Heidi Plays…

I’ve decided to delve into the world of gaming blogging, as I seem to game a lot, and not use this to my writing portfolio advantage!

And this blog is called ‘Geeky Scribbles’, and gaming blog posts are pretty geeky, right?

I’m going to call the series ‘Heidi Plays…’ and blog about me playing different games, be it on the PC, consoles past and present, and talk about future gaming conventions that I attend (as I do attend a few now, with Matt).

And of course, I’m going to start the series with…

The Sims 4!

Les-Sims-4-Cover-art

Of course I am! I know I play this game quite a lot, so I’m going to create a new Sim, just for the blog! The initial Sims 4 Play blog series will cover the life of this Sim, as I can’t afford to buy capture software to Youtube my play.

One day…

So, stay tuned for the first post later on today!

That’s after this little competion I’m setting up!

Yes, you can Name A Sim!

All I’m going to say is that I’m going to create a female Sim.

What I’d love for you to do is to Suggest a Name, both first and last name. Either comment below, or go on my Twitter and Facebook, both Geeky Scribbles, and I’ll pick a winner!

The prize is a packet of sweets of your choice, and a shout-out here on the blog, as well as the Sim being named the winning name of choice!

Closing today at 4pm!

Get Cracking!

Routine Whilst Writing – Why It is So Damned Important!

So, as you are all aware, I’m supposed to be writing a novel consisting of 60,000 words in the month of April. With my current word count far more behind than it ought to be (2921 words), I’ve been thinking about why I’m finding this challenge far more difficult than I ought to be.

I guess it is because of the fact that I’ve not been very strict about my writing routine. This is a fundemental part of the writing process. When I was in my initial meeting with my IP tutor prior to the challenge, he said that setting aside a couple of hours a day, daily, at the same time each day would be a sure-fire way of succeeding with the challenge. He suggested in the morning, before carrying on the rest of the day.

And, on Day #1, this idea worked out pretty well. I guess it was a mix of excitement to get started, the idea being very fresh in my mind, and not booking any activities until later on in the day.

However, as time rolled on, I was ending up doing activities in the morning, like seeing relatives and friends, and getting distracted with shopping, television and Sims 4. I’d get told off by my aunt, then be asked if I wanted to go out the next morning. The whole routine was thrown out of whack and completely de-motivated me, I lost my train of thought within the story I was trying to tell, and am feeling completely and utterly lost. Add an extra week away that I wasn’t planning, and days merging together, and you get a novel that just isn’t being written.

But I’m back home now, and in complete control of my routine once again.

And I’ve realised that I’ve not been working to my advantage, as I don’t work very well in the morning. My creative and energetic peak tends to be mid-afternoon to early evening. And that is when I ought to be planning my writing time, not in the morning when I am lethargic and tired. I’m one of those oddballs that gets more awake as the day goes on, rather than more tired. And that is something I should actually be working with rather than against.

Sure, writing in the morning works well for a lot of writers, but it isn’t a one-time-suits-all kind of life. One time might work for my IP tutor, but not so well with me. No one writer is the same as another when it comes to their writing routine, and this is something that I have come to realise whilst working on this project.

So, having a routine makes life a lot easier when writing, as well as in general life. As someone on the autistic spectrum, as well as dealing with ADD, I find once I get a very good, settled routine, I am able to be very productive and motivated. I just need to learn how to figure out a routine for myself without someone else having to support me in the process.

So, how does one set up a writing routine?

Think about these points:

1) When do you find yourself at your peak in productivity? Morning, Afternoon, Evening or Night?

2) Also, what other commitments do you already have? Work? Education? Housework? Social?

3) When do you find yourself feeling lethargic and tired, and more likely to procrastinate?

4) What do you intend to achieve in the time you set in your writing time?

5) How long can you focus on a creative task comfortably?

Once you’ve thought about these things, plot them onto a piece of paper in a way that is appropriate to you (I draw out my routine based on an academic timetable so I can fit in my lectures and seminars, study sessions and support sessions), just make sure everything is clear. Then pop it onto somewhere you’ll see it every day (I pin mine on the fridge), and make sure you stick to it. That last part is up to you disciplining yourself to keep on track with the routine.

