Sledgehammer please, I need to smash this block.

Those of you that had followed my blog for a long time know that writer’s block is something I had suffered with very little in the past. I hit the typical mid novel wall or struggled to find the perfect word to sum up a concept from time to time but full on block had just never hit me. I had been lucky.

As you can see my last post was about NANO. That was written back in November of course. I failed NANO. I could not complete and validate in time. Finding time to write was difficult. Finding the words was becoming a monstrous task. In the past reading has inspired me, television has inspired me, art has inspired me and even life has inspired me. At the moment the inspiration seems to be gone.

Emotions are a fickle thing and I have discovered my muse only likes to hang with me when mine are positive. I have had a difficult few months due to stuff going on in my personal life. My muse has decided she cannot live under such conditions and has packed her bags and decided she will only return once I become better company for her. This blog post is my first attempt at moving forward. I figure if I try to write this or anything for that matter perhaps inspiration will return and I will get back to work finishing the novel that is now gathering dust and cobwebs.

So I ask you my blog readers. What do you do when an emotional block creates a writer’s block?

Posted in Writing Journey | Tagged , , , | 15 Comments

NaNoWriMo No No List

As a twice winner of NaNoWriMo you would think that I would be getting better at this writing 