I’m not here

When you’re reading this I will have arrived in Spain for my much needed holiday. I won’t really be around for the next week, but should be back to posting again after 19 June.

Let’s hope for sunshine, both for me and everyone else, wherever you are! (Unless of course you hate sunshine, then I hope for whatever weather you want for your location…)

The Longest Week

I’ve just finished one of my longest work weeks ever. Due to staff shortage, I’ve just worked 72 hours in the past week. Needless to say, I’m exhausted. Which is very unhelpful considering that I have a lot that need to get done.

Ignoring all the writing/revising I should be doing, I need to tidy up and clean our flat, print out our boarding passes and vouchers, write a note to the house/pet sitter and pack our bags. Oh yes, I didn’t tell you – I’m going to Spain on Monday!

The work week from hell is a lot easier to get through when you know that you’re off on a holiday once it’s over.

My sister and her family are coming to visit for the last week of June as well, which I’m really looking forward to. The one problem I’m having is finding the time to clean, since when we get back from Spain I go straight into three nights of work, and then they arrive. I might have to only sleep a couple of hours after the last night and do lots of panic cleaning (is there any other kind?) in the hours before they show up.

Now I need to get back to cleaning… I say that, but in reality I’m off to watch the new Wonder Woman movie.

I’m not afraid of flying

As I’ve just been traveling by plane I started to think about flying, and how I feel about it. A lot of people in my family are afraid to fly,¬†while I’m not. I mean, not really. At least not enough to keep me from traveling by plane to whichever destination I need to go. That said, it doesn’t mean that I enjoy flying.

The evening before my return flight I was listening to the radio while they were talking about the fear of flying. Statistically it’s safer to fly than to drive a car or go by train, yet a lot of people are afraid of flying – but not those other things. They gave a few possible reasons for this on the show, but not the one that I personally find the most obvious – the odds of survival.

I feel like if I’m in a car accident or train accident, I have some chance to survive. If my plane goes down… The odds are kind of stacked against you on that one.

Exactly what I don’t want to see when going in for a landing.

I like to think that I handle flying fairly well, I’m just aware of my own mortality. I dislike the take-off and landing the most, possibly because that’s when the most accidents occur. Turbulence is very uncomfortable as well. I don’t even like roller-coasters, so going into a quick dip at 30,000 ft isn’t my cup of tea. It worries me when I hear about research that show that the turbulence is going to get worse and worse because of our carbon dioxide emissions. Turbulence might possibly bother me more than anything during a flight.

The better way of flying?

Then there are the maths. On average I probably do three round-trips a year. It’s nothing compared to people who travel for work, but it’s possibly more than the average person? Statistically, I imagine that the more flights you take, the greater the odds of something happening. I’m no maths genius though, so it¬†probably doesn’t work like that at all.

How do you feel about flying?

Things We Don’t Say

This is a personal post, so if you’re only interested in reading about writing and similar things, you might want to skip this one.

There are some unspoken rules in our society about things that we should and should not share with others, and I’m going to break one today, because I need to write about it. Writing is how I deal with things, and I also think that we should be able to share anything we feel that we want to. I know others might prefer to keep it silent, and that’s fine too. Everyone should do whatever feels right for them.

Up until a few days ago I was pregnant.

I lost the pregnancy at 11,5 weeks, just short of that “magic” number when you’re generally considered to have passed the worst bit. While things can still go wrong, most miscarriages happen before week 12. Before it happened to me, I never thought I’d take it this hard. I’ve been through a lot, and I’ve made it through on the other end, and I will this time too. It’s just surprising how much it hurts.

While I was cautiously optimistic about the pregnancy (something I had wanted for a long time), it was difficult to keep my enthusiasm down. I knew that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage, but I was still hoping. It’s difficult not to. Against better judgment I was thinking ahead, dreaming of things to come. Now all those dreams have shattered, and I have shattered with them.

Part of me feels ashamed of being as upset as I am. There are people who lose their babies, there are those who miscarry a lot later. And here I am, feeling sorry for myself after 11,5 weeks. How dare I?

Another part of me just feels sad. Sometimes I just feel numb. I’m sure that I’ll get over this, but for now I will allow myself to feel sad. Even if just for a while.

Gifts for the Bookish Writer

I know it’s been a long time since Christmas, but I wanted to share some of the lovely gifts I got that were perfect for me as a book lover and writer. Naturally, I got other great gifts as well, but these three deserve to be highlighted. It might give someone else some ideas what to buy their reading or writing friend.

