Monday, 21 November 2011

Nanowrimo - ohmywordo

Quick update - I am struggling with this a LOT! Day 22 and I have 22,000 words under my belt. Just to recap, the target is 50,000 by the end of November. I need to write around 2,700 every day to finish on time. I managed 5,000 yesterday which shows you just how far behind I had become! Or just how much can be done in one day! Depends if you are a half full or half empty kind of person.

I was *this* close to quitting twice last week but have decided to plough on! Wish me luck. I will definitely do this again next year but will plan a little and decide before the 2nd Nov that I'm going to join!!
To any other crazies out there tapping a way - best of british :-)

PS 22k in 22 days then 28k in 8 days - of course it's doable :-/

PPS I will post back in December when I have time to breathe again and let you know if I made it or not. Place your bets......

Tuesday, 1 November 2011


Well I have been very quiet of late I'm afraid, usual life things invading my writing time - building works, husbands 40ths (yes, he had 2 like the queen), kids etc etc but now I am really throwing myself into it. I have registered for Nanowrimo

I know!!!

I have never really looked into this properly but it kind of struck me as the literary equivalent of 60 minute makeover. Still, the combination of a) building work on the house starting this week and being VERY noisy (who knew) and b) a friends chance status on facebook deliberating entering have resulted in me deciding to knock out a novel in a month. I figure if I'm taking refuge from the noise and dust in coffee shops and libraries around town then I might as well put the free wifi to good use?

To put this into some perspective, I have been planning a food blog for some months (I felt like I wanted to split the writing/health & fitness aspects of this blog) and have been contemplating a name for over 2 months now.

I couldn't write 3 words in 2 months, and now I am planning over 2000 a day. The mind boggles. Well, enough talking about it - I need to get cracking on the novel. Did I mention that I don't have a plan or idea yet??

Good luck to any others entering the madness this month - I will keep you posted - if my fingers don't fall off first.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

It struck me today how much my Dad would have loved twitter... actually punched me full in the chest. The thought struck, like many good thoughts, while I was cleaning the bath (this may go part way to explaining why our bath is still tie-died on the bottom half.)

Now the thought has lodged itself in my chest like a kettle crisp swallowed lengthways. He once text me from a ski-trip to tell me he was up a mountain drinking beer in the sun while I was at work, he phoned me from concerts at wembley and was the first person I knew to have a fax machine. Aside from my Grandmother, and that's another story.

Twitter would have been irresistible.

So I'll add twitter to the list - the latest addition joining iPads, booja booja ice cream, sky on the go and grandchildren. You miss so much Dad. We miss more.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

You down with NLP, yeah you know me

Picked up this Change your Life with NLP at the library last week. Am just a few chapters in but really loving it. So far I have focused on my goals, written a 3 year plan, looked at my life balance and learnt about the power of the mind. Pretty cool for 4 chapters huh?!

I am excited about finishing the rest of this book and will definitely report back, but wanted to share a quote from the end of chapter 4.

Tip: Nothing has any power over you other than that which you give it through your daily thoughts.

I really LOVE this. Reminds me of the Dune books saying that fear is the mind killer. Well, that's enough feel good Oprah shit for one morning. Happy monday to you all :-)

Saturday, 3 September 2011

Not writing.....or am I?

Have not been doing much writing. But I have been doing a LOT of tweeting. And updating facebook. And even making up a few vegan recipes for a newsletter. So that's kind of writing, isn't it? It's all words? Most of them comprehensible too. If you counted all the little 140 character thoughts that I have sent out over the summer that would be a lot of writing. I may count them up later, out of interest. Mine, obviously, not yours. Unless, you know, you have a thing about word counts. In which case, get help.

Summer holidays are over on wednesday next week and I am all set to start a new kick arse routine. I think I have mentioned before that I love a new year, or a new week and a new term is right up there for me. Time for a new timetable, new goals and best of all, a shiny new pencil case. Expect more blogging from me coming right at you from this September.*

*nb this probably means blogs every day for a week, then a couple the next week, before it dwindles off to an appalling 1 a month. You know, if past performance is anything to go by!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Tattoo Tuesday Link to Tattoo Mummy

I have 9 butterflies from my left hip to shoulder - 1 for each of the females on my side of the family. They each chose the colour of their butterfly - this is one of my favourites, it is silver/grey for my daughter Jasmine (age 7 then, 9 now).

There are some things that I would change about the butterflies as a whole if I could (!) but I love the idea behind the tattoo and keeping these chicks close!

New Post, New Look.....

I thought it was time for a facelift. But I can't afford one of those so I have changed my blog instead. Am still feeling my way round here so am hoping a fresh look will inspire me a little! I have been very slow on blogging because quite frankly this blog has been boring me - not a great sign! I wonder if I made the remit a little to narrow?

Anyway, am back now and my next post is going to be a little different. I am going to attempt to link up with Tattoo Mummy's Tattoo Tuesday - wish me luck. This feels a little bit like when my Granny got a fax machine (don't ask!)

Friday, 29 July 2011

Failure. Lots of failure.

