>Live Blog of a Day Writing

>Today my goal is to spend most of the day writing.  I’m planning to participate in the Introverted Words 7K All Day event.  And I thought I would live blog my progress as I go.

12:30 I spent the first hour or so after I was up making phone calls and checking e-mails and looking at cinema times.  I’ve just finished my first piece of writing for the day which was a book review.  It’s in the blog entry below this one.  Word count for that is 417, total word count so far today is also 417.

15:29 I took a long break and went into town. Where I got snowed on a little (although it didn’t last long and didn’t settle) and absolutely bitterly cold but I did manage to get what I needed done.  Then I had lunch when I got back.  I’ve just finished another spell of writing and I did 1024 words in about 20 minutes.  That was on a supposed short story which I now suspect is going to be a lot longer than what I normally consider short stories. But we shall see.  Total word cound so far today is 1,441 words.

17:53 Writing isn’t going very well today, in fact it’s going very very slowly.  I don’t have much in the way of motivation although I do have lots of ideas.  To be honest I’ve been feeling a bit down in general this week and particularly depressed today.  I’m not sure why.  I did decide the other day that I’m no longer aiming for 50K on NaNo and I think that was definitely the right decision as it takes a lot of pressure off.  Some of my friends won’t be very happy about that I’m sure but to be honest, if thats how they feels then they don’t know me very well.  I’ve written a couple of hundred more words and I created a character who is really nasty and everyone hates. And named them after someone who really pissed me off and upset me a couple of weeks ago. The scene I’m writing now is someone having a massive go at them.  It’s really very therapeutic even if it is words I can probably never show anyone.  That’s 436 words, total so far today 1877 words

19:42 I just did a five minute writing sprint and wrote 342 words. Total for today is now 2205

21:57 just spent the two hours just gone watching tv and writing on my netbook during the breaks.  I wrote 1746 words druing that time (and the tv was good). Total for today is now 3951 words. 7K might be more realistic than it was looking but I’m not sure at the moment.

23:51 Another five minute sprint 376 words written. Plan is one more long sprint and then bed, I think. 4327 words so far.

00:59 Those last several words have not been easy to come by and I didn’t manage one long sprint.  If I had done I would probably have reached the 7K target but I’m really not bothered about that.

I have 5,936 words for the day (including the ones in this liveblog) and I am done. Not as successful as I would have liked (I’d hoped to better my word count from the previous 7K day) but any words are good words and there is definitely potential in a lot of them.

Liveblogging the day has made me keep a much closer eye on my progress than last week and I’ve written more often than I might otherwise if not for that motivation – as motivation is sadly lacking today. I think that’s a common end of November writers burn out thing for me though.

It’s nearly 1 am and I’m headed to bed now. I plan to blog, hopefully tomorrow, about what I’ve learned from doing these days and why I think I stuggled more with today than I did last week. If I did it now I doubt that it would make very much sense.

>Long Reach by Peter Cocks

>I was given a copy of Long Reach by Peter Cocks by Waterstones in order to review it.  It’s aimed at people 14+, is a thriller and is being released on 3rd January 2011 (have I mentioned lately how much I love getting prerelease books to read? I LOVE IT).  This is Peter Cocks first book.

Here is what Waterstones.com has to say about this book

This is a gritty urban thriller set in the ganglands of south London. Seventeen-year-old Eddie Savage is shocked to learn that the body of his brother, Steve, has just been washed up in the Thames. But he soon discovers something even more disturbing: that Steve had actually been working undercover for the police – and was probably murdered in the line of duty. Determined to avenge his brother’s death, Eddie relinquishes his old life and identity to take up where Steve left off, throwing himself headlong into his first mission – to infiltrate a tough south London gang. But as he becomes caught up in the world of crime, Eddie begins to question where his loyalties lie. Then he makes a terrible discovery…

And my review (which will show up on the above linked Waterstones page as soon as it’s approved, which might not be until Monday)

This is a really brilliant book. I read it in a few hours pretty much straight through – it really hooked me in and it was difficult to put down.  It’s well written and the characters are very believable.

