Update On My Life

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been a whole month since I last updated this blog! I’ve been very busy in the last month. Here’s what I’ve done (and experienced) in a handy list format:

1) I’ve started writing for two websites – reviews and features and stuff. One is the music site MTTM and the other is a culture website that is yet to go live.

2) I’ve been applying for jobs, lots of them. I’m looking, as I’ve said before, for a writing job. This means my actual day job can be based around doing something I enjoy. I’m hoping to become a copywriter or editorial assistant, or who knows, maybe this music journalism thing will take off and three years down the line I’ll be drinking tea with Kasabian in a hotel in Kensington. Who knows?

3) I’ve joined a running club! Yes, who can Adam and Eve it? I have joined a running club for beginners. I do it on my lunch break at work twice a week. I’m usually found trotting along at the back but at least I’m doing it, and I always feel great afterwards. Although running in this muggy weather is really tiring!

4) I’ve started selling stuff on EBay – another thing that’s keeping me busy, and earning a little extra money on the side.

5) I’ve bought an iPhone! And the little beauty is paying for itself already. As I expected, it has integrated itself into my life effortlessly. It’s great for checking and responding to emails on the go, and I love the apps. I’m finding the Astrid app, where you can create to-do lists in various areas of your life, very useful too. I’ve think I’ve already established that I have an obsession with writing lists?

So that’s what I’ve been doing. My writing commitments for the two websites, as well as my growing desperation to find a new job, are what have mainly been keeping me from updating my blogs. But I want to change that. I’ve just got to settle into a new routine of doing things.

I haven’t written much fiction as such for this last month – it’s been on the back-burner. But I do have a couple of ideas knocking around in the back of my  mind.

Thought I’d reblog this interesting post and I have to say I agree with the general sentiment.

Liberty Falls Down

As part of my current drive to streamline my life, I’ve been trying to finish the backlog of games I’ve generated in the years I’ve owned my PS3. I buy them, I play them for a while, I usually never complete them. When I realised I didn’t have the space on the machine to load up any new games, I decided it was time to revisit a few of the older ones and finish them once and for all. Games like Assassin’s Creed 2, Tomb Raider Underworld, and Unchartered: Drake’s Fortune, which embarrassingly, I got with the Playstation, and have never bothered to finish it.

I was doing well until I completed all the aforementioned games. After that I ran headlong into my collection of Sandboxes – Oblivion, Fallout 3, Rage – and the momentum went out of me. It’s difficult to get motivated to finish a game when you…

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New Chapter

My  brother  graduated  today.  It’s  a  milestone,  not  just  in  his  life  but  also  mine,  my  mum’s  and  my  dad’s  lives.  It  means  we’re all  adults  now,  all  living  in  the  real  grown  up  world.  My  parents  have  also  recently  reached  a  milestone  in  the  sense  that  they’ve  paid  off  their  mortgage.  This  means  that  they  can  now  just  relax  a  little  bit.  They  don’t  have  to  worry  about  paying  for  the  house  now.  Maybe  they  can  cut  down  on  their  work  hours  and  start  to  do  more  things  with  their  time  that  they  actually  enjoy.  My  dad,  for  example,  seems  to  know  everything  about  planes,  and  is  considering  writing  a  book  about  them.  My  mum,  on  the  other  hand,  likes  the  idea  of  having  a  smallholding,  with  some  animals.

I  think  these  are  both  great  ideas,  but  then,  it  doesn’t  matter  what  I  think  because  the  point  is,  it’s  their  lives.  They  don’t  have  to  look  after  me  and  my  brother  anymore.  It  really  is  like  a  new  chapter.  Soon,  my  brother  and  me  will  have  places  of  our  own,  and,  hopefully,  jobs  we  enjoy.

This  is  the  point  where,  happily,  I  feel  inspired  again  in  the  sense  of  knowing  what  I  want  from  life,  or  at  least  from  a  job.  I’m  looking  for  jobs  in  communications  at  the  moment,  writing-oriented  jobs,  like  producing  copy  for  brochures  and  websites.  I  believe  I  would  enjoy  this  more  than  what  I’m  currently  doing  (finance-oriented  administration  work).  It  would  certainly  play  to  my  strengths  and  interests  more – after  all,  I  have  an  English  degree,  and  am  allergic  to  typos.

Anyway,  I  felt  a  need  to  say  that.  It  feels  great  to  have  a  ray  of  inspiration  again;  a  sense  of  direction.

Is It Okay To Write For Money?

So  this  post  is  about  social  media  and  it’s  impact  on  society.

Okay,  I  lied.  It’s  about  writing  for  money,  of  course.  Now,  I’ve  started  up  a  reviews  blog  and  my  ultimate  intention  is  to  somehow  make  money  out  of  writing  reviews  in  the  future,  which  I’m  totally  comfortable  with,  because  I  believe  that  it  doesn’t  take  any  particular  talent  to  be  a  reviewer – you  just  need  to  be  reasonably  articulate.

