Thursday, 30 November 2017

How NaNoWriMo almost gave me the bends

Don't ask me why I'm using a sea analogy for this. I have no idea. Just bear with me, and dive in.

I'm a Pantser, I can't and don't plot. Seeing others planning actually was a cause of anxiety before NaNoWriMo even began. Should I be doing something? I have a vague idea, maybe the first paragraph in my head. Is that enough? 

Oh, NaNoWriMo is the National Novel Writing Month.
A whole load of crazy authors pledge to write 50,000 words in November. 
Just in case you didn't know. 

1st November arrived, and I just had to take the plunge. I dived straight in with the one little bit I already knew. 

Where this story would take me after that was anyone's guess. 

I immersed myself in the story as I wrote. I learnt a lot in a very short space of time. For instance, what florists do the other six days of the week. Turns out they're always busy. Who knew? 😉😁

It was all very pretty. I was enjoying the scenery and getting to know the characters. Aw, isn't writing wonderful? Happy place. lalala. 

Then I disappeared into a plothole (*insert dramatic music here*). 
I felt like Alice, falling down a dark place. 
Where on Earth was I? What was happening? 

And then I had some days of NOT writing!! Argh, I was behind my target. How would I ever catch up? Panic set in.

This is never going to happen. I'm too far behind. Already there's others who are finishing, but I'm way behind. All is lost. Abort, abort! 

I started trying to fight my way to the surface, hurrying too quickly. I was in danger of getting the bends. 

But then my lovely writing buddies rallied around. 
"Just keep writing, just keep writing," they reminded me. 
I'm great at giving this advice to others. Rubbish at actually following it myself. 

I listened. 
I read the useful tips on the NaNoWriMo site, and their emails. 
Others were posting lovely memes about how to write, how plots should be formed etc.
OK, I did too, but you can't expect me to pay attention to my own posts. Really. 

But with a bit of hand holding, I was able to push on. I relaxed, and allowed myself to just go with the flow. 

I had a really good writing day. I woke up naturally (no alarm clock), and had the plot drifting through my mind as I was finally in that place between sleep and awake. I usually rely on this when I write, but it hadn't happened yet during this book. Hello, old friend. Thank you. I have a direction again.

Not wishing to lose my mojo, I stayed at home on the Saturday whilst my husband and his children went out and had fun without me 😭

But it was worth it. I was back on track. Just in time, as I then headed into the final week. 

And then it happened. On Tuesday 29th November 2017, I hit the magic 50,000 word goal. 
(*insert fanfares, confetti and much merriment*)

I emerged victorious!
I came, I saw, I conquered.
Oh the relief, the sheer sense of achievement. It was amazing.
Even I had to admit my own awesomeness (I don't do this very often). 
I was a winner! 

So, was it all worth it?
The sweat, the worry, the stress, the pressure, the difficult times?
Hell yeah! 
It was a terrific motivator. I'm really glad I took part in my first ever NaNoWriMo.

And honestly, if you take part and don't reach 50k who cares? 
It's more of a guideline anyway. 😉
As long as you have more words than when you started, you are a winner. 

But every writer knows, this is only the beginning.
There is more story to go before I can proudly pronounce 'the end'.
Then there will be the (*drumroll*)... EDITING!!! 😱 (*scream*)

Congratulations to all writers who took part, or are just writing on their own. 
You're doing a great job. 
Keep telling your tails; see what I did there? 😉

Always with love & light,

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

What's the deal about Christmas?

No, I'm not a Grinch. That's not what this article's about.
But what is it with Christmas, that makes some people pout? 
It is a time to be filled with love, goodwill and cheer.
But all around me, lots of moaning is what I hear. 

It is far too soon to decorate your room,
Never you mind that it banishes the gloom. 
Nothing should be done until late December.
And it should be about Jesus, remember. 

Christmas songs are being played in shops,
Even in the butchers. I just want chops! 
We'll be sick of it by the time the day is here. 
Never mind, we'll have the same argument next year. 

Tee hee. Like my little Ode to a Christmas Cynic?
Every year we have the same moaning and whinging from some, whilst others are over excited, and have the tree up by the end of November.
The shops put their Christmas adverts out nice and early. Well, they've spent a fortune trying to lure us in; they want to get their money's worth.
"It's over commercialised," I hear some say. And yes, it is in a way.

