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Other hobbies

What do I do when I am not writing?

Quite a lot actually, because I don’t write much at all these days; I have lots of ideas for things to write but I think illness has made me lose focus and passion for it.  I was a lot more passionate about writing than I am nowadays.  It is simply because pain distracts me and makes me lose where I am heading – coughing fits and a severely runny nose are the biggest contributors for throwing me off course, yanking me out of the zone, as it were.  As I have said before in many posts, I live with a perpetual chronic cold, with ear, nose and throat infections thrown in.  It isn’t just a sniffle, I wish it were, but I can get through five hundred individual tissues on a bad day, two hundred being the norm for me.

Since the 21st December 2019 the only things I have written are what are on the blog and approximately 5000 words of non-posted works of other things, but nothing contributing to my novels.  Hand written notes of other ideas are not included in this, I am spending more and more time in bed these days as I can barely move.  All these problems are giving me severe insomnia and hypersomnia.  What do I mean by that?  Well I don’t sleep at night, I seem to sleep better during the day, for some reason my chest and sinus is worse at night.  When I do eventually sleep during the day I sleep between 7 and 16 hours in a stretch, to wake up for 2 hours in a choking fit with a dry crusted mouth.  Not a pretty visual I know.  I can go 30 to 40 hours without sleeping, purely because I am too busy clearing mucus from my system.

So it isn’t any wonder why I lack focus and concentration really.

Basically, everything I do when I am not writing, are things I can do at home, in the bedroom.  Primarily with my desktop computer, as I have recently had it moved to the bedroom due to the fact I am often too sick to get downstairs these days and I have moved my laptop downstairs for the rare occasion I am down there for more than an hour.  Because my legs swell a lot sitting at the computer desk, I can only sit here for an hour before I have to rest with legs up for thirty minutes, to get the swelling down, so even if I am on a roll, my ankles start burning and that throws me off course and I have to go and put my feet up.

I read approximately 30 to 80 pages of a book per day and about half a magazine too.  The types of things I read the most are fantasy, sci-fi and comedy fiction with a lot of non-fiction thrown in; the non-fiction I enjoy are self-help books, nutrition books, history books, theological research, mythology, folklore and cultural studies.  My current reading list is Time Song by Julia Blackburn, The Toll by Neal Shusterman and Roy Vickery’s folk flora. 

I do puzzles such as codebreakers, arrow words and gardening magazine crosswords – before my chest got too bad I used to love doing 1000 piece jigsaw puzzles, but it is frustrating having a coughing fit and losing pieces across the room all the time!

If I am not too busy fighting mucus, I get to knit, crochet, sew or practise my recorder and keyboard. 

I watch TV only if there are documentaries I am interested in, I mostly watch Smithsonian and BBC four with some Drama channel thrown in.  I will watch anything with Lucy Worsley, anything about the history of jazz, soul and classical music, nature and wildlife documentaries, documentaries about farming and country life.  I like science too, so I will watch sky at night and space science programs as well as things in the past such as time commanders, gladiators and the occasional wrestling show.  I love comedies, I only watch the comedies on the Drama Channel, but I am picky about which ones to watch.  I like only connect and some quiz and puzzle shows like Countdown, but I don’t watch them all the time.  I have to be in the mood to watch TV and before I was sick I watched around three hours of TV a week, these days it’s about two hours a day.  We never miss Michael McIntyre’s Big Show if we can help it, nor do we tend to like missing gardeners world or shows such as the RHS show, cruft’s and BBC Proms.  I’m pretty old fashioned I suppose for someone who is thirty seven.  I dislike soap operas and drama llama stuff – yes I mentioned the drama channel, but there are three hours a day where it is strictly comedy and I tend to only watch that channel (at the comedy times) or food network when there is nothing else on.  Sometimes I put on a DVD and I will often choose vampires or family animations and comedies. 

The main things I do these days are play games online.  I don’t even socialise that much online anymore, because I lose concentration and people who know me are starting to think I have memory problems.  Because a coughing fit will make me forget what I have said or what I was on about.

The online games that grip me are… Roblox, yes Henry got me onto it and to be honest, Roblox has saved my relationship with my son!  Because I find his kind of games hard to do since becoming sick – Roblox has opened a whole new world for us and we play hide and seek and various other games together.  When Henry is at school, I still sneak onto the site and play bee swarm simulator, Ripull mini games and fairy simulator.  Bee Swarm simulator especially!

Other online games I play are ovipets it is a cute breeding game on facebook and I have been addicted to that for nearly 5yrs. 

Flightrising is another breeding game, but I go in and out of phases with that.  Primarily I have played this for a whole eight months without a break, purely because Henry wants to see what dragons I breed and he loves to name them and do what we call “Dragon Lottery”.  Dragon Lottery is where I look through the offspring possibilities scrying menu to see what will happen if I pair certain dragons up, sometimes I can’t decide, so I make a list of all the best ones that go with my chosen female that day and I number them, then Henry, Paul and I will choose a number from the list and put it through random.org and sometimes someone gets the number right, in which case that person must get a treat of some kind or get to choose to do something; I breed five pairs of dragons every five days, because that is how long it takes for the eggs to hatch and we have a limit of five breeding nests on this game. 