As  for  writing  fiction  on  the  other  hand,  well,  I’m  starting  to  have  some  doubts  about  my  dedication  AND  my  capability.  I  have  written  a  few  short  stories.  I’m  currently  editing  a  novella.  But  the  problem  is  I’m  no  longer  sure  I  feel  a  passion  for  writing  fiction – in  fact,  I’m  not  sure  I  ever  did.  It  was  just  like  because  I  wanted  to  write,  I  presumed  I’d  have  to  write  fiction,  because  I  could  make  a  living  out  of  it  this  way,  right?

But  I’m  not  sure  that  a) I  can,  and  b)  I  should.  I  think  I’m  going   to  have  to  improve  A  LOT  if  I  want  anything  published,  and  this  is  going  to  take  dedication – maybe  even  years.  Do  I  want  to  be  published  that  much?

Now  it  could  be  argued  I  should  write  merely  for  love,  and  not  money.  Well  I  can’t  (or  rarely  can)  actually  complete  a  story for  the  love  of  it.  I  tend  to  start  for  the  love  of  it  but  then  actually  completing  the  story,  depending  on  how  long  it  is,  can  start  to  feel  like,  well,  work.  So  I  was  thinking  that  maybe  I  should  use  my  time  doing  something  I  love  more.

Maybe  I  don’t  have  to  write  fiction  at  all.  After  all,  no-one  is  making  me  do  it.  Am  I  putting  myself  under  unnecessary  pressure?  It  would  be  a  shame  not  to  see  The  City  Of  Omalas  through  to  the  end  though,  since  I  have  invested  so  much  time in  it.  After  that,  who  knows?  Maybe  I’ll  never  write  fiction  again.

Keeping A Journal

I’m  feeling  a  little  disgusted  and  annoyed  at  the  moment.  I  realise  quite  poignantly  at  the  moment  that  the  world  of  publishing  is  a  dog  eat  dog  world.  Even  if  I  could  pretend  that  my  writing  is  even  up  to  publishing  standard,  what  would  give  me  the  right  to  be  published  over  many  other  talented  writers?

Thinking  of  publishing  just  makes  me  a  little  angry.  I  want  to  write  because  I  have  to  to  truly  live,  to  feel;  I  guess  I  can  see  that  you  could  get  sucked  into  the  commercial  side  of  it  when  you  finally  get  published  and  write  only  what  you  think  will  sell,  instead  of  what  you  love.

This  is  why  I  have  to  be  realistic  with  myself  and  say  that’s  it’s  probably  for  the  best  that  I  don’t  make  money  out  of  my  fiction  writing.

And  I  think  some  writing  should  only  be  for  youself,  for  your  eyes  only.  I’ve  kept  a  journal  for  the  past  two  years,  but  I’d  never  post  anything  from  it  on  here.  You’d  probably  be  bored  half  to  death  by  the  stuff  I  write  about  anyway.  Keeping  a  journal  is  almost  like  a  spiritual  thing;  it’s  a  place  where  you  can  explore  your  innermost  feelings  without  the  fear  of  prying  eyes  trying  to  tell  you  who  you  are  and  what  you  should  or  shouldn’t  be  writing.

It’s  a  true  kind  of  freedom.  The  world  seems  so  fast  at  times,  that  a  multitude  of  emotions  can  wash  over  us  without  us  having  time  to  truly  register  their  significance  and  what  they  might  mean.  I  keep  a  journal  so  at  the  end  of  each  day  I  can  reconnect  with  my  humanity  and  feel  myself  fully  again;  I  believe  it  gives  me  insight  and  stops  me  from  making  some  poor  choices  in  my  life.  I  want  to  be  a  happy  human  being,  and  not  some  kind  of  dolled-up  robot  which  is  what  I  sometimes  feel  girls  (and  boys)  of  my  generation  are  aspiring  to  be.  There  is  a  difference  between  self-obsession  and  self-knowledge,  or  at  least  I  believe  there  is.

I  would  recommend  it  to  anyone  (journal  writing,  that  is).

I’m Still Alive

Yep,  I’m  still  alive,  I  think.  I’ve  just  returned  from  a  short  holiday  to  the  Isle  of  Wight  (it  was  nothing  special  to  be  honest,  or  at  least  the  bits  I  saw  weren’t),  and  normality  will  now  resume.  As  you  may  know,  I’ve  recently  started  a  reviews  blog,  and  so  far  I’ve  posted  one  review  on  there.  My  aim  is  to  post  one  review  a  week,  for  now.  But  I  will  still  be  continuing  with  this  blog.  This  blog  is  for  my  creative  writing,  and  my  musings  on  the  practice  of  creative  writing.

So  what  are  my  writing  plans  for  the  coming  weeks?  Well,  apart  from  reviewing,  I  will  be  focusing  on  editing  some  of  my  short  stories.  I’ve  also  got  about  three  stories  on  the  go  at  the  moment – three  different  sets  of  characters  and  situations  I’m  playing  with.  Part  of  me  wonders  if  I  could  combine  them  all  into  a  novel.

