Posted in Films, Writing

Currently watching…

… The Martian!

It appeared on Netflix recently so I’ve finally gotten around to seeing it, a half an hour into it and it’s pretty damn good.

Also editing my manuscript at the same time 😀


Posted in Writing

It’s Nanowrimo season!

Hello all,

So we’re eight days into November Nano 2017 and I’ve mostly been keeping up with the word count. Until now. Currently just over 6000 words just now but you can check my progress on the widget —> there. I’m working on a book that’s been on my mind for a while, it’s actually the second book in a novel series.

I’ve hit a few difficult points already, including a missing chapter plan that I’m now sure was written on a white board and is gone gone. Alas, the point of Nano is just to write for the sheer fun of writing. Obviously I’m doing this alongside my MA so my inner editor keeps appearing and yelling at me… also I’ve been procrastinating some of my actual assignments but I’ll get back on it soon enough.

For now, we write!

e x

Posted in Education, Fitness, Memories, Musings, University, Writing

Back to the drawing board

My course started on Saturday and I’ve managed to spend at least a couple of hours each day since to contribute to the forums and work on assignments. I’ve received really good feedback from a couple of other students on my first submission. I’m not good with criticism whether good or bad, and I struggle with accepting constructive criticism which I put down to too many essays being returned with ‘try harder’, ‘more detail’, ‘less flowery language – get to the point’, ‘don’t be so forceful’ – feedback in general can be contradictory as everyone will have different opinions.

This first year is broken down into four blocks and two specialisations, which for me are: Fiction and Script-writing. I’ll be working on Fiction in blocks 1 and 3, Script-writing in block 2, and block 4 is independent study. There are assessments at the end of each block and a final end of module assessment in June. I’m not too worried about the assessments yet, I had a read of the requirements and so long as I follow the course work and readings, I should manage to do quite well overall.

One of the stories I’ve been using for coursework is from what I want to be a novel series but it actually started aeons ago when I was around 6 or 7 as a make-believe scenario which touted many filled afternoons and a special birthday performance of a play of the story which I’d worked on for days. I was industrious to say the least. Now it’s a grown up story, but I’m still lacking a decent title. I know what I want the individual books to be titled but I don’t know what to name the series! I read an entire chapter on the purpose and point of decent titles, but nothing quite helped with this conundrum. I’ll get there in the end I suppose… consistency is the best cure for being stuck!

Managed to get back to the gym yesterday after several weekends of being too busy. Not lost too much in terms of endurance and I managed to get onto the lat pulldown machine… merely a couple of kgs off my personal bests! Going back tomorrow to smash them. Down several pounds in weight as well which is nice, but I’m trying to focus on listening to my body, if I really feel hungry or I’m just bored. I don’t want to go back to counting calories as I become far too obsessive with it, portion control and paying more attention to my eating habits and cravings will get me through for now.

I’m not a runner, it’s never been my thing, and I’ve actually caused myself more damage in the past when I’ve tried to run. Remember Phoebe trying to run in the park with Rachel? And Rachel was humiliated? Yep, mum just let me know today that that one time in school when I was picked to do the relay, I ran just like Phoebe did, maybe even worse! Thanks mum. I was never the sporty type. I had/have little to no upper body strength. I’d try to go on the monkey bars, grab on and swing forward – and keep swinging as my arms betrayed me and I kept swinging forward until gravity smacked me into the playground foam. I still can’t swim: I don’t float. Even when I was several stone lighter, it just never happened for me. My swimming proficiency at the end of Primary School, I got the shortest pity badge of 15 meters, but honestly that was me bobbing and trying to remember how to doggy-paddle like on Topsy and Tim. Then someone splashed water into my face and I choked and threw up by the side of the pool… thus my attempt was over.

So yeah, I was never going to be Sporty Spice, but that’s really why I prefer individual exercises that involve a steady machine or weights that I’m comfortable using without dislocating something. Don’t even get me started on gymnastics… the day I realised I had no balance or poise killed me. I’d never get to be the Pink Power Ranger. But when asked to do jumping splits over another person, I could take at least four others down with me!

Leave me to walk, row, and lift heavy stuff. I’m good.

e x

Posted in Education, elearning, Musings, University, work, Writing


If there’s one thing I’ve never been great at it’s balance. Not just in the literal sense of standing on one foot but in terms of what I’m doing in my life, e.g. work or uni, and what I’m juggling with secondary interests and socialising/relaxing.