I have failed to enter lots of competitions. Even a blog one by a fellow blogger that I was determined to enter. I have failed to keep to my timetable. I have failed to blog. I have failed to start the fiction part of my course and have pretty much failed to do any writing at all. And now it's the summer holidays. 6 weeks off with the kids - that's going to give me lots more time isn't it!!

Still, things can only go one way from here?! Here's to being more disciplined with the little time that I do have now - who knows, maybe it will work?

(On a positive note I am still gymming around 3 times a week and have successfully shifted a few pounds with a new detox regime, so it's not all fail, fail, fail round here. Although mainly it is.)

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Half Way Point

Well there's no denying that I'm halfway through my self-imposed year of fitness and writing. I have tried denying it over the last two weeks but time refused to change direction for me. I thought it would be a good time to mull over the first 6 months and see what worked and what didn't. I am still such a pa.


  1. I am still going to the gym - this is probably my longest stretch ever and even on my worst weeks I think I have managed 2 sessions (apart from that week I took off to detox but hey, that was one week, who's counting?)
  2. I have finished the non-fiction section of my course and am all set to launch into the fiction part which I have been predicting I will enjoy so much more and therefore spend much more time on.
  3. I entered a non-online competition. And then another one. 
  4. I won my first non-online competition.
  5. I use twitter daily. Hey that's writing too - it's a strict discipline sticking to 140 characters you know.
Failures (yes I could call them areas for improvement but let's all be honest here):

  1. I rarely manage my goal of 4 exercise sessions a week.
  2. I am almost a stone heavier than this time last year despite numerous attempts to shift weight (detox, holford, detox, harcombe, detox, liver clense, detox, DETOX) 
  3. I finished the non-fiction side of my course some weeks ago and still haven't attempted the first fiction assignment
  4. I have hardly entered all year - saturdays are just so busy normally
  5. I have only entered 3 competitions so far. My goal was 10. Alright it was 12, jeez you're fussy.
  6. I have yet to stick to a workable schedule that allows me to work out, write & keep on top of house/school stuff etc 
With all this in mind, I sketched out a new schedule yesterday whilst waiting for a friend at the gym. I have divided each week day into 2 hour time slots (9-11, 11-1, 1-3) and will use one for exercise, 1 for writing and 1 for other jobs.  

Who knows - perhaps this will be the winning strategy for me. I know I need to get stricter about my writing time in particular, and look, I'm updating my blog for the first time in weeks so that's got to be a good thing? Right?!  

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Quiet Weekend

We are faced with the luxury of a whole w/end with no fixed plans. How shall we spend these precious hours? Last minute city break? Educational museum visit? Impromptu party for friends?
No. Of course not. We have a mini clear of the garage. Not a proper one, just a mini one. We, you see, know how to live.

It went as well as could be expected, we have managed to forge another path through the detritus of our lives. Between the bikes and the water-pressure cleaner (that you know, we probably WILL actually use. Probably soon.) and the car boot sale pile (not sure how it is that no matter how many I do, the pile never actually gets smaller) we can now have a clear run through to the freezer. We don't need an extra freezer. Being a veggie household means there is little call for massive freezing space. We don't have any dead carcasses to hold, but we inherited it with the house and so we keep it. Full of ice and ice packs and 1 packet of samosas from a kids party some time ago. It's main role is as a shelf for our booze. I like to have a backstock of prosecco to call on in times of need (you know; parties, barbecues, fridays). We lodge them on the freezer along with the real ale (brother-in-law), sparkling water (kids) and alcopops (sister).

I'm not sure who had the bright idea of storing bottles (breakable, glass bottles) of alcohol on top of the highest surface in the garage but it was not their finest hour. Almost inevitably one of the bacardi breezers breezed on down to the floor and smashed everywhere. This helped marital relations considerably. Stretching the final threads of goodwill that the 'squashing all the tent equipment back into it's case' hadn't already snapped. Still, we have a nice clean garage now. With the slightest hint of teenager. Yes, thats right, our garage smells like teen spirit.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Another week, another plan

Writing my to-do list today (yes, an everyday occurrence without which I would possibly slump on the sofa all day watching Ellen. Ok even with which, I sometime slump on the sofa all day watching Ellen. But then I tick it off my list which makes it better somehow) I notice that for something like the 12th week running I have the entry 'plan schedule - writing/gym/house etc'

I have tried many systems this year:

a) Writing solidly for 3 days (didn't really happen)
b) Doing all jobs/gym etc in the morning and then writing from 1pm-3pm - good in theory but often interrupted
c) Committing to x amount of hours writing a week and then trying to fit it in as and when - this was perhaps the most spectacularly unsuccessful method to date

So, here I am, almost halfway through the year and still without a weekly rota that works for me. I am wondering if any of you have any top tips? I basically need to fit in cleaning the house (about 4 hours), 3 or 4 gym sessions and the writing (which I can split into course, comps and blog). I have all day free between 9 and 3 so really have no excuses. I should be on top of everything - any tips or systems that have worked for you would be greatly appreciated.  Just for info, I waste a great deal of time on my emails, facebook and twitter accounts - I suspect that my schedule should include built in time for these. And perhaps I may need to surrender my iphone??

