change, life, Uncategorized, writing

Back to basics

We’ve been here in our new house, new town, new region, for two weeks today. The boxes are mostly unpacked, and everybody – human and animal alike – is settled. Apart from me. I am not. I’m just not.

Which is not to say I am unhappy, because at times I really am. I love it here. The house is wonderful, I’m loving having a fireplace again, I love the way we all get up at the same time (even if it’s a tad on the early side!) because Hubby has to get up so early for work. I even love that there is so much less to do, because I feel like maybe I’ve been in need of a holiday for a while now, and am finally getting a bit of a mental break.

But it can’t last forever, and the more time that passes without me making progress on the writing front, the more miserable I become. And yet, I am without direction. I am so out of the habit at this point that I barely feel like a writer, and at times have wondered whether this is it. Maybe I’m done. Maybe I’m just never going to do it again. The only thing that stops me going down that road of thought is the pang of loss and instant sorrow that comes if I think about never writing.

Clearly, I am not done. But also, very clearly, I am without direction, purpose, drive, focus.

So today I went back to basics and booted up 750words. I’ve used this website off and on for YEARS now, and I find it most helpful when I am struggling. It doesn’t seem to matter what the struggle is, it just helps to vomit up my brain-goo and this is a good way to do it.

I feel better already.

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life, writing

Time Out

time-outThe last few weeks have been pretty tough in some ways – I’ve had time to do writing things, but not the energy or the creative drive. It’s a strange place to find myself in after all the (writing) hustle and bustle of the last few months, and while I truly wish I was writing/editing/etc. I’m just not, not really.

At first I thought it was down to lacking a plan. So I made a plan. A really good one.

And then I thought maybe it was impending study that was stressing me out. So I got new highlighters, did some forward reading and got my desk all in place so that I could have a place to keep all my stuff handy.

Neither of these thing was the real issue, though they have been in the past. This time it was more personal, something dearer to me than even writing.

One of my daughters.

I don’t really blog about the family that much here, but some of you will know that she has ADHD along with some other as yet unnamed/undetermined things. Well, actually, her psychologist has called her baffling, and pretty much said she could fit under any number of labels, multiple labels.

We’ve recently decided to give medication another go and I am really struggling with this. I hated going to the Doctors to get the referral, I cried when I got the call from her psychologist. I cried during our meeting (it was just him and I, don’t worry! lol I have no desire to stress my daughter out – which is probably part of the struggle. I have all these feelings, and I have to keep them locked down while she’s around, and because we home school she is always around). I had managed to pull myself together before we saw the psychiatrist, and then steeled myself to give her the first dose.

It’s been an interesting time, watching the changes in her – and I am watching all the time. Wondering if her changes in mood are due to medication, or just her nature. Trying to decipher what is her personality, and what is part of her ADHD. And to be honest, I’ve been really surprised by what is being altered by the meds. Totally not what I expected (but good, if short lived). We’re still working on trying to find the right dosage, but we can already see that something longer acting is in order, and that will be my first call on Monday morning.

I’m kind of tapped out. It’s a little exhausting being hyper aware of what’s happening with my daughter, especially when it changes so often. I only want the best for her, which is why we’re giving this another shot, and she’s a willing participant which goes some way to ease my worries. I keep reminding myself that eventually we’ll have everything sorted (well as much as it can be), but there is no set date at which that will happen, it’s just a hazy point in the future and I wish there was a little more certainty around it all.

And so, I am not writing. In fact, I pretty much took the day off life and played computer games, because sometimes, that’s just what you’ve gotta do.

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April begins

The last time I blogged was an entire month ago. I don’t think I’ve ever let the blog go silent for that long, but to be honest, I just didn’t have the energy to say anything at all.

It’s been…an interesting month, I guess you would say. I started back at University and the reading workload was huge. I mean, I was swamped. I’ve finally managed to catch up, but I still don’t feel like I know enough yet. My first assignment is due in 16 days, and I am still gathering information, and wondering if I will ever get to the point where I feel caught up.

March’s main goal was to read Sun-Touched and make a revision plan for it. I read the novel! And I didn’t even cringe too much. It’s a good story but it needs plenty of work. World building is where I fall down, again, so I am doing a lot of thinking about how I can do that – not only for Sun-Touched, but also for my novella. I am planning a second in the same setting, so I really need to bring the town to life.

