Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The "Oh my God, what am I doing with my life?" moment

I'm into the forth edit of Devil in the Clouds now and having an insecure writer's moment. I re-read over all the lines, re-edited now but they began during NaNoWriMo 2012. I've been working on this particular book for over a year and it's still not ready for public consumption. Will it ever be? 

In the great scheme of things, I do consider myself a writer, now. It took a while to finally admit it when that dreaded question would eventually arise when meeting new people "So, what do YOU do?". Butterflies would immediately start thundering round my abdomen, palms sweaty, gaze shifty. Oh, the pain of getting those words out!

Now, they come easier. Of course, the inevitable questions that follow are still as painful as ever. Do you know, I even get asked how much I make!? I would never dream of asking anyone that. Even with my closest friends, I would only have a vague idea of what they make, but it's none of my business anyway!

For me, writing isn't about making money. It's about finally doing what I love. Disappearing into different worlds/lives and molding them into a story. Yes, it is very much a form of escapism. Just like reading. For a few hours, I can disappear into a life where I can imagine anything I want. What job could be better than that?

But then, something at the back of my mind whispers "Is this really what you SHOULD be doing?". Should I be pursuing a path with the great possibility of no reward? Should I be working a "normal" job, 9-5, Monday to Friday? Should I be buying a house? Isn't that what everyone SHOULD do when they reach adulthood?

If I keep on my path, there are no guarantees for a steady wage, ability to get a mortgage or be insurable under the job title of 'writer'. Do I continue? When is it time to give up my dream job? This year? Next year? Twenty years?

Sometimes I tell the voice to shut up, but she does talk a lot of sense. It's not always easy to ignore reasonable doubts about my current career. But, I wonder, would I be able to quit now? I'm not sure that will be such an easy decision to make. 

Monday, January 20, 2014


Good morning readers :-)

How are you all on this bright Monday morning?

I'm feeling grand! Up since 7am, got Beth to school, took the dog for a walk and began the re-edit of Devil in the Clouds. I've also to do a new pitch and it's all to do with the announcement of the seventh Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award a few days ago. I love entering this competition, mainly for the camaraderie on the boards. The support there is fantastic!

I had a great weekend too. Well, apart from a little sickness yesterday but, thankfully, it passed with lots of Lemsip and vitamin C.

You know, I think it may be the reappearance of the sun that has me in such a good mood today. I may skip all the way to the school to collect Beth ;-)

Anyone else out there doing the ABNA? Join the crazy writers, it's fun!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Baby Boom 2014

It's only the 7th January and already there are four babies due to arrive within my circle of friends! One next month, one sometime in May and two during the summer months! The baby dust was certainly working up a storm in 2013.

It's fantastic news for all concerned. Babies are beautiful bundles of joy who bring hope and laughter to their parents and to a wider network around them. I've been scanning the shelves in Mothercare wondering what to buy. Oooh-ing and aaah-ing over the tiny little baby grows, vests and booties. So cute...

But, are my own ovaries twinging for another one of my own? I had thought so. When the second baby announcement came, before Christmas, I have to admit I was feeling a tad broody. I did love being pregnant with Beth. I wasn't sick in the slightest (except when I ate/drank anything red!), I was perfectly healthy the whole nine months. I did spend the last three weeks of the pregnancy in the hospital but that was due to a lazy little madam lying sideways in the womb. Had I gone into labour at home (20/30 minute drive to the hospital) we may both have lost our lives. So, healthy as an ox, I spent three cabin feverish weeks in Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Drogheda. The maternity section there is fantastic, the nurses lovely.

So, yes, I had thought how nice it would be to be pregnant, eat without guilt, feel the movements growing stronger everyday, speculating about the sex, hair colour, eyes, nose, toes... I even imagined holding a new little baby in my arms and feeling the warmth of it's wrinkly skin through a kiss. I thought Beth would be a great big sister, helping me with the little things and giving the baby hugs and kisses.

