Another pep talk and some headway

NaNoWriMo’s done something to me. After all the hype and productivity and cameraderie, I feel as though I’m floating around not really sure what to do with myself. My focus this month was going to be on sending out articles and queries (which I have been doing) while sitting on my completed novel until the new year, when I can look at it with a fresh mind. Except something’s been niggling at me and I’ve not felt any kind of satisfaction with my output. Not least because I feel like it’s a slow process, but because I miss the pressure of NaNoWriMo and the buzz that comes with it.  I was chatting to someone today who is actively still using Word Sprints, which I think is a wonderful idea. For something which I found so productive in November, I’m surprised I didn’t think of this before. Well, I was aiming for finishing my second novel by the end of this year (providing the world doesn’t end on Friday, of course), but I didn’t put any challenges in place for myself. I had targets; realistic targets, for the non-fiction side of my work. Yet the targets weren’t stretching me enough. So last night, I sat for two hours (yes, really) and drew up a spreadsheet with a chart to measure my word count, so I have something I can use to monitor my progress and push myself. I’ve only got basic knowledge of formulas in spreadsheets, so it’s nowhere near as great as the NaNo word counter, but it will do. Additionally, after speaking about word sprints, I decided to go with my method of getting those words out, which involves sprinting for 5 mins, then having a break, then 10 mins, then break, then 15 mins, then break, and so on. I think the longest I managed in November was 30 minutes when an acquaintance bullied me into getting another 1k out in those 30 minutes as I was so close to the finish line. It was epic.

So, the end result is that I have a word counter, and a new focus. I feel great now, I don’t feel like I’m floating around like a ghost trying lots of different types of food, only to realise that I can’t taste anything because I’m a ghost. Sorry, that was a terrible metaphor, but I am pretty tired. I managed 2k of my novel today in the space of an hour, which is more than I’ve achieved all month.  

Time is of the essence, and studying markets and sending out query letters is something which requires a lot of attention, which I don’t have the opportunity for during the day due to the narrow time slots I get between my daughter needing my attention. Perhaps I’ll be better off concentrating on getting those words on paper while she sleeps, and leaving the tasks which require greater concentration for the evening.

This is what it’s all about, juggling your life, juggling your time. If you can take control of the tools you have and use them to the best of your ability, if you can push yourself and realise that your only limit is where YOU draw the line, then it is entirely possible to get where you need to be.

Be organised, be focused, and persevere.

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Book Review: Blood Shadows by Lindsay J. Pryor

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Blood ShadowsBlood Shadows by Lindsay J. Pryor

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When this book was released, I was looking forward to an exciting love story between the heroine and a very, very, bad vampire. Blood Shadows, however, blew me away. The writing hooks you from page 1, the tension apparent immediately. This debut novel from Lindsay J. Pryor gives exactly what it promises, and more.

The story is an addictive mix of thrills, passion and on-the-edge-of-your-seat suspense. Be prepared to be left breathless, not least from the turn of the last page, but throughout the whole story. The characters are so life-like that as the reader, you will find yourself in the world of Blackthorn, watching the action unfold as if you were seeing it in a movie. Yet at the same time, the writing transports you inside the mind of the protagonist so well that you could be living their story yourself.

If you’re looking for something new to sink your teeth into, this is the story you’re looking for; because this is more than a just a tale of romance. This is a sensual and exciting thriller which will definitely leave you wanting more.

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Feeling a little flat?

It’s that stagnant moment between finishing NanoWriMo and getting organised for Christmas. It’s only just December and therefore too soon for me; but then I am quite disorganised when it comes to personal affairs. I don’t like to be forced into doing something before I’m ready.

I intend to wait until the New Year before beginning revisions on The Gateway, so that I can look at it with a fresh mind once all the chaos of the festive season has died down. As mentioned in a prior post, I have another novel in progress about a girl who had everything and lost it all (incidentally called The Girl Who Had Nothing), which started life in NanoWriMo 2010, and I’ll be focusing on that next.

I must confess that I’ve had a little break for a few days; not just because I was knackered, but because the little one and I have been a tad poorly with a nasty cold virus (similar to ‘flu, but not ‘flu – those who have had it know the true symptoms and it’s horrible. Temperature, aches and pains and hallucinations. Anyone with a few sneezes and blocked sinuses who tells you they have ‘flu is lying).

We’ve bounced back now though and I’ve been busy sending out query letters for articles and following up emails. In the meantime there’s a host of novels I’m eager to read (a definite perk of what I do now). I’m looking forward to being able to put more reviews up on Goodreads and, well, Read More Books.

So that’s just a little update of what I’ve been up to, and hope to have more news soon.

Has anyone else won NanoWriMo and felt a little anti-climax, wondering what to do next? Or are you super organised and have therefore already planned your work for the month?

Book review: The Vampire Diaries ~ The Return ~ Nightfall

My first review on Goodreads – The fifth book in The Vampire Diaries series Nightfall (The Vampire Diaries: The Return, #1)
Nightfall by L.J. Smith

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

With this being the fifth book in The Vampire Diaries series, I have to admit I struggled. Perhaps it’s unfair of me to presume it’s because I’m used to the TV series – which I absolutely love – but I did find it difficult to picture some of the scenes, which, for me, seemed a little far fetched. For those who haven’t read the books, I must point out that they are totally different to the TV series – difference in characters, different storylines etc. I enjoyed the first four books, especially the first two; but I was disappointed with Nightfall.
On a plus note, the exploration into Damon’s more sensitive side in this book has tempted me to buy the next one, which I hope will deliver more.

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