Long Reach is aimed at teenagers (the book states 14+) but that wasn’t obvious and I think there’s plenty in it for adults to enjoy as well.  The writing certainly has enough depth to it for teenagers not to feel talked down to and adults to find levels in it they can enjoy.  Definitely a good book for anyone but I could see it appealing to teenagers just beginning to read books outside the “childrens” section

The pace is fast but works.  As other reviewers have said the ending is a little abrupt but personally I found it worked.  It does take you a little by surprise that you don’t find “what happens next” but I like books that keep me guessing.

They way this book is marketed makes me believe their will be sequels.  I would read them but I wouldn’t be hunting them down the very day they are published.  Long Reach raises lots of questions  throughout the book some of which are answered and some aren’t.  I don’t want to ruin it for anyone but there are definite questions I was left wanting answers for.  Given the way the book ended however I doubt they will ever be answered, even in sequels

Finally I should probably say that I’m not the worlds biggest thriller fan so for me to love this as much as I did and find it hard to put down can only show how good this book is.  Hopefully Peter Cocks will write other books in future as I think he’ll be one to watch.

I didn’t put this on my review on Waterstones but feel I should warn people that there is one use of the R word in this book.

>Stream of Consciousness

>I’ve just seen the forecast for the next few days.  That doesn’t look good.  Snow isn’t forecast to start here for another day or two but because we have a power station here it always snows (due to all the steam).  I’m down at the arts centre right now.  I go to a knitting group (technically not called Stitch and Bitch any more although that’s what I call it) here on a Wednesday night.  I was pretty sure that our only other regular couldn’t make it tonight but I was also thinking I should come out just in case.  Being housebound because of snow really sucks.  But I do have to admit that I’m getting a bit fed up with the “get out of the house every single time you can just in case” mindset I’ve been in for a couple of weeks.

Anyway I’m having a j2o and one of the worlds biggest flapjacks (seriously they could sell them half the size and you wouldn’t moan they were small – or I would having seen how big they are now).  They have Christmas carols playing and they’ve put their Christmas tree up.  It’s nice.  Although when they asked me what I thought of the Christmas tree I did suggest it was a little early for that.  I particularly like the fact that they haven’t put any tinsel on their tree.  It’s particularly bizarre that I like that given that I usually love tinsel but there you have it.

Oh actually Pulp’s common people has just come on, that’s not a Christmas carol but it is a song I like a lot.  Probably because I’ve heard and seen some really cool parody versions of that and I really like parody songs.  I was never really a huge pulp fan but I did like another song of theirs or at least I think it was theirs (the lets all meet up in the year 2000 song).

One of the things my creative writing tutor talks about a lot is something chaos writing where you just sit and write.  You don’t worry about what you are writing, you don’t edit, and you don’t stop.  if you can’t write you write about why you can’t write.  It’s supposed to spark creativity.  I do it quite a lot and I do find it works really well. And it’s where this blog entry which is some what of a stream of consciousness has come from.  One of the ways I often do it is to take a line from a song or a comment from the TV and use that as a prompt.

I sit in here and write fairly often which I really enjoy, I do find getting out of the house can get me writing more and easier then sitting in the house where I’m distracted easily.  It’s a bit bizarre given that it’s usually the internet which distracts me and they do have wifi here but that’s what it is.

Anyway, Common People has finished playing now and has another song which wasn’t a Christmas Carol either but I wasn’t sure what it was.  Now Elvis Blue Christmas is playing.  But going back to Common People and the parody songs I was talking about, it occurred to me as it was playing that it might be fun to do a “Disabled People” version

So you wanna live like disabled people
Do whatever disabled people do

etc etc.

I’ll have to sit down and think about it (I know, I know, when am I ever not sat down – when I’m in bed, that’s when) but don’t hold your breath to see it here, parody songs aren’t very easy and I don’t think I’m good at them.  But then again I did write a haiku about how syllables confuse me and I hate them and can’t write the damn things – then realised afterwards it was exactly right, syllables and all.

NaNoWriMo is but isn’t going well.  And I do realise that also doesn’t make sense.  I have 30K words which is huge but I’m stalled a lot and not sure I can hit 50K in the next week.  It is doable but I’m not very motivated right now if I’m honest.  And I should be honest in my blog.  I did take part in a 7K all day writing event over on Introverted Words last Saturday which I succeeded in and which was huge fun.  Rochelle is running another one this Saturday which I think I’ll do – it should be fun and it’ll really help beat that wordcount into submission.  It wasn’t as hard as I thought it might be either.  Possibly because I can type so fast, I don’t know.