I used to play online scrabble but I have got accused of cheating because I know too many unusual words.  I don’t cheat on that game, I don’t see what purpose that serves other than the joy of creating misery on another person who loses and I am not a vindictive person like that.  I really do have a broad vocabulary, though I rarely use it outside of scrabble and I love doing anagrams for fun, so I see a lot of seven letter words and I am a dictionary and language addict, so I know words that are weird to normal people.  Here is a list of words I know for high scoring on scrabble, which have got me accused of cheating when used previously – plus, I have read books written by scrabble champions.

ZEBU – QAT –  QUARE – SEQUIN – AWK – EUOI – AIA – QI – KIMCHI – VEX – VAV – TAV – EAU – UVEA – AEON – OXIDE – POXY – QIN – QINTAR – FATWA – QABALA – QADI – SJOE – KHAKI – EUOUAE to name but a few.  I have to admit I was shocked when SEQUIN was considered a questionable word, the others I can understand, but I was sure almost everyone knew what sequins were?

I love words and word play so much I have considered about having a word of the week thing, but I am unreliable with keeping to things like that, as you can clearly see from past efforts or lack of.

Other than sketching with pencils or sharpies in bed and/or colouring in and story planning, I don’t do much else on a bad day.  On a good day I can add about an hour of light gardening to the list but not much else anymore.

I’m pretty boring I suppose, by my peers.  I can’t even cuddle the rabbit lately because I cough too much it terrifies the poor thing!  I suppose I sound like some big barking bear or something to the poor creature.

I have gone out to the doctors and walked past dogs when I am like this and the dogs think I am barking at them, they react accordingly, it is embarrassing!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Social media following corps

This post is about what I call “The social media following corps” and how I feel about social media in general – it is not a rant, it is just an opinion and one that many people find both interesting and strange regarding my view of it all.

I have many social media accounts purely to try and network if I can, usually my time whether sick or not, dictates that I don’t really have time to squeeze in too much conversation with people who may not ever actually be involved in my offline life.  Many people, who follow me on the social networks I am on, are lucky to get a reply from me about once a month, but certainly over two thirds of my followers don’t even get that much attention from me.  It is confusing for me to understand how many people in the world of social media have full-time jobs, families, write as a side-line and still have time to spend twiddling away on mobile phones talking to thirty individuals a day and manage to remember and even get upset if someone has not replied to them for a set time frame and will go to the extent of deleting the said individual.  Where do people find the time to do all this and remember thousands of individual on their social media following page?  I can’t be like that – no more than I can do what my aunt and cousins constantly request of me, which is to take photographs and videos all the time on my mobile phone to prove to them that this certain day was as great as I said it was, that I did indeed go to the Severn Valley or Dudley Zoo, they want photographic proof all the time and I am just too busy living the moment to remember to pull out my phone every five minutes and I am made to feel alien because of it.  Is it really so weird to enjoy the moment without pushing buttons and capturing it all for the world to see?  Must I really take a photograph of that gluten and lactose free cheeseburger I found in Rugby that time?

I feel the world of social media can sometimes become too silly and compulsive.  By trying to capture the moment it often ruins the moment and makes the moment less personal – it’s that way for me anyway!

I like checking twitter and seeing who has made effort to try and communicate with me and I do try to reply to those I feel have something worth replying to.  Most of the time however I just say thanks for the heads up or thank you, or whatever it is usually just short and sweet and usually I hardly get anything back other than the same old same old.  I will always praise where I feel praise is truly due, I will not make a polite comment just to boost someone’s ego that is not me, I am very honest about my opinions of other people’s work.  I am not just nice for the sake of it, if I comment nicely to you, then you in my opinion are worthy of that comment and you should feel proud of yourself for doing great work.  My criticisms are there to help you along, improve you and I don’t usually bite that hard when I do so, I am tactful.  I am not like the guy who once told me that they believe that something I wrote was a one night bender after booze, that is just rotten and cruel and not very specific and constructive, it is just criticism for criticisms sake.

I have never understood the culture of follow Fridays.  I like and appreciate that people share my name with their followers, but I often wonder why?  I don’t do that myself and some people have unfollowed me for it as I rarely mention other people in my tweets unless I am specifically talking about them or to them.  I only follow people I find interesting and that goes for all social media and blogs, if I am following you, I genuinely like your work and I am interested in you as a person.  I am also quite an introvert with new people so it can take me awhile to try and make a conversation if I am the first one to start any kind of conversation.  I am a cautious person when conversing with new people because I have been raised in a very aggressive, uptight and insecure environment, where a relative of mine had their throat cut once just for looking at a person and allegedly smirking at them.  So you can understand my caution.

I am not anti-social, I just find it difficult to meet thousands of people’s expectations all of the time, every single day, when they are not actually involved in my personal offline life.  I always try to visit other bloggers who follow me here, but sometimes it is not always easy to get around some of their blogs and I am a bit of a luddite, if technology is difficult I don’t give it much time before I think “ugh, I can’t get my head around this, I have to go” because complicated technology makes me quick to anger.  Some people over complicate their blogs and that is where I think a lot of bloggers go wrong.  They hide things behind this tab and that tab and every time you go to their page their oldest introduction page is the first thing you see – whereas really it should be your latest post.  Because some people have so many tabs that their latest post could be hidden behind any twenty of those tabs, not the one you think it might be.  It is a crying shame as there is a lot of talent out there with people who just don’t know how to present their work appropriately.

