Hello 2017!

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Hello there stranger! It’s been such a long time since my last post!

I didn’t mean to stop blogging. I love my little blog and I love the community I have built up with it over the last 4 years. I’m made some amazing friends and I love looking back at old posts that have captured some wonderful memories. Somehow, life got in the way however, and we drifted apart a little. A lot of the faces have changed since we last caught up, and I’m sad to have lost touch with some of the amazing bloggers I got to know, but with the New Year I am looking forward to a new challenge and meeting some new faces.

2016 was an amazing year for me. I got to travel to San Francisco, Orlando and Seattle. I became an auntie, I changed jobs to become a Business Development Manager. I have thrown myself into voluntary work, including completing my 5th blood donation and spending my Christmas with an isolated elderly person in addition to my weekly volunteering with the Royal Voluntary Service. I also ran three 10k races for Macmillan Cancer Support. Oh, and I discovered a love for geocaching (but more on that later…)

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As you can see, Continue reading

23 Before 23 – The Review

For those of you who have been with my blog for a while, you will know that for the last few years I have done a challenge every year, setting the same number of goals as the age I will be on my next birthday. Last year I turned 23, so after my 22nd birthday, I set my 23 before 23 goals. As we all know, 2014 was absolute chaos for me, so I didn’t end up dedicating any time to my goals at all! However, I am going to review them all the same, but I’m not expecting any spectacular results!

1. Make a dress – This one is still on the list! I’m ashamed to think of how long I have had the supplies ready and just not made any progress with it! It is a little more tricky now, as never having made clothes before, I want my Mum to help me through the steps to make sure I’m doing everything right (Mum’s know best of course!) but now that I have moved out, we haven’t yet managed to arrange a day when she can come over and help me through it! I’m hoping to get a day arranged soon though so I can make a start on all of the dressmaking projects I have in mind!

2. Complete 10 cross stitch projects – Looking back at this, ten projects was probably rather ambitious! At the beginning of the year I was on a bit of a roll and manage to complete 4 projects, which you can see in my 2014 Project Gallery, and at the end of the year I went on to finish my Once Upon A Time Sampler and my Liberty kit, which can be seen in my 2015 Cross Stitch Projects post. I don’t think I completed anything in between that I haven’t included, so I’m going to say that I managed 6, which I don’t actually think is that bad! This year there is no way I will achieve 10 as the projects I am working on are so big. However, if I can finish all of the projects that I have got planned for this year, I will be very happy to call that an achievement.

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Continue reading

The Creative Writer’s Toolkit

I use Grammarly’s plagiarism checker because, lets face it, even English graduates get it wrong sometimes!

So, one of my goals on my 22 Before 22 was to enter three writing competitions. I didn’t manage to enter any, but I have recently caught the creative writing bug again, so I decided to include the goal on my 23 Before 23 this year. The other day, I was really struggling with one of my literature essays, and everything was distracting me, but one of the things that distracted me was the Short Story Challenge 2014. This short story competition is unlike any other writing competition I have seen. It is broken down into rounds, and the competitors are split up into groups. The stories that are judged the best in each group move onto the next round. The most interesting part, however, is that the organisers email you three words that act as the basis of your story. These three words are a genre, a subject and a character, and you have to turn these into the story for the competition. The first round gives you 8 days to write and submit 2,500 words, the second gives you 3 days to write 2,000 words and the final round gives you 24 hours to write 1,500 words. I liked the concept of having a starting point and a close deadline for the competition, because otherwise I find it hard to focus on writing a competition entry when I have university work to do. The entry fee was pretty steep, but all entries receive feedback from the judges, and it will seem worth it if I make it to the second round…I’m keeping my fingers crossed!

Since I am preparing for the competition to begin, and I am inspired to so some creative writing, I have revisited my creative writing supplies. I have picked out some of my favourite and most inspiring resources to share with you to get you writing too! We are all writers as bloggers, and whether you write fiction or not, these resources are sources of inspiration!

My first and foremost ‘go to’ book when I am looking for writing inspiration is The Five-Minute Writer by Margret Geraghty.  This book is one that you can literally pick up and open at any page to get writing. This book contains 58 activities that have a brief introduction, then a five-minute exercise to write. With such brief exercises, it is easy to squeeze these activities into even the busiest of days! There is a range activities that are all diverse and inspiring.

Book

Get your copy here: The Five-Minute Writer: Exercise and inspiration in creative writing in five minutes a day

Another book that I rely heavily on when writing is The Writer’s Little Helper by James V. Smith, Jr. This book takes a very different but very helpful approach to writing. This little book is packed full of diagrams, lists, charts and graphs, which make building a story a very methodical process. While I very rarely plan a story from the beginning to end before I write it, this book breaks down all of the elements you need to consider from structuring your story and building pace to forming characters and dialogue. Almost taking a scientific approach to writing, this book maps it out and plots each stage for you incredibly thoroughly. Continue reading

Thank God it’s Over

November that is. Not that I have anything against November. In fact, November is often an awful month…cold, wet, full of essay deadlines and always seems to last forever because December (along with my birthday and Christmas) is lurking just around the corner. Well, this November has still been cold, incredibly wet and full of essay deadlines, however, I have also had the added stress of writing a 50,000 word novel and a mad dash to finish my boyfriend’s advent calendar in time for December 1st.

But… Continue reading

Where are the weeks going?

Sorry for the lack of posts again, I literally have no idea where the last week has gone! At the moment the weeks seem to be ending before they have begun but I suppose that’s what happens when you are busy. Hopefully this week should calm down slightly as my first batch of uni essays have been handed in and I have a bit of breathing space before the next lot so I plan on making the most of it!

I have decided to do a bit of a round up of my past week (which was intended for smaller posts last week but that didn’t quite come off!) so that you can see what has been keeping me so busy! Continue reading

More Writing: An Article and an Update

At the moment it feels as though every waking moment of my day is spent writing; last week saw me produce over 12,000 words of my novel, a few blog posts, two essays for university and an article for Karoo…phew!

This week is looking to be a repeat of the last with all sorts of pieces of writing needing to be done! I am stealing in the odd moment to do some Christmas crafting, but those moments are few and far between at the moment! Continue reading

A Quick NaNoWriMo Update

I feel like I am neglecting my blog slightly since I have taken on the NaNoWriMo challenge, so to make up for it, I am giving you a very quick update!

A couple of days ago I broke through the first big milestone: 10,000 words! I was completely over the moon as, not only is this the longest piece of fiction I have written, I was also a whole day ahead of the target word count! Continue reading