Category Archives: writing

So that was November?

These days every month seems to pass in a flash, but November takes the prize for me this year. Probably because my main focus was NaNoWriMo (a yearly event that challenges you to write a 50,000 first draft of a novel in one month). I’m extremely happy to report that I hit that goal. Yay! And a double yay to my fellow NaNo-ers Jillian and Kit who also came in well ahead of schedule. We rock, ladies 🙂 (nothing like a bit of self-congratulatory rhetoric, ha!)

Working toward that goal was harder some days than others, but what I found interesting was how it kind of solidified my process. I’ve been writing for many years and I’m usually a sit down and just write kind of gal, but lately I’ve noticed that word sprints are my bag. Word sprints consist of setting a timer for however long you want to write (or whatever task you want to accomplish), in my case twenty five minutes, and then not stopping until the timer goes off. Then you can take a short break (five minutes) to get up and stretch, make a cuppa, sweep the floor, you get the drift, before heading back to the keyboard and setting the timer again. It’s worked so well for me and really keeps me focused, so I’ll continue to work this way in the future.

When I wasn’t writing, November has been a month for walks in the local woods. My happy place. I think we’ve had everything weather-wise this month here in the UK – gorgeous sunshine, rain, fog, rain, frosty mornings, rain, and yes, even more rain. And with rain comes mud, mud, and even more mud. Happy days. It was during one very rainy, muddy walk that I discovered my sturdy boots leaked (thank goodness for Black Friday sales 🙂

One day I checked to make sure nobody was around and then had a very happy time amusing myself kicking up leaves as high as I could. Well, it made me happy. It wasn’t long before an inquisitive little girl made her way back from her own explorations to see what her crazy mummy was up to 🙂

Can you spot Vivvy in the photo?

Anyway, I hope everyone has had a good November and taken the opportunity to enjoy the month whatever you have been up to (and a belated Happy Thanksgiving to my US friends).

I want to just finish this blog with a heartwarming video I spotted on Facebook this last week. You might have seen it, but here it is below. It’s a mamma chimp reunited with her baby after she thought the baby had died. In reality the baby had been whisked away for life-saving treatment. That is one adoring and beautiful mamma. I admit to shedding a happy tear while watching, and even AJ was clearing his throat a few times. Best with the sound on…

Nanovember

Winter draws ever nearer here in the UK and the exceptionally mild weather we have enjoyed slowly creeps down the thermometer to normal temps for November. Five days ago, the back garden was bathed in warm sunshine. We took advantage to be out there tidying, weeding, putting pots to bed, mowing the lawn and pruning a few shrubs. This was followed by mid-morning coffee enjoyed on the patio – a first in November for us. Today, the difference is apparent. The sun has reached a low in the sky meaning the back garden is now in permenant shade until next March. I try to keep smiling and keep busy. It is the only way I can cope as I hate winter and the cold.

And busy is what this past month has been as with no excuse to spend time outside, I keep writing. Writing, writing, writing for NaNo (I’ve decided to call this month Nanovember!) a 10-week writing comp, and other items including blogs, reviews and next week an article for my art group’s website. And, of course, painting, with my latest effort framed and hanging on the wall at my art group’s venue. I am pleased with it and have begun a larger version, although at present that is not going well and I will have to start again. As long as it is ready for next year’s exhibition, I am in no rush. Called “Clifton Autumn” it is of the famous Bristol landmark Clifton Suspension Bridge.

It is also the time of year when things have a habit of going wrong for us. Two weeks ago, our new large-screen TV broke down yet again, the second time in less than twelve months. As you can imagine, Dave was not happy. It was taken away to be repaired a week ago on the promise they will give it priority. We are still awaiting its return. I would rather the supplier replace it, Dave wants to give it a second chance. As he is the one who watches it most, he is a huge sports fan especially cricket and rugby, it is his decision. Meanwhile the bedroom TV, small screen, half the size of the other, is assigned to the lounge so we are not without. Unless we hear today, I feel a rather irate phone call will take place.

Yesterday evening Dave was in a rare mood to go non-food shopping, which we did. Among other items, we purchased a set of 3 stoneware casserole dishes of different sizes. Not cheap but needed in order I can stock the freezer with ready-cooked meals for over the Christmas holiday as I have taken to bulk cooking with my Instant Pot, which I love. Back home, I took the packaging off to find the largest dish had a long crack along the bottom which was not apparent when we took it off the shelf. This morning, Dave is back at the mall to get a refund.

We are waiting for the next thing to happen. It always comes in threes for us. My money is on the heating boiler, his on the tumble dryer or washing machine breaking down. I hope it is none of these but all three are getting on in years, a bit like the two of us!