If, like me, you find it really difficult to stick to something like this, don’t fret or panic. You are not a terrible writer/housekeeper/student/employee/partner/parent/human, promise! Just make sure you timetable time for slip-ups, and don’t beat yourself up about it!

So, in all, routine = more writing!

Nailed it.

How to Write a Novel in 30 Days #2

Day #2…

Not at all as successful as yesterday. It’s mostly my fault, so I shall hang my head in shame, knowing that I have to write double what I need to do tomorrow in order to get myself back on track.

Last night was the night the brand new Sims 4 expansion came out on midnight release. I’d preordered the game, and was sat staring at my laptop in anticipation, ready to spend the night gaming in the virtual world where I am the creator of the universe.

However…

I played until nearly 4am.

It’s a very addictive thing, Sims 4. Especially when you can now go with them to their workplace and wreck havoc on their working lives as well as their social and personal lives…

After noticing that I’d spent all night waiting and gaming, I reluctantly shut everything down, and trotted up to bed. Four hours later, my aunt was giving me the wakeup call that I’ve asked her to give me each day I’m in Portsmouth to ensure I get some writing done, I could barely open my eyes, or grunt much of a response. She popped my cup of tea on the side, and went off to her driving test (she passed, by the way, so congratulations to you Auntie!) and then work.

And I didn’t actually get out of bed until 1pm. The time I’d agreed to pop over to my grandparent’s house for an afternoon trip to their favourite local pub…

It was safe to say that I was occupied all afternoon with catching up, eating icecream and teaching Nan how to download things onto her iPad, and how to use Facetime (she’ll be a silver surfer yet!).

After getting home and having some dinner, me and my aunt and uncle watched the Leader’s Debate on ITV, and ended up debating heavily on what we thought of the issues (mixed results about immigration, the NHS and young people in education, work and training). We ate cake, did a bit of Ancestry.com, then everyone went to bed.

Well, nearly everyone…

And that was when I realised, at 1am, that I haven’t written a single word. Not one. Great work Heidi, great work! I’m going to have to write an extra 1917 words on top of the usual 2000 target tomorrow, and I have only myself and my gaming/terrible sleeping habits to blame. Ah well, there is always the morning…

And the evening.

Auntie wants to go out for the day tomorrow, to watch a film and go for lunch. So it’s going to be a frantic day to juggle everything, but I’m sure I’ll manage!

I think…

IMG_2373

Starting Word-Count = 2083

Target Word-Count of the Day = 2000

Word-Count Total = 2083

Total Words Written Today = 0

Minimum Word-Count Target for Tomorrow = 3917

How To Write a Novel in 30 Days #1

Day #1 is here!

I’m in Portsmouth staying with my aunt and uncle for a week or so, so I’m using the change of scenery to help me focus in the initial stages of the project.

So, my aunt woke me up at half seven, and I rolled out of bed at eight, and started writing at nine. I had a mug of very sweet coffee, a couple of biscuits, some notes and my laptop, and got down to business.

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By ten, I had about half and a bit of the day’s target total, 1035.

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My initial aim was to have it all down by eleven, but it was about half past eleven when I hit gold…

With 83 extra words to the chapter! Huzzah!

I feel really good at this point. I’ve noticed how much easier it has been today after taking my ADHD medication first thing before sitting down to write. Starting a routine of writing a chapter a day will also probably help, as will writing a summery of each chapter down in my notes to remind me of where I’m at in the story so I don’t get side tracked. I can also write a quick line of how I want to work the next chapter, so I have an idea of where I’d like the story to go, but allowing the opportunity for my imagination to run wild and add other parts. It’s nice to be focused, and do things in manageable chunks. Says me on Day #1. By the end of the week I may feel differently, but who knows? At the moment I’m feeling pretty darn good about everything.

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I’m looking happy at the moment, though how long that’ll last, I haven’t a clue. Milly had better behave herself in the next few weeks, otherwise we might just fall out. Writing an ADHD character as someone with ADHD is proving to be an interesting experience. As I’m handing parts of the book in for university work, I won’t be sharing excerpts until I’ve had my marks back, just to be on the safe side of not self plagerising, yay?

