January Update

The sun has set on January (at least where I am) and I’m checking in with myself and you.
I’m very grateful that this year I’ve taken up bullet journaling, it makes looking back and keeping things in perspective really easy. I’ve managed to accomplish quite a bit, and much more than I thought from the top of my head.
For ten minutes or so each day I’ve been doing full body stretching and I’ve found that my back is much less painful, I recommend it!
Though the month has been overall good, there are things that I definitely need to work on in the coming months. Getting up early, getting out of the flat and more reading are the biggest things.
Posting more regularly is something I want as well, the problem with that is I’ve been working on world building, which I can’t really show, and my other projects are taking quite a while. I will have some cross stitch content coming up in the next few days but after that I’m not sure.
I’m in the midst of soul searching, trying to figure out what I like, what I want and how I want to present myself. For so long I’ve been a shallow person, somewhat of a shadow person and I’m ready to be a full, solid, colourful person. So for a little bit I may be a bit short of content, but I’m never too far away!
That’s it for my little end of the month update, in short, all is well and I’ve had a good start to the year. I hope that it is the same for you. Good luck for February.

A Peek in our Window

I’ve just got in from the weekly shop for food. Well, that’s a bit of a lie, I’ve been home for awhile, but I was spending time with John. He’s not well again and he’s having to go into work, so I feel guilty. Since I can’t work (anxiety) or even claim benefits (anxiety again, whoot) it means that John is solely responsible for our income. I know that he doesn’t mind but when it comes to being ill, it makes it hard for him to take time off work since we lose a fair amount of money. But that’s not what I wanted to ramble about. I’m sure it’s not interesting to hear me worry.
I don’t really have a point to the post, though, I just wanted to have a bit of a check in now that we are almost at the end of the second week of the year. I’ve been doing rather well with goals, however, I was slightly less productive this week, causing me to feel a little low, but I didn’t let it stop me and that in itself is a victory.
How is your year so far? If you think you’re falling behind with what you have planned, take a step back and see if you are achieving other things, habits that are making a better life or little victories that will make the whole plan easier. You can do this, I believe in you!
Maxi (our bearded dragon) is doing well, yesterday he had a great day, hunting for worms and having fun evading us as we try to keep him warm. Today he’s a bit calmer but no less cute.
I’ve been doing some experimentation with cross stitch, trying to find how much thread I use per stitch and I think I finally have the number, well for 14-count aida. Each time I try something new I will note it down. It’s all for the goal of creating my own patterns and to allow me to better anticipate how much thread I’ll be using. I get a bit nervous when I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing, is that clear yet 🙂
Today, I’m going to do some world building, I’m working on it constantly but I’m putting it on the computer in order to have a better grip on my ideas and to have it more accessible when I’m writing. With each pass it changes a little but gets better.
What are you up to this weekend? Whatever it is, I hope that it is great!

Bullet Journal – The First Seven Days

The first week of the year was a pretty uneventful one, however it was productive and enjoyable. I’m waiting until we get further in the year to get too proud of my habits, but so far so good.
Now this post is specifically about my foray into bullet journaling so that is what we will talk about.

Purple hippo dingbats notebook
Dingbats purple hippo dotted notebook

I’ve been interested in the concept for over a year, but due to the limited availability of dotted notebooks near me and nervousness about trying new things, it wasn’t until the end of 2019 (seeing people set up their 2020 journals) that I decided to give it a go.
I struggled with finding the right notebook, I wanted to be able to use what pens and supplies that I had on hand, rather than having to get specialist items or deal with the pens showing through the pages. It’s fair to say that I got myself in a bit of a tizzy. With no way to test or see them before investing I was a little apprehensive. But after watching a fair few videos I settled on a Dingbats notebook, I would have liked to get one of the A4+ sizes but I wanted the purple hippo. And it is really nice to write in, and my pens only very faintly show through to the other side.

