Day Twenty Six

Managed about four hundred words today which is a lot higher than my previous couple of days which is great. I’ve also managed to do the work for a seminar, attend said seminar attend three lectures, attend a charities meeting, watch TV and all in a day. Here’s a picture of my non-writing buddy cat to celebrate.

IMG_0257

Isn’t she cute, but also kind of sad looking. Here’s a slightly happier cat picture, because this one knows how to pose (well, she’s less photogenic but anyway….)

IMG_0272

Night all!

Emma

Advertisements

Day Twenty Five

Writing has petered out this week, although I am yet to break my resolution. One of the reasons for the 23rd was that I was at a social and was also involved in writing articles about a tragedy in my university city — which was time consuming and obviously emotional. Yesterday I was working on seminar presentation work and attended a talk on careers in publishing and today was my birthday.

IMG_0179 Here’s a picture of me with some of my family and my birthday cookie – it was very nice, I’ve got to add! Today has been quite a quiet birthday which was different after the lovely experience of my 18th but it was great to spend time with my family; being away at university does make it hard sometimes to come home as often as I’d like sometimes. We watched a film together, Before I Go to Sleep, which was nice and I was able to sleep in my own bed on Saturday night and see my pets — one kitty had forgotten who I was and spent the first five minutes trying to hide from me. I also saw my friends today and crucially went to the college bar for just over an hour which made a nice change.

I’m doing a little bit of writing now and will of course put my final word count in this post as I have been doing for the last little while. Tomorrow is a busy day with lectures and I also have a seminar presentation that I am supposed to be giving which is quite annoying as I hate that kind of thing; just need to finish writing up my handout in the morning.

Tomorrow night nicely is a night to myself so I might spend it with friends or I might go to the cinema or have a writing session — my lecture doesn’t finish until 6pm and it’s a Broadchurch night so we’ll see.

Night all (and happy birthday to me!)

Emma

Total writing today [excluding scene notes] – 320 words

Day Twenty Two

I’ve learned something today trying to get back into writing; writing the first draft is not for me. It leads to sentences which are frankly embarrassing individually and combine together to make an emotionless piece – there is something about writing by hand which is so much better. So after I finish the scene I just started writing on Quabel, it’ll be a return to writing by hand for me I think.

I’ve wrote a news article today and attended a lecture but today has not been busy and that’s probably just as well; the exhaustion of finding out I didn’t fail the essay in my least favourite module was a lovely moment if tiring.

I wrote a paragraph finishing off the scene I’ve been struggling over for days and then I’ve started work on the next scene. This was going slowly until a certain way into the scene and then I lost myself in it for a few minutes.

Total scene count so far including remarks upon what needs to be altered in draft two 676 words

Total scene word count excluding comments – 391 words… Yep, there are a lot of changes and clarifications I am already aware are necessary but it is a good sign I am starting to recognise this.

Night all,

Emma

Days Twenty and Twenty-One

Last night I managed only one hundred and three words on my novel but in the course of the day I did also manage to turned up for a lecture that was cancelled, complete three-and-a-half lectures worth of reading, write and research a seven hundred word article [which was shortened in copy editing as I’ve found out something that might make an interesting follow-up], started contacting sources for a second article, made bread, went to a quiz with some friends, met up with friends after the quiz and talked to a religious organisation in order to be given a free toastie, slept.

Wow. I didn’t realise until I wrote it out like that that, despite my initial reservations about not completing as much uni work as I’d have hoped, it was an incredibly busy day! That’s something that I’ve found interesting about my life since I’ve started uni, days are just so full.

Here’s today for comparison. Packed up suitcase, got picked up from uni, went to my nanna and granda’s house for some toast [with nanna talking about Cucumber, lol], went to orthodontist, went to arts group and worked on portfolio for four hours, walked to station, missed train, got train, got takeaway, watched TV, now. Even what is an incredibly busy day at home is not busy by comparison to the standards of a day at uni…

This means that my writing progress for the last few days has been absolutely abysmal, although it hasn’t been helped by the fact that the scene I am currently working on being one of the trickiest to write as it is just so key to the novel as a whole. For that reason I’ve kind of being avoiding writing it and that’s probably a bad move so going to try and power through and get a little bit done tonight and then work on it in the morning… as well as reading some books I need for my essay of course.

Reading some articles about Tudor England for a bit of relaxation before I start my writing which is interesting as regardless of what history I study, it is the Tudors I look to in my free time for history related stuff. Probably because they were my favourite when I was little and also because I’ve studied them so much over the years I know the basics off by heart and can focus on the interesting stuff without getting confused.