A pair of warm, comfy booties for when you want to snuggle up for a good reading session. (Or keeping your feet warm at the desk when writing!)

My sister got me this sign, and it probably hits a little too close to home. It’s still hilarious though, and it’s definitely going up on the office door (once we have one).

I got this lunch box book (that I put in my gift ideas list before Christmas) from my partner. It was a hit with the kids in school when we went out every Monday with our packed lunches. “Did you bring your book today?” was a common question.

Change is Coming

2017 is a year of change for me. It has to be, since I am determined to get back to writing and get my novel published. One of the reasons that I was unable to do pretty much anything last year was that my chronic fatigue coupled with my current job was sapping me of all my energy. Literally.

I would force myself out of bed in the mornings, already exhausted. I’d spend my day at work, keeping up a happy front, not letting people know how bone-tired I really was. Then as soon as I came home, I’d just deflate basically. Unable to keep my eyes open, I’d fall asleep and easily waste hours. Eventually I’d force myself up again, make some dinner. Maybe have an hour or two of trying to stay awake before going to bed for the night.

I’m writing it in past tense, but that is still the case today. It’s a struggle, and I can’t keep doing it. I get nothing done outside of working, since all I seem to do is sleep. Writing suffers. My chores around the home suffer. I suffer.

So, with that in mind – I’m making changes.

In an effort to get some energy back, I’ve quit my job and I’m instead going to a different job that is three nights a week rather than five days a week. It’s my hope that this will solve some of my lack of energy, since I won’t work as many days straight in a row – giving me more time to recuperate some energy. Which in turn should also give me more time to write (and do the other things that need doing).

It’s possible that it’s not going to make a difference, that I’m just too far gone into the rabbit hole of tiredness and exhaustion – but I have to try, because I can’t keep going like this.

Fingers crossed, that this will pay off – and I can get into a good routine of work, sleep, writing and having a bit of a life again.

Time Lost

I feel like life is moving at a grueling pace some days, and other days seem to go on forever. No, that’s not quite it. While at work, the day never seems to end, but because I’m so tired my spare time is over in a snooze (quite literally). Suddenly another week has passed, and I still haven’t accomplished anything.

My tiredness seem to have gotten worse again. Maybe it’s the time of year. Everything is darker. Colder.

I force myself out of bed in the morning, I go to work, I make it through the day… Then I get home and I struggle to stay awake. Most days I don’t manage, and I end up sleeping for a couple of hours. Precious hours when I should be doing other things, but I just can’t keep my eyes open.

tired-cat

On a positive note, it’s only three more weeks of school until the Christmas holiday. Two glorious weeks off!

I went to the hospital a week ago for a blood draw. Never been fond of needles, but as long as I don’t look I’m fine. This time I jumped when the nurse jabbed me, and she said “you’ve obviously had a bad experience”. My last experience was the daily blood draw they did in the hospital last summer when I had that surgery that went so very, very wrong. When my veins kept blowing from the blood draw and IV, and my arm looked like I’d joined the local Fight Club.

That little comment from the nurse was all that was needed to bring it all back, and to my mortification I broke into tears. She was very understanding though, just got me a few tissues and let me have a few minutes before calling the next patient. I never expected to have that kind of reaction, since I’ve always managed my blood draws okay in the past, despite the fear of needles.

Another positive note, turns out my values are all fine. No more monthly injections! The mal-absorption issue seems to have sorted itself out. Go me!

go-me

Lastly, I’ve started another blog. I know. I know. I’m like a serial blogger. Not in that I write lots of blog posts (I wish!), but in that I keep making new ones. It’s supposed to be focused a bit more on my writing, because I felt like the title of this blog might put some people off. I don’t know. Maybe the blog addict in me just wanted another blog. I could just put everything on that one, but I suspect no one’s really interested in my random ramblings. (Not that I think they’re particularly interested in my writing and rambling about that, really.) I just like to keep my ramblings for posterity, or something. It’s quite nice to be able to go back 10 years through my blog posts and see what I’ve been up to. It’s like an online journal/diary.

If anyone wants to check it out, it’s http://thestrugglingwriter.com and I even made it a Facebook page. Because… I could? It’s nice for posting random pictures and things that don’t deserve its own post.

Okay, that’s enough rambling for today.

I need a plan!

Since I’ve decided that 2017 is the year that I’m going for it in regards to getting a novel published (most likely self-published as an e-book, but I will write more about that another day), I need to start making a plan on how to go about it.

In fact, I really need two plans. The first one being how to get my manuscript edited and ready for publication, the second one being a general writing plan. A schedule, basically. I need to figure out how to fit writing into my life again.