Friday, 10 June 2011


I really cannot keep my eyes open today. Not sure I could even read anything let alone write it!! This doesn't happen to me often but I actually wish I drank caffeine today!  Nothing exciting happened yesterday I just went to bed a little late and then woke up really early.  I blame twitter. And wine.
I'm either going to have to grab a nap or a herbal tea. Or maybe both.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Orange and Grazia Writer's Evening

Big excitement in my life last night (well, it delayed the ironing for an extra evening) when I won tickets to the above event at the Southbank Centre.

I am following both @OrangePrize and @Grazia_Live on twitter since entering their first chapter competition last month, and they both offered free tickets to people who retweeted the event. A click later and I had two tickets waiting for me at the desk. The only problem was I couldn't find anyone to go with me at such short notice so one ticket went spare - in fact, I nearly didn't go myself as I don't live in central London and the logistics of sorting travel, child care & the aforementioned ironing nearly put me off but I'm so glad they didn't!

Kate Mosse (Labyrinth, Sepulchre etc) was hosting and for the first part of the evening she interviewed Sadie Jones (The Outcast & Small Wars).  The audience was quite small but a show of hands showed that of those attending around 90% claimed to be writers (I kind of hovered my hand half up around my shoulder embarrassingly). Kate was an amazing host - I wasn't a great fan of the book of hers that I read but she was articulate and succinct, funny and definitely inspiring. I think I might try another of her books after all. Sadie was honest and informative but didn't look as if interviews were her favourite choice of evening activity. In fact, she looked like a dinner guest wondering how the hell they ended up on Come Dine With me, but being far too polite to say so.

They were joined for the second half by an agent, publisher & another author Jean Kwok who is Waterstones featured new writer for June (Girl In Translation). She was amazing, and had a great story. She had some short story success when younger and had an agent in New York. She relocated to Holland and took 10 years to write this book - sent it to her agent, and he passed on it! She said it was such a shock, but she put the book away for a month, got it out again and re-read it and realised she believed in it. She then made a list of the TOP agents in the US, emailed the first one a query letter and had a reply within 20 minutes asking for the MS.

The main message of the evening that I took away was the product has to be good. It was fascinating to hear from the agent and publisher their perspective.  As one of them put it "I'm not looking to fall in love, but it's worth it when I do." The final section was a question and answer session which the audience made great use of! Again, they reiterated the importance of the talent, the agent stated that her job was to look after the clients she already had - finding new blood was what happened at evenings and weekends!

It was such a rewarding evening, I bought Sadie and Jean's new books and came home on the train clutching these signed copies and my copious notes! As I tweeted to Orange & Grazia in my thank you - I felt in equal parts inspired and inadequate!

Monday, 6 June 2011

Update Grazia Comp

If any of you entered the Grazia / Orange first chapter competition then look out tomorrow as they are apparently announcing the winners and the short list. Over 1000 entrants and a shortlist of 13 so well done to the lucky ones whoever they are. Especially the overall winner who will be receiving her prize (£1k) at the actual Orange Book Awards on Weds night. Imagine! :-)

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Grazia Comp

Did any of you enter the Grazia/Orange competition?  They have just tweeted to say that they are whittling down the over 1000 entries to a shortlist of 13. I just managed to get mine entered in time and would like to come somewhere in this competition so much that it makes me a little breathless to think about it.  That must show some ambition, right?  I need to take that and use it to enter more things - have only entered 3 this year - very poor show.  Right, I'm off to work on the Bridport immediately.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Neglected Blog

Well, I haven't spent much time blogging lately. To be honest, I was boring myself a bit so I think I still need to dedicate some time to having a good look at other blogs and at my followers and try and decide what I want to do with this. I actually find that between emails, facebook & twitter, I barely have enough time for anything else.

Good points: I made the Grazia deadline so have now entered 3 competitions this year. I set myself the target of 10 so I have a little way to go considering I have about 6 weeks to go to the halfway point.
I have also finished the non-fiction section of my course with good comments from my tutor on my last assessment (planning a non-fiction book down to chapter summaries)
I am also back in the gym swing - Body Combat is my new favourite - I feel dangerous, I look ridiculous. But the music is great, so hey, who cares!

Bad points: Need to enter 6 more comps by end of year to hit target. Also need to sort blog out and find a rhythm with it. Still haven't entered a fiction assignment and I still am spending a lot of my designated 'writing' time doing admin.

Still, tomorrow is another day and I'm definitely a whole lot more 'writey' than I was a year ago. You can tell this just by looking at that last sentence #writey #sorrymum

Monday, 9 May 2011

Grazia Competition

Now trying my hand at competition number 3. In keeping with previous entries, I have left it till the day before deadline! So am now trying to come up with 1000 words on......The Deadline! If you fancy a last minute push too - try this link

Good luck!

Tuesday, 26 April 2011


I'm toying with moving to wordpro - any tips?

Need to dedicate a bit more time to blogging - how do others manage it?  Still only a few pages into my blogging book too - maybe I need to have a blogging week when I  concentrate on it? Or 1 day a week?

Perhaps I can do it on friday when I am avoiding the wedding mania gripping some. Mainly the media I suspect.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

PS Welcome to Knackered Mothers' Wine Club... 11th follower!  I am on the prosecco tonight - Maschio from Tescos. Cheers!

