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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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The kelp dragons and the fairy coronation

In the land of the kelp dragons all mossy and green

The creatures are preparing a coronation for a new fairy queen

Her dress is green felt embroidered with ferns and her crown is gold apricots that won’t spoil or turn

She rides to the scene with an elegant mare, that’s decorated with blueberries, apples and pears

The dragons sit around protecting the queen

Nothing can harm them, they are too supreme

The fairies all gather around in the fen

As the dragons give their blessings to the queen and them

Before the dawn comes all have fun at the ball

The royal procession is fun time for all

Before the sunrises, the queen kisses goodbye, to all the kelp dragons and tries not to cry

Because she won’t ever see them again, as they only come to fairies if its coronation time again

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Inktober Day 4

Nearly forgot to post this…

 

My giraffe done with sharpies for Inktober Day 4

 

Henry’s autumn day with autumn leaves for Inktober Day 4

 

My dragon coloured in from yesterday.

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Inktober 2019 – Day 3

Dragon guarding treasure Inktober Day 3

It is currently not coloured because today is my 37th birthday and I am spending the rest of the evening playing board games with my family; tomorrow I will colour it in and it will be available to be seen at my DeviantArt gallery, FFGallery.

 

Henry did the following picture for me as a birthday present, he also made me a lovely box to put my recorder cleaning cloths in, sort of like a washing basket for the recorder cloths, he made out of an old tissue box and painted beautiful butterflies on it.

 

Gift for mama

 

 

 

 

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Sunday Word Count 4

Sunday word count four – I’m not on The Wall of Shame huzzah!

This week’s word total is…

12382

And possibly more as I have written approximately six pages of stuff by hand and haven’t typed them up on the computer yet!

It is good but I have written nothing at all for three of the days this week and my only excuse for that is I was exhausted and had gastric flu.  Yes, sorry for the TMI (too much information).

The days break up as this;

11th August – nothing and that’s because our internet is still tetchy, in fact it has been tetchy again today too. 

12th August – 1584 words, which is usually considered a low average for me.

13th August – 7483 words, that is amazing and I wish most days were like this!  Especially as it is still the school summer holiday!

14th August – 637 words, quite low and not at all good in my opinion!

15th August – nothing, because I was busy with other things, mostly reading and calming Henry down and having what seems to be gastric flu.

16th August – nothing again because of the gastric flu!

17th August – 2678 words, which is my good average amount for daily writing.  It is something I would do usually when Henry is at school; it is still the summer holidays so it is amazing I did my average word count for the day whilst he was home!

The writing I have done this week has been mostly notes towards my leprechaun fantasy, including a title change and rewriting certain weak characters to make them have more of a part in the plot of the story, because there was a lot of weak characters, some of which I will be deleting entirely once this fourth or fifth draft is complete. 

I have not included the words towards new story ideas I have had this week, there has been three new novel ideas I have had, but I can’t start work on them until all this other work is finished.  I am not bragging or anything but I really do have a huge backlog of ideas piled up in a corner of this room and it is getting ridiculous because I know that more than half will never ever be started, let alone finished as there is just too many!  I think I must be the only writer in the history of the world who has her own slush pile for what ideas might work and what are weak!

I am also weighing up something in my mind a lot recently.  I love reading and writing fantasy, horror, sci-fi and dystopian stories – I especially love and am addicted to my vampire stories, my saga I am doing.  But I am reading a lot about how a writer shouldn’t really have too many genres under their belt and this is disheartening to me because I love them all.  I can’t release my vampires or my fantasy in particular and there are at least four dystopian stories I really want to write; it seems to me that there are only really two horrors I have planned, so I can release the horror I guess?  Though I have been told by so many people that horror is more of my strength than other types of fiction I write.

I thought I could just write anything and be appreciated just as much, but the more I research the more I am finding that this isn’t the case, I could be found unprofessional and disloyal to my original fan base.  Even to have just the three genres could be too many.  I don’t really know what genre vampires can be put into, because I have found them in so many different sections at the bookstore and in the libraries that they have confused me – they are put into the dark romance, dark fantasy, horror, gothic and erotica sections – so which is it?  Dystopian novels can be put into science fiction, horror or thriller sections too.  Fantasy also has about three sections, dark fantasy, adult fantasy, family fantasy. 

