Monday, 24 October 2016

It's time for NaNoWriMo!

In just over a week, aspiring (and established) authors from all around the world will unite and attempt to complete the daunting task of writing 50,000 words in one month. No, we haven't all been taking crazy pills (hmm...debatable), it's that time of year again - it's NaNoWriMo!

For those of you who may not know, NaNoWriMo is a "fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing. On November 1, participants begin working towards the goal of writing a 50,000 word novel by 11.59pm on November 30."

I've attempted to complete NaNoWriMo twice before; the first year, (in 2012) I only wrote about 100 words, the second year (2013) I wrote a grand total of 39,000 words - although I didn't realise you could add on words from different projects, so really, the finish total was more like 45,000.

I kinda forgot about NaNoWriMo for most of this year - with the wedding, moving house, starting a new job etc, I just didn't consider it. But now that things are kind of calming down (LOL), I thought, 'why not?' I've already thrown out the rulebook with my current WIP - why not try and move it on a bit by writing 50,000 more words? I have no plan for this WIP, just the background notes and random scene ideas I've already written, but as I'm attempting to write the first draft of this novel without a plan, I'm not too worried (yet).

So there you go - from November 1st, I will be participating in the craziness that is NaNoWriMo. The Engineer has been informed, I'm booking the days off work today (not the whole month, unfortunately, but a few days here and there), and I'm actually super excited to have an uninterrupted excuse to work on my novel. Let the writing begin!

Oh, and if you need a buddy to rant/cry/commiserate/bounce idea off of - my username is REPattinson1. See you there!

Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this year? If so, have you got a plan, or are you a 'pantser'? If you're not participating, what are you planning on doing in November?

Monday, 17 October 2016

Anxiety: A Conversation

The following is a conversation I imagine my anxiety would have with me, if it happened to be a real person. For background reference, I've been going through a pretty stressful time at work lately (organising your first event that also involves local TV and press will do that to you) and it just made me aware of how much my anxiety has been cranked up over the past few weeks. So, to help me destress, I came up with the following short story on the spur of the moment. Please, if you suffer from anxiety or know someone who is, by all means share this post and have a good laugh over it - after all, laughter is the best medicine (no matter what my anxiety tries to convince me otherwise), and we all know how hard it can be to raise a simple smile when you're suffering from anxiety.


"Ah, good morning Rachel, how are you today? Pretty good? Well, let's see if we can do something about that. You say you've been sleeping better lately? Not as many disturbing thoughts? Hmm, that's not quite right - I see here that back in university you were given our Anxiety 101 package deal for beginners, which included; panic attacks, a metallic taste in your mouth (to be taken daily) heart palpitations, a persistent feeling of 'unreality' and a nice healthy dose of fatigue? Ah! I see here that you also managed to take advantage of our exclusive offer of 'Disturbing Thoughts To Keep You Awake At Night And Obsess Over For Years To Come' - and how have you been finding that? Does it work? Good.

Hmm...looking at your notes, I can actually see that your stock of disturbing and obsessive thoughts have been dwindling somewhat lately, is that true? You've been feeling happier and calmer in your every day life? Well, I can offer you an anxiety upgrade to fix that if you like? How about our new, 'Rehash Old Thoughts And Make You Obsess Over Them In A New Light' package? Why don't you try our free trial for the next couple of weeks and see how you get on? And while you're here, could I also interest you in a brand new deal, put together just for you? Now, I know you tend to have migraines after a stressful period, so I think I have just the ticket - why not try our 'All-day Stress Headache That Will Also Wake You Up At Night With A Pounding Headache And Disturb Your Sleep So Your Anxious Thoughts Return' package? Does that sound like something you'd be interested in? No? Well, why don't you try it for a couple of weeks and just see how you get on.

Now, your brain told me you've got a very important event coming up - how exciting! Our new package will be just the thing! The All-Day Headache is a new concept that we're trialling just for you - you seemed to have coped rather well with everything else we've thrown at you, so we thought it was high time we gave you a different anxiety symptom to try - and since you're a long term customer, I'll also throw in our tie-in 'Wake Up Early In The Morning, Paralysed By Anxious Thoughts' deal for free too - I know how much you've missed those!

What's that? You don't want to try our new headache deal? But Rachel, how will your brain know you're throughly prepared for your big event, if you don't obsess over it over the weekend and wake up sweating in the night?! Why, it would almost be like you're completely calm and in control, and we can't have that! What on earth would your primeval brain do with itself?! Are you 100% completely sure you don't want to take advantage of this fantastic offer? Think about it carefully - would you rather wake up well-rested and happy, or grumpy and irritable because your sleep has been disturbed so much, BUT you'll have made mental notes on every single tiny thing that you have to do, even though you already wrote it down earlier in the day?

Since you're so exhausted at the moment, Rachel, I think I'm going to go ahead and order this brand new offer for you anyway, since you're clearly too tired to make rational decisions right now. We'll meet again in a few days time and see how you're getting on. Enjoy the headaches! And please, do fill out this questionnaire on your way out rating me on a scale of 1-10 of how much I disturb your life. See you soon, Rachel! Bye bye!"


Writing about my anxiety has been strangely therapeutic - I've never really done it before, but you know what? I've really had enough this week. Enough of my anxiety, enough of the constant headaches and enough of keeping silent about something I should've spoken up about a long time ago. So there you have it - there's my anxiety laid out it's all it's ugly glory. I really hope someone out there - whether you've been suffering from anxiety for years like me, or you've just started - finds this useful to know that you are not alone. Anxiety can take many different forms, and what might manifest itself in one person, might not show up in another, but that doesn't make it any less real or any less scary.

