I have always found that besides writing, I am a very creative person. I am one of those hands on crafty types who likes to try all sorts of different things. Two of my other main hobbies, as well as writing, are photography and scrapbooking. There’s something I inherently love about taking photos whether it’s of friends and family or a beautiful scene, I can’t control myself. Anyone who knows me will testify to this: my camera never stops clicking if we’re doing something.

I’m quite sentimental and I suppose a lot of my photography is about preserving the moment. I know I won’t be like this forever but I also have a superior bad memory so I figure if I take these photos, that way I can always look back and remember the times I’ve had even when I can’t. Do you know what I mean?

My scrapbooking ties in very closely with this. To every event I go to or enjoy (or some even just very random days filled with pictures), I take my photos and I will collect souvenirs if possible. Yes, I’m one of those. If we’re at a tasty restaurant and then have a specialty napkin or I was at a race days, I’ll keep my tickets. I organise myself to keep the dates in order and I scrapbook all of these things with my favourite photos and things to remember the day. If you saw my latest Tweet you’ll see that I recently (just yesterday) brought my scrapbook up to date. It’s never been up to date before. It is really quite a mammoth task and takes a lot of preparation, time and patience. Apparently I had it all yesterday and it’s a brilliant feeling.

Tell me, what other creative hobbies do you have? Are you purely a writer or do you enjoy drawing or perhaps making greeting cards or something similar to me? I’d love to exchange ideas!

Are you a Goal-Oriented Person?

Different people work in different ways. If you’re anything like me then you need to have lists of things to do, lots of ticky boxes that you feel great about crossing out and goals to work towards. If not then perhaps you’re the type of person who likes to wing it and see where it gets you.

I’ve tried both approaches in the past. And I guess it depends what I’m doing. I like to be organised. It helps me keep things in line and know where I’ve got to be and what I’ve got to write for when. However, it doesn’t always go to plan and I think it’s important to know when to step outside the box and wing it along with my counterparts.

Currently, I’m working on a few short stories for submission and I’m starting the edits of a nano novel. So that’s all going well. But in the middle of all of that my brain came up with this ingenious idea. And I couldn’t let it go so I’ve started planning it and while I’m not writing it yet, it won’t be far off. I’ve just gone with the flow of this and those deadlines are still niggling in the back of my mind so I know just when I’ve got to work on something else by.

Being flexible and adaptable is probably a very important to being a creative person. Rigidity is good but so is change and I try to aspire to both. Sometimes it’s hard and sometimes it blows my mind a little trying to stay focused but going with the flow but I’m learning as I go.

Are you goal oriented or do you wing it? Which approach is better for you and how do you go about it?

Move past that Mistake

Resolutions are something that really work for me. I’m a goal-oriented person and love being able to say that I challenged myself to do something and that I achieved it. I have a lot of willpower for some things and I think one of my flaws as a person is hating failing at anything. If I set myself a challenge and don’t complete it for some reason, I get pretty bummed out.

Last week, when we were in the second week of January, I accidentally missed a day of writing. There was so much going on. We moved my sister house, did lots of running around and then spent the evening with a couple of good friends having nice food and a drink or two. Somewhere along that time the whole ‘no zero’ concept got missed. I didn’t write that day and what’s worse, I woke up thinking about it the morning after. I’d already failed at my goal.

But somehow, I managed to shake it off. Sure I’d missed a day but there was good reason for it including complete lack of time and the curse of my forgetful mind. So yes, I was bummed for about an hour and then I got over it. I’m not letting that deter me and I’ve written every day since. Everyday. I think that’s what I have to hang onto. Yes there was a blip but it didn’t last and I got right back on that horse.

Perhaps sometimes, we have to remind ourselves that life doesn’t always go the way we planned. We can make excuses or we can continue on and that’s what I chose to do.

I haven’t tallied up my new word count up to date but I think I’ll make it a monthly thing and plan to do spreadsheets and everything to stay organised (I love that stuff!)

In other news, my shifts at work have changed and while it means I work more days the hours are nicer and more suited to being able to organise my life around them. They start in Feb so if I go a little awol for a while, you know why! Hopefully not though so I also want to blog weekly!