The fact that I gave up on my novel as being an idea which needed too much research and work to be a NaNo novel also played a lot there I think..  So I’m counting every word I write for anything (including blogs) in November and being a rebel.

Oh! I just remembered that I meant to go back over the the 7K all day page and write down all of the prompts that were given (once an hour or so). I didn’t do anything with them so it might be useful to have a note of them.  I bought some index cards absolutely ages ago and have been meaning to go through my creative writing notes and my writing magazines and write one prompt to a card.  Then I can shuffle them, grab one and write it at random.

Talking of creative writing, I’ve decided not to do the course again in January.  It’s totally the right decision but when I realised last week there were only two weeks left it made me a little sad for some unexplainable reason.

Other then writing I’ve been helping my mum with a very exciting project (mostly doing computer things for her) and just my normal CAB stuff.  CAB moved premises last week so this week it was a case of figuring out my way around and accidentally getting covered in gloss paint – my coat, my chair and my brand new just bought the day before hoodie,

The music in here seems to be veering from Christmas Carols and summery reggae type songs that I’m sure my mum had on a CD called “Dancing in Sunshine” in the early nineties.  That was a great CD, I loved it and am now wondering if she still has it (but I doubt it).  It’s a bit of a strange  combination.  I could see a cute story in it.

I’ve not updated about my weight for a few weeks, I’m back up to 17st and a quarter of a pound.  I think I want to just try to stay around what I am now and then worry about it further after Christmas.  But this is a topic I have a longer post planned on so I shall say no more for now.

And now I’ve blathered on for so long I feel completely caught up for the first time in ages.  Which is a very good thing.  This wasn’t what I planned to do here (knitting if my peeps were here or writing but not this writing if they weren’t) but that’s also a very good thing.  I’ve also run out of j2o and flapjack.  So I shall head home.

The song that’s just finished playing is the one that was turned into the Vitalite song for the adverts – that brings back memories! I don’t think we were vitalite people though.  I am now wondering if you can still get vitalite though – one for wikipedia me thinks.  But that’ll wait until I get home.

>Thoughts on Blogging.

>I feel like I need to write a “what’s going on with me” type blog post.  I’ve not written an updating type post for over a week.  It might even be a little longer than that, I’m not sure.  I’ve not looked to be honest.  If I’d been really dedicated to making an effort with blogging this month then I would have started blogging daily again once I got over my cold.  But I didn’t.  I really don’t want to give up blogging – I’ve been a blogger for 10 years now which is a scary thought – it’s definitely obvious that I’m not as in to it at the moment as I once was.  I’m sure that will change again, it always seems to.  the in between bit however is a bit boring and can be a bit of a drag!  In more ways than one.

It is a pretty amazing thing to realise that the last decade of my life has been recorded.  A lot of it isn’t available online any more as the host I used for some of it (diary x) is no more, the other blog host which was my main one (diaryland) is still around but I have back ups of most of my blogs on there on my computer.  I used to say that was a good thing that so much was lost but actually I’m no longer sure it is.  Going back to read some of my very first blog entries does make me cringe in a lot of ways.  But it’s a part of my history.  and it shows how I’ve grown and changed over the last ten years.  Both as a person and also as a writer.

I’ve never been big on editing or even really spell checking my blog entries.  And I don’t censor what I write too much.  Or at least entries for my own blog.  I take more care over guest blogs and articles that I write.  The way I blog has changed a lot however.  I’m a lot more conscious of online safety than I used to be – when I was at uni I not only shared the name of my uni and which campus I was on (which I probably would still do now) but I also made several mentions to the hall I lived in – by name.  And most of the halls only had one or two wheelchair accessible rooms.  I do edit a tiny bit now as well, mostly changing a word here or there to a better one.  And if I spot missed words or spelling mistakes I will often go back and edit them even if it’s months or years since I posted the entry.

