Healthy Living – Mind and Body

This healthy living is hard work. Not just physically hard work, but hard work staying on track. We humans like to indulge, and I am guilty of that.

Still, it is the thought that counts, and I can say my intentions are always there.

This month is my NaNoWriMo challenge month. Last year I achieved the 50,000 words, but the muse has escaped me this month. I am about 7,000 words into my sequel to the novel I wrote last year. But the characters are no longer talking. It is hard with full-time work, but I was intent on doing it again. My mind however was elsewhere, and I chose to just go with what I felt I needed to do for myself.

It has been a full year and the usual end-of-year tiredness had set in. A personal family issue has been bothering me for the last three months. Enough to seek professional help, and it was the best I could have done for myself. The problem had left me empty, well at least not as creative as I could have been. But on the up side seeking help assisted me in maintaining a healthy mind.

So what are the main things I have learned that is helping me grow and move forward?

1. Even if you do not understand why or even agree, learn to listen and validate the feelings of others. They are real to the other person.
2. Another person’s decision and actions are not a mirror of you. It is their journey, not yours.
3. Self blame zaps your energy. You cannot change past decisions and actions. You only can affect future actions , so put your energy into them.
4. Learn to accept our roles in life are ever changing
5. Accept that we enter this world on our own and we only ever have ourselves.
6. Find peace in yourself and FOLLOW YOUR PASSIONS

I have walked a lot with the warmer weather approaching, and right now I am sitting in a park after an hour-long walk. Being outdoors is peaceful and clears any cobwebs. It is invigorating, and as your mind is part of your body, moving it improves your overall well being. Plus it awakens those creative juices.

I will continue my feeble attempt at healthy living, and looking forward to getting stuck into editing my novel in December. November for me was more National Me Month. Maybe I am onto something, NaMeMo.
How has your months been?

Positive Thought 1/8/2018

Today’s positive…chatting to my writer friend from last year’s NaNoWriMo reminding me of the great connections made and the beauty of giving ourselves permission to focus solely on just writing. Think I might just have to do it again this year. Who else is joining again…maybe? 😁

Positive Thought 1/5/2018

I love the connections I am making through this site and other online and offline activities.

Like tonight, having a face chat with a writer friend met through doing NaNoWriMo last November. These interactions are so invaluable in honing our craft, but also so good for our souls.

How To Start and Keep On Writing

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2017 was an amazing year for me on a number of levels ​but in particular​​ my writing.

Looking back I can honestly say I am proud of what I achieved and really excited about where this will take me in 2018.

So what exactly did I achieve:

1. Entered 2 short stories into a competition and had them both published on Short Fiction Break, an online magazine
2. Started and finished the first draft of my 65000 word novel
3. Set up my online platform for both my writing and my photography
4. Started regular blogs
5. Joined a local writers group attending monthly meetings
6. Accepted the positions of Vice President and Writers Festival Social Media Coordinator for the local writers group
7. Participated in NaNoWrimo
8. Joined a number of online writers groups
9. Submitted 3000-word​ sample of my novel to UK publishing house

Thats quite a list for only one year. When I look back I wonder what made this year different to other years. I have had the desire to write for a long time. Why did it finally happen this year? I think its a number of events or decisions I made that finally got me writing and on track.



  • Set clear goals


In the beginning of 2017 I was once again announcing my desire to write a book. I think my daughter finally got sick of hearing about it and quite bluntly told me “just do it mum, stop talking about it and just do it” . It was probably the best advise I could have received. I realised how right she was. I could talk about it till the cows come home, but unless I started and set a clear goal I would be talking about it again the next year. So I set myself a goal to finish my book and told as many people about this goal to really cement it and make myself accountable.



  • Join writers groups


This is so important. Writing may be a solitary passion, but connecting with like minded writers has so many benefits. Not only do you learn from other writers but you also get an outlet for your writing. Often they have workshops and guest speakers in their meetings that expand you as a writer. Plus you start to see yourself as a writer which does wonders for your creativity.



  • Enter competitions and join online groups


I loved taking part in the The Write Practise competitions. It was my first attempt writing short stories that others would review. The interactions with other writers during the competition was hugely beneficial. Being reviewed and having to review posts from other writers was a real challenge that broadened my skills even further. I would highly recommend it to any new writers. I made a lot of online connections that I am still in touch with today. In general joining online activities either competitions or online groups is hugely beneficial. The support you receive from some groups is so important when you start out and even ongoing as we continue to learn. My favourite online groups at the moment are So You Want To Be A Writer run by Allison Tain and Valerie Khoo and a fairly new group called Authors in the News run by Kristin Spiers. Both provide valuable information in a down to earth professional way.



  • Participate in NaNoWriMo


This was an amazing experience and really got me over the line to finish my novel. The accountability of the word count, having supportive writing buddies and a number of workshops and local write-ins really kept you writing. Not only for November but has now set a good writing habit. I make regular time to write now. I know , if you really want to write , you have to sit down and start writing. If you wait till the stars are aligned and you are in the mood, it may never happen. It will most like not happen often enough. Regular writing and setting deadlines will get you there.



  • Share your writing


Don’t be shy. Dont wait till you feel its perfect. Share your writing journey. You will learn from the feedback from others and it will make you feel like a writer.
It took me a while to feel comfortable sharing my writing but the more I shared the more I found I enjoyed it. “Feel the fear and do it anyway” Allison Tait of SYWTBW Podcast.



  • Make time


Of course that is a no brainer, but you really need to take it serious and make your writing a priority. That means cutting down on other leisure time activities or getting up earlier to fit it in. Prioritise your time and ensure you fit it what is really important to you. It’s good to sit down and write your activities over a week and then work out what you can eliminate or where you can find time. It’s amazing how much time we really do “waste” where we could be writing instead.