Between my study brain, and being faced with yet more revision, I felt a bit swamped. I didn’t write the short story that I had hoped to. I got about 1k in and canned it. Aside from that attempt I wrote nothing in March. I did play a lot of Guild Wars 2 though. I’m deep in love with it again, though am well aware that it’s escapism for me. It really helps to switch my brain off from the study stuff which seems to overtake every waking thought if I let it.

Which I guess means I am back to a place of needing to find balance. I’ve been reminded yet again that I need breaks between revision and revision (even revisions of different stories). I am sure there is a sweet spot, but I haven’t found it just yet, and the reality is that there is always going to be more revision to do than first drafting, because every story needs more than one revision. I”ll continue to mull on it anyway – maybe I need a grand story that is written just for me, and I give myself a week of free writing on it between rounds of revision? That could work. I might give it a try.

Anyway, the beginning of April sees me in a better head space. The supplements I am taking seem to be giving me the boost I needed to get out of a depressive state, and I am actually getting stuff done again which feels really good (even if none of it is writing related! lol).

I sat down this morning and said to myself – “time to quit stalling, write something”. So I am now partway through a children’s story. Totally weird that is what’s coming up, but whatever, right. Words are words! I will take them and run with the idea.

Let’s hope April is a tad more productive for me than March was! Hope you all had a lovely easter πŸ™‚

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I’m still alive!

Hey folks. I know it’s been awhile since I really updated, my last post (other than the interview, which thankfully, I had scheduled!) was about me having been sick for a week. Well, my kids DID get sick, the very day after I posted that.

My littlest was even sick for her birthday 😦 she didn’t eat any of the cake, though she was so delighted by the look of it that nothing else mattered. Big thanks to my mother who baked and decorated the cake after talking to me on the phone and deducting that there was no way I could do it with a sick baby clinging to me. I asked for a ladybug, or as Natalie calls them ‘buggy-bugs’, and it was truly awesome. That might not look like ‘delight’ to you, but she was still pretty miserable at that point, and the fact she was off me for even a few minutes was testament to the draw of the cake πŸ˜‰

Happy Birthday, beautiful girl! She’s two now, and I find that so hard to believe. It went by so quickly!

Anyway, the day that photo was taken, I was beginning to feel like I might be almost over it, and then the next day I was really sick again. I think carrying Natalie around for an entire week, day and night, and dealing with my sick middle child as well, drained my resources and meant I backslid. Either way, I was sicker than originally, and pretty miserable this week. My sinuses are still blocked up and giving me killer headaches, but I am on the mend. I can feel it.

So last night, I wrote. My intention had been to finish the first draft of Burn in June, but that didn’t happen. Now that I am on the mend, it’s time to push on. I have just one scene left to write, and there is no reason I can’t get that finished off today.

SO CLOSE.

Anyway, I just thought I would post something, because it’s been ages. I’m not dead yet, though some days I was sure my brain might explode.

How are you all?

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School holidays are too LOOOOONG

I love my kids. I really do. But the summer holidays are far too long. They are ridiculous. The weather has been rubbish for more than half of it, the kids are bored stupid, and no matter how much I try to be an energetic and entertaining mother, there is only so much we can fit in around the need for naps and meals etc. Β And I don’t know about you, but I for one cannot afford the exorbitant cost of taking them to indoor play places, as much as it might entertain them for an hour or two.

We have just one week to go until normal activities resume. I am seriously hanging out for it. I have this beautiful vision of what Monday the 30th of January will be like: we’ll get up and have breakfast, do the mad dash to get everyone organized. Ivy will be dropped off to school with her brand new books and a smile on her face, eager to see her friends and acquaint herself with her class room for the year. After seeing that she has settled in, Lauren, Natalie and I will head to Playcentre and catch up with all of the new friends we made last term.

The morning will pass quickly, and before I know it, it will be noon and we’ll be heading home. My babies will fall asleep pretty much as soon as we get in the door, exhausted from all the stimulation, and I will sit down with a coffee and some lunch and get some writing done – oh my, how the words will flow!

Silence will pervade the house and I’ll have room to actually form a thought without interruption. It’s something I will not take for granted for at least a week.Β It won’t be until 330pm that the TV is turned on for the first time that day. The kids will have their afternoon tea while Ivy tells us all about her first day back and reminds me of the million things she is sure I’ve forgotten about, but haven’t.

