Hello to a new decade, hello to a new year. Hello to YOU!
Resilience & Revolution are my words for 2020, I couldn’t choose one!
My shortlist looked like this;
There’s a bit of a theme isn’t there?
This is only the second time I’ve done this, last year’s word was THRIVE, and I believe I did, read more on that here.
words of the year ~ 2020
Resilience because, I need it. I believe we all need it at the moment, with the upheaval collectively. But, personally, I need it because I must keep going with my writing and submitting. Yes, I’m beginning to get rejections for the novel from agents, but its not so much the rejections (although, ouch) but the waiting to hear SOMETHING. ANYTHING.
So, I’ll continue writing my shorter stuff alongside the longer stuff (hello, second book) because these give me the endorphin boost I need to tackle the bigger projects.
Revolution (also another for the collective) because I plan to abandon the old ways of doing certain things, and I feel like 2020 is the start of a new era. Revolution feels very personal, like a mindset thing. Rising above some things, and approaching others in a new way; A different way of operating.
This may all sound pretty cryptic, and apologies if it does but I’m feeling my way into the new year, and these two words, I believe, will be my themes.
Do you have a theme/word for 2020?
If you want to try this idea, here are two resources;
Hello! Its that time of the year again and I’m looking back at 2019, specifically my word of the year THRIVE.
I chose Thrive at the start of 2019 for my word of the year, because I wanted to use it as something to aim for. I was focused on the wellbeing side of it; the physical ways I can care for myself, along with the mental and spiritual side.
It turns out, thriving can only be done if you are really taking care. Like a plant, we need the right conditions to grow and thrive. I’ve strived to create the right conditions for myself this year. At times its been hard, because 2019 has also been about discovering what those right conditions are.
But, this isn’t rocket science, its about listening to my intuition, listening when my body is trying to tell me something. Knowing I’ll feel better if I lie down for ten minutes in a quiet room. Knowing when I need a break from writing or creating and not feeling guilty for taking one. Knowing if I need a walk to see the sky or exercise to kick start my digestion.
I’ve focused more on editing and writing and reading than ever before. I’ve been published for some of my Flash Fiction, I’ve given talks on my journey from blogger to budding author. (Find link to those things here). I’ve helped people sort out their blogs and advised on where best to put effort in, and where not. I hope I’ve helped other Thrive too.
So, what is my word for 2020? I’ve a few ideas, I need to work through them and decide. Do you use a word for each year? I find it helps me focus and it gives me a theme to revisit if I’m flailing.
A change is as good as a rest they say. I’ve really changed direction, become less commercial, was I ever?
I don’t sell anything tangible, the world doesn’t need anymore stuff. I’ve virtually stopped working with brands because of this. I’m not here to sell products. I’m here to write, to communicate, to share experiences and to connect. Always from an authentic place.
Somewhere along the line, blogging became influencing and then you didn’t need to blog at all, you could just be an influencer.
I’m not saying that all influencers and/or bloggers are inauthentic, they aren’t. But, some are, and its the differentiation between the two, that I see is tricky for people not in the industry. Anyway, I think the industry is changing again and people who are inauthentic will be found out, a case in point is the recent outing of a certain racist midwife. On that topic, this blog post is brilliant, and from a PR company, Why I’m no longer working in the influencer industry.
SIDE NOTE- When I’ve worked with brands in the past it was always genuine, I loved the brand’s heritage, or would’ve bought the item or service anyway. Much of my work helped me decorate my home and I’m grateful for that time and opportunity. And I might still say yes to the occasional thing, but this would be the exception and not the norm.
I’m not buying much stuff these days. As a family we are slowly changing our lifestyle. Consumerism is killing the world we live in and I wont be a part of pushing that on anyone, I try to be much more considered when I do buy stuff. I’ve also had my head buried in writing a book which has changed me as a person, it has made me more Me.
It’s the creative process of writing that draws me back to blogging. I’ve built a successful blog and now I’m building on my base here to reach publication in a different medium, a novel. I truly wouldn’t be where I am without this blog and it is an essential part of my path for which I’m grateful. It has brought me to the place I’m at now, of creating with fiction.
Someone in fact said to me the other day that I was a bad influence for making them want to write a book… And HELLO, that is magic, and for me, a brilliant thing to be influencing people to to do.
I’ll be celebrating my 10 year blogging anniversary in February 2020, and having been around the blogosphere since 2010, watched the rise of the “influencer” and skirted around it myself, and despite all the above, I still love blogging! I’ve never been a Yes person, and have always said No to 90% of the offers I get in my inbox. Now, I’ve literally gone back to my roots and gone full circle…
I’ve moved back over to WordPress.com, I’m no longer self hosted.
My hosting renewal bill would be £128 at the end of December and tbh, apart from not making as much money as previous years via this space (for the reasons above) I don’t really need all the bells and whistles, the customisation, the worry and maintenance that comes with a self hosted site. I’ve gone with the Personal plan at WordPress.com which is costing me £36- it exactly suits my needs, and there’s no stress about someone hacking into my site etc. Although, I still would recommend Siteground as a host, if you are looking for someone. I just don’t need all that jazz any more.
I also want to say Thank You, some of you have been with me for a long time. Most of my old blog posts are still here, just type into the Search bar what you are looking for. I can still Pin things to Pinterest and will still be on social media.
