It’s November- a very important month for writers all over the world. This time of year last year I was typing my fingers off, because I decided to join NaNoWriMo and actually reach the word count of 50,000. And I did and I was very proud.
This year, however, I’m not even sure I signed up for it. Yes, I receive all the NaNo updates and I read them, because the emails are a fun read. But then November 1 came and went and I happily carried on with my life, which includes writing every day for the local newspaper anyway, working on my other blog and freelancing for some clients.
But now that I took a break from ‘real’ life and checked in online, I’m sorry to read how everyone joined either NaNoWriMo or another awesome challenge: the NaBloPoMo.
The good news is that I will be doing even more writing in the next few months. I have just rented a small apartment so I have a space where I can treat my writing like the job that it is. I have a brand new, huge HP computer, my laptop for writing on the go, several notebooks and plenty of pens and loads of ideas and inspiration. Now, all I need is a desk….
Lately I’ve been feeling out of sorts. Every endeavour ends in disaster, my mood is horrible and I seem to be fighting with everyone around me. At first I thought it was just me, but people around me seem to be irritated as well. Is it the weather? Something in the air?
Don’t know. What I do know is that I must shift my focus. I must turn this negativity into something positive. I’ve started organising my writing a bit. I’m doing it the old fashioned way- pen and calendar (paper, not digital). When scheduling your work, you can get a clearer sense of how you would want to spend your days. I’ve realised I love my freelancing work and that probably I must be more aggressive in getting commissions for the future. Also, I would want to spend more time on writing my novel. I have some great ideas and one actual outline. Now I have to just write. Also, I want to submit my short stories to competitions, I want to write for travel magazine, I want to…
I want a lot and I haven’t figured out how to get there. Thanks to many blogs here on WordPress I am reading and learning about how people built their writing career. Apparently it takes persistence, organisation skills and some luck. I’ll start with the first one and see how it goes.
Sitting behind my computer, willing myself to write a commissioned piece, my mind conjures up images of delicious snacks that would make this afternoon more bearable.
My kitchen has a lot of goodies. Among semi-charred mini cheesecakes (oops!) and fruit I find LU Choco Prince. A quick Google search shows that it is a Dutch treat, which means that 1) it must be had with watery coffee and 2) it’s not necessarily known around the world.
And world, believe me, you would want to know about this chocolate goodness. There is little else that can brighten up a frustrating afternoon than two crunchy biscuits filled with a vanilla cream layer and covered with velvety milk chocolate.
If you ask me, a Choco Prince is the only kind of prince a girl needs!
I hate moving. Packing up all your stuff, the unexpected expenses that come along with it, are not great at all. Moving definitely sucks. However, house hunting is great- the idea of starting a new adventure, getting to explore other people’s houses and buying new furniture.
Once you’ve moved though, and been through the horrible packing-unpacking bit, it gets old fast. The newness gradually wears off and the uncomfortable aspects rear their ugly heads. Where can you buy your fave cosmetics, where are the good shops, which restaurants are good?
I’ve recently found out that there is an easy way to lift yourself from that rut: home improvement. In the beginning you’re probably ecstatic that all your stuff has been unpacked and you’ve kinda found a place for everything. But after a couple of months, once you’ve settled in your new home, it’s good to review the home and decide where you can improve.
Improvements can be small, like rearranging cupboards for better use of space or add more storage space or add accessories. But improvements can be big too- fresh coat of paint on the walls, new drapes or, like me, add new kitchen appliances.
Improvements take time, but if you invest the time I can guarantee you that you will be happy with the results. I’ve had a new oven installed- what will I bake today??
I just read an article on Huffington Post on binge viewing and I’m sad to say that I could totally relate. It comes in waves. I can go weeks without watching any tv shows, then spend about 8 hours straight watching the stuff on my computer. I try to download them legally so, no worries there right?
