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author, pandemic, writing, Writing

Reading Is My Happy Place

“Books are good company, in sad times and happy times, for books are people – people who have managed to stay alive by hiding between the covers of a book.”

E.B. White

I love a good book. I love being able to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee with a book. It really is my happy place.

There are so many amazing books out there, and I make a habit of reading for at least an hour a day (as much as possible). I love being able to immerse myself into these characters and leave my own worries behind.

It’s fun being able to immerse yourself into a different world. I love being able to put myself into the character’s shoes and walk through their trials and triumphs with them.

Each novel is unique and writing styles vary drastically. It’s so important to keep reading different books and seeing different styles of writing and immersing yourself into different worlds.

It helps me to remain focused on my own writing style and my own character development. It’s fun being able to use different books as inspiration in my own writing and being able to utilise different techniques in writing.

Primarily, I just love being able to get away for an hour or so and indulge in a good book. I love the serenity it brings me and the joy. There is something truly special about curling up with a book and leaving your own world behind.

“The person who deserves most pity is a lonesome one on a rainy day who doesn’t know how to read.”

Benjamin Franklin
author, pandemic, writing

How My Study Influences My Writing

“By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reflection, which is noblest; Second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.”

Confucius

I am one of those few people who enjoy studying. I haven’t had a bad time during my years studying and I do enjoy learning and growing through my study.

I have found throughout my years studying, I have learnt so many valuable skills. I have learnt more about human interaction and how to write appropriately.

I learnt that fancy words often aren’t better than simple words and I learnt how to appropriately structure a sentence.

Studying definitely isn’t for everybody, but I do enjoy expanding my mind and learning more things.

“Man’s mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.”

Oliver Wendell Holmes

My psychology degree is incredibly influential towards my writing. Not only do I enjoy the degree, but I am learning a lot about human behaviour and mental illnesses that I can use in my writing.

I love being able to introduce psychological elements into my writing. I’ve become more interested in psychological thrillers and I’m even considering writing one when my current novel is complete.

Studying is definitely a fun world for me and it influences my writing so much. I won’t be studying my whole life, but I’m enjoying the short time I am studying and using as much knowledge as I can in my writing.

“There is no substitute for hard work.”

Thomas Edison
author, holidays, mental health, writing

Getaways Rejuvenate Your Mind and Soul

“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.”

Ibn Battuta

I have always loved holidays and travel. I love being able to explore places and get away from my day to day routine.

Unfortunately, travel in our current COVID pandemic is an issue. With countries and even states shut down, it’s hard to get away and travel.

I am so grateful that my country has opened up in-state travel, as I was recently able to take a little holiday away from the mundane daily life.

My husband and I went on a trip to a city a few hours away from us and we spend a few days resting and relaxing. We were able to explore a little and do some fun activities, as most tourism destinations have opened up again (only for people within the country of course).

I found it really beneficial having this holiday. It helped me to calm my mind and allow my normal inspiration to flow once again.

It is so incredibly beneficial for your mental health to take breaks and take time to relax. I found it so helpful to wind down for a few days and rejuvenate my mind and soul.

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.”

Jawaharial Nehru

My creativity has jumped again and I’m able to write more and the ideas are flowing once again! It is incredibly helpful to spend some time away and be able to relax like we were able to.

It’s hard getting back into the daily grind, but I am finding it a lot easier to work and study and write again after my few days away.

I definitely can not wait until the next holiday!

“Adventure is worthwhile.”

Aesop
author, pandemic, writing

Infection Point Excerpt

“Do what you feel in your heart to be right – for you’ll be criticized anyway.”

Eleanor Roosevelt

I decided that it would be nice to post just a little except from my novel. Not much, but hopefully enough to keep you wanting more! Progress is slow, but it is happening, and I am getting so much closer to having a ready-to-go novel!

It’s nice to be able to put a little bit out there and see what it’s like to the public. I know I’m quite a way off getting it published and out there, but I enjoy being able to share little snippets as I can!

I hope you enjoy reading my little snippet!

Grace stood alone, surrounded by untamed weeds and forests of trees. The red sun threw lifeless light onto the land, highlighting the grey tinge to the grass. Rubble could be seen strewn throughout the grass and echoes of what was once a road peeped through the overgrown weeds. Grace’s red hair was jaggedly cut at shoulder-length, with her fringe just above her eyes. Her brown eyes flickered as she watched the small lizards crawl across the land, determined to have the nearby spider for lunch. She lifted her gaze upwards, recognising movement within an old city ahead of her. A determined frown settled on her face as she purposefully moved forward. Usually she avoided cities like this, but she needed supplies – she had no option other than to search this city and hope that there was some form of medicine within.

iNFECTION pOINT BY EMILIE TURNER
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Slowly But Surely… One Step At A Time

“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”

Steve Jobs

It is slow progress writing and editing a novel. I enjoy doing it, and I spend each time writing as it clears my mind and relaxes me, but it does take a really long time.

I’ve spent 2 years on my novel at the moment, and I expect it will be 3 years by the time I finish this edit and get it ready to send to some publishers (fingers crossed!). It’s a long, slow process, but it is incredibly rewarding.

