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Guess who’s back

Hello online world! I’ve had a rather long, month and a half’s break from blogging and writing and am finally back for Round 2 of editing (well, starting where I left off). I’ve always had this tendency of needing a break from writing, like I just literally run out of steam and need to recharge my mental batteries. I also find it helps taking a step back for a while as it keeps my writing fresh.

During my time off, I’ve done other creative bits like painting and card-making. With the return of one of my favourite animes, Attack on Titan, I decided to do a few paintings, and I have quite a few birthdays coming up in the next few months, so have made a handful of cards for loved ones. Here’s a peek at some of them:

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I’ve finally got the car situation sorted out. My old deathtrap car was scrapped, I was refunded for the expensive ABS pump, bought a new car and now everything is good. I can’t tell you how much of a relief it is to have a car again. I live completely out in the sticks and my anxiety hinders my ability to get public transport, so I was quite literally stuck. Ever since I was qualified to drive (oh god, it’ll be ten years this year…), having a car just equals independence to me.

I haven’t been up to a great deal else really, other than spending time with my boyfriend. We did have a gig last Thursday which went really well. We played at this awesome bistro, which was packed, and basically provided some nice background music for the customers. It was really nice for me as I didn’t have to do much talking over the microphone, which is usually one of my weak points due to being generally awkward. We also got a free meal out of it (some damn tasty fillet steak!), so that’s always a bonus.

Anyway, I’m hoping that I’ve got my writing mojo back and that I can continue with editing. I’ve still got half way to go so need to just get stuck in!

Things are looking up..sort of

Finally, things seem to be looking up for me, for the most part. I picked up my new car today, am having my old one picked up tomorrow to be scrapped and I’m not completely broke as a result.

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So things are a bit better for me but not so much for my Mum (and I, obviously living with her), as last night I discovered a plumbing problem. I had a bath and let the water run away, then discovered the bidet and another toilet started filling up and flooded the bathroom and another room. My house is literally falling apart! They say these things come in threes so I hope that’s the case as I don’t think we can handle much more stress…

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I do think that things I’ve been stressed about lately has affected my motivation to write/edit. It just feels like I’ve lost my mojo, I haven’t even tried to open up my MS document on my computer because I just don’t think I’ve been in the right frame of mind to work through it well. I am hoping that now I’ve got my new car and will be less isolated, I’ll get my writing mojo back. I’ll also be able to drive around my best friend’s (who works from home) with my laptop and proper knuckle down. I’ve definitely got lots to catch up on!

I had a brainwave the other day about my MS and wondered whether after I’ve done this edit (change from first to third person) and I don’t have any further luck with querying, I could perhaps add another element to the story. It’s evident that many agents are looking for #ownvoices stories and as someone with a long-term mental health condition, I could include a mental health aspect and have the main character, Rainy, as someone that suffers from the same condition. It could introduce a bit of a twist like her having suffered depressive episodes and struggled with suicidal thoughts in the past, and when she meets her parallel world counterpart and realises there is a completely different dimension out there to explore, it could give her a reason to want to live. It’s just an idea and I’d have to give quite a bit more thought into it, but I’d definitely consider it if I wasn’t successful in querying over the next year or so. It’d certainly add another dimension to the story and make the character relate-able for many people, and could also input a bit of tension between Rainy and Century (Century, who was born into a race of ruthless warriors and would obviously be totally against the idea of suicide and not understand mental health issues at all). Now I’m rambling.. Yeah. Just an idea 🙂

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Sometimes you need to take a step back

I’ve had a bit of a break from my laptop recently, including writing/editing, as I’ve been quite stressed about a few personal issues, particularly my broken car! Just to give an update on that topic, I’m ultimately going to have to get rid of it. Basically, a previous owner tampered with the car and botched to make it work, and there’s a lot more wrong with it than originally thought. So I’m going to cut my rather large losses, try to claw back as much as I can and scrap the darn thing, as well as look for a new one.