What this switch is giving me is more money in my pocket and less head-space taken up with blog maintenance. Which means I can focus on writing my fiction and sharing here when I fancy too. I’ve got around forty Draft posts that just need tinkering with, so I’m not going anywhere.
Hope you like the new look, if you’ve read this far through my rambling then have a gold star!
Today I wanted to share with you four places I get great writing advice. As you may have realised I’m a bit of a lone ranger when it comes to writing. I don’t have a Real Life writers group. I lean on, and into, writing forums online (hello WritersHQ) and use Twitter a lot for writing help and community.
The writers below are all down to earth and so generous with their knowledge and experience. If you are looking for some motivation and/or inspiration then do take a look at the following;
Will Dean on YouTube. He has a massive cat and a growing puppy. He and his family live in the middle of a forest. He likes Steven King and he tells us about his writer’s life as it is, no BS. Really enjoy Will’s videos which cover writing and the publishing industry.
Jessie Burton on Instagram Stories. I love the way Jessie’s brain works and she is a cat fiend like me. She sometimes does Instagram Live and often does AMA’s (Ask Me Anything) loads of brilliant writing advice with a dry sense of humour. Come for the writing advice, stay for the cats.
Rachael Stephen on YouTube. I think Rachael is on a break at the moment, but she has so many videos on her channel already that you wouldn’t know it. She is Scottish, very funny and her Plot Embryo method is a way for writers to plot a novel before starting to write. Massively useful stuff!
K.M. Weiland has a website called Helping Writers Become Authors, and it is pretty great. Loads of stuff for writers about story structure and character development. She also has a vast selection of free downloadables, even a Scrivener template for plotting. So generous!
Let me know if you find this useful, is there anyone you really rate for writers life advice?
This is way overdue thanks to my summer absence from the blog. It does mean the list is longer than usual, so if you are looking for a book to read next then take your pick from mine below. If you do read any of them let me know what you think.
Onwards to the list.
Read since April;
The Prestige by Christopher Priest. I love the film version of this, but it took me a while to realise there was a book, part of me assumed it was a Nolan Brothers story. Anyway, the book is brilliant, more so and in a slightly different way than the film. It also helped me structure my own writing. Fun Fact: Christopher Priest grew up where I live 🙂
The Last by Hanna Jameson. Here’s a thing- the first draft of my book was called The Last, so when I saw this had come out recently I knew it was a sign to change my title. I also obviously had to read it to check it’s not the same story. Reader, its not *phew*. Its a good dystopian tale though.
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. Yes, late to the party with this, but I loved it. Eleanor has such a strong voice it’s hard not to fall in love with her.
Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll. The audiobook version as read to me in my car over a few weeks by Madeleine Maby, who nails the characters. It’s not something I would normally go for and I can’t remember how I even came across it. But loved the experience of listening to it in the car. I believe it’s being made into a film.
Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. Someone suggest I read this as its themes echo some of my own work, I loved it. A visceral and emotional um of a read, as more and more, is revealed. Not seen the film yet.
The Inner Reaches of Outer Space: Metaphor as Myth and as Religion by Joseph Campbell. One of my many research books, an interesting read, some ideas have dated though.
The Book of Strange New Things by Michel Faber. My first Faber after my editor (hi Vicky) suggested I read some of his work. I knew the film Under The Skin already, apparently, the book is quite a bit different. This story took me a while to get into and some of it is perhaps a bit frustrating, but overall I enjoyed it. An uncomfortable read in parts that I still think about often
Justine by Alice Thompson. An impulse purchase I was drawn to initially because of the Max Ernst painting on the cover, then once I’d read the blurb I was even more fascinated. I read this in about three days, and I’m sure I’ll go back to it at some point. A tale of obsession and power. Buy It Here
And the Band Played On: Politics, People, and the AIDS Epidemic by Randy Shilts. This book was another recommendation from my editor and has reignited my interest in this area of our recent history. A moving book that brought me to tears more than a few times, it also wound me up with frustration at others.
The Familiars by Stacey Halls. I reserved this from my library (use your local library) and waited what felt like ages for it. But it was worth the wait, perhaps not what I expected, but I enjoyed it nevertheless.
The Overstory by Richard Powers. If you choose one book from this list make it this one, please. Full disclosure; you need to make it past the first 150 pages for it to really get going. But those 150 pages are going somewhere and are necessary. This book will change the way you look at trees forever, and humankind relationship with Earth forever.
2,000 to 10,000: How to Write Faster, Write Better, and Write More of What You Love by Rachel Aaron. The title says it all really, I want to get more out in my writing sessions!
Grief Works: Stories of Life, Death and Surviving by Julia Samuel. A friend recommended this one and I’ve been reading it more for novel research than anything else. It’s excellent though.
The Surreal Life of Leonora Carrington by Joanna Moorhead. I recently rediscovered this artist Leonora Carrington and have since become fascinated with her life story, and she’s a Northerner too. One of the leaders in Surrealism, she made it her own.
Down Below by Leonora Carrington. Did I mention Leonora wrote too? Well, she did, short stories, often reflections and versions of what was going on in her life at the time. This one documents a mental breakdown.
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. My first Daphne!! Enjoying it so far.
How Not To Die by Dr Michael Greger. Non-fiction book all about eating backed up by evidence, no fads. Turmeric latte here I come- not a joke!
What are you reading right now? Have you read any from my list?