I don’t want to play anymore

One of my favourite phrases, which anyone who knows me will understand. It’s the childish way of saying “I’m done” out of frustration. Today, I don’t want to play ‘trainee writer’ anymore, and by that I mean, after enough failed attempts at forcing myself to do the 30 Day Creative Writing Challenge, I’ve decided not to continue. It wasn’t enjoyable to me and every time I logged onto my blog I was very aware that I hadn’t done a single one in months. Now before everyone panics and thinks, “Oh no, if she doesn’t find that enjoyable she must not be a writer,” that is not the case.
I quit

What I don’t enjoy are forced prompts that I have no interest in or care for the outcome. Some I found intriguing and perhaps in time I could have written those, but others I just found boring or had no idea where to start. Even in my job as a wedding writer, I find articles to write on a daily basis. Sandpweddings.ie is updated with new daily and I have to constantly brainstorm new ideas for the months ahead and then write several. Some are more interesting than others and come easily to me, others I find myself moving down the list as I procrastinate with more interesting ones. That doesn’t mean what I’m putting off isn’t interesting, it just means, for whatever reason, it has cast a cloud and is now looming because I’ve put it off for too long. It has become something I dread, even though it’s really not that difficult to write. There’s just something about not knowing where to start that can make it difficult. I suffer badly from Blank Page Syndrome so that’s always been a struggle whether it’s an article, a short story, an assignment or a book.

But the main reason I’ve decided to throw in the towel on the creative writing challenge and more importantly that it’s okay to throw in the towel, is because I’ve decided to take a running jump off the cliff and write that book that I’ve been going on about for an amount of time I do not wish to disclose. I don’t like telling people that I’m actually starting for fear it’ll prompt questions about what it’s about and how is it coming along, and I prefer to do things under cover of darkness and shadow until I can be sure I’ve come out with something good. However, I’m shedding light on my actions this time because I believe if the friends and perfect strangers that follow my blog know about the book (along with my fears) it’ll put just the right amount of pressure on me to actually commit to my plan.

So there you have it. I’ve decided to abandon the creative writing challenge in favour of something I really care about writing. I will continue to update this blog as promised, with other ramblings, rants and random observations of my life and if I feel like it, I’ll include the odd update on my progress, though I can assure you, it will definitely be vague. And now for one of my favourite “quittings”. Just replace ‘Alaska Cannabis Club’ with ‘my book’ and replace her reporting job with the Creative Writing Challenge.

Bibliophilsm – yes, there’s a word for my addiction; I looked it up

o-STACK-OF-BOOKS-facebook

OK so the first step to solving any problem is recognising you have one. My name is Jenny and I’m a Bibliophile, or book-aholic. I’ve always had a fondness for books and reading. My granny always impressed upon me the importance of reading, anything and everything, just always read. I always did read when I was younger. Harry Potter was of course, a shelf staple, and I read most of the Jacqueline Wilson books. But then when I got older and actually had to start studying for that Leaving Cert. thing, I ran out of time for books. I also developed a fondness for computer games and I went out socialising a lot more so I had even less time on my hands and my free time was taken up with other activities. In previous New Year’s posts from 2012 and 2013, you will see a failed attempt at forcing myself back into reading, and a successful one respectively. I didn’t read one book a month in 2013, but I ended up reading 16 books in the last five months of the year. I was back in all my bibliophilic glory.

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New year, same me with added determination

Happy New Year everyone! This year for a change I’m going to actually write my resolutions at the start of the year like a normal person. I know what you’re thinking. “Jenny, why do you keep doing this, it’s embarrassing and nearly always ends in failure.” In a way, yes it does. I rarely complete the list but I always make an attempt and any achievement is good right?

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Besides, I achieved other things that weren’t exactly in my control so wouldn’t have gone into a list like this. So, as usual, here’s my evaluation of how I got on in 2013:

Practise shorthand – fail

Read one book a month – done (as long as that’s just an average, I read 16 in five months)

Pass my driving test – fail (didn’t fail the test, just didn’t do the test)

Maintain my blog better – done

Go for a walk once a week – fail

Write everyday – done

Brainstorm – fell down around April

Work through Ready, Set, Novel! – fell down in December

Do 30 Day Creative Writing Challenge – fail, but ongoing

Work through Writing Fiction, Step by Step – fail

Some of them you might know as mid-2013 writing resolutions. Once again, could be better, could be worse. Onwards and upwards so here are my 2014 resolutions.

Shorthand – exact same goal as last year because I only failed from laziness. One day a week, adding a day for every month.

Read 24 books – That averages as two books per month but it’s not limited.