Another thing which sort of upsets me regarding social media is the idea that because I am a writer, I must have had a book published somewhere, anywhere and that I must promote it to these other writers who are following me and if I never do that (and I never have) they question my authenticity as an author.  “Oh, but your profile says you are a writer and you follow me and you have retweeted my promotions I need to do the same for you”, yes but the problem is I am unpublished formally and I unlikely to have anything published within the next two to three years, realistically.  So they start to tell me how Amazon is a great medium for becoming published or other self-publishing places, I keep telling them I am not yet ready for this because there are some personal issues I need to clear up first but they never understand.

You see, I have been told that there are some medical conditions the doctor suspects I have, but our area has a two year waiting list to investigate anything let alone get to have a first appointment with a consultant – nobody is ready to hear that because they want my work and they want it now and these are just other writers, they are not even agents, publishers or anything like that.  It is both confusing and frustrating.

There are agents and publishers who know of me and like what little they know of me so far and they do try to send me prep talks from time to time, but really they know my situation too.  For the past several weeks I have been confined to my bed and house, my illness, whatever it is, is taking such a big toll on my body I can barely move these days.  So, I am fearful of many things because of this – as I spoke about yesterday, I am fearful of death.  I do fear that something has a tight grip on my body that maybe nobody will see the novels I have finished or half finished, the only thing the world will ever see is whatever I can manage to stick here on my blog. 

I am that sick that I am not even planning a future anymore.

Things should improve in about two or three years’ time, I don’t know why I have this idea that it will, because there is something at the back of my mind which keeps telling me that in 2023 everything will improve.  I don’t understand what it is, maybe it is the subconscious realisation that in three years’ time I will be forty and I have always heard people say and I have always believed it to be true as I have witnessed several women in my past, that life begins at forty.  So, maybe it is that, maybe it is something in the universe telling me it is just a health blip which will correct itself in three years’ time or maybe I am just being dumb.  But there is definitely something biting at me that my life will vastly improve by 2023.

 

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Stifled writing and a look into my brain! (WARNING – it is not for the faint-hearted)

People who write can often get bogged down with the concept of finding that great idea which will earn them money and quite often when they do this, they lose themselves and in some cases, even lose the love for writing itself.

I am at fault of doing this as much as anyone, particularly in the past five years, this is because financially I am suffering to the extent that birthdays and Christmases have been disappointing and not as traditional as I am accustomed to.  In fact recently I found an old Christmas shopping list, which included food, presents, games and décor and basic normal food to last for two weeks over the festive period so we can focus on more family time and that list was five pages long with two sections on each page; this year it was only 3 pages long with only one section as when I write in an excited state, my letters get bigger than my usual handwriting – which is a bizarre idiosyncrasy that I have.  My lists are quite methodical, I will list food from Tesco, Food from ASDA and food from other places separately within the list; I will list where to buy certain presents too and for whom, which shops, so we kind of plan a shopping map in our minds whenever we go to town.  Along with this list will be a separate length of what kinds of decorations or traditional Christmas stuff we need, such as crackers from B&M and purple bauble at Wilko, you get the idea?  We usually do a massive buffet on an old pasting table in our living room and fill it to the brim with food and drinks as well as the coffee table, because Christmas Eve is the only time in the year where we can guarantee an influx of visitors and we like to feed them – this year it is a no go and I am embarrassed that this may come across as too inhospitable compared to what they are used to, as everyone usually got a bag of food to take with them either for snacks at home that night or jars of homemade stuff, which we just can’t afford to do this year.

I hate pleading poverty, but lately it is getting me to a state of breaking down.  I went for advice on my ESA benefits two weeks ago to a lady who is very kind and runs a charity, I was so embarrassed detailing my struggles to her as she was helping me fill out the forms that I was shaking and my teeth were chattering so badly with the humiliation of it all.  She thought I was freezing cold, but I told her, it’s just that I am so embarrassed by it all and she said that it was OK, but it really isn’t though is it?

Usually I am very good at being calm and self-composed, despite anxiety issues, but lately I just can’t keep it together, I am struggling to hide behind a façade like my normal self would.  Most people can’t tell that I have anxiety issues because I masked it so well, but lately I break out in tears over the smallest of things and what is worse is that I am getting short tempered with it, with people I feel are cold or unfeeling and I have this awful feeling that I will say something out of character at my next medical which will make me lose the benefit.  I am very scared about it.

If I could get a job I would, but no one is going to employ someone with the health issues I have.  I did struggle a few years to get a job, before it got too bad seven years ago.  All of this makes me try to push myself to create something just to get out of this mess, but it isn’t working, it is stunting my creative growth badly because I am not writing what I really want anymore.  I am writing the lesser ideas I have which are the most popular amongst my nearest and dearest and unfortunately what I love to write about, they hate immensely.

What I like writing about are dystopian stories similar to Mad Max, I am Legend and Tank Girl.  I enjoy writing about vampires and their sired offspring as I call them and histories as a massive saga dating back to the Ancient Sumerians and contemporary times too, how they live and how they lost loved ones.  I enjoy writing inane pun infested comedy fantasies where you meet mermaids and trolls with a very Monty Python meets Discworld air to them and I enjoy writing horror that touches taboo subjects.