The other thing that’s different with my blogging now is how I rarely blog about CAB.  Obviously most of what I do there is confidential and I signed an agreement as such when I started volunteering there.  But when I first started blogging there was no limits on what I would talk about online.  It’s something that as some of you will know has gotten me in trouble a few times, mentioning things about people I didn’t think were reading…  It doesn’t bother me not talking about CAB, a lot of the time it’s interesting but not blog worthy anyway.  It’s just somewhere I spend a lot of time and a part of my life that doesn’t get included in much details.  And there are a few other parts of my life I purposefully don’t (or rarely) blog about too which is a big change of ten years.  Just a sign of growing as a person.

Lately I’ve read a few books based on blogs.  Those are all very interesting and enjoyable.  Possibly because they were all types of healthcare blogs.  But it made me think two things.

Just what would be included in a similar book about a CAB adviser.  Although actually I suspect a lot of the reason why paramedic or doctor blogs etc are so popular is because we can all relate to going to the doctor or seeing ambulances.  It’s not something I’d be interested in writing but if somebody else did…  And actually another CAB spent the week tweeting every client they saw.  I kept an eye on it and it was pretty interesting. Some I thought “yeah, seen clients like that” and a couple had me going “hmm I’m not sure what you’d do for that client”.  You can see it on twitter here.

The other thing it made me think is that I’m not sure I could keep a specialist one topic only blog.  I think I’d get bored.  Someone referred to my blog the other day as a “disability blog” which I suppose it is.  But only accidentally.  It’s my blog and it’s about so much more than disability!  Just as I am Emma with a disability not “Disability who happens to be called Emma”

I do realise that I’ve not covered the “what’s going on with me” points I intended to when I started writing this blog.  However I think it’s long enough. And I have some other writing to do.  Until tomorrow.  Or some time soon after that anyway…

>Christmas comes but once a year

>So early today I was lying on my bed reading a book.  I went to see Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 1 tonight (which was really good, I loved it) and I wanted to get some chair free time right before going out as my legs have been very tight and spasmy lately.  It didn’t seem to help but hey they might have been worse if I’d not done it.  Plus, I’m reading a really good book.

Anyway, I was reading and I was wondering if the guy had written more, thinking about when and what I was having for dinner (6pm film not conductive for an easy dinner!).  Snuggled under my duvet both for comfort and for warmth.

Then an ice cream van came up the road.

Now, I do live in area where there are loads of young kids so the ice cream comes a lot.  But I don’t think it’s been here for a while.  And it’s the 19th of November.  Whilst it was a little warmer today than yesterday I was surprised to see and hear it but didn’t think too much of it.

Until the music started playing again and I realised just what is was.

Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.

I know that shops and everywhere are getting very into the Christmas thing now because it IS the only time of year they can but that’s just weird.

There is something very, very wrong about an ice cream van announcing it’s presence with a Christmas Carol.

And that’s now two days and two bizarre things.  I must admit I’m wondering what the third bizarre thing will be!

>I Saw A Mouse! Where?

>Yesterday it was arranged that early this morning someone would be popping round for a few minutes to grab something.

I let them in, getting out of bed only when I heard the doorbell and then went to the loo after letting them in.  They wandered into my lounge.

The next thing I hear is them screaming “oh my god oh my god ARGH”

They thought they’d seen a mouse running across the middle of my lounge. At just before 8 in the morning.  It’s safe to say they were freaked out.

I was a bit ARGH about the idea of a mouse in my flat but didn’t have time to get out of the bathroom before they calmed down and reported that it wasn’t a mouse.

It was a very small amount of yarn. They’d knocked it with their foot and it had rolled across the room.

They explained why they thought it was a mouse running across the room and said “you can see why I thought that.” then looked at me and realised I couldn’t.  Then got what they came for and went off.

And I went back to bed.

That’s not what I expected to happen.  But it made for an interesting start to the day!  Nevertheless I hope not to start my day like that again.

>Lyrics Alley by Leila Aboulela

>I was asked by Waterstones to review Lyrics Alley by Leila Aboulela.  As is the case with all my reviews, I was not paid for it but I did receive a free copy of the book.

