author, University, writing

When University Gets In The Way

“University’s like this little world, a bubble of time separate from everything before and everything after.”

Mhairi McFarlane

I do love studying, and I have said that many times before, however it does sometimes get in the way of my creativity.

During a semester I am filled with stress and constantly studying. It stifles a lot of my creativity and makes it harder to get creative writing done. It’s more just one report after another.

It is fun going through my degree and learning as much as I am, but it is hard to accept that I am very unproductive in my creative life for several months out of the year. I do commit myself to my studies though, and sometimes that does require some sacrifices.

“Assiduity, it means sit down until you do it. Commit yourself to your work and study.”

Lucas Remmerswaal

I do try to fit writing in during a semester, and early on I can get some done. But I get burnt out very quickly. Between work and full-time studies, I can’t focus on writing or keeping up with my creative outlets. It can be really frustrating for me, as all I want to do is write and creatively express myself!

Person Writing on Notebook

It can be sad thinking about the lack of writing, but it’s not a major thing to be sad about, but it does get to me sometimes. I know I spend many months outside of classes being productive, and I just have to lean on that and accept that Uni does get in the way of writing.

It’s all for an end goal and one day I will graduate with a psychology degree and continue in my world of writing!

“I do not know anyone who has got to the top without hard work. That is the recipe. It will not always get you to the top, but it should get you pretty near.”

Margaret Thatcher
author, mental health, Writing

It is Time For Some Self-Care

Love yourself first, and everything else falls in line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.

Lucille Ball

I spoke in my last blog post about my mental health. It’s always an important topic for me, not only as an aspiring psychologist but also as a human being. Mental health is often overlooked or pushed away, but it is such an important thing for us to consider.

I like to find ways to take care of my mental health. As someone who deals with GAD (generalised anxiety disorder) I know how hard it can be to make it through some days with a mental disorder. It’s important to take time out every day to focus on your mental health and take care of yourself.

I like to snuggle up with a good book, or my notebook, when my anxiety is high. It’s good to remove myself from my current situations and delve into fantasy worlds – either created by myself or someone else. It gives me an escape that I need when my anxiety starts to take over.

Self-care is so needed, especially in with our world in the state it’s in. I know my country is doing so much better than others, and we all need to take the time out and care for our mental health – whether your country is in lockdown or not.

It is so important to take time for yourself and find clarity. The most important relationship is the one you have with yourself.

Diane Von Furstenberg

The most important aspect of my self-care is focusing on myself. It can be hard to focus on yourself in this day and age – you feel selfish for putting yourself first. But something I have learnt is that you need to be at your best to care for others to the best of your ability. If you’re not mentally well it is hard to support others.

I try to take care of my needs and care for myself. Whether that is taking a bath or staying in bed all day. It’s important to take care of my mind, body, and soul. I enjoy yoga as a way to take a breath and step away from all my worries. It focuses me on the moment and really helps alleviate those anxieties.

It’s important to find what works best for you and care for yourself and your mental wellbeing. Here is my basic list of what I tend to do for self-care.

  • Have a bath
  • Read a book
  • Exercise
  • Get in the sun for at least 15 minutes
  • Organise things (often my fridge much to my partner’s exasperation)
  • Meditate for at least 5 minutes
  • Do a sudoku puzzle
  • Use a face mask and hair mask (home spa)
  • Turn off social media

Obviously, these are just things that work for me and help me switch off and take care of my mental wellbeing. Find what works best for you and put your mental health at the top of the priority list!

To love oneself is the beginning of a lifelong romance.

Oscar Wilde
author, mental health, pandemic, Writing

Caring For Mental Health In This World

2020 was a rough year for a lot of people. Thankfully it wasn’t horrendous for me – I still had a job, I still had a house and a car and I had my health. However, 2020 was still filled with anxiety and uncertainty. It definitely was not an easy year, even if my year was better than a lot of other people.

A lot of people understand the stress and anxiety that many have gone through this year. Everyone’s story is different, and not everyone will understand why certain things caused you anxiety. It’s important to remember that your anxiety is valid and is a part of your own personal journey. Not everyone will experience the same thing.

“Sometimes the people around you won’t understand your journey. They don’t need to, it’s not for them.” 

Joubert Botha

I make sure I continue to power forward each day and I try not to let the anxieties overwhelm me. It can be difficult, and there have been days where I’ve stayed in bed for most of the day, but I try not to let my anxiety dictate my life.

