Friday, 20 January 2017

Shades of Gray, Mild Days and No Plans...#LittleLoves

Every year I promise myself that when January comes around I will join in with a blog linky which I really enjoy and every year, without fail, I completely forget until the third or fourth week of the month.  As is exactly the case here!  

I think it is probably a lot to do with the fact that this month as felt like something of a whirlwind; I can't believe that the month is almost over.  I feel like it has only just begun and we are just finding our feet and routine again after the Christmas break.  But, enough of the excuses.  I am going to try my best to join in with the Little Loves linky each Friday and bring you something of my week as we go along.

So without further ramblings here are my Little Loves for the week:-

I started January strong, reading four books in two weeks but this week has definitely slowed right down.  I finished Between Shades of Gray which absolutely devastated me.  It's about a Lithuanian family who are sent to a work camp in Siberia during WW2.  Such a moving story and I'm so glad I read it.  I am currently reading Queen of Shadows by Sarah J Maas; this is the fourth book in her Throne of Glass series and I'm not loving it.  I find the main character really tricky to like and I know that is a very unpopular opinion to have but there it is.  I've only got this book and one more to go and then I am done and I can start her next series which I've heard much better things about.

We caught up with the first two episodes of Sherlock this week (is anyone else as perplexed as I am?) and will hopefully get the final one watched this evening.  I'm hoping it finishes strong as it feels like we've waited forever for this series!  I've also been watching a lot of Youtube this week...particularly tutorials on how to curl hair with a wand.  I was sent a wand for review and it's supposed to be foolproof but I don't think they had quite accounted for this fool...I do feel inspired though to try something new with my hair and not just have it straight all the time.

I'm going a little bit sideways with this one and choosing to say that I made an effort...I had made plans to go out on Thursday evening but by the time Thursday evening rolled around I couldn't think of anything worse than going out.  My friend sent me this image which cheered me up and I did actually make myself go out and, you know what?  I had a really nice time!  Just goes to show that sometimes making the effort is worth it.

I don't know about elsewhere in the UK but this week has been really quite mild weather wise which I have loved.  I've been living in this blanket jacket; it's perfect for the school run as you don't get too hot in the car and as long as you aren't standing around outside for too long you don't get too chilly either.  It's also super soft which is a win.

I'm probably way behind the times but I have just discovered the Daily Mixes on Spotify.  I like to listen to Spotify whilst I work at home and I often bring out the same playlists (which I know won't distract me into singing and not concentrating) but the Daily Mixes are great.  It's a little bit of stuff you usually listen to with new songs thrown in as well.  I've discovered some great new artists through them.

And Lastly...
I don't really have any big news to insert here other than a big cheer that it's Friday.  I am very ready for this weekend; we don't have any plans other than to chill out which will be very welcome.  

Monday, 9 January 2017

For The Love of Writing... ǀǀ Books & Writing

In 2015 I set myself some very definite goals for the year and achieved exactly ZERO of them.  So in 2016 I decided I wasn't going to set myself anything specific but just have a general gist of what I wanted to achieve.  Whilst I did pretty well at that, when I was reflecting on the past year I was surprised to find that I was disappointed with the results.

Now it might seem fairly obvious but I had clearly set myself some goals, only to pretend that I hadn't, to do nothing about them and then feel disappointed when they didn't come to fruition.  Which also seems pretty daft to me now that I think about it!

So this year I thought I would set myself some definite goals.  I took a good look at my social media networks and saw what was working and what wasn't.  I looked at my personal life and my work life and thought about what I might want to (and importantly) what I might realistically be able to achieve.

One of the major points is the completion of my second manuscript.  In May this year it will have been two years since the release of Secrets of the River and two years since I began work on my second book.  I have seriously lacked momentum to keep the writing going although the characters are still very much wandering around in my imagination.

The trouble that I have found is that whilst working as a freelance writer gives me the freedom to be at home and pursue my writing career...I spend that much time writing content for other people that there is no brain space left to sit down and write creatively.  When I have finished my work for the day, I can't bear the thought of having to continue staring at the computer screen or trying to force out something interesting to write down in my notebook.

What I want is to curl up with a good book and lose myself in someone else's writing for a prolonged period of time but that doesn't really help me, let's be honest.

So what to do?

One of my goals for this year was to get on top of my freelance work.  I mentioned a while back that I was thinking about returning to the office and (typically) I had just given up on that being a possibility when a potential opportunity landed in my lap.  I don't know yet whether this will come to anything but regardless, whether I go back to work in an office or whether I remain freelance, I need to have set days when I am working and set days when I am not.

This isn't always possible but for the most part, I should be able to guarantee myself one day a week which I can give over to just writing creatively.  I adore writing, I adore following the pattern of my thoughts and seeing where it takes me.  I never really have a set outcome for my plot lines, I just follow the characters as they leave and appear on the pages in front of me and that is really quite exciting.  Better yet when you share those thoughts and notes and scribbles with other people and they really enjoy reading about them too!

Whether I get the manuscript finished this year is a rather large question mark but I certainly intend to give it my best shot.  Cue me, last Friday, sitting in a posh coffee shop (my first time there) trying to pretend I wasn't the only person there, trying to pretend I wasn't just hanging around like a billy no-mates for two and a half hours, trying not to get distracted by just about every other conceivable thing...and lo and behold I managed to write a whole 4,000 words!

Granted, it cost me £15 in pots of tea and possibly the nicest poached egg on toast I've ever had but I did it.

I just need to keep the momentum going now!