Reading & Reviewing

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I love reading – I always have done! I’ve mentioned it many times before, I’m sure! When I was younger, I’d sit in the playground, upon the wall with my nose stuck in a book. Usually it was a Harry Potter book, however I would also occasionally venture out into the realms of Enid Blyton, Roald  Dahl and  Jill Murphy.

After I finished my A-Levels, I took a gap year during which I spent my time to volunteering at a Holiday Center in Sheffield. It was amazing – really, the best year of my life! However, my time was taken. I read a few books here and there, I covered a couple of songs for YouTube, I did a small amount of knitting  – but in the grand scheme of things, most of my hobbies dwindled away. The terrible thing was, I didn’t even realise that it was happening!

At the beginning of this year (yes, more than a year after my gap year ended!) I resolved to read more, and more importantly – to actually critique what I was reading. And that’s exactly what I have been doing!

I plan to start writing book reviews on this blog. I haven’t written many reviews in my lifetime – a few obligatory ones for my year 8 English class – so forgive me if I am a little rusty!

So for now, I shall bid you goodnight – but hopefully I will return sooner (rather than later) with some posts about books!

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Where Can I Find The Time??

blog, nanowrimo, National Novel Writing Month, reading

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I am ashamed of myself. Last Christmas my wonderful boyfriend bought me six books. They were “Bridget Jones’ Diary” by Helen Fielding, “The Little Coffee Shop of Kabul” by Deborah Rodriguez, “Grimm Tales” by Philip Pullman, “Wuthering Heights” by Emily Bronte, “Dracula” by Bram Stoker and “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien. I have read the grand total of one. One book. “Bridget Jones’ Diary” is the only book that I have managed to complete, and that took ten months! If you read my previous post, you’ll know that when I was younger I read an awful lot of books! Every spare minute was spent reading, but for some reason I just haven’t found the time over the past year to sit down and read. I’ve started books, but just not finished them – and not for lack of interest, either!

I have several hobbies. You might already know that I am a bit of a knitting obsessive; if I am watching the telly, or a film, or if I’m skyping David I’ll have a pair of needles in hand and I will probably be working on my most recent project. So long as the pattern isn’t too complicated, I don’t even need to look at my knitting and so multi-tasking is easy!

I also love art; for Valentine’s Day, David bought me a scrapbook which is something I like to work on when I get a bit of time. I’m filling it with photos, and movie tickets, and campsite reciepts – memories of our life together. I have so far filled the scrapbook up to…Valentine’s Day! I have a bit of a way to go..!

Music is life. I love to record covers for my YouTube channel, and I will occasionally make a bit more of an effort with editing – it can sometimes take up a whole afternoon! Sometimes I’ll create simple audio recordings and upload them to my Soundcloud instead.

And now I am working on my novel – I don’t really have any control when it comes to picking a time or a place with my writing. If I feel inspired or have an idea, I just have to write it down! The other night, I was drifting off to sleep and *BAM* – I had a thought! I had to search for my glasses, and then my notebook and with the aid of my phone’s light, scribble a couple of sentences down. Then came the task of falling asleep, ideas whizzing around my brain yet knowing that I had to be up at 6 the next morning!

So where does reading fit in? My working hours are 7.30-4.00 plus overtime, and I occasionally take a book into work with me to read, but that doesn’t always work out. Do I wake up earlier and have an early morning read? Or sleep later and run the risk of being tired at work? Do I cut my Skype calls short, or spend less time knitting? I really want to complete a couple more of my Christmas books before the next batch arrive next month! I know I’ll have to make small sacrifices somewhere in my life and I’ll have to make them soon.

Do any of you have this issue? How do you counter it? I’d really love to know!

I Love Writing

blog, nanowrimo, reading, writing

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I love writing. Ever since I could read I have wanted to write a book of my own. I would take a book in to school every day when I was younger – whether it was one of my own books, or one I was reading in class you couldn’t tear me away from it. During my break times, when everyone else was playing “Kiss Chase” or “British Bulldog”, I was sat on the wall with my nose buried in a book. The dinner ladies were my best friends, and they’d (have to) listen as I told them all about the world I was reading about at the time. I was a sensitive child and I thought that I was being bullied for a lot of my life – I’ll be honest, looking back, it wasn’t nearly as bad as it seemed. Although that didn’t make it any easier. Reading did. It would transport me to a magical world somewhere, a place where no one could hurt me.

I remember when I was about 8 years old, I started writing a short story about a servant girl who was born, lived, and worked in a Lord’s castle. The Lord was a good man, but his son was tyrannical, evil. He had this vendetta against the servant girl and did everything he could to make her life a misery. I think my eventual aim was that the son would start to fall in love with the servant. They would fall into this forbidden love, possibly get caught and banished from the land – but love would prevail! I illustrated the story and everything – I wish I could find it now, but I’d probably be too embarrassed to share it with you all anyway.

Back then, I wanted to be a published author, and that passion has never really waned. I read as much as I could, and I wrote as much as I could. I think the problem I had back then, the thing that held me back was that whenever I expressed a desire to be an author (or an actress, or a singer…) I was told that it was just unrealistic. “Authors rarely make the big time,” and “unless you plan on being JK Rowling, you’ll never be able to pay the rent!” Writing is really in my family. My sister, Hannah won a Creative Writing competition when she was (I think) 16, at Keele University; I believe that my younger sister and I have poems in an actual published book of selected poetry – full of poems written by school children; my oldest sister writes for a blog, who she also proof-reads essays for, freelance; my Grandad writes short little poems. Writing is really part of my DNA and I still have this desire to write and write!

Now, I am 20 and I have all of these ideas in my head that I just have to get down on paper! Short stories, poems and even novels come to my mind. I know that I was only told that writing is a difficult field to get into because it is true, and the people who told me only did so because they were concerned. However I honestly believe that with a little bit of persistance, anything is possible. Currently it is the National Novel Writing Month, otherwise known as NaNoWriMo. The basic aim is to write (and complete) the first draft of a novel. I plan on writing every day, whether it be a blog post, a poem, a book review or a bit more of my current writing project. It is supposed to take 21 days to form a habit, so writing a little bit every day for 30 days should really get me into the cycle of writing! Wish me luck, and if you are also wanting to write a little bit a day, good luck to you too!