Tag Archives: reading

Daily goals as a lifestyle

I no longer want to be in the league of procrastinating artists and writers, things are going to change.

For the past three weeks I have been living my life on a goal based lifestyle, thanks to some very motivational videos I have found on YouTube and the book I purchased last month called “Think and grow rich” By Napolean Hill.  Now I don’t fool myself for one second that art and writing is going to make me “rich” at all, don’t get me wrong – I am not just focusing on the money aspect, I am focusing on the aspect of happiness and feeling like I am achieving something, even if the rewards are purely emotional.

Obviously money would be nice, but ultimately, health and personal achievements for me, leads to a happy life and that is more important to me right now than financial gain.

I have had these talks before on my blog, the “No longer procrastinating personal prep talks” and they have always reached a point of returning back to old comfortable habits with excuses after excuses after excuses – I am sick and tired of failing myself and I watched on one of these videos last week that when you reach a point of being sick and tired of being sick and tired that’s when your life will start to change and I have reached that point in my life.

Living life day to day with goal based intentions for every day, is working out for me.  On the nights I forget to give myself a goal for the next day, I notice I go back into old habits, so I am almost paranoid that the last thing I do before I go to sleep each night is to list my goals for the following day, so I don’t slip up again.

Most of my goals are simple and may seem like nothing to anybody – how much do you think you are going to achieve in a day by doing these things which in their eyes, could be procrastination anyway – but for me, it is constructive.  It keeps me doing the “good habits” which make me a productive person.

My usual day to day goals are;

To write my morning pages via a site called 750words.com – this is non-negotiable, this is a must do, everyday forever.

Revising at least two pages of my old NaNoWriMo attempt from 2016, this was abandoned and forgotten in my drawers since 30th November 2016.

Writing two poems for advanced schedule posting on my blog, I am a month in advance at the moment, so the poems you are currently reading were written approximately a month before you are actually reading them.

Practise some sketches and art pieces in my sketch book, at least half a page a day.

Then there is a fifth random goal, it could be anything, such as take a walk, do something particular in the garden, bake a cake, visit someone, anything really.

This isn’t all that I do in my day, this is part of my daily goals, the idea is to get me into the habit of having something to wake up for, something to do.  I lost my purpose in life by allowing sickness to dominate me, but now I am trying to take back some kind of control in my life again and so far it is working.   I would never have thought about living my life in a goal based day to day way, if it wasn’t for the motivational archive on YouTube.

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Reading, Writing and Psychotic Creators

I am most unusual for a fantasy, sci-fi and horror fans for the fact that I don’t actually read or watch much of the big famous stuff like Game of Thrones, Supernatural, Angel, Being Human, 24, etc.

I don’t do it on purpose, it is almost always accidental or because something has got into the way of me being able to watch or read it, finances or simply not having access to a certain television channel or the time to watch copious amounts of TV in general.  I am also unusual for modern humanity in general, I watch approximately six hours of television a week and that is about it, unless of course it is a special occasion, such as Spring Watch and the other Watch programs or the BBC Proms, Crufts or the RHS shows.  Then you have to consider I don’t watch a lot of what I want to watch because I sometimes lose my hearing completely due to an ear disease I have and regular infections.

I am also an extremely slow reader.  An average reader reads at the rate of 250 words a minute, I can barely read 180 words a minute, 150 words a minute ensures I comprehend at least 73% of what I’ve read and can relay it, and I’ve done an online test for that.  http://www.readingsoft.com/index.html#results

All of this is strange because when I read non-fiction I must faster and I have a better comprehension rate, I can read about 300 words per minute with a comprehension of 84%, but I can understand it – when I read fiction I visualise too much, like I am watching a movie, I read it with a voice in my head; when I read non-fiction the voice goes and I more or less skim read but I actually remember what I am reading more.

Anyway the cusp of the subject for this post is that I am not well versed in the subjects I love the most simply because I don’t read as much as the average fan of those genres, or at least what I do read are very obscure to present fans of those genres because they are from authors who are hardly known or were a big thing in the Victorian age or the 60s, 70s and 80s. 