Nothing to see here, move along....

Bit of a disaster week. Kids off on hols and my "I'm still going to write 2 hours a day, hell we can all write for 2 hours a day" plans has not worked completely. Or, in fact, at all. Hmmm.

I did manage to enter write invite last week - thought I owed them after the hard copy comp!! But I wasn't shortlisted. I have ALMOST managed to read an entire issue of writing magazine - no mean feat! - and have got quite a few comp ideas from there.  Haven't acted on any of them yet though.

Kids off again next week - will see if I manage to get any writing time at all. In related news, I haven't seen the gym in QUITE a while. And my Davina dvd is just collecting dust. Must do better. In fact, if I manage just 1 session of either exercise of any kind of writing I will be doing better. Shouldn't be too hard a goal to tackle?

Monday, 11 April 2011

Good & Bad

Well the new schedule has been a run away success - I wrote for 4 out of the 5 days and only skipped the last one because the kids were breaking up at half one and I had a prosecco picnic to get ready. But that's a pretty good run for me - the best since I've started, I'd have to say.

And it means I've almost, almost nearly, finished ass 10. I just have one little bit to finish off. The snag is that the girls are now on holiday and so my 1 - 3 magic slot can't work. And I can't get to the gym either. Am going to need to be really disciplined and get up early or use the evenings - yikes! Disciplined is not my strong suit!

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

It's working!

Well, I know it's only day 2 so I probably shouldn't get carried away, but what the heck - it's working!!! Hooray! I am really loving the 2 hour writing slot - it's nice and easy because it's the same time every day and it's amazing what I've got done in these 2 days.

My assignment is almost finished! I have written a synopsis of a non-fiction book that I think I could write. I have written the chapter headings and a brief (under 100 word) description of each chapter. I've also part written the covering letter. All I have left to do now, is write one chapter out in full and then pick 3 publishers that I think I could submit too. I have been mulling this over for weeks so it's nice to finally get on with it, although obviously the mulling helped a lot as I pretty much knew the idea I was going to run with before I started yesterday.

I have decided to stick with 1pm - 3pm mon - fri and there is an unavoidable clash in the afternoon, then I will make the time up in the evening. Or maybe even get up early like some of you already do.  I just hope I can keep disciplined. It's never been my strong point!

Monday, 4 April 2011

New Week, new schedule

I love a new week or a new term. Especially a new year. Clean page in the diary = chance to start again. This week/term/year it will be different, I will steam forcefully through my to do list, I will write every day and the children will be clean and nice to each other.

I'm feeling optimistic.

New regime, that I'm piloting this week is to write 1 - 3 every week day. This gives me the morning to get gym, jobs and even coffees out of the way before I head home to get stuck in for 2 hours. Today I have been to the gym, gone to the Eco assembly at school and been to the tip. I'm about to eat a leisurely lunch (32 minutes) before I drop everything else to concentrate on the old writing.  I am going to ignore the fact that I haven't made dinner yet and there is a god forsaken easter event on at school later. 1 - 3 is not to be messed with.  I think I sound convincing this time - there might just be hope.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Welcome new followers - oh the excitement!

Hello to Jill, John (my husband - nice of you to come along honey!) and Simon - I think I am following all of your blogs back now, but please feel free to leave me a rude comment if I'm not.

I recently posted an ad through write invite - I won a competition before christmas and got a free one - I'm not a cheap skate, but not sure I'd have thought this blog worth spending advertising money on just yet!
So I was wondering if you new followers found me through that ad? Or some other crafty means?

I really haven't got the hang of blogger yet. Or twitter. They make me feel totally inept. And quite old. I must stop wasting time arsing around on facebook and research these other two more. Facebook feels to me like it's about to become the next myspace and I'm toying with ditching it for a full time move to twitter. The only problem is I don't have much of a network on twitter yet - it would feel a lot like talking to myself. A bit like this blog then!

Friday, 1 April 2011

I'd like to thank God, Sony, God, My Agent....

Well, apologies for the immodest blog yesterday but I was in TOTAL shock. My first competition. In fact, I still can't quite believe it. Am glad the results came out yesterday and not today or I'd have thought it was an April Fool.

I have to say, I was quite excited just waiting for the results. I get like that each week that I enter Write Invite too - I can't wait for Wednesdays to see if I've been shortlisted. Does anyone recognise themselves in this scene from the Simpsons?

Lisa: [panting] Grade me...look at me...evaluate and rank me! Oh, I'm
good, good, good, and oh so smart! Grade me!
[Marge scribbles an A on a piece of paper]
[Lisa walks off, muttering crazily and sighing]

So why aren't I entering more competitions? I could have this wonderful feeling of anticipation a lot more frequently. So here goes, another new start is declared! With this lovely confidence boost fresh in my mind, I am going to really get stuck into the writing now. 10 hours a week minimum. I'm going to block it into my diary again like I do with the gym. Pah, the housework can wait. Or maybe I could spend my winnings on a cleaner!!

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Oh My Gosh!

I won the Write Invite Hard Copy - so excited!  My first winnings - now what shall I spend it on??

