Saturday, October 13, 2018

NaNoWriMo Prep

Not only does National Novel Writing Month tax you as a writer, but it taxes your body and mind in a big way.

You just don't find any time to clean the house, or do anything around the place worthwhile. 

So, this month, seeing it's raining a lot this week, I'm going to get in and clean up the house, make sure all my laundry is habitually put away, there's food I've cooked and frozen - ready to heat and eat - and my second pantry (yep, I have one of those) is filled with everything I need for quick and healthy snacks.

Most of all, I'm going to make sure my home office is easily accessible. I have to put away everything I'm not currently using. This includes any archive boxes, files, books and other things which have been sitting around the place taking up space I need. And it also means I clean up my desk and only have the research books I need within reach for me to look at when I need them next month. 

Next month is going to be a big month for me. I'm hoping to get myself through it without a cold (unlike last year when I did catch a Summer cold) and bust through my 50,000 words faster and more efficiently than ever! 

So, what are your secrets to NaNoWriMo you've found are effective? Well, besides plenty of coffee and ignoring the phone and Facebook... those two are no-brainers. Let's swap notes on things which may work. 

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Research and Prep Time

Before NaNoWriMo even comes around, I prepare and research what I'm going to be writing. Yeah, it's a big thing for me to get in and know what I'm going to be writing about.

For those of you who are starting out on this journey of a book in a month - or even the first or last 50,000 words - you have to get in and do some serious prep work and research before you even write a single word or your book.

I've begun writing a bit of a rough muck-up of what the story will be about... just a synopsys and who is going to be in it, how it starts off (with a bang or whimper?). Or will it be a completely new book or a continuation from a book from last year? 

So, this year, I have a subject in my next book which I know absolutely nothing about - not even my big research books I do have in my collection can help me; because they don't contain anything on this subject. 
This has caused me to have to jump online and Google all my research notes. There's a couple of sites I've had to look into, a few Youtube videos (which looked dodgy and after I watched them, and read the comments, turned out that they were) and then I wrote down all the notes I could - in bullet point style - in my research book. 

Yes, I have a research notebook I use from year to year. It's a small A5 size notebook which has a built-in bookmark and is able to be clipped up to keep it secure. I write all my notes from researching my subjects to rough chapters into it so when it comes time to actually start writing the NaNoWriMo book, I can jump in feet first and know what I'm in for.

My writing will come easier. My notes are right on hand for me. The sites I've bookmarked are on my computer and I can easily just look them up if - and when - I need them. 

This is also the reason why I don't go to meet-ups... all my work and research which is on my browser here at home can't be looked up on my laptop or tablet because I haven't saved them on those. Only my notes written in my notebook can be... and sometimes, they aren't good enough, and my writing comes to grinding halt!

So, for the next month, I'm in research mode - as boring as it may be - because all the research really does pay off when you jump into the office chair and lay your hands onto the keyboard, ready to start in on November's NaNoWriMo... it really does!

Friday, October 5, 2018

NaNoWriMo!

The National Novel Writing Month isn't far away - only a month off - and it's time to get your ideas jotted down, your thinktank going, your thought processes acting to see what you are going to write about in November... the international novel-writing month.

Are you going to take part this year? 

If so, well, wonderful... if not, well that's okay, writing every day, no matter how many words you write is just as good no matter if you're taking part in this this even or not.

I've been taking part in this event for the past few years, and only last year did I actually complete it! 

It does take a few goes to complete those 50,000 words in that one month... but it takes dedication and commitment - something we all must do. I must say that there was a lot of coffee involved and a lot of sleep too. If I got in and slept the right amount of hours, and ate the right food, I was going to get in and write the right amount of words every day. Sometimes, I wrote more - and writing more is always good.

What if you've never taken part before and you don't know what to expect? 

