Am I blogging twice in a week? What is this??
* It's been quite a long time since I've blogged and a lot has happened. I've moved to a new town and am officially a grown-ass adult living by herself in her own little place! It's a teeny tiny studio flat and the blinds don't quite reach the bottom of the window and one of the hobs doesn't work but it's mine! I pay to live there all by myself and everything in it is mine and put there and organised by me, which really is quite a feeling! The best part of the flat is my bookshelves, (3.) they actually came with the flat and were part of the reason I took it. I've never had somewhere that could house all of my books in one place before. I'll always have fun memories of my uni rooms where all my books sat in stacks on my desk and on the carpet and lined up on the head of my bed, but having a proper, organised bookshelf? It's glorious.
* I've really loved having my own space to organise and the flat is now an adorable little pink paradise full of plants and Polaroids and fairy lights and all the general disgustingly girly shit I'm into. (4.) The only downside of living alone is that I'm no longer living with my best friends. It's been quite hard suddenly not having conversation and cuddles on tap and, though I really like my work friends, there's nobody in the area that I'm close enough with to automatically go to when I just need some human contact. But fortunately me and my friends have done plenty on the days we've been able to be together.
* Before we all moved out we had a big outing to Brighton and had the best day ever. (5) We didn't do much more than wander round, go on a few rides and eat junk food but when you're with your best friends and surrogate family you don't really need to do anything specific to have a great time.
* More recently I met up with Tom and my old Waterstones buddy Kieran and spent the day in Bristol. (1) We had lunch at Ironworks, a little independent bar and restaurant that has become a cult classic, does amazing food and drink AND has a little pet dog called Tinka that lives there! We also shamelessly Pokemon Go'd (Pokemon Went?) and accidentally wandered into a lure party and reaped the benefits (and scoped out really cute guys in cargo shorts... I disgust myself.)
* The other trip I took recently was to Ireland, where I met up with a lot of my relatives for a big family reunion. (6) My family comes from Roscommon, a really rural place in ROI with very little in it other than farms, some family houses and the surrounding land and big-ass Churches. We only stayed for two days but it was great to catch up with family that I hadn't seen in years... even if that did involve them asking about the boyfriend I split up with over three years ago. Awks.
* The last update I need to give is about my writing! I'm currently working on a manuscript given the working title 'The Maiden and The Muses', I've been tinkering with it since the start of the year but have recently found myself really getting into the swing of writing it. (2) I think much of my inspiration came from the fact that large chunks of the book deal with the female protagonist giving zero fucks about boys and in the last month my love life has involved events that, to give just an idea, led to a group chat explaining the situation, in which 'Jesus what a dick' and similar sentiments were expressed by everyone involved, several times throughout. So at least boys being stupid has led to me being really spurred on with writing, and while I don't care too much about the events that sparked it anymore, the motivation to write has stuck around which is awesome. I have just broken the ten thousand word milestone, which is more than I've ever written of one single thing before. I'm really proud of myself for working so hard and getting this far. There's a long way to go and lot of work to be done, but hitting this milestone makes it feel like the reality of being an author is that bit more believable.
So that's a quick update, that's where I've been and what I've been up to. I'm hoping to be blogging regularly again and rejoining this awesome little community.
So Bee, of Vivatramp fame, creative blogging goals and all round cutie pie, created a Writer tag. I haven't blogged in a little while but this really caught my attention and got me thinking about my writing process. It was a lot of fun and definitely gave me a kick to work on my routine as a writer. Definitely give it a go if you're interested!
1. WHAT DO YOU WRITE? WHAT GENRE? ANY REOCCURRING THEMES?
I generally just write prose, usually in novel form. I've tried poetry in the past but it just isn't something that happens for me. I'm interested in writing screenplays and graphic novels but for now my novels are what I'm investing my time and energy into. I tend to deal with quite dark themes but I'm also a fan of writing funny stuff with great female characters.
2. WHAT OR WHO INSPIRES YOU TO WRITE?
Inspiration comes from a lot of places, but for me it's mostly internal. What makes me angry or upset? What messages do I want to send out into the world? Who deserves to have their story told? Also, it's never conscious, but I do find that when I look back on my writing, you can often tell what I was reading at the time, as the tone or style shifts slightly when I'm reading something I love and want to emulate it.
