Friday, 1 January 2016

Things That Made My 2015 Good

Here is a list of things, in no particular order, that I liked in the long year we called 2015:

{goodbye, year.}


Podcasts – On any given day I listen to at least three-to-four hours of podcasts. Recently and specifically:

  • Who Charted? -- Attempt to understand Howard Kremer's singular world view, and become one with Kulap Vilaysack as you both realise you never will.

  • The Black Tapes -- Serial in tone, paranormal in story. Fiction told in such a real and true way that after listening to episode 3 you'll wish you hadn't.

  • Do You See The OC That I See? -- Absolute dreams and BFFs Jillian Gomez and Allie Russell take you through the OC, one drama-filled episode at a time. There are breakfast burritos, there are haikus, and there are glorious tributes to the one and only Sandy Cohen.


Hair Dye -- Five years growing out my fucking relaxer to get back my natural curls and kinks and frizz. Cautious trepidation venturing near bleach. Boundless joy at having my natural curls and kinks and frizz turn blue and pink and purple.

Twin Peaks -- Audrey Horne is my favourite. So much aesthetic inspiration. Why the cruel ending? Will the new episodes heal me? Who knows.


Knitting -- Now I understand what K4, C8F, K4 means, and making little loops with yarn and clicking needles is very chill. Except when it goes wrong, but the satisfaction at making it right again is almost worth it.

Swimming -- Put some negative ions on your body. You can't listen to anything but your brain and the water rushing in your ears. It's good thinking time.

Picture Books -- Library life means lots of picture books. THE FAIRIEST FAIRY, DOG LOVES BOOKS, and THE WONDER are ones I have loved.

{Illustration by Faye Hanson, from THE WONDER}

A Writing Group -- This online place where we, strangers around the world, spill our guts about writing and publishing and life. It's swell.

Carrie & Lowell -- As always, the melancholy and mournful side of Sufjan Stevens left me weeping in the middle of many nights. That's both a good and bad thing, but more good, usually.

Kacey Musgraves -- I took a solo trip to Birmingham to see her. Did I get lost? Yes. Did I have a sobbing, hysterical breakdown in my car during which I called my mother? Yes. Did I eventually get there, stand at the tippy-top, very-back space and watch Kacey in her light-up boots? Yes. So worth it.


Nike Juvenates -- Apparently turning 24 means accepting comfortable footwear as my lord and saviour. I'm not going to fight it. (I'm still going to buy ridiculously high shoes and wear them for taxi-only nights, though.)

My Agent -- Jennifer Johnson-Blalock is one of my very favourite people and I'm really fucking excited to do great things with her in the next few years. She's the best!

Instagram -- Following more people. Being more thoughtful with my pictures (like anyone but me can even tell). Double-tapping without restraint.

Obvious Child -- This film is so, so good and Jenny Slate is so amazing in it.

Hamilton -- I have listened to almost nothing else since September.

The "Sorry" Video -- Went through a phase of watching it multiple times a day. Still feel good about it.



xo

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Things I've Learned in Therapy

Eighteen months of therapy with someone who listens to me has taught me all these things:

You are allowed to be kind to yourself.

Feel your feelings. You are allowed to be angry. You are allowed to be sad. You are allowed to be happy.

Try not to let your feelings consume you. You are not those feelings. Those are just things running through you.

You are allowed to change.

No one has all the answers.

No one has all the control.

Try not to let your fear of failure stop you from doing the things you want to. You may fail. You may succeed. You can try again, either way.

You are allowed to be kind to yourself.

You are allowed to like yourself.

Try to like yourself.

Sometimes things go wrong. It is not the end of the world.

Try not to hide yourself too much. People deserve to see you, to know you.

You can't change people. You can only change yourself.

People don't make you feel anything. People don't make you angry, make you sad. They do things, and you feel about those things what you feel.

Try to be honest, if you can.

Other people are allowed to change. No one stays the same forever.

Life is trying things and failing and succeeding and making mistakes and hating those mistakes and learning from them and trying again and wondering and hoping and trying and and and.

You don't know what other people are thinking, feeling. Ask.

You are allowed to be kind to yourself.

You are allowed to be kind to yourself.

Monday, 31 August 2015

Ready. Set. WRITE! 2015 #13

If you don't know anything about RSW, it's a summer writing intensive hosted by Jaime MorrowErin FunkKaty UppermanElodie Nowodazkij, and Alison Miller--click here for all the details. (Here are my first and last posts for RSW 2014, and first and last for RSW 2013.)






Wrap Up

So it's the end of RSW and I am really, really happy with what I managed to accomplish over the past three months! Last week I finished my revision of the manuscript formerly known as THE QUIETEST KIND and I sent it off to my agent yesterday. My goal at the beginning was to finish a first draft of my untitled punk girlband MS, which I didn't do (for good reason) but I did manage to add roughly 11k to it, and figured out where the story is going and how to finish it all. I also signed with my agent a few weeks into RSW, which is still fucking awesome!

Big thanks to our hosts Alison, Jaime, Erin, Katy, and Elodie for being the loveliest ladies and doing this again -- RSW has been responsible for a huuuuuge amount of my words these past three years and I hope it will continue to be in the future!