The story was initially going to be a chic lit style novel, although already in the first chapter I feel the genre is going in a whole new direction, probably just a comedy, to be honest. Even though ADHD isn’t always fun to live with, you can get an awful lot of material from personal experience for both stand up and general comedic writing. I really need to hone my comedy writing skills, so I’m hoping this novel will be very good practice!

So, Day #1 is done, bring on Day #2!

Stats

Starting Word-Count = 0

Target Word-Count of the Day = 2000

Word-Count Total = 2083

Total Words Written Today = 2083

Minimum Word-Count Target for Tomorrow = 1917

How To Write a Novel in 30 Days – UPDATE!

So, just came out of my meeting with my IP tutor…

I’VE BEEN GREENLIGHTED!

YEEEAAAAHHHHH!!!!!

Though, on one condition…

He’s asked me to up the wordcount to 60,000 words…

Yes, you read that right, 60,000 words.

That’s 2000 words EVERY SINGLE DAY.

And that’s on top of the Journal, blogging and general life. No pressure then!

I’ve never upped my word-count before, considering that when I usually take on NaNoWriMo, or the Camp equivalent, I get to about the 15/20k mark before I end up throwing the towel in, and hiding in my room for the rest of the month, so that no one can spot me and ask how the novel is getting on.

But, this time, there is more at stake than just the half-written manuscript. My grade, my reputation at university is also on the line if I don’t succeed in this challenge.

My IP tutor said one main thing to me:

‘Just get those 2000 words a day written!’

And, you know what? I may be terrified, nervous, wanting to throw it all out and run in the opposite direction, but by Gods I won’t! I am more determined to prove that you can indeed write a novel in 30 days. Even if you have ADHD, a messy flat, piles of paperwork and a weird life in general.

I am a writer, and it’s about time I started actually being one.

Independent Project – How to Write a Novel in 30 Days

I may have briefly mentioned this in a previous post, but after dropping Performance Poetry, I was given the opportunity to transfer to the Independent Project module.

What this means is that I can choose to do any creative writing project I wish that doesn’t fit in with any of the usual modules taught at Bath Spa. I had a few ideas, but then I realised that both Camp NaNoWriMo and the deadline for the 4000 word Creative Portfolio for Writer’s Workshop 2 were creeping up on me…

Why not kill two birds with one stone?

So, ‘How to Write a Novel in 30 Days’ was born! Alongside the usual Camp NaNo process, I will be keeping a written journal about the progress of my challenge, how I’m feeling about it and what I’m learning as a writer/novelist in the 30 days of the challenge.  I’ve typed up the proposal for my tutorial with my IP tutor later on this afternoon, and I am really hopeful that I’ll be given the green light for this crazy idea.

The journal is already being started, with the planning process being carefully documented. As I’m giving myself over completely to the NaNo process, I am using the two books from the NaNo team, No Plot? No Problem! and Ready, Set, Novel! and using prompts, exercises, and tips from these books as my main resources. Kinda scary, considering that I’ve just written, without someone telling me how my writing process should happen. And that’s why I’ve decided to do that with this project. I want to show that I’ve grown, adapted and developed as a writer during the project.

I also have to write a reflective essay at the end of the project to hand in alongside the actual written work that I hand in. It’ll be interesting to see how I feel at the end of the 30 day challenge, and to write in detail about how I feel the project has gone and my final opinions/thoughts.

I actually can’t wait to get started!

A Story That Should Never Have Happened…

Around this time last year, I wrote a short story about the day the Mary Rose sank back in 1545, told through the eyes of a young lady-in-waiting to the wife of the Vice-Admiral. I worked as a volunteer tour guide and shop assistant at the Mary Rose Museum in the summer of 2013, before I left Hampshire for university. That summer, although exhausting, was the best summer of my life, and I often long to be back wandering through the galleries, long kirtle swishing with the movement of my footsteps…

But, enough of me being poetic or wistful for what has been. Here is the story, published on the museum blog, for Museum Week’s Inspiration Day. I hope you enjoy!

http://www.maryrose.org/a-story-that-should-never-have-happened/

The Books I Wish I’d Written

I was in one of my seminars at university, when the fateful task was set. Simply, our tutor asked us, “Which children’s book do you wish you’d written?” In the final seminar we’ll have for the module, we have to present the book of our choosing to our smaller table group, and talk about why we wish we’d written it.

