writing

Writers Tag!

I have a whole host of vlogs and blogs that I like to watch and read from writing, crafts, life, schooling. I was watching one last week and thought her theme was something fun and interesting, so thought I’d have a go too!

Her name is Kim Chance and you can find her on her YouTube channel, on Twitter, on Instagram, on Facebook, and her website where she offers editing services. I love watching her videos. She is always so bright and cheerful, has plenty to tell you and in a fun way. I’ve learned a lot from her and look forward to reading her novel when it is finally out in January next year!

So last week, she put up a video called Writing Rituals Tag w/Mandi Lynn. I love these videos and getting a sneak peek into other peoples lives to see what they get up to. They aren’t just something fun to watch though I don’t think, they are informative too. There are always little snippets in between the laughs that give new writers ideas and insights of what to look out for, what to expect and thoughts to help you/us overcome or get around blocks, hiccups and bumps along our paths. In the more info under her video, she wrote out the questions from her video so that we could all have a go ourselves. So I thought, why the heck not! I might be new to this, but I can still have a go…

Questions for the Writing Rituals Tag:
When do you write? (time of day, day of week)
A. Any time of the day. With a husband, two kids, two cats, a house to look after, all my little projects and the school summer holidays in full swing, right now, I write when I have the chance. Like right now, being a Saturday morning, the kids are upstairs tidying their bedrooms (which translates to playing Minecraft or Roblox on tablets and PCs no doubt!) so I am stealing some time in between laundry loads to write this.

***Edited Note***
As I wrote this, something bugged me. Something was wrong with this post and I couldn’t put my finger on it. As far as I could tell my spellings were OK…but something was wrong. I made a note to come back to it after lunch and toodled off. Half way through buttering a slice of bread, it hit me. It’s not flippin’ Saturday! It’s Friday! No wonder the children were playing video games and not tidying up their bedrooms. I guess I will let them off today now then :o) 

How do you seclude yourself from the outside world?
A. I have a small space just off my kitchen with no TV or anything in sight. I switch my mobile to vibrate. I won’t switch it to silent unless my husband is home unless he needs to get hold of me during the day, or if the children are in school or something. If there are annoying background noises, I’ll put on some music maybe. I have found some lovely playlists on Youtube with hours worth of relaxing music. I won’t have anything on with words though. I tried that once and found myself typing the lyrics!

How do you review what you wrote the previous day?
A. I will just do a quick re-read on what I did so that I can get my head back into the space that I need it in. If there is anything major that needs seeing to there and then, I’ll sort that but otherwise, I might make a note or two. Or I can just get away with a quick read and then head straight back into writing or planning, or whatever it is that I am doing at the time.

What song is your go-to when you’re feeling uninspired?
A. To be honest, there isn’t one. If I am feeling uninspired, I’ll go hit Google Images or Pinterest or maybe YouTube and do a search on whatever it is that I should be working at that time. If all else fails and I have tried these and it didn’t help, I walk away. Leave it, go do something else instead and worry about it again later on.

What do you always do (i.e. listen to music, read, watch youtube, etc.) when you find yourself struggling with writer’s block?
A. OK, so far, I haven’t experienced this, so I can only really go on what I ‘think’ that I might do, and basically, that is what I answered in the last question. I’m not trying to say I am that great, I just simply haven’t been writing for long enough really. I’m still heavily into the planning stage and making notes and writing out various scenes that I know I want to be included…maybe I’ll come back to this when I get into the actual bulk of the writing!

What tools do you use when you’re writing?
A. I am having fun with this part. I’m trying all sort of programs out and checking out peoples suggestions and have found some fun programs, but I seem to settle back into Scrivener each time. When I won in July’s Camp NaNoWriMo I took full advantage of the 50% offer they had on Scrivener. I love how everything you need is right there. You can have all your notes and plans, all your research, thoughts, ideas, all in one place and then, you have the writing element too. I simply love it. The only downside I have found to this program, and it is proving to be a sticking point for me, is there is nothing for Android. There is no way for me to be mobile with this program. Well, there is, if you go Google as some people have workarounds and whatnot, but I would much prefer simply an app that syncs to the main program.

