Thoughts on Thursday – So You Want To Be A Writer Part Two

If you missed out on the first part of this new series you can catch it here. I know this should have gone out yesterday but technical problems left me frustrated and on the verge of throwing the computer through the window yesterday lol.

So, you finally have an idea for a story, you sit at the computer and begin writing so far so good but then you find the next thing that people say to you.

Well, anyone can write a book, it’s just words.

Now, to an extent this is true. anyone can write a book but let’s look at what actually goes into writing a book that people really don’t understand. First the time! I don’t know about most of you reading this but my WPM (words per minute) have dropped significantly since I learnt to type at school. On a good day, I can type 250 words every fifteen minutes, that means 1000 words per hour assuming the ideas are flowing and I don’t need to stop to think or consult notes. The average fantasy book is 95,000 – 120,000 words this means to write one book you are looking at 95 – 100 hours. Now, there will be people who will look at that and say, well that’s okay you can write a book a month, and yes if you are lucky enough to be able to stay home and make a living writing you might, but most of us still have day jobs to accommodate to fund our writing. Personally, I am lucky to write 5 – 10 k words per week, that means if nothing else happens to slow me down or distract me that the first draft will take three to four months.

It’s only writing down words in sentences, it can’t be that hard!

Yes, I have actually had that said to me, and to an extent it is true, or should that be it is true for the first draft. What a lot of people fail to realise is just how many different edits you do on books, you don’t just write the perfect book, hit send and it is out there in the world. Generally, I edit a book around four times more in some places if it needs it, there are read throughs checking for continuity, and any holes in the plot, there are general grammar and spelling checks. I also use an automated voice reader programme to let me hear it back with helps me pick on things spell check misses, those silly errors where you type on instead of no.

If you are lucky you can afford to pay proofreaders to pick up on some issues, pay editors to fix them, oh, and remember to check what your editor offers, because you may need to hire more than one. If one only does general edits then you need a second to do line edits.  Now, if like me you don’t make enough to pay for all these things, then there is help out there. I use the free version of Grammarly to pick up on some of my mistakes but be advised that it often wants to change things that you want to write for creative effect. Use the word checker on your computer and check the settings to see what you can turn on to help you.

All these edits take time so the chances are if you are doing it all yourself you will be doing well to get out one or two books a year, if you have editors you can maybe get a couple more out, but just words, I don’t think so.

Next week we will look at what happens once, you have a story more or less ready to go.

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Thoughts on Thursday – So You Want To Be A Writer Part One

I just want to state categorically that I had been thinking about this series before I read the brilliant post over on Samantha The Reader’s blog you can read her post here.  Her post is aimed at the advice writers receive about their craft mine is about the things we hear when we mention we have published a book and the realities of being an indie author.

Everyone Tells Me I Should Write a Book/I Always Wanted To Write A Book

I have lost track of the times I have had this response from people when you mention that you have written a book. First, let me say I firmly believe anyone can write a book, I don’t think you need a certain educational level, you don’t need a degree and you don’t need to have taken creative writing course but there are some things you do need to have. While I do think anyone can write a book, however, I dont believe everyone should try to write books or that everyone is capable of writing a good book.

There are so many aspects of the writing process people simply do not understand or do not want to see and this series is about that who process, the misconceprtions and overall the hard work that is involved with producing a half decent novel.

Where do you start?

There is a good chance if you are asking that question it means one of two things, you are either not ready or you are over thinking it.

If you do not have an idea for a story you want to tell then you are not ready to write, most stories start with an idea, a persistant nagging idea in your head which plagues you at random moments demanding you take notice of it. This is the first part of writing and it is the one that cannot be taught you either, have this type of creative imagination or you don’t and without it no matter how much you might like the idea of writing a book your really will not be able to. Don’t get me wrong you can put word on paper, write cohesive sentnces but if you do not have those ‘voices’ in your head that demand you listen to the totally weird and wonderful offerings they decide to throw at you as you are trying to get to sleep then the chances of writing something original and captivating are very slim.