Description of the book from Waterstones website:
Set in 1950s Sudan, LYRICS ALLEY is the story of the powerful and sprawling Abuzied dynasty. With Mahmood Bey at its helm, the family can do no wrong. But when Mahmood’s son, Nur – the brilliant, charming heir to his business empire – suffers a near-fatal accident, his hopes of university and a glittering future are dashed. Subsequently, his betrothal to his cousin and sweetheart, Soraya is broken off, another tragedy that he is almost unable to bear. As British rule is coming to an end, and the country is torn between modernising influences and the call of traditions past, the family is divided. Mahmood’s second wife, Nabilah, longs to return to Egypt and leave behind her the dust of ‘backward-looking’ Sudan. His first wife, Waheeba, lives traditionally behind veils and closed doors and resents Nabilah’s influence on Mahmood. Meanwhile, Nur must find a way to live again in the world and find peace. Moving from the villages of Sudan to cosmopolitan Cairo and a decimated post-colonial Britain, this is a sweeping tale of loss, faith and reconciliation.

This is my review which will be on the Waterstones website as soon as it’s approved
This book is set in a place and time I know very little about.  The author has a wonderful way of weaving in items about the culture, history and people as a part of the plot which makes it feel very realistic – and very real.  I very much enjoyed reading it and whilst I’m not going out immediately to buy other books by Leila Aboulela if I spot them in the shops I’ll definitely take a look.
Although one or two of the things that take place in the book are very difficult to read about (female circumcision) they are very sensitively handled and personally I found it took me by surprise and made me think rather than it being upsetting.
Nur’s accident forms a big part of the latter half of the book.  As someone who is disabled I was really pleased with how it was handled.  It struck me that it was very true to life both in how he and his family react and also in how it happened.  The ending and how it related to Nur was absolutely brilliant and really positive.
Another thing I particularly liked about Lyrics Alley is how the characters had realistic flaws and abilities.  And how in some places no matter how much they wanted to they couldn’t overcome them.  I felt like the characters grew and matured over the time span of the novel which influenced how I thought about them as I read.
Very highly recommended.

>Almost… but not quite

>I almost managed to keep my for one week only promise and replace that 2 stone gone badge with the 30lb badge… but not quite.  I needed to lose one pound for that to happen.  And I lost three quarters of a pound.  Which I’m still really really happy about.  Next week I hope to switch over the badges in my sidebar but we’ll all (including me) have to wait and see.  My mum said that I did especially well because I ate a lot of sausages when we had hot dogs and jacket potatoes on Bonfire Night (and leftovers the next day).  Personally I didn’t think I ate that many and anyway as I keep trying to tell her I think the odd meal here and there doesn’t matter.  I need to still have what I like and treats because this has to be for life.  I just need to do it in moderation.

The obvious exception to that is the coke and chocolate which I’ve now not had for six months and 9 days (today is the 9th, right?).  I realise that’s different to what I’ve been preaching here but I had real physical addictions to them and I’d tried making them occasional but couldn’t do it.  If I didn’t drink coke for a day or didn’t have enough coke I’d get major headaches – as soon as I got a headache I’d think “I need to drink some coke to clear that up” (and still now six months later when I get headachy a little voice in the back of my head goes “not enough caffeine?” even though I know damn well that I’m not longer physically hooked on coke and I don’t drink tea or coffee so it definitely can’t be!). And if I didn’t eat chocolate I’d get ratty and stressy.

I’ve known for a long time that I had an addiction to those foods and I have no problem saying that.  But suddenly last night it occurred to me that it makes me a food addict.  And I don’t know why but that’s a whole different ball game to me.  Particularly reading Cheryl’s post this morning.  I need to work on that.  First however I need to think about it some more and become ok with it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve come a long way and I know I have.  I’ve beaten those addictions and I don’t binge eat any more (or at least not like I used to and I don’t remember the last time I did a full blown binge).  I’m really proud of how far I’ve come and what I’ve achieved.  I’m just realising how much further I’ve got to go.

>Welcome To My World by Miranda Dickinson


The lovely folks from the Authonomy team at Harper Collins sent me a copy of Welcome To My World by Miranda Dickinson to review.  It’s coming out on 11th November (just a couple of days!) and is well worth reading.
This is what Amazon has to say about it:

Close your eyes and imagine the world is your oyster…

And now imagine never seeing it. Welcome to Harriet Langton’s world. All her life she’s dreamt of travelling the globe – fate always got in the way.

