Monday Motivation and a GoodReads Giveaway

Happy Monday, all!

I know that it’s the Spring Bank Holiday here in the UK, but it’s just a normal Monday for me… I’m in my garden office, typing away on the latest book and trying to remember this:

Image Credit: Life at Number Five
Image Credit: Life at Number Five

[Free PDF printable of the image is available here]

I love this quote and I think it’s really important.

When I’m struggling with a creative project, it’s so easy to forget… I look at a finished book such as The Language of Spells or In The Light of What We See and, even though I wrote the darn things, I forget how hard I found it.

When I’m working on something new and it’s all difficult and messy and uncertain, I have a tendency to think that I’ve ‘forgotten how to write’ or that ‘I shouldn’t be telling this story because it isn’t flowing/isn’t good’, forgetting that I felt EXACTLY THE SAME WAY about my previous books!

IntheLightofWhatWeSee-NEWAlso, if you haven’t got your hands on In The Light of What We See, yet (or would like a spare copy to use as a gift – books make wonderful presents!), why not enter this GoodReads giveaway?

It’s for a signed copy of In The Light of What We See, and I will happily sign it to a particular person/with the personal message of your choice (within reason!).

Anyway, I hope you are well, and thank you for visiting!


Writing, Snow and The End of The Year Approacheth

Snowy garden office
Snowy commute to the writing shed yesterday! Brr!

Hello, my lovelies.

It’s the last day of November – eep! As if to hammer the point home, the weather took a decidedly wintry turn yesterday (see above).

I managed to hit my target of 30,000 words, but my WIP hasn’t grown by anywhere near that much as I’ve scrapped a character’s point-of-view. Sigh. Still, I have to remember that I had to write those words in order to discover that they didn’t belong in the book.

Stabilo fine-liner pens
Fine-tipped colour pens make everything better. Fact.

I have so many plans for December. There is ‘life stuff’ to catch up on (like Christmas shopping and crafting) and lots of writing-related things I want to get done before the Christmas holiday and the end of the year…

The last month of the year is a time to revisit my goals for 2015, knowing it’s my last chance to get them done.*

It’s a little overwhelming to be honest, so I’m going to sit down with my favourite fine-tipped coloured pens and make a list. Or two.

Thank you for visiting!

*I know fine well I can ‘carry them over’ to next year’s goal list, but I don’t want to, damn it!



(Not) NaNoWriMo

Mechanical Paper Art by the talented Jennifer Collier
Mechanical Paper Art by the talented Jennifer Collier –

On the podcast this month, I interview thriller author Catherine Ryan Howard. Catherine was lots of fun and the interview has been described as ‘giggly’. Good thing I cut out lots of the laughter in the edit…

Hop over here to listen (it’s free!) or via iTunes.

In other news, I have been attempting to get a chunk of my new first draft done. I’m not doing NaNoWriMo, but a personal challenge to get 30,000 words down in November.

How’s it going? Well… Given that this first two weeks has been filled with visitors and life stuff and volunteering at my daughter’s musical theatre group for their annual production (backstage only, you’ll be relieved to hear), I’m pretty pleased: 9,288 words.

Yes, this leaves me with the lion’s share, but the next two weeks are infinitely quieter than the start of the month, so I have every faith I shall catch up.

I also finished reading this fantastic collection: P.G. Wodehouse: A Life in Letters, Edited by Sophie Ratcliffe. It’s a fascinating look at the life of a prolific writer and full of reassuring ¬†lines such as:

‘I am now trying to get a plot for a new novel, but so far only incoherent ramblings.’

How about you? Are you taking part in NaNoWriMo?

[Wonderful typewriter art found via DesignSoak]

Tracking Goals Using The Plannerisms Planner

I’m obsessed with goal-setting and stationery, so when I discovered a planner/notebook thingy which has been designed expressly for the purpose of tracking goals, I knocked it out with a club¬†and dragged it to my cave immediately.*

It’s called the Plannerisms Planner and I went for the ‘aqua’ colour-way which is a lovely soft turquoise. The pages are decent quality and there are two ribbon markers so that you can keep your place in both the monthly and weekly planning sections. There are also pages for listing monthly, quarterly and annual goals, a pocket in the back and an elastic closure.

Here it is with a lovely spotty-fabric notebook my daughter gave me for Christmas:


I’m going to use this alongside my Filofax (which I will continue to use for appointments, daily to-do lists, and notes).

If you want an idea of how the weekly view looks, here are last week’s pages (at the beginning of the week, before I’d filled it out):



As you can see, you have a blank column at the start of the week where you can list recurring goals such as ‘writing’ or ‘yoga’ and then you can either put a tick in the appropriate box (or a value if you want to track number of words written or miles walked or whatever).

I’ve split the pages with some washi tape so that I have space above my recurring goals for other tasks and deadlines.

I’m using the monthly planner pages to continue with my sticker reward system for writing fiction.

I know that we’re not even half-way through January, but this is really helping me to stay motivated. Hurrah for stationery!

* Well, you know. Clicked ‘buy now’ and waited impatiently for the post.

Progress Update: Includes Stickers!

Just a quick check-in today, my lovelies, but I thought I’d let you know how my November mini challenge worked out.

As I’ve long suspected, the secret to getting anything done lies in stationery…

I wanted to re-establish my morning writing routine during November, so I gave myself a cute shiny star sticker for every time I wrote as soon as I woke up.

As you can see, it worked a treat. I’d set the bar nice and low (twenty minutes of writing at a time of day that really suits me) and, once I had a nice line of stickers, I didn’t want to break my streak.

Plus, I was reminded of just how much I can get done in a short time. Even on those mornings when the kids needed me/the new kitten wouldn’t stop jumping on my hands, and I literally wrote for twenty minutes ONLY, I still got at least 250 words down. That doesn’t sound like much, but it all adds up, and it kept the story live and kicking in my mind.

My other goal for the month was to write (at least) 15,000 words. I’m not certain of my final tally (I had to switch back to my official WIP halfway through and that involved lots of deleting/rewriting as well as new words) but it’s in the region of 16,000, so I’m delighted.

How about you? Did you take part in NaNoWriMo or something similar?