Monthly Archives: October 2012

The novel – an honest update

Earlier this month, I announced on twitter (as a short poem on National Poetry Day) that I had started writing a novel. I then blogged about it and said that I would post updates to this blog. It’s not even been a month yet but here’s the thing… I haven’t actually done very much about it.

Oh, it started well. I had a dream, which gave me the basic idea for the story. I got very excited about it and I told my sister, who was also excited for me. Then I wrote a basic plot outline and started writing the introductory chapter (I call it this as I’m not yet sure whether it will be the prologue, chapter one, or something else…). I went away and came back to it the next day. It didn’t feel right. So I started over. I’ve done this twice now and as I write, there are still only 1,260 words on the page.

I got a bit upset, so I wrote some other stuff instead, thinking I’d ‘come back to it.’ I’ve added a word or two here and there, but it’s not enough. I keep talking about it and then actually doing very little. This is not good. I need to focus, really focus, and get some writing done.

So why am I here, blogging today? You might wonder… Well, I said I’d update you on my progress – whether or not I’ve made any! Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

  • I’ve become far too used to writing short stories and am out of the habit of writing for any great length of time
  • I want to edit what I’ve written about every 500 words. I keep stopping to do so and then end up starting over
  • I have very little writing time, which I need to be more possessive over
  • I am brilliant at procrastinating
  • I’m scared. It’s a big project.

And so here’s what I plan to do about it:

  • Be more possessive about my writing time. Use it primarily for writing the novel. The blog posts can wait
  • Flesh out my plot outline so that I can use it to refer back to should I get ‘stuck.’ I can always change it should the story take a different turn
  • Use the plot outline to break the novel down into manageable ‘chunks.’ Allow myself to edit a little after completing each chapter (or three, I might need to review this)
  • Embrace the fear and just get on with it.

So that’s where I’m at. Tomorrow sees the start of National Novel Writing month (NaNoWriMo) and although I won’t be officially participating (announcing that I’ll write 50,000 words in a month will just terrify me and make me watch the word count rather than what I’m writing), I am going to enter into the spirit of things by taking a blogging break and concentrating on the novel for the month (I’m sure I won’t be the only one!). Hopefully this will get things moving along.

I’ll still be around on twitter but I might be a bit quiet. Normal service will resume in December and let you know how I’ve been getting on.

Good luck to everyone who has signed up to NaNoWriMo – I look forward to hearing how you all get on!

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An award (for refusing to live in the real world)!

I am extremely flattered to have been nominated for this award, which is for literary and book-centred blogs and bloggers who read widely. I’m told that this award is usually given to writers who have published books but I’m assuming I’ve been nominated for other reasons! I was nominated by Jenny over at ‘Jenny the Wren.‘ Thanks Jenny!

After accepting this award, I have to list my five favourite books – explaining why they are my favourites – and nominate five other bloggers to receive this award.

I’m not very good at choosing favourites. You know that Quality Street advert that asks which one is your ‘favourite favourite?’ Well I still list five of those. And they’re just chocolates. These are books… So here are five top picks from a long list if ‘favourite favourites.’ All of these books link to amazon.com in case you want to find out more and add them to your wishlist!

Of Bees and Mist
Best described as a gothic fairytale for grown-ups, this book drew me into in its magical world from the first page and I could not put it down. Lent to me by a friend who ‘thought I might like it,’ it got me writing again after a dry spell. It had a huge influence on my writing at the time and I loved it so much my friend let me keep it (this does not happen often).

All my friends are superheroes
This book has been top of my ‘favourites’ list since I read it a couple of years ago. This novella is a beautiful little love story, which stays with you long after reading. Actually, I’ve called it a love story but it’s so much more than that. I re-read it often and get something new from it each time. Buy it, and see which ‘superhero’ you identify with. Then buy it for someone you love.

The Slap
I read this book while I was heavily pregnant with my son and it got me through several hospital visits, the early stages of labour and a further ten days in hospital after the birth. I’ve heard it’s since been made into a television  series but I’ve not seen it and I’m not sure I want to as I have such a strong visual representation of all the characters in my head. It’s the story of the reactions of a group of friends after one man slaps his friend’s child. As a new parent, it really made me think. If you’ve read this, tell me – whose side were you on?

The Book Thief
When I first heard that this book was narrated by ‘Death,’ I wasn’t so sure but I read the prologue and was immediately hooked. Who knew the Grim Reaper was so poetic? As with ‘Of Bees and Mist,’ I found the style of this book reflected in the poetry I wrote at the time.

