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Category: Blogging

The Dragon’s Loyalty Award

dragons-loyalty-award-logo-31-12-13Hardly had the New Year started than I found out that I had been given an award by Sandra Danby for loyally reading her blog over the last few months. You can find her blog here.

It is such a lovely blog about Sandra’s life in Spain and it has been my absolute pleasure to check it every week to find out what has been happening in her part of the world. Sandra is also an experienced writer so she has often had words of wisdom for me in my new writing life which have been much appreciated. So I’d like to say a big thank you to her for giving this award to me.
Now, a brief mention of The Rules for this award, which are:-

  1. Thank the person who offered it to you and link to their site.
  2. Display the award on your site and write a post about it.
  3. Present 15 or so other bloggers with the award and let them know about it.
  4. Write 7 things about yourself.
  5. List the Rules.

So I would like to take a moment to link to some other great people who have started following me since I began my own blog.
1.  John writes thought-provoking poems on his site.
http://theworldoutsidethewindow.wordpress.com

2. Alana supports and inspires other writers here.
http://alanamunroauthor.com

3. Jenny is a book-blogger.
http://jennyinneverland.wordpress.com

4. Kimberley is a writer and blogs about it.
http://writerkimberlyhill.wordpress.com

5. Lisen is also a writer and blogs about her writing journey.
http://lisenminetti.wordpress.com

6. Diana is also a writer and blogger.
http://pelicanfiction.wordpress.com

7. Another writer trying to establish a daily ritual of writing.
http://damyantiwrites.wordpress.com

8. Taylor is a writer of fiction and micro-fiction and is also heavily involved in NaNoWriMo.
http://littlewritelies.com

9. This site is described as a library of literary interestingness!
http://interestingliterature.com

10. Crissi is an author, writer and blogger.
http://crissilangwell.com

Now for some things about me.
* I love Marmite 😉
* I have two cats, Charlie and Miley (named pre-twerking era)
* I speak French fluently and a number of other European languages less so.
* I love to sing.
* Three of my heroes are Billy Joel, Barbra Streisand and Dustin Hoffman and I have seen them all perform live.
* My maternal grandfather was Czechoslovakian.
* I have studied about wine to diploma level.

So I would encourage you to go and look at these sites and thank you to them all and to you for continuing to read my blog.

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A review of the first year of My Writing Life

As the end of 2013 approaches, it seems like a good time to review what I have achieved this year and to set some writing goals for the coming year.

I started writing my first draft of my first novel in April 2013. I finally finished it in October and by this time, I had learnt that first drafts are usually not that good so I would have to spend the next several months editing what I had written. At first, I felt only despair at the mammoth task this would be but then, after a lot of research, I knuckled down and got on with it. Unfortunately, I had thought that I would be able to do this at the same time as taking part in NaNoWriMo 2013! Mad fool, I hear you cry. Well, I came to my senses pretty quickly and decided that I would just use November to read my WIP aloud and make editing notes as I went along. This became my first round of edits and I will have completed this by the end of the year. Yep, by tomorrow. I feel very proud of that, as well as the fact that I was a NaNoWriMo winner, writing just over 50,000 words of my second novel. I have also managed to find two critique partners to accompany me on my editing journey and I know their help is going to be invaluable next year.

In June 2013, I started to blog about my writing life. I wanted to write about my experience on this journey, sharing what I learnt along the way and I am amazed to see that I have managed to blog every week since then. Not only that, I have found new things to say and have made a few good friends along the way. I really enjoy writing the blog as well and I enjoy reading other people’s.

I also joined Twitter and started to build a following by following other writers and people dedicated to helping writers. I have found this much more fun than I expected, although it has also become a bit of an obsession!
It has been a year in which I have learnt so much and most of it from other writers, for which I am very grateful. I am looking forward to the new writing year immensely.
So my goals for 2014:

  • To finish editing my first draft of ‘From Here to Nashville’, hopefully by April which would be a year since I started writing it. I would like to have it professionally edited ultimately and I have a couple of ideas about how to manage this.
  • I plan to work hard with my critique partners to make my work as good as it can possibly be.
  • I would like to finish the first draft of my second novel too. I don’t have a deadline on this but it would be good to have finished it by the time NaNoWriMo 2014 comes round!
  • I would like to attend a writing course or two this year to help me progress my learning.
  • I am thinking of taking a proofreading course as a way of supplementing my income now that I work part-time. It would be great if longer term, the proofreading could pay for some of my other goals 😉 I am realistic about this though (honest!)

