I want to finish editing my novel this year. I sat down and did the maths, in order to get the remaining 74,000 words revised I need to write roughly 6,750 words a month. That’s 2,250 a week. I’ll probably only be able to write four days a week so…565 a day.
The Morning after my brother’s wedding I awoke to a picturesque snowy morning. Here’s a short piece of observational writing I jotted down.
Through a misted window I watch two greyhounds lollop about. One rolls on his back, biting at great chunks of disturbed snow. A boy, wrapped in a blue snowsuit, watches his dad roll a boulder of white. Mittened hands lift high to pat the snowman’s body. A blast of snow obscures the scene and I return to packing my bags. There’s been much furore about getting home. My sister left early in the morning but the snow had already made its claim on the roads. Two hours later she’s stuck less than fifteen miles from us. I’ve kept my exhilaration secret, solemn-faced and serious words. Soon, when the opportunity strikes I will lollop alongside the dogs.
A phone call brings me downstairs to the main cottage. I pass an ancient walnut tree, last night it was alight, soft glowing bulbs spread across its empty branches. white laid thick on its roots. Benches scattered about, snow cushions a hands width thick. Earmuffs dull all sound and a wide hood restricts my view. I step in old footprints, being filled with new flurries. The snowman is almost built, the boy held in his dad’s arms. Sitting outside the main cottage, drenched and snow melting on his noes a chocolate lab stares out at the scene. I pat him on the head with gloved hands, the smell of wet dog ripe.
The cottage kitchen is perfection, with fresh tea and chocolate brownies. Mum joins me, then my stepdad, a promise of playing in the snow tempts my little sister downstairs. As I sip on tea a fellow wedding guest runs through the kitchen and arms spread wide spins in the swirling snow. Her husband follows scooping up a snowball. My feet itch. The dogs circle the two, catching snowballs midair and half knocking down the two with excitement. When they return, it’s with rose-red cheeks and impish grins.
After several trips to different rooms and the conclusion our ancient Toyota Yaris was not fit to traverse the snow it was decided tom and I would travel home with my parents. Car packed and the room emptied at long last Emily descended from her room and we ventured into the snow. Leaving the trodden path I jumped into the fresh snow with both feet. The crunch blissful. Mum was the first to throw a snowball, right at my back. I aimed one back as she hid beneath a fur-lined hood. The snow continued to fall as if it always would. We played for as long as the cold would allow.
Breakfast was called and we ate full English breakfasts listening to the scrape of spades on stone. Paths and plans were formed. Blankets handed out alongside wedding centrepieces. Cars were pushed and then towed by the farmer’s range rover. We waved goodbye to our snow-laden car, Tom and I warm and safe in my parents X-Trail.
Thanks for reading, I’ve been busy writing my novel recently. My aim is to get to get the first 10,000 words revised by the end of March. I’m currently at 5,300. I will hopefully be updating my word count more regularly now the chaos of Christmas and various health scares are out of the way.
I had the pleasure of attending my brothers wedding a the weekend. It was a wonderful event. An intimate affair, only forty or so guests for the main event. I was asked to do a reading. A reading I was asked to write! after much faffing, many terrible cliched lines and a minor existential crisis I came up with something I was happy with. Thankfully so were the happy couple.
Love isn’t what you see in rom-coms.
Grand gestures and extravagant gifts
Love isn’t what you see in sitcoms.
Bickering, endless competition.
No fairy tale no ball and no chain.
A marriage, a partnership,
Unique as each individual.
Andrew, ardent, thoughtful, generous
Lana, talented, determined and kind
Love, Partnership, marriage
Can not be reduced to a sentence
Nor explained in a lengthy reading.
But that’s what I’m here for
So I’ll give it a go
Love, the squeeze of a hand
When anxiety spikes
A jacket sacrificed
On a long winters walk
The crook of his shoulder
Where your head fits just right
Cold toes seeking comfort
Warmed on shins late at night
When life shatters out of control
Love is shelter, a constant, a home
Strong as diamonds and soft as down
Love endures not despite the troubles
But because you face them together
I’ve written a little observational/biographical piece for the morning after when we were all but snowed in. I’ll be posting that soon.
My husband has been ill with an undiagnosed stomach issue for coming up to two years now. We have seen many doctors and had umpteen tests. none of which have been able to shed any light on what is actually making him ill.
The most frustrating aspect of this illness is the unpredictability. it is almost impossible to plan things because we have no idea whether he will be well enough to leave the house. This is, unsurprisingly making him feel low.