So, as I was rushing out of my seminar (being let out early because it’s submission day), and back to my flat to get some things together before my study session, I pondered on this question.

Which book do I wish I’d written? Out of all the books I’ve read, loved and read again, which one would I wish I myself had written? I’m a young writer, beginning to hone her craft, and really work on her voice on the page. What book would I have wanted to have written for children? Or indeed, any audience?

I should answer this question in three parts, the children’s book I would of liked to have written, the modern adult novel I wish I’d written, and the classic book I’d love to have written.

 
Children’s Book 



Ah, The Book Thief, which was adapted into a very successful, beautiful film last year. The story of a German girl adopted by a couple, during the Nazi regime. Told from the POV of Death, the story of Liesel, the Jew hidden in the basement and the books she steals after learning how to read, among other things is one that is haunting, funny, sad and beautiful all in one book. Using an outsider who is omnipresent to tell the story in first person, with little quips every now and then, is a really clever idea that I wish I’d come up with myself in my own literature. 

Modern  Adult’s Book



Had to be this one! Telling the untold version of the story of Oz, and how the Wicked Witch of the West became Wicked, and how Glinda the Good became Good.  It is intricate, complicated, dark and erotic, among other things. This isn’t a bedtime story for the kids, that’s for sure! The way that Maguire took an established world, and completely turned it on its head, making it his own world, is something I’ve always envied. I also relate to Elphaba, the green girl who becomes the Wicked Witch we all love to hate. Her story is told in a way that is sensitive and empathetic, all those who have been shunned and abused for being different are given a voice through this prickly, angry woman. I wish I’d written Elphaba myself!

Classic Book



How could I not? This was a book that saved me when I was fourteen, lonely and depressed in a foster home where I wasn’t loved. The confident, feisty Elizabeth Bennet was a girl after my own heart. I lived vicariously through her as she went to balls, toured big houses and argued with Mr. Darcy. 

But why do I wish I’d written this book? 

The characters put in for comic effect, of course! Mr. Collins is just ridiculous, pompous, kissing Lady Cathrine’s butt in order to get ahead, and talking stupidly about her whilst in company. Not to mention his lack of manners in social situations… (Sorry Darcy!). And who can forget Mrs. Bennet? The neurotic, loud woman who is determined to ensure all her daughters are suitably married, driving her poor husband, who’d married her when she was still pretty and sorely regrets it now, into living in his study all the time, pretty much. Without these two, the novel wouldn’t be as good as it is. And it is that skill in comedic character building that I want to learn from Austen.

So, that’s my answer to my tutor’s question done. OK, I’ve gone through two books that I couldn’t look at in that class, but I couldn’t resist! 

Carpri Diem!

It’s been quite some time since I wrote that last post, and I’m so sorry about not keeping this blog as updated as I ought to. A lot has happened in a little while, and I just haven’t given myself the time to write!

Anyway, summer has well and truly kicked off! All of my friends have moved off campus now, and I’ve been given the keys to my new studio flat! I’m sat in it at the moment, writing this. I started moving some bits and pieces over yesterday evening, and slept here for the first time last night. I have my own kitchen, bathroom, dining room, my bed is in the corner of the kitchen, along with my wardrobe, and my desk is in a lovely little conservatory section, which I love when it’s sunnier (the rain has kicked off today, sadly).

Update on the guy, we’re actually now together, as a proper couple! I even met his father the other week, and I’ve been given the thumbs up, apparently! Next week we’ll have been together for two months, scary how the time flies! I’ve never met someone so supportive and understanding about me and my issues, and I often have him behind me every step of the way when I embark on new projects, go off to places and generally follow my dreams. It’s lovely, I feel beautiful when I’m with him, and it’s wonderful.

All my coursework is finally complete! All I have to do now is print the last bits off, which I’ll do today, and hand them into the registrar’s office, then I can sit back, and wait for my grades, which I’ll get in September before the new academic year starts. Yikes! As long as I pass, then it’ll be ok, I’ll be aiming higher next year!

Speaking of university, my job as Careleaver Liberation Rep starts properly as of now! Clearing is happening, and young people across the country are finding out if they got into their university of choice. Careleavers are doing this too, and I remember opening my results letter telling me I got into my university, and wondering ‘how is this going to work out?’. So I’ll be on Twitter today, with the hashtag #careleaverlibrep to answer any questions about leaving care and starting up at university as a careleaver. Exciting time to be had by all!