The Five People You Meet in Heaven
Another simple little book that stays with you long after reading. A beautiful way of approaching the age of question of the meaning of life. Death, it turns out, is not the end. In fact, the book begins with the death of Eddie, whose story unfolds as you read and learn more about his life through the eyes of those he meets in heaven.

What’s your favourite favourite?

I would like to nominate the below bloggers (listed in no particular order) for this award. Please note that it’s not compulsory to accept! If you do accept, please post the award on your blog, list your five favourite books – including why they’re your favourites – and pass the award on.

Alice Fenner – I interviewed Alice back in 2010 as part of my ‘Ordinary People,’ series. Far from ordinary, Alice’s blog posts are beautifully written prose that make you rethink the way you look at the world.

Petra Kidd – Author of ‘The Eight of Swords‘ and its sequel, ‘The Putsi,’ Petra’s writing is so engaging I nearly missed my stop while reading on the tube! I urge you to download her books or at least pop by her blog.

Kellie Elmore – Author of ‘Magic in the Backyard,’ Kellie’s poetry paints a vivid picture of her past and is often somehow quietly reassuring. Kellie also hosts a great writing prompt, ‘Free Write Friday,’ on her blog.

Miriam Driori – Writer and Social Anxiety sufferer Miriam was also kind enough to take part in an Ordinary People interview. She writes with disarming honesty about living with Social Anxiety. She also writes about a wide range of other subjects, including everyday life in Israel. Miriam writes brilliant short stories, one of which you can read here.

Julia Skinner – founder of the 100WC project, I know Julia has been nominated for this award before but I couldn’t not nominate her! For services to child literacy and also for weekly inspiration via the 100WCGU challenge, providing the same opportunity to adults who still like to play with words.

There are many many more bloggers deserving of this award but as with the books, these are just five from my current list if favourite favourites!

Hello you…

Hello Dear Reader,

It’s been a while since I just said Hi!  Whether you’ve been reading for a long time or you’ve just stumbled upon my blog today, I welcome you, and thank you for coming along for the ride! I hope you have enjoyed/will enjoy reading my words…

The past couple of months at Honest Speaks has been mostly Free Write Friday and 100WCGU entries, with just a couple of poems thrown in. While there’s nothing wrong with that, I felt it was time I started ‘talking’ to you a bit more. Whether you’re new here or have been reading a while, you might want to head over to my ‘About me‘ page, which has been recently updated…

So, what news..? Well I’ve got a few ‘projects,’ on the go but none of those are that interesting (yet) so I won’t bore you with them here… However, some of you may remember that I launched a new parenting blog, ‘Mothering Mushroom,’ a while ago and perhaps you’re wondering how it’s going? (If not, you might want to skip the next paragraph!). Mothering Mushroom is now six months old and I’m enjoying writing about family life and recording Mushroom’s milestones there. I’ve also made some great friends – some of whom I know also read Honest Speaks (hello, you!). If you have a toddler (Mushroom* is 18 months old so that’s my focus) or are simply interested in reading about family life, you might want to head over there and have a look around.

And finally… If you’ve been following me on twitter, you’ll know that the big news is my novel. That’s right. I have started writing a novel. In the past I have had many ideas about what I would (or ‘should’) write about but none of them have really held my attention for long enough. This time, my idea is definitely ‘the one.’ How do I know this? Well, for one, I am very excited about it. Mainly though, I know it’s the one because I feel that even if nobody reads it, I still want to write it.

I know this book isn’t going to write itself quickly. In between work, childcare, this blog, Mothering Mushroom and various other commmitments, I am quite ‘time poor.’ I need to make time to write it. Quite a lot of time. This means that there may be less blog posts over the coming months. However, I will try to continue to post at least once a fortnight and you still can catch me on twitter. I won’t be sharing my draft on this blog but I will post updates every now and then to let you know how it’s coming along.

Ok, that’s quite enough about me. What about you? How are you..? Yes, you!What exciting projects are you working on? Do share below – I’d love to hear from you!

*Mushroom is not his real name. Just in case you were wondering.

100WCGU – Week #61: Another headache

Another headache
I woke with another headache, backache and a raging thirst. Something didn’t feel right. Not at all. As I sat up a disembodied voice spoke. ‘Good morning Nadia.’ Where was I? ‘You must be thirsty. Have a drink.’  I drank the water on my nightstand (but was it my nightstand..?) and immediately felt better.  I could hear crying coming from somewhere nearby. A baby..? Instinctively I started to move towards it but as I reached the door music started to play and I had a sudden urge to lie down and sleep. I would investigate the crying later. Perhaps tomorrow.

Click on the image below to find out more about 100WCGU and read the other entries from this week.