Well, don't worry, you'll be fine! There's plenty of contacts to work with in your capital city and in your town no matter where you live on this little blue marble we all home... NaNoWriMo writers are everywhere.
I'm in Brisbane, Australia, and we have groups of us working hard on our books in every part of where I am. But I find that I'm most comfy right at my own desk because I can arrive here right after breakfast, work on my NaNoWriMo book as long as I want to and then get off the computer.
I do find that the internet takes a bit of a back seat in November... don't get me wrong, I do look at it, but not for very long. The normal 3 hours or so I'm there cuts right down to around 1/2 an hour - not even that - and I'm mainly working on my book for a huge amount of the time. My social life disappears during that month as well; but that's what happens when you take on the challenge of writing a book in a month.

So, NaNoWriMo... it's a little daunting. But once you get your head into your own book and work through it all, you'll come out the other end enjoying your writing more and finding that, okay a month isn't long enough in the first year, but after a couple of years, you'll get it and come to enjoy the challenge more. 

I do. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Journals and Diaries

You know, it's been something of a past love of mine to sit down and write - actually physically write - in a proper offline journal.

But of late, I've been too unfocused to do anything near it. For somebody who has been keeping a journal almost every day for over 20 years, I found this weird; until recently when I picked up my current journal and suddenly started writing again.

How this happened was when I bought my new shelving units, then did the last markets for Crafty Pegs and cleaned up and stored away my hand-crafted works for good, I had one broken box and one good box. Well, I decided to use the good box to transfer my 30-odd journals into it. First though, I thought it would be a good idea to number them. So, I grabbed my price dots and looked on the inside sleeve of each one and found I was smart enough to do just that from the start! 

*Phew!* That saved me a lot of time!

Well, after I found I had two 24's and mis-placed #33, all of them are in the one box and looking great - all numbered and in good order! The flat box they were all in now holds my wrapping paper, ribbon and Christmas cards. How cool's that? 

But when I looked at my first journal with #1 on it, I thought it wouldn't hurt to read it... and so I sat down and started on it. Well, it was all about my first boyfriend, the first time I fell in love and first time I moved out of home with him - aged 24 - and I found I spoke and wrote pretty much the same way I do now in my journals. There was one thing that was different:  I put down every single thought that was rattling around in my head into my earlier journals - unlike my later ones, where I have found I hold back a lot of my thoughts. 

I don't know if I've become more conservative or I just don't want people knowing me as much as I used to as I get older. It's weird, isn't it? Also, I think it's the technology which is right at our fingertips - literally - which makes sitting down and writing with pen and paper such a chore. But, now I'm making sure I really do enjoy the time I take to write in my journal... when I think about it, there really isn't anything that interesting on television anyway. Until my next post, happy reading!

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Writing Again!

Since May, I've been blocked in the biggest way. It was mainly due to my dear friend dying - as she was also a creative, like me, and when she suddenly died, I felt my worlds grind to a halt in so many ways.

Not only did my written world stop, but I also couldn't focus on reading books or any of my artworks either. Sleeping became something I couldn't get into and I tried to eat, but found it was just as difficult... yes, grief can take over your life in so many ways. 

In the past week or so, I've woken up and felt different. The sun has made a marked improvement on my life and I've been sitting outside my backdoor and just watched my garden for long moments with a glass of home made ice coffee and a book sitting in my lap. Sleep has come easily to me and I'm feeling better at picking up the pen and writing in my journal - about anything which comes to mind; mainly why I haven't been able to write or finish a journal entry.

I also haven't been writing any books - only flash fictions. But in the past week, I've finally sat down, opened a new, fresh page and started writing a new Angelic book to go with my series I'm working on. Now, that telling me something about how much I'm healing and where my mind is at right now. 

I'm so happy to be writing again, and I'll get back into doing more flash fictions again in the next week or so. If you're a writer, how often do you sit down and write? Do you make yourself sit at your computer everyday - even if you don't write a word? Do you go through writing slumps/blocks? How do you get around them? Until my next post, happy writing.

Saturday, September 22, 2018

Banned Book Week!

Starting tomorrow and ending 29th, September, it's Banned Book Week. This is a week which calls out all the books which have been banned in the past and present day and to ask the question of why they were banned.

There's been plenty of books today which were banned when they were first published way back when. 