Monday, 28 March 2011

House of Ill

A manic last week culminating in 3 drunken nights in a row. The final of which involved me cooking for ten people for the first time. With a hangover. A two day rollover one.
I drank, I smoke, I sang - it wasn't pretty. Today it has all caught up with me and I have worn my dressing gown over my clothes all day today. Ok, you got me, I often wear my dressing gown over my clothes but this time it has tissues in the pocket into which I am intermittently and theatrically spluttering.

To make the day just a little more special, I have a 7 and 8 year old following me around sighing in their dressing gowns. It is obvious that I overdid it last week and this is why I feel rough but I don't know what their excuse is?  I'm pretty sure they weren't doing Just Dance on the Wii at 1am on Saturday. Lightweights.

So another week has started with a slight skew to my plans for a week dedicated to my non-fiction book plans for my course. In between mopping brows (theirs) and drying tears (mine) I have managed to start the plan for my book.  Who knows, if we're all sofa-bound again tomorrow maybe I'll even start on the synopsis?

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

It's all in the timing

It struck me today that it is literally a full time job for me just going to the gym, making healthy food and eating it whilst catching up with the previous days episode of Come Dine with Me. By the time all the above are done, it's usually time to pick up the kids from school.

Where do people find the time to write? I recently read of a writer who gets up at 6am to have two full hours of writing in before she has to deal with her family, job etc. I am slightly shamed by this as I find it hard to get up at 7am just to deal with the family. I gave up my job in December so I should be ROLLING in time, I should have so much time I don't know what to do with it.

I still feel a schedule is the key - I will get working on it tomorrow, but for now, I am finally going to get down to some actual writing of actual words.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Par for the course

On a bit of a writing drought at the moment - I obviously need a deadline to force me into action.  Am spending a lot of time 'thinking' about my next assignment - I have to completely plan out a non-fiction book - that's it. Easy, hey? I have decided not to take the safe but boring route that I was offered and try and think of something that interests me. This is proving harder than I thought. Lots of things interest me, but would they make a good book?

Confessions of a lazy, greedy, vegan wino?
1001 excuses for not writing/cleaning/exercising?
(Soy)chicken Soup for the middle aged facebook addict?

It's my last non-fiction assignment though, so I will have to bite the bullet and get stuck in soon so I can't start the fun part of this course. Am hoping to do this fiction half in slightly less time than the first half took me (6 years - don't judge me).

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Cat got my keyboard?

It's been a quiet week for me on the blog front. Well, on the writing front generally, I'm ashamed to say. I think I may have been stunned into silence by increasing my followers by a third. Yes, there's now 6 of you. Well 5, technically as I'm actually following myself from another account, but lets not split hairs.

Welcome to Rebecca Woodhead a real life actual proper writer and queen of twitter and What the Dickens? a fantastic looking shop and website where I think I will hold my next birthday list (29th June, thanks for asking - partial to pencils and sharpies).

At the end of last year, I won a free advert with Write Invite and have finally sent them the draft for this (it was 40 words you know, it took some time!) which will be going out at the end of this month - so who knows, maybe they'll be 7 of us soon??

Friday, 11 March 2011


Finally finished the ghost story - I actually abandoned the first one half way through as something about it wasn't quite right (found it really hard to write anything remotely scary without it being very obvious) and so I started something completely at about 8.30 last night!  Abandoned it mid-way for a skype with a friend (I know!!??!) and then finally finished just after 10pm! Revisions made this morning after proof reading by J last night - just what he fancied doing after coming in from a works night out.

I am sure I should be putting a lot more hours into this so am going to try the novel approach of starting a competition entry sooner than the day before it needs to be posted next time. Stupid expensive printer is out of stupid expensive ink so have to go on a smash and grab to Kingston before I can print and post and start feeling smug.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

100 words in....

....only another 1,400 - 1,600 to go. Obviously the perfect time to stop for a blog update! Why do I find the need to stop as soon as I get going? At my current word ratio I may just have this story finished for next years competition!  I was slightly disheartened to read that this is 'certainly the most popular short story competition' but still, I need the practise so must crack on.  I will need to send this off tomorrow to meet Mondays deadline and I remember the editing of last months effort took me many hours longer than I'd anticipated so I'd better hurry up with the first draft.  I just have to make another cup of tea and I'll be straight on it.

PS In good news this week I have exercised every day (mon - gym, tues - spin, weds - gym, thurs - pump dvd (still want to kill Davina) and fri - who knows - maybe another spin?) so at least am sticking to one of my new years resolutions well. And it's already March so that might be an all time personal record.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Ghost Story Blues

Well, I thought this would be easy but I am struggling - it's similar to when I go to a veggie restaurant and I'm suddenly confused by all the options.  I love scary films & books so I have so many ideas (well, half or bits of ideas) and I don't know what to do!??!  Pick one and get on with it I guess - deadline is Monday so this will need to be posted on Friday. Hmm, leaving it till the last minute again - it's almost like a pattern is forming?  Note to self: need new pattern.

Monday, 7 March 2011

It's a new day, it's a new dawn....

