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author, holidays, University, Writing

New Year, Improved Me

“We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”

Edith Lovejoy Pierce

It is officially 2021! It’s crazy to think that it’s already a new year, but here we are! Seems like it was only just 2020; time sure does fly fast nowadays!

I’ve worked over most of the holiday season, even had work on New Years Day, but I’ve still managed to take some time out and enjoy this time! Spent a lot of time with family and friends and now I’m eager to welcome the new year!

There are several changes for me this year. I know most people say, ‘it’s a new year so it’s a new me’, but I prefer to see it as I’m just growing. I’m not new, I still make stupid mistakes, but I’m growing every year and last year was no different!

I made a huge decision at the end of last year to transfer University’s. It was a hard decision to make, especially since I’m not one for change. We don’t particularly see eye to eye, change and I.

But regardless, I’ve switched University’s and I’ll be starting 2021 in a new University! It’s scary to think about, but I think it’ll be good. I needed the change for my career, and this new University is really amazing.

“And now we welcome the new year. Full of things that have never been.”

Rainer Maria Rilke

I have set some goals for myself this year. I want to really knuckle down and do well in my Uni classes. I also want to finally finish my current novel and start editing my new novel that I finished last year.

I am aiming to officially submit my manuscript to a publishing house soon. It’s incredibly intimidating, but I hope it goes well!

2021 looks like it has a lot in store for me, and I’m keen to get cracking and complete my goals this year. I feel like 2021 will be a good year for me!

 “For last year’s words belong to last year’s language. And next year’s words await another voice.”

E.S. Eliot
author, holidays, Writing

Post-Christmas Blues

“One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas Day. Don’t clean it up too quickly.”

Andy Rooney

It’s always sad for me when Christmas is over. As I’m sure you’ve picked up in the last posts – I really do love the Christmas season. It’s sad when that season is over, and our lives return back to their normal routine.

New Years is in a few days, and that’s always an exciting time. Saying goodbye to 2020 and bringing in 2021. It’ll be good to move into a new year and hopefully away from the COVID drama.

It’s been a busy month, preparing for Christmas and the entire holiday season. I haven’t done much outside of work and celebration things. It’s been a sad month for my writing, but I’ve enjoyed the time with family and the entire holiday season.

“Christmas isn’t a season. It’s a feeling.”

Edna Ferber

I’ll continue to bring Christmas spirit into my everyday life moving forward. It’s a time to remember that being generous and kind takes precedence above all else, and I’ll endeavour to continue my year living with that Christmas feeling.

In a few days I’ll take down my Christmas tree and say goodbye to 2020. It has been a hard year, but it has also been productive for me. I’m looking forward to 2021 and everything it’ll bring!

So goodbye to Christmas and Happy New Year for 2021!

“I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.”

Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol
author, holidays, pandemic, Writing

Bring On The Holidays

“Nothing ever seems too bad, too hard, or too sad when you’ve got a Christmas tree in the living room.”

Nora Roberts

I am so excited! Christmas Day is in just 3 days and I cannot wait! I absolutely love the Christmas season and I am beyond excited that it is so close! I can’t wait to give presents to people and see their faces when they get those presents. I love being able to give and show the people I care about how much I love.

It’s such a magical, happy time of year and I’m excited to get into all the Christmas festivities.

I haven’t been writing much at all this month, just because I’ve been so busy with Christmas things and incredible amount of shifts I’ve been getting this month. It’s always ‘go, go, go’ when it hits mid-November until about mid-January.

I like to take some time out during the craziness though. It’s important to reflect on the things that matter and really enjoy time spent with family. I’m lucky enough to have Christmas Day off which means I can spend the whole day with family.

“Christmas gives us an opportunity to pause and reflect on the important things around us.”

David Cameron

I love being able to see my family and celebrate this season. It’s an important holiday, especially as a Christian. It’s the time to celebrate the birth of Jesus, and that’s always magical. It’s important for me to reflect on the birth of Jesus and Christmas’ meaning for me.

Additionally, I love the family time. It’s so beautiful to spend time with family and that we are all able to take the time away from work and spend time together, celebrating together and giving and having a good time.

I cannot wait for Christmas Day to hit! And on that note – Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays to everyone!

“What is Christmas? It is tenderness for the past, courage for the present, hope for the future.”

Agnes M. Pahro
author, holidays, pandemic, writing

Writing During The Holiday Season

“Freshly cut Christmas trees smelling of stars and snow and pine resin—inhale deeply and fill your soul with wintry night.”

John J. Geddes

I love this time of year. I love spending time with family and enjoying Christmas together. It really is a magical time of year.