It has been a long time, but it feels so encouraging to have come so far and be so close to finishing my novel. It hasn’t always been easy, but I have always been moving forward.

It’s not always easy to be patient when doing something you’re passionate about. In fact, it has been incredibly hard for me to remain patient. I just wanted it to be done and to send it out into the world, but I knew it wasn’t ready.

Patience has never been my strong suit, and writing a novel really tested my patience and pushed me to learn to be more patient and kinder to myself. It’s a process, and it can’t be completed overnight.

As I’m finally reaching the end of the journey, I am incredibly grateful that it did take so long. I have learnt so much the past few years and my writing has drastically improved. I’m always eager to learn more and keep pushing myself further.

I can’t wait to be finished, and I can see that end goal in sight. The writing and rewriting and major editing will be finished in my drafts, and it is an exciting prospect!

“Keep your eyes on the stars, and your feet on the ground.”

Theodore Roosevelt

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Inspiring Book Covers

“A winner is a dreamer who never gives up.”

Nelson Mandela

I have done a lot of reading during this pandemic, and I’ve been re-reading books I love and investing in new books I have come to love. The pandemic has been rough for my anxiety, but reading has helped keep me calm and focused.

I love looking at beautiful book covers and seeing how they related to the book. Not only this, but these covers give me inspiration for my own writing and my own novels.

I recently bought Throne of Glass by Sarah J Mass and boy did I get engulfed in the series. Not only this, but the book cover I got for this novel (and the rest in the series) influenced my novel and inspired me to change my character’s attire.

The main character in these novels is a female assassin, and her character and the attire depicted in the cover art helped inspire me to shift things in my own main character. Her attire was something that heavily influenced me. The darker colours, the cloak and the leather inspired my clothing choices for my main character.

It helps to see cover art like this, and different clothing options, to put things into perspective for your own character. You want their clothing to be practical and make sense, and in my case, be badass.

I love being able to draw inspiration from cover art like Throne of Glass and be able to use this to move forward with my characters and how they would look within their world.

“Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs.”

Farraj Gray
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Editing is a Nightmare

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”

Walt Disney

I thought the hard work was writing my novel. I had no idea that the real work begins when you finish a novel. Once you finish, you start the long process of editing and rewriting. And I do mean long process.

Editing is hard. You love your work, but you also hate your work. I found so many flaws and inconsistencies within my novel when I first edited it. The basis was good, but there were so many issues throughout.

I am currently on my fourth proper draft of this novel (not including just editing grammar and spelling and small scenes), and almost finished it. I’ve managed to get my novel to a place that I am proud of. I think I have improved, and it has certainly improved as well. It makes more sense and the characters are far more developed.

I still don’t think it’s perfect, and I don’t think it’ll ever be ‘great’ in my eyes. It is, however, ‘good enough’ in my eyes. I think it’ll be at the point that I won’t mind others reading it once this edit is complete, and that is a good feeling.

“Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.”

Earl Nightingale

I have been editing my novel for almost 2 years now, and if I keep editing it will be another 10 before I ever submit it to be looked at for publishing. It will most likely be rejected, I know, but I’m at the point that I’m willing to start pushing it.

Editing is a nightmare. It takes forever and you do rip your novel apart and change it almost completely. But, editing improves your writing and creates something that is readable and worth putting out into the world. And I can’t wait to put mine out into the world.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”

Aristotle
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Behind The Scenes – Keeping To Deadlines

“Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.”

Tim Notke

Deadlines are a necessary evil in my opinion. They can be incredibly stressful, but they help you get your work done. I have a serious love-hate relationship with deadlines – within my studies and within my writing.

My deadlines in University are harsh. Having to get assessments done by a certain deadline can be incredibly stressful. Equally as stressful is setting my deadlines to writing.

I give myself some leeway if my mental health has dropped or I’ve had a rough week, but I try to stick to my deadlines as much as possible. It helps me to stay focused and continue pushing forward with my writing.

I don’t set crazy deadlines, it’s mostly things like ‘finish a chapter this week’ or ‘write 2000 words this week’. My personal deadlines depend on what else I have going on in my life, and how anxious I am.

It does help to stay motivated towards your writing. They make be difficult sometimes, and even stressful, but they are definitely a necessary tool to utilise.

“Write it. Shoot it. Publish it. Crochet it, sauté it, whatever. MAKE.”

Joss Whedon
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10 Tips to Writing at Home

“Everything you can imagine is real.”

Pablo Picasso

I know most writers usually work from home anyway, or a quiet area alone in a café. Or something along those lines. However, there is something different when it’s more essential to be working from home and no longer your choice.

There is also something different if you live with others than are now at home all the time, either because they’re working from home or have unfortunately lost their job.

I found it difficult during these times, having my partner at home to distract me and being forced to only write at home. It’s important to maintain motivation and happiness during these times, and I came up with 10 things that have helped me say productive over the past month or so.

