Studying and writing success

It’s been a while, as expected.  I’m in week 4 of the third term of my Masters. Global ethics and human rights,  and strategy, change and leadership are my modules.  I’m particularly enjoying the first one, especially as there is a good group dynamic.  This is something that is lacking when studying by distance learning but the discussion board is much more popular than usual!

I am currently lying on the sofa with a poorly sleepy Charlie who I had to pick up from nursery. He had a long nap but since waking up he has just wanted to cuddle and go back to sleep.  I’ve already disturbed him once to check my chickpeas aren’t boiling dry.

It seems I am going to have a productive week study wise, especially as I’m already ahead of schedule. Good thing too as we’re away this weekend and it makes up for the craziness of last week when I was doing extra long days ad staff were off sick, which also ate into my study time.  As Charlie was sick he (and therefore I) is off the rest of the week so I  hoping to tick off everything on my list for once and do more than just study!

In particular I would like to write another short story or two. I had some success at the end of last week which has boosted my confidence but mostly it is telling me I need to get my arse in gear. The problem is that writing is the thing I want to do most of all but it is – for various reasons – the bottom of my priority list.

Anyway I finally have some writing officially published! One of my short stories – Last Train to Somewhere – is in this quarter’s edition of e – magazine Kishboo :-). Also released on the same day was the long list for a flash fiction competition that I entered and for which I made said long list so an exciting day all around!

You can find Last Train to Somewhere here. It is number 12 in the 2015 winter edition along with 14 other great short stories.

New beginnings

There is something about September that brings me back to blogging. That ‘new year’ feel, I suppose, that I get far more at the start of the academic year than I do each January. This is natural to me. Harry is at school now, James and I both work at universities, and I am studying again. Until my phone took over my diaries would always run from September to August. There is also something about the autumnal days setting in that brings the anticipation of NaNoWriMo and the motivation to write.

So I am giving this blog another chance. This may be a bad idea, what with my Masters resuming in a few weeks time, but right now I am feeling psyched. I put the boys to bed, ate my dinner while watching James’ flight to New York on FlightRadar24 and suddenly within an hour I had written 500 words and submitted it to a flash fiction competition. Last week I submitted a short story to another competition. This needs to continue. I have only entered short story competitions on a few occasions – last year I vowed to do one a month but I got caught up in other things. Stupid of me really as one story was long-listed and the other short-listed, which was obviously a big boost with regard to my confidence and my ability but not, it seems, to my motivation.

I have so many ideas at the moment and my brain seems so much more open to inspiration than it has been in a long time. Writing short stories is allowing me to get outside my comfort zone (fantasy) and explore different genres and writing styles. One big idea I had when reading last month’s Writing Magazine (this month’s arrived today and thank goodness for six hours on a train next weekend because I still haven’t finished last month’s) I think I will adapt to be my NaNo project, partly because it ties in with my Masters so might, theoretically, make it easier to work on both at the same time. Basically, an article in the magazine made me question why I never write about what I know. I’m not sure my stories have ever been set in a hotel or a cafe, or if any of the characters have worked in those places like I have. I certainly have never covered issues of sustainability and social responsibility, even though this is what my Masters is all about. And it is not like any of these topics, settings, and characters are boring! So this year’s goal is to write a story encompassing what I know. Let the planning commence!

I often read advice to new writers that a good starting point is to write about what you know. If you write, do you find it easier to write about what you know or to explore other avenues? If you don’t write, which way would you be more inclined to take?

Goals for 2015

Last night was the induction for my MSc. As it is an online course it was in the form of a webinar.  Good to get it over with! That first ‘day’ is always so nerve wracking but I’m excited for Monday now. I have two modules to take me up to Easter – Corporate Governance Regulations and Policy, and Green Information and Operations Management.

Still a little daunting. I’m struggling to get things done some days as it is. In part, motivation, but mainly because of the demands of others on my time. But I’ll be fine.  I just need to prioritise and make sure others are aware of what I have to do. That is always the hardest part but I must remember that all my goals and ambitions are just as important as anyone else’s.

So on top of my studies, children and starting back at work at the end of February what other things will be filling my time this year? Well, writing goals include finding an agent, entering a short story competition each month, and also begin researching my grandmother.  Out side of that I will continue making soaps and candles  (and whatever else takes my fancy!) With the aim of maybe possibly selling at craft fairs and/or online.

So phew… let’s see if I can get through 2015 without going crazy!

Reaching 50k!

I’m so tired.  I suppose writing 50,000 words on top of daily life in 17 days does that to a person. Not that I’m ready to stop. I’m aiming for 75,000 now, hopefully more as what I really want is to finish the book. It is the last in the series and until it has reached its grand finale I don’t feel like I can focus on writing anything else. This whole epic world is dominating. The first book is currently doing the rounds with the agents. Whatever happens there is a different story. The sequels still feel very personal. The second book is still in its first draft as I did not see the point in editing until the whole story is complete. Imagine the plot holes!

NaNoWriMo aside, the tiredness is a sign I need to take it easy. I have managed – for the third time since having Charlie – to strain my stomach muscles. So it’s back to avoiding lifting and reaching, rolling out of bed, and lying down where possible. Not easy with children. And l am one of those people who always has something to do. Resting just means I think of more things.

Anyway it is finally that time of day. Once the boys are in bed I plan to have a bath, write another chapter and wrap the soaps I made today. Hopefully tomorrow will be a more productive day. I have had to categorise my to do list for possibly the first time ever.

Rolling, swimming and writing

A week ago Charlie rolled over for the first time.  He had been so close for a while but finally managed to get his arm free. He is unstoppable now! Straight over as soon as I put him down! His neck is high, and he’s trying to pull himself forward and roll back again. As it happens I also got his discharge letter yesterday. He has been to see a paediatrician because our doctor was worried about his tone. In particular his neck lagged. Nothing to worry about but they gave us an open appointment should we have concerns.  Fitting that the discharge came in the same week he rolled over!

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Looking very proud of himself!

Harry is loving school still and always the first one in! He’s been practicing Christmas songs for the nativity all the time. And he’s finally pooing on the toilet. So happy and proud of him! He also did really well in his swimming lessons today and next week he’ll be starting to go on a Saturday instead as a place became available so one more thing sorted in terms of starting back to work! Oh and we made an awesome knight’s castle – almost a shame Father Christmas is bringing him one too!

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And NaNoWriMo is going fabulously! On 45,000 words so I’m hoping for 75,000 by the end of the month, maybe more. Book 4 was originally going to be two books and I can see why now! I am surprisingly in two minds now about how it is all going to end, despite having written the ending already I can see another option. But that’s probably a good thing as there is a spark of hope.