So, I have started using Google Docs and my Google Drive. This has been brilliant. I have it set up into folders and files so it acts pretty much the same way as my Scrivener and how I have that setup, but, I am now fully mobile and can get to all of my info wherever and whenever I chose. It may not be as smooth to use but it works very well.
What’s the one thing you can’t live without during a writing session?
A. One thing? Crikey…well, in the limited time that I have been writing, a drink. I have a drink on the go all the time usually so the first thing I do when I sit to write is open up whatever the program I am using and then go find a drink. If I don’t, I’ll be trying to work and will be just thinking about the drink that I need.

How do you fuel yourself during your writing session?
A. My Polos and a drink – either a cup of tea or a glass of my favourite flavoured water. Mind you, no matter what I am doing I am never far from one of these! I used to smoke, so always had a packet of Polos in my pocket. I quit about 9 years ago now, but still always have them with me. I always have a notebook and pen that is separate from anything I am working on for making notes of anything unrelated…item to go on the shopping list, a phone call that I need to make. This way, I can empty those thoughts onto a piece of paper and crack on. That’s about it really.

How do you know when you’re done writing?
A.  When my mind won’t stay focused anymore. Once ‘monkey mind’ starts to take over, I know I am done and it is time to step away and do something else. What I have been doing and started doing during Camp NaNoWriMo, is the word sprints. I found those super helpful to keep me on track and motivated. I’d only do 10 to 15 minutes at a go and this seemed to work for me. But even with word sprints, I know after so many in a day, I’ve had enough. I won’t force myself to write and as soon as I start to feel tired or restless then that’s it, time to stop work for the day.

That was quite interesting to do actually. I only started that as I thought it might be fun, but it was insightful too. Even as a new writer, I have realised that I am already falling into routines and patterns when I sit to write. It might not be much or mean much to others, but it sort of helps me ‘feel’ as though I might just becoming a writer and not just saying it.

Well, I don’t know anyone who writes, so I can’t tag anyone. So, the best that I can do, is to tag…you! Tag, you’re it!

Advertisements
writing

Just a few days left…

Just a few days left of Camp NaNoWriMo left for this July and I wonder how everyone did? I know that I finished very early, but that was because of my goal was just a short story at only 7500 words so just a toe dipping really in preparation for the main event in November. And I cannot wait! I have found this whole experience fascinating. Absolutely fascinating. I started this month as a Pantser – loving the lingo! I just opened a new document on Scrivener and just write. I did 10-minute sprints through the day and let it add up. I didn’t write every day either. I came into Camp already a few days in, so hadn’t cleared my calendar or prepared, so I slotted in writing where and when I could. When I finished the story, I gave myself a pat on the back, read it through once again and then shut it down. I’ve not opened it again actually either. I had planned to use the rest of this month to edit and rewrite all the crap parts – I am sure there are many!

I started this month as a Pantser but ending more of a plantser (plotting to start so far but then turning pantser there after – loving the lingo! I just opened a new document on Scrivener and just write. I did 10-minute sprints through the day and let it add up. I didn’t write every day either. I came into Camp already a few days in, so hadn’t cleared my calendar or prepared, so I slotted in writing where and when I could. When I finished the story, I gave myself a pat on the back, read it through once again and then shut it down. I’ve not opened it again actually either. I had planned to use the rest of this month to edit and rewrite all the crap parts – I am sure there are many! But, I decided that as this was my very first, I wanted to keep it as that. I’m going to print it out, pop it in a folder of some kind and then set up on a shelf. This will be my ‘where it all began’.

I’m still writing though! I actually was so surprised, but I am so bitten by this writing bug now. I now have an area just off my kitchen in a little nook with a small desk that my husband put together for me. I have notebooks and inspirational pictures on the wall. I have my tablet all set up there with pens and pencils and my shiny new whiteboards. I am in love with my new space! Now to use it!