The second group of people are the over thinkers, these are the ones who believe you must know every element of the story, and have everything completely planned, organised, and  ready before they start writing their masterpiece. In some cases they boos they could produce might indeed by pieces of litarary brilliance but we will never know because much like having children there is never a ‘right’ moment. There are times when it may be better, finacially, healthwise , timewise, fitting in with a day job wise but if you are waiting for all the starts to align it is probably not going to happen. Even if, by some miracle, it happen then the problem comes that stories are organic, they grown on their own and refuse to be constrained by our plot outlines. If you have an idea by all means outline if you need to before you start writing but don’t let the idea fester in your head.

If anyone has enjoyed this then let me know in comments and next week we will talk about actually putting pen to paper.

Glossybox Review – May 2017

Playing catch up on these reviews so there will be one a week for the next few weeks…

I had mixed feelings opening this but I was pleased to see the scrub as I was excited to try it. First up let’s talk about the sponge…

DAILY CONCEPTS Exfoliating Body Scrubber

Now, I confess, I did not really try this out much, my daughter was here when I opened the box and basically she stole it. Her argument was she is pregnant and she needed it for her wash bag for the hospital, how could I argue with that. However, I did get a good look at it, it felt really nice, it was dual sided so one side was nice and soft and the other was exfoliating but not too rough. At £4 it’s not that expensive though of course, you can buy them much cheaper, this does have one piece of bonus tech which is that the label fades with use, the idea is once you can’t read it you know you need a new sponge, however personally I think you know when you need a new one anyway and I do question if this could be altered dependant on what creams, scrubs etc you use with it. I did like it and if I came across one while shopping would buy one not sure I would go out of my way to get one though.

Next up…

SCRUB LOVE Active Charcoal Body Scrub

The claim ‘this is the scrubbiest scrub of them all’ and let me tell you they mean it, this does not just exfoliate it removes layers of skin! Imagine grabbing a handful of grit and scrubbing your skin with it and you have this, it is not for the faint-hearted or those with sensitive skin. Did my skin feel lovely and soft after? Well, yes but that was because it was all fresh skin. It smelled good in fact too good as the dog ate it before I had a chance to give it a second go but I have a feeling from how gingerly he crouched the next few days it was no gentler on the internal parts than it had been on my flesh. At £13.95 it is not the most expensive product I have used and it does do what it says, I didn’t get chance to see how it lives up to the claims of increasing circulation and the lymphatic drainage benefits but I can imagine the vigorous scrubbing would help, I, however, will be sticking to the sugar scrubs I prefer that are a little more gentle on the skin and make less mess in the shower.

Next…

DR.PAWPAW Dr.PawPaw Original Balm

I didn’t really try this very much as once again my daughter swooped in to relieve me of it, it reminded me very much of the Dr. Lipp Nipple Balm, at £6.95 it is slightly cheaper but have a very similar texture like that of a thick Vaseline. Like the others, it can be used for a multitude of things, thought the idea of some of the suggestions they make.. well let’s just say am not up for the idea of smoothing it through my hair. It is vegan-friendly I am not sure if other products are but am not sure I would buy this, it does not seem any better than cheaper products that are out there.

Next…

-417 Foot Nourishing Cream

I love this! Now I have to be honest I am rubbish at using foot creams regularly but when I have used this I can tell a difference and have no doubt that if I got my act together it would vanquish the hard skin completely, I think part of the problem is I just don’t like feet full stop, even my own. At £14.50 it is quite pricey, but I find foot products generally are, if I could get myself organised to use this consistently then I would buy it.

Finally…

RUBY Powder Blush In Coral

This is one where as much as I like it I will never use it as it is designed to be used. The texture is lovely and it applies and blends really well but there is one small issue…

The colour is just wrong for me, I am undecided yet if I will double this as an eyeshadow or see if I have friends it would be better suited to, it gives the price in Euros rather than Pounds and is 14.99, while I might not buy this again I would like to try other products from their range if they were in other boxes in future.

Overall not a bad box this time round even if two products were snatched away before I could test them properly.

Glossybox Review – April 2017

Sorry for the delay in posting these, like everything else I am so far behind it is crazy!

I am going to say when I first opened this I was a little underwhelmed by the contents I was not sure a hand sanitizer was appropriate as one of the five and had concerns about some of the others which as you will see were in part justified.