I tend to stumble upon movies and forgotten television series that had flopped, sank or got axed due to lack of interest from the public or were simply rated as B movies.  So after talking to several fans of these genres about what I love the most, they often say to me “So you really love crap then huh”?  This hurts, because I find those so called B movies more diverse and fresh than the big stuff.  OK the acting is often poor along with the special effects but the imagination for bigger things is there, but the average observer doesn’t see that, especially if they are not creatively inclined.

For me, a lot of my ideas come from these forgotten (or tucked away in shame) shores.  Told this, those people who know me can’t understand how my work is as good as it is, they say to me “but surely if you fill your brain with such rubbish you will produce rubbish, I think you should lay off these things in case it starts polluting away your actual talent”.  I feel flattered for that, but I also feel that if I started to read and watch the more popular big stuff, then I will start to look like everyone else and I won’t come across as fresh.

Now, I have had almost an instinctive inclination to NEVER read or watch certain fantasies especially.  I never knew why my instinct acts up whenever I try to read a handful of the big stuff, but it became clear to me in the last couple of days when I actually ignored this instinct and decided to read the first book in The Game of Thrones.  I am only 76 pages in and I have almost lost the will to continue the 2 fantasy novel ideas I had because there are 7 major things in this book that matches exactly what I have been writing for the last decade, even down to names and clothing descriptions.  Now I am trying to sit myself down and talk to my inner creator rationally about how it is not such a big thing because those are just names and names of events etc. the actual idea is not going to be copyright invasion because it is going to be a very different story, but my inner creator hasn’t stopped whining about this yet.  My inner creator was sure that I may have accidentally slipped up online a few years ago about my plans, but I had to remind my inner creator that this book was published when we were 17 and we only started on our idea when we was around 21.  I do have to treat my creator self as though I am a separate person because this is how I cope with it all, so excuse me if I sound a little you know… psychotic. 

I have an idea so far into the book that is a similar story to the war of the roses but with a fantasy twist, this is how Game of Thrones looks to me so far.  My story isn’t like that, my story is much different, yes there are royals and there is war, but the factions are not warring against themselves, families are not warring with each other if they are blood related, there is a different factor.  I am also trying to tell my inner creator the idea of the 12 banners I had can still be effective, because in ancient Earth cultures every clan had a war banner, this is not going to harm my novel or our reputation at all.  But she still panics.

When you want to be a writer you have to separate yourself from your work to maintain some sort of sanity and control over your initial tantrums, your initial emotions, you have to sort of step outside of yourself and talk to yourself like you are somebody else.  If you struggle in doing this, then these sorts of things will consistently stop you from writing and you will not finish anything; because you throw your novel across the room in a fit of rage about the unfairness of the world and sulk for the rest of your life about it, whereas it is totally unnecessary because your book will be very different.  If you sit back and view the whole situation as a second person, you will rationalise it all and be able to continue the work you love.

I have had such irrational things spout out of my inner creators mouth that I had to more or less act like a patient psychiatrist to my inner creator and say to them… “Look, how can this be so?  The author who has stolen your BIG idea died in 1886” see how irrational your inner creator can get sometimes?

Just write whatever you want to, don’t worry about copying someone else or having someone else copy you, because you need to get over this first draft, then you can weed these similarities out.  The first draft doesn’t really matter that much, because there will be many, many drafts after it before it is polished.  That is how you can write and finish your book.

Also, if you need more convincing on this matter please read this book “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert, I consider her a genius on this kind of stuff.  Elizabeth Gilbert tells us that ideas are alive, they have a spirit of their own, they go from person to person looking for someone to write about them but sometimes the ideas are not happy with the result so they go on and on until they feel perfected by someone and oftentimes many people will get the same idea at the same time, but all of them with their individualities will be slightly different to each other.  No one can be 100% identical in the way you write, what you write, how you write it, how the ideas came to you and how others are going to feel about the work. 