My Writing Space
My little writing nook

 

I have made a start on my first novel. I’m writing (actually, I am planning right now) a fantasy story about dragons. Every day I am researching something new, be it for the actual story or learning about the processes involved. This is one mass learning curve but I am loving every single bit of it. I want to know all the details – formatting, processes, everything. I’m like a new sponge fresh out of the packet and dunked in a bath for the first time. One squish and I’m soaking up everything that I can. My hope is, that I can spend this time learning, researching for my book, and then when November comes round, I can hit NaNoWriMo running and keep on running.

Many Blessings!
Hugs!
xXx

Uncategorized · writing

And I am done!

Good grief…I did it. It might not be the work of art or the mass word count of those who are trying to complete their novels, but I am happy. I’m very happy. My story of these two children moving into their new home, first draft, is done. It came in at 7,787 words. I  have updated my word total on the Camp NaNoWriMo site and closed down Scrivener now. I’m going to leave it shut now for the rest of the day too. I’m just going to enjoy the fact that I jumped in and had a little go, and I did it. I know it is only the 16th July today, so I know that if I choose to, I have time to hop back in and add more and play with it. But at least I have hit my goal! I had done a search on Google for an idea of a word count for a Children’s Short Story and 7500 seemed to be something acceptable to shoot for. So I aimed for that, hit that and went some over. I can live with that.

I had done a search on Google to get an idea of what a word count is for a children’s short story, and the majority of sites reckoned between 7,500 words and 9,000. So I thought I’d go for the lower count. It seemed to be something acceptable to shoot for. So I aimed for that, hit it and then went some over. I can live with that.

What have I learned so far? Well, that I ffff-lipping love writing! OK, so this is all new to me, so right now I have that excitement born of something new, but even so, everything about this just excites me so much. This morning when I finished my little story, I was left feeling rather deflated. Now what was I supposed to do?!

Over these last couple of weeks, I have joined groups and forums. I have Googled my backside off finding snippets to note down in one of my many notebooks. I have subscribed to some really lovely YouTube channels and enjoying watching through those. There is such a wealth of information out there!

I’ve also bought a book called The Five Minute Writer. I have found it to be a super little book for helping find ideas and thoughts. Basically, you flip the book open to anywhere you choose. There will be a short intro into what that theme is, and then a five-minute exercise to do. I have been doing them as a warm up to my writing. So I start my day with one of these exercises, then get stuck into Scrivener.

My writing day has quite set itself into its own little routine. Once children and husband are out the door to school and work (or settled into what ever activity they are involved in), I grab a cuppa and set my self up at the table. One day, I hope to have my own office to write in! How exciting would that be?! I then pull out my Five Minute Writer book and choose something randomly. I admit I don’t always choose to do the one that I open at though. Once that is done, I open up Scrivener, grab my phone and set the timer to ten minutes. I complete a sprint and then get up and go do something different – housework, decorating, whatever it may be. Then back for another sprint. It seems to be working for me, and if I am on a roll, I am more than happy to just keep going.

Time for lunch now – I’m starving! And then, I have a whole list of sites to hit and YouTube videos to check out on planning out your novel. I have decided that I am definitely going to have a crack at Novembers NaNoWriMo and this time, I intend to go in armed. I want a full plan and research, the lot. I absolutely love planning things, so I am looking forward to this stage! Mind you, I have already hit my first snag.

It’s not a problem as such, just a wee snag…I have this vision of my book and I couldn’t begin to describe how excited I am about it. I even see the front cover! My problem is the name. It was perfect. It described what my book is to be about exactly I thought. I then checked on Amazon and there are a few books with that already. Just my luck. Worse than that, I even had a title for book two…some bugger has his first two books of a series with my titles…both of them! OK, so it made me chuckle. Made me call him a few names too, but it did make me smile that I had obviously picked good names. Just a shame that it was his books, lol!

Many blessings!
Hugs!
xXx

 

Life · Uncategorized · writing

Camp NaNoWriMo – Week Two

Well, who would have thought that we are half way through Camp already! I wasn’t sure I would still be here after week one, let alone still going strong in week two. And I couldn’t be happier!