So, on top of everything else, I’ve helped out with the development of an app for careleavers to assist with pathway plans, education/work/training and identity. It’ll be promoted during Careleaver Week, in October half term, so I’ll be promoting it to my students, as well as you guys. Just because you grew up in care, it doesn’t mean that you’re society’s offcast. You still have so much to offer! I promise!

I’ve also started work on a WWI novel for young people, so am hoping to have the first draft completed by the end of the year. In the meantime, I should really start moving some more stuff over…

Summer Blues

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I started this post sat in the beautiful grounds of Bath Spa, overlooking the lake, whilst sipping my blackberry liquor and soda water, listening to a cute guy and his friend writing a song to an acoustic guitar. Now I’m typing on a bus, where there is free wif fi, with the drizzle and a Starbucks take-out.  I never really liked summer, but now I recon I do. This summer has already changed my life forever, and I know that it will continue to change.

I’m not performing in this, as I didn’t get selected into the cast, but The Idle Playthings are going to Edinburgh Fringe Festival! They are writing a blog about their adventures, http://ctrlaltsketch.wordpress.com/ so check it out, and if possible, donate a little bit of cash, as they need every penny they can get so they can get up to Fringe, and stay there for the duration of the festival. Every little helps 🙂

I also did my hair, so it is now a lovely rainbow colour! I decided on the radical makeover because I wanted to show off who I truly am inside, this crazy, multi-coloured soul who isn’t afraid of being out there any more. And it looks pretty wonderful, if I say so myself! I’m really proud of it, and intend to keep it this way for as long as possible.

Solstice was wonderful! We drank cocktails, played Cards Against Humanity, before heading out to the amphitheatre to show off talents. I performed some of my poetry, whilst my friend V performed some original songs and a stunning cover of ‘Wherever You Will Go’. After that, we went to the summer house by the lake, set up our altar, and burned paper with things we wanted to get rid of written on them. It felt really good to see the paper smolder and burn into ashes. Drinking mead, watching the stars was also amazing, and we headed back to the amphitheatre to watch the sunrise. All I can say is that I was so glad to have my closest friends with me to celebrate my freedom, and to welcome in a new season, a fresh start for everyone, especially me.

I’ve been on a few more dates, after the guy I was seeing turned out to be rubbish, and I’ve realised that maybe this way f finding love… Isn’t for me. It’s nice to take a few hours out of your day to meet a new person, be bought coffee and cocktails, talk sweet nothings until I’m blue in the face. But, that’s really not who I am, if I’m perfectly honest. I’m back to square one, and, you know what? I’m cool with that. For the first time in a long time, I’m comfortable being… Me. Me is a pretty alright person to be, to be defined by my talents, skills and personality, not for the person she has on her arm. Those days are over for me, and I’ve realised that I’m in no hurry at all to run back that way. I do like someone from back home, and I’m keeping my eye out, but what will be, will be.

Arthur is at a tiny bit of a block right now, as I’m juggling coursework with my personal situation, but hopefully I should get back into a proper routine with the novel soon. However, I’ve been writing an awful lot of poetry, mostly about matters of the heart. Maybe I’ll share a few with you all at some point or other.

But, in the meantime, I’ve started up another hobby. You see, I’m working on becoming a mixologist. Yes, a person specialising in the making of cocktails. I’ve started collecting the equipment, buying in the basic ingredients/spirits required, as well as cocktail recipe books. On top of that, I’ve started inventing my own cocktail recipes. At some point, when I perfect them, I’ll share them with you.

The last post I wrote turned out to be my 200th! A bit dark, I know, but that’s the way things go. I’ve had a lot of support from my friends and even people who I’ve never met before, and that means so much to me. I only hope that one day, young people won’t be afraid to turn round and say ‘no’ to an abusive partner. That when they cry for help, they’ll be listened to, and supported, without question. How can someone lie about being attacked, or controlled, manipulated or raped? How does that even work? Grrr, it makes me angry!

So, on that note, thanks for sticking around for 200 posts. Here’s to another 200!