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Thursday 17th September 2020

Wow – it has been a tiresome two weeks! I apologise for not having written on here for a while; I’ve struggled getting back into the routine of work. My house has gone back to looking like a bomb site and I feel permanently tired, but it’s nice to be back at work, keeping busy. My new year 3 class are lovely, including the class teacher and my daughter is doing well in her new class as well. The school have been fantastic at helping everyone settle back into our new normal; the staggered start times and end times have flowed a lot easier and I’m getting the hang of planning for R. E – and teaching it.

My partner and I are close to living together which is great, but it may have to be further outside our town than I had anticipated. Hopefully this won’t cause too much bother with getting to and from work.

Rolo and Kinder, my dogs, were poorly last weekend so I suffered with a few nights of lost sleep, but they are all better now. They are allowed to sleep upstairs with us again and have been making the most of bedtime snuggles.

My daughter’s glasses broke so I decided to book an eye test as she was a few months overdue because of lockdown and now has to wait for two weeks for her new glasses to be delivered to store. I know it can’t be helped, COVID-19 has a lot to answer for, but it’s frustrating that she’s without glasses as she goes back to school and needs them to read the board etc.

Anyway, I have finished Sookie Stackhouse #12 and am reading #13 on the rare occasion that my eyes remain open when I get into bed. I have so many books on my bookshelf and kindle that I have no idea what to read next! Do I read something current, or read something that’s been out for a while now? Or maybe I could start creating a detailed plan for my next novel…

I have sent off my cover letter, synopsis and first three chapters of my novel to my editor, who will be looking at it over the next few days. Eek! I’m super nervous but excited at the same time to read back through some professional feedback. I’m aware that it still needs a lot of work, but I’m hoping I’ve nailed the beginning.

Thank you for your continued support. Have a lovely weekend and speak next week.

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Thursday 20th August 2020

Hi all, hope you’re well and have had a good week.

I finally finished my first round of revisions for my novel and included an extra 5k words. Whoop – go me! I’m feeling proud of myself this week for finishing my first full edit. I’ve not enjoyed the process and have had to force myself to get through the finishing line so that it’s ready for my editor to read through next month. Having not had a break between finishing my first draft and editing, I’ve decided that I’m not going to do my second lot of revisions until November so that I can come back to it with fresh eyes as well as the editor’s report. I hate to say it but I’m fed up of working on it now, I’m ready to start planning my next novel. I just need some time! Schools are back in a couple of weeks though and I need to do some planning. It never ends.

One thing I’m happy with is that I made some time for myself over the summer holidays to finish reading Sookie Stackhouse #11 and have made a start on How Not to Write a Novel. I’m breezing through it at the moment and have found it interesting to compare my writing to the bad examples of writing in the book. Have I done the same thing? Maybe I should reword some of my sentences? Have I described my setting enough? It definitely makes you question every single word in your manuscript and scrutinise them with a critical eye.

Another thing I have done is watch the first three seasons of Supernatural. They were all on Amazon Prime, which saved me from having to get my DVDs out, but they emailed me to say that the series will be removed today. Looks like I will be watching season four onward on DVD. I can’t even remember where I got up to – season seven I think. I’m also watching Doctor Who with my daughter; we are just over halfway through season one so we have a long way to go. I’ve been enjoying the choice of films on Prime and Netflix lately. I’ve watched Dumb and Dumber, The Mask, Hitch, Cruel Intentions, White Chicks, Blade and Blade 2. A series that I’ve been watching on TV with my partner is APB – it’s so good and cleverly written with a unique spin on an American cop drama.

My partner is away for the weekend so my daughter and I are going to be making the most of girl time. We are having a movie tonight tomorrow with one of her friends, we’re going to be doing face masks and painting nails and she loves playing with my hair. We may also bake some banana bread to have as a pudding after we make homemade chicken nuggets for dinner on Saturday. We’re going to have a blast!

Thank you once again for your time and support. I hope you have a wonderful weekend and will speak next week.

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Thursday 23rd July 2020

Good evening to you all! I hope you’ve had a great week.

So, I would like to start off by saying that I was unsuccessful with the mentorship programme. They had over 1,500 applicants and only six spaces to hand out. I’m not upset; I was half expecting that result when they postponed the announcement date. It made me realise that I need to finish my first draft and give it a full revision so I can start querying.

The good news is that my partner and I have booked our wedding. We fell in love with the venue and are planning on paying it off by the end of next year to give us a chance to sort the extras out. We are super excited to have it booked after being engaged for a year already. The wedding won’t be until 2023 which gives us plenty of time to get things paid!

Work has finished now. I won’t be back in until September when the new academic year starts. It will be interesting to see how everything works with our new guidelines dependent on what’s happening with COVID-19 at that point. On the whole, I’m looking forward to a change; to be working with a new class teacher and to be with a new year group.

Some more good news – I finally finished the first draft of my novel! After two years of writing, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. My job over the summer holidays is to self-edit like crazy and send the first chunk of my story to a developmental editor as I can’t afford the cost of sending the full manuscript over. I have decided to send a small chunk to get as much of the beginning scrutinised as possible and apply the feedback to the rest of my novel. I’m hoping that this will put me in a better position for querying. I really want to start sending my novel off to agents before the end of the year so that I can make a start on my next novel.

Thank you for reading, it means a lot! Have a lovely weekend and I will be back 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 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!