ModelCo Contour Stick

We may as well start with my biggest concern on initially opening the box, I saw the colour of this and thought they had misread my file and thought my surname was Kardashian, as you can see from this hand swatch it was not a great colour match…

Now the thing is I don’t fake tan, well not more than once a decade, I don’t use creme blushers or contours but I thought I have to give it a go and to be fair when buffed in properly it does actually fade down to quite a nice glow but it did require a lot of buffing. I like my make up to be quick to apply, I do not contour as much as I probably should so I am doubtful I will use this for everyday make up, however as with many things I am sure it will get used up at some point even if it is only as part of a Halloween look. It costs £17 so not exactly cheap however a little goes a long way and if you love sculpting out those cheekbones might be one to try.

Next up…

Elgon Deliwas CleanisingConditioner

This was the one product I was really excited to try this month, it is a two in one type product which promises to be less drying than normal shampoo, it does warn that this will not lather as much, so did it work? Nope! First, it did not lather at all, and I know the lather is psychological to an extent but it does also allow you to be sure you have covered your whole head, especially when you have long hair. Afterwards, my hair felt drier than it does using the two separate products, and to be honest, I felt it needed washing again a lot sooner than normal. I had hoped this product would be everything it claimed to be, if it had, I might not have minded the £14.50 price tag but I certainly would not pay that for it

after this performance.

Next up…

SPORTFX Shape Up Brow Pencil

Okay, this really is a mixed review because, in theory, I loved the concept of this product, it just didn’t quite deliver for me. First the colour…

they sent blonde because that was what my hair colour was when I filled in the forms, and I have not changed it as there is no purple option so most times this still fits with my colouring, but the colour pay off is weak which means lots of going over your brows to really feel like you have made a difference. This leads to my other issue with it, to really be able to use it you need to wind it out a little, but you also need to be very careful as if you wind it out then apply too much pressure it snaps off. I think this could be fixed but just not sure how. What I did like was this bit…

At the opposite end of the powder pencil is a spoolie, I find this so much easier for shaping my brows than a straight brown brush or comb, I also feel it helps brush powder more evenly through the hairs for better coverage. At £7.99 it is not overly expensive, or wouldn’t be if you didn’t waste some getting the application process perfected. I have not checked on the number of shades available so while at the minute I will not be rushing to buy another I would not write it off completely. I should also mention that my daughter has also tried this and she really liked it though the shade was far too light for her.

Next up…

RODIAL Glamolash™ Mascara XXL

I had high hopes for this after the eyeliner, (the one my daughter ran off with) so I was disappointed that really this did not deliver. Don’t get me wrong it was an okay mascara and had I paid high street prices for it I would not have been bothered but this one is £24 and for that price, I expect better. Now because I am biased in favour of certain other mascaras I also got my daughter to test it but she agreed, it took several coats to build up to what I would expect of two coats of most mascaras, but maybe if you are looking for something lightweight and natural looking this might do it but when it says Glam I expect lashes to die for.

And finally…

MERCI HANDY Love And Hand Cleansing Gel

Now let’s be honest I was not happy to see this as an item in my box, not because of the quality of the product but you know… beauty box! I would have been happier to see this as a bonus item but and this is a huge but I love it! At £2.90 it is expensive as cleansing gels go, you can pick them up at pound shops or supermarkets cheaper but this one smells great and also makes my hands feel good after applying it, no stickiness, no slimy feeling, it just rubs straight in leaves you with an almost velvety feeling.

So that it is for this review, my favourite product ended up being the one I was least excited about.

 

 

Okay so on Sunday this happened…

Tennis – Wimbledon – London, Britain – July 16, 2017, Switzerland’s Roger Federer poses with the trophy as he celebrates after winning the final against Croatia’s Marin Cilic REUTERS/Toby Melville

Well okay, it did but that was not what I really wanted to talk about, what I want to talk about was this that happened afterwards…

We now know who the new Doctor will be and it is a woman!

First let me express my disappointment, not at the choice but at the fact we know! I really had hoped that they might fly in the face of modern convention and kept it a secret until the Christmas special, they could have had closed sets, invited several front runners to the set to hang about to mislead speculation. I would love to have been able to tune in on Christmas day and be surprised by the regeneration, not had to listen to months of debate about the chosen replacement which brings us to Jodie Whittaker.