I've been proud to say that I've read quite a few banned books in my time. From 'The Perks of Being A Wallflower' by Stephen Chbosky to 'Fahrenheit 451' by Ray Bradbury and 'Alice's Adventures In Wonderland' by C.S. Lewis - and they're all great books to get into the pages of. However they all have been banned for one reason or another; and really, they were written by the authors not because of the adult content set within the young adult audience-style written or the drugs and alcohol mentioned between the lines of the prose. 

Books are banned for many reason and they aren't only books which are written for adults or young adults either - some of them are written for children, which I find amazing. 

Now, this week is upon us, go out and find one of those banned books and read, read, read! Enjoy the banned book - from the past or present - and try to figure out why it was banned in the first place. Or you can click on one of the links below and find a banned book to read up on and find out why it was banned. Until my next post, happy reading!

15 Banned Books - And Why

Banned Books and Reasons Why

Controversial Books and the Reasons Why They Were Banned

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Sorting Out Art Books

As a lot of you know, I have a BIG BOOK COLLECTION! But I have quite a few sections spread throughout the house for different uses in my life. 

There's gardening books in the credenza, cook books in the kitchen and art books in my art area... however my art area is missing a whole section of art books, simply because I can't fit them in anymore. The reason for this is because the bookcase is too small; and I need a bigger bookcase. 

So, over the next month, I'm going to get rid of the tall and skinny bookcase and install two 4-foot shelving units to hold my books, heavy art items and other things to do with my art area as well. It's going to work out well, even if I have to give up a little bit of space to do it.

Isn't it funny, you don't know how many books you have until you have to pack some away because you can't fit them into the bookcase you're currently using... and that's when you look at the bookcase you've been using for a few years and realise it's time to 'buy a bigger boat'.

Well, I'm buying two bigger boats to see how I go with it all. I'm sure to clean up the house more, have more room in not only the living room, but the art area and kitchen - now, that'll be great! I'll also be able to work on having all my art books on display and not have to box up half of them and only see the other half. In truth, I can't wait until all of this happens!  Until my next post, happy reading!

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Delving Back Into The Dark Tower

Since I hurt my foot last week, I've delved back into 'The Dark Tower' series by Sai King; and have been loving it! I'm up to book four 'The Glass and Wizard' and it's been easy to jump back into where the characters were - on Blaine and train who is a complete and total idiot and horrible character. 

It had me cringing as the train sped up and they got closer to their destination of Topeka, and Blaine enjoyed scaring his four passengers and Oy and Bumbler - acting like a schoolyard bully - and it was so good when one of them figured out how to trip up Blaine.

And for those of you who have no idea what I'm talking about, this is torture... but I've really delved right into this book again; reading around 20 - 30 pages each time I've sat down with it. 

I loved every session I've had it in my hands - and have had hours zip by!

And isn't it great when you find that book you're meant to be into after a long spell of not being able to focus on any other book? Yep, it's great. 

I'm looking forward to zooming through this book - and the other four books of 'The Dark Tower' series - and then I'll get in and read the rest of 'The Shining' and 'Doctor Sleep' too! Well, that's the plan! What are you plans in the next few months of this year reading-wise? Until my next post, happy reading!

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Chilling Out and Reading

I've been forced to sit down and read lately - yep, not more running around like a headless chicken for me for a week.

Yes, I've been a clutz, and broke my pinky toe on my right foot! Now, who hasn't done a stupid thing like that before? I know some of you have, and doesn't it hurt! Of course, I swore like you wouldn't believe to start with, then afterwards (I was cooking and thought it was burning and when it turns out it wasn't, well...) I swore more.

Yesterday, I read some of Book IV of the Dark Tower Series by Stephen King and binged on a few movies on Netflix. I'm really hanging for movies about writers and books - but there's nothing like that on there. I'll have to angle it around to that, and see what happens with the selection.

Anyway, I'm going okay. I'm going back to the gym tomorrow and taking it easy - seeing I can get my foot into a shoe and walk okay now. I'm just thankful I can get around now. But tomorrow afternoon, I'll be taking it easy again and reading more; as the more I rest my foot, the faster it'll heal.