I didn’t get it until rather close to New Year’s, which resulted in a sprint to set it up, causing me some lingering pain in my wrist. But I managed to get what I wanted set up, just in time.

The cover page for 2020 and the first page in the notebook
The key for the symbols I will use throughout the bullet journal.
A log for my cross stitch and the cover page for January

I’ve been using the journal everyday so far and it’s been very helpful. I think that I still need to find the perfect way for me to write my work tasks, but for now it is going well. The habit tracker (not shown, for privacy) has been especially revealing. I enjoy having a colourful and filled in chart, which is meaning that I want to do the activity in order to have the reward of filling in the little box with a block of colour.
I would suggest giving it a go if you need a little motivation to do something everyday.

The second week of January layout. Inspired by the plant based bride (on Youtube)

So now we are on to the second week (I realise now that I forgot to photograph the first week, I must get better at that!) and I’m still excited to use the book, I want to work and I want to put in the effort to make this year a good one.

I would highly recommend giving bullet journaling a go, you don’t need anything fancy, you don’t need a dotted notebook. A pen and a standard notebook would do. I have a bad habit of thinking that I need the “perfect” equipment in order to start something. But I’m slowly learning that getting started and earning some experience will do you better than any expensive set of pens.

I think my next update will be at the end of January, but feel free to let me know if you’d like more updates.

The End of NaNoWriMo

It is the end of NaNoWriMo and I did it!!

In the beginning I was so far behind and it took many days of multiple thousands of words to get to the end. But I proved to myself that I could/can do it.

How did everyone get on? Did you do it?

If you have not managed to get to fifty thousand words, do not despair! Nothing is a failure, it is all a lesson.

My story needs A LOT of work, I only got the very bare bones of the novel done. But it is going to be a great process of rewriting and making a cohesive first draft. However, I’m also looking forward to taking a break and trying to get ready for Christmas and to enjoy the wintry, dark times.

I will be getting back to posting stories here, I am hoping to get a little festive story up nearer to the solstice.

Overall Nano was a positive experience and I WON! I’m thinking of using the Scrivener reward and buying it at 50% off, does anyone have any experience with the software? Is it worth it?

Any hoo, time to rest my typing fingers and my dry eyes. Have a good weekend everyone!

NaNoWriMo Week Three

I am behind (what a shock) but feeling confident in my ability to get the words done. Today I’m aiming to get to thirty thousand words. The more that I am writing the story the more ideas and scenes are coming to mind. This month is going by so quickly, we are already well into week three. The end of the month is NEXT WEEK! Sorry for the shouting, but that is still sinking into my head.

My novel is going…well. My ideas are evolving as I carry on writing, problems are occurring and I’m tackling them as I encounter the plot holes. Since I began the month without much of a plan the details of my story hadn’t been worked out too well. But the basic idea was there and so far there have been a few blocks causing more pauses than would be ideal, but all told the flow of the story is going quite smoothly. Which is why I’m feeling confident in getting to fifty thousand words.

I have been a bit ill this week, hence the late weekly update. But I think that I’m getting better. Now, I must get back!

I hope that everyone is having a good weekend.

NaNoWriMo Week Two

Week Two is over and Week Three has already begun. I’m still behind, but I’m still determined and some of the stresses that have been causing trouble for me and John are finally over. John has passed his driving test (YES!) and job frustrations should be easing up, too. So I will be able to dedicate more brain time and actual physical time to my own projects. Yesterday I had my best day of writing yet, which was five thousand words. I’m still twelve thousand behind (I have 16.6k and have yet to write today) but if I have another few days like yesterday I will catch up in no time!

How is everyone doing? I feel like I’m in a bubble, not able to see and hear what’s going on around me.

I’m hoping after Nano and Christmas time I will be able to get to being more social and learning how to interact with people. I want to start getting more involved, but at the moment I’m focusing on my own work and winning Nano!