Yes there are coincidences in the world, this is a world of constant coincidences and that is all it is “Coincidence”, synchronising a little from other brain waves, but never being 100% the same, just similar and you can’t get sued for being a little bit similar, unless of course you have copious amounts of sentences in your book which matches people identically, but that’s a different subject for a different time.

So stop procrastinating by reading this post and get on with your work.

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Rediscovering Vampires

I love fantasy and yes, there are many popular fantasy TV series and books I have never ever experienced in any format; they include ‘The Game of Thrones’, ‘Season two of Once Upon a Time’, ‘Grimm’, ‘Star Wars’, ‘The Shannara Chronicles’, ‘Supernatural’, ‘The Vampire Diaries’ and episode four and beyond of ‘The 100’ to name but a few of those missed experiences.

Along with those television series there are several books I have never read too and they are; all the above that have novelizations.  Book four and beyond of ‘The Wizard of Oz’ series of books, the third book and beyond of Anne Rice’s ‘Vampire Chronicles’, ‘The DragonLance Series’ and ‘Goosebumps’ to name but a few there too.

Now, I am currently trying to make amends for all of that.  I am currently re-reading the first book of ‘The Vampire Chronicles’ by Anne Rice with the aim to read right through all the chronicles by this time next year – next week this will be put on hold right after I have finished ‘Interview with a vampire’ because I have ordered from my local library a trilogy from Michael Moorcock ‘The Eternal Champion’ because I am curious about a symbol I am rather fond of which apparently originates from these novels.

I am also watching some of the above mentioned television series, back to back, one to three per night – the ones I have started with is the box-set I have bought of ‘The Vampire Diaries’.  You are probably wondering why I have bought something that expensive if I have never watched one of the episodes first.  Well, it’s about vampires; I know I will love it.  Its touch and go in regards to Twilight but I guess because it has vampires I might find it tolerable, who knows… Twilight is another vampire movie I have never watched and I am a die-hard vampire fan, go figure.  Well I was too busy to keep up to date with my vampires for about a decade, so I am forgiven right?

The vampire Diaries has me hooked by the way; I have watched five episodes this week so far.  I am scrutinising the whole thing because I specialise in vampires in my novels and I don’t want to clash too much with anyone and I was nervous at first because something in the vampire diaries has clashed with my novels (the corvid) and the fact that a few of my vampires have the ability to roam the day too.

I am also hooked because Damon gets my hormones going… but let’s not talk about that, we’re talking about vampires in general and fantasy, not my hormones on some women’s health site. 

So, yes, I am happy to find that this series hasn’t brutalised vampires too much for me like True Blood has, I feel True Blood went too far in de-romanticising vampires.  I was distraught about that.  In the True Blood series you couldn’t tell the vampires apart from anything you see in a normal human to human slasher movie, werewolf movie or zombie movie, vampires in my opinion are much more far removed than those other movie types and I found it hard to chew.

Although being a horror fan I did love the brutality, but I was too angry that it was caused by vampires drunk on blood, dripping with blood and acting like psychotic corpses.  A lot of people will argue with me that vampires are just that ‘psychotic corpses’ but I will deny that is what vampires are, vampires to me, love very deeply and have a gentle demeanour about them, they are not rabid animals.

So, yes, I am returning to vampires.  I am returning to my love for them and with this reunion come rediscovering my hidden identity again.  I feel like I am filling up the hollowness in me and I am feeling more like who I was meant to be, rather than some obscure faint shadow.

I don’t do short stories of vampires unfortunately.  I linger too much on my vampire novels that I am ashamed to say they are epic sized.  I can’t stop adding things to them.  I think ‘War and Peace’ will have nothing on one of my vampire stories.

So that’s it for today, more to come tomorrow. 

