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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Books, My Life

Coffee Book Tag

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I’m gonna level with you, I broke glass for emergency tag post today because it was supposed to be a review. But I could not find the words for it yesterday when I was trying to write it so I pushed it back and then when I got home from work today I still couldn’t do it. So I pushed it back again and then panicked, because I had nothing else.

But good old reliable YouTube black holes provided and so I ended up with this because YouTube always provides and my recommended videos are a strange place to be and it combines two of my favourite things in books and coffee.

1. Black: Name a series that’s tough to get into but has hardcore fans.

I’m kind of scared to involved in anything to do with Sarah J Maas. I randomly have book 5 from the Throne of Glass series (it was signed, I have a problem, I know) but I’m scared to actually start it. Those fans be passionate.

2. Peppermint mocha: Name a book that gets more popular during the winter or a festive time of year.

I mean  My True Love Gave to Me is just pure festive. It’s full of warm fuzzy Christmas feelings and it’s delightful. However my Christmas time reading will be all Hamilton related, because yes, that is how I plan on finishing out this reading year.

3. Hot chocolate: What is your favourite children’s book?

Double Act. I’ve said this so many times before

4. Double shot of espresso: Name a book that kept you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.

Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train

5. Starbucks: Name a book you see everywhere.

At the moment nothing. But at one point I saw Cassandra Clare a lot on my commute into work, and I was one of those people for a large chunk of this year.

6. That hipster coffee shop: Give a book by an indie author a shoutout

I feel bad in that I don’t read much from indie authors…but I feel like people need to talk about Jessie Burton more. The Muse was nothing short of pure genius wrapped in stunning writing.

7. Oops! I accidentally got decaf: Name a book you were expecting more from.

I have so many and yet initially I could not think of a single one. Our Chemical Hearts was the first one that eventually came to mind. It just didn’t do it for me.

8. The perfect blend: Name a book or series that was both bitter sweet but ultimately satisfying.

Oh look, here we are. Turns out I can’t go a book post without bringing this up. It’s Harry Potter…

And there we have my emergency book tag post done.

Give it a shot if you like, I would love to read them.

Parentheses count: 1. See you tomorrow!

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My Life

When do you feel the most creative?

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This post was scheduled with the title alone and so that is all I had to go on, which is always nice and useful, but then again the me of the late hours/early hours of a day doesn’t always make the best decisions. The good news (for me at least) is that this is a nice and concise title that I have been left with by past me.

So, when do I feel most creative?

Currently, it feels like almost never. Seriously, I feel like creativity is just alluding me in all forms. It’s just not there. So there’s that.

However when it does decide to be a thing that visits me and make a home in my life, then I feel most creative at times when it is the most inconvenient.

When I’m in the shower, when I’m about to drift off into a proper good sleep, when I’m sat in a meeting, when I’m just sat at my desk doing work, when I’m in the middle of exercising. Just ya know all the times in which I can’t really sit down and write them out coherently and try and figure out just what the hell I am trying to get at.

It basically means that I have a lot of random notes on my phone, dotted around my desk, filed away in vaults of my brain that I’ve lost access to now. It means that creatively speaking I am a total mess and I work in pockets of time where I am a) focused enough to actually pour words out onto a page and b) where I am actually inspired in the moment enough to write more than a single disjointed sentence.

I keep trying to get into a routine with it all, and I was doing okay with it at first, but then as with most things that I start out well with it just sort of fizzled out and I stopped being as disciplined with it. So, basically I need to get better at that.

But in summary, I am at my most creative at the times in which it is the least convenient for me but sometimes it gives me ideas that stick around and linger and pretty much beg for me to do something with them until I eventually do so.

…which I am slowly starting to do, but more on that at a later date.

Anyway, parentheses count: 1. See you tomorrow!

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My Life

Write a letter defining one thing you learned, for every year you have been alive

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So the task today sounded pretty simple, in my head I was like ‘oh this is easy’, but then I realised that I had to think of 23 things and then somehow I started panicking about it. Not a legitimate kind of panic, just a kind of thing where I don’t know if I can make it 23 things. But I’m basically going to try and they range from super trivial to very deep (also this is not a letter because there are only so many that I can address to myself without feeling like I’m having an existential).

1)My sweet tooth is my downfall.

2) That I actually do know how to cook.

3) My sense of direction is somehow both fine and truly awful.

4) I should probably have stuck to not liking coffee because goodness is caffeine a problem for me now.

5) I have next to no musical talent.

6) I can read a book really fast if I put my mind to it.

7) There is absolutely nothing wrong with what I look like. That just took  21 years to fully understand.

8) Starting a blog was the best idea that I ever had.

9) If I really put my mind to it, I can make a pretty decent coffee. Like latte art and all.

10) Malibu is not my drink.

11) I get more diva-ish about jewellery the older I get.

12) There is nothing I like more than having absolutely no plans at all.