Eventually, the rose tinted glasses melted and I remembered what having a little baby was like. Up all night crying (both the baby and me), explosive nappies (the ones where the faeces seeps through at the legs and up the back leading to a change for both baby and mama), chained to the house and every trip outside the door needed military preparation. As a single mum, I did the vast majority alone until Beth was 8 months old and I got a job. By that stage, she was a lot easier to handle. The first 6 months were the worst. Once she had her first solid feed and started sleeping through the night, everything became much easier.

No, I don't feel broody anymore. I suppose it might be different second time around but I don't want to go back to that baby stage. I can't wait to meet all the babies due this year, hold them, change them, mind them for an hour or two while their mum takes a little breather but I'm done having babies of my own. Beth is more than enough for me.

And, coincidentally, Beth told me over the weekend she doesn't want a baby brother or sister. I guess she loves being the centre of my universe :-)

Friday, January 3, 2014

Resolutions 2014

New Years Resolutions 2013:

1. Finish Devil in the Clouds  Done. I'm still polishing it off though. Always something to do!

2. Enter the ABNA Done. I entered with Bleeker Avenue. Didn't win, obviously.

3. Learn to drive Done. I have my provisional and even my own little car!

4. Get more writing jobs Done, sort of. Will explain more when I know more ;-)

5. Stop eating rubbish and get back down to my ideal weight (not sure what weight I am but know it's not ideal). A big no on this one, especially this Christmas and it leads on to a big no on number 6.

6. Start jogging again and complete the Dundalk 10k in May. I did start jogging again but didn't enter the 10k. Bold me ;-)

Time for the new ones...

New Years Resolutions 2014:

1. Get a novel traditionally published (this one would tie in with winning the lotto, given my remote chances)

2. Enter Devil in the Clouds into ABNA

3. Finish my third novel, Allie's Return, started during NaNoWriMo

4. Start jogging again, get fit and lose the Christmas pounds

5. Visit somewhere new (outside Ireland)

2013 was a good year. There were lots of celebrations, holidays and fun times. Beth started school and ballet classes. We both made new friends and tried different things. I hope 2014 is just as great for us and for all you who read my blog!!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year

Ok, I'll admit it, I've been a bad girl! It has been a long time since my last post. There are no excuses but I'll give a few anyway....

November brought NaNoWriMo and I had a good wee story to run with. By the end of week one I was already playing catch up. Nothing new there though, I like deadlines and do my best work on the lead up to one. I love the excitement of 'will I, won't I make it?'. So, by the last week, I was still only half way through the 50,000 word target! I was determined to make it but then disaster struck. Beth got a nasty vomiting bug two days before the deadline when I was about to pull an all-nighter. In the end, I did pull an all-nighter, cleaning and holding the bowl for her to puke into. It was terrible. I had never seen her so sick.

We had started off that day so well. She had gone in to school as normal, spent some time with her dad's family and then we went into town to attend the Festival of Lights and Dundalk's attempt at breaking a world record. We smashed it, over 5,000 Santas attended the Santa Run. Beth and I caught a bit of it but, unfortunately, she had started getting sick at that point so we left before all 5,000 went past.

On the 30th of November, I had to put out 8,000 words. My hands ached, my brain was fried but by 11.15pm I reached 50,006 words and cried with relief (not literally, I was more numb than anything else). What followed were days of nothing. My mind shut down and I wasn't entirely unhappy about it. However, it went on too long and I'm here now to blow away the cobwebs and start anew. 

Here are a few photos from the last month or so.

At the Festival of Lights, BP (Before Puke)
This was the scene a couple of hours later. Poor baby!
Thankfully, she was all better by the following weekend for her stage debut with her ballet class. It was an arduous three hours in the audience for a three minute stage appearance but I was so proud of my little ballerina!
In the middle, at the back

Meeting Santa
Sporting our festive apparel on Christmas Eve

'The Doc is in' Beth's main present from Santa
Beth loves the orange that Santa always leaves in the toe of the stocking

Pepperoni enjoying the fire

Looking angelic on Christmas Day
Waiting for midnight while Mum watches Jools Holland's New Years Eve Hootenanny

Tomorrow, I hope to do a recap on last year's resolutions and make some new ones. Hope everyone out there had a beautiful Christmas and a Happy New Year, I know I did!