Did I mention Christmas? Yes, it is all around us already. Shops full of festive food and Christmas ornaments. Television advertisements full on. And near to us, a house has its outside decorations up and lit at night already. And why not. It brings delight and cheer to the people to see, it is something to look forward to in the dark and dreary days. My mother has said she wants to come to us for the holiday. We would love this as she has not been here for 2 years but I fear our stairs will be too much for her. Dave has said if she comes, he will buy a Santa outfit to wear when we go and collect her. She would love that.

Meanwhile, I wait with bated breath for the carols to start, and whilst waiting, I must get on and paint this year’s Christmas card. I hope I haven’t left it too late to get it to the printers in time. Wish me luck.

Kit Domino’s websites and blogs

Three Down and One to Go…

…quarters, that is. A couple of blog posts ago, I wrote about becoming a passionate planner. The system I use breaks the year down into four quarters, and it’s hard to believe we’re just about to move into the fourth and final quarter of the year. Where has the year gone?

Prior to discovering my inner planner, my writing schedule was a bit hit and miss. Basically it had become a ‘write when the spirit moves me‘ kind of deal, and to be brutally honest, the spirit didn’t move me that much at all!

Anyhoo, that’s all changed, and it’s time to start planning for quarter four. Moving into October means some of my quarter four planning will be geared up to National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) which takes place in November each year. NaNoWriMo challenges you to write a 50,000 word novel during the month. The aim is to let the words flow and get the bones of the story down so it can be edited and refined later.

To be clear for NaNo, I need to finish the first draft of book one of a new paranormal series by the end of September. Since book two is in first draft mode too, it means that October will largely be editing and revision, and hopefully even working on the third book of the series which is about thirty percent done. I also want to be planning my NaNo project ready to start on 1 November. Depending on how things go with the third book, I might even use the 50,000 NaNo words for this.

Before becoming a planner, I probably would have stressed out at the workload, but now I get to plan it all out using the system developed from working on the original course.

Easy, peasy (she says with her palms together, eyes up to heaven) or it should be if I stick to the plan, and manage to catch a following wind 🙂

Oh, and something else I’ve discovered while working this whole planning deal. Stickers! Oh, how I love them, especially ones with pretty colourful shapes and inspirational quotes. They make a great motivator to get the words done, or any other task you want to complete. Just award yourself a sticker when the task is complete and pop it in your planner/diary. It’s simple, but for me it’s working so I’ll take it.

So, here’s to Quarter 4… Bring it on!

Back to the Future…

Way back in the day, I learned to type on an old black typewriter. Anyone else remember them? The ones with keys you had to bang on so hard to get them to work? And woe betide if you gathered some speed because if you typed too fast the keys would stick together and you’d get ink on your fingers separating them. Happy days. No, really, they were.

Typing stencils for use on the Gestetner machine was something else. Working with this duplicating machine you had to make sure you didn’t type too hard on the stencil, especially any letter with a circle (o, b, d, p, q), because the circle could disappear beneath a blob of ink and didn’t look too great when printed out – achieved via turning the handle on the side of the machine until you felt your arm would drop off! Any mistakes were corrected with this red fluid that if you sniffed too robustly could get you pretty high!

Things progressed pretty rapidly and soon we had the super-duper electric typewriters. Those things took some getting used to. By the time I had an electric model my speed had progressed and the thing seemed to run away with me. Thankfully tippex was around then and I made good use of it 🙂

Technology moved on and I bought my first computer – an Amstrad 9512. I loved that machine and spent many happy hours on it. I went kicking and screaming into the modern computer age, and while it’s great having new technology which makes life easier (most of the time and when it works properly) I do hanker after those old manual typewriter days, especially the keyboards… Hearing the clackety-clack of productivity made my little heart sing.

When I saw they made old style keyboards I wondered if it was worth buying one and taking a trip down memory lane. Not really able to justify it, I put it on my wish list and kind of forgot about it. Then Amazon Prime Day happened and there it was at a nicely reduced price. Needless to say, it now adorns my desk 🙂 It took a while to get used to as it’s so much smaller/narrower than a modern standard keyboard and it was a few days before I got used to having to press down harder on the keys again. It was hit and miss if the required key was obtained, and there was much mumbling of “this will have to go back” but after persevering I now love it. The clackety-clack is modified, but it’s there. Happy days are here again 🙂

So I’m enjoying my trip down memory lane, although I have to admit that I’m not looking to go back to the days of tippex and carbon copies. No sirree.