No Zero Days

If you read my last blog post about resolutions, you’ll know that one of mine was to have no zero days. I’ve heard it before, inspired by a friend of a writing website I use regularly, and I remember him saying to me that as long as you write something it’s better than nothing. I’ve always toyed with the idea but always thought that I couldn’t achieve it. I mean, we all have days where we’re so rushed off our feet there’s hardly time to think or so busy at work that we skip our lunch, right? But, on the same level, I haven’t challenged myself to write a certain number of words a day which makes it less daunting.

For example, over the next three days I’m at work with one relatively normal shift and then two twelve hour shifts. There’s no way I could sit and tell myself I have to write 1000 words that day. It just wouldn’t happen. However, if I sit with a bit of paper and tell myself to write the next paragraph of the story I’m working on, I’ll do it. A few words and then I’ve scored another no zero day and added to something I’m working on. It’s a win win situation really.

One thing I decided I was going to do was keep a tally of how many words I write per day. It means I can look back to it and check out when my best days were and why and also calculate how many I’ve written over a week, a month, etc. I didn’t decide this until day three and I hadn’t totalled my word counts for the first two days so they are rough guestimates but still, you get the idea.

Yesterday was so far my most productive days. I wrote 1820 words. I felt like I was on a roll, the words were flowing onto the page and I had a moment in my mind that I wanted to reach before I stopped writing. It worked well for me. Today I’m feeling a little more lost but I know I’ll write something!

Final Resolutions

So I decided I wanted to formalise my New Year resolutions formally as a way to not only hold myself accountable, but as a way to look back and remember what they were (yes my memory is that terrible!) and to be able to tick off what I have achieved and when. I’m am also one of those people who likes to have lots of lists–the tickier the better–and so this is something I can print and relate to and tick to my hearts content!

  • Reading: I want to read at least one book per two weeks. It doesn’t sound like much but lately, it’s not something I’ve been achieving due to work and other such excuses. I will make time to read (and already have been) and I forgot how much I love it so.
  • Reviewing: for each book I read, I want to leave a review for the author. Since becoming a published author, it’s hit me how important it is to have those reviews and learn what your readers think of your work not only in a bid to promote but in order to make sure they’re enjoying what you’re writing because that’s pretty important. So if I can help an author by leaving a review, I’ll do just that!
  • Writing: the basic premise for my writing resolution is to have no zero days. I’ll keep it marked on a calendar for each day I manage to write at least something so I can keep track of my progress.
  • Submitting: I want to submit something every month to an anthology project or something else if possible. It won’t always be but it’s important to keep trying.
  • Editing: I have a lot of nano novels that are in dire need of attention. This year I’ve chosen four of them and I have divided the year up in three-monthly slots during which I will begin working on the edits of the drafts of each of these novels.
  • Blogging: I want to blog at least once a week this year. I want to have specific topics to focus on so I have direction and keep up my blog that way. I’m actually really looking forward to this one!
  • Room for change: However, despite all of this, I also want to recognise that sometimes things change. Life gets in the way and can’t always be ignored. I work full time which leaves me often tired and rather emotionally exhausted. Other times I can’t do anything until my house has been blitzed (does anyone else have this?) So therefore, if things don’t go according to plan, to give myself forgiveness and a break. Sometimes I’m just as bad at being too hard on myself for not achieving something I wanted to as being determined to achieve it.
  • The generals: On top of all of that I want to make sure I’m eating a little healthier and going back to the gym. I want to stay on top of the housework as much as possible and when I write, take some time for myself and retreat into my little space.

So there it is all laid bare in honest truth. My resolutions for this year. How do they resonate with your own resolutions? What do you want to achieve for the new year and what steps will you take to make sure you achieve them? Please feel free to comment and leave your own opinions and suggestions on the best ways to keep track and on target of the goals for the year. I’ll look forward to hearing from you!

2014 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here's an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 500 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 8 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

What an awesome way to be able to look back on the previous year to consider certain things, themes, people, writing, blogging. I had no idea I had posted that many times, in fact, I thought it was much lower as my normal blogging pattern is pretty bad. But it appears that I did quite well! Hopefully 2015 will be even more productive and with the determination I have, I know I’m going to achieve it!