A good year then, all in all. I hope your writing year has been good and that you have set yourself some sensible goals for next year. Best wishes to you all for 2014 and thank you for reading 🙂

Editing procrastination for the unpublished writer

Like most people, I expect, this past week has been absolute madness and for me, it won’t stop until I reach the end of term on Friday. This week, we have our KS2 Music and Drama production at school and today, we had our dress rehearsal. It didn’t go well 🙁 but everyone kept telling me not to worry because it would all come together on the night (tomorrow! eek!) I should know this by now because I  have a fair few productions under my belt but I still feel very nervous at this point every year. This is simply because after all these months of rehearsals, I want everything to go right for the children, as well as for me and the other people involved in bringing this together. The two performances this week are the culmination of a lot of hard work and I would like everyone to go out on a high.

This got me thinking that this must be how it will feel when I finally finish editing my first novel. I am still soldiering on with it, hoping that what I have done so far will be worthwhile. However, I know that I haven’t even begun to deal with the really nitty gritty editing yet. I am really just proofreading because I know I am skilled at this and I find it very easy. I have been bookmarking all the other editing advice I have seen over the past couple of months, to use later when I do the REAL editing. This is procrastination at its best. I have nearly 100 such articles bookmarked so far! I have posted on this before but I really think that there is just so much advice out there about editing, amongst other things and yet, no definitive guide to the whole process. As a new writer, this is what I feel I really need in the absence of an agent, let alone a publishing contract. There are many people blogging about the poor quality of some self-published novels but even if you are fairly literate, if you’ve never written a novel before, you really won’t know the first thing about how to edit it on anything other than a superficial basis.

I will start to work my way through these articles over the holidays and because I’m a methodical sort of person, I know the job will get done but whether it will be to my satisfaction when I finish working my way through, is another matter. Still, all part of the learning curve, I suppose.

Has anyone else got any experience of editing for the first time that they would be willing to share, including any book recommendations? I really would love to hear from you 🙂

New York! New York!

I knew this title would grab your attention but it IS relevant, honest. Next year will see our 25th wedding anniversary and we have been pondering, with our children, where we might go for a special holiday break to celebrate. The thing is that our kids are now 12 and 16 and they’re looking for something a bit different these days and we’d like to go somewhere we’ve never been before. We’ve considered New York before but for some reason (mainly expense and timing), we’ve never managed to get there. Well, now the time seems right. It will be decent weather in April hopefully and if we plan this now, we might even be able to save up for a five day break between now and then. So I’m feeling very excited today and I keep bursting into song as I wander around the house, all Sinatra like, well as much as I can given that I’m female 😉

So how is this relevant to my writing I hear you cry? As you may know, my first novel is provisionally titled ‘From Here to Nashville’ and during the story, the two main characters, Rachel and Jackson, spend a few days in – you guessed it – New York! A trip to the city will therefore allow me to do proper research like a proper writer! Woohoo! I am really looking forward to going and we’re all buzzing with the things we want to do whilst we’re there. The only problem might be fitting them all in, oh and the fact that one daughter is vegan and the other would like to live on burgers but apart from that, we should be fine!

Otherwise, I have had a great NaNo week, keeping up with my daily word count and I feel quite pleased with the progress of my second story so far. My brain has also been constantly referring to my ‘Nashville’ story, putting right some of the plot problems I need to sort out in December when NaNo is over. I am also quite impressed with my own self-discipline today, writing this blog post so early in the day because I was inspired to do so and it feels good that this has become such an important part of my writing routine. I now feel warmed up to write my NaNo words for today and all before lunch-time too! I might have to go and have a lie-down after that.

Let me know how your NaNo week has gone or connect with me as a buddy. My user name is wood_beez48.

Three Blogging No-Nos

I found this a really interesting post, even though I have only had a blog for a short while. I’m sure it is something that all bloggers wonder about, especially if you have something to promote as well. In my case, I’m writing my debut novel but I’m only blogging about my writing, not revealing what I’ve written at all. I wonder if I should, from time to time but some of my first draft is available on the internet and I’ve linked so I hope if people are interested enough, they’ll go and read it. But am I being too shy about it? Who knows? I only have a small blog readership at the moment so maybe this will become more of an issue as time goes by. Anyway, Scott Southard’s post was interesting to me so hopefully, it will be to you too 🙂