Pass my driving test – I’m determined to pass in 2014. End of story.

Continue to better my blog.

Brainstorm ideas for work, writing, blogging and freelancing once a week.

Finish Ready, Set, Novel! and start my own novel.

Finish “30-Day” Creative Writing Challenge – not necessarily in 30 days, but I have to complete all challenges.

Do The Artist’s Way – Again, I’m determined!

Learn Spanish again – I’m even going to do a course for this one.

Wish me luck, and let me know what your resolutions are.

Book Review: You & I by Emily Gillmor Murphy

I recently dove head first into a mad fantasy craze for books. It can be really difficult for me to get back into reading after a long break but if I find something to latch onto, especially a series, I’ll end up doing what I did recently and fly through ten books in two months. But then I was worried it would be difficult for me to switch genre and be gripped as easily as I was before. Enter Emily Gillmor Murphy with her debut novel, You & I.

YOU_AND_I__2_You & I has been sitting in my wardrobe for a shameful amount of time among a pile of “I’ll get around to reading that” books. But since the clean out to end all cleanouts, I rediscovered it and, for the sake of the writer in me, I decided it must take priority.

When I read the blurb on the back of the book, which talks about the two main characters and a bet, I thought I had guessed the story. I thought the blurb revealed the bet that Tom would take on and the fact that Olive would eventually find out. Much like any romantic comedy you will ever watch, you already expect to have a couple who will fall out and eventually reunite at the end. But as I read beyond what was presented as the obvious plot, I started to realise what the book is really about.

It’s much darker than I expected to be, but in a good way. It explores dark themes and battles that students of that age deal. Among the light-hearted sex-crazed parties and getting dangerously hammered, there were very real inner demons that everyone in the book had to face, not just the main characters. The book was not really about the plot that was explored on the back of the book. It was about the characters themselves, their personal battles and development.

Some would argue that the plot is predictable, but I think only as predictable as any book. You might guess and hope for a particular ending and it’s often delivered. But you have no idea how you’re going to get there and if the so-called “predictable” ending wasn’t given to you, you would probably complain.

For sheer character development and a look into what’s really going on behind people’s masks and beyond closed doors, I couldn’t put this book down and I would say my reading dry spell is well and truly broken.

Blurb of You & I:

Each September, thousands of students walk through the doors of University College and Trinity College, Dublin. This year, Olive and Tom will be among them.

Eighteen-year-old Olive is fresh from the country, and her eyes are opened wide by the big-city goings on of her new friends. When she starts to be pursued by Tom, the scruffy maverick who’s seduced half the girls she’s met, she’s adamant he’s not for her. But when a tragedy befalls her family, it’s Tom who proves her best friend – until that is, she discovers his real motivations.

Tom has never thought further than the next party, the next girl, the next drink. But now, with his own broken family about to cast him off and his social habits spinning out of control, he seems to have destroyed his relationship with Olive. What started out as a stupid dare metamorphoses into something much more serious.

Set against the backdrop of youth on the brink of adulthood, and capturing the contrasts of the haves versus the have-nots, the worldly versus the innocent, Emily Gillmor Murphy’s You & I is an assured debut that will transport readers straight to the rollercoaster experience of growing up and falling in love.

Drive-by blog post: My November recommendation

Boy with a hatVincent Mars

Keeping with my current creative streak I have stumbled across this fantastic blog that appeals to the writer and story-lover in me. He has written countless short stories, posts about writing and has a book online of 50-word stories. A great blog for the literature junkie.

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This blog recommendation is also apt for this month because I’ve decided to take on the 30 day Creative Writing Challenge and post them all up here every day in November. As if I didn’t annoy you enough already. I will post the first one later today. Other blog posts not related to the challenge may also creep in, which means there may be multiple posts in a day. I apologise for anyone who is friends with me on social media who will, no doubt be plagued by my blog in their news feeds.

 

Out with the old, in with the New Year’s resolutions…well sort of.

I have developed some divine inspiration to write recently. Any fellow writers will understand the concept of saying “I’m writing a book” when you’re really playing solitaire, drinking, working, studying and pretty much taking part in life while writing your actual novel can often fall by the wayside.

I'll get to it eventually, I swear!

I’ll get to it eventually, I swear!

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Zen and the art of using notebooks

Inspired by a fellow blogger, Derbhile Dromey and her World of Writing blog, I decided to be brave and post about my notebook fetish. It’s ok, the first step is admitting you have an addiction. Bottom line, I definitely don’t need as many notebooks as I have. I probably have twice as many as I actually use and as well as that, I haven’t finished one in a while, because all my work is spread out in different ones.

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