Above is what got me to finally achieve what I had wanted for a long time and plus some. It worked for me and it may work for you too. We are all individuals and need to find our own way to write.

Hope this helps new writers.

What helped you? How did you find your writing groove? Would love your feedback.

I am done!

I am done and it feels fabulous!

I’ve finished the month of November writing in excess of the 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo. I never ever thought I would get there, but loved the challenge from the beginning.

The NaNoWriMo challenge is to write 50000 words during the month of November. The size of a small novel. Its a global challenge and has been around for a number of years. The headquarters are in San Fransisco United States which funny enough is also where my daughter currently lives. I had the luxury of visiting her in May. I could have popped in to say hi in person :-). But at that stage, I had never heard about Nanowrimo. I actually can’t recall how I found out about it. Maybe through the writers’ groups online that I have joined this year. I’m pretty sure that is where I heard about it first. I loved the idea and needed something to help me achieve what I had set out to do at the beginning of this year. To write a novel.

So I joined in September and read up about what to do. Initially not a lot of information other than what other Wrimos suggested. Many advised planning your novel so you would have it set out before you started. The Planners approach. Others said they just started writing with no idea where they were going. The Pantzers approach. Most did something in between.

Seeing that I work full-time as a planner I liked that approach so during October I started looking at the novel I had already started, and worked out next chapters and main events I was going to write. It worked till I ran out of steam. I turned into a Plantzer. Half planning and half writing by the seat of my pants so to speak.

I found that once I started NaNoWriMo the creative part of me really came alive. Each day I had a target set for myself pending on what was going on in my life. If I knew I had to attend something, like a music festival or a night out, I would make sure I had planned for that target wise. That way I would never feel like a loser if I didn’t reach the average target every day.

By sitting down pretty much each day I found even on the days where in the past I would have stopped myself thinking I was just too tired or I just did not feel creative, I always managed to write more than I thought I had in me. The act of making myself sit down seemed to make the words come. Even on days when all my brain wanted to do was to be a couch potato and not think at all.

Working full time I made sure my daily week targets were always less and I would then catch up on weekends having more time and energy. I found Thursday nights for some reason were always the worst and on a couple of Thursdays I just gave myself the night off. I think it’s important to not always force yourself but to sometimes allow yourself a rest. It feels like pure indulgence and made me feel better.

I loved the community spirit of NaNoWriMo. The many online and real-life events that are organised to help keep you going. The writing buddies online that I connected with and the way we all supported each other by little motivational notes along the way. It’s a very supportive challenge to participate in and never do you feel you are alone or made to feel like a loser. It’s not a competition, the aim is just to write and to get into a habit. Any words written is better than what you had before, but the goal of achieving the 50000 is always the carrot dangling in front of you.

It’s certainly motivating to see other writers sprint along and finally reach the 50000. One of my buddies managed to get to the 50000 in our first week and ended up writing around 195000 words. That is massive. Even if you had plenty of time and no full-time work to drag you down, to write that much in a month is a huge achievement. His words were “Nanowrimo starts a fire in me and I just write like a madman”. You can say that again.

My local library also had some great events on during this time. They really stepped up and produced some great author and book presentations as well as the local write-ins. Write-ins are great as you get to meet other wrimos in the same boat as yourself and you learn from each other. Especially when you are a novice like me with so much to learn about the industry, By talking to other writers you pick up ideas on how to edit your draft, how to publish, what to do and what to avoid. So many resources that you may not know about but can be so valuable to you on your writing journey. Even just meeting with like-minded people and talking about your writing interests and good books to read is valuable. Getting out of your own head for a while and filling it up with some interesting and valuable bits of information. Plus of course, meeting some fantastic human beings along the way. Writing can be a lonely passion and it’s essential I feel to stay connected with people. After all, they are often our source of inspiration 🙂

My novel is now finished. First draft at least. With my starting point of 15000, I now have a decent size novel and a sequel in my head. I have printed it up and will put it aside for a least a month before I start the editing and re-editing and hopefully publish. I am thinking I will self-publish and once that is done I may approach some publisher just to see If there is any interest. I would be a huge pat on my back if someone scooped it up.

Writing a book has been a lifelong dream of mine and I have tried on a number of occasions. Never short of story ideas, just never the stamina or enough motivation to actually continue the story. I think I needed the motivation from others, from writers groups and online podcast etc, to actually keep me going. Also the fact that I am not getting any younger, so if I really want to get a book written now is the time. I told myself at the beginning of this year, that this year was my year for finishing a book. And I did it. For once a New Year resolution actually was followed through.

I feel super proud and its such a great feeling to actually have achieved what I set out to do. To know that I can actually do it. I can write a story long enough for a novel and I loved every minute of writing it.

For the rest of this year, I will just relish and enjoy the euphoria I feel and get a bit more writing done on my blog here. I’ve been neglecting that since I started the novel in November. I also want to get out there with my camera again and get some good shots. I’ve missed that but I just haven’t had time to fit it in. My priority was writing in November which meant any other passions or social life was reduced to a minimum.

So to anyone thinking about how to get that novel started and finished I totally and wholeheartedly recommend participating in NaNoWriMo. Go out there join a writers’ group, connect with like-minded people, submerge yourself in writing and you will get there. I have absolutely enjoyed the ride, more than I ever imagined, and have learned so much about my writing style. Best of all I met some beautiful and interesting writers and I have produced that first draft of my novel. What a way to finish this year.

Happy writing everyone