So, to sign off before I start a mega-rant about anxiety and how much it sucks, I just want you all to know - no matter what your anxiety tries to tell you, or how much it tries to drag you down, you are fucking awesome and you can do this. I totally, 100%, believe in you.

Peace x

What are your own experiences of anxiety? Do you stress out more over big events, or does it tend to show up all-year round? What helps you to deal with your anxiety?

Monday, 3 October 2016

Inspirational weekend words...

Where on earth does the time go? One minute you're relaxing in front of the new season of Luke Cage on Netflix on a Saturday night, and the next you're staring blearily at your computer screen, gulping down your coffee and wondering how Monday rolled around so fast.

But I have some inspirational words to share with you today to help you through the Monday blues!

First up, I saw this thread on Twitter over the weekend:

This is my favourite thing I've read in a long time. It made me smile so much, and I just had to share it with you all. It's so so true - there are bloggers that I've known since I first started my blog, and recently, I've seen a few of them winning awards, being shortlisted and getting published, and you know what? I'm so so proud of each and every one of them. They might not know it, but to me, they are all rising stars, and I hope they all know how much I look up to them, and how much I'm cheering for them. Seriously - if you ever feel like throwing in the towel, just read the above and know that to someone, somewhere, you are their star.

Secondly, I also found this article from The Guardian on Sunday morning:

If you have a minute, or if you're looking for something to read at work at lunchtime, make sure you read the whole thing. The Girl on the Train was Hawkins' fourth novel - she wrote it when she was short of cash and wanted to write something different from her normal romcoms. And look what happened - it just goes to show what might happen if you don't give up on you dreams. I'm not saying everyone will become the next Hawkins (as nice as that would be!) but if you write what you want to write, you never know what might come along. 

The other reason I love this article is because Hawkins didn't give up when things were going badly - she rebooted herself, got rid of her pseudonym, wrote under her real name and wrote what she wanted to write. Even if you think you don't have another chance, even if you think you've 'blown your only chance of getting published' somehow or that you're writing the wrong things - don't give up. It's never the end of the journey - so long as you're alive and you can still write, your writing career can be whatever you want it to be.

Although I didn't get to work on my WIP over the weekend (it was finally time to write out our wedding thank you cards), these two things really cheered me up, and resolved my determination to keep writing no matter what. I hope they've inspired you, as much as they inspired me, but just in case you need some more writing inspiration, here's some photos from our Sunday morning walk:

And here's some from the sunrise this morning - it was worth getting up at 6.30am on a Monday morning just to see this:

Have a great week! See you all on Wednesday for IWSG!

What do you think of the tweets/article? Have you come across any articles or tweets that have ever inspired you to write, or not give up on your dreams? How was your weekend?

Monday, 26 September 2016

Three writing updates

Hey everyone, hope you all had a lovely weekend! It's Monday, it's cold, it's rainy and so I thought I'd just share a couple of updates with my writing that happened over the weekend:

  • I'm still working on my social media content posts. I've managed to write about half of my notes up for work, but once I'm done, I'm going to have then decide how to present them on my blog. I think there's a better way than me just randomly writing down what happened during the day, but I need a bit of time to figure all that out. So although I was planning on having my first post out wither tomorrow or Wednesday, it might actually be closer to the end of the week (if not next week).
  • Over the weekend I managed to write 1,600 words of my current WIP. It's not the sequel to Synthetica unfortunately - it's my 'throw-all-the-rules-out-of-the-window' WIP. I can't tell you how much I'm enjoying writing this book. Having no rules when it comes to writing is actually incredibly liberating!
  • I didn't get quite as much writing done as I would've liked over the weekend, as me and the Engineer ended up having a long hard look on Sunday at what we want out of life. He wants to start his own business and I want to make a career as an author (so essentially, we both want to work for ourselves). On Sunday we started to put our ideas into practice by, not only making a plan of what we want to achieve over the next few years, but by actually starting the process of implementing what was in our plan. It was incredibly exciting, and enthusiasm for our ideas is essentially what got me through work today. So although I didn't end up working on my WIP on Sunday, I did get to create and write content for the Engineer's business, which is still writing at the end of the day, and that's what I adore doing (and will still look good on a portfolio!).

So that's it for now - hopefully I'll be back later on in the week with the first of my social media content posts, but as I'm also trying to dedicate more time to my writing, don't be surprised if it ends up being next week instead.

Have a great week!

What did you get up to this weekend? How is your writing going? Have you ever sat down and written a plan to achieve your goals in life?

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Creating social media content

I went to work this morning with my hair still wet. Mainly because I wanted to see what it looks like if a hairdryer doesn't touch it, but also because I was super excited to write this blog post and I had to write it before work because I won't have time tonight.

On Tuesday, I got to attend a 'Creating social media content' course for work. I wanted to go, not just because it would be useful for my day job, but also because I was secretly hoping it would be useful for my author life as well. And wow, am I glad I went!

Some of the stuff the woman was talking about I had kinda already figured out, or had a sneaking suspicion I should be doing but wasn't, but it was so helpful to have someone consolidate all this information and tell me in straight terms what social media is all about.

I went home, excited to get cracking and start creating my own social media content calendar. I immediately put some of the stuff she taught us into practice, and I think it's making a difference, but obviously I'm going to have to wait a while before I draw any definite conclusions.

Today, I'll be writing up my notes from the course for work so I can share it with my team, but I'm also going to be writing it up and posting it on my blog as a series to share with all of you. Hopefully you'll all find it useful too - I'd love to share the knowledge I gained and help out as people as I can. You might find it helpful, you might not, but we'll give it a go and see what happens. If there's anything in particular you'd like to know about, drop me a line in the comments below and I'll see if I have any information on it.

Have a great day!

Have you ever attended a social media course? Did you find it useful? Do you think you're using social media effectively?