Saturday, 28 January 2012

back again.

Nearly a whole week has passed since my last post. That seems insane. This week has absolutely flown by, partly because I spent half of it at home and since arriving back today have been trying to sort out things and get everything back together. It's always strange to suddenly be flung home again, especially after only a few weeks, and as I rarely go home during term time anyway it is always a bit of an odd experience. Anyway, I'm back now and trying to get back to normal again.

I have done tonnes of reading in the last few days, but not so much writing, partly because of all the chaos that has been the last few days, but also because I've been separated from my laptop, which meant I couldn't really get on with doing any proper editing. I have however, been doing lots of thinking which has to be a good thing, and I have been considering ideas, old and new, and coming up with things I want to add or take away from certain stories. So that's all good. Nice to have some time to think and consider things really. Anyway, this is just a short post to say hi and I'm still here, and trying to get back to things!

Also, just a quick added note, going through my NaNo, I have realised that I severely overuse the word 'enthusiastic' - partly because it's always spelt wrong so I notice it more, but seriously this girl seems to be enthusiastic about absolutely everything!

Sunday, 22 January 2012

a little off topic.

Bad things have happened to good people this week.

In so many different ways; unexpected bad news, expected bad news, ongoing worries and problems.

It's been a difficult week, and it's made me realise, yet again, how unfair life is. How unexpected, bad things can happen. How life is so short and unpredictable. It made me really sad, but also really angry. I've had my own experience of death and bereavement in the last few years, including this past week, but that doesn't prepare you for when it happens to you, or to someone else. And it makes you feel so helpless. You want to look after and love your friends, family - the people you love. There is nothing you can do to make it better, not really.

When it comes upon you so unexpected and unprepared for, its a different kind of shock and grief. my experiences have been with illnesses, things we have (tried to) prepare for - or course you can never be prepared, but you have some sort of warning. An unexpected death is so...

The last few days I have found myself trying to express words that I have known and wanted to say but found myself ultimately unable to put into physical words and speech. I never realised before quite how different it was to be in that position, trying to comfort someone else.

It's still difficult to put it all into words here, but I have experienced such a mixture of bad news from various people this week, and tried to help others and talked, a hell of a lot and worried. I know that just being there for people is something and sometimes that's all you can do. Listen. And drink tea. And give lots of hugs. Do silly things. But it's so hard, because I don't want my friends to be hurting. I want them to be happy. But it makes me feel so helpless, because I want to help them and do everything I can, whatever that is.

I'm still finding it so hard to express all of this and put it into words. Maybe I'll feel clearer tomorrow. Here's to the end of the week, although this week is going to be difficult too, but let's hope it begins to get better soon.

p.s. sorry for the lack of writing stuff. Normal service will resume shortly...

Thursday, 19 January 2012

ups and downs.

So I'm a bit stuck.

I don't like my story.

Well, I do. I really do.

The thing is I have three WIPs technically. And all three of them are at the editing stage.

I have plenty of new ideas in the works, but I really want to, as I said before, commit to finishing and editing and polishing things.

These three different things are at different stages. One of them I typed up over the summer, and finished off but wrote the year before (I have a feeling I'm repeating myself here, but bear with me.. I'm sorry. Trying to get my head back into things...). Another I wrote during the summer, and am now seriously trying to edit. The other is my NaNo novel. That one I'm still happy with. I still like that story, and I'm at very early editing stages so I haven't had time to become dissatisfied with it.

It's the middle one, the other one that is causing me trouble at the moment. I love the story. I love the idea. I love it. But reading it and trying to critically make it better, because of course I want it to be the best that it can be, is difficult. I'm starting to not like it, and think that the whole thing is ridiculous. A crisis of faith in it I suppose. I guess that writing is full of ups and downs; there are always going to be times when you don't like what you've written: I've experienced that before. It's just frustrating. It's just hard to know what to do. For now I'm working on my NaNo novel, and hoping a break will do me good in regards to the other one. Maybe I'll start liking it again. I suppose sometime soon I'll have to find some poor willing person to read stuff. That might reassure me (or not) or at least tell me where I'm going wrong/what to do.

But for now, I have to go and try and write a really awkward email to my tutor. Although I might just rock up tomorrow and hope she's around. But I really need to see her, so if she doesn't happen to be there, I'll be stuck till Monday.. dilemmas.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Revisiting NaNoWriMo 2011

So I just finished a very rushed reread through of my NaNo - really a read through for spelling and grammer and all those little things you overlook when you're writing in a rush.

The last bit, where I did it very quickly became very sloppy, and there are parts where I didn't know what to call a character and it just says WHOEVER and when I didn't know what food they would be eating and I told myself to add in something yummy later. That's all to be expected.

But on the whole it's not as horrid as I expected it to be. Which makes me very happy. So now I think I am going to do some work on it and not abandon it. I have too many first drafts sitting around, and nothing ever happening to them. This is now going to change. It does help that I like what I write now. So many years of going wrong I suppose, it's what practice is for. The thing about editing as well, is that in the past I've been like 'Oh, I wrote that, that's done.' But of course, now I've learnt, quite wonderfully, that it is only a first draft. It needs work. It needs editing and rewriting. The other thing that I've always thought as well I think is that editing doesn't feel like writing. I've always wanted to be 'actively' writing something, writing something new and fresh, because I've got too bored. Liking what I'm writing now means that I stick with it and try to make it better, improve it. I used to feel bad that I wasn't really doing any writing, that I was just messing around and that this wasn't good enough! I've read tonnes of interviews and articles with writers who say that they prefer the editing because they have something then. Oddly that's something I've always said about writing essays, but not about writing. But now I'm beginning to see, that it is writing. I am doing something productive. It's all part of the process. And to be able to remain attached to one idea for a longer time can only be a good thing.