According to those who are in the know, the only type of book up there I have mentioned that they can barely stomach is the comedy fantasy, not my main love of in depth vampire soap operas and dystopian tribal warfare.

Yes I love my fantasy comedies, but whenever I discuss my writing with those who are privy to them, they always get more excited about any updates on that genre than anything else and I feel if I don’t write this genre more than the others, I am failing to please this specific audience.  I am one of these people who find it really hard to talk to people about my work, those I do are precious to my motivation, if I don’t talk about my work, I can’t do the work.  But unfortunately my discussion circle seems far too niche and not entirely me.

I used to mix and mingle my genres a lot and had a wider circle I trusted to talk about them to, usually as dinner party discussions but since moving to Warwickshire, I don’t have that anymore.  London is a very different place, with very different people with mind-sets very different to Rugby’s.

I have mentioned vampires and horror to people up here I thought I could trust with my writing, but they recoil or give sideways glances to those next to them and simply state “Oh, right, not my cup of tea really”; Then I share my fantasy comedy ideas and they feel that fantasy is strictly for children, surely I should write something nicer for them?  Not drunken elves and mermaids who rip eyes out and swear profusely with such corny puns as well!

Apparently my personality must reflect my work and because I don’t lark around like some tomfool jokester all the time and I seem a pretty calm deadpan person in real life, I can’t be taken seriously in comedy surely?  Won’t I come across as some kind of fake?

Now that hurts, but it has been said to me before and I find it amusing that comedy must be serious… really?  I wonder how we all laugh at serious comedy!  Should we laugh at flippant tragedy then?  I don’t know what kind of world I have tripped into a hole of, but it is certainly quite different here to where I am from, I can tell you!

I think if I was to walk up to my favourite British comedian of today and say “Darling, you are not taking your comedy seriously” he would choke laughing and crying at how stupid that sounds.

*passes a dictionary to said people and points to the word “comedy” for reference*

So, though I am currently in quandary over my work, my main quander is this – “how can I develop a trusting relationship with people online so that they can become my beta readers and I can learn to trust the online community with my plans and outlines”? 

I’m not sure I can.  I am very protective of what I share with people because I have often had entire ideas stolen and published behind my back and that someone became very successful with my ideas and have not produced work since I eliminated them from my social circle a decade ago.

I have thought that maybe signing up to a free creative writing course with the OU would help me discuss work and improve my skills with an online tutor?  But not sure if that is really what I want – improved skills are always good, but not sure if I want straight laced professional opinions which are bias regardless of genre and content.

Meanwhile, I have been thinking about just writing whatever, whenever and go back to my scatty ways that were long lost a decade ago.  Paul tried to organise me too much I think?  Tried to get me to focus too much that I lost my way; I don’t really have a way.  I am higgledy-piggledy and mentally a mess when creating.  Paul often said if a hypnotist was to delve into my mind for just five minutes he would run out of the room screaming “get me out here, she is completely insane, she is such a mess, she is so confusing, help me, help me…. And oh, pass the paracetamol that gave me a headache!”

Why the drama?  Because I will have seven documents up at the same time, one is a horror about a cat, two are vampire novels concentrating on two entirely different characters, one is a comedy fantasy with tiny people, and one is a dystopian story based on a religious concept of the apocalypse and angels, the other document is writing notes to eventually put into any work in the future, along with research papers and notes, scribbled papers and notes off the computer, and Wikipedia up on the internet with another internet page looking for the history of Thracian warfare.  If that is not enough, I am also meddling with playlists on Amazon music flipping through them depending on which scene and novel I am working on in those few seconds, whilst daydreaming about food and what it might be like if I was the size of a peanut in my garden.

You get the idea?  That’s my brain in just five minutes.

I am like the dog who is in the garden playing fetch with you then all of a sudden I have ran away chasing squirrels, then coming back to you wondering where the ball is and oh look sausages!

With a mind like mine, it has been said by people before – is there any reason to wonder if I will ever find it possible to get anything finished?

I pass them some books I have indeed already finished and I do so quite proudly.  Then I announce, they are not for sale, they are not edited and they are not good enough.  The person looks through them, finds they do indeed need editing but are absolutely wonderful, why not publish them? 

Because they are mine!  Then I grab the books and hug them close to me with a snarl!

I am like this even with the art I paint too.

Thing is, there are ideas I do want to sell.  But I am scared that those private stories reveal too much about my inner workings.

I feel psychologically exposed, basically.  It brings about the kind of feeling in which I can only sit back and think, it would be better to be physically nakedly exposed than that, then Paul tells me to stop being weird and dramatic!

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Filed under About my work

Sunday word count 3

This week’s grand total of writing towards my novels is…

2500 words to be exact!

You what?  I normally write that amount in a day!  True, true, but not this week, this week has been a hard week all round for the family.  So therefore I inevitably got to go to…

THE WALL OF SHAME!

dreaded wall of shame

Says some random booming monstrous voice from goodness knows where!

“Yes and I feel so ashamed”.  Said the author of this blog with a huffy laugh and without any hint of conviction in her words;

I didn’t get anywhere near as good as I did in the first week of doing this, let alone my minimum of 10,000 words as you can clearly see. 

Here are the words spread out throughout the week so you can see how much or how little I wrote on any one day;

4th of August – 784 words, quite bad really.

5th August – 0 words – you what?  Call yourself a writer? But the books over there look so pretty, so inviting!