I am struggling to decide which ones to say goodbye to.  My fantasies tend to be comedy family fantasies and some of them are dark, very dark and borderline horror again sometimes with small interjections of dark comedy. 

My Dystopian stories have links with science fiction ideas, new fictional type sciences and leans towards some religious or mythological ideologies or prophecies. 

My vampires are more complexed as the sagas cross into so many genres, science-fiction, horror, romance and fantasy as even my vampires mingle with fairies and so forth.

It is apparently great to be different, but not so different that you can’t define your genre.

If I can’t define my genre right now, how can any of my future agents and publishers?

It is both a depressing and eye opening reality of being a writer.

It makes me feel so caged.

I really love and adore my vampire novels so much and they are a huge part of who I am, but I am not ready to kiss goodbye my leprechauns, mermaids, giants and dragons either.  Nor am I willing to kiss goodbye my ripped up worlds full of warlords and surviving citizens and their struggle for salvation and freedom.

So who is going to take me seriously when I post out my stories to agents in a year or two?

Do you think I worry too much?  Please post what you think in comments below.

Thank you for reading.

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Daily Prompt 5

Today’s prompt – Dragon – Clarinet – Alien – Fear – Pineapple

I had an interesting passing thought with this one today, but I am trying to ignore it as I am too busy with other writing projects at the moment.

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Writers block and brain food

A debate today on twitter has been whether or not “Writers Block” exists or not?  My two cents on the matter is that writers block does not exist, I used to believe it did but then as I grew as a writer I learned that it was purely laziness on my part and the simple fact that I rarely thought outside of The Box.  I was also very nervous about how much of what I wanted to write has been done before and how little my stories represented “Original” ideas. 

The latter is laughable to me nowadays, because every idea in the present and the future has already been done somewhere, nothing is unique, but you need to understand that every human being is unique and therefore will have a unique take on a story already written.  For example, if a hundred writers had to write a story based on Alice in Wonderland every one of them would have a different stance to it.  Some would suggest that Alice was a drug addict hallucinating everything that had happened to her, another writer would believe that she had multiple personality disorder and that every other character who was not Alice was in fact her alter egos.  Another, would write the story as close to the original as possible, but even then there will be differences, some will make it dark humour, some will make it serious, some will throw in too much drama and one might make Alice a man from a rock band who got kidnapped and taken to an alien world and so on and so on. 

Now that has me thinking, wouldn’t that last idea be great?  Aliens kidnapping Alice Cooper, taking him to Wonderland another planet, but you see I can’t do that because of so many copyright laws, but it is a fun idea to play with in my mind or as a fan fic.

I can play with ideas like this all day long in any situation.  The problem for me is that I have too many ideas and I can struggle to decide which one to play with at the time.  I have got to the stage where I have selected five current novels I am working on and having to use random.org to help me choose which one to work on today?  I literally list and number my ideas like a maniac.  I even have a random scene list which is also numbered to help me fill in boring bits of my story or to prevent boring bits from occurring.  If I don’t know what I should do in the next scene, I use random.org and my lists to help me.  Each list is categorised.  It doesn’t sound very artistic, usually artists and writers are disorganised and free thinking, but I do organise my stuff like this a lot.  Granted I lose lists a lot, but I am getting better at keeping them in their place lately.

The idea of writers block is unfathomable to me in recent years.  I have learned if you constantly read and learn and if you make yourself look for art of what you are looking for, poetry etc, you will become inspired and if you do this daily as part of your routine, your mind will eventually throw things out at you.  Don’t ignore “brain farts” as I call them either – things such as…

I was reading a book about ancient Sumerian beliefs and I came across the title chapter called “The creation of man” I misread it as “The Cremation of man”.  This can spark interesting ideas if you don’t ignore it.

You’ve got to constantly stuff things into your brain daily, furiously, eventually your mind can switch into creator mode with little or no effort.  Try it.