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As I’ve had some time away from a computer screen, I’ve managed to do some other creative things like card-making and painting. It’s been a while since I’ve had any birthdays or special occasions and so I haven’t really needed to make any greetings cards for anyone, but what with Mother’s Day, my Dad’s and boyfriend’s birthdays coming up over the next few weeks, I couldn’t really put it off any longer. Sooo, I made my Mum a Disney’s Aristocats themed card and I can’t really say about the other two in case they stumble across this post! (No risk with the former, my technically deficient mother…)

I finally finished off a painting that I started weeks ago. Usually I tend to finish them the same day but I just kept doing this one bit by bit. I’m not completely satisfied with the background; scenery doesn’t seem to be one of my strong points but hopefully I can work on that. Here is Edward Elric in a key, utterly heart-wrenching scene in the awesome manga/anime, Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood.

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#PitMad is taking place today on Twitter. Originally, I’d intended to participate but then changed my mind as I’m still working on editing my third person version, and also deciding on whether to use that one as my main submission in future. So rather than wasting an opportunity if I managed to get any favourites and sending my original first person version (which I’ve know decided needs an edit itself), I’d prefer to wait for the next competition and when I’m finished. That way, I’d ideally have a better success rate!

I’ve also decided that I think I should regard my MS as New Adult instead of Young Adult, as I feel like some of the issues raised in it (e.g. possessive/controlling/abusive behaviour) would be more suitable for an ever so slightly older audience. I feel as though it’s a good in-between, being in the middle of Young Adult and Adult.

Anyway, I may or may not do some editing this evening. I’m pretty undecided as my head’s been a bit over the place recently, so I’d hope that wouldn’t affect my writing ability but couldn’t really be sure. We shall see!

Logan is AWESOME

I saw Logan on Saturday and it was just incredible. I genuinely think that’s how all the former Wolverine films should have been. The guy has metal claws, for crying out loud, he should be decapitating people! (Bad guys, obviously…) And the young girl that played Laura/X-23 (Dafne Keen) was simply unbelievable, what a performance.

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I’ve had an unproductive writing/editing day as I’ve not been sleeping well lately and so have struggled to focus. One day I might have a decent sleep pattern! On the upside, it has been a really nice, sunny day so I’ve had a serotonin boost at the very least.

I also did a bit of card-making last week as it was my boyfriend’s Dad’s birthday. I got some inspiration online and decided to make a funny Batman-themed card, as he’s a big DC/Marvel/all-round geek:

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Here is also a painting that I did recently. I fancied trying to do some butterflies, which were oddly easier to do than the ruddy background. Backgrounds are actually pretty hard!

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I hope everyone had a lovely weekend anyway. I’m going to be having a chilled out evening, going for a meal with my boyfriend at this awesome buffet place. Honestly, it’s just… drool… I’m going to eat so much food. Then, I imagine I’ll catch up with this week’s The Walking Dead.

Have a nice evening!

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Productivity power up!

I’ve had a reasonably productive few days, particularly today for editing and yesterday for housework! I’m now towards the end of Chapter 17 out of 36 / Page 64 out of 145. Since I started, I’ve managed to reduce the word count by almost a thousand and have one less Word page. It’s surprising how much you can get rid of once you start cutting out excessive sentences and my typical rambling bits.

Since making a new Twitter writer account, I’ve connected with so many other awesome writers. It’s actually inspired me and given me motivation boost to continue to pursue getting my MS published. It’s also shown me different ways of reaching out to literary agents and publishers, like #PitchMadness and #SonOfAPitch. I know I said that I would get involved with the latter in my last post and what pitches I’d prepared for it, and although I didn’t expect much to come from it, I was pleasantly surprised to get two “likes” and therefore requests to send over a query. So I’m keeping my fingers crossed for those and hope that something will come from them, as the agents/agencies both looked very suitable and worthwhile.

I’ve also joined a group conversation on Twitter to exchange and critique pitches, which is exciting to see other peoples’ work and to potentially learn from them (and of course, be incredibly jealous of their stories and writing abilities!)

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Just an update regarding my car, I heard from my mechanic today who had sent off the ABS pump to be looked at by a specialist, and it turns out that it is totally knackered as predicted. A brand new one would be £360 (including VAT and postage to the garage) so it’s a pretty big dent in my current bank balance, but fortunately I had anticipated that it’d be costly and have a rainy day fund in my savings account. Including my mechanic’s work, it’s going to come to just over £500, but to be honest I would much rather get it fixed and keep my car than go through the stress and hassle of looking for another one, then have to hope its faultless and fully functional (you can never really be sure with second-hand cars from total strangers), change over the insurance, tax it, etc… Providing it resolves the problem, I’d much rather keep it. Hopefully I’ll have that back within the next week or so, so I no longer have to rely on others to ship me about, because I’m such a strong, independent woman! …No seriously, I hate feeling guilty about relying on others, just one of my awkward personality traits 😀

If music be the food of love..