Anyway, the article got me thinking though. Ever since I’ve been back home and I’m working from home, I spend a lot of waking moments with Food Network on tv at home. It’s usually background noise when I’m working, but as we slowly move into prime time, I start paying attention to the shows. I actively watch Barefoot Contessa and Giada at home. I also watch several of Paula Deen’s, Rachel Ray’s and Guy Fieri’s shows. But the shows I am really addicted to are Chopped and Triple D (a.k.a. Diners, Drive-ins and Dives).
You might think that I’d be in danger of becoming a recluse, but surprisingly I’ve grown closer to many people through my Food Network addiction. My mom and I sometimes sit together an entire afternoon to watch all out favourite Food Network shows. We sometimes drink wine, but often times we get so inspired that we go out, get the ingredients and hit the kitchen for a cooking sesh. Afterwards we invite the entire family to enjoy the feast. My dad was so happy with our cooking that he got curious as to how those shows are able to inspire such goodness in people!
My boyfriend shyly admitted that he is a converted Food Network lover. He was dragged into it, similar to the way we dragged my dad into it, by his mother. We watch Chopped together and try to guess who the episode’s winner will be. (I usually win- I am just a great judge of talent, I suppose :p)
So, I guess, these types of addictions can be good. Just stay away from the other stuff!
I’ve been raving about my freelancing career for a couple of posts now, but I recently had a run in with good ol’ Mr. Rejection…again.
Yes, I have a big client. But, I would want to diversify a little. What would I do, income-wise, if my client went bust or just decided to go another way? I mean some stuff I am doing for free (potfolio building) and other ideas just don’t get met with the enthusiasm I bring them.
I am lucky enough to be part of a closed online group of freelance newspaper and magazine writers. They are a huge support. But still….rejection is never cool.
I’ve been trying to pitch to several newspapers, magazines and websites and most of my emails just go unanswered. I got a “great idea,unfortunately, we focus on other things” reply as well, which was somewhat encouraging. But the silence…oh the silence…
My fellow writers encourage me to, either suck it up and chalk it up to experience or just keep chasing. As a lawyer I was the mother of all chasers and I still possess the skills. However, I just don’t feel like it. Isn’t stuff supposed to happen if they are right for you, and not happen if they are not right? Or do you force destiny now, just to find out later that it was all wasted effort, because something much better came along and you were too busy to notice?
What do you guys think?
A new year, endless new possibilities. Everyone is screaming their new year’s resolutions from the top of their lungs. Drop multiple dress sizes, be “nicer” to people (what does that even mean btw?!), start saving, stop racking up those debts, so and so forth. I used to be right there with those delusional people. I used to write them down on December 31 of Old Year and reread them December 31 of New Year and realise how disappointing the past year was, because I didn’t keep any of my resolutions. Great way to start a new year, right? Nope.
So these past few years I’ve started first reflecting on the past year, then writing down new year’s intentions instead. Things I wanted to accomplish the coming year and what I needed to do to accomplish them. Then I would just forget about it and drink myself silly. January 2nd (or 3rd in some instances) when I recovered from all the partying, I would just choose one thing I really wanted to achieve that day (big or small) and do it. I didn’t wait for the most convenient time or the beginning of a new year. I didn’t resolve to do anything, but just did.
Result: last Monday, like any other December 31, I walked around reflecting on the past year and thinking about the year ahead. All last year’s new year’s intentions never grew to be more than that- they were just intentions. And that was ok, because I have a long list of goals I have achieved during the year. 2012 was a good year- with ups and downs, painful conversations and harsh realisations and good times. I’ve managed to pursue my dreams- I’m freelancing as a writer and I finished that first draft of my novel. I am happy in a relationship and I’m closer to my family than ever before.
Of course, in reality, there’s a lot of bickering in my family, my boyfriend has his flaws and that first novel sucks. But the point is, I did stuff that I can be proud of! No disappointments about failed intentions, no telling off of myself for not keeping those crazy resolutions. Rather a proud moment for everything I have achieved and the only resolution I need: to keep on trucking!
Happy new year everyone- may it be a great one, with lots of little attainable goals.