My Writing Ramblings

My Writing Ramblings: A Tip For Staying Focused

rp_Laura-Book-300x2251-300x2251-300x225-300x225-1-300x225.jpgHello everyone. I hope you’re all having a good week. Can you believe we’re already halfway through January!

One of my new year resolutions was to try and be a little bit more productive. This is the year I want to start and complete my first book. Less talking, more doing.

I’ve been using something called the Pomodoro technique over the last few days. Many people have probably already heard of this but for those who are unfamiliar with it, it’s a helpful way to be more focused and disciplined.

There is a series of twenty five-minute sessions and then five minute breaks per twenty five minutes. During the timed session, you do one task and then completely focus on that. The phone goes to silent, the internet gets forgotten (yes, that one is hard to comply to.) You focus on one task for twenty five minutes.

Once that time is up, you walk away for five minutes. You get a cup of tea, have a little dance, grab some water. Then you come back and try again.

You know what, it works. I’ve managed to do some blog stuff, stay on top of my e-mail (for the most part,) and most importantly, some novel planning. Hurrah.

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My Writing Ramblings: New Year, New Goals.

rp_Laura-Book-300x2251-300x2251-300x225-300x225-1-300x225.jpgHello 2017. I am hoping for a bit of snow. Building a snowman then going inside for hot chocolate, stew for dinner and then snuggling up with a book. I love snow provided I don’t have to drive in it.

Aside from the weather, this time of year always has me thinking about resolutions. I do try and make them every year. They usually last about a week and then I lose the plot with them. Thinking about it, I usually set resolutions that are unattainable. I set too many and then always end up disappointed. So, this year, I have only set three.

The first one is to write something positive and put it in the happy box that is sat on my desk. I did this the year before last and it really did make a difference to my frame of mind. I tended to add a thing a day toward the end of the day and this meant that I ended the day on a positive note. I got out of the habit over the last twelve months so I am pleased to be getting back to it. If this is something you’ve not done before, I recommend it.

The second resolution is to get more exercise. I love to swim. I find this form of exercise works for me so much more than going to a gym every day. I have never felt that comfortable at the gym especially since I did a Bridget Jones off a running machine when trying to pick up my water bottle. Yes, it was an embarrassing but funny sight! Swimming is much more my pace and it’s so great for thrashing out plot ideas and blocks as well as reducing anxiety. Also, if I manage to get healthy and loose weight, then that is a bonus too.

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My Writing Ramblings: My 2016 Round Up

MRC, Panic Pictures, Soundtrack New York, Trigger Street and Netflix

MRC, Panic Pictures, Soundtrack New York, Trigger Street and Netflix

Usually, as we reach the end of the old year and are approaching the new one, I am a mixture or happy, excited and nervous. I’m also a little sad that the year is coming to a close. However, 2016 has been a year I am quite happy to say goodbye to and won’t be too sad to leave.
It’s been a difficult year personally (probably the worst one I’ve had) and so I look towards 2017 with hope that it has got to be better than 2016. Please, 2017? Pretty please!?

One of the few saving graces of this year are the great TV shows I’ve discovered and amazing books I’ve read.
Thanks to Netflix and fiction, I’ve managed to procrastinate beautifully.

Some of my favourite shows this year have been House of Cards (such a fan of Kevin Spacey anyway but he’s brilliant in House of Cards,) The Big Bang Theory, which had me wondering why it had taken me so long to discover it and The Gilmore Girls. I want to go live in Stars Hollow.

Book highlights this year have included so many wonderful books. Some of my highlights have included The Third Wife by Lisa Jewell, Lyrebird by Cecelia Ahern, Bridget Jones’ Baby: The Diaries by Helen Fielding, No Turning Back by Tracy Buchanan, Lying in Wait by Liz Nugent, The Comfort of Others by Kay Langdale, Somewhere inside of Happy by Anna McPartlin and Hungry For Love by Lucy Beresford.

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My Writing Ramblings: Reflecting on NaNoWriMo 2016

rp_Laura-Book-300x2251-300x2251-300x225-300x225-1-300x225.jpgNational Novel Writing Month 2016 is over. It’s unbelievable how quickly November passed. Saying that, I am looking forward to the moment where I can say so long to 2016. It’s been a strange year right?

On a personal level, November was a hard month for me as it would have been my Mum’s birthday on the 5th November. The first one without her was always going to be hard. NaNoWriMo was a good distraction.