Going to be honest, other than her appearance in St Trinians I haven’t really seen her in anything, I have yet to watch Broadchurch despite the fact I have been meaning to since it first aired. I don’t think overall the gender of the Doctor will make a real impact on the series, I will be far more concerned with plots, storylines and the character development. Do I have concerns? Of course, I worry they will give her a beefcake for a companion, have him saving her constantly and her fall in love with him, though to be fair male Doctors have frequently been saved by their female companions. I would love to see a non-human in the TARDIS, yes we have just had Nardol and I hope the Doctor will collect him before leaving the spaceship but he is still shaped as a human, I have seen suggestions K9 may return but honestly, let’s have something different and shake things up completely.

We live in an age where we see all male performances of Swan Lake we see boundaries pushed in all directions, I know many are not happy to see a change from the norm in ‘their’ favourite show, and I say that in quotes because I don’t think my view of the show and theirs have anything in common, theirs is an exclusive club, mine is inclusive, theirs is restrictive, mine knows no boundaries, they would rather travel to the past, my show is heading full speed into the future.

What’s going on!

Okay let’s talk honestly, the issues over the last couple of weeks have been two-fold, first, the computer failed, then secondly I failed at life, well not really it just feels that way.

The computer did an update which because of my poor internet connection failed to instal properly, the end result was I had to wipe everything, reinstall windows, then find all the various apps I use and reinstall them. Of course, this also meant trawling through emails to find the registration codes for paid upgrades and apps, mental note to self, put them all in one folder next time! It has taken two weeks so far and I am still finding annoying little things that are missing or that I need to tweak but finally I can get back to actually doing some productive work.

Now the hard bit to talk about, life! I have mentioned before that the monster has had a few issues, but I have really not talked about how hard it is to see your son hurting and not be able to fix it. We have been on a waiting list for over two and a half years for my son to be tested for Autism, everyone who spends any time with him agrees he is on the spectrum, where or whether there is a specific category he will fit into we do not yet know. It has also been suggested that if he is not actually autistic his issues may result from lasting brain damage from the meningitis that nearly took his life when he was seven and a half. As he gets older and more is expected of him he is finding it increasingly difficult to cope in the mainstream school he attends, but we have no other choices, without a diagnosis he would not be accepted at one of the schools who cater for those with more complex needs. He is also incredibly intelligent, it is not the work in school he cannot cope with it is the environment, he requires more one to one help but again without a diagnosis, the school do not get the funding for this.

Since just before Christmas he has been struggling, it is so hard to see and hear about you child talking about not wanting to exist, wanting to hurt themselves and at times physically attempting to hurt themselves but be able to do nothing to change their perception of themselves. He hears every negative word and replays it but the positives go by un-noticed. Things were really bad for a while through January, then with a lot of positive reinforcement, it seemed we were getting somewhere. However last week he started a six weeks counselling course with the hope it would help with his self-esteem, instead we are right back at square one.

Yesterday was a bad day, he tried to physically hurt himself, he said a lot of things that once more broke my heart and for the first time I questioned my ability to deal with this, Don’t get me wrong I will of course, you have no choice, there is no magic wand that anyone can wave and make it all okay. But for the first time, I feel tired, weak and alone. I have been crying on and off, day and night for the last 26 hours. I don’t expect anyone to feel sorry for me, but today, I felt it was time to be honest.

I have spent the morning making phone calls and so far have got nothing, hopefully, the paediatrician will get back to me in the morning but the agency that deals with the autism referral are still not answering the phone nor have they called me back yet, I do not expect them to, I have lost track if the number of voicemails I have left over the last 6 months, they never call back. I am however logging the times and dates I leave the messages this time as well as calling repeatedly in the hope eventually someone might pick up the phone. I feel so tired

I feel so tired, and cannot at the minute see a light at the end of the tunnel. I love my son to pieces, that goes without saying, but today I feel like a failure as a parent because I can’t fix this for him, I can’t make him feel better. We find ways to get through one day at a time, do our best to enjoy the good days and survive the bad ones. I felt the need to share this today because I can guarantee there is at least one other person out there reading this who feels like they are struggling today, not necessarily in the same way, but I just want them to know they are not alone, very few people have the perfect lives they pretend to have on social media, and sometimes it is okay to not be okay, it is okay to say I am struggling today. Today I may cry, I may scream, I may very well throw the phone handset against the wall, but I will get through it and get up tomorrow and hope for a better day, one day at a time is sometimes all that we can do.