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Thursday 6th August 2020

Hello everyone.

I apologise for not writing a blog post last Thursday. It was my partner’s birthday so we were celebrating with a few (or more) glasses of gin, and I thought it best to stay away from the keyboard in case I wrote something completely incoherent!

Over the last two weeks, I’ve been watching lots of videos on YouTube from Reedsy and iWriterly on how to self-edit and revise your first draft. If you haven’t already seen them then I highly recommend watching their videos with an editor who provide critiques on writing that has been sent in. The best one on Reedsy is First Line Frenzy with Rebecca Heyman. Viewers send in the first line of their novel and Rebecca will give honest feedback. There is one on iWriterly with Meg LaTorre and a guest editor/literary agent who ring a bell when they feel a literary agent would stop reading the first section of a manuscript. These videos have been super helpful and has given me food for thought.

So far, I’ve edited the first five chapters of my novel and intend to finish the first round of editing by the end of next week so that I can start my second revision and send it off to my feedback group to get their thoughts and opinions on the novel as a whole. I have found this process daunting; it’s been difficult finding relevant flaws in my character arcs and plot etc. I find it much easier to line edit my work. I have hired an editor for a developmental edit on the first ten thousand words of my novel. To say I’m excited is an understatement – if I could send it off now to get the feedback then I would, however, I am booked in for mid September. Hopefully I will have some feedback before then so I can make any necessary adjustments before sending it off.

Last week, I came to the realisation that I’ve put on far too much weight over the last three years (not just over lockdown), so I’m now on a diet and have lost two pounds already. I started the diet three days ago and I plan on starting an exercise routine next week. I want to feel good about myself again and I want my clothes to fit because I don’t have enough money to keep buying new clothes every time I go up a dress-size. My partner and daughter have agreed to diet with me – we are going to be a grumpy household for the next few weeks!

Thank you again for being the amazing readers you are. Have a fab weekend, speak next week.

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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.

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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.

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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.