6th August – 811 words – better, but not great, in fact quite awful actually, but not as awful as Sunday’s count.

7th August – 0 words – what again?  What act procrastination doth thou blame this on?  The shiny books?

8th August – 196 words – Oh you are really going to get writer’s cramp with that amount aren’t you?  Rolls eyes*

9th August – 0 words – can you have zero words?  Evidently you can, there is no words to describe how awful a writing (if you can call it that) day like this is!

10th August – 709 words – Yes, good, but I won’t praise myself too much here because this week was utterly disgusting as far as being a writer goes!

The overview is that this is a shockingly terrible week and whoever thinks they are a writer, writing like this ought to completely revalue if they are really a writer or not?

Well I would say to the over viewer (which is myself, so technically I am speaking – no arguing with myself here) is this; I am a writer, however school holidays make dedication to work difficult when I choose to write in the living room, not shutting myself off from the entire world.  Family is important to me, contrary to what certain cretins might say about that!  Not to mention that this past week I have set myself a challenge to read ten enormous books by the 23rd August, so therefore I am reading much more than I normally do and it has also been a bad week for depression; a very bad week in fact for depression.

I have a lot of worries about people that I love too.  Paul has been having difficulties this week as he has injured his arm, I found out recently that my cousin is in hospital for heart problems and he is the only cousin I can trust to emotionally support me in my time of need, the only person in my family other than my immediate household in which I trust has good and non-judgemental intentions towards me.  Also my aunt has been battling cancer for two years now and as much as people think I don’t batter an eyelid, I try not to dramatise anything about others and pretty much keep my thoughts and feeling to myself regarding their problems.  But I am finding that difficult lately and people really don’t know how much I do care about them, because I never turn their problems into my own personal dramas like most people tend to.  Often this makes me come across as aloof and uncaring, but I actually care very deeply about people who are related to me or within my social circle, more than they know, I am just not very good at showing support or love for them and I am sorry for that.  You see in the past I have been accused of being too loving or caring to the point of weirdness and then not enough and so I feel I can’t ever get the balance right, so recently, I guess I don’t even try anymore.  Sorry.  Also I have learned that someone in my family has made a decision to move far away from supportive relatives and isolate themselves and I know that they don’t socialise outside of the family at all and they are very vulnerable due to their disabilities and they are elderly and this is literally freaking me out, as I think to myself, oh my god, what have you done, you impulsive thing you, don’t you learn?  They’ve placed themselves so far out of reach for a lot of caring relatives, that if they need anyone, it will be incredibly difficult to get to them as most of the caring relatives who would help them don’t have their own transport and are on the poverty line and I have heard from the grapevine that they are not happy with their choice after all and there is nothing they can do now, the move has took a lot out of them.

Along with this, Henry has had some problems too and now we are receiving help from a certain charity, I won’t mention what the charity is and what Henry’s problems are because Paul would rather me keep that to myself, but things aren’t going well for us currently and that in itself is contributing to my depressive return; and with all of this too, I have far too many hospital appointments coming up and too many tests that need doing.

Personally I am struggling a lot with my disabilities to even write or read regularly, hence these stupid goals I am forcing onto myself – I am trying to make my life somewhat productive at least.  I might have a neurological problem other than the suspected MS, we don’t really know yet; the doctors are all on guess work right now.  All I know is I am scared of whatever it is getting worse, because lately reading and writing is becoming affected.  I am getting my words mixed up a lot and I don’t even notice it when I reread it half the time.  It could just be depression, who knows?  But I am scared.

When I get bouts of depression I tend to meditate too much to try and forget what got me there in the first place. 

Last week I watched a lot of YouTube videos, this week I haven’t even done that.  But I really should, I should force myself to watch things like the Motivational Archive when I get like this, it sometimes helps.

Well anyway, thank you for reading – you’ve all been an absolute gem to keep on reading.  I hope you all have a lovely day and have lots of fun and come back again soon.

Good luck with your own writing adventures and why don’t you send me a snippet for me to read?  I don’t read many blogs, I really ought to, and there are some amazing people out there.

Hopefully next week will be a better week?

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Sunday Word Count 2

Sunday word count time!  Drum roll please…

14987

This is what I have accomplished since last Sunday, getting better, much better.

Here is how it has been broken down, day by day, with excuses in tow, even though there are no excuses really for bad days!

28th July – 2437 – good

29th July – 1456 – better than bad

30th July – 3039 – writing like my old self again

31st July – 3100 – Oh yes, I am back in the flow, just like my old self again for sure

1st August – 160 – what the blazes happened here?  4 hours sleep and a migraine, darlings.

2nd August – 4329 – Making up for lost time huh?  No, just an excellent day!

3rd August – 466 – what happened here?  Tired and was distracted by library books!

Notes for the week –

I am writing towards three novels at once because I get twitchy if I am forced to work on the same thing over and over, variety is the spice of life right?  I am going to name them for you as subject and number with main characters name because I don’t really know what the titles should be and I tend to write about the same subject a lot.  So my current projects are…

Vampire story 1 – Rhea

Fantasy adventure 1 – Maud

Horror 1 – Johnny

But in February I had a dream and you know what they say about authors who dream their story plots don’t you?  Well neither do I actually, but the ones who had written stories based on a dream tend to become classics – I doubt mine will, but I was surprised when the dream came to me.  The dream left me until Thursday night, when it came back with more details and then again last night, it doesn’t want to leave me alone, so I have been trying to fight the urge to add a fourth book to the list of working projects, but I am fighting a losing battle, I am going to have to include a fourth book in the works.