And then, after a bath and dinner and stories, they will all go to bed, and sleep because their little bodies and minds have been so fully occupied throughout the day.

And I’ll sit on the couch, with a glass of wine and my husband and relax properly for the first time in six weeks.

One. More. Week.

I can make it. I know I can! I’m hanging on to my dream for dear life and hoping beyond hope that maybe I’ll actually start getting some decent sleep again.

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Experiencing technical difficulties

My laptop is not behaving. At all. It won’t wake up from sleep mode, it’s freezing and crashing and just not being nice to me. I’m having to restart it an awful lot. And I’m having difficulty checking whether everything is backed up or not.

Of course, today when I plugged my flash drive in to check what was on that and what wasn’t, I discovered it was dead.

I’m trying really hard to be calm about all of this. To trust that Dropbox won’t fail, that my husband will find a way to make my laptop keep working, that I had been smart enough to make sure that everything on my flash drive was also on my computer, or dropbox.

That doesn’t change the sense of anxiety that is creeping up on me, that things are failing already and what if more stuff fails?

Just so you know, I started writing this two days ago. Since then, one of my daughters accidentally spilled juice into my mouse, which is no longer working (some went in my laptop, but not enough to do any damage, or make it any worse than it is!). There is potentially a need for a new hard drive to make my laptop work right, but who knows. I don’t think I mentioned that a few weeks ago the trackpad and mouse buttons on the laptop itself died. I’m so frustrated that I’m not sure what to think.

And to make matters worse, it seems as though some of the things I was working on didn’t upload from Dropbox folder on my computer to the net, and now I’m freaking out that I’ve lost those altogether. I know I saved them, where are they???

It’s not a good week for technology and me. Not a good week at all. I feel kind of sick about it, twisted up inside. I’m not a writer who does things by hand. I can barely read my own handwriting.

Thank heavens my husband has a computer, even if he doesn’t have any programmes on it that can be used to write with. Thank heavens for google docs.

Anyways, all of this to say that I’m having a crappy time of it right now. I haven’t got much of anything done this week – no writing, I’m behind on reviews, and interviews and everything else in the world I am meant to be doing. As of today, I’m giving up on my laptop for now though, until my husband can sort it out. It’s just too frustrating and consuming to spend more time thinking about. I need to get some work done.

Huh. Guess that means no coffee date with it this weekend. Bah.

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Life in general

Things are ticking along pretty well here in the Hart household. I finally feel like I have made headway on the backlog of things needing my attention, which has given me the mental space to get back to writing in a more serious way – I’m getting stories completed! In the near future I’ll have more submissions out the door and fingers crossed they find homes (that said, some of them are not going to be easy to place).

The kids are being pretty great right now. Ivy seems to have matured in recent weeks and is starting to think about the fact that her actions impact on other people. It’s nice. She even wrote me a card to apologize for hurting my feelings. It was pretty much the sweetest thing ever, and something I will treasure. I’m going to laminate it, but right now it’s pinned above my laptop and I feel mushy every time I look at it.

Lauren is now toilet trained – seriously folks, it took less than a week! I was most surprised, and pleased, because I’d mentally prepared myself for a lot messier time of it. Obviously, she was well and truly ready. We’re both loving it: her because she’s a ‘big kid’ now, and me because oh my word it’s so nice only changing one child’s nappies!! What’s more, I now have enough cloth nappies to keep Natalie in them full time. Yay!

And Natalie… What can I say? She’s an adventurous wee soul who always seems to have a smile on her face. Cheekiness seems to be hereditary in my family, and she appears to have got an extra helping of it. Just the other day she thought it might be fun to play in the baking cupboard. Of course, Lauren had to get in on the action too.

She gets cuter every day, I swear.

I LOVE being a mum. It’s pretty much the best job, ever.

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Update

Gosh, I keep forgetting to post here – well, not forgetting so much as just not having the time, or the energy. I’m siphoning pretty much everything I have at the moment into Tales for Canterbury. Thankfully, we’re now 2/3rds of the way through the editing, and should be past this stage by early next week, when I can have a bit of a breather while we sort out more publicity stuff.