It's easy to feel positive on a Monday morning when it's a beautiful day like today. I am determined to hold on to that thought though and stick to a good schedule all this week. I wrote out my weekly plan last night but I am very good at the planning and less good at the doing so we'll see how far I get.  So far, so good, nice morning, shouting, no last minute homework deficit discoveries and I made it to the gym on target.  I even limped my way through the whole new routine and have now got all my jobs and emails out of the way so I have a clear mind for this afternoon.
Just time for a little light lunch (did I mention I'm trying to sort my eating out as well this week - I like to try and change EVERYTHING at once, can't think why I'm not more successful?) and then on with the ghost story. Am looking forward to this one so hopefully the enthusiasm will carry me through. Am wondering how tricky it will be to write a scary story that's not obvious or tacky? Judging by a lot of recent horror films, not that easy! 

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Not a great week

Over eating, under writing.
And only 1 spin class - must do better - gym first thing in the morning and writing all afternoon. Shall I do write an assignment or write for fun?

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

1 step forward...then stay put

Thought I'd be flushed with the success of not missing a competition deadline but I have completely wasted the last 2 days - haven't even been to the gym. As last week was half term, I thought it was perfectly respectable to take yesterday as day to recover, enjoy the peace and get jobs done. Fair enough. But what is my excuse today?

Do feel a little a little under the weather. Also have been engrossed in Never Let Me Go. I am SO easily distracted. Still, tomorrow is another day - spin first, write later.

Friday, 25 February 2011

Did it!

Oh my word - talk about leaving it till the last minute - sketched out a plan for the story yesterday morning but only finally started the actual writing at about 8.30pm!  Finished the first draft last night & then have spent today trying to edit it into something half readable!  The closing date is Monday so I am just about to hot foot it to the Post Office to send it!

I am quite excited as at 2379 words, it's easily the longest thing I've ever written - I have paid the extra for a critique so will let my readers (all 2 of you!) know how I get on when I get that back.  The winners are announced at the end of March so I suspect the critique will be back around then too - am not at all hopeful about any prize, but am quite pleased to have actually written to a deadline. Finally.

Well, better not speak to soon - have to rely on Royal Mail now so best dash right out now the printer has stopped it's spewing.

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Cupcakes Vs Competitions

Ok, so the cupcakes won.  And they were good (will be updating my food blog with those though so won't go on about them here!!) But why did I make them first? Am musing on whether I deliberately self sabotage? I have very little time left for this competition and yet instead of stopping everything else and getting stuck in, I am still checking my emails, updating my facebook status and making cupcakes.

I have found it difficult getting some inspiration - was going to work up on one of my 30 minutes stories but finding it hard to get excited about revisiting something from the past.  I have always left things to the last minute but now I really have to finish this today as it will need to be posted tomorrow to stand a chance of getting there for Monday.

The good news is that I think (maybe, possibly, hopefully) that I have an idea now that I can work with.  I am losing one child to a sleepover shortly (the demanding one!) and my husband is out for the night so hopefully I can dedicate the rest of the day and evening to actual writing.  Real life actual story writing. I have all night and am determined not to let this deadline slip by.

Please don't mention the ironing pile or the housework - I am pretending they don't exist till tomorrow.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

It's the final countdown

da da da daaaa da da da da da....ahem...sorry, not that kind of countdown but there are but a few short days left before the Write Invite Hard Copy competition deadline.  The stories need to be in by 28th February which gives me just....erm....allowing for more than 2 days to finish my entry.  And when I say finish, I really mean start. Oh dear.

I had great hopes for this competition and was going to take advantage of the 3 for 2 offer but am now going to try and submit 1 piece and will treat myself to the optional critique too (this costs £5 - same price as entry).

Well, I would love to stay and chat, but as it seems I should be on the final edit by now, I have a lot of catching up to do.  I am going to ignore the fact that I have house guests arriving in an hour (have pre-made the dinner but still have cupcakes to create) and a pile of ironing the size of Crouch waiting for me. I don't think I now have the luxury of writing a whole new piece but will try and 'work up' one of my old 30 minute stories. Wish me luck - my keyboard is going to get a bashing and those cupcakes don't just make themselves.

Friday, 18 February 2011


I received assignment 9 back with some positive comments from my tutor which I was really pleased about after the little telling off I received last time about putting effort in!  I must actually send some of the work out this time - I must be their laziest student yet.

So now I am finally at assignment 10, the last of the non-fiction assignments which is great news for me as I'm really much more interested in getting to the fiction section - which perhaps goes someway to explaining why it has taken me so many years getting through these assignments. So assignment 10 is my dilemma, it's very simple - I basically have to write a non-fiction book. Well, not the entire book but a summary, chapter synopsis, one full chapter, etc etc, practically a book really.

It just so happens that someone asked me last year if I wanted to write a non-fiction book with them, but it's on a subject I'm not that interested in.  So here's the rub - do I go ahead with this idea or find something that I would actually choose to write about if I could?  Do I go with my friends idea (pluses - she would help, it appears to be an actual gap in the market, the idea is ready to go now but minuses - I wouldn't really want to write this book, I find the subject a bit dull) or do I find something I'm passionate about and try and find a non-fiction book in it?