1. Noise Cancelling Headphones

These are honestly the best thing I have invested in. I find it’s easier to focus and do my work more effectively when I can’t hear what’s going on around me. I usually put some music on, from my specific writing playlist, and focus on the task at hand. Not being able to hear things around me lets me get into the zone and get writing!

2. Set Up Rules With Others at Home

“I love rules and I love following them, unless that rule is stupid.”

Anna Kendrick

You need to set time for work, and work is writing. You need to let others know when you’re disappearing to do your writing, and when you need to be left alone.

I needed to set this up with my husband and tell him when I was doing something that I needed to focus on. Working at home together than be tough when it comes to distractions, but it helps to set those boundaries and let others know when you need to step away and focus on work.

3. Have a Morning Routine

It is so important to have a healthy morning routine and stick to it. Not only does it help your mental health, it also helps your productivity. Try to get up around the same time each morning, get out of your pyjamas and eat a healthy breakfast. Include whatever you want into your morning routine, but try to stick to it each day and push yourself to have that healthy morning routine.

4. Exercise Every Day

I usually incorporate this into my morning routine, but sometimes I just go for a simple walk in the afternoon. Exercise really helps your mental health, and you need to take extra care of that mental health in the current world.

Whether it be a high intensity workout, going for a run, doing some yoga or going for a walk, it really helps to take the time out during the day to get your endorphins up and stretch your muscles. It helps your mind muscles to strengthen and improves your mental health, which positively impacts your writing ability.

5. Make a To-Do List Each Morning

I find this helps me to stay focused and know what I need to do each day. Since I do University, I include things like time to study and when my classes are each day. It helps to have this planned out in the morning and know what I need to do during the day. I can plan my writing around other things and it helps keep my focused towards my study goals and my writing goals.

6. Set Deadlines

“If you work on something a little bit every day, you end up with something that is massive.”

Kenneth Goldsmith

It really helps to set your own deadlines and try to stick to them. Things like ‘write 500 words a day’ or ‘finish 2 chapters this week’. It really helps to have deadlines to meet each day, or each week. It helps keep you focused and fighting towards your end goals.

7. Have a Dedicated Workspace

I never saw this as overly necessary pre-COVID, but once the pandemic hit and we were home bound, I came to the realisation that a dedicated workspace is so crucial.

I have a home study set up and it helps to sit down at my desk and take that specific time during the day to write and focus on my work. Occasionally I will change positions and write on the couch or outside, but I find the dedicated workspace works really well for me.

8. Minimise Distractions

“You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.”

Winston S. Churchill

It can be hard to stay focused at home with animals, family, food or social media. I find I sit down to write and 2 hours later I have accomplished nothing because I was sucked into conversations with my husband and scrolling through social media.

It’s important to minimise distractions as you can, using things like social media lockouts and noise cancelling headphones. By doing this, you can stay focused on your task and be done sooner than you would while being distracted.

9. Take Breaks

Like any working person, you need to take breaks. You can’t expect to sit in front of a computer for 5 hours and smash out a heap of writing. Everyone tends to get bored and unproductive after sitting in front of a screen for so long, and words start to mush together.

Breaks are important for your mind, and for your health. Taking breaks throughout the day helps keep you focused and your mind clear so that you can keep pushing towards your goals.

10. Be Kind to Yourself

You need to take a step back and remember that we’re all human and we are all going through tough times right now! It’s okay to have off days and it’s okay to spend a day not leaving your bed. The important thing is to not let this be every day, and to keep pushing on where you can. You feel bad, so take a day off. But get cracking back into the next day. Try to not push yourself too much, we’re going through a lot right now and it is okay to feel horrible and have a day, or a few, off. Just take it one step at a time!

“Believe in yourself, take on your challenges, dig deep within yourself to conquer fears. Never let anyone bring you down. You got to keep going.”

Chantal Sutherland
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Behind The Scenes – Back In Action

“When life knocks you down, try to land on your back. Because if you can look up, you can get up.”

Les Brown

Bring on the writing inspiration! I’m back baby, and I’m so happy that I am! I’m still struggling a bit with my motivation, and editing my novel is definitely not what I’m doing at the moment, but I’m still back! I’ve started working on a new novel and I’m stretching my creative muscles once again.

I think most people are on the same page as me at the moment – struggling with the COVID-19 crisis and just trying to get through each day. I’ve decided to stop worrying so much about it and start making the most of the time I have inside.

I’ve set up a bit of a schedule now. I make sure I get up around the same time each day, even if I’m not doing anything, I make sure to do some exercise every morning and eat a healthy breakfast (as tempting as waffles are, I can’t eat them everyday {not even in a pandemic}).

It’s good to have that routine in the morning – it gets me ready for the day and helps me remember that losing my old routine isn’t the worst thing in the world.

“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.”

Zig Ziglar

I always try to write a bit each day again. I went a solid month without writing a single thing, and honestly it was the worst month. I hated not writing and my creative brain was screaming at me by the end of the month. I’ve worked up to being able to write everyday again, and I’m glad I’m back at that point.

I’ll keep writing and pushing forward. COVID-19 will not stop me or my creativity. Anxiety may be high, but I have the ability to write and push my creativity onto paper despite the fear and anxiety around.