Well, those are some very confused thoughts on writing and editing...

Friday, 13 January 2012

four months!

Just a quick post script - I just realised I've kept this blog going for about four months now, with quite regular updates. So proud of that. I hope it will continue! *fingers crossed*

A new term awaits.

I've now been back nearly a week and I don't really know where it has gone. Having done my exam and handed everything in (finally!) I turned to sorting everything out which I had abandoned over the last few weeks, whilst I did everything else. As soon as my exam was over however, I felt like there were tonnes of other things that I needed to be doing. Luckily handing everything in yesterday (my story and my essay) relived some of that tension, but I still feel like there's lots to be done, although I've done all my reading for next week, it's catching up on other reading which I didn't do for my dissertation over Christmas, and getting back into the swing of that again. I now feel like it's time for a nice Christmas break.. oh wait...

It feels strange to think that the new term is around the corner, it doesn't really feel like we've stopped, yet at the same time, seeing everyone again and everything, it all seems rather far away... It's also odd to think that when the next holiday comes round I will have done this term, and my dissertation will be getting near ready to hand in. I feel like there should be another break in the middle of all of that. This term is certainly going to be busy - what with my dissertation (looking forward to getting going again!), my children's literature module (which I am SO excited to do, really would like to get going now, but I think that's what's odd about the last few days, it feels so... uncertain and like we're waiting for something. Anyway), the infamous MethAng Musical (again, EXCITED) and my birthday, and all the other stuff that generally happens in a term. Oh, and the usual family crisis just round the corner...

Having finished this short story I had to hand in this week, today I finally turned back to some of the longer pieces I have been working on which I neglected. Of course this short story wasn't the only reason I neglected these projects - I was beginning to work on other things and I wanted to get some time and space from them, so that when I went back it was with fresh eyes and I wasn't so attached, which I think definitely helps. One project, which I wrote a very rough first draft for last summer, is one which I'm looking at again and trying to be a lot more brutal and vicious with. I love the story so much, but it needs so much work and I'm determined to do that. However, it's always a bit of a surprise to be reading through and get to a chapter that just reads: 'chapter (number): to write'. Oh so encouraging... It's the same with something else I did a lot of work on over the summer. It still needs lots of work. I also opened up my NaNo novel from this year. I was uncertain what I was going to do with this. I actually quite liked what I wrote this year and it came easy-ish, unlike some years, so there's hope. I wanted to leave it for a while thought, and I reckon a month and a bit is an alright time. I've been so caught up with other stuff I've forgotten it really, and I suppose it won't hurt to just have a look at it - even if I put it away again for a few months!! I'm looking forward to getting back on track with all of them. Though of course that doesn't eliminate the itch to just write something... anything...

One last thing I want to mention, because it's been on my mind, before I end this rather long and rambling post, is a book I read last night. Or rather I want to RAVE about it. The Fault in Our Stars, by John Green. This book came out on Tuesday, with an impressive amount of online hype which I got sucked up into, despite only having read one of his novels before (Paper Towns and I really enjoyed it. Been wanting to read others for months!). I didn't order it however and when I was finally released back into the world on Thursday (seriously, I've been so trapped inside the last few weeks, partly because Christmas makes everyone hibernate away anyway, but also because of all this work. I'm not complaining, but I did start to get restless being back here and trapped inside. It's different at home, in the middle of nowhere) I made a trip to Waterstones and got myself a copy. It was lovely; they had a whole little table display with them on. Anyway, I'd read a bit of the first chapter on an online preview but that still didn't prepare me for it. I don't want to spoil it, but this book was beautiful and heart wrenching and oh so wonderful. I adore it. It made me cry. It made me laugh. It made me stay up late last night just to finish it. I couldn't put it down. It is such a wonderful book; I really couldn't recommend it enough. Such a powerful book. And on that note, over and out.

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Back in Exeter

I mean to post last week something, but somehow the week escaped me, and here I am now, back in Exeter, having survived the train journey back, and somehow made it! It feels very strange to be back, but am beginning to adjust again. It's always strange to go from one place to another.

Last week was crazy busy, with lots of revision, essay writing, and story writing. I got quite a lot done which I was glad about. Quite productive really.

Trying to edit my story and get it just how I want it before I hand it in, which is always challenging, but hopefully once this exam is over I can really concentrate on it all.

Anway just a quick hello, nothing much to say!

Sunday, 1 January 2012


Well I've spent the last half hour or so looking up what violets are meant to smell like and how they work in cakes because I'm writing a baking scene with violet - sort of - cakes. Other than that this short story is going well. I sent it to a friend, also doing the same assignment, and she sent back some wonderful feedback which is very useful. It's so easy to think 'oh that's fine, I'm sure it works'. It takes someone else to really point out those little things to let you know what doesn't work, or what does work. Of course there is constant editing and changing of the little things like the odd word, but sometimes you just need someone else to point it out to you. So I am very grateful for that, and all on fire again which is good.

Revision not so; but I suppose it is New Year's Day!