Sleep is still something I am not getting enough of, but we’ve launched into another round of gentle sleep training with the toddler, and hopefully this time she is responsive. I won’t know myself when I am getting a full nights sleep, not that I think it will happen any time soon. I do, after all, have a nine month old who is still feeding during the night.

My own writing isn’t happening at the moment. I’ve decided to pretty much just ignore it until after the editing is done. I have read through the first scene of my novella though, and am feeling the love there. I’m very much looking forward to getting back to work and getting it out into the world in the not too distant future. I feel no guilt at all about not writing at the moment. Tales needs my attention most at the moment, and it won’t be long until it’s finished.

There are so many fantastic stories in there. It’s been great reading through them all (several times, even!). I really hope you guys enjoy them as much as we have. I have a new appreciation for writers. We’re a great bunch, you know? I’ve been so impressed by how generous, thoughtful, encouraging, supportive, and responsive everyone is. They all get that we’re working on a tight deadline and are being so amazing with getting edits etc back to us quickly. It’s amazing. It rocks my world that I’m one of them.

Anyways, that’s about it from me! Some totally unrelated to writing things I could add are that my baby is getting close to being a toddler. Seriously, why is it happening so soon? She is standing up ALL the time and thinking about taking her first steps. She’s only just gone 9 months, and it’s FAR too young in my opinion, but I guess she really just wants to keep up with the big girls.

Our stray, Oliver, is in no way a stray these days. He is the smoochiest ball of fur around and I’ve had to start throwing him off my lap when he gets overly affectionate and I am trying to get my work done. Cat’s do NOT make good editors, or co-editors.

Oh, and winter is coming! I mean that in the literal sense (for the record, I love winter. Stews and soups and blankets, and heaters and slippers and snuggling up on the couch while the rain pounds on the roof. Lovely), as well as in that it’s only a few weeks until Game of Thrones starts in the US. OMG I am so freaking excited about the series. If it’s even half as good as the books, I will be happy. My husband has even said he will watch it with me when it comes our way. Bliss.

That’s all for now, folks! Hope you’re all well πŸ™‚

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Boredom

As strange as it might seem, I’m bored!

I hate to admit it, but it’s the truth. Not bored of being a mum, not bored because there is nothing to do – but the simple nature of the situation at the moment sees me sitting on the couch for large chunks of the day breastfeeding.

There is only so much TV I can watch, and that’s even after I’ve resorted to browsing all of the ‘TV on demand’ websites. I’ve watched more episodes of various shows in the last week than I have in probably the year to date.

It’s ludicrous.

With one, or often both of my hands and arms full of children, it’s difficult to do much of anything else and I can say that I am very much looking forward to the time when they aren’t feeding quite so frequently, or for quite as long. And to the time when Natalie is actually sleeping somewhere other than me – it’s a rare thing, but we’re working on it.

I know these early days won’t last forever, and I am taking deep breaths and being grateful for all the snuggles and love. That super productive wonder woman side of me is itching to actually DO SOMETHING though. I’m enjoying intense bouts of cleaning when I get a few hands free moments simply because it means I am moving, I’m up off the couch.

Makes it hard for writing stuff to even get a look in really, because that is more sitting down.

How is everyone else doing though? I am trying to keep up, but I’d love to see some comments from you all telling me whats going on for you right now. I miss all the interaction. I know things will balance out soon enough, then I can get back into the community feel πŸ™‚

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Oh my floors

They look good πŸ˜‰

Step Dad popped around yesterday and helped me pull up the carpet and underlay, oh the job was so much easier with an extra set of hands! Was very pleasantly surprised by what we found underneath – I had assumed it would be in decent nick and I was so right. They need sanding back and finishing, but I am sure I can rope some willing volunteers in to help with that at some point!

He thinks it’s rimu, so lovely… they are going to look absolutely beautiful when finished and I consider it a sin to cover up such nice looking wood. Have a look for yourself:

They do need a little work, but nice stuff to work with πŸ™‚

No writing still, no time, but I did find myself with a space last night where I started thinking about stories again. I have a vague idea starting to form and am entertaining it to see where it might lead.

Oh and if you don’t have the password for my protected posts, and you’re a regular who would like it, just let me know. I don’t do pic updates publicly (other than the occasional wooden floor, and a bump here and there lol), and the post just before this one was one I didn’t want just anyone to stumble across. That’s life folks!