Thank you for reading and do post a comment below. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ERB

Over the last couple of days I’ve been reading like a maniac ergo not written very much, I’ve been fortunate enough to have won two goodreads.com giveaways which has kept me busy; Also I have been watching funny rap take outs from ERB. It’s a recommended watch because you’ve got Darth Vader VS Adolf Hitler and Thor VS Zeus that type of thing.
You can find ERB on youtube

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Feather Boy

About ten years ago I watched a lovely fantasy series called “Feather Boy” on the television and I was taken by it completely enough to finally read the book; a book I was lucky to find at a charity shop a few weeks ago; such a beautiful tale about a little boy who is bullied and is then asked by his school to do a project at the local care home, where he had to befriend one of the elder residents.
He gets chosen by a lady called Edith Sorrel; this took the boy (called Robert) by surprise as he is the boy that never gets chosen for anything. Little did Robert know at the time that the reason behind Mrs Sorrel’s request for them to work together on the project was because Robert resembled her long dead son, David!
The story starts off like a mysterious ghost story; there is a mild horror element to it for the age range it’s aimed at (9 to 13yrs) and some very mild swearing. However, the gist of the story was that Mrs Sorrel wanted Robert to visit an old house she knew of thirty years ago; a house that is utterly derelict and has a bad history that gives the local children the heebie jeebies. The true story however was less adventurous and in Robert’s mind, disappointing.
The story teaches a lesson, a lesson that it’s easy to make something out of nothing; easy to misunderstand people and have an overactive imagination. The story is written around an old story about a prince who wouldn’t speak and a great firebird. This story is all about rebirth on many levels, it’s quite a spiritual book, very touching and for the first time in my life I have actually cried at an ending I knew would happen.
So, if you love tales about rebirth, revenge, growing up, courage and phoenixes, this book is very much for you.

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Mummy, you’re not a salad!

Listening to children can inspire more writing as they say the funniest and strangest things.

My son Henry is only five years old, yet he inspires me every time he talks to me. Yesterday I was having trouble getting Henry out of my bedroom in the morning whilst I got myself dressed, I chucked him out of my bedroom no less than six times, before he started to initiate a game with me; the game – he was Mr. Wolf and I was Miss Piggy and he was going to blow the bedroom door down and eat me up. I told Henry “It’s too early and I am not dressed yet”, to which he replied – “Mummy you’re not a salad, wolves don’t eat salad they eat little piggy’s”, which I must admit took me aback.

So always take advantage of communicating with children whenever you can, because they will inspire you, particularly for comedy and fantasy.

 

 

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Horror and mental illness

One or two of my poems have been considered to be short stories in my mind by me, I thought this was enough – however my husband and a friend of mine mentioned to me yesterday that some of my poems are moreish and therefore they feel that I should work on making them into a larger story preferably novel sized piece.

My husband is quite persistent about two of the poems I’ve agreed would make a better larger story, therefore he is straddling me to the grindstone and making me get to work on them because I’ve been procrastinating on my leprechaun comedy for eleven years now and I am losing enthusiasm for it.

I’ve been advised by a friend too, that my fantasy work is good, but my horror is better as I seem to write more freely and graphically, which shows that this is where my genre should be. Funny enough I originally was a horror writer, I only entered the realms of fantasy within the last decade in order to get a wider audience and I was mistaken with the idea that I would be more free to do my own thing – in horror you can do that, in most other genres there does seem to be a general protocol.

I tend to read fantasy and horror but usually horror prevails as a reading choice for me, so therefore I know that I am more experienced with horror; I also have a sadistic, black sense of humour and a lust for shocking people; which I guess makes the genre perfect for me.

I know a lot of people are getting tired of vampires but, they are my favoured creature. However, I do love writing about mental illness (considering I have experience there too) and so writing about the horrors of the mind comes easy for me – particularly if it is regarding cruelty and isolation.

The novel I am attempting to write whilst I put my leprechaun comedy on hold is based around the self-harming and mental illness of a young girl who lives within an asylum and how she got there and why, the book will concentrate on the horrors of the occult, social services, abuse and isolation. There is more to the story, but I am not going to give things away, there would be no fun in that now would there?