13) I probably cannot be all that spontaneous. I need at least an hour’s notice for small things and a full 24 hours for ‘big’ things. It keeps the anxiety in check.

14) Exercise isn’t actually the worst thing in the world, but running will always be the devil to me. I’m just not designed for it.

15) I am a really good binge watcher…I don’t know why that feels like a lesson learned, but it does.

16) I retain a lot of really useless information.

17) The perfect cocktail of shampoo, conditioner and product to tame my hair and make me not hate it completely anymore.

18) I like setting challenges for myself. Even if I always hit a wall with them and then hate myself for setting them in the first place. The satisfaction at the end of them is always great.

19) I’m getting better at cutting the things that I know will annoy me out of my life.

20) It’s not that I’m scared to try new things, it’s that I have to try the new things on my own terms and can’t cope with it when people try to force things on me.

21) Not doing history at uni for my degree is up there as one of the best decisions I have ever made.

22) I am really good at planning fantasy holidays.

23) That I can make it through 100% of my truly bad days.

And that’s that done. Here’s to learning more things!

Parentheses count: 1. See you tomorrow!

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Creative Writing, My Writing, writing

Write a letter to your parents.

 

Dear,

Hating you seems counter productive.

It’s not your fault. It’s ridiculous that I have to keep reminding my of that fact.

It’s not your fault.

And I am not a martyr.

It feels like it sometimes. In my more selfish moments. It feels like I’ve just put my whole life on hold for them. For you.

Every time I feel sleep dragging me towards it and then I get pulled away by a screaming child or a complaint of a nightmare I hate you and feel like I’m sacrificing a part of myself on your behalf. I feel like these kids, my siblings, are leeching any life force that I might have within me somewhere and using it to fuel something I probably won’t get to see because one of them is going to take too much.

And it’s funny because I can almost hear you telling me that I don’t have to do this. That I worked so hard for so long and I shouldn’t have to put myself through this. I get the feeling that you would be lying through the skin of your teeth but you’d say it because that’s the kind of people that you are.

Were.

You want what’s best for all your kids. All of us and I guess that means me even though I’ve technically not been a ‘kid’ for over a decade now. And yeah, looking after the others probably isn’t what’s best for me. I definitely don’t think it’s best for them, but it’s what the 5 of us have right now and I need to remember that it’s not your fault that this is the way that our lives are and that I am not a martyr.

They are my mantras now.

But enough about me, I should talk about the things that the kids have done since you’ve been gone. It’s been a year now and a lot has happened.

There is some writing happening, some people actually want me to write for them even though everything is more skittish and frantic in my brain than ever. There’s a guy. Yeah really, a guy. He’s great. He’s tolerant. Which might not be the first thing that some people say about their relationships, but there you go. It’s what you need when you spring this kind of thing on another person out of nowhere. Tolerance. God knows it hasn’t been easy, but it’s been something. Something that I can’t quite imagine living without at this stage now. It’s been hard for sure, but when has anything ever really been easy?

Amelia. Mia. Total superstar. Obviously you already know that given that she was already one when you left, but she’s gotten into Harvard since then, and even though I know you saw that one coming it’s still a massive thing. She’s trying to play it cool but I can tell she is both equal parts excited and terrified about the prospect. Mainly I think she’s freaking out about the fact that she is going to have to contend with seasons for the first time ever. The prospect of snow is throwing her more than the thought of moving all the way to Massachusetts and almost starting anew. She’s on the way to making valedictorian, because apparently you breed those, so she’s started thinking about the speech and that’s instilling a new kind of fear in her. Things are all go for her at the moment and it’s thrilling to watch it happen for her, even if everything is tainted in sadness.

Scott and Lydia really banded together after everything happened. They almost became inseparable and pretty much have stayed that way. It causes some bother at the school, the fact that they still kick up a fuss when they have to go to their separate classes. I’m kind of dreading the time when they have to go separate schools because I don’t think they’ll be ready for that when the time comes. Although having said that they always have a way of surprising me, I’m sure it was the same with you. Lydia has really thrown herself into the dancing thing, she wants to be on Dancing With the Stars. Scott has decided that sports is his thing. Soccer, basketball, baseball, track. The only one that he won’t play is football, which I think I am grateful for because I don’t know if I could do that. They’re doing well though. They’re doing well now. They had this tendency to run off and hide from me at first, but that has eased off now thankfully. And well I can’t be too mad at them for it because ultimately their horrifying antics led us all to Josh.

Hayden, as can be expected, is the one where there has been the most change. He’s walking and talking and sleeping through the night. He’s eating solid food and has a thing for roast potatoes. His laugh is one of my favourite sounds in the world and apparently he doesn’t like my hair when it’s blonde. He looks like you Dad, more and more every day now. It’s weird. But I figure if he somehow ends up being more like Dad then anything else, even without you being here then it wouldn’t be the worst thing. In fact it would be pretty great.

