because it’s so easy for dystopian novels to be done badly or in way that just feels like it’s been done before, so I tend to work only on recommendations for that genre for that reason. I loved this book.

PICK A BOOK YOU DISCOVERED THROUGH BOOK BLOGS. DID IT LIVE UP TO THE HYPE?

I’m pretty sure Rainbow Rowell came onto my radar because I kept seeing people talking about Fangirl on Tumblr. And well, that book is my jammmm. If I didn’t have so many new books to read and worlds to discover I would so reread that book. Although having said that, you give me a solid day where I don’t have anything to do I could probably devour it again.

FIND A BOOK ON YOUR SHELVES WITH A ONE WORD TITLE. WHAT DREW YOU TO THIS BOOK?

Godsgrave. It’s the sequel to Nevernight which is one of my favourite books that I have read this year and it’s been mocking me ever since it entered my world in early September because there are other books that I have to read first and also I don’t wanna read it because once I do then I will have to wait until the last book and I want to prolong that happening for as long as possible and in the meantime I will just stare longingly at the gilded black pages.

WHAT BOOK DID YOU DISCOVER THROUGH A FILM/TV ADAPTATION?

Uhhhhhh, Big Little Lies I guess. I was kind of aware of the book because it cropped on my Instagram a couple of times and I filed it away on my mental TBR list, but then I watched the TV adaptation and was gripped by it and so in love with the complex story telling and the many layers to these female characters that I knew I had to read the book just to truly get all those nuances and see how the world was built on paper.

THINK OF YOUR ALL-TIME FAVOURITE BOOKS. WHEN DID YOU READ THESE AND WHY DID YOU PICK THEM UP IN THE FIRST PLACE?

One of my all time faves is The Night Circus (surprise, surprise). I read it a couple of years ago now and again I read it because it kept cropping up on Tumblr and kept seeing how it was full of beautiful imagery and was the slowest of burns plot wise and well I’m a sucker for that kind of writing. I was not disappointed. I also read The Secret History a couple of years ago and I picked that up because it was recommended to me by a friend at uni and she had such glowing things to say about, including again that the style of writing was just so beautiful. I’m a sucker for beautiful passages of writing and images that can haunt you for days what can I say?

And that is a little insight into more of my books, whilst also mentioning the same books that I almost always mention. I should really do a full overhaul of my books and truly chronicle what I have…which means what I really need is a bloody bookshelf…

Parentheses count: 2. See you tomorrow!

 

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