About Me

I’m Being Published!

Eeep!

So this happened a week or so ago now, and  I have been meaning to come on here and let you all know, but I needed to make sure I completed my uni year first.

A few months ago I got wind of a call for submissions to an anthology on monsters. I had a half finished short story that I thought would fit the theme so I finished it, tidied it up and submitted. After a few small changes, my story has been accepted and will be published this year.

I’m so ridiculously excited. I will no longer be a writer, I will be an author.

I’m going to have to update my blog…

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Ah The Nostalgic Feeling Of A Summer Break

I did it!

I completed my first year of university with about twenty-four hours to spare before the final assignment deadline and i’m feeling pretty pleased with myself.

I haven’t ever studied at university level before but, whilst I have found this first year suitably challenging, I have thoroughly enjoyed myself, and the marks I have been getting for my assignments mean that I am set for a grade this year which is only just short of the 1st class degree level. Whoop!

That isn’t what this post is about though. I wanted to tell you guys about the weird nostalgia I feel now about having a summer holiday from study. I’m getting that heady feeling of pleasure knowing I can spend my evening watching TV whilst snuggled up with my fiance instead of hiding away upstairs in my study at the computer. It’s mixed with a slight tinge of guilt, however, that I should be studying something, somewhere, somehow. That might be why I appear to have enrolled onto several free short courses over the summer. They keep emailing me updates. I don’t even remember doing that!

I also have a list of things that I have planned to do until uni starts again in October. I haven’t started any of them yet, naturally, and if i’m being honest, it will probably remain that way as I waste my free time just like I did during the summer holidays when I was at school. I want to write more stories for submission to publications, I want to write to you lovely people much more frequently than I have been, and I want to read. Oh I have so, so many books to read… Of course I also have a full time job so it’s not all going to be fun and games. Hopefully I will be able to get some things done this summer… I’m not going to hold my breath for the whole list though.

What can you remember about that magical summer holiday feeling? Is there anything that takes you back to that nowadays?

What plans do you have for summer 2016?

 

 

Juggling: The benefits and challenges of a full life.

When I first took up writing as a serious interest in my life I was single, bored with my day job and all my friends were rarely free to occupy me because they were busy being far more successful at having a life than I was. This meant that I had a lot of spare time and could focus it all on writing cool stories to wow strangers on the internet. As my love of writing grew, my enthusiasm for life in general also increased and all of a sudden I found myself motivated and focused at work and putting myself out there in the dating scene again – something I had been avoiding as a waste of time.

Without writing to help me channel my energies into something worthwhile, I would never have dreamed of signing up to study for a degree, I wouldn’t have had the energy and passion to aim for promotion, and I certainly would not have had the confidence to approach a total stranger on a dating site who I thought looked cute and, more importantly, sounded like a fun and interesting guy.

Thank you writing!

Just over a year later I now live with that cute, fun, interesting guy. We moved into a three bedroom house a couple of weeks ago and even though the smallest room is my study right now, there was talk of eventual munchkins sleeping in there… Oh yes, and we are engaged! Mr Cute, Fun and Interesting sneakily approached everyone in my immediate family and asked for their blessing first, and then took me out for lunch, taking the scenic route home around the lake near his former flat. We stopped and sat for a while, looking out over the lake and enjoying the unusually warm sun when right there by the lake, he got on one knee and asked me to marry him. Before you ask, no we haven’t set a date yet. We’re focused on getting the house to where we want it first.

So! At around the same time I gained a pretty ring on my finger, I also started studying for a BA (hons) in English Literature and Creative Writing. It started out fairly easy and I was able to keep up with the level of work required but it doesn’t half get difficult about half way in! I have sworn multiple times and deleted many MANY lines of text in an effort to get the best score that I can. I’m nearing the home stretch now and I can’t wait to have this year over and done with. I have one more assignment to complete on the study materials, one reflective assignment about how I have improved as a student this year, and then the Examination Assignment to submit. In Two months I will be free! Well, until October when it starts all over again.

