Thursday 2nd July 2020

Hello again. It’s been a tough week at school with continuing to make props and making a start on sorting out the Science and D. T cupboard. The class teacher and I decided to order lots of tray boxes – one colour for Science and one colour for D. T – to make them more visually accessible. We have thrown away three black bags of things that are broken or just don’t get used. This means we can create an itinerary to assess what we have and what we need. We are going to create new labels in the hopes of keeping everything where it needs to be.

After feeling guilty last week for not having written anything, I managed to write an additional three chapters over the weekend meaning that my fiance found out my major plot twist. He was surprised and I was happy! Although, it did highlight a mistake I’d made with my plot, allowing me to adjust a few details. Also, I had some negative feedback about one of my chapters. I have now broken that chapter into two and placed them in different sections of the story. This is my next task for the weekend – to rewrite both of these and continue to adjust some details along the way to ensure my plots tie in together nicely. Then, I only have three more chapters to write until I’m finished with my first draft.

I’ve been reading a few books this week. I finished Sookie Stackhouse #9 and have started #10. I’ve also started Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire. I finished a non-fiction book about prose and read a book called Show, Don’t Tell. I made lots of notes from this book to help me when I revise my draft for self-editing purposes.

I’m toying with the idea of hiring a professional editor. The cost is what’s holding me back from making that decision. Firstly, I have a wedding to save for. I also need to buy a car if my fiance and I are able to move house so that I can get to work. It would also be great if I could buy a new laptop given that mine is almost ten years old! Ah, money is always the reason for anything – good or bad. The thing is, I’d love to have a professional opinion by sending my work off for a developmental/structural edit. I feel it will give me a better chance of getting accepted by an agent if I’m unsuccessful with the mentorship programme. Decisions, decisions!

Thank you so much for reading. As ever, I’m grateful that you’ve taken the time to support me along my journey. Have a fabulous weekend. Speak to you all next week.

Thursday 25th June 2020

Gosh, it’s been hot this week. I am peeling my limbs from each other as I write through this sweltering heat. I’m writing at a later time today because I had to stay late at work to host a Zoom call with the class teacher and our year five children. It was lovely to see so many of their faces again. Unfortunately, we won’t get the opportunity to finish this academic year properly due to COVID-19. School staff are trying to picture how everything will be in September, how the classrooms will be, how break times will be, and how the children will be as well each other.

Whilst on Twitter early this evening, I saw a tweet from the agency that I sent my application to. Due to a much higher volume than anticipated, the announcement date for the mentorship programme had been postponed until 17th July. On one hand I’m happy that they are taking the time to read through everyone’s applications thoroughly. On the other hand, it’s not helped my anxiety as I wonder if that many more applicants dilutes my chances of getting a place. The frustrating part of this is not knowing the strength of the ‘competition’.

Over the last week, I have asked myself what my next steps will be if I don’t get a place on the mentorship programme. My first step is to finish my book. I’m also debating hiring an editor to get a structural edit to see if I’m headed in the right direction. I would love a professional pair of eyes to read through my story and tell me what’s working and what’s not. My friends have given positive feedback saying that they feel as though they are reading a book that’s already been published, which is fantastic, but I’d like to get a professional opinion. I have now written the first twelve chapters, and I’m waiting for my friends and family to email back their responses to some questions I asked. I did this to obtain specific feedback.

I’ve not completed any writing this week. I’m not happy about this, so I need to play catch up over the weekend to make myself feel less guilty.

I hope you’ve all had a fabulous week and have an amazing weekend. Thank you for taking the time to read, it means a lot. Speak next week!

Thursday 18th June 2020

This is my third week back in work and I’m now creating props and costumes for the Year 6 play – Peter Pan. Because there are only two thirds of the year group back, which have been divided into two pods, and the necessity for social distancing, we are recording each section of the play and piecing it all back together to run from start to finish. One pod will be responsible for the start, and the other one will be responsible for the end. It will be interesting to see the outcome.