Good Luck in Week Three

NaNoWriMo Week One

The first week of Nano is over and I’m not doing so well. I have 4065 words and at the end of the day to meet the goal I should have 13336. It is a bit terrifying to realise how quickly that I’m falling being. The gap grows wider each day as I manage fewer and fewer words.
I’m by no means giving up, I’m still aiming to win (get 50k words by 30th of Nov). All it’s going to take is a few good days. I think the problem is I’m reticent to let my imagination just go wild. I want it to be a great story straight away but it’s not going to work that way, I will need many edits and such and I know it will get better each time.
So I need to relax and write, allowing all the crazy things fall onto the page and have fun with it. So that’s what I’m going to do now, I have a couple of hours before I need to be anywhere, let’s see what I can do.
Here’s to a great week two!

The End of October

Aaaaahhhhhhhhhh!!
AHHHHHH!

Where did October go?? I’m absolutely not prepared for NaNo.
Despite my desire to be productive and my attempts at planning Life has had other ideas. Stress is a big stopper on my abilities to get things done, to think and this month (the last few really) has been one kick in the teeth after another.
I promise you that I did not start this website just to complain and be a downer. We started this site at a bit of a hard time for us, there are a few life changes and challenges which need to be overcome (which will hopefully be soon) in order for us to really get to grips with the creative.
For this post I wanted to get something down, to let those interested know that we’re still here and that there WILL be more and better content coming soon. I’m going to try and document my NaNo experience, let me know if there is a particular thing you would like to know, or if there is a way you would like it presented!
How are you doing? How was October and do you have plans for Halloween? I shall be settling in for some frantic noting and outlining!
Until next time!

Car Ride

The rain tip taps on the car roof, falling from a grey sky. Blue sky lies in the distance, far in front, beyond the trail of metal carriages filling the motorway lanes. Red lights flash, on and off, on and off, as we inch along the road.
A gloved finger taps on the steering wheel, in time with the drops all around. No small talk, or music fills the car, just the ambient sounds and the taps.
Beyond the barriers steep tree covered hills give way to undulating fields of pale green grass with cream coloured sheep. Then, a forest of white turbines, reaching their slowly rotating blades high in to the air.
Soon the inches turn into feet and the feet into miles and we are travelling at a steady pace, the landscape whips by, once again the hills creep back around us.
We will pass through into the sunlight before long, the rain will be behind us and the road will be clear.

The Sabotage

I’m a saboteur. I try to ruin my own life in lots of small ways. Once I experience a tiny amount of success I find ways to fail, to stop what has been successful and to pursue the unhealthy habits that keep me trapped.
The last couple of weeks have been that way in many respects.
I’ve not been using my office, a place we made for work. I choose to be uncomfortable in a chair which leads to less productivity.
I give in to urges to eat and buy rubbish. Luckily not gaining weight but not losing.
My Nano prep is at a minimum, so much so I worry about being able to complete the writing challenge.
I sit and I scroll through Instagram and Twitter, trying to silence the screaming worry in my head. And it makes me even more frustrated, why can I not just DO something to help myself.
I felt this way shortly before starting this website with John, and for awhile it was great, with all you lovely people liking my posts. But I got caught up with questioning myself and all the other little blocks I put in my own way which caused me to back away from what helped.
It’s a tough time at the moment, John’s about to start a new job, so money is a bit of a concern, and the nervousness that comes with something new.
John’s last day is tomorrow and we have sometime before he starts the new job. We will be spring cleaning, changing things around and making the flat beautiful. I’m hoping it will be the start of a productive time and that I can throw myself into world building and prepping for Nano.
I know that periods of depression are going to happen throughout my life, but I’m trying to deal with them with a more mindful attitude and to make the most of the times where I am okay. With each bout it’s getting better, one day I hope to have a good balance.

Sorry for this self-indulgent post, but it’s good to get this out and to have some accountability, to have my feelings out there in a place where others can see, and maybe not feel so alone.

I will be back with more soon, as will John, but it may be sporadic for a little while.