I started this blog a little bit before 2017 as a means to get me back into the writing habit, even if only to blog for now, and to start said planning.

My first step will have to be to find a dedicated time for writing. This is most likely the most difficult part, and I admire writers who seem to be able to sit down and just get it done. I need to work on becoming one of them!

My weekends and evenings are generally free, minus two nights a week. The biggest issue for me is probably energy, rather than time. When I get back from work I’m usually knackered, and I often end up falling asleep. I suspect this is because of my chronic fatigue, in that I have a limited amount of energy and work tends to drain all of it. Still, if I can somehow push through it – that’s easily an hour or two every day that I could write rather than sleep.

I think that’s going to be my goal. Limit the sleeping (anyone have any tips on how to stay awake?) and use that extra time to write.

Step two will be to figure out how to split my time writing between the things I want to write/do. There’s the editing/proofreading and formatting that needs to be done on the finished manuscript(s), as well as the writing I would like to do on new projects. I don’t think it’s good to do only editing and proofreading, one also needs to do some writing and get the juices flowing. And after all this time, I definitely need to practice writing again!

The Love of Reading

I love reading, always have, and I would like to think that being an avid reader also makes one a better writer. By reading you expand your vocabulary, you learn the rules of writing and sentence building, and you can get inspiration.

A writer that doesn’t read is missing out on something very vital. You have to study your art if you want to create something. That goes for everything, not just writing.

I don’t read as much as I used to, partly for lack of time and partly for lack of energy, but I do try do read as much as I can. My favourite genre is of course the one that I write myself; Historical Romance, more specifically Regency set romance. I read a lot of other genres as well though, anything from fiction to humour, from horror to fantasy. I won’t lie though, most of what I read will be romances.

Lately I’ve tried to expand my romance reading from nearly exclusively historical romance to contemporary. I don’t like it as much, but I have found quite a few good stories.

eyesofthedragonGrowing up my switch from children’s books to adult books came early. I think I was eleven or so when I could no longer find anything of interest in my bookshelf or the young adult section of the library. Looking at the large amount of books in my mom’s library I asked her for a suggestion. She gave me Stephen King’s The Eyes of the Dragon, and I loved it. That book got me interested in the fantasy genre, as well as the horror genre as I ended up reading most of King’s books.

In the next few years I read nearly all of Stephen Kings books (that had been published up to that point), nearly all of Dean Koontz’ books of the same genre. I also got very interested in fantasy, and devoured the books of David Eddings, Terry Brooks, Tolkien and many others. For a long time, my main discourse when it came to books was horror and fantasy.

I don’t remember who introduced me to romance novels, but it wasn’t until my early to mid-twenties once-an-angelthat I truly fell in love with the genre. It was when I found wonderful authors such as Teresa Medeiros, Lisa Kleypas and Julia Quinn. This was also around the time that I gave up on trying to write a fantasy novel, and instead focused on writing romance. After writing many stories through my life, I realised that no matter the story – I had characters falling in love, whether I had planned it or not. So in the end, I decided that what I should probably be writing, is romance novels!

That is my story both of me as a reader, and as a writer. I do believe that the two are connected, and I will strive to continue reading as much as I possibly can.

What kind of books got you into reading? Are you still reading the same genres? If you’re a writer, do you mainly write in the same genre that you’re reading?

It’s November already?

I feel like I blinked, and suddenly it’s November. Wasn’t it August like, last week?

We had our half-term holiday just over a week ago, and I went to Sweden for a few days to attend my newest niece’s naming ceremony. It was a nice few days, and the first time I visited my sister in her new flat. They live nearly five hours from my home town (where I usually go when visiting Sweden since the majority of my family is there), so I didn’t get to see everyone. Still, I was lucky that a lot of my family actually was down for the ceremony as well.

olivia-foot

The ceremony was lovely, with my sister and her partner reading parents’ vows for their child, and my sister singing a song. There was a spread of food and lots of cheesecake and mud cake. Very delicious!

Since I stayed there a few days before the ceremony I also got to hang out with my sister for a few days, which was really nice.

olivia-hands

Now I’m looking forward to Christmas, which this year will be celebrated in Sweden. The boyfriend and I have an agreement to celebrate every other year in Sweden and the UK respectively. So this year we’re both going to celebrate at my mom’s. My sister is doing every other year as well (partner’s family in their town vs at mom’s), and we’ve arranged it so that we do the same year at mom’s. Should be quite a few of us this year!