I’ve well and truly put up all my Christmas decorations and I’m 90% done with presents! I love being able to give to people and being able to see their faces and feel their joy when they open their presents.

It’s a time of joy, and a time of giving. It’s beautiful, but it is also incredibly busy. My work picks up around the holidays so I’m currently getting a lot of shifts. It’s nice, but it also means that I’m very on the go.

“Christmas is most truly Christmas when we celebrate it by giving the light of love to those who need it most.”

Ruth Carter Stapleton

It’s hard to find time to sit out during the chaos and get some writing done. I find it important not to beat myself up during this time – not writing is fine over the holiday season!

I don’t panic too much right now – I used to kick myself down so much when I wasn’t writing during these holiday times. I’ve thankfully learnt that it is okay, it’s a very busy time and I’m bound to spend less time writing.

I am trying to sit out and get a little writing done where I can, but I’m not forcing it on myself and I know that it’s going to be hard over this season. I figure, once we’re through the holiday season I will be able to get cracking full-time into my writing once again!

But for now, I’m going to enjoy the Christmas season and not stress about writing heaps!

“Christmas now surrounds us, Happiness is everywhere. Our hands are busy with many tasks as carols fill the air.”

Shirley Sallay
author, mental health, pandemic, Writing

Mental Health Struggles and Triumphs

“Anything that’s human is mentionable, and anything that is mentionable can be more manageable. When we can talk about our feelings, they become less overwhelming, less upsetting, and less scary.”

Fred Rogers

I have had my fair share of mental health struggles. It has such a stigma, but there really shouldn’t be anything wrong with admitting you are struggling.

I have spent time on antidepressants and for a while I was seeing a psychologist every week. It’s sort of what spurred me towards studying to be a psychologist, although it wasn’t the only reason.

Mental health is not something to be ashamed of. So many people struggle with various mental health disorders and it needs to be less stigmatised. There is nothing wrong with you getting help or acknowledging something isn’t quite right.

I have experienced a few mental health disorders, and I do still struggle with a few. It’s a long battle to overcome your own mind, and it takes a lot of time.

“Anyone who has actually been that sad can tell you that there’s nothing beautiful or literary or mysterious about depression.”

Jasmine Warga

I have days when I’m good and days when I’m bad. It’s completely normal to feel this way. Ups and downs are normal and having days when you don’t want to leave your bed is also completely normal. As long as you don’t let it control you, it is okay.

Self Care Isn't Selfish Signage

It’s okay to struggle, and it’s okay to feel proud for doing small things other people find easy. Days are more challenging when you have a mental illness, and you just need to take it one step at a time. Take self-care steps and take time for yourself and your own health.

“Sometimes self-care is exercise and eating right. Sometimes it’s spending time with loved ones or taking a nap. And sometimes it’s watching an entire season of TV in one weekend while you lounge around in your pyjamas. Whatever soothes your soul.”

Nanea Hoffman

Mental illness is no joke and it is very real for so many people. It needs to be spoken about more, and small victories should be celebrated. You went down 5mg on your medication, celebrate! You have social anxiety and made it to a friend’s party, celebrate! You managed to get out of bed and brush your teeth, celebrate!

The small things are major victories when mental illness is at work, and those small things are so important when you are in those dark places. Hold onto those small victories and be proud of each step you manage to take, because they are something to be proud of!

“There is hope, even when your brain tells you there isn’t.”

John Green
author, nanowrimo, Writing

Finishing Up NaNoWriMo

“Be yourself. Let who you are, what you are, what you believe, shine through every sentence you write, every piece you finish.”

John Jakes

I am done! What an amazing feeling to be done! 50,000+ words written in one month and I have the first draft of my new novel completed!

I hit 50,000 words on the 28th of November, and the last two days were spent finishing the entire novel as it is. I ended up with about 65,000 words, but the novel is done, and I did it in just one month!

It’s not the neatest at the moment, and there are quite a few errors throughout, but it is done. The novel is completed, apart from editing, and it is such a great feeling!

I am officially a NaNoWriMo 2020 writer and winner! Absolutely love this feeling, and it is so amazing to feel this way each year when NaNo comes rolling around!

I am really relieved that I finished the novel. It was time-consuming and exhausting, but I finished it! I was determined to get it done, and I spent many hours writing in order to make this dream a reality.

“Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.”

Neil Gaiman

You do have to do whatever you can to finish a novel. Especially when you’re writing it in just one month. It takes a lot of dedication and focus to do this, but it is so incredibly worth it!