Working as a travel agent, the closest Harri comes to her dream destination of Venice is booking the trip for someone else. But everything changes when travel fanatic Alex drops in.

With her boyfriend Rob tied up with work, Harri is persuaded to help Alex in his quest for love. But in her attempts to help, Harri soon discovers that she’s alienating those around her.

Desperate to leave her life behind, will her dreams finally come true? Or will Harri’s leap of faith be her biggest mistake yet?

A gorgeous love story for fans of Sophie Kinsella and Jill Mansell.

I really enjoyed this book. It was well written and an easy read (but not boring!). Great fun to snuggle under a duvet on a cold day and read – in fact I did that and read over half of it in one go as I couldn’t put it down. Loved the characters, they were very believable and real. They even have flaws and talents just like the rest of us. This book is a chick lit classic but it wasn’t predictable – I thought I’d figured out what would happen and with one or two things I had. However there were others that took me by surprise and I spent most of the book desperate to know just why Harri was hiding in the Ladies Loo which was a twist I loved. They say you should always leave people wanting more and this book definitely did that – it ties up all the loose ends and leaves you satisfied but part of me did wonder what came next for Harri and everyone else in the book. I’d not read any Miranda Dickinson before but I’m now adding her other book to my Christmas list!

>Why Deciding to Blog Daily is a Bad Idea if You’re Me!

>I originally planned to blog everyday this month.  I am officially never going to make that plan again.  It was something I intended to do in September and then I stared the month off with a cold that ended up on my chest.  No month of daily blogging for me!

And then I decided to do the same this month.

Tuesday I had a bit of a sore throat but nothing major.  My Dad’s had a bad cold so I was a bit concerned I was getting one but didn’t worry about it too much.  Went into Reading for the day and bought the yarn for my Mum’s Christmas present.  Also did a big chunk of writing in one of the branches of costa with a bacon sandwich.  Then when I came home I decided to have a dominos.  Usually I order a large pizza and a couple of sides (if there are on buy one get one free, otherwise just one) and have half or thereabouts and then the rest the next day.  I just ordered a large pizza (especially good willpower wise as it was Two for Tuesday on pizza).  But I ate the lot.

And woke up in the middle of the night having a gall bladder attack.  Nothing like as bad as the only other one I’ve had but still horrendous.  But did also have my first ever kidney infection as well last time.  I was scared and freaked out and thought for sure I’d end up at the doctors if not the hospital that day.  But I managed to get myself into a place where I was comfortable so long as I didn’t move which wasn’t great as I kept needing the loo or a drink due to aforementioned sore throat.  I felt a lot better when I woke up on Wednesday morning and managed to avoid the doctors.  I was however completely washed out as I’d slept so badly (was up at least four times in the night).  I ate very little all day and mostly plain foods.  By the evening I was feeling back to normal and cooped up so I popped out to see the writers saying I’d stay half an hour, mostly so I could get some fresh air.  I was there almost two hours I think.

Thursday I was a little sniffly but not to bad.  Then I went out to creative writing and the cold air set me off cough, cough, cough, cough, cough.  And a bad one too.  Wouldn’t have gone if I’d realised it would be that bad.  Completely full of cold!  Friday I was full of it and felt lousy and probably should have cancelled my plans for that evening.  But I didn’t.  Which led to us bumping into a friend of ours and a friend of hers (who I’d not met)  who was all “have you got something for that?” and declared that I really needed to see the doctor.  My mum said that it wasn’t Oh my god go to the doctor stage at that point.  And I woke up Saturday morning have dried up a lot but still quite cold-y.  I’m still coughing a lot today but it’s a lot looser and my nose isn’t dripping.

Oh and in case anyone was wondering, I am up to date with my NaNoWriMo attempts (apart from today but there’s still time).  I was very behind but I did a mammoth catch up yesterday.  I’m not where I’d like to be, however.  And my story has disappeared.  I’m going to try writing a different idea starting tomorrow (but keep the words I already have) and return to this one at some not NaNo point in the future.

Haven’t got much else to say about this week, a lot of cancelled plans, feeling bad and writing about sums it up!