Ho hum, I guess it depends how quickly I want to move on the fiction part of the course? I'm sure most advise would be to find something I am passionate about but in this instance I'm thinking about just getting the job done!

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Well I managed the gym....

....but not a lot of pen to paper action today.  This blog is starting to feel like a series of 'the dog ate my homework' letters.  Must do better tomorrow.

The gym is going well and I am aching in places I'd forgotten about which must be good, surely?  I have cleared my emails, my inbox, my finance bits, my outbox, my facebook inbox, that pile of paper on the side in the kitchen.....I really don't think there is anything left to clear.

Tomorrow looms and it is completely clear and fabulously free like a lovely clean piece of a4 paper.  Nothing will keep me from a full day of writing..........apart from spinning of course!

Monday, 14 February 2011

Another new week and another new writing regime.  I am going to try taking the morning to do other things - emails, chores, gym etc and then spend between 1 and 3 each day writing.  Will try this for a week and see how I get on.  Could this be a genius way of ensuring that I get my jobs out of the way and therefore my head clear for the afternoon writing session?  Or am I fooling myself and is this just another delaying tactic?  Well it's 1pm so I'd better crack on.......time will tell I guess.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

One day at a time....

It has been a strange week this week, I lost a day on Monday to travel, and on Tuesday my Mum came up which was lovely and we talked a lot of writing but I didn't actually do any!  My cousin is coming to stay tomorrow so I haven't had much time but have decided to not beat myself up about it but maximise the time I do have.  I am going to arrive a couple of hours early into Kingston (where I'm meeting my cousin) and take my notebook and try the coffee shop shuffle out.  I have picked 2 of my teeny 30 minute stories to try and work on for the Write Invite hard copy competition and they're offering 3 stories for the price of 2 so I'm going to write a new story from scratch as well.

Gym induction went very well yesterday and I nearly killed myself trying to do the full work out today so that must be a good sign.  Am feeling very inspired although am out drinking tonight so will be taking a day off the exercise tomorrow.  Am hoping the hangover will enhance my writing rather hinder!  The coffee should help at least!

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Back to life, back to reality

Returned home yesterday from a relaxing weekend in the middle of the forest near York. Staying in a log cabin in the middle of nowhere with NO mobile reception and NO internet connection would surely prove an ideal writing environment?  What possible distractions could there be left?

Two big distractions apparently - reading and board games. I finished the incredible Fahrenheit 451 and started the engrossing The Help and we played games. A lot of games. Articulate, Scrabble, Cranium, Taboo and more Scrabble.  We rode and we walked, we ate and we drank, we visited York and we even made use of the hot tub on the deck! So unless I remove myself to a small, cardboard box with no tele communications and no reading material, there are always going to be distractions and I'm just going to have to learn to deal with them.

Back in suburbia, I am going to have a new super dooper gym programme worked out for me tomorrow morning (badly needed after hot tub embarrassment in front of people who don't look like baby Shamu!) & then spend the remainder of the day working up a story for the Write Invite 7 page competition - closing at the end of the month. Distractions, schmistractions.

PS Didn't win the Saturday competition, came last of the 3 but still was nice that the judges liked it even if the voters didn't!

Friday, 4 February 2011

Writers Retreat

Off to stay in a forest cabin in York for the weekend - can't get more off site than that!  Celebrating my friends 40th but will be taking my notebook and write invite stories with me - here's hoping inspiration hits!

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Some small encouragement from the lovely Write Invite people!

Just found out that I've been shortlisted this week in the weekly online competition that I try and enter as much as possible.  Basically at 5.30pm each saturday, three themes are put on the website and for a £4 entry fee you write a story based around one of those themes.  The write invite judges shortlist their top three stories from the weeks entries and then everyone that entered (except for those that are shortlisted!) can vote for their favourite and the winner wins £50.

The website runs a 'literary league table' with points for entering, voting, and 1st, 2nd and 3rd place.  I did quite well in 2009 but pretty awfully in 2010.  I like entering this competition for many reasons (and not just because I know the people who run it!!)

1) It is short, sweet and instant
2) It is great at getting you to 'just write' something that a procrastinator like me can struggle with
3) Copyright stays with the author, and although I haven't done this yet, I know many of the regular writers have gone on to sell work that started on this website

Unfortunately the time isn't always convenient, the main reason I didn't enter much last year was that I always seemed to be doing something at 5.30 on a Saturday but I am determined to do better this year as I really do need the practise.  Write Invite are currently running a hard copy competition and I am planning to develop one or more of my non shortlisted stories (I have plenty to chose from!!) to enter this. Closing date is 28th February and I'm determined this won't go the way of the Mslexia one!

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Writing at Home?

After another day of being distracted by various random inconsequentialities, I am seriously considering writing somewhere other than the house.

I have tidied rooms, emptied dishwashers, made lots of tea and also been lured off course by the ever entertaining internet. It seems that the first thing I set out to do each day is always accomplished but after that things go a little askew. I am currently putting exercise as my number 1 priority and am managing to stick to my workout schedule but my writing time is definitely suffering.  Maybe I need to rethink my priorities?  Or maybe I just need to get out of the house?

Tomorrow, I will try the coffee shop & notebook regime (after my spin class of course!)