We miss you, that’s a given, but we are making do. Trying to make do anyway. Over the past year it has gotten a bit easier. I imagine it will continue to get easier the longer we have, which is frankly a scary thought but I guess that’s life.

We love you and we miss you.

Nix

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My Life

What Inspires You?

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New week, and Easter Monday, and all that jazz. So I think the title pretty much tells you all you need to know about what to expect from this post today.

The answer to the question can be summed up in one word: words.

They inspire me more than anything I have ever experienced.

I know a lot of people who are visual. They can see a picture of something and then can just go with it because they know exactly where they want to go creatively. They can take inspiration from anything they see around them. If I try to do that I just hit a wall. I hit a wall and crash into pieces in spectacular fashion and then just fall into a well of despair and lack of anything that could even be considered a full sentence.

Don’t get me wrong it happens sometimes. And I am always floored by art objectively speaking. But being inspired by it? That’s a rarity.

Back when I existed in a cycle of revision, sleep, eat, repeat (from 14-21) everyone always told me that I needed to find the way that I worked best. And I did. I wrote a shit ton of notes. I wrote pages and pages of notes. I wrote them down on revision cards. I highlighted away. Academically speaking, I think I did alright with that.

And that translated into my creative life (as it were).

I have caught stray words somewhere as I am walking from point A to B and that has led me to think of a whole short story in my head, which has never actually left my head and made it onto a page, but it has kept me entertained at particularly boring parts of the day.

Quotes get me more than anything else. I have seen quotes from so many different sources that have again sparked so many ideas. Ones that actually made it out onto the page. Ones that go on for pages and actually sustain me. Ones that are fed by other quotes and words that I see while I’m living my life.

It is 100% the reason that the Snapshot series exists. And why it keeps on going…and why it has fizzled out slightly, because words are making me think of other things.

Music as well. Goodness does music inspire me. It’s my default way to try and get myself out of a writing funk. I can just hear one lyric in a song and run with it. It feels like it opens the floodgates or something, which is usually exactly what I need most because by that point I have almost hit the bottom of the pit and had no hope of getting out any time soon.

Anything that involves a beautifully constructed sentence or phrase and I am there. Somehow I am there.

So yeah, the short answer to what inspires me is words. But words are so much more than that to me.

Which is useful given what I have in store for myself in April (the last time I talk about this thing cryptically, all will be revealed soon).

Parentheses count: 3. See you tomorrow!

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My Life

The Book Hangover

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So a couple of weeks ago I talked about Reading Slumps and then (somewhat predictably) I fell straight into one. Hard. Which brings me on to this post, because it was one of the few occasions where I could attribute my lack of desire to pick a book up and read to an exact moment in time.

It was the moment when I shut The Girl on the Train (yeah I am talking about this again without actually producing on this review, it has been written I swear to you, it’s coming soon) on the train home and wished that I could start it all over again and go back to knowing nothing about it. I didn’t want to leave it. I’m not gonna say ever because that would be ridiculous, but I definitely wasn’t ready to leave it in the same way that I was the other books that I have read recently.

I hardcore fell into a Book Hangover.

You know that feeling where even though you have opened up a new book but your thoughts are still very much with the old one? And you try and try to get into this new one that holds so much promise and are even kind of excited to read but you just can’t. 

Nothing seems to work. You read the same sentence about 15 times before you even realise that you’re doing so. And despite reading it that many times you still don’t know what the hell the sentence even said or why it is relevant.

And your brain is still thinking about that one thing that almost kept you up at night when you reading your last book even though it is kind of no longer relevant. Like, you’re trying to put that story to bed and the universe seems to be telling you that you can’t. The universe seems to want you to second guess some of the things that you thought you knew about the book and taunt you into reading it all over again. And read nothing ever again. Just that one book. Until you can recite it in your sleep backwards.

Which sounds super fun and would definitely solve the problem of not being able to read. Because reading is something that is still within you but apparently only if you read that one book. Which is impractical. Insanely impractical. Especially when there is a whole list of books that I wanna read. So many books.

And yet I still really wanna read The Girl on the Train again and let’s not even get me started on The Night Circus I have hidden that book from myself to avoid reading it again, but I accidentally caught it the sight of the spine when I was walking around Waterstones the other day (no I shouldn’t have been in there, but I couldn’t help it, it was calling to me) and it was thrust firmly back onto my radar. Still love it.

And hopefully I will get to the stage where I could carry on with my reading life and not feel some odd sense of guilt that I am leaving TGOTT behind me and moving (or at least trying to) onto 17th century Amsterdam (which is actually a lie because of today I switched the book I planned on reading to something less historical. So I’m actually now in an The Art of Being Normal mode).

Is this just a me thing? Does anyone else experience this? And what books have people experienced this with? I’m curious, plus you know I really need to add more books onto my TBR list…

Parentheses count: 4. See you tomorrow!

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