Okay. I just want to warn you all that my latest story idea has lead to my google search history looking stranger than it has ever been and, naturally, I am going to talk about it here.
As I posted a short while ago, I am being published in an anthology this year. It’s called Monsters and the front cover is going to look like this:
I signed the contract today; it’s all 100% completely official and feeling scarily real. I’m being published! Arrggghh!!!
The anthology is scheduled for release on October 25th, right in time for Halloween. Put reminders in your calendars, people!
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?
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
I have been a bad, bad girl.
This blog was meant to be all about my journey to become an author and so far I’ve written very little about it. Hopefully this post will be the beginning of a change. Studying for a degree on top of working full time is quite the challenge, not to mention moving house and maintaining a relationship with the man in my life. I’m engaged now. Yes! Engaged! I’ll tell you about it some other time. Anyway, I don’t want my other writing habits to just fall by the wayside, so this is me trying to juggle as many commitments as possible.
My degree started in October and so far I think i’m doing pretty well. The current module is a generic Humanities module so as well as subjects related to English, I am also studying elements of History, Art, Art History, Philosophy and Music. at first I felt slightly impatient that the module wasn’t more directly linked to my degree subjects but then I realised that I am actually one of the lucky ones. When it comes to creative writing, pretty much everything is inspiration. History gives you things like wars, rulers, defiance, Stalin, Cleopatra, Ancient Egypt, multiple deities, Ancient Rome, pyramids and statues and Pharaohs and treasure and all sorts of amazing wonders to write about. Art gives pictures which provide scenes to base your stories in, and statues give you characters to write about. Music gives you emotions to work into a scene or a story. Philosophy gives you conflict and dilemmas for your characters to deal with. Everything in the world helps you when it comes to creative writing.
That is what I love about my degree so far.
Next year I look forward to an assignment or two involving some creative writing but for now I am happy to just soak up all the inspiration being thrown my way.
I FINALLY received confirmation that my Student Fee Loan had been approved yesterday.
I am now officially a student with the Open University and will begin studying for a BA (Hons) In English Literature and Creative Writing from October 3rd.
This is a huge deal for me because i have alreadys regretted not going to Uni and studying for a degree when I was younger. It was the right decision, because I had no idea what I wanted to do with myself, but it is something I feel is missing from my life experience.
My bestie is also starting Uni this year to become a Nurse. She’s going to be going full time and i’m mega excited for her. We became friends in College (the UK College, not the same as Uni) and studied together so it’s great that we will have someone to share our mature student experiences with. I will still be working full time with part time study on top so this spells the beginning of a hugely busy time in my life.
I am extremely lucky that I have an awesome boyfriend to support me. His dad is donating a desk to me so I don’t need to buy one, and he is already making sure that I have planned out study time (whilst allowing for a weekly date-night that is dedicated to spending with him.)
It has been a REALLY long time since i have felt this positive about something. Long may it continue!
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.
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?
I hesitated outside ‘Help the Aged’ and glanced down at the note in my hand. I’d found it tucked into the cover of Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Meals cookbook which I’d bought for a bargain £3 just the day before. The handwriting was thin and spidery. It must have been put there by the little old lady who had served me; otherwise I would have seen it whilst flicking through the recipes in the shop. I bit my lip and pushed open the door. The little old lady was there again, but there was also a younger woman with a shiny ‘Manager’ badge pinned to her suit jacket.
The little old lady looked up as I walked in, then threw a lightning quick, wide eyed glance towards her manager before dropping her gaze to the counter to fold some clothes. Her hands shook so badly that she kept dropping them on the floor. The Manager sighed.
“Dotty dear, do be careful with those, I don’t want to take any damage money out of your pay this month.” She laughed a false high pitch tinkle that for some reason made my skin break out in goose bumps.
I wandered around the store towards the manager.
“Excuse me; you’re the manager, right? Could I have a quick word with you?”
“Yes of course? Just give me a minute and I will be right with you.”
She disappeared into the office behind the counter, and the old lady limped hurriedly to me. She was glancing over her shoulder, grabbed my sleeve and began propelling me towards the door with surprising strength.
“You need to go. Go! Or she’ll get you too. You need to bring help. Real help. Please just go, you’re my only hope.”
I struggled with her until the manager re-emerged from the office behind the counter.
“Dotty! What is the matter with you? Let go of the young lady. I’m really sorry about that, she’s been acting a little strangely lately. Why don’t come into the office?”
As I walked past the counter, Dotty gave a muffled sob and buried her head in her arms on the counter. It was an odd gesture from someone so old but i didn’t think much of it at the time. The manager shut the door and turned to me.
“Right, what can I help you with?”
“I bought a cookbook from you yesterday and I found a note in it. I think Dotty put it there. I’ll read it. It says:
‘Help me! I’m trapped here against my will. I’m really only 19 years old. She did this to me. I’m not crazy. Please bring help.’
“I thought you should know. It sounds like the poor old lady needs to…”
I looked back up at the manager and she was giving me this really weird smile. She grabbed me and everything went black. When I woke the first thing I noticed was the papery thin wrinkled skin on the backs of my hands.