It was nice to have a fictional world to disappear into for a while. The challenge of 50,000 words is good therapy.

This year, in terms of reaching a daily word count, it was one of my most successful years. I managed to do between 1,700 and 1,800 words per day every day. I got to the overall goal on 28th November so there was no rushing it at the last-minute.

The story I created was a mess. This time around, it was an opportunity to write through my grief. This story will probably never see the light of day again but I am still proud of myself. All things considered, I am very pleased.

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My Writing Ramblings: On Track For 50,000 Words

rp_Laura-Book-300x2251-300x2251-300x225-300x225-1-300x225.jpgWow, we are already halfway through National Novel Writing Month. That is slightly hard to believe.

This month seems to be moving at an incredible pace.

Despite a few personal things I’ve had to deal with this month, so far, I am on track as far as the writing is concerned. In fact, I am slightly ahead of where I’d expect to be at this point in the month. As of yesterday, I’d passed the 30,000 word mark. I am very pleased.

My approach this month has been slightly different to previous years. At this point in the past, I have seen myself in various states. One year, I was already finished by now whereas the year before last, I finished on 30th November with two minutes to spare praying that my internet connection would hold long enough for me to be able to verify my win (which it did thank goodness!)

Where NaNoWriMo is concerned, I am very much a pantster. I tend not to plan much. I have a vague idea and tend to just go with it. With this writing challenge, I tend to like to see where the story will take me. (This month, the non planning was more that November jumped out at me slightly and I ran out of time.)

This year, I have been taking it slow and steady roughly writing 1800 words a day. I have to say, I am liking this pace. If I finish too early, then I don’t know what to do with myself.

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My Writing Ramblings: Taking Myself Seriously?

rp_Laura-Book-300x2251-300x2251-300x225-300x225.jpgIt is amazing how quickly a week can go and how little you can actually achieve. It has been seven of those days that seems to have merged into one. Where the day job (or in my case this week has been my first lot of night shifts for months) has taken priority.

I have been trying to sneak bits and pieces in here and there. I’m still making my way through Emma. I am a little behind. I am not too worried about that. Reading Austen was never about how quickly I could get through them. If you’re reading along with me, how are you getting on?

I have been writing about two hundred words of a short story this week to make sure I at least write something. My planning has got to a stage where I need to sit down and map out plot so it is not something I have been able to do this week as I don’t want to rush it. I have done that before and it has not got me far. I am so tired from my shifts though that once I do get home, I just want to sleep. Surprisingly, I am not actually getting too worked up about it. I am still working my way through the plot in my head. That counts…right?

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My Writing Ramblings: Whoosh, There Goes My Deadline….

rp_Laura-Book-300x2251-300x2251-300x225-300x225.jpg‘I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.’ – Douglas Adams.

Happy Friday all.

I can’t quite believe that August has gone and we’ve now reached September.

It’s been one of those weeks where the day job has kind of taken over. I’ve been on mid shifts which on the whole don’t bother me but it’s meant that productivity of everything else has been put on the back burner. This includes the Austen challenge.

However, I now have a few days off so I will be back on track with finishing Emma before I know it…I hope. For the people doing the Austen reading challenge with me, the book for September is Mansfield Park.

My deadline to begin my novel was yesterday.  I’ve not fully finished my planning so I’ve not started writing yet. Not finishing my planning has been my number one procrastination excuse. No more. I have given myself one more week.

I have so many feelings about beginning my novel. It has been something I have been talking about for such a long time. It’s this thing that has been built up in my head. I do worry about whether I am going to be able to begin it and keep going this time. However, I also think about when I’m a lot older and what I would regret more. Finishing a novel that possibly is not publishable but I’ve done it or not starting. Plus, there is also editing.

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My Writing Ramblings: Dream a Little Dream of Strangeness.

rp_Laura-Book-300x2251-300x2251-300x225-300x225.jpgHappy Wednesday everyone.

How lovely has this weather been? It’s been absolutely gorgeous. On Sunday I went with some family over to Moors Valley Country Park near Bournemouth. I remember going there a lot when I was a child. There was such a magic to all the woods that seemed to go on for miles.

I would love reaching the climbing structures (and was very annoyed that I am now too big to go on them. It does suck being a grown up sometimes.)