A few days after the shiny ring and starting my degree, I was told I had been successful in applying for promotion. I know. It was one hell of a week! The work is more challenging and I no longer find myself twiddling my thumbs with nothing to do because I’ve done it all. Basically, my life is in a fairly good place right now.

The only problem is, this new fulfilling life isn’t leaving me a lot of time to write. I’m having to snatch a few minutes here and there. It’s not enough. I’m looking forward to the end of May when I will have finished this year of uni and will have a few solid months available to write again. I miss making up new characters and scenes on a regular basis. i miss writing sprints and flash fiction challenges.

I miss being here. I hope to spend more time with you all soon. x

Talking About Myself

One of my new year’s resolutions was to share more personal stuff about me. So far I haven’t exactly stuck to that resolution. To make amends, this post is going to be full of random facts about me.

Firstly, I am sure you have all seen the poem that I wrote for my nan’s funeral. It was the first ever time that I had seen my name in print and it tasted bittersweet, to say the least. The reaction I received from my family and friends, however, has been amazing. I have never felt so validated as a writer as I do now. My mum has been very reserved about the whole writing thing. She worries that I will put my heart and soul into writing (as you do) and get very little in return. I am prepared for that. The world of writing is a tough place and I don’t write to try and make loads of money and be super famous. In the words of Sam Smith:

“I don’t have money on my mind, money on my mind. I do it for the, do it for the love.”

Sam Smith is talking about making music, but it works for me. My mum has been doing that thing she does where she keeps her worries to herself so I can make my own mistakes like a grown-up, but last week she did this tiny little thing that has a significant meaning for me. She bought me a notebook. I know she still worries about me putting my energy into something that won’t make me lots of money so i can be comfortably well off, but she has chosen to show that she supports me because, dare I say it, i’m actually quite good at it. A friend of my aunt was at my nan’s funeral and she spoke to my aunt about me because of the poem I wrote and read. She writes the pantos for their local community acting group and inquired about whether I would be interested in helping her write panto scripts. As I don’t live locally to her, she didn’t approach me directly, but I am going to approach her instead and see if she would be willing to collaborate via correspondence. Exciting times!

Secondly, an awesome online friend of mine has opened up an etsy shop to sell her fabulous knitting creations and I have offered to write some content for her site. Aren’t I nice? I’m hoping to make a career move within the company I work for to do something similar for our website so this will be a fantastic experience to get involved in. I will be writing product descriptions, along with page blurbs and some more policy related stuff. (Research here I come!)

Thirdly, I have permission to talk about the self described “amazing and wonderful new man in [my] life”. I will try very hard not to get all doe-eyed and soppy but……he reads!! He reads horror!! In the last week, Brett has bought hardback compilations of HP Lovecraft and Edgar Allen Poe. Where has this man been all my life? (“Making mistakes” was his response to that question.) One of the great things about him is that he read some of my flash fiction stories and gave me some really good constructive feedback on them. I have a lot of beta readers who are also writers so its definitely useful to have a beta reader who can focus purely on the story and how they feel about it. Today is 3 weeks exactly since we went on our first date. He has already bought my birthday present even though my birthday isn’t until March 25th. He bought 2 tickets to see Woman in Black at the theatre on the day of my birthday. I can’t wait!! He has also ensure his acceptance with my mum by buying her a huge box of chocs for her birthday. I’m looking forward to unleashing my friends on him to see how well he copes.

Thats enough about me for now. Feel free to comment below about anything I have said here and to ask me questions that I can answer in future Talking About Myself posts.

Looking Forward to 2015

I know i have been largely absent from my blog for a while now, and I apologise. One of my resolutions for next year is to plan regular slots for my blog to keep it working for me consistently. I am also planning new content so it’s not all stories but more about me and my journey into writing.

