I’m back!

A belated Happy New Year to all of y’all. As you may, or may not, have noticed, I’ve been away since…basically the back end of December. Christmas is a personal nightmare for me what with my mental health and all so it’s taken me a while to recover…but I’m back now and I’m gonna try and start posting again regularly.

So let’s have a quick look at what I’ve been doing during my hiatus.

I did a whole bunch of socialising, and more-or-less survived it.

I read three books – which is pathetic, but I haven’t really felt up to it. I did set myself a challenge to finish all the discworld books this year. I’d already read 29 of them, so I’m finishing the rest and starting the audiobooks from book 1.

I lost a whole bunch of weight which was pretty cool. Got a long way to go before I’m considered a ‘healthy’ weight, but its a step in the right direction. I’ve been taking my dog for much longer walks and I’m even going to try swimming again, so that’s exciting!

I started a Year In Pixels / diary to keep track of how I’m feeling day-to-day, which has been weird. I’ve also started a thing on twitter where I list a couple of things I like about me per day, which has been a challenge and I’ve only been doing it a week!

So now some bookish goals for the year.

As I said, I’m gonna finish the discworld series. Pratchett is my favourite author so this is an exciting goal for me.

I’m reading first drafts of a couple of authors works, which I’m so excited about.

I’m starting a new writing project. It’s gonna be more light-hearted than my current WIP, about a fish-girl who goes on some sort of adventure. I’m not sure what reading age it’s gonna be aimed at, but I kinda want it to be a kids/teen book, so that should be fun.

So there we are…things happened, things are happening, I’ll try and update sometimes and there we are.

 

Writing Journal

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This week was a bit hectic for writing, what with it being so close to Christmas. I was seriously behind on my studying too, so I had to prioritise – hence I didn’t do a lot this week. HOWEVER.

This week I wrote somewhere into the region of 7000 words, which I’m dead pleased with, thanks in no small part to a mammoth writing session in my local library yesterday afternoon. I also managed to complete my week’s writing goal, which was pretty sweet.

Last week’s writing challenge: Write the final chapters.

I totally wrote them. I hate the prologue, and I’m not sure about the content and pacing of the chapters, but that’s a problem for first-draft editing. I also started work on the few chapters I wanted to slot into earlier parts of the story, so it’s all starting to come together.

With that in mind, let’s set a new writing challenge, shall we:

This week’s writing challenge: Complete draft 0.5

In other words, finish off the few remaining chapters to give me a complete story, by the end of the week. Then I can have a week or so off, and then I start the monumental task of editing!! Scary stuff!

Writing Journal

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This week was not productive – I failed to do any writing until today, which obviously wasn’t ideal. Fortunately, today was extremely productive.

So today, I took myself off to my local library (woo!) and sat with my laptop and wrote for about 5 hours, with periodic breaks to browse Twitter and procrastinate.

I managed to get three full chapters finished, which means I beat last weeks challenge (which was 2 chapters). That means that I have roughly 3 chapters to finish the book, and then a few to slot in during editing. About 6 or 7 in total. So I think I’m on my way to getting a draft done by the end of the year – but it might be draft 0.5 rather than a proper first draft.

This week’s writing challenge: Write the final chapters.

Writing Journal

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(This was supposed to be posted a week ago, but apparently it didn’t! OMG!)

The end is in sight! Or, it was until I moved the goalposts.

My NaNo project only has 10 chapters left for me to write, which is somewhere in the region of 15-20k words, which sounds like a heck of a lot if I’m honest. Then I’ll have to go through chapter by chapter, refining and rewriting and hopefully, I’ll have the first draft and I can let people see it. Or not.

Also, I’m going to be setting myself goals in the future. Little manageable writing tasks for me to complete over the course of the week, and I’ll be keeping a record of if I manage to complete them. So in that spirit, here is my first goal:

Goal: Write 2 chapters / 3000ish words

Writing Journal

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This week has, by comparison, been pretty lacklustre for writing things. It’s hard to go from ‘I won NaNoWriMo’ last week to anything – it just doesn’t match up. But what can you do?

I sat down the other day and replotted my book in an attempt to plug a handful of areas that I don’t think are developed enough. I’ve slotted in a few extra chapters in strategic places and started plotting things I need to add when I run through it again.

I’ve only got a handful of chapters left to write before the story itself is complete, which is tremendously exciting. I’m setting myself an arbitrary deadline since NaNo seemed to be so helpful.

My goal is to complete my first draft by the end of the year! After that, I’ll let my buddies read it and then cry when they hate it.

Weekly Roundup

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About my week

I can’t remember any of this week – that’s probably not such a good thing! All I know is that learned I’m up against 3 others for a position on the LGBT committee at my uni, I put myself up for a new position (Equalities & Support Officer) and I just submitted my first assignment. Oh Yeah, and I planned the sequel to my NaNoWriMo novel – so I do remember some of it!

This weeks reading

This week I’ve been reading (links to Goodreads)

This weeks posts

New acquisitions

Books added to the collection this week (links to Goodreads)

Links

Soundtrack to the week

3 songs that had me hooked this week (Links to YouTube)

Study J(OU)rnal, Week 3, Year 1

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This has been a good week for study. I’ve been keeping on top of my workload, even though it’s half term and my sisters are at home, and I’ve been studying more effectively too. I’m actually writing down my answers to questions I’m asked, I’m highlighting as I go so I have something like notes, and I’ve even started on my first assignment. I’m definitely getting much better at the study skills side of things compared to during my last degree.