Well, I started Camp with nothing more than a blank page, and a, “What is all this about? Looks fun!” and “I wonder…” And now, I am addicted.

My story originally started life as an idea I had years ago when my youngest son was born. I wanted to write him some pagan stories as there weren’t many at all for children. Sure, you could buy the books on ‘how to’, but nothing really aimed at children stories. So I came up with a basic outline then, and that’s all it ever was really. A couple of years later my daughter was born and the story resurfaced and this time it was rewritten to include her, but again went no further. It was just a simple text document that stayed on my hard drive collecting dust.

As I was starting Camp very, very green, it was the perfect thing to pull out, dust off and relook at. It certainly helped to have that tucked away for a rainy day! I can’t say that I have followed the original story and it has now completely morphed into something different.

The Plan – a set of eight short stories on the eight sabbats of the Pagan Wheel of the Year. The two children would take us through a year with their family and their goings on. So part fiction, part non-fiction. The story is still the two children, and they are in a pagan family, but they are moving into their new neighbourhood in this story instead.

Basically, I’m a grade A waffler and I had read that at Camp (as well as during the main event in November) the goal is to write. Just write. So I did! I waffled on so much though and added in things I hadn’t thought about, that the whole story changed. I’m not sad about it, I love it. I love that my characters have a whole life of their own. They have characters that have grown, thoughts, emotions and it is like their lives are playing out on my screen and it has nothing to do with me. I wanted them to have a Halloween party, but no, they wanted to build a tree house and find the perfect spot for a Fairy Village. Very rude if you ask me, they didn’t even ask first!

So how is my word counts going? I have surprised myself every day that I have written. I haven’t written every day I do admit. But considering I didn’t start until day 4, my word count sits at 6098 – not bad considering I started off with a goal of 1000 words! Then I upped it to 2000. Next, I tried 5000, then 6000 and currently my goal is 7500. I think I shall hit that this weekend quite easily and not sure I will up it again. So I think my plan will be for this next week, is to finish writing this story and then look at starting to edit maybe.

I even joined in my first Write-In this week. I really enjoyed that and can’t wait for next weeks. I did connect to watch last weeks event, but I just lurked…I wasn’t ready to poke my head out from behind my monitor just yet. But no one poked me in the nose for joining in this week, so all is well!

I hope everyone who is joining in with Camp NaNoWriMo this month is having as much fun as I am. I do wonder if it is as much fun when November rolls around and I am trying to hit 50,000 words!

Many blessings!
Hugs!
xXx

Life · writing

Camp NaNoWriMo – One week in!

Well, it is one week in on Camp NaNoWriMo this July and I’m still going! Well, I had to say though, that I have only just started two days ago, so I am running a little behind. I also went into this blind. I had NO clue what to expect or what I was doing, or going to do. Maybe not quite the approach that I might have hoped for, but it’s what I have and so I am going with it. Well, not much choice now, is there, LOL!

I had heard of NaNoWriMo before, but not the Camps until a few days ago. Because the Camps you can set your own goals and not restricted to the 50,000 words that you try to hit in the Novembers challenge, I figured that I would give it a go. So I set to with paper and pen and jotted a few notes down. I now have post-it notes all over, various notebooks and pens. I now have Grammarly installed on my PC and Scrivener too. I love these programs already!

Grammarly is a program that you download and then choose your level of subscription. I’m only using the free version. It installed as an extension on my Chromes browser and also as a program. So now, when I go to write an email or make a comment on Facebook, or where ever I might type some text on my PC, I have this little green circle with an arrow shooting around it. It reads everything that I type and will let me know if I make a mistake in spelling or grammar. It then advises me where my error is and what I can do to fix the problem. It has come in very handy already, I can tell you! Check it out here, or just go Google and have a look.