It turns out I am pretty dreadful at coping with other people’s emotions. I find it incredibly difficult to negotiate my anxiety and depression when I feel like I should be caring for my husband. This week I hid within myself. Keeping busy until there’s no energy to keep going. My Novel seemed like a colossal mountain and even five minutes of mindfulness was almost unbearable because of the barrage of negative thoughts.
Things are a little better now. We’ve spoken and decided to have an action plan for keeping positive and motivated even when he has no energy. I did manage to work on my novel this morning and sorted out a bit of dialogue which was bugging me. The first Three scenes are now completed and I’m over halfway through the fourth.
Simultaneously feeling isolated and overwhelmed. Out at a meal today I had the tightening of a dread knot in my stomach, clumsy words and an intense desire to leave the table and never return. I’ve not felt this way in a while. This morning I didn’t find any joy in writing my novel. Uncomfortable and anxious at the epic task ahead of me.
There are a plethora of reasons I could be feeling this way. I will always jump to the worst conclusion; My depression has returned with a vengeance and I will feel this way forever. However, it is far more likely that my busy week has left me feeling just a little run down. Not to mention a dramatic bus ride home in which I hugged a crying little girl as her drunken dad picked a fight.
I’ve avoided practising mindfulness and pilates, two activities that force me to pause in the day. Instead, I’ve been bulldozing through, sidestepping any silence. I have a check list for such scenarios.
Tell the husband and support network
Figure out what I’m feeling and why
If things do not improve go to the doctor
Address pressures and anxieties
Look at Schedule to make sure I’m not pushing myself too hard.
The antibiotics are working my chest is getting clearer and writing is getting easier. I’m onto a scene in which the plot and characters are similar if not the same as my previous drafts. Super short post but keeping that wordcount going
I am once again on antibiotics for a chest infection and steroids for my asthma. This is my morning lot of medication.
However, I have been able to work a fair bit on my novel. I’ve made a little rewards chart for wordcount goal I reach. For the first 2100 words, I get a little reward for every 100 words. including, sharpening new pencils, buying a pack of Veggie Percy Pigs and having a bubble bath with scented candles. After that it’s rewards after every 200 words, then every 300 words. That should get me up to 10,000 words of my revised draft by new years.
As most of my ‘writing’ is editing and making small adjustments I am using strikethrough instead of deleting so I can count my cutting as writing!
Oh yes, I’m feeling much better. My Asthma’s calmed down and I’m sure the side effects of steroids won’t even affect me anymore. I’ll be perfectly fine to go to Pride. Not even a big deal!
Oh dear god I’m going to die!
It turns out that having a weak throat from asthma then shouting for prolonged periods, of time due to the rocking beats at pride, leads to a particularly sore throat. My body is completed shattered. I will always underestimate how much asthma affects me.
But on the other hand….I had an awesome time! I regret nothing! I’m still finding glitter in my hair and buzzing from the fair rides.
I even managed to get a few words down today, in-between naps.
Today has been a sleeping day. I had a mild asthma attack last night and like a good little patient, followed my asthma plan, and headed to the doctor’s this morning. I’ve started my course of steroids which bring a whole lot of side effects added to the exhaustion of asthma.
So yes I am grumpy and frustrated. Grustrated?
I did manage a bit of plotting today. Essentially just typing up notes but it still counts.
I am so fricking excited to have a shiny new laptop! I had an Asus Chromebook for a while. It suited me really well, long battery life and light weight. Even after I spilt water on it causing the arrow and shift key to stop working I still had an affinity for my little Chrook (because who doesn’t love a portmanteau).
When it started turning off at random intervals I started looking for alternatives. Not long after that it point blank refused to turn on. It was at that moment I realized how much I relied on my Chrook every day. My mental health took a hit. I am eternally thankful for a loan from my mum, I would have been waiting a long time to save enough money.
After looking at a fair few Chromebooks I decided that I wanted windows based operating system. Scrivener is my writing tool of choice and Chromebooks are unable to support the programme. Browsing John Lewis I stumbled upon the Lenovo Yoga, Super lightweight, nicely spaced keys, decent sound and good quality video. It actually holds up to the claim of eight hours of battery life, really simple battery saving mode too. I’m enjoying using the Cortana voice recognition for dictation. I never thought I’d use the touchscreen or convertible mode, the screen can rotate 360 degrees. However, I’m finding it really useful. My husband and I like to watch shows in bed and folding the keyboard back gives us a bit more space. I’ve ended up using it as a tablet too.
For any writers out there interested in a lightweight laptop I can recommend both the Acer Chromebook and Lenovo Yoga, depending on your priorities. The Chromebook has 12 hours battery and a larger screen.