If anything, the lake and the surrounding area is just as beautiful and I will never stop loving the steam train that runs around the park. As I passed the play area and saw the climbing frame, the zip wire and the area with the slide that looks like a castle, it brought back so many memories.

On Monday I also got a chance to spend the day at Sandbanks beach which is one of the most beautiful beaches. It was lovely to just swim in the sea and sit in the sun. As we had family staying, there has not been a lot of writing and planning but there has been a bit of chilling out and it’s been nice.

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My Writing Ramblings: Help! I’m Laura and I’m a PLL Obsessive…

rp_Laura-Book-300x2251-300x2251-300x225-300x225.jpgHello Wednesday. How are you?

We are halfway through the week (unless like me you’re a shift worker.) I hope you’ve been making the most of the sunshine when it has dared to show itself (Sunday was incredibly warm.) What I love about summer is that I can emerge from the chair in my little writing nook and get outside for some fresh air and brightness. It is so quiet where I live and although it is surrounded by houses there is also a lot of woodland (perfect for if I need a walk for inspiration.) It is not near the beach (which I was only fifteen minutes away at the most growing up) but it is the next best thing for sure.

The Austen reading challenge is going OK. I am trying to read it around another book so not reading as quickly as I could be doing. Emma is one of the books I’ve not read so the plot is a little bit more unfamiliar to say, Pride and Prejudice. So far so good. Emma is actually quite a tragic character isn’t she. She’s so busy matchmaking that she doesn’t take care of herself.

The obsession I do have at the moment is Pretty Little Liars. I am a little late to the PLL party but I am wondering what took me so long. It’s so good. I’ve even got the husband watching it. All six and a bit series are currently on Netflix and I’ve managed to watch all of them. I am suffering from PLL withdrawal. This new obsession hasn’t helped my productivity one bit. I blame Netflix.

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My Writing Ramblings: The Austen Challenge and Other Things…

rp_Laura-Book-300x2251-300x2251-300x225-300x225.jpgHappy Wednesday everyone!

I can’t quite believe that we are already into August. The time is slipping by me in a surreal manner this year. Today marks the third year we’ve been in our current house and yet it doesn’t feel like five minutes since we moved in.
Before we know it we are going to be pulling those clocks back (I know, I said it. Ssshh, I hear you cry.)

This week I’ve been mainly trying to sleep and failing. Being wide awake at 2am isn’t so bad when I’m on my days off but on workdays it means copious amounts of tea and numerous walks around the building just to keep myself awake. In the last few days I’ve managed to spill tea all over the carpet (and my bag didn’t escape unscathed either,) drop things, walk into the occasional wall and drop a can of coke on a concrete floor, which had it spraying out absolutely everywhere. Lack of sleep does not do anything for my coordination. Ha-ha.

The writing side of my week has shown some progress. Most of my characters have had biographies written about them now. It’s nice to have a sense of who my characters are. They are becoming much more real to me now. Now it’s time to work on the plot.

One thing I have set myself starting this month is my Austen reading challenge. When thinking about it, I’ve realized that I have Emma Jane Austennot read all of the Austen novels. I know!
So, the challenge is to read one a month for the next six months.
If you fancy reading along with me I am going to be reading them in this order…

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My Writing Ramblings: Well Hello There Summer…

rp_Laura-Book-300x2251-300x2251-300x225.jpgWelcome Summer. I’m pleased you could join us. I’d almost forgotten what you look like. Haven’t the last couple of days in the UK been absolutely glorious?

I do love winter. I love being able to come in out the cold, wrap up warm and snuggle. I love that chill in the air that carries with it the potential promise of snow and yes, I am a bit of a Christmas nerd.

However, I have to say that there isn’t much that beats lounging around midweek beside the sea in the beautiful summer sunshine with a cold drink, a notebook and a book which was pretty much my day yesterday.

This week has been a good one for me as I have tried to chill out a little, read, see friends and generally just watch the world go by. I feel I’ve not had much of a chance to do that recently. I’ve read some really great books (like Lying in Wait and I’m currently reading A Certain Age. Both are proving to be excellent although the jury is still out on A Certain Age as I am still reading it.)