My step children are both in their teens. There is no Father Christmas, and no magic for him to bring.
They're not even overly bothered by presents, and barely glance up from their devices as family gather around.
I had been wondering why I even bother with the big festive feast. I cook turkey with all the trimmings every year. I really like doing it, but it gets stressful, and hubby doesn't overly like turkey.
I tried goose one year, but it was considerably more expensive, and only hubby appreciated it.

But, without the turkey, pigs in blankets, bread sauce (made with brioche), cranberry sauce etc. we don't really have anything. At this stage of our lives the meal IS our Christmas. That's a bid sad, isn't it?

(this is what I look like in my head, but in reality I'm more off a half drunk sweaty mess)

We're not Christians. Not that many among our acquaintance are either. Those of our friends who get the most excited are actually the least religious. Odd!
So, we don't have church to attend, or Jesus to cherish.

It could be argued it's not really a Christian festival. There are those who would point out that Jesus was born some time around April. But it's celebrated on December 25th as it covered up the pagan festival of Yule.

Now Yule is definitely something I can get into.
You may have noticed, I'm part witch. But even without that, I love what Yule represents.
It celebrates the return of the light. The Winter Solstice marks the shortest day just before Christmas Day.
It brings hope that days will now start to become longer again. And spring isn't too far away.

I get SAD. My mood plummets around this time of year (hence this article).
I really struggle, and just want to hibernate like a little bear until crocuses start to emerge.
Regrettably, I'm human. Humans must carry on.

So, I decorate my tree at the start of December. I worked out it's better environmentally to buy a plastic one and re-use it for many years. No needle drop either ;-) So, I can feasibly decorate it, and bring some much needed, beloved light into my home.
This also serves as a memory jog, a nudge to get out and buy the few presents I need to buy.

Incidentally, a few years back I put a spending limit on presents. Bless him, hubby became over enthusiastic. This was lovely, and I got very spoiled, but I'm crap at buying presents, so it actually made me feel bad.
This year I've asked him to sponsor a girl for me. I've seen adverts on TV about it. The poor girls in other countries who are dragged out of school and forced into marriage at a ridiculously young age, where all kinds of horrors await.
I have all I need. They clearly do not. If I can help even one of them, is this not a better gift? To give someone a life is surely a wonderful thing.

Anyway, I'm getting off track.
Whether you are already sitting amongst piles of wrapped presents, more excited than a kid in a sweet shop.
Or whether you're sat with your 'bah humbug' hat on, scowling.
Or even if you're crying because it reminds you of a loved one who's no longer here, and celebrating is the last thing you feel like doing.
That's OK.

Christmas is a deeply personal thing.
It means something different to each one of us.
I'm not going to judge you. Just as I ask you not to judge me.

Celebrate in your own sodding way, and stop worrying about what others are doing!
Stop having the same argument every year. We're allowed our own opinion.

Please remember that every religion will teach you a fundamental truth:
Love is the way. Hold compassion in your heart.

So, whatever and however you're celebrating...
I wish you love & light. 
And to all a goodnight.

Psst...this would make a great stocking filler for adults:

Saturday, 18 November 2017

What do I look like?

So, the time is nigh! 
Having kept myself in the shadows, a little like the great Banksy, I am finally about to reveal myself. 

I've been self-published for 4.5 years, and have 7 books out in the world, yet nobody has seen any proper pictures of author me.

I did this firstly as a form of protection. I write under a pseduonym.
This was partly to protect myself, but also those connected with me. 
But this is now less of an issue. 

It has also forced me to use my writing in its own right. 
My words and books have been able to speak for themselves without interference. 

But it has kept me in the shadows.
This was a good thing, but also a bad one. 

So, I'm going to break the chains of my own making. 
But only once I've reached 1,000 followers on Instagram. 
Clever marketing? No, I'm really not that clever. 
I just need the support to take the final plunge. 

Having been secret for so long, it's now weird and scary to reveal my appearance to you all. 
It's strange, but it's true. 
Think what Clark Kent would feel like telling his co-workers/fans that he is in fact Superman.
Or any of the superheroes, for that matter.
Not that I'm a superhero. I'm just a normal person. Actually, you'll probably be really disappointed. 

So, to find out whether I'm a beauty or a beast (or just something in between), please go and follow me on Instagram, spread the news (there's a post on Faceook and Twitter

Thank you for your support. 

Always in love & light,