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
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