Update: I managed approximately seven words on the scene as I’m home for the night and my writing buddy decided she needed hugs — which couldn’t wait of course, especially as I might not see her for a while. Ironically as soon as I put the laptop away she ran for it!

Day Nineteen

Today my writing progress was meagre because I decided, as it was a Monday and Mondays suck anyway, to put university work first. So today I attended three lectures as well as completing the lecture reading for one lecture and starting the lecture reading for another. I got an essay back in which I had scored 69 which is one mark off a First, which was uplifting.

Another reason for the lack of enjoyment today was the fact that I have a seminar presentation to complete next Monday and, since Sunday is my birthday, I want to spend it enjoying myself. Problem? The books I kind of need for my presentation will be made available to me on Saturday possibly at the latest; which is less of a concern in that my essay is due a week later.

cat animated GIF

I feel a bit better about the academic side of uni after today which is a nice feeling, although I am starting to wonder if it is just me who feels that the second term is so much less carefree and much more focused than the first. Today was also different as I was the one to step back from more social time, in order to have a little bit of me time watching Broadchurch, although in the end the episode was so disappointing I would rather not have watched it.

Word count for the day – 383 words [alongside some comments for scene revision]. What is ironic is that the majority of these words were written while in the DSU in the gap between lectures while tonight I was really too tired to write.

Night all,

Emma

Day Eighteen

Wow. That plan for both a long writing session and for an early night failed epically. Instead, around half nine I met up with one of my friends and have just got back to my room in college. I’m going to finish the part of the scene I’m working on, get my book out and do a little bit of reading and then go to bed, but with a nine am in the morning getting up is not going to be a fun experience. Especially since I’m going to be washing my hair in the morning, unless I really can’t be bothered to get up. Sometimes I hate the way that uni makes you cram so much into every hour because if not you’d be spending your life studying or simply wasting the gaps in between. That might be one of the reasons why I am so utterly exhausted a significant proportion of the time. Duck Sleeping animated GIF University is difficult to juggle, at least for me, but I suppose if it wasn’t then it would be easy and it probably wouldn’t be such a rewarding (sometimes!) and character moulding experience. I’ll post my final word count for the day in a moment, but first a GIF of Leonardo di Caprio to end the day of well. titanic animated GIF Makes you think that caption, doesn’t it, but sadly class warfare/inequality isn’t a topic that I feel competent discussing after midnight on a Sunday, for fear I’ll say something that invalidates my opinion in some way. So instead, I’ll leave it there! Night all, Emma Scene word count yesterday: 452 words Scene word count before meeting friend: 1118 words Scene word count now: 2289 words Daily word count – 1837 Pretty impressive considering that I have struggled to write today, it was that last writing session after spending some time away that really upped the totals and I did just feel inspired, although this was possibly the lack of sleep talking. I’m liking the direction of the scene so far – just have to write the tricky bit, but that’s a job for another day!

Uni, What’s That?

Slight issue. Today, as I blogged earlier, was meant to be the day of catching up on work and all that jazz. Three sources on eighteenth century Britain later, coupled with snow and a lack of people around, I decided to give up. I’m basically exhausted, so going to do some writing and then either watch some Judge Rinder or read a book for fun, because tomorrow is the Day From Hell. 

A 9am lecture, an 11am lecture and a 5pm lecture alone might not sound like much but couple it with the fact that I’ve got to catch up with all of the work that I would be doing on Wednesday and Thursday when I’m going home — orthodontist calls! — and it’s slightly less fun.

The writing calls!

Ramblings

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Agree to Disagree”.

I know that this is my second post of this type today but I’m procrastinating. I can’t help it. I’ve got two books on 18th century Britain next to me [Baptists and Fifth Monarchy Men and England’s Troubles] to read and I’ve also promised myself that today I might actually do some of the lecture reading. I should probably also read Death of A Salesman so I understand what is happening in my lecture tomorrow. That would help. Of course, all copies of Death of A Salesman are out from the library so I might just watch an adaptation or read a PDF or something.

Right, Agree to Disagree. One thing that came up in conversation yesterday with a friend was that they think that Ian Duncan Smith is a ‘clever’ man  and while I of course respect their opinion, the opposite appears clear to me.

See ATOS and the disabled dying in misery or left financially unsecure because of him. See the poor forced to pay for rooms that they no longer occupy (but unable to move homes). See the abject misery caused by such a man.

He may be intelligent, but in Ian Duncan Smith all I can see is a man with no heart who only looks out for his rich friends.

I won’t normally discuss politics on this blog and this post is a one off.