I have not, however, been stagnating during my absence. 2014 was the Year of the Creative Writing Course (which i passed! Certificate – Naomi Harvey) and it has completely changed my life. I was bored out of my tiny little mind back in January 2014, when my brother mentioned that he had seen some courses on Amazon local. I went to have a look and a creative writing course caught my attention. As it was reduced right down to 90% off, I decided to give it a go. I was very quickly hooked. I started this blog as part of the course and not only can I see the improvements I have made throughout the year, but i have met some amazing people. I can’t wait to get to know you all much better in 2015.

I took part in Camp NaNoWriMo in July and wrote the first draft of a Novella which I aim to have published by the end of July 2015. I have been spending a lot of my time on this, as well as one or two other stories that are much bigger than my usual flash fiction offerings. Watch this space!

More recently, I went to a training and development session run by the HR department where I work. With the help of a woman who is amazingly good at her job, I admitted that my current job did not satisfy me and I wanted to do something as a career with writing at the heart of it. My company currently has vacancies for a Copywriter and a Scriptwriter and whilst I am aware that I lack the credentials and experience to take on a role like that right now, it has opened my eyes to the opportunities that are out there to write for a living, whilst still earning a regular salary. This would allow me to have a career doing what I love, and I would still have my free time to myself to explore my love of fiction. I have requested some time with the manager of the team advertising these roles so I can understand what I need to do to be in a good position to get myself a job like that in the future.

Another thing that I realised through this personal development session is that I regret choosing to work instead of going to university to gain a degree. After some exploration, I have found an online BA (hons) in English Literature and Creative Writing with the OU. I aim to begin in April. As I have never studied at university level before, I can apply for student funding through the government and because it is available to study online, I can continue to work whilst studying.

So 2015 is the year that I stop waiting for things to happen to me, and go out there and make them happen. Every year I have told myself that things will change, but it wasn’t until i found that creative writing course that i realised that change doesn’t just happen. You have to make it happen.

be-the-change-you-are-looking-for

Picture from here

So! My New Years Resolutions (which i’ve kind of already started) include all the mundane “I will eat better, exercise more, lose weight and look fabulous!” but also include “I will start studying for a degree, publish my first novella (even if I self-publish it), take steps towards changing my career path to something that involves writing and transform my blog into something I can be really proud of.”

How has 2014 changed your life and what are your New Year’s Resolutions for 2015?

Writing Process Blog Tour

 

Hello! I have been asked to write this post for the Writing Process Blog Tour by the lovely Kate Loveton. (My apologies for being slightly late.) Kate has this fantastic description of herself on her blog that says:

Aspiring novelist. Avid reader of fiction. Reviewer of books. By day, my undercover identity is that of meek, mild-mannered legal assistant, Kate Loveton, working in the confines of a stuffy corporate law office; by night, however, I’m a super hero: Kate Loveton, Aspiring Novelist and Spinner of Tales. My favorite words are ‘Once upon a time… ‘

If you haven’t already taken a peek at her blog, then you can find it here.

Before I get to answering the questions given to me about my writing, There was another part of the deal. Nominate three other writers to also write a post about their own writing process.

Writer Number 1 is the fabulous Bethanie Hardie from the UK who has two blogs on the go. She has her usual blog here, and also a second blog where she posts diary entries from the point of view of the main character in her ‘An Immortal In London’ Series. She’s left-handed and proud of it (as all lefties should be; we are the best.), she’s a law student, and she runs a business with her fiancé. Thats a heck of a lot to be getting on with but she seems to handle it all magnificently. To find out more about Bethanie, take a look at her blogs, and make sure to check out her blog post.

Writer Number 2 is the blonde haired beauty, writing from Germany, H. M. Brooks. This lady claims to love writing over talking, and maybe even over reading too. She has been writing since she was eight (She wrote a story about a girl called Chelsea), with more focus on writing from the age of fourteen. She has recently celebrated her twenty-fifth birthday. You can find her blog here.

These ladies will be posting on (or around) the 19th May.