This book will be known as werewolf story 1.

I have put a mermaid story on the back bench as I have to fall in love with it again.

I am trying so hard to stick with three ideas, but if you want me to be completely honest with you, it is so hard, because I have too many ideas and sticking to just three is literally torture, so I do sometimes sneak in titbits of other stories.

Maud and Rhea are very nearly finished actually, so around Christmas they shouldn’t be a problem anymore, well Maud should be done in the least.  

Once a first draft is written I do what Stephen King suggests in his book “On Writing”, I put the story away for about three months and then come back to it with fresh eyes, it works wonders because you tend to forget what you’ve done – seriously, you do!  You get to read it as a reader, not the creator and you see more mistakes and weaknesses in your story if you do this.

Maud though is not a first draft, the draft I am working on is the fourth attempt and there will be probably be a fifth as I had noticed quite recently two characters which are following the main character around are adding literally nothing to the plot, so I have to write in more interesting stuff for them or just wipe them out from existence; which would be a shame because I really want those characters to work.

I must admit, all blog posts, poetry included are first drafts, I don’t bother polishing my work here, it is not that I don’t care about my blog, it is that I care more about my novels and stuff I want to send to publishers more.  If I became persnickety about my blog, the other stuff would never be done.

Further word count scores will be posted up every Sunday, I noticed it does motivate me to write as I don’t want to go the wall of shame like I should have last week – I will actually start doing that I think, if I write less than 10,000 words in a week, I will wall of shame myself. 

Could I bare the humiliation of another last week?

Good luck with your own writing!  But more importantly, make sure it is fun, if it is not fun for you it won’t be fun for your readers.

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Readathon challenge August 2019

I am giving myself my own #Readathon challenge.  Between now and the 23rd of August, I hope to have finished 10 books and they are as follows;

Hangover Square by Patrick Hamilton

Cabin at the end of the world by Paul Tremblay

Gingerbread by Helen Oyeyemi

Social butterflies by Michael Sanders & Susannah Hume

Riders by Jilly Cooper

Hanging out with the dream King – Neil Gaiman by Joseph McCabe

On Editing by Helen Bryant

Be your own literary agent by Martin Levin

Fantastic Fashion by Barbara Cox

And…

Mad Love by Paul Dini

I am probably being unrealistic about this challenge because I usually read three book of three hundred pages a week, on a good week and some of these books are beyond the three hundred page limit; Jilly Cooper’s ‘Riders’ alone is 919 pages long, for me that is an entire weeks’ worth of reading!

But the challenge is set and I am going to try my hardest to complete it with flying colours, because I really need to read a lot more than I do.  There is a massive backlog of ‘to read’ books in my Goodreads.com list, approximately ten thousand and it will take me fifty years to get to them all and by then I would have added another fifty thousand no doubt!

I love reading and I don’t do it enough to be honest.  I think online gaming has to end and reading and writing should consume me more than it ever has, because I don’t actually enjoy the gaming and I don’t find it very productive to be honest and I don’t like thinking of myself as unproductive, which is a great irony considering I have been like this for five years – ever since I got much worse with my health.

So this readathon is going to become the start of a new me – a new productive me.  I am determined to change my life.

Come with me on the ride if you like!

Set your own reading challenge or tackle the same books as I am in the same time frame, or decide that you are going to game less and read or write more.  Only you can change your life and make the decision to do productive things!

 

 

 

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Books and those who sin with them

Talking about books; Out of curiosity I wondered how many I might have in my bedroom because Paul estimated that I had only seventy in his humble opinion, I said to him that it wasn’t right because I counted those in that pile over there by the bedside lamp and there were 86 there just before Christmas, so he set me a challenge to count just the books in that room.  I did and that Christmas pile contained now 89 books and the entire room 447, he was shocked to say the least, especially as the bedroom is the least dense room for books in the whole house.  We estimated that each room contained 400 to 800 books each, we are a three bedroom and two reception room terrace house, and there are even recipe books in the kitchen, more than fifty in the pantry.  We are planning to buy three new bookcases soon, so I can buy more.

Some people visit my house and ask me isn’t it time for a big purge of books?  Certainly not!

I don’t nearly have enough!  As a matter of fact, I need to win the lottery soon so I can buy a mansion for my books whilst I live in the little cottage next door. 

It isn’t like my books are neglected in a hoarding house, they are cared for, in small piles or on bookshelves, and they are not thrown around or walked upon – THAT IS SINFUL!  Nor do I have them on steps leading upstairs like some of my book hoarding friends!  I tenderly and once a month dust every book in the house and rearrange them, satisfying that.

The situation is entirely under control, I only buy books I love and have borrowed from the library to test first, and otherwise I don’t share my space with it.  It just so happens that I love a few thousand of them.  I have a lot of love to give (nods wisely).