I have a fantastic first draft of a novel now, and I can’t wait to get into editing it in the coming months!

“You must write every single day of your life… You must lurk in libraries and climb the stacks like ladders to sniff books like perfumes and wear books like hats upon your crazy heads…May you be in love every day for the next 20,000 days. And out of that love, remake a world.”

Ray Bradbury
author, nanowrimo, Writing

The Final Stretch

“Worldbuilding can be a lot of work. I try to see where things are linked together—and also to keep mundane details in mind. Just those, put together, give you a kind of rudimentary skeleton to start hanging things on.”

Ann Leckie

I am so close to the end! It’s within sight, within reach, and it is so incredibly exciting! I’m at 41,000 words and have 6 days left – definitely a feasible goal to write 9000 words in 6 days!

It’s been a hard process, but it’s so worth it. I feel so proud of myself for coming this far, and I’m sure that I will feel even prouder when it is complete!

I always struggle a little during NaNoWriMo. It’s hard to believe that it is possible to smash out 50,000 words in once month, but it definitely is possible!

I am usually able to get the 50,000 words done each month, but I do still wonder if it will happen each and every time I enter NaNoWriMo.

I am on that home stretch now and it is such a relieving feeling. Some days I struggle to write, but I do what needs to be done during NaNoWriMo – I just write anyway.

“If you can’t think of what to write, tough luck; write anyway.”

Philip Pullman

It may not always be my best work during those moments, but I do get ideas out and get some writing done. It may not all be useable when I go back and edit the novel, but at least it’s there and at least I tried!

It’s just one month out of the year dedicated towards NaNo and it is a worthwhile year. It was during a NaNoWriMo that I first wrote Infection Point, and I’m sure this NaNo and others to come will also help me flesh out a new novel that will eventually be realised to the public.

One step at a time is all it takes and this time next week, I will have my next novel draft completed, which is one of the best feelings!

“Writing permits me to be more than I am. Writing permits me to experience life as any number of strange creations”

Alice Walker
author, nanowrimo

Getting Into the Nano Groove

“Figure out what scenes make your story your story, and go from there. Use them as mile markers and find your way between them.”

Victoria Schwab

2 weeks down, week 3 come at me! Only a week and a half to go of smashing out this novel! It’s quite tricky getting all the words down and being able to be somewhat coherent.

I’m trying to just keep writing and writing, but it definitely is a stressful time! I am trying to enjoy the experience, but, just like every November, I am feeling the pressure of getting 50,000 words done in one month.

I do find some comfort in the fact that the novel is going to be very rough, and very unedited. It’s easier to write when you’re not overthinking things or going back to fix mistakes all the time.

I’ve just had to remain as calm as possible and write as much as I can. It’s stressful, but it is also really fun.

I hit 29,000 words last night and I am incredibly close to 30,000. I have another 20,000 words to hit within the next 13 days and I’m pretty confident that I’m going to hit that goal!

It’s been fun fleshing out new characters and creating a new world, especially considering how consumed I’ve been with Infection Point and my Uni studies.

“Stay faithful to the stories in your head.”

Paula Hawkins

I’m confident that I’ll hit 50,000 by November 30 and I am looking forward to going through this new novel soon and editing it. I will definitely update you guys on my new project once it has a bit more meat added!

Infection Point will still be my priority after November, and I’m eager to finish editing it and getting it ready for publishing! Once it is fine-tuned, I will definitely update you all on what this new novel is all about!

For now, I will just keep pressing on a write as much as I can during this month! It’s time to smash out 50,000 words for this novel!

“I think Steve King said ‘read, read, read and write, write, write.’ I would also add ‘keep your butt in that chair.'”

Karen Marie Moning
author, Writing

Bring on NaNoWriMo Once Again

“First steps are always the hardest but until they are taken the notion of progress remains only a notion and not an achievement.”

Aberjhani

It’s that time of year once again! NaNoWrimo has started and it is currently the second week of smashing out 50,000 words this month! It’s definitely a month that takes serious dedication, but I am already loving it!

I planned out what I was going to write about a week in advance (I’m not one for winging it) and I was ready to go by the start date!

We’re a week in and I’ve already completed about 19,000 words, which I think is so amazing. I have a brand-new novel coming together and it is entirely due to NaNoWriMo.

I tend to lose some motivation in the second half of the year, mostly due to University studies and having to focus on exams, studying and completing assignments.

It is refreshing to go into November and be able to write again! I had 3 exams to complete between the 3-9 November, but I was still able to write around studying and my last exam was yesterday, which means I can get fully cracking on my writing!