In  August  I  will  be  doing  NaNoWriMo,  i.e.  writing  a  50,000  word  novel-length  piece  in  a  month.  The  idea  is,  if  I  make  it  through  alive,  I  will  learn  an  awful  lot  about  perseverance  and  discipline  when  it  comes  to  writing,  and  learn  to  write  even  when  I’m  not  in  the  mood.  I  want  to  see  if  this  method  is  a  good  one.  It  could  well  make  me  more  productive,  but  will  the  quality  of   my  writing  differ?  This  is  what  I’m  curious  to  know.

Anyway,  I’ll  leave  it  at  that  tonight  because  I’m  rather  tired.  Bye-bye!

NEWSFLASH – New Blog

I’ve  just  started  up  a  new  reviews  blog,  in  which  I  review  books,  films  and  music.  My  very  first  review  on  the  site  is  of  Marina  and  the  Diamonds’  new  ‘Electra  Heart’  album.  Click  here  to  see  it.  Will  be  updating  soon!

Writer’s Block

I’m  experiencing  writer’s  block  at  the  moment – I  have  little  inspiration  or  inclination  to  do  anything  but  brief  descriptive  passages.  My  recent  novella  has  been  cut  off  completely – I  just  ran  out  of  juice  at  15, 000  words.  It  is  almost  finished,  but  there  are  gaps  to  fill  in.  Looking  at  my  computers  hard-drive  (and  folder  of  stuff  in  my  drawer),  I  clearly  want  to  be  a  writer because  I  have  written  lots  of  things  over  the  years,  but  I  ask  myself,  do  I  have  the  dedication  to  become  a  published  writer,  when,  if  writing  on  a  particular  piece  gets  difficult,  all  I  want  to  do  is  clock  off  and  do  something  else?  I  have  so  many  unedited  drafts  of  stories  I’m  not  sure  where  to  plunge  in,  and  I’m  struggling  to  come  up  with  something  new  at  the  moment.

The Woman And The White Tower

Just  now  I  was  looking  through  my  folder  of  short  stories  and  other  pieces  that  are  in  several  stages  of  completion/redemption.  I  found  a  short  piece  of  flash  fiction  I’d  written  last  summer  while  doing  my  week-long  creative  writing  summer  school  at  the  University  of  Warwick.  Being  amongst  other  writers  must have  energised  me  because  I  still  think  this  short  piece  is  one  of  the  best  things  I’ve  written  and  it  required  no  revision  at  all.

It’s  unexpected  macabre-ness  still  makes  me  smile.  Go  on,  read  it — it’s  really  short!

The  Woman  And  The  White  Tower

She  picked  her  way  over  the  rocky  hillside  in  her  stiletto  heels,  as  agile  as  a  mountain  goat  despite  her  unsuitable  attire.  It  was  quiet  up  here;  the  only  sound  was  the  sound  of  the  gentle  breeze  as  it  rustled  through  the  grass  and  rippled  its  invisible  fingers  over  her  silver  fox-fur  coat.  The  terrain  was  strange,  alien  almost.  All  she  could  see  were  the  huge  hulking  shapes  of  grey  rocks  on  the  sun-bleached  grass,  before  they  gave  way  on  the  horizon  to  turbulent  blue  sky.  She  kept  walking.  She  did  not  know  fear.  She  had  no  knowledge  of  self-doubt.  She  followed  her  nose,  she  trusted  her  instincts.  To  anyone  who  saw  her  she  would  have  looked  a  strange  sight,  walking  over  the  rocky  hillside  alone,  in  her  dress  and  high  heels  and  matching  coat  and  fur  hat .  But  she  was  not  some  silly  woman  lost.  She  knew  exactly  where  she  was,  and  she  knew  exactly  what  she  was  doing.

At  last  she  found  what  she  was  looking  for – a  single  white  building  on  the  top  of  the  hill.  It  was  tall  and  cylindrical  in  shape – it  was  an  observation  tower  for  hikers  so  they  could  admire  the  view.  There  were  two  people  inside  it,  she  knew.  Her  blood-red  lips  twitched  upwards  at  the  corners  into  a  smile.  Good,  she  thought.  She  was  so  hungry.

A Question (Or Three)

Hi  everyone,  I  have  a  question  for  you  all.  Well,  three.  Here  they  are.

1 – Are  there  any  good  writing  mags,  online  or  paper,  that  you  subscribe  to,  and  would  recommend  to  me?  Genre-based  ones  are  fine.  I  usually  write  stuff  that  has  a  fantasy/magical  realism  edge,  but  I  am  also  interested  in  literary  fiction/general  fiction.

2 – Are  there  any  good  writing  blogs/websites  that  you  can  recommend?  As  above,  but  I’m  particularly  interested  in  sites  that  focus  on  up-and-coming  writers  of  a  younger  generation.

3 – Have  you  done  a  creative  writing  course,  like  an  undergraduate  or  Masters  course?  Did  you  find  it  useful?  Would  you  recommend  it?

I  would  love  to  hear  others  people’s  opinions  on  these  things.  Please  feel  free  to  share!