Writing By Hand

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt ‘Pens and Pencils’.

I’ve tried writing by hand over the last few weeks, as the pile of papers in the orange Foolscap box in my room will attest. It has been an interesting experience and one that has been rewarding, wiping away the effects of the longest ‘block’ in my writing I’ve ever had. I finished writing the first draft of Girl With A Thousand Faces in April 2013. In the time between then and now all I’ve written have been a few short stories and some attempts at novels that have all been aborted before they reached the 10,000 word mark. Although attempt to revise a novel that was inherently broken was also an issue, I think the major problem was A-Levels. The soul sucking monster that a large percentage of the teenage population must endure.

It was made harder by two things:
– My school wasn’t the most academic of places. Learning wasn’t the focus and nor was getting good grades. It was like an oasis of teenage misery and time wasting sometimes, counting down the days until freedom could be had.
– The grades I needed to achieve in order to get into my chosen university were considerably lower than their standard offer. Their course for my subject is often ranked in the top three in the country, it’s incredibly hard to get into. My offer was three grades below their standard offer. That meant that the pressure was only on in terms of one of the subjects, especially due to a teaching issue that came up in the final year. But it also meant that I was concerned about feeling like a charity case if I only achieved those lower grades. I worked hard and I did achieve the standard offer and was pretty close to exceeding it — think I would have thrashed it if there hadn’t been those teaching issues and the pesky remoderation of coursework. Anyway, the point is I was in a difficult position as most of the people here at uni went to incredible schools and have had the best chance to achieve academically; I did not.

This has extended into something that isn’t focused on the prompt anymore and I feel like I should quickly apologise for that. Oops, sorry. But the point is that writing by hand, around 80 pages I would imagine, has allowed me to free my muse over the last few weeks. It has been a frankly invaluable experience.

Of course, it does take considerably more time which is an issue. Spending days writing one scene can become frustrating, especially when there is little time for writing. For that reason I’m slowly moving back towards using the computer for writing.

We’ll see how that goes…

Day Seventeen

The general theme of exhaustion has been something that carried through from earlier days, with the cumulative effect of only just making it to brunch before they stopped letting you in at 1pm. Yes, I’m lazy and all that. On to the library where reading just two chapters of Barry Coward’s The Stuart Age took around three hours because of:
a) boredom and
b) the amount of quotes I was taking; because I didn’t want just the information relevant to my essay, also wanted to ensure I wouldn’t have to read those chapters again for lecture reading.

Fast forward a few hours and after pizza and a quick trip to the college bar with a friend, am now sitting in my room almost ready to start writing. As I’m feeling a little bit more relaxed than I have been in the last few days I’m going to try something different and write the scene on the computer first time round rather than handwriting. The handwriting is slowing down my progress to the point where it is starting to become frustrating, as I am so desperate to start reworking the story and developing character arcs in the first half, so here goes nothing!

One of the major problems I have with writing on the computer is that the Internet becomes incredibly tempting. See Milhouse above. Imagine my novel is Lisa and the Internet is Milhouse. Hear me out please. She knows that he is no good for her yet she continues to talk to him, to engage with him and almost to encourage him.

It’s two and a half hours later and I haven’t spent that much time on writing, falling into the endless internet trap but surprisingly — because of the insanity of touch typing – something has still been achieved. That is what is different to writing by hand, you can still engage with the world that you are creating without having to wait for your fingers to catch up.

So? At the end of the day I have a 119 word outline of the chapter, including a note for something that needs to be altered in the second draft for the whole thing to make sense — which I hadn’t even noticed now, even though it was pretty obvious. A entire chapter of the book rests on the main character having a phobia of an everyday (well, sorta) situation… But she wouldn’t have this phobia without something happening to trigger it, ergo another scene needs to be added. Sometimes I wonder why these changes, in the case of this novel, are coming to me so quickly and while I am still in the course of writing whereas for Girl With A Thousand Faces editing was like pulling teeth.

I also tonight gained four hundred and fifty two words of actual prose, including one of the lines that – once edited – I think is going to be quite simply one of the most beautiful in the entire novel. Although it will probably end up being one of those ‘kill your darlings’ moments and have to go, but I hope not.

Listening to a Belgian choir, typing this post at the end of a day that was quite lethargic until the brief meeting with a friend, is quite hopeful. I know where my novel is going also, at least until the dreaded halfway point where I have to decide exactly what kind of writer I am. Because what I am planning would break the main character and put her back together again as some muddled jigsaw of herself as she stood before, so we will have to see if I am that cruel.

Night all,

Emma