“Don’t worry about what you’re writing or whether it’s good or even whether it makes sense.”

Lauren Oliver

I just write and write and write and don’t double check my spelling or grammar during this month. Editing is for December; November is just for writing and finishing that novel!

NaNo being in November is such a great way for me to get over the studying hump and get straight back into some writing. It is so helpful for me and I love being able to smash out a new novel each year!

Now, I gotta get back to writing to meet my deadlines!

“Keep writing, even when you feel it sucks. And read absolutely everything you can get your hands on.”

Kate Quinn
author, nanowrimo, Writing

10 Tips To A Successful University Semester

“Don’t say you don’t have enough time. You have exactly the same number of hours per day that were given to Helen Keller, Pasteur, Michelangelo, Mother Teresea, Leonardo da Vinci, Thomas Jefferson, and Albert Einstein.”

H. Jackson Brown Jr.

As I head into the last few weeks of this University semester, I wanted to throw a blog together with my top tips that help me get through the semester successfully

1. Attend your classes (even if they’re online videos)

It can really suck attending classes, and sometimes the lecturer is the most boring person alive. However, classes are very important to attend. Useful questions are asked and confusing concepts are clarified during classes. It can be hard finding the motivation to attend, especially when your classes are online, but it is incredibly beneficial.

2. Find a quiet spot to study

“Wisdom grows in quiet places.”

Austin O’Malley

This is an essential factor for me. I can’t study when it’s noisy or busy around me. I need a nice, quiet spot to focus my mind and get me into the zone to study. I didn’t think noise or actions around me would be so distracting, but boy they are. A quiet zone is peaceful and perfect study space!

3. Finish assessments early

It sounds kind of lame, but finishing assessments early is amazing. Not only do you feel productive, but you also have time to go over those assessments again and revise them. Most people have experienced an all-nighter, I certainly have, but it is incredibly beneficial to spend extra time editing and revising days before an assessment is due.

4. Planning

For me, planning is soothing. I enjoy being able to plan out my day, week and month in advance. It helps me keep track of what I’m doing and when I need to have things done by. It is really helpful to plan out your days or weeks in advance so that you know what you need to do in the week and when you have time to study. It also helps to keep track of assessments and know what is due and when.

5. Take notes, and then re-write said notes

This is something that really works for me in my psychology degree. I take physical notes during classes and then I re-write those notes onto my computer after the classes. I find it’s a good way to revise topics and imprint these concepts into my mind. It helps remind me of what I learnt in the class and I can look up things I didn’t understand while writing out those notes.

6. Take breaks

Breaks are super duper important for productivity! It’s useless to spend hours staring at books or computer screens and continuing to study the same thing over and over. You need to take breaks to rest your mind and your eyes in order to remain productive.

7. Get plenty of sleep

Orange Cat Sleeping on White Bed

On that previous note, sleep is so incredibly important during University! Your body and brain needs sleep to rejuvenate and refresh. You need to get good sleep in order to keep your brain functioning and able to understand new concepts. You also need sleep in order to remain healthy and able to study and attend classes. Lack of sleep leads to lower immune systems and, put bluntly, disaster!

8. Try not to procrastinate

“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone”

Pablo Picasso

It sounds stupid to say, but sometimes it needs to be said. Procrastination is a useless venture and, I admit, it is a hard habit to overcome. It’s quite easy to become distracted with other things and out off your work until the last minute. It is so important to catch yourself when you’re doing these things and force yourself to go study or do your assessment. Procrastination gets you nowhere, you need to focus and try to remain focused until the semester is over!

9. Take care of your mental health

“What mental health needs is more sunlight, more candor, and more unashamed conversation.”

Glenn Close

I am 100% a major mental health advocate (must be something to do with the psych degree). It is so important to take care of your mental health, especially during a University semester. Uni can be so stressful and hard that your mental health might decline, which is very common. It’s important to eat well, exercise and see a professional if you feel your mindset slipping. It is hard to get through Uni, but even harder with mental illness weighing you down. Make sure you take time for yourself and know your limits!

10. Coffee, coffee, coffee!

Cup of Coffee on Saucer

For me, coffee is life. I love my coffee, it is the breath of life into me each day. But, my main point in this is to find things you enjoy. Find joy in your University life and enjoy each moment spent on campus or doing online classes. It is a long haul, but University is a short stint in your life and you definitely need to enjoy it! For me, I find my joy in having multiple cups of coffee from my favourite cafes on campus. Brings joy to me!

“Successful and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities. They vary in their desires to reach their potential.”

John Maxwell