So forgive me if the blog is neglected for a while, my husband really wants this story written and I am looking at my previous work with fresher eyes and I am very enthusiastic about this one. Who knows, perhaps it will become finished enough for me to have the confidence to post it up for YouWriteOn.com?

Ciao for now.

 

 

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The facts in the case of the departure of Miss Finch by Neil Gaiman

The facts in the case of the departure of Miss Finch by Neil Gaiman

“The facts in the case of the departure of Miss Finch” was familiar to me in the sense that the scenery set was very alike to an old Hammer Horror movie I am very fond of called “The Vampire Circus”; though I am not suggesting that this story is a breach of copy-right, merely that the scenery was similar, for example; the movie was about a vampire count who fell in love with a local school-teacher and got her delivering her young pupils occasionally for his dietary needs, eventually she was discovered by her husband delivering a child and the vampire executed in the usual fashion and the woman outcast from the village. She was told formerly by the count that if they were ever discovered that she could contact a cousin of his on the other side of the country who were a traveling night time circus that advertises mesmerism; during the killing of the count, the count had threatened the lynch mob that if he should die, then so should all the children of the village. Many years past and the traveling night circus came and sought revenge for their cousin in the most innovative ways imaginable.

Some of their first victims were visitors of the circus; they entered a tent where they saw various acts and a hall of mirrors only for them never to return to their families alive. Though primarily the movie was about the circus seeking revenge, most of the other victims were seduced into giving up their lives, it was the burgomaster that died in the tent under suspicious circumstances; but because he was so incredibly fat, people presumed the fun and laughter of the hall of mirrors had caused him to succumb to a heart attack.

Similar acts happened in Neil Gaiman’s story, very captivating in more ways than one and a delight for me to read, particularly as not only was it so very similar to my most favorite Hammer Horror movie, but it was also read within a week of me finishing “The Night Circus” by Erin Morgenstern and “Emerald Star” by Jacqueline Wilson, which oddly enough have mesmerism and circus’s in their themes too – reading all was a fluke.

I do love stories that have carnival and circus themes to them, another story I read months before I read this Neil Gaiman classic was “The man in the picture” by Susan Hill.

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Troll Bridge by Neil Gaiman

Troll Bridge by Neil Gaiman
Reading about trolls since childhood has always made me a little nervous, because of the childhood nightmares I had about bridges and what lived under them – this story was read with reluctance, but I am proud that I read it because it was a wonderful tale.

I loved the twist of why the troll existed and how it is trapped in its magical world and had literally little choice in devouring lone stray children nearby its lair and how it can be freed if he found someone willing to help him – little would be willing to help him so they usually succumbed to a terrifying fate.

I love worlds like this, where monsters aren’t really as monstrous as they seem, that they too have lived through something terrifying and aren’t what they seem. Though it is easy to sympathise with the troll in this story it is still a terrifying creature nonetheless.

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The man in the picture by Susan Hill

The man in the picture by Susan Hill

As a lover of anything to do with carnivals, masquerades, festivals, harlequins and circus’s as well as plunging into the depths of horror stories and movies, I found this novel absolute pleasure. Never before had I ever read a whole novel in one sitting, taking just 90 minutes, I was heavily pregnant with my first born son and it was just after 1am when I started, I thought I would only read a few pages before falling asleep, but I couldn’t, I just could not put the book down, it was like I was under some kind of spell.
It is an addictive read, I want more books of this kind and I have found myself looking subconsciously for stories of a similar theme over the past five years, never finding anything as compelling or as long as this masterpiece and I must say that is disappointing.
I both love and hate books that compel me so.
At first glance it would seem familiar in a Dorian Grey kind of way, but it isn’t – it is like a ghost story, but that’s not quite right either, the plot is simple, but fantastic. I am surprised it isn’t more widely known; I am surprised that Susan Hill fans have never made much of a scene of this novel as they have with “I’m the king of the castle” or “The woman in black”, but then that is hardly surprising as I rarely see this book on shelves in libraries or stores.
I think it should someday become known as a classic horror story, though its elusiveness to the public may be a detriment for that to become so.

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