3. WHERE DO YOU WRITE, WHEN AND WITH WHAT?
When I was at Uni I would sometimes go to the library early in the morning and sit on the Humanities floor surrounded by bookshelves. I loved it and found that the quiet and seclusion of the early morning coupled with the feel of being surrounded by books was the perfect combination to get my creativity going and my motivation high. Now I tend to write on my laptop in bed or occasionally in a coffee shop if I can find a secluded little spot. I would love to try and find another library to work in.
In terms of tools, I write with ZenWriter on my laptop. It's really minimal and fills the screen so I can work without being distracted. It also has a few nice features that just makes writing a better experience. I also like to have softcover moleskines and coloured pens to work with, and usually have one for each project I want to work on. I have been known to write in the notes in my phone, white spaces on receipts and my own arms before too! I generally think if you create too much ritual around writing you'll just never get it done.
4. SOUND OR SILENCE WHEN WRITING?
SOUND. 100%. I like it to be sounds that I've chosen though, I will occasionally make my own playlists for projects on Spotify, or alternatively I go on YouTube and put on ASMR videos. There's just something pleasant about having a sweet lady talking softly about her plant collection, or a man repeating positive affirmations in the background, and it gives my ears something to do without distracting me.
5. HAVE YOU STUDIED WRITING? IF SO, WHAT WAS THAT LIKE? IF NOT, WHERE DO YOU FEEL YOU LEARNT YOUR CRAFT?
I did an English degree with Creative Writing, and honestly, it was the best time of my life. I've always been a reader, and I've always loved writing and had a vague fancy that I'd like to write books someday, but it was during those three years that I realised that it's really what I want to do with my life, and that I'm actually pretty good at it! I loved discussing people's work and talking to each other about ideas and improving together, and the support I got from my friends as fellow writers was just incredible. I spent every day excited about my future as a writer. I don't think you need to do a degree to 'learn' creative writing, to be honest I probably couldn't tell you much that I was 'taught'. But what I found was that being immersed in that experience constantly, and surrounded by people who take writing seriously, gives you the space and confidence to grow as a writer and come into your own. It was awesome.
6. WHAT DO YOUR FAMILY / FRIENDS THINK?
My friends are all incredibly supportive, and very active and vocal in spurring me on which is amazing, a few of them have the same goals which is amazing. My mother is the same and, although both of my parents do worry that writing is not usually a lucrative endeavor, I'm financially independent as I am so they're not panicking about me and are happy for me to pursue writing on the side. My father was very wary until he read some things that I'd written. I'm very lucky to have people that believe in me, and I really do believe that positive voices go a long way to helping someone achieve their ambitions
7. WHAT DO YOU FIND CHALLENGING?
I do find it quite difficult to settle into a routine where I write every day. And I annoy myself because every day that I write is a day closer to where I want to be. I can't send off a manuscript that doesn't exist! I'm getting better and creating a regular writing practice but it's still something I need to work on.
8. WHAT'S YOUR FAVOURITE THING ABOUT WRITING?
It sounds shallow as balls but I love it when people like what I've written, and find it really resonates with them. I love the sense of achievement when something I've worked really hard on something and someone says it's good... which I suppose makes sense.
9. ANY TIPS FOR WRITERS BLOCK?
Honestly my main tip is not to be a baby about it. Writer's block is something you just have to power through. Sometimes it's better to write something stupid and terrible to kick start you moving through your story again. You can always go back and change and improve things. Also I tend to write things out of order, in scenes and sections, so if I find myself in a rut in one scene I'll just go and work on another, and once I come back to the bit where I got stuck, the block is gone and I can just keep going.
If the writer's block is just getting started, wanting to write but not knowing what, consume as much media as possible. What ideas really resonate with you? Which characters do you not feel got a fair deal? Are there any worlds, themes or even phrases that start the cogs turning in your head? All writing is influenced by what came before it, it's part of the beauty of literature, that it is this running story building upon itself. Consuming content that you love and want to emulate will help you formulate your own ideas.
10. WHAT ARE YOUR LIFE-LONG WRITING GOALS? WHAT ARE YOUR WRITING GOALS FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR?
Eventually I would like to live off my writing. Maybe not forever, but I would like to be able to say one day that I supported myself completely as a writer. I want to be a published novelist and perhaps work on graphic novels and screenplays. For the rest of the year I want to work on my two current projects, and would like to have at least one of them ready for final touches and to be sent out early next year