Especially within the last few weeks this has become my aim to work on achieving a better balance despite working full-time and travelling around ten hours a week to-and-fro. One of my most important challenges has been to prepare enough new and original content for this blog, and as an exercise in discipline to flex my writing muscles even when I’ve little time or inspiration.

Very soon I’ll be starting my new Masters degree, which I’m really excited about but also slightly anxious about being prepared and inspired even if I’m drained from work. I know what I’m getting back into having just finished full-time uni; deadlines, stressing over grades, never feeling I’ve done enough, etc, but I’m planning to plan better and work on my biggest hurdle: TIME MANAGEMENT! This has never been my friend, ever, but I know now more than ever that I need to work on it so I have time to review, revise, and edit drafts efficiently, prior to submitting, so that I can be certain I’ve handed in my best work.

I’m pretty certain I’ll naturally be more inspired to submit creative writing pieces rather than essays. No matter how much I love to write, I’ve never quite gotten the essay writing process down! All lecturers wanted a different style, format, or I really struggled to grasp what they actually wanted me to submit. I did always try to find a hook or an angle to trick myself into being interested in essay topics (apart from classics courses, no tricks were ever needed), but my resounding feeling during honours years was that nothing I wrote was ever good enough.

This course will be different. I’ve been writing since I was 2. Yes, two! Since I could hold a pen I would scribble on paper or forms, (the wall occasionally) and feel exactly the same as Scout Finch, that writing is as natural as breathing. It’s no more spectacular than the respiratory system but is as absolutely critical to life as air.

In the evenings I don’t really have much chill time but I’m starting to get used to my routine and have been able to better utilise what time I do have. I’ve signed up to a few MOOC’s on Coursera, Edx, and OpenLearn which are all free to study and follow but with the option to pay a small fee for an official certificate/qualification. I’ll post soon about the courses I’m doing with some early thoughts and feedback.

There’s also my massive TBR pile, which I’ll get to at some point and review my recent reads.

As a final thought for tonight, I know it is important to take one day at a time, but it is also just as important to make plans and time for the things you really want to do during your free time, so you don’t end up sitting dejected on a Sunday night remembering all the things you wanted to do! (Too many times!)

My schedule changes by an hour next week for a few weeks but I’m going to create a full rotating schedule of activities to slot in around work…

… just keep swimming!

e x

P.S. I’ve added a new Photography page, which I’m planning on adding much more to soon, have a looksie!

Posted in Writing

Camp NaNoWriMo

The July edition of National Novel Writing Month has just started! I got off to a good start then promptly fell behind (as happens every year).

If you don’t know about it, the goal is essentially to write a 50,000 word novel in a month. Camp Nano has a few extra options in allowing you to work on a screenplay, so you can set a goal for pages written, hours worked etc. Also you can do revisions, poetry, and basically anything that gets you writing. Now you can amend the word-count too, so if 50k is pushing it, you can still win on a lower word-count and still have achieved.

This year, since I’m on summer break and job hunting, I thought it would be a great way to get back into writing by just hammering out tens of thousands of words. After Nano, when I reread over my work I find that it’s not all bad and even much of it is usable thanks to Nano helping to silence my inner editor. Ta-dah! It’s like magic. In case you’re interested in following me on Nano, especially if you decide to start right now (please do, it’s not too late!) here’s my profile.

I’m working on a section of a novel series I started ages ago (and also did for a previous Nano), I’ve literally jumped in to the fun bit and I’m flying mostly without a plan. Prior to starting this year I made a list of scenarios I’d like to see my characters in and maybe it will flow together as the second book, maybe it won’t, either way by the end of this month I should be 50,000 words closer to another book than I was at the start of the month.

There are options to join a cabin either with your own friends or be placed into a cabin with similar writers, I’m not completely certain how it works in terms of writing as a group as I am a solitary writer and the only friend I want near me while I write is WINE!

So please, have a look on the website and if you are curious then maybe give it a try. Even if you don’t set a massive word count or even write every day, the fact is you might still end up with more words for a story than you expected.

If you’re struggling to focus or make yourself keep writing then try this website: Write or Die. You write your wordage on its screen and set a timer and word count, then you try to beat it. But there are consequences for pausing or stopping writing, you can amend the settings to how you want it to respond, I won’t spoilt it for you, it’s definitely fun.

Hasta luego,

e x