I may spend a day isolated because of my mental health, but I try to pick myself back up the next day and continue forward. I let myself feel my feelings, that’s why you have them after all. But I won’t stop everything and stay in bed for weeks on end. But, it’s perfectly okay to spend those days in bed or isolated at home. Sometimes you need it. Sometimes your mental health won’t allow you to do anything, so it’s okay to take care of yourself and isolate when you need too.

“You don’t have to be positive all the time. It’s perfectly okay to feel sad, angry, annoyed, frustrated, scared and anxious. Having feelings doesn’t make you a negative person. It makes you human.”

Lori Deschene

It’s rough at the moment being forced to isolate no matter what. Even the most introverted people need some escape, and it was extremely limited in 2020, and continues to be an issue in 2021. I love my home time and I love my alone time. I am very much an introverted person, but even I have been going stir-crazy in this isolating time. It’s been hard to keep a positive attitude, but I know there will be an end soon and the craziness will calm down.

I’ve neglected my writing a bit during COVID lockdowns, due to mental health, but I’ve jumped back on the bandwagon this year and I’m trying to find the motivation and I’m trying to push forward. It’s time to get my groove back and not let this isolating time beat me down anymore.

2021 will be my year. I will finish editing my novel in 2021. I will write a new novel in 2021. I will move forward and leave the chaos of COVID behind as best I can!

author, Writing

Behind The Scenes – Infection Point Update

If a story is in you, it has to come out.

William Faulkner

I’m getting there. I really am getting there! It was slow progress over the holidays and with work, but I’m at the home stretch! I don’t have much more to edit until my novel is done, which is so incredibly exciting!

I only have a couple of chapters left to edit, and then I’ll let some people read it and make sure it’s okay before I send it off to some publishers! It’s really improved from where it started, and I’m proud of the novel I’ve created. I am nervous for second opinions and sending it to publishers, but I am proud of my work and I do want to put it out there.

It’s been a really long haul. I’ve been working on this novel for like two years now. It hasn’t been a quick process for me, with work and studies getting in the way, but I’m excited that I can finally see that finish line!

I could just keep on editing this novel for another two years. It’s hard to stop editing and decide that enough is enough. It’s hard to end that story and be done. But I need to do it in order to get this novel into the world. I need to stop the story and be done with editing at some point.

There is no real ending. It’s just the place where you stop the story.

Frank Herbert

It’ll be strange finally finishing the editing process. I’ve been editing for most of these last two years, and it’s dragged on and on. The writing was easy, the editing was definitely not easy. I’m looking forward to being able to start new things and move forward with my writing.

It’s hard to let go, admittingly. I’m kind of dreading having to let go of this novel. I’ve spent so long on it now that it feels strange to almost be at that point when I’m done with it. When I don’t need to spend time every day on it.

Finishing books – and leaving the world you’ve created – is always a kind of emotionally wrenching experience. I usually cry.

Lauren Oliver

That moment isn’t quite here yet. I’m hoping to be done by the end of February, which means I’ll have some time to send it off to people for opinions and start something new before delving into University again.

But, for now, I’m off to go edit some more!

author, pandemic, Writing

Fanfiction and Other Writings

“There’s a time and place for everything, and I believe it’s called ‘fan fiction’.”

Joss Whedon

I admit it! I am a sucker for fanfiction! It’s a whole other world of creative writing and it is so much fun to indulge in.

I haven’t written much fanfic in a while, but I definitely do indulge in reading it. I always choose the fantasy worlds and my gaming worlds to read fanfiction about.

It’s fun to get absorbed in a world you already know and read about characters you know and enjoy someone else’s take on those characters.

Woman Sitting on Chair Using Black Ipad

I do enjoy those worlds and reading and writing fanfic. It is a fun world to get into, and kind of like a rabbit hole!

I have also been enjoying writing some short stories and poetry recently. It’s hard to do too much with novels while Uni is on, but I do try to be somewhat creative. Short stories help me to take small breaks from my studies and remain creatively minded.

It is fun throwing together a short story, and maybe one day I’ll compile them together! Who knows what the future holds?

But, for now, I’m going to go indulge in some fanfiction before returning to my current assessment!

“Fanfiction is what literature might look like if it were reinvented from scratch after a nuclear apocalypse by a band of brilliant pop-culture junkies trapped in a sealed bunker. They don’t do it for money. That’s not what it’s about. The writers write it and put it up online just for the satisfaction. They’re fans, but they’re not silent, couchbound consumers of media. The culture talks to them, and they talk back to the culture in its own language.”

Lev Grossman
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, 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