Will let you know how I get on.

Monday, 31 January 2011


I wanted to start this week well and I started with the best intentions. My first weekly timetable was scheduled to the minute (9.30 spin, 11.00 write, 12.30 lunch at desk, 14.45 urinate, 15.00 collect children.....etc) and was the most successful to date so last night before bed, I sketched out an overview of the week scheduling writing for mon, tues and weds.

Originally mondays were supposed to be an all writing day, but as I had decided at the weekend that I was unable to spend anymore time detoxing/dieting the exercising was going to have to be geared up a notch. I am going to try and do some type of exercise each day in order to feel better, get fitter and still be able to stuff my face at will (I believe I made the decision over chocolate cake & ice cream, a time when I think a lot of the best decisions are made).

So it was that I arrived at school this morning unshowered and wearing a costume under my clothes (something that doesn't get more comfortable with age!) so that I could hit the pool straight after drop off.  I planned to glide effortlessly up and down in the fast lane for 20 minutes before coming back to hit the laptop with renewed vigour determined and able to finally enter a written competition.  What actually happened was that I spluttered along for 12 lengths in the slow lane with the senior contingent of the pool (most of them much faster than me) and then remembered a class coffee morning that I had forgotten about.

I mentally readjusted my schedule, deciding to leave the competition writing till tomorrow, but instead start on the next assignment in my writing course today. I would show my face at the coffee morning but leave at 11, make a light early lunch and still squeeze 3 hours writing in.  Predictably the day didn't quite pan out like that. The coffee went on till nearly 12 (ok, I may have been one of the last to leave). The light lunch took longer than I'd realised and simply cried out to be rounded off with more cake and ice cream.

I did manage to read some more of my Blogging for Dummies book (I have the chocolate cake page stains to prove it) and tried to implement some design changes. I had to pay online for a school trip, add some diary entries to the family calendar and then I remembered the ironing.  It's now 14.40 and I shall be leaving in 20 mins for school.  On the bright side, I have got most of my admin out of the way for this week so shall have no excuses for tomorrow.  I shall be back here, post spin, ready to really throw myself into a story for a competition. Wish me luck!

Friday, 28 January 2011

A shaky start

Technically this is week three of my new regime and I have had varying success so far.
For the first week I set a rigid timetable of writing/gymming/cleaning and stuck to it pretty well. I had to do a few admin type jobs; I moved all my Write Invite ( stories to the new laptop, I chose a competition to enter by checking which deadlines were looming (I decided on the Mslexia short story one based on the broad scope and whopping prize!) and pondered long and hard over starting this blog. I also managed to complete assignment 9 and then put it to the side for a few days as advised by my tutor  after my previous assignment was submitted with a some basic errors.

I decided to try a more relaxed approach in week two and planned that I would set out to write for 12 hours and gym 3 times.  This less rigid format which may work for a dedicated and hard-working individual was a disaster for me.  I didn't revisit assignment 9. I didn't start or even decide on a name for the blog.  I didn't manage 3 gym trips. I didn't decide on a short story for Mslexia and sadly missed this deadline. I did however update my facebook status a lot, played quite a few games of wordtwist and found out what the entire cast of Laguna Beach have done with their time since leaving the show.

Week three has proved a mixed bag - not as organised as the first week but a whole lot better than the second. I have sent in the completed and checked assignment and I have decided on my next competition. I have finally started this blog and managed to update it 3 out of 4 days. I have been to the gym twice so far and not just for coffee. I am going to go back to my rigid schedule for next week - I have realised that I need the discipline. I am also considering an internet ban for the mornings. Right after I check what the original kids from Fame are doing with themselves these days.......

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

That difficult second blog post

Now I know how The Stone Roses felt.

So, a bit more info this time I think.  After realising that I have set the same new years resolutions for the past 5 years or so, I decided 2011 was the year to finally fulfil them.  Or forget them forever!

I have been completing a writing correspondence course for around, ahem, 7 years (I wonder if this is some kind of record) and I take occasionally part in a weekly online competition but that is the total sum of my endeavours.  I have given up my (part-time) job and plan to dedicate the time I've gained to writing.  I hope to finish the course, enter lots of competitions, write some short stories that I'm pleased with and then write a series of best selling novels which will be snapped up by HBO immediately. Of course the last one is a joke. I mean Warner Bros.

At the same time, I'm also going to hit the gym in a big way (pun very much intended) and so by the end of the year I will be a toned, fit & published writer.  OR I will be embracing the bulge, begging for my library job back and setting some very different resolutions for 2012!

I will be tracking my progress here.  I very much hope that there is progress to track. I am naturally very, very lazy.  I waste chunks of the day on facebook and am constantly fighting the urge to crash on the sofa with a huge plate of hummus and watch Come Dine with Me re-runs. Any hints, tips or encouragement would be very welcome.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

1st Post

I feel a lot of pressure here. First post. Wow. The name took me 3 weeks so I'm not expecting to achieve much in the roughly ten minutes I have before lunch.

Ok, here's the main idea - 1 year, no work, just me, a laptop and a gym membership.  Can I finally start writing?  Will I ever get past the coffee shop in the gym?

Stay tuned to find out......