I haven’t done much reading this week due to constant tiredness. However, I have managed to accomplish a lot more writing than usual. I’m gradually receiving some feedback on chapters 7-9, I’ve written chapters 11-12, and next I will be writing chapter 10. The reason I haven’t written the chapters in a chronological order is because I have multiple POV’s. I find it easier to concentrate on the protagonist before going back and filling in the other POV’s.

The Writing Community on Twitter has been fabulous. Everyone is supportive and encouraging. I’m slowly getting the hang of it and finding it easier to use than Facebook. This is only my opinion, and everyone will have their own, but I feel there is a more positive atmosphere on Twitter.

Because of being at work, I haven’t used my watercolours for a little while. I have decided that my writing is more important at the moment. It’s just under two weeks until I hear back from the mentorship programme. If I’m unsuccessful, I want to be as ready as possible to start sending my query letter off to agents/agencies. I still have moments of intense anxiety over the mentorship. It would be nice to have an idea of what other applicants have sent in, but I know that’s not going to happen. I just need to remain as positive as I can until 1st July.

Hope you have all enjoyed your week, and have a wonderful weekend. I will catch up with you next week.

Thursday 11th June

Over the weekend, I decided that I need to finish rewriting my story. Firstly, it will make it easier if I’m lucky enough to get a place on the mentorship programme. If I’ve already finished writing it, then it will be easier to tweak. Lastly, if I’m unsuccessful, it means that I can start my submissions straight away.

I must admit, I’ve been stressing over the mentorship programme. Every time I think about it, I can feel the nerves scurrying through my body. Waiting makes me worry. I don’t suffer with anxiety, but my levels have been up and down like a pogo stick. Does it have a similar effect on you? Just under three weeks until I find out if I’ve got a place – 1st July needs to hurry itself up!

Having been back at work for the last two weeks, it has helped to keep my mind occupied. When there is little to do, I read my book. I’m still working my way through the Sookie Stackhouse series at the moment and am reading Dead and Gone (Book 9). I love a good vampire story. Vampire box sets are a good option too.

I’ve had no time to paint this week, but I have been on Twitter a lot. The writing community on there is so supportive, lots of friendly comments, lots of retweets and likes, lots of writer lifts – what’s not to love? It’s been great to connect with other people in a similar situation to me and see how they have progressed.

Anyway, I digress, I have rewritten three more chapters this week, read them back to myself out loud and ran them through ProWritingAid (mainly to check for passive sentences, adverbs and grammar). Anyone else do this? What do you check for? My updated chapters have been sent to my feedback group, so I’m just waiting for their replies to see if they’re as good as the other chapters.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my latest post. Speak again next week.

4th June 2020

It has now been nine days since I sent in my first 15,000 – 20,000 words to a literary agency to apply for a mentorship programme. The wait is on!

Having rewritten the first part of my novel, I sent it out to those people I received constructive feedback from previously and was welcomed with positive comments. My characters were solid. I had started my story with a better POV. My descriptions were on point. There were only a few minor typos to edit. This filled me with so much confidence that I felt ready to apply. My fingers are now firmly crossed and waiting for the announcement on 1st July to see if I’m lucky enough to get a space on the mentorship programme.

This is why I must apologise for being absent on here over the past few weeks. I have been writing, rewriting, reading, responding to feedback, and homeschooling my daughter whilst working from home during the lockdown. It has been tough, but lockdown gave me the time to throw myself into research and rewrite most of my story. I also followed some tutorials on YouTube to learn how to use watercolours. Let’s Make Art is amazing and the instructions are super easy to follow. I have produced a couple of failed attempts as well as some surprisingly beautiful pieces, which are now in frames.

I initially said that I would write here on a weekly basis, however, this is something I haven’t stuck to. I am now setting a reminder on my phone to ensure that I update you each week on my progress. So far, it has been difficult and testing, but I’m determined to progress and succeed.

Thank you so much for reading,

Michelle.