On Saturday I played a gig at a local Pizza Express Music Lounge with my band More Than Echoes. It was our second gig there and was a bit of a last minute thing arranged by one of our talented musical friends, Fred Clark, but I have to say it was just awesome! We had such a brilliant, engaging audience and it was just thrilling. Also, shockingly, my Nan came along, even though she was sat with my Mum and her horsey friends (she can’t stand horsey talk) and thought we’d play a song everyone would know (we do our own stuff). But yes, it was the first time since we started gigging that she’d seen us play, so I was really pleased and it just added so much more to the evening.

So I didn’t make the cut in #PitchMadness but it was an incredibly good, eye-opening experience and I’m glad I got involved. There’s also #SonOfAPitch on today, which seems so much harder as you have to limit yourself even more to just a mere 140 characters. I’m going to enter it anyway, so fingers crossed! Here is what I’ve come up with:

A female warrior from a parallel universe upends 17yo Rainy’s world. Their psychic link carries harmful consequences #SonOfAPitch #YA #SF

A female warrior from a parallel world upends 17yo Rainy’s life. Their psychic link has potentially fatal consequences #SonOfAPitch #YA #SF

On another note, the fighting between my geese hasn’t improved, as much as I try to split them up (which ends up with them going for me instead!) I did research the issue the other week and although we don’t actually know the genders, apparently it’s breeding season so that could explain the hostility, especially if they’re both male. It’s like, whenever one bruise heals, another one quickly replaces it… I wish they liked me.

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I haven’t got much editing done today because I decided to spend a bit of time outside with the animals. I figured that it’s rare for us to see the sun lately in England, so 🙂 I’ve also been repeatedly listening to some of Ed Sheeran’s new songs, including Irish-themed Galway Girl and Nancy Mulligan. Honestly, if you haven’t listened to his new album, Divide, you’re totally missing out!

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Creativity is like breathing

This week has been a bit tough for me. I don’t like to focus my posts too much on the subject of mental health, but as someone that suffers from depression and anxiety and wants to spread awareness, I feel like I’m open enough when talking about it in person, so I should be the same in writing.

So yes, I’ve had a rather low week, ruminating about my car troubles, often feeling stuck at home in a house that has a leaky roof… Oh and yesterday, I discovered Mother Nature had decided to worsen our situation by blowing over a huge tree on to one of our outbuildings. So there goes another roof that needs fixing.

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I’ve been trying to force myself to do things, which is hard when you feel like you have nothing to get out of bed for (this obviously isn’t true when I’m feeling well). I’ve managed to do some editing, not nearly as much as I’d like but it’s better than nothing. I also did some painting the other night, which was nice as I haven’t done any for a few weeks. I find that I can only manage fulfilling one creative task at a time, so that’s always either writing, drawing/painting, card-making and singing. It’s like otherwise, my brain is overwhelmed with all these creative outlets and tells me to stop trying to multitask so much, aha.

I would like to try and alternate writing and painting though, as I only recently got an acrylic paint set for Christmas after expressing an interest and attending a local art group. I think I’ve picked it up reasonably well and just get so in the zone, it’s unbelievable. Like, hours feel like minutes and before I know it, it’s dark and time for bed. For anyone that’s interested in seeing some of my artwork, here are a few:

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Anyone that’s a fan of One Piece will recognise the above and if not, you should really check it out. It’s an awesome manga/anime!

Below are images of a manga-style anniversary card that I made for my boyfriend in December, joking about us celebrating two years together.

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I do have a Facebook page dedicated to posting my artwork, with plenty more of the above, as well as greetings cards I’ve made in the past.

Anyway, I should get back to editing. I’m currently on Chapter 15 out of 36 / Page 53 out of 146, so still a little way to go!

Have an awesome weekend everyone 🙂