Sunday, 30 June 2013

Goal List Week Commencing 30th June 2013

Sunday Stroll - Maria A Smith

I made the best of the lovely weather this afternoon and went for a walk, it felt good to be outside, see how I'm smiling! And I'm wearing sun glasses too, proof that there was sunshine this year. I'm sharing with you what I saw on my three miles round trip. 

I printed off a route that had been tried and tested before, as  I'm slowly beginning to get back into walking more, I didn't want the worry of overdoing it, or walking too far. I'm really enjoying putting one foot in front of the other again. Something I'm definitely working on to try and become a bit fitter. Ignore that face at three down. It was a little windy on the hill, on the way back, thats all...

I passed a classic car show taking place on a huge field, there were lots of people gathered together swapping car stories, and some had dressed up in vintage clothes to match the age of their cars, lots of people were sharing a picnic on the grass, and children were playing ball games.

Once I had gone through the proper gate, my journey took me through three fields full of crops, I wasn't surprised how green everything is after all the rain we have had in recent months. There was plenty of water around as you can see from the picture of the sailing boats on the reservoir and the lake, which has lots of huge lille pads. 

Part of the walk took me through woodland, which I was grateful for as it was quite cool by comparison. I was also glad  of my water bottle too! Brisk walking is thirsty work I can tell you.

On the way back, I crossed through a field full of cattle, mindful to keep quiet, and ignore them as much as I could, I just couldn't resist snapping mummy with her calf. You can just catch a glimpse of her, if you look carefully.

All good things come to an end, and my walk ended with a fresh cream tea. Delicious! And what a way to see out the month too...


July is almost upon us, I'm taking it easy again this month, hence the short list. 

Writing - A flash fiction piece for Saturday, haven't seen the brief yet, but I'm looking forward to it!

Reading - Writers Forum, Vampsov 1938, and the back of the cereal packet if it takes my fancy.

De-junking - The dreaded kitchen cupboard under the sink.

Walking - As much as I can manage to pull into the week.

Apart from that, I must try and remember to book to have my hair cut. 

What plans have you made for the week ahead?

Monday, 17 June 2013

Goal List Week Commencing 16th June 2013

Handy Table - Maria A Smith
Apologies for lack of a blog post last week, I've been practising self-care for the writer, and making a few changes.

Comfort - Years ago I swapped from a PC, to a laptop, mainly to ease a sore aching back, the laptop giving me more versatility and of course portability too. Lately though, I've found myself wriggling around after an hour or so, and rather than having notebooks scattered on the sofa, or chucked on the floor at my feet, I wanted a more solid working area for when I'm in a comfy chair.

As you can see, I've got myself a small table that I can bring right up over my lap on all the different seating around the house as well as outside in the garden. Reasonably sturdy, I can easily adjust the height, and have the top angled in one of three positions. I'm rather pleased with my purchase.

Exercise - About five weeks ago I was told to cut back on walking by the asthma clinic, who in fairness have put me on a 90 day programme to learn better breathing techniques. I've been a bit miffed, it took me a while to get into a good routine. Instead I've been doing more yoga practice in the mornings. If you write early morning, or anytime of day really, I recommend you stop, sit, stretch and breath for 10 or 15 minutes. Apart from helping to keep you fit, it'll unlock your mind, as you unwind and relax. If you can practice mindfulness too, even better. Meditation is a great stress reliever at anytime of the day.

Sleep - I'm hopeless when it comes to sleeping well, am I the only writer out there with insomnia? I don't think so, and while I've been looking after myself better these last few weeks, I decided to try and get to the bottom of why I'm not sleeping.

I already know sleep deprivation causes a lot of problems like lack of concentration, memory loss, stress, in short my creativity suffers, as well as reaching deadlines. how am I coping then? By making a conscious effort not to write in the evenings at least four nights a week. Its a toughie this, because I work during the day. Old habits are hard to break, but I've made myself a schedule.

Also it helps if I go to bed at a more reasonable time, and I'm slowly getting the habit, telling myself I need at least 7 hours of quality sleep to function well the next day. Its challenging, but I'm working on it.

Hydration - I used to be fairly good at remembering to drink regularly, but lately I lost the plot completely and found I've gone without a drink for as long as 6 or 7 hours in a day! Shocking really.
Two thirds of the body is made up of water, its essential to keep all the bodily functions working correctly. Without it, everything becomes sluggish, I don't think I need to go into detail. Save to say, its very difficult to concentrate on your writing when you are dehydrated. Plain old water is best, so I've upped my intake, as well as drinking more fruit juice, and tea without milk. It seems to be working.

The Pen - I am going back to the pen. Not fully - goodness I couldn't do that completely, but I am defintely going to write more with my pen, rather than tap words out onto the screen. There is something about sitting quietly with pen and notebook, scribbling away, letting the mind wander freely, not having the distraction of the internet, or the worry of jiggery-pokery within the software.

I know its the long way round, I'll have to type it up later, OR, is it? When I type it up, I find I am editing, so its like a second draft, thus cutting out going back over a lot of stuff on the screen. I'm keen to hear your thoughts, pen or keyboard?

I'm still working on my personal writers self-care package, albeit slowly, I am enjoying the changes, and I'll let you know how its going as things unfold.

Its been a funny old week...

Where I've been... To the swimming pool - I'm slowly getting back into swimming again. I'm not the best swimmer, but just jogging up and down the pool makes me feel better that I am doing something!

What I've seen... A robin on the washing line. A lovely sight, even though its supposed to be blazing June, and robin sightings are usually on crisp cold days of winter around here.

Who I've met... Sharing a brew with another writerly type is always a pleasure, and sometimes its difficult to make the time, but well worth the effort. Lots of catch up on each others projects.

What I've bought... My new versatile table!

The week ahead looks like this...

More writerly self-care

Some words

Some walking

What will you be up to?

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Looking After Number One

Looking After Number One - Maria A Smith

I'm back, and happy to report I'm feeling much better than I did a few days ago. How you might ask? Selfish as it sounds, I've been looking after number one. Yes - really, and it called for drastic action, as it was the only way I knew I could get myself back to good health. 

I simply retreated. Took a couple of days holiday from work, and went away to somewhere I knew I'd be nurtured... I stepped back, and instead of looking after everyone else, spent time getting myself back to good health. I've been doing too much, theres been too much going on all at once. 

I said in my last blog post I'd be making changes, and I am. Its pointless trying to implement lots of new things overnight, I'd just get overwhelmed, and end up more stressed and tired so I'll begin slowly. One of the first things I'm going to do is set myself some limits, and stick to them! Writing wise, this means doing the best I can in the window of time I have, and when the time is up, I'm done, I must finish up, and go to bed. I need to sleep. I know I need to make a conscious effort to rest - really rest. Should I  write daily? My gut feeling is not to do so, instead a better plan for me is to write, or do writerly things, every other day. 

I've made a list of the things I want to continue with, which include my current WIP, but also, I'd like to try my hand at non fiction too. Any suggestions on how to get started would be most welcome!

I enjoy going to my writing group, its lovely to be amongst like minded folk, its also an excellent opportunity to receive valuable feedback on my novel draft. You really do learn much from critiquing other writers work. However, over the summer, I'll be missing several weeks, because I've decided to do some other writerly things, like meeting up with twitter buddies, and hopefully attending one or two writerly events.

I'll blog a couple of times a week, and honestly that is as much as I can do on my writing. We'll see how it goes.

Now, you may, or may not be wondering how things panned out with the 15k in May challenge I took part in last month. Well, it was a challenge. I found it very difficult, primarily because I chose to edit my novel draft, and I didn't actually write very many words. Instead I chopped 10,400 words!

The thing is, on reflection, I've used the time well, I've got rid of words that did nothing useful, they didn't move the story forward, and some didn't make any sense at all, I'd over written, and repeated lots of information. Those words are gone now. I am left with a lot less, and its scary. Can I make this story work? I know I want to try, so we'll see.

Taking part in the challenge was a good thing, I made some new writing buddies along the way, and the online support on twitter, and other writers blogs was helpful and friendly. I think everyone achieved something, or learnt something useful along the way. I think you always do on these sorts of things.

Normal service will be resumed on Sunday, when I'll post up a list of new goals for the week ahead.
Until then, enjoy the rest of this week.

Feet Up - Maria A Smith

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Goal List Week Commencing June 2nd 2013

A very quick post - I've decided to think long and hard about my goals for the next six months, therefore, I'll not be giving my usual update today. The weather outside is beautiful, and as many of you know I haven't been too well lately, so I'm going to go off and enjoy the sunshine. I'll be updating you with my plans on Wednesday. Enjoy today!

Making Things Happen

Bluebells in the grounds of Chatsworth, Derbyshire - Maria A Smith Nearly two months ago I made this list of goals - See how I've g...