Friday, 7 August 2020
I did it! This afternoon, I reached The End of the first draft of Book 12! It's a pretty messy first draft, so there's still a lot of work to do before it's a coherent, can-be-read-by-someone-else manuscript, but the main ingredients for the book are there.
I started the book on 20th April, about a month into lockdown and homeschooling, so I was bit apprehensive about what I could achieve during this time. I set myself a goal of finishing the book in September, which meant I could write 4,000 words per week (or 800 words per week day), which seemed doable under the circumstances. I also gave myself little pats on the back for every 10,000 words I reached in the form of post-it notes, which I shared on social media:
Writing a book during a global pandemic hasn't always been easy, but it has been quite nice having an escape into a world where coronavirus doesn't exist, where characters can meet up with friends (and hug them) and popping on a mask to go to the supermarket isn't the norm.
I'm going to have a little break from writing (it's needed, believe me!) so I can recharge my batteries before I start planning Book 13...
Tuesday, 28 July 2020
I love using Instagram, whether I'm sharing photos of my dog, Luna (cute), my attempts at baking or crochet or other crafty stuff, or shouting about books (my own, but mostly other people's). And I love seeing other people's pictures and stories (especially if they contain books and/or dogs and/or cats).
Instagram is a lovely, friendly place to be (I have yet to see an Instagram spat) and it's probably* my favourite social media platform, so I'm always looking for more people to follow!
*it absolutely is my favourite
Friday, 24 July 2020
If you've read The Little Teashop of Broken Hearts, you'll recognise the setting of Six Dates - plus the delicious cakes and biscuits Natalie is treated to during her dates. And if you fancy having a go at baking them yourself, there are recipes included in the book. If you do get baking, I'd love to know how you get on - you can tag me on Twitter or Instagram, or share your pics on my Facebook page.
Speed dating has never been so sweet!
Natalie has been cajoled into attending a speed dating event with a difference - the difference being a delicious baked treat to enjoy with each date. But will her possible matches prove to be just as sweet?
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Friday, 17 July 2020
*Me the parent, not the kid
We did it! We somehow got through lockdown home schooling and we can now breathe a massive sigh of relief - and give ourselves an enormous pat on the back. It's been a long 17 weeks (probably the longest term-and-a-bit in the history of schooling) but it's a time we won't forget. I'm going to keep all of Isobel's home schoolwork in a file, which will be something to look back on fondly with the grandkids one day.
For Isobel, it isn't only the end of home schooling - it's the end of primary school. When she started Year 6 back in September, I never imagined her leaving ceremony would be a socially-distanced one in the school playground ('social distance' wasn't even a thing back then. What a time that was!) but I'm glad she got to go back yesterday and say goodbye to her friends, her teachers, and the school she's attended since nursery. Before lockdown, she'd been walking to and from school by herself, but this was my last chance to do the school run, and I took it!
Tuesday, 7 July 2020
What is procrastination?
Procrastination is the act of delaying or postponing a task
Examples of procrastination:
Checking emails. And Twitter. And Facebook. And Instagram. And back to Twitter...
Housework (seriously, some people do this. Not me, obviously, but other less normal people)
Writing blog posts about procrastination instead of writing their book
Yes, I am writing a blog post about procrastination instead of working on Book 12 because, right now, this seems a lot easier. I'm in The Slump, where the words won't seem to come no matter how much I will them to. It's doubly frustrating because I've planned the book and know what should be happening on the page. In fact, it's triply frustrating because I've reached 60,000 words of the book. The End is tantalisingly close and yet the words are stuck.
The last 5,000 words of the 60,000 were hard won, but I got there. I celebrated with a post-it note progress marker and a doodled butterfly. And then... nothing. There were NO MORE WORDS to be had. Cleo's story had decided to grind to a half even though it isn't finished yet. And not only that, I started to pick holes in the part that was written. I don't edit as I write - I start at Chapter One and power through until The End and fix everything later. That's what second drafts are for, and it's always worked for me because I know if I start to tinker, I won't progress.
I don't like these nagging thoughts telling me how rubbish the book is, or telling me the bit I'm writing now should be several chapters back, or that there's so much work to do on the second draft and I haven't even finished the first yet. These thoughts really aren't helping the words to flow, and ignoring them and having a leisurely scroll through Twitter isn't going to get the words on the page either, so I'm doing something I don't usually do yet: I'm writing my notes for Draft Two while working on the first. I'm making a note of all those nagging thoughts, all the things I keep reminding myself need fixing, and ploughing on with the book. I've managed to add a thousand words to the book this morning, so fingers crossed it continues to work and I'll be celebrating 70,000 words with a post-it note soon!
Friday, 3 July 2020
*Me the parent, not the kid
If you're still home-schooling, give yourself a massive pat on the back because the end is in sight. In just two weeks, our home school adventure/nightmare (delete as applicable) will be over!
I've just had a look at my original home school blog post, and it brought back how anxious I felt when the text message came through from Isobel's school telling us that her school had closed. I had no idea what I was doing, so I'm grateful for the help that was out there: the online classes from her teachers and the work they set, Twinkl for their resources and worksheets, BBC bite-size, and other parents on Twitter, especially those who admitted how stressful they were finding it too because they made me feel normal. We usually present our best lives on social media, so I can only imagine how much of a failure I'd have felt if everyone else was showing how wonderful it all was going (even if they were hiding the bad bits).
I was also feeling anxious about my writing, worrying how I was going to work with a house full of people while juggling home-schooling. Luckily, Isobel's at an age where she can mostly get on with the work set, so I take my hat off to those parents with younger children - you really do deserve the hugest pat on the back!
We quite quickly found a new normal, with three of us working in one room (my older daughter has been doing her college work upstairs, on her own. She's obviously the smartest of us all) and while it hasn't always been a pleasant experience, we've somehow muddled through. I usually struggle to write during the school holidays, but as I've written 60,000 words of a new book so far and released the paperback of Everything Changes But You during lockdown, it should be a breeze from now on. Right? I guess we'll find out in a couple of weeks...