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!

New Year and Resolutions

How was everybody’s Christmas? I have to say that mine was just as it should be. I got to spend time with both my family and my partner’s family, ate so much food I was fit to burst and got so spoiled it was unbelievable. I’m now the proud owner of a Tassimo machine. I had my first drink yesterday (a Costa latte) and it was lovely. My parents got me a big, mixed box of pods so I can try out different drinks. When my partner suggested he could get me the machine for Christmas I never thought I would consider using it to make tea but alas, I’m also excited to try those flavours too! I got some dollars ready for my trip to New York next year, a lot of notebooks (and let’s face it, when don’t I need notebooks?), snuggly pjs of different kinds that I can’t wait to climb into bed in, a lot of Gorjuss notebooks as well as two really cute figurines and lots of other stuff too. I can’t believe how spoiled I was. Have you ever seen the Gorjuss range? If not, check this out:

http://www.santoro-london.com/shop/collections/gorjuss/

  • First thing is first, a must for any writer is to read and lots of it. Reading has always been a highlight for me and I’ve loved it since being a kid. The only thing is, time seems to slip away from me a lot and before I know it, I haven’t picked up a book for two weeks. I set myself the target of reading at least one book every two weeks. That’s enough to keep my hand in (for now) and keep my mind active and also to bring me some nice, quiet time for myself.
  • Next thing is obviously writing! I want to make time to write at least once a week. It’s sometimes quite hectic trying to fit it all in with a full time job that gives obscure shift patterns as well as everything else in life but it’s so important to not only keep writing to keep my brain from exploding but also to keep improving (there’s always room for it!)
  • Alongside writing, comes editing. I have at least four novels sitting there in my spare room waiting for some much needed attention. I’ve set myself a plan for looking at each of these this year and beginning to get something that could resemble something worth publishing!

There will be other resolutions such as the typical eat better (which I think I’ll find impossible considering the amount of sweeties in my house!) and going back to the gym (which I know I’ll feel the benefit of) at least twice a week.

What are your new year resolutions going to be? Have you given it any thought yet?

Writing is like the Gym

I forced myself to go to the gym this morning after a late night (and a takeaway) with the girls. Did I want to get up that early and go outside where it was slightly rainy and blustery? No. I did not. But I did it anyway. And after around forty-five minutes of gruelling sweat-inducing exercise, I’ve come out of it feeling rather uplifted and happy.

Of course, I know all that is to do with hormones being released and such like, but it’s still a nice feeling. I also got the chance to snap a picture of a lovely rainbow too (just wish I’d had my Canon with me). I’m already planning my next trip to the gym which I tend to do just after I’ve gotten home from a visit there.

So in that same vein, I was thinking about writing. Sometimes as writers, we can have dry spells. I think it happens to most people: Writers Block. Those dreaded words. It’s awful when you’re in the midst of it. There’s nothing you can do, nothing seems to inspire and then one day, something might just click and you begin writing.

I find that if I’m writing regularly, it’s becomes a habit, a ritual maybe. Currently, I’ve just finished the proof of my novel and sent it back and I’m working on Nano prep for November but I’m not actually writing any fiction and you know what? I’m craving it. I want to be drawn into the fictional world and tell the stories that are there. And it’s a brilliant feeling.

I don’t want to start working on a big project with Nano looming and the possibility of a dystopian YA novel on the horizon, but there are other things I’m getting involved with. I’m trying to write a short story for an anthology (zombie related) and I’m also pushing my brain to think of ways to organise my novels and a way I can go back and edit them to make them publishable.

I guess what I’m saying, is that once you get started it’s certainly a lot easier!

And I’m done!

Well that’s it folks, I’m done, finished and satisfied. I spent all morning and half the afternoon working on the final edits for my manuscript and I got it done. My baby has been sent off now and that’s that. Now it’s just a waiting game.

It’s a little strange now to think I won’t be working on this or thinking of it day in day out as I have been, wondering about this paragraph or that storyline and whether I need to alter a line here and there. But I find myself already asking, what next? I think I’ll soon become lost without this daily input of writing/slash editing. Perhaps I’ll give myself a few days off, after all, it was a lot of hard work but then I’m heading straight into Nano prep in October (come Wednesday) and after that the actual novel writing. So perhaps that’ll be the next thing. I’m already forming ideas for my next project and I think that with the help of my brilliant editor for this manuscript, I will be able to do a much better job on the first draft next time around. I think I’ve learned a lot of invaluable information I’ll transfer over and it was stuff that could only be learned by doing. So thank you, Missy, again, for being such a wonderful and thorough editor!

The rest of the day will be spent chilling and then eating tasty bolognese with family followed by delicious cherry pie and perhaps a cheeky rum or two in celebration!

Halfway Done

Halfway through the final final edit of The Doors. To say I’m excited is an understatement! I have a little way yet to go but I have to say, this third round has been a breeze compared to the others (particularly the second which took an awful lot of overhauling) and so I’m enjoying it thoroughly. I’m on a tight deadline as the finished novel has to be back with the publisher by Tuesday at the latest but I’m going on holiday on Monday so I’m hoping to have it done before that. Failing that, my first night away will be spent on the laptop. Haha!

Once I send it back, it gets converted into PDF for a final read through. I’m so lucky that I’ve had some friends offer to help me out with this. And you know what, it does take the pressure off some. Although I can’t wait to read it again in it’s entirety, it’s also a little daunting. I worry in case I read through and keep finding mistakes or miss something because I’m way too close to it at the minute. So I’ve got three proof readers lined up.