Scrivener is much more complex, but oh wow. I am in love with this program and just cannot stop playing with it. It is everything that you could want or need (I say this with my very new and limited writing knowledge!) to plan out and write…something. Not only do you write in there, but you also get to play your characters, map out your writing, add research, notes, sort out your chapters, even compile it all when done to various formats. There is so much to this program. But it has me all excited. OK, so it doesn’t take much! Currently, I am using the free trial version that is released for this month’s Camp NaNoWriMo. It will disable itself on August the 7th. If I get to be a winner at Camp, then you get given a 50% discount on buying the program – which I will be doing. If I’m not a winner, then I still get 20%. Either way, come the first payday of August, this program is mine! Wahahaha! If you haven’t got it or want to check out the free version (go to the bottom of the page for that) then check it out here.

As for me? Well, my adventures at Camp are just getting going really. As I said, I’m two days in, and already smashing my daily target. I am so happy! Doesn’t it sound like I am churning out chapters?! I am on chapter two though.

So, my goals…to be fair, I’m still not sure on that. It keeps changing. As I said I went into this without a clue what I was doing. All I knew, was that I had to find an idea of a story and pop in how many words and set to. But if you have never written stories before, how do you know? I tried Googling and even sat on the living room floor with my kid’s books counting words. Seriously, I did! It didn’t help. So I decided to just go. Just write. So I did.

 Well, I knew that it would be a children’s story, so it was never going to have thousands upon thousands of words, so I guessed that I would start with one goal for a number of words and I could push that out if needed…oh I needed.

I started with 1000 words. It was literally a number plucked, nothing more. My original idea was to shoot for a series of eight short stories with my same main characters and within the theme chosen. All good so far. So my family moved into their new house that afternoon, removals were gone by evening and they ‘camped’ in their rooms that night. By lunch time next morning, I’m at 2000 words, lol! Hmmm, gonna rethink my word counts a tad. So goal right now is 5000 words, and my little tiny short stories, well, might be a wee bit longer than I anticipated. Who knew I could waffle on so much (tries to look shocked at the fact)!

Hmmm, and mentioning my ability to waffle on, seems a good place to shut up and end this here, and get back to Camp!

Many blessings!
Hugs!
xXx

Life · Uncategorized

I’m going to do what?!

Well, it’s been a while. I would love to think that I could be one of those people who write a blog every single day and make a difference to people, but I am just not that sort of person. I’ll write in fits and starts, and to be perfectly honest, for myself. There, I said it, I’m selfish. But I was reading my blogs that I follow and watching the vlogs that I subscribe to, and I had an urge to write again. So I am. Just because I want to and because I can!

Normally, I am one of those people who keeps everything to herself. Even my poor husband doesn’t get to know what is going on in my head half the time and to be fair, he is safer that way, hehe! But seriously though, I have always been that way. I give out snippets if I want to, and secretly squirrel away on some new thought or project and then I will tell. Yeah, I am a very closed person. I know that. And those who are close to me and actually know me, know that too. And that is OK.

The other month I blogged about the ideas of these Bucket Lists and it has been playing on my mind since. I know I’ll not get everything done on the list that I created and that is OK too. But there are a few points on there, that I would really like to accomplish.

  • Get a degree at University
  • Write a book
  • Loose some weight
  • Learn Sign Language

These are four just off the top of my head that I could think of this minute. Well, I have begun!

Last week, I joined up with Weight Watchers. I’m doing it on my own online. So we shall see how that goes. So far, Week 1…I put on one pound, hahaha! To be fair, I started this AFTER I had done all the weekly shopping, so had to make do with what I already had. Plus, it was that time of the month. So really, I have just started Week One.

Learn Sign Language, well, that one will come.

But, I have joined up with Open University and signed onto BA (Honours) English Literature and Creative Writing! Holy crap! OK, now I need to confess…I did, in fact, join them last year. But, I got so overwhelmed. I had done research, read blogs and watched vlogs about what it would be like but nothing compared me for what I was taking on!