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My Writing Ramblings: Best Laid Plans

rp_Laura-Book-300x2251-300x2251-300x225.jpgThis past week I had expected to be going to the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s annual conference. My cat had other plans and it has meant about three trips to the vet. My cat Buddy, who we thought had swallowed something he shouldn’t get rushed to the vet by us at half eleven in the evening on Tuesday night. Turns out, after him having to stay for two nights, he didn’t swallow anything bad but had something completely unrelated. I have seem more of the vet in the last week than I want to see for a while and I certainly think my cat has.

I think I have had enough excitement for one year if I am perfectly honest.

We did meet a lovely couple who had also brought their cat in. He had a brother at home and their names were Ronnie and Reggie. Unusual names for cats.

As a result of our vet visits, I ended up missing the RNA conference which was being held up at Lancaster. Best laid plans and all that.

However, life sometimes does get in the way like that doesn’t it. Not that my cat got in the way but you get what I mean. He was more important.

There was an element of me that was feeling slightly guilty because my plan had been to have something to present to an editor this year but that hadn’t happened so it’s great in a way as it means I can now focus on the conference next year so there was a silver lining. I am looking forward to attending next year.

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My Writing Ramblings: Procrastination is the Thief of Time

rp_Laura-Book-300x2251-300x2251-300x225.jpgHi everyone.

It’s been a while eh?!

2016 for me has been an eventful one (a little bit of an understatement actually.) I have wondered whether to talk about what has been happening in my life recently and whether it would do any good to write about it but I have always gone to the written word to express my feelings. I’ve always kept diaries over the years (not always good at keeping them up though.) Whenever anything happens, I go to the page. Not to write a novel but to just express myself. Recently, I’ve been mostly doing this on seven hundred and fifty words. That blank page listens and it helps.

For me, this year has handed me some pretty intense experiences. Firstly, a miscarriage. This was back in January and it broke my heart. Chris and I had been trying for eight years. The day we found out, I felt as though I was walking on air. All the anxiety and fear I had been feeling had melted away. All that mattered was the baby.

A few weeks later, I needed to have an appointment for a scan as a problem developed. That moment when they confirmed what I think I already knew…time had never slowed like that for me before.

Miscarriage is one of those things that is not really spoken about but once you go through it, you realise that it is something people around you have been through. You get your head around the idea that you are going to be a parent and then…. nothing. You’re left with nothing but this real enormous feeling of sadness and loss for someone whom you never met and yet incredibly miss.

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My Writing Ramblings: Dream a Little Dream

rp_Laura-Book-300x2251-300x2251-300x225.jpgFor the most part I’ve always enjoyed dreams. I will go to sleep wondering what awaits; what strange or fascinating montage my subconscious has waiting for me. There is the occasional bad dream which I am not so fond of. However I mostly just find them interesting even the bizarre ones.

I can usually remember most of what I’ve dreamt. As I am waking up, if I can tell myself to remember, I usually can (although this wasn’t the case this morning and not being able to remember my dream is annoying me.)

I’ve been using my dream journal a lot at the moment and I am enjoying looking at the dreams. My dreams recently have included having a lounge area set up in the middle of a road in a quiet suburban street. A well-known you tuber happened to walk past and have a chat with me, I’ve been stuck in a library (this one wouldn’t have been bad if I wasn’t trying to hide from someone,) to having a ‘Night Manager’ version of Hugh Laurie hiding out in the attic behind a wall hidden by a bookcase which moved. That bit was pretty cool.

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My Writing Ramblings: Distractions and Procrastinations

rp_Laura-Book-300x2251-300x2251-300x225.jpgI am not entirely sure where this last week has gone to be honest. This is my main problem when I am on shift for the day job. Twelve hour shifts really do mean that the days go like lightening. I am really having to try and look after myself so things, like they have this week do sometimes get put to one side.

I have been struggling with motivation and things over the past couple of days. The beginning of the week, I was getting many things done. I’d prepare my to do list, set a timer and get much of it achieved but the lack of sleep is taking its toll which has meant that my productivity level has dipped right down.

Not that I am beating myself up about it. I have good days and bad days (which is par the course if, like me you have anxiety.)

Due to been easily distracted these last couple of days, (my brain has had the concentration span of a child,) I have been doing anything but writing. I’ve been doing other things like watching films, listening to music, reading and playing games on the phone.

This is where I find the apps and games on the phone to be really good for getting me focused on something fun. My shift pattern makes me feel tired which then makes me feel out of it so it is very easy for me to loose days off to nothing.

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Novel Kicks is a blog for story tellers and book lovers.

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