Monday, 21 March 2016

List Mania

Have a week full of appointments this week - as well as work - so in my effort to be more productive, here are my current thoughts.

There’s no point in dedicating a set time each day to write if you spend the entire time staring at a blank screen / piece of paper, so its important to plan what you’re going to work on before the allocated time.  That way you can hit the ground running and grind Mr Procrastination into the dirt.

And this is where lists come in.  I’m of big fan of a list and quite happily write endless bullet points of things I want to do.  But, unfortunately the lists themselves seem to strangle me with their own enthusiasm because they are so long that they become unachievable.  So whilst I will probably never be able to contain the urge to put everything in my head down on paper, its important for me to prioritise.  

From now on I’m going to pick three things from the list and make them my priority.  That way the list won’t seem so daunting and I’ll get things done.

There’s nothing like the satisfaction of a ticked off list - I must be a very sad person!

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

Best Laid Plans

So, today I had a plan. 

I was working from home for my real job.  I got my head down, focussed all day and was really pleased with what I had achieved by the time it was time to pick the boys up from school.  Dinner was planned, so all I had to do was cook it, and then spend some quality writing time while the boys were eating.

And then it all went wrong.

Youngest son got in the car and said, "Mum, I really hurt my arm playing football at lunchtime."  
Now, he's not really one to complain, there's always something happening with the pair of them, and usually it doesn't last very long.  But when I asked him to show me where it hurt, and to lift his arm up, I realised by the look on his face that a trip to A&E was in order.

He told me it would be fine, but as he's broken wrists four times before (playing football) I thought it would be best to get it checked out.

Three hours and an x-ray later and it was confirmed - he'd chipped a bone in his humorous - believe me it's not funny!  Nothing too serious, his arm will be in a sling for a few weeks and there's no football for a while.  He shed a few tears at that.

But seeing as its the Easter holidays after next week and I was planning for him to go to football camp while I worked it has kind of set the cat amongst the pigeons.

Next week was already looking busy with an orthodentist appointment, a dentist appointment and a school trip, now I've got a visit to fracture clinic to squeeze in between work as well.

Quality time for writing?  Not today I fear!

Monday, 14 March 2016

Teenage Tantrums

The trouble with teenagers is that they always think they know best; they refuse to listen to their parents (particularly their mothers) when they are talking sense; they can't see the point of keeping their bedrooms tidy (even though they fly into a panic because they can't find what they need two seconds before they need to leave for school); and despite all this they still expect the bank of mum and dad to be open all hours, and taxis to be available 24 / 7 without any prior notice.

The plus side of this frustration is that I spent the most part of this weekend trying to avoid my own truculent teenagers.  I was so annoyed that I didn't feel guilty about spending some time on my own instead of pandering to their every whim and I actually managed to edit two short stories.  

So, the moral of this story is, there is a plus side to everything, even after tearing your hair out!

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

The Summer of Living Dangerously - Julie Cohen

I read this book on holiday and I was glad that I had the time to read it without the interruptions of daily life.  OK, so I might have been tempted to put it down if my boys had been drawing in the pool but apart from that there was little that could drag me away from the story.  It is a book I have been meaning to read for a long time and the anticipation of it in no way disappointed.

From the moment I started to read I was instantly involved with the main character, Alice.  Alice is trying, and failing, to get on with her life but you can tell from the beginning that she is a woman who has a seriously troubled past, a past which she is trying to block out  - a recipe for disaster in any good story.

Alice writes articles for technical magazines but she is bored and blocked by her writing until she sees an advert for Eversley Hall, where the owners are re-enacting true life events which took place in the house in 1814.  The advert inspires her to pitch an article to a woman’s glossy magazine.  The article leads to meeting the owner of the stately home and that results in her becoming part of the re-enactment team.

Back in 1814 Alice finds her character a much more pleasant person to be as here she doesn’t have to confront her issues in the present.  However life has a habit of getting in the way and as past and present collide, Alice is forced to deal with her problems and decide who she really loves and wants to spend the rest of her life with.  

I’m a big fan of Julie Cohen because she creates characters who walk straight off the page and into your heart and this book is no exception.  She is definitely the kind of writer any wannabe would aspire to become - I am so completely envious of how she makes her characters come alive.

The Summer of Living Dangerously provides a fascinating insight into Regency England whilst also having a heartbreaking story in the present day.  If you have any interest in Jane Austen or stately homes, I challenge you not to enjoy it.