Writer Number 3 is technically someone else’s victim as she has already posted her Writing Process post, and I am cheating slightly by including her on my post. Unfortunately pretty much all the other writers I follow seem to have already posted too. American writer E. B. Thompson’s twitter profile describes her as a “Reader, Writer, Dreamer and unashamed nerd”. Her book ‘Starling’ was published on January 1st 2014. You can check out her blog (and her Writing Process post) here.

So! Onto the questions. I have never had more trouble answering questions in all my life. I feel like I should have studied for this first. Anyway:

What am I working on at the moment?

Well I started writing a short story for the creative writing course I am studying. I had to write a 1,500-ish word short story and make sure I had all the points I had just learned in the previous module. In my own typical style, my story escalated. Apparently I ‘lack discipline’. My short story became a not so short story with 6,500-ish words at the end of draft 1. Since then I have extended it to just over 12,000 words. That’s not a short story, that’s a Novella! Oops! That is now in the stages of editing, finding plot holes and fixing errors (there’s bound to be loads) and generally tidying it up. It’s with a critique partner at the moment. I am taking this quite a bit more seriously than I ever thought I would this quickly. I am also researching for an up-coming joint project with another writer which I am pretty excited about. I have been reliably informed that you can never have too many projects. On top of that I try to come up with at least one post a week for my blog so I don’t leave all my lovely readers hanging. And I have a few half formed plotlines in my notebook for other stories I could be writing already if I wasn’t so good at procrastinating all the time. Ooh! A butterfly! Preeeettyyyyy…

How does my work differ from others of it’s genre?

This is really hard for me to answer because I don’t think I know yet. I have only been writing since January after starting a creative writing course. “Ooh look! Amazon Local has a creative writing course. That sounds like something that could relieve my intense boredom. Let’s give that a go.” I never imagined I would be blogging, making friends and getting myself over 60 followers in just a few (what feels like very short) months, let alone have a novella on the go!

I also haven’t really fully settled into any particular genre. My writing tends to lean towards Horror, Psychological Thrillers, and Fantasy, but I can’t help adding my sarcastic sense of humour into almost everything I do. The quick comedic comment cutting through the suspense adds a little shock all of its own, and sarcasm is a character trait I admire so I like my characters to use a little wit whenever they can.

Why do I write what I do?

When I first started writing, it was just about the course. I very quickly realised that my stories tend to revolve around something very personal: Feelings. Most of my stories are about different feelings and how people deal with what they feel. Loss, love, loneliness, attraction, fear, hatred. The feelings are the theme that runs through my stories, more than a specific event. Basically, everyone has ‘issues’. They are often the same, just experienced in different ways. I like to explore these experiences in my fiction and lets face it; writing stories sure beats sitting in front of some stranger who’s asking you “How does that make you feel?” I am honoured that you all enjoy reading my work and sharing in the little snippets of me that I leave in each piece.

How does my writing process work?

The first thing my creative writing course taught me, was the importance of a writing process. It is important that I write every day, so that I get into the habit. It also taught me to have a particular place to write so that I know when I am in that place, that I should be writing. I have a number of notebooks which I keep with me so I can write down anything that inspires me or takes my fancy, and I do write almost every day. Almost, because sometimes I like to go out and pretend to have a social life. I don’t really have a place to write. I am at my dining table right now, but sometimes I will be on my sofa, or, more often than not, in my bedroom, cross legged on my bed, getting sore shoulders because I am slouching. I know, I am a very bad girl and I need to look after myself better (aka get a desk). My bedroom is my sanctuary. I write nonsense, look at pictures, go for walks, people watch and write things about random people I find in cafe’s and shops until I stumble on something I want to explore, then I will write about that. That is how I first came up with the plot for my Novella and all the other half formed stories in my notebook.

So that’s it. Thanks for stopping by to read my baffled wafflings. Make sure to keep a look out for the posts belonging to my first two nominees and take a look at all the blogs I have linked. I promise it will be worth your while.

Naomi