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Reading and writing past and present

I have always wanted to be a writer since I was ten years old when Mr Alistair a therapist/teacher told me that I had a gory imagination and extraordinary talent; back then my specialism was horror and it has only been in the past seventeen years that my writing has moved onto fantasy, comedy and poetry.  I started writing stories about alien invasions, vampires and alarmist ideas about climate change, El Niño and the end of the world.   I have for most of my life been a dedicated environmentalist, but since I talked so much in a spiritual forum about my concerns I lost confidence to continue writing this journalistically (is that a word? if not why not?), because I was accused of being a doom-sayer and me being a very uplifting positive person this accusation hurt me enough to stop me.

My first ever short story of any real length was based on Persephone in the underworld that I wrote when I was eleven.  I imagined how life must have felt like living in the underworld and even when I was that young I had a good clear understanding that not everyone is 100% evil or good, so I wrote about Hades in a positive form and it was very much influenced by my passion for Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.  This is a theme that has followed me through my writing life; if there is a misunderstanding in something, I am always willing to show another side to it – determined to prove to everyone that nothing is just black or white; it is a multitude of colours.  I can do this to the most indigestible of subjects too, according to a few people who have seen my handwritten work – thus I am sometimes known as an excellent mediator and diplomat, as long as the subject doesn’t get me too personally hot under the collar. 

One friend recently told me that they see me as society’s apologist, whatever that means.  I looked it up and I am not really that religious enough to be considered an apologist, though I suppose if you were to watch me answering questions whilst I am watching many quiz shows on religion, you’d say I seem to know an awful lot about religion for someone who isn’t interested in being religious.  You see I think this is where people misunderstand me – it is not that I am not religious, I am more humanist because I think that religion by and by causes division and I am all for world unity.  However I am a deeply spiritual person who literally believes in anything until it is absolutely solidly proven not to exist – hence why I leave milk and honey next to the stove at night for the house spirit (Nisse/elf) and ask permission to the tree itself before I prune it and honestly believe in various ancient customs and ideas – though I am still soul searching, but I will make this abundantly clear now, this is not an invitation to be converted to anything.  My ancestry history is so mixed, whenever I feel I should dedicate myself one way or another, I feel like I am upsetting some ancestor on the other side, so I don’t bother myself with dedication of that sort.

Anyway, this post was going to be about how I started writing and what I started with and where I have ended up.  I have written a lot of comedy and comic themes recently that I have noticed I have more and more of the fantasy and sci-fi comedy genre, if that is a genre.  I told Paul the other day that I feel like I am being possessed by the spirits of the deceased members of the Monty Python gang and Terry Pratchett, I try and write serious high fantasy and I can’t help putting in some silliness into it and I am seeing corny puns in everything!  The more I fight it, the funnier I get.

Unfortunately the comedy themes are rarely if ever posted on here, because I have made this mostly into a life update and poetry blog, rather than the intended fantasy blog, because I worry that my worst writing might be my best and my best my worse in the eyes of the world.  So I never really know which short stories and snippets to risk posting here.

I have decided to make this blog more of a writing diary, but again I have fears that I might reveal too much of my plans.  Fear is a major factor for me not posting much lately.

I have a handwritten diary I update about once a week on average because I keep forgetting to add to it – this diary is purely about my writing, my plans and any strange themes I have noticed that day or week.  For example, I have noticed I get a story idea in my head, then a book falls off the shelf in the library of a similar theme I was thinking about – weird coincidences like this happen a lot to me.  Then whilst television flicking, subjects of things I have been thinking about or themes of the day seem to be found everywhere, even on my sons chocolate wrappers as adverts at times!

I was thinking about sharing these day to day themes and the weird occurrences they have been discovered as part of my day to day blogging, as these things often develop into story ideas for me as I sit back and wonder what the universe wants me to do with these supposed signs?  What story is she prodding me towards and I believe this is why I have more ideas than actual work – I am never without a new idea, the problem for me is writing them down fast enough and concentrating on less than three at a time.  This is extra difficult for me because I am an attention deficit sufferer, I get bored doing the same thing or thinking about the same thing for longer than twenty minute bursts – hence why my current reading list on Goodreads usually has around twelve current books on the go!  It doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy a book, it just means I really can’t concentrate for more than twenty minutes.

Thinking about my reading list on Goodreads has actually just reminded me to make a point here on a matter a friend recently said to me the other day – she noticed that I have all these books on Goodreads I am currently reading but I only manage to read between ten and forty pages a day of maybe two or three books and she said that as far as she understands I am always reading but the Goodreads activities doesn’t prove it.  I said it is simple really when you consider that Goodreads is not designed to update magazines and newspapers and out of print books that are not listed on their site at all as well as local pamphlets and guides, game back stories, research websites, other people’s blogs and so forth. 

Here is a list of my magazine subscriptions and I do mean, I read them every time they are published either weekly or monthly;

Writing Magazine

Garden News

Sci-Fi Now

Gardeners World

Tesco

Yours

Pets @ home

Total TV Guide

Amateur Garden

Kitchen Garden

Lego club magazine

WWF membership news and stuff

Bibliophile

BBC History

New Scientist

Focus

Classic Rock

When I pick up a new magazine, that is the only thing I can read from beginning to end and it takes me around an hour to two hours – the reason why I can do that with a magazine rather than a novel is simple, the subject changes every few minutes.

Honestly, I am addicted to reading, I am addicted to downloading new information into my mind on a constant basis and I am a person who doesn’t enjoy sleep – I see it as a waste of time, but being ill, I have to sleep more than most and it literally drives me crazy!  All I want to do is think learn and do.