Hopefully after that I can release the cover for the world to see.

This weekend brings more editing (of course), family times with meals with both of our families and packing and cleaning. I’m pretty much already in holiday mode which may not be great considering I have around two hours left of work (yes, I work odd shifts!) But hey ho, doesn’t everyone get like this!?

It’s been a while since I posted. Why? I couldn’t tell you. I finished the second round of edits of The Doors and sent that back. Other than that I have been working all hours under the sun while trying to look after my house and deal with some big family issues I have going on. It’s had me pretty stressed and worried.

But, things are looking up. We’re taking a few positive steps today regarding the family issue so that’s a little better. I am full of ill which isn’t great but hey, it happens more in times of stress because other than that I tend to have quite a healthy immune system.

I’m hopefully going to get the novel back within the next few days ready for a final, third edit before it’s polished and ready for publishing. You know, I almost doubled the word count in the last two edits. Doubled! The story is still the same, essentially, but there has been a hell of a lot of development with it. I can hardly believe it myself.

And all the while I find that now when I’m reading I’m picking up on things more, rewriting lines in my head, working out how I would have done it. It means that now when I’m thinking about writing, I’m really considering things I wouldn’t have before including structure and detail. I think that just shows how much I’m growing as a writer.

As most of you know, Nano is coming up in November. That crazy months where thousands of people test their endurance and creativity and knock out a novel in a month. This will be my fourth year of taking part and you know what, I can’t wait. It’s like an addiction. I have some vague ideas of what I’m going to do but using October as a month of prepping means I’ll get my ideas in order ready for the go on the 1st November. I’m also going to try and write an edit plan so that I can go back to my novel and really work on it, ready it for submission and then send it off. I owe it to myself to keep this up now!

I just finished reading the last book in the Experiment in Terror series. Wow, what an ending. I won’t spoil it in case any of you want to read it but it was the perfect conclusion and though I’m going to miss the duo of Perry and Dex, I know Karina Halle is a fantastic author with a lot to give.

After finishing that I’ve starting reading Finding the Way Back by Jill Bisker. It’s been a great read so far and I’m sucked right in! Check it out at:

http://www.melange-books.com/authors/jillbisker/findingthewayback.html

On Editing and Covers

You wanna know how the editing is going? Phew. It’s been a tough few weeks but I’m getting there. In between my hectic work schedule and actually seeing my partner and family (!) I have managed to get to page 112 of 153. Not bad going huh? It’s really gotta be finished asap though so I had better get my ass moving-or rather, sitting down. I don’t think it’s going to be too tough to do with the weather turning a little colder than normal and the other half coming down with a bug, there’s not a lot we can do anyway.

When I first submitted this novel it was 48k and now… well, I’ll update you with that when I’m finished!

I got the first proof of the cover through too. That was an exciting moment. I didn’t even know it was coming and I opened my mailbox to find it sitting there. It was awesome. After a little tweaking I think it’s finally there but I’m waiting for approval before I share it with you all.

Back to the grindstone for me after a few of those pesky little chores…

Editing begun!

I started the edits on the second round of my novel yesterday. I know I planned for Thursday but life just seemed to get in the way. Still though, I got through four chapters yesterday.

How did it go? It was tough but fun and I found my creative juices were flowing and all these new ideas were coming out the wood work. Perhaps not the most brilliant time considering it’s at the end stages now, but still! I’m at work over the next few days so it’s unlikely I’ll get much of it done (long shifts and all). I’m getting more and more excited as the days pass. I can’t wait to see what the cover is going to look like and then find out the release date.

I think Wed is the next day I’ll be able to sit down properly and work on it again and until then, I’ve got my thinking cap on!

It’s here!

Can you guess what landed in my mailbox last night? That’s right, the second round of edits. My stomach did this little skip-jump. Was it excitement or apprehension? I think a mixture of both. I read the email from the editor who told me she loved the first round of edits that I did and hopes that this will only improve it further. Great! She’s so helpful. There were a few more points to look at within the email, suggestions if you will and then, onto the main manuscript. One hundred and twenty nine pages of novel. Doesn’t sound like a lot but the prospect of going through it is really quite daunting. I’m dying to get stuck in right now but at the same time, I think I want to wait until I have a substantial amount of free time and really start to rattle through it, you know?

So I’m waiting for my days off which happen to fall Thursday and Friday this week. Not long to wait really and I do have a few things planned on Thursday but they shouldn’t take all day and then I plan to make myself a pot of coffee, gather up my supplies around me and get stuck in.

Until then I plan to live a life of normalcy, work, and possibly cram in as much reading as I can. I’m reading a couple of books at the minute, Sphere by Michael Crichton and Gena Showalter’s The Darkest Night so I have a few things to keep me going.

Oh and during the editing process, I will require lots of chocolate!

Wish me luck!

Normalcy…

I’ve had about a week go by so far with no editing. Does it feel weird? Very! But I know that it’s coming very soon and once the second round of edits hits my mailbox, I’ll have around three weeks to get it done. Doable? Yes. Easy? No. But what’s life without a little challenge?

I seem to have reverted back to a state of normalcy which includes hanging out with friends and family, enjoying other pursuits such as gaming, reading and *shock* even writing! Okay. I haven’t actually written anything, yet. But I plan to. There’s an open call with Grey Matters Press that I want to attempt to write something for. Now, I just need the inspiration…