I checked out what hours were involved and wrote up a timetable for myself. I would study Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings. Catch up on evenings if I needed to. I got started and was really enjoying myself and was so proud of myself for doing this. But when things got a little tough I soon discovered that I had no support. The responses from people that I was doing this degree was unreal. Why would I waste my time on something that I didn’t need? I’m a stay-at-home mother and housewife! What a waste of time. And it went on. That really did affect me and upset me more than I let on. People who I expected support and a pat on the back…nothing. It got too much and so I caved, and I decided to quit. Thankfully though, my tutor at the time was so great. She got me to change my mind and instead of quitting, to defer and bank my assignments that I had completed just in case. I’m so grateful that I listened to her!

So, yesterday, I signed on to start again. This October, I start again on my degree. This time I am more aware of what I am walking in to and what to expect. I have me, my tutors and my class and I will do this! Well, here is to the next six years of study!

OK, so that is point number one. Degree at University on the way…

Number two then! I’m going to write a book. Yes! Have you ever heard of the event held each year called NaNoWriMo. It’s National Novel Writers Month. Each year in November, thousands upon thousands of people sign up for this challenge to write a novel in one month. Crazy, I know! But the goal is to get to 50,000 words. It’s a huge deal and must be one heck of an achievement. Well, through the year they also run a couple of Camps. These are in April and again in July. One month to write to a specific goal, be it a word count, a number of lines, or time writing. Basically, it is a warm up to the main event I think.

Well, I just joined up to NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo. Now, I’m not saying that I am going to go all in and go for the Novembers huge challenge, but I am going to start off with a Camp. Even though this Camp started five days ago, I’m still going to have a go and see what happens. I already have an idea in mind and is something that I have wanted to do for a good number of years.

When my son was born, I wanted him to have some books and stories for kids that were pagan based. There were not that many at all around! 11 years on, there are a few now and more coming on the market all the time. But I have the basic outline of what I wanted to do and where I wanted the stories/book to go, so I am going to see if I can bring that all into being.

So, I’m off to go put the kettle on, swap over the laundry and then set to and start writing a book! How flippin’ exciting! And where normally I wouldn’t have told a soul…I just told all of you! Eeeeek!

I shall let you know how I get on!

Many blessings!
Hugs!
xXx

Food · History · Uncategorized

Bacon Turnovers…

These are a favourite! They are fabulous hot as part of a main meal or even cold to go in lunchboxes, picnics, etc. They are so easy to make and takes no time at all to do, after just a short amount of time on preparation.

These are made in two parts. The pastry and the mixture. Myself, I tend to make the mixture and while that cools, I make the pastry. The pastry in the main recipe is different to the one that I use. We like the Potato Pastry that was commonly used during the war as it saves on flour when it could be hard to find/afford. We prefer the taste though. My husband says that it reminds him of the pastry used in the Clarks Pies from Bristol where he was born.

Bacon Turnovers
The filling
Ingredients:

  • 4oz bacon rashers, chopped and fried
  • 2 leeks finely chopped and cooked (I actually only use 1)
  • 8oz cooked potatoes, diced
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons of parsley

Cook everything, mix together and set aside.

20170426_163013

As a side note, this mixture on it’s own is delish!!

Potato Pastry
Ingredients:

  • 4oz Self Raising Flour
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1.5 – 2 oz cooking fat
  • 4oz smooth mashed potato
  • Little water to bind

Sift the flour with the salt. Rub in the fat well. Then add the potato and mix well. Add enough water to bind.

This is a soft pastry.

20170426_164148

Divide the pastry into four. Roll out each piece into a circle. Put some of the filling mixture onto one half of the pastry and fold the pastry over and seal closed – it should look like a pasty.

Mine are round…mine have to be gluten free, and the gluten free flour is shite! Well, for this it is. It does the job, but it is not flexible at all. So I have to push my dough out into a round, fill it with mixture and lay another round on top, then seal. I did brush the tops of mine with a little milk. When made with regular flour, it’s perfect.

Bake in a fairly warm oven for 25 mins. I think I had my oven set to around 180C.

One thing I did do today while I was cooking this all up, was cook extra potato for tomorrow – baked fish cakes tomorrow!

Toodle pip!
Hugs!
xXx