So there you have it!

Hello, I am Tina Cousins and I am a reading and writing addict and I don’t intend to cure myself of it, goodbye.

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Words and people grow like flowers in manure.

I am disgusted with myself today but my partner Paul ensures me that it isn’t my fault.  I worked out last night how much I used to write compared with how much I write these days.  Prior to 2013 I wrote an average of two million words per year, now I struggle to get fifty thousand a year.  I decided this has to change and I have to get the old me back, primarily because I am going insane with the many ideas I have floating in my head – my brain is literally about to burst with literacy.  My brain will soon be splattered all over the internet and in books, so look out world, because I think I’ve been ignited.

The question is, the last time I felt like this was in 2006 and I wrote no less than thirty articles, poems and short stories a day on one site, of course I can’t post that many here on my blog, as this will make me lose subscribers, I mean, come on – who will want thirty notifications a day?  So I am debating about spreading myself onto two other blogs, so my subscribers don’t feel so bombarded – a cunning trick, but it might be worthwhile?  Because once I am on the go, I am on the go – I used to be such a workaholic, totally addicted to writing and then for some reason, I lost it.

I believe confidence has a lot to do with the lack of writing as well as health issues – I have had chronic bronchitis off and on since Christmas!  My confidence has been bashed by two people in particular, those people are held bent on ruining my reputation by any means necessary and has vocalised how they look forward to the day I become world famous, as they will be waiting.

Well there is nothing truly sinister about me but I still worry.  Because it is the story of my life that whenever I do anything to better myself the world seems to contrive a way to embarrass me out of it and make me go back into my insular hole of hopes and dreams.

I have been chronically bullied as I have been ill, most of my life and I have the types of bullies in my life who are no longer present, but always comes back once they think I have started to grow, they treat me like a weed in an abandoned garden.  Once a year someone comes along with a mower and cuts me down again, just in case I start to become too strong.  I think this weed is going to need to use their shit as manure and grow rapidly into a man eating plant!

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Things of December

Recently received books and movies via gifts or personal purchase have been;

Clash of the Titans DVD the 2010 version with Liam Neeson

Blue Planet II a hardback book

Paul O’Grady’s “country life” hardback book

Raising the Dead: The Men Who Created Frankenstein by Andy Dougan (gift from nephew to me)

RHS What Plant Where Encyclopaedia by DK Publishing

Hobgoblins–The Secret Histories by Ari Berk (A gift to my son from his best-friend but I read it first)

The Box-set of The Hunger Games DVDs

All of these came into my house in the month of December 2017.

Other purchases or gifts I feel match fantasy or horror are…

Quite a few different types of gemstones, especially hypersthene, a tigers eye pendulum, a lapis lazuli gemstone for Henry, A black onyx pendulum, a Rhodonite pendulum for my Henry, an apatite, a large rose quartz the size of a small hot crossed bun and last but not least a hematite thumb ring. 

I bought incense and a new incense charcoal burner in the shape of a Chinese lotus flower.  The scents were vanilla, cinnamon, patchouli, dragon’s blood, rose and lily.  I can’t burn these things when Henry is at home; I have to do them when he is at school and open all the windows afterwards because he is prone to headaches.

I was gifted a fairy house garden ornament in the shape of a mushroom at Christmas from my husband Paul and Mrs Tiggy Winkle acting as the old woman in the shoe ornament and a wolf trinket box.  I do like weird stuff.  He bought me a good sized wooden box too, the shape and style of a pirates treasure chest and it fits all of my gemstones in perfectly with room for half again!  It really does look like a real pirate’s chest now with all of those gemstones in it.

I am a big kid, anything remotely regarding fantasy or horror and I like it.  Depends what it is however but my house certainly shows what I love in every nook and cranny!  I am not averse to having marvels cushion on my sofa for example!

It is difficult when friends and relatives visit because they presume I allow Henry to rule the roost, but the look on their faces when I say “No, it’s for me, I wanted it there”.  They do ask occasionally whether or not I should put such things in my bedroom?  I can’t put everything there!  Besides, what is wrong with a marvel cushion?  A soft toy of the joker on my PC desk?  3 snow globes on the bookshelves?  Four different types of calendars in the living room, Gothic, minions, marvel, wolves and then there is DC comics in the dining room with an RSPB one.  The first of every month is interesting for me, I like guessing which 1 of the many calendars around the house my husband will forget to change!  Me and Henry take bets with fruit pastilles!

I love the fact that I can be so free to be more me, with Paul lately.  He always wanted me to be me, but I was never confident enough to make it reflect in my home and for the first 5yrs living together it was all cream and browns around the house to make it look more like a normal household – yeurgh.  But now it’s green, yellow, with the occasional quirky wallpaper.  In the living room on just one wall there is wallpaper that looks like pastel version of the trees depicted in the movie The Lorax.  In the bathroom it is mostly white tiled but we are going to buy dolphin and coral wallpaper next month.  The kitchen is kitted out with tiles a harlequin would love, also next month we are buying wallpaper for just one side of the kitchen and that will be in the style of Mediterranean food.  Our bedroom is royal purple and soon I will be adding cerise to the other side of the wall, I also wanted to get door murals to make the doors of the house look like medieval castle doors!

I refuse to grow up.

Anyway, have a HAPPY NEW YEAR all of you ❤

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