I have also had some nice evidence that my new study skills are helping the material sink in. I am the first to admit that I know less than nothing about gardening. My granny, by contrast, knows a whole lot, and keeps a very tidy and pretty garden. But somehow I was able to explain to her some of the basic scientific principles of compost and compost heaps, as a result of studying it as part of this module. Needless to say the random knowledge impressed and amazed my family, and I was incredibly pleased to see facts sinking in, despite not being part of my preferred topics!

Finally, the OU LGBT society have re-advertised three of the committee positions for self-nominations. I know at least one person who has put in for the trans officer post, and since I’d rather do any role with the LGBT society, even if it’s not my preferred role, than I would to lose the chance to do anything I am now going to be putting my name up for some of the other positions just in case.

Bring on week 4.

Writing Journal

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If you have found your way to my little blog, then you are probably at least fairly bookish, and I you probably know what next month means. But if you don’t I’ll briefly explain.

It’s #NaNoWriMo2018 somebodies!

If you don’t know what that that means, it stands for National Novel Writing Month! Where writers from across the spectrum go hell-for-leather and try to turn out a first draft of a brand new story – 50,000 words in the course of a month. It’s CRAZY, so obviously I’d be stupid not to try, right?

As such, I thought I’d make a little writing journal as I go along.

So anyway, here’s a little bit of info about the story I’m working on!

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Check out this smexy front cover I made!

Tennessee is living out of his car. He’s got no money, no job, no friends and no hope. Then he takes a phone call that changes his life for ever. A delivery goes horrible, catastrophically wrong and Tennessee finds himself running from the law, and captured by a suspicious group who have mistaken him for his twin brother.

What follows is a tale of magic, murder and mayhem. It will hopefully be action packed and most importantly all kinds of queer!

So we’ll see how that goes.

Anyway, you can keep track of my progress here: Link to nanowrimo.org – if you’re thinking of taking the challenge yourself, add me as a buddy (I’m on as RagdollReads), I’d love some encouragement and competition!

Study J(OU)rnal, Week 2, Year 1

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Week 2 is over and oh boy has it been a massive, MASSIVE week.

First off, I’m improving my method of study. As I said last time, I was a bit slapdash with study, particularly with notes. I’ve since figured out how to make notes electronically (which you would think I would have thought about at some stage during the last 7 years) and I will be trying to make notes digitally instead of on paper. It might help, or it might be terrible, I won’t know until I try. I’m also keeping on top of my studying comfortably, which is good. As an added bonus, I got my study area up and running and it looks like this:

If only the computer worked properly it would be almost perfect.

These are all big things for me. It’s a level of organisation I haven’t bothered to utilise before.

I’ve also made a decision. An Access Course is, not surprisingly, pretty easy going for me, since I’ve already recently completed a degree. I’m already used to university level study so I have a big advantage compared to many of my classmates. I had a big wobble during study time the other day because the questions I was asked to complete were so painfully simple compared to what I’m used to that it made me sad. But I fought off the anxiety and reevaluated my focus. I’m going to try and pick up new study skills from this course if I can, but mainly I’m going to be trying to absorb as much of the different STEM disciplines as I can. The first course from my last degree scared me, because I didn’t like “the Arts”, I just wanted to do history as I mentioned in my first journal post (Study J(OU)rnal, Prep Week, Year 1). But I didn’t like the history course, so I fell back on things I had (surprisingly) enjoyed studying during the the first course. So I’m doing the same here. I’m going to keep my mind open to all the disciplines in case I find something I think is more interesting than computers!

Finally, an opportunity fell in my lap this week. I have been wanting to take part in the non-academic side of university life for some time, and this week an email was sent out to all members of PLEXUS, the Open University’s LGTBQIA+ society, about elections for committee members. So I’ve self-nominated for the position of Trans Officer. It’s a scary thing to do, and I’m very proud of myself for putting myself out there, even if I don’t get the spot. But still, fingers crossed.

Bring on Week 3!

Study J(OU)rnal, Week 1, Year 1

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It’s the end of my first week, and I have very mixed feelings about everything. I’ve had a difficult week mental-health wise which has obviously put a damper on just about everything, but that’s not to say I haven’t been busy.

I’ve done First Contact with my tutor for the year. Our tutorials are supposed to be done via telephone, which I am unable to do, so I was pleased to see my tutor was accommodating to that and will allow me to make contact by email. Of course, I was confident this would be the case, because so far my experience with the Open University’s accessibility procedures has been really good.

I’ve also completed my first weeks study content. This week’s work was mainly about how to be an Open University student, which as an alumni I already know, but it has encouraged me to think critically about my approach to study. Over the last 7 years, my studying has been slap-dash at best. I took probably 3 pages of notes, total, I did every weeks worth of studying in one or two big chunks and when the time came to write assignments I stressed and wrote frantically for days, without much actual planning involved. As it turns out, I actually am quite effective with a fluid learning style (one of the advantages of the OU over a brick-and-mortar uni) but I can make changes. I’ll be going out an buying a cork-board and a whiteboard and I will try and combine my existing fluid style with a little bit of planning.

Finally, I’m pleased to see some changes to the way the study materials are presented. Each section is broken down with a guide saying how long it is expected to take. There is a study recap at the end of the chapter, and included in this there is a little box listing the things you have achieved by completing the chapter! I don’t know if it’s specific to the Access course (which prepares you for university level study) or if the features are new to the OU generally, but they were a nice touch.

Bring on week #2!