Yep, it takes the smallest things to make you stop, sit down and really get into your reading, doesn't it? Until my next post, happy reading!

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Home Office Clean-out

I'm cleaning out the home office again... and I'm going to be giving away a lot more of my books. This is a painful thing for me to do, but I have to be realistic about them. I just don't have the room for them.

So, the ones I can't shelve are going to be sent away to a second-hand store and others which are from Bookcrossing are going to be sent off to other Bookcrossers. I think this is a good and fair thing to do... plus they're going to people who want them. 

Also, I've got to clean up the home office and make it a useable space. I've made a start on it, and it's looking great; and I'm looking forward to doing more on it tomorrow - Friday - and getting in and throwing out more junk from this room soon.

I'm hoping to have this room all sorted out and finished soon... how many books do you have in your collection? Is it a library like mine? Or do you have only enough room for a small lot of book cases in a corner? Until my next post, happy reading!

Thursday, August 16, 2018

A Literary Twist

I love reading and writing - and on the same token, I also love gardening; as some of you know. So, over the past few months, I've been cleaning up and doing up my little backyard and thinking about the artworks which I'll be adding to it when the time is right... and well the time is coming up that I want to get in and work on that.

The artwork I'm looking into is the literary artworks - you know the type right? There's going to be a couple of doors, some keys, a few birds of varying sizes and types and a rabbit or two as well as a bird in a cage and maybe some farm animals (yep, Old MacDonald's Farm is going to be featuring in this here little garden; as it was a book as well as a song!). 

This little garden is also going to have a sign post filled with all the fictional, fantastical lands I've ever read about... all pointing in every direction for all to see! It's going to be a wonderful little garden fill with everything for the eye to see - some colourful, some hidden, some waiting for the person to find - and yet, it's going to be all about books and the written word; as much as my library of books... which are hidden upstairs in a room, locked away from the eyes of the people in the surrounding units.

The reason why I want to do this in my garden is because I've seen photos of parks and gardens overseas and across my own country doing this very successfully and, I thought: 'Why can't I do this in my garden?' 

Well... why not? 

It's a private garden and I should be able to get in and do this kind of thing in the very place where my Secret Garden grows - where I feel the most comfortable, where my growing little universe thrives and I can get away from everything and enjoy it.

Why, it sounds like my library of books doesn't it? Until my next post, happy reading.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

The Joys of Re-Reading

I love to re-read the odd book. I know that sounds really bad to do as a reader and a writer, but sometimes when I re-read a book, I find I get details from it which I've missed out on in the previous reading.

This sounds kinda dorky, doesn't it? It's like watching a movie over and over to catch other details you missed - but it true. Try watching 'Rear Window' a few times and you'll see what I mean; there's big and little details in that film you'll see on the second and third viewing you'd have missed in the first one. The same goes for 'Back the to Future'... so much goes on in the three films when you watch them back to back that you miss out on in just one sitting of them when you watch them once.

The same thing goes for books I think. 

When I first read 'On Writing' by Stephen King, I thought it was kinda boring (sorry, Steve!). But then, I re-read it a year later and found some of it was funny and I came away from it with some tools he had imparted in the book. The following year after that, I read it yet again, and I found it was great book, and very informative. So, it took three reads and for me to get what Stephen was trying to tell me... and still I've picked it up a few more times since and I'm getting more and more out of that one book. 

So, re-reading a book isn't a bad idea really. But I think it depends on what you're like deep down. Do you get everything in one sitting? Are you a slow reader and pull in every detail as you read? Or are you like me, and read faster and go back and re-read it again and again to get more details from it all over and over? 

Personally, I think it depends on what you want out of a book at the time you purchase it. Do you want to get information from it your after at the time in your life right then, and a year later, when you go back and read it again, you'll get other information which is relevant to you for that part of your life then? I wonder about that too. What do you think? Is re-reading a book worth it? And do you re-read the classics? Or are they too complex and difficult to get into once you're done with them? Until my next post, happy reading!