Do this… 

Think of silver dragons and go to deviant art, flick through the pictures you first see in their search bar that says “Silver Dragons”, do this for 5 minutes, then go to pinterest and do that there again for around 5 minutes, just flick through pictures quickly, you don’t have to look at anything individually, just literally look them over, notice each different scene and do it at quick speed, you are not there for research, you are not there to steal, you are there to feed your mind and it is a hungry monster than doesn’t stop!  No idea is stupid, no idea is pathetic, if you get an idea whilst flowing like this, write it down because you’d be amazed how quickly these things pass through, it can be like being on a high speed train and you are trying to keep focused on a particular field you’ve just gone past!  Then search silver dragon poetry in google, or silver dragon songs, or silver dragon art in your search engines or snap chat or tumblr or anywhere that is likely to have a search option!

Do this with scenes or creatures or events you want to write about.  Writers block is just an excuse for lazy writers.  Don’t be a lazy writer.  If you don’t love playing with your mind and feeding it like this and you find writing hard work, then you can’t be a writer.  Because writers don’t work, they play and they do this every single day.  Some scenes are hard but the writing is never stressful or hard work because you love it and if you love something, it can’t ever be hard work!  Don’t keep chasing the money either by looking for things that are trending, because trends change exceedingly fast, as soon as you write about what is trending now you are already out of date by 30k words.  Play and write for you and read a lot of books; not just fiction books on the genres you like, read broadly, especially non-fiction because that can help you world build.

 

 

 

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Inktober Day 11 – Dragon hatching and mama

BEFORE AND AFTER PICS.

The before pic

The after pic

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Rainbow bridge to dream land

There is a whirlwind in my mind because I’ve been lost for so long
There is pain in my heart that is why there is sadness in my new song
I once danced in a palace of dragons
I once twirled in garments of silk
I once spoke regally to my people, without shame and without guilt
But I was taken from my world and into the world of men
My reality was shaken badly, I became broken, and will I mend?
There is no answer to my question
There is no answer to my calls
There is no hero who has found me
I miss the parties and the balls
I sit amongst humans thinking
That my reality is just a dream
That I fashioned another life to cope
With this realities yells and screams
But I hear the other realm whispering
Calling out my name
They say to me, dear Empress, you are not indeed insane
We will find you Empress, anyway we can
But for now you have to stay strong, in the world of man
And I whimper at their message and I cry an ocean of tears
They have not yet found me, though it’s been eighteen thousand years
How I wish the rainbow was a bridge
A bridge that I could cross
And leave this world for the other
And lay on my bed of moss
How I miss my dream world
How I know they miss me too
I hope to go back there someday
I hope that day is soon

 

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Fantasy Art & Gnomevember

Gnomevember is something I found whilst using WordPress reader and looking for the tag “Fantasy” as I love to do every day.  I am really glad I found it and I think it’s a good idea, but I don’t think it should be just an artist thing – I think it should also be used for writers as well, write a gnome story for Gnomevember, but of course, because I am both an artist and writer, I shall be trying to do them both throughout the month, if I have time along with NaNoWriMo.

I also learned that there are other months too, MerMay, Junicorn, Smaugust and Orctober. 

Now you’re probably wondering what are you talking about?

Well, where I found all these delightful things, simple, here https://rachelillustrates.wordpress.com/2016/10/22/gnomevember/ Gnomevember aims to get fantasy artists concentrating on gnomes throughout the whole of the November month, a gnome a day.

MerMay simply concentrates on mermaids and mermen.

Junicorn obviously concentrates on unicorns and so on.

It’s all in the spirit of Inktober and NaNoWriMo creative kick up the backsides.  It’s to get you doing something every day, working as a team to motivate each other, which helps not only to increase your creative social circle, but helps make you more productive, more regularly and get you into doing some of your art each day.  I think it’s wonderful and we should invent something for every month of the year, as we all, even professional artists and writers feel very sluggish sometimes.

I think there should be a Dracember (a dragon a day month for December).

I also think it would be cool to do one off days, not whole months.  Perhaps Howlaween, making sure you create a werewolf or a wolf for Halloween, either as a story or a piece of art?

Anyway, get visiting Rachel’s website, the link can be found above and get stuck into Gnomevember.

 

 

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