Week 32 | My inspiration to blog

Part of the 52 Week Blog Challenge


It feels a bit strange to be writing this post when my blog has been so quiet for the last few months. Acres of Ink’s silence hasn’t been very inspiring, has it? Of course, now that I’ve kicked myself into gear again, hopefully that will change because… my primary goal in blogging is to help and inspire other writers.

lionsI’ve been writing fiction since I was seven. The first story I can remember was written at age seven, about two warring lion prides in the suburbs of Kent. When I was twelve, I completed my first book – a historical novel that is better off remaining in the past. I like to think I’ve learned a lot since those early days. Although I’ve definitely written more terrible stories than good ones, I’ve won a few awards, completed a literature degree, worked in a few publishing houses and currently work in a marketing / editing role in London. I’m still learning and the idea is to keep learning.

writingishardI habitually gather snippets of information I learn from both my own experience and industry advice I’ve been given. Recently I went to a course about ‘How to Hook an Agent’, which gave me invaluable advice about the querying process. I’ll be sharing this at some point, along with other ‘How-To’s, over in the Writing Is Hard section. The idea is to help other writers with questions I didn’t know the answer to and now do, as well as document my own publishing journey. This section is going through a bit of a revamp at the moment, so if you do happen to mosey on over there, I apologise if some of the links are lost. If it’s something that interests you, watch this space, as I’ll be launching a regular WIH Monday blog from October.

Obviously I don’t always write about writing. My blog is also my personal space, where I talk about my own work, review books I’ve enjoyed, share anecdotes about my life or folktales I particularly love. Sometimes I’ll get it in my head to do something crazy like a 52 Week Blog Challenge, with mixed results. Other times, I’ll talk about charity work or surprise Victoria Sponges.

And, sometimes, I just feel the need to share pictures of baby badgers.

A little update for August

OK, so the only thing I’ve successfully and continually achieved over the last three months is an expert level of procrastination. Call myself a writer? I haven’t put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard in a horrifyingly long time. I signed up for NaNoWriMo… twice… and barely competed. I can’t even say I was blogging instead because, well, look at my blog. The spiderwebs and tumbleweeds speak for themselves.

No, I have to face it, I have done sweet FA lately and it’s time for that to stop. So here’s me, shaking myself out of my self-induced funk, and giving you all an update.


What I should have been doing:

Beta’ing Harli V. Park’s novel: I haven’t forgotten you, I swear. You’re on my list!

coverdimensionsThe Elder Throne: First novel in the Equinox Series is complete, thrice-edited but unrevised. I’d say about 60% of it has been changed – all for the better, I hope, but 40% of it still needs pushing over the line before I can attempt a second wave of queries. I feel really good about the direction this new revision is heading in, I just need to find my motivation to complete it.

The Winter Court: I have actually written more of this! (A minimal amount, but something’s better than nothing, right?)

My blog: Ha ha, ha ha, ha. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. Ha. So evidently I’ve written nothing: no book reviews, no fun-fact-asides, no updates on my life and not even the easiest of all posts – answering my 52 Week Blog Challenge. What I’ve decided to do about this is gather together interesting information, prep it all to make it interesting, and start up again in October with a regular schedule I won’t be killing myself to stick to. In the meantime, I will be resuming my 52 Week Blog Challenge but only answering the interesting questions because life’s too short.


What I’ve actually been doing:

DIY and home improvement: I’ve practically lived in IKEA and on Etsy lately and my house now resembles a lovely, quirky geek den. However, I still don’t have any bedroom curtains. I’m working on that.

Taking mental health time: I’m struggling a bit lately. Mental self-care is not something I usually think I require, but it’s become apparent lately that I need a bit of a boost, or some downtime to process the myriad of unpleasant things that are making my daily grind a little worse. I’m working on it – and I have a holiday soon, so I’m clawing my way back towards being on top of it all!

1306701872chalkboardwhole_3558

Writing future books, blowing off fictional steam and developing characters: My mind has been jumping all over the place lately and this has manifested in exploring two separate alternative timelines, writing an entire novella’s worth of backstory and writing snippets from books that have no business being written until I finish my current project. I have successfully ‘blown off steam’ though, and the benefits of all this creative procrastination is that it has now given me a stronger hold on my characters and on things I need to include in my current work for continuity reasons.


What someone has actually done for me:

Brett Arts Illustrations (via Fiverr)

Brett has been working very hard to deliver some excellent character illustrations. By the time all of these characters are complete, I will have a decent manuscript to pair with them for my Beta Readers, at which time I will put up a page with descriptions in the hope you might want to know more. In the meantime, here’s a sneak preview of a few favourites.

 

Wish me luck getting back on track!

Week 27 | My favourite quotes

I’m not typically into motivational posters and photos of cats saying “hang in there!”, but I do have two quotations that spoke to me as soon as I heard them.


flowers in the rain

The first is from a poet called Rumi (Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī), which is:

“Raise your words, not your voice.
It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder.”

I find this quote is so evocative and uplifting. Coming from a household which admittedly shouts its way through conflict, Rumi’s words filled me with a sense of peace when I heard them; that it was better to convince than to verbally batter. In order to break the cycle of my very loud family, it is a quote I try to live by (although not always successfully).


The second is a quotation from Virgil that, if I were to have anything scrawled on the walls of my study, it would be this:

“Come what may, all bad fortune is to
be conquered by endurance.”

The last couple of years have been up and down. There’s been illness, death, work difficulties, personal difficulties… but nothing more than anyone else in the world has experienced too. This is the quote that gets me up in the morning, that convinces me to have another crack at my novel-in-progress, that no matter what’s happening in my life, there is something I’m aiming for and will achieve.

It is also my go-to ‘Hufflepuff’ quote, because I feel it embodies the ‘hardworking’ and ‘patience’ aspects of that particular Hogwarts house (of which I am a member – Go Hufflepuff!).


What are your favourite quotes?

Week 25 & 26 | My favourite recipe and the best parts of each season

Cc3gQI3WoAAGuNMI’ve been horribly remiss with my blog. I can’t even claim I was doing anything constructive in my absence because I was binge-watching Jane the Virgin on Netflix and sending short story snippets to my writing partner, S.E. Berrow, which have no bearing on my WIP novel whatsoever.

Alas, my impromptu holiday had to come to an end eventually, so I decided to play catch-up in the most efficient way. For this reason, I’m answering a fortnight of posts in one fell swoop.

 

 

Continue reading

Week #24 | My biggest dream in life

Part of the 52 Week Blog Challenge


My biggest dream – or ambition – in life is the same now as it was when I was seven: to make a living by writing and publishing novels. This blog post is actually slightly very delayed because I was busy taking steps to fulfil this dream by attending a course on how best to write an attention-grabbing query letter and submission pack.


lives a thousandThe desire to become an author is the first decision I remember making about my life. My Year 3 teacher, Mrs. Goode, told me I had a talent for writing and pointed out that, behind all of the books I was reading, there was an author who wrote them – who did it as a job. I loved reading; I can’t explain how much books have influenced the way I see the world, how much they’ve shaped the person I am today. Growing up in a socially conservative family, I consider books at least half the reason I’m an unabashed liberal.

Books open your mind to concepts you might not experience in real life; some can teach tolerance, shape your views on taboo subjects before you even experience them. They test your mettle, your values, the way you think and feel, and they never stop teaching you how to look at life from someone else’s perspective. To quote George R. R. Martin: “A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one.”

Well, I’ve lived a thousand lives and I’ll live a thousand more, but I want to contribute to the ocean of worlds that live inside books. That’s my dream, to just reach one reader and open their minds (whilst having fun at the same time, of course).


The problem comes in realising this dream. Continue reading