#ManuscriptsAndManicures

Now, for my themed nails: these are my Audrey Spencer (my MC) nails. Gold glitter because she loves wearing that; an A (for Audrey, of course); and a plus sign, for the Big News that kicks her ass in the story. I think she'd approve.



Thanks to everyone who has stopped by over the past three months and who I've gotten to know a little! Make sure you come hang out on Twitter (or tumblr, or Instagram)! That's where I drop most of my pearls of wisdome/late night ramblings, whatever you want to call them.

xoxo


Monday, 24 August 2015

Ready. Set. WRITE! 2015 #12

If you don't know anything about RSW, it's a summer writing intensive hosted by Jaime MorrowErin FunkKaty UppermanElodie Nowodazkij, and Alison Miller--click here for all the details. (Here are my first and last posts for RSW 2014, and first and last for RSW 2013.)





1. How I did on last week’s goals:


  • Complete a revision of (the manuscript formerly known as) THE QUIETEST KIND -- Almost, almost there. I have about a quarter of the MS left to read, then I'll have to transfer any edits across and I'll be DONE.


2. My goal(s) for this week:

  • Complete a revision of (the manuscript formerly known as) THE QUIETEST KIND.


3. A favourite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised:


Choices.

4. The biggest challenge I faced this week:

Day job! I wish I could write all day and forget about having to go to work. It always feels like such an interruption to my writing-job time...if only it wasn't for the whole need-to-earn-money thing, right?

5. Something I love about my WIP:

Still pretty into the whole thing this week :)


See you next week! (Get ready for some nail action...)

Monday, 17 August 2015

Ready. Set. WRITE! 2015 #11

If you don't know anything about RSW, it's a summer writing intensive hosted by Jaime MorrowErin FunkKaty UppermanElodie Nowodazkij, and Alison Miller--click here for all the details. (Here are my first and last posts for RSW 2014, and first and last for RSW 2013.)





1. How I did on last week’s goals:


  • Complete a revision of (the manuscript formerly known as) THE QUIETEST KIND -- Almost there! I just need to do a final read through and add a few things in. Shine it up.


2. My goal(s) for this week:

  • Complete a revision of (the manuscript formerly known as) THE QUIETEST KIND.


3. A favourite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised:


And if all that made her a bitch, then so fucking what? 

4. The biggest challenge I faced this week:

In the battle of bed versus writing...well, you know how it is.

5. Something I love about my WIP:

Right now? The whole messy, pretty thing :)


See you next week!

Monday, 10 August 2015

Ready. Set. WRITE! 2015 #9/10

If you don't know anything about RSW, it's a summer writing intensive hosted by Jaime MorrowErin FunkKaty UppermanElodie Nowodazkij, and Alison Miller--click here for all the details. (Here are my first and last posts for RSW 2014, and first and last for RSW 2013.)





1. How I did on last week’s goals:


  • Complete a revision of (the manuscript formerly known as) THE QUIETEST KIND -- I missed last week's check-in, but I've been doing the same thing these past two weeks: working on this revision. And I'm getting closer to completion, slowly, slowly. I have one new scene to finish and then it'll be read-through time. And then send to my agent time. Oh, sorry, I said that like it wasn't scary, let me try again: then I have to send it to my AGENT?! And hope she thinks it's good?!?! Okay, cool.


2. My goal(s) for this week:

  • Complete a revision of (the manuscript formerly known as) THE QUIETEST KIND.


3. A favourite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised:


Depth.

4. The biggest challenge I faced this week:

My hours at work have changed, so I'm adjusting to that, and I really need to work on my ability to write in short bursts so can stop justifying spending the time before work dicking around online. Oh tumblr, you devil, you.

5. Something I love about my WIP:

Imperfect relationships, perfect(ish) intentions.


See you next week!

Monday, 27 July 2015

Ready. Set. WRITE! 2015 #8

If you don't know anything about RSW, it's a summer writing intensive hosted by Jaime MorrowErin FunkKaty UppermanElodie Nowodazkij, and Alison Miller--click here for all the details. (Here are my first and last posts for RSW 2014, and first and last for RSW 2013.)





1. How I did on last week’s goals:


  • Complete a revision of (the manuscript formerly known as) THE QUIETEST KIND -- I've worked out everything I need to complete (scenes to add, threads to weave in, little fixes) and I'm working my way through. I'm feeling good about everything that needs to be done.


2. My goal(s) for this week:

  • Complete a revision of (the manuscript formerly known as) THE QUIETEST KIND.


3. A favourite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised:


Clarity.

4. The biggest challenge I faced this week:

Getting over my fear of the messy part. You know, when you're chopping away at different sections and pulling out paragraphs and it all seems like it's beyond hope; the part right before the revision comes together and it all makes sense again. I'm deep in it now and it's always scary to see it coming apart.

5. Something I love about my WIP:

The relationship between my MC, Audrey, and her sort-of stepfather, Adam. He doesn't know how to be a dad and she doesn't know how to treat him like a grown-up -- so they're perfect together.


See you next week!

Monday, 20 July 2015

Ready. Set. WRITE! 2015 #7

If you don't know anything about RSW, it's a summer writing intensive hosted by Jaime MorrowErin FunkKaty UppermanElodie Nowodazkij, and Alison Miller--click here for all the details. (Here are my first and last posts for RSW 2014, and first and last for RSW 2013.)





1. How I did on last week’s goals:


  • Finish off both scenes I'm currently in the middle of -- Done! Okay, so I just finished that last scene right before posting this, but it counts, right?
  • Make a revision plan for THE QUIETEST KIND so I can get started on that next week -- Didn't get to this.


2. My goal(s) for this week:

This is going to be my goal for this week and every remaining week up until I get it done:


  • Complete a revision of (the manuscript formerly known as) THE QUIETEST KIND.



3. A favourite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised:


Hanna, to her sister Molly:
"You are strong and smart and brave and funny and complicated and confounding."

4. The biggest challenge I faced this week:

Busy busy, with work and dance shows and seeing my friends in London and family events and and and... 

5. Something I love about my WIP:

Working shit out. My girls are messy.


See you next week!

Monday, 13 July 2015

Ready. Set. WRITE! 2015 #6

If you don't know anything about RSW, it's a summer writing intensive hosted by Jaime MorrowErin FunkKaty UppermanElodie Nowodazkij, and Alison Miller--click here for all the details. (Here are my first and last posts for RSW 2014, and first and last for RSW 2013.)





1. How I did on last week’s goals:


Okay-ish. 

  • Wrote on 6 days, so one more than my goal, but sometimes my "writing" was two sentences. Eh. It all counts, right?
  • Titles: I have a couple of possible titles I really like, but more would be better.
  • Finished THE STRANGE AND BEAUTIFUL SORROWS OF AVA LAVENDER (really, really good) and I'm about to start LIES WE TELL OURSELVES by Robin Talley.
  • Did not go to bed at sensible times. Must Do Better.


2. My goal(s) for this week:

I'm almost at a point where I think I can pause drafting and switch into revision mode without completely losing the plot. So this week I have a couple of goals:

  • Finish off both scenes I'm currently in the middle of.
  • Make a revision plan for THE QUIETEST KIND so I can get started on that next week.


3. A favourite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised:

But here was Molly saying it, and she seemed so sure, with that determined look on her face and the shine in her eyes. The last thing Hanna ever wanted to do was disappoint her baby sister. And yet it feels like that’s all I ever do.

4. The biggest challenge I faced this week:

Making time to write. Again: Must Do Better.

5. Something I love about my WIP:

The relationship between one of my MCs, Hanna, and her little sister Molly. They're both struggling with big problems but are still there to talk in the middle of the night and love each other even when it's hard.


See you next week!

Monday, 6 July 2015

Ready. Set. WRITE! 2015 #5

If you don't know anything about RSW, it's a summer writing intensive hosted by Jaime MorrowErin FunkKaty UppermanElodie Nowodazkij, and Alison Miller--click here for all the details. (Here are my first and last posts for RSW 2014, and first and last for RSW 2013.)





1. How I did on last week’s goals:


I wrote a little less than 2400 words this week and passed 50k, that magic number that makes me think a draft can become A Finished Manuscript.

Other goals:
  • Read one book from my TBR -- I read FAR FROM YOU by Tess Sharpe (my heart aches just thinking about it; if you haven't read it, you need to). Now I'm halfway through THE STRANGE AND BEAUTIFUL SORROWS OF AVA LAVENDER.
  • Go to bed before midnight at least four nights this week -- ...like, I'm not sure why I'm even trying anymore. 
  • Drink tons of water -- easy to achieve since it was as hot as the surface of the sun all week. 

2. My goal(s) for this week:

My overall goal this summer was to finish the draft I'm working on, but last week I got notes from my agent (my agent! Still weird!) on the manuscript formerly known as THE QUIETEST KIND, so I might have to adjust a little. (I'm hopeful I can complete these revisions and the draft by the end of RSW, but we'll see.) At the moment I'm still in the processing-and-thinking stage of revising, so it won't really affect this week's goals. Well, except for one...


  • Find the perfect title for the manuscript formerly known as THE QUIETEST KIND. (Okay, okay: find suggestions for what maybe could be a good title.)
  • Write five days this week. (Try for 500+ words each time.)
  • Go to sleep BEFORE MIDNIGHT.
  • Read more.

3. A favourite line from my story OR one word/phrase that sums up what I wrote/revised:


She curled her hands into Delaney's shoulders — hard, from the soft hiss Delaney let out — and closed her eyes and her head fell back, knocking hard against the wall but Jules didn't care and Delaney's lips pressed up against her ear and her voice whispered, "You look so beautiful right now," and —

4. The biggest challenge I faced this week:

Did I mention it was hotter than the surface of the sun this week? (In England terms, I mean.) So mostly I was sweating my face off in my baby pool in the garden or sweating my face off in work.

5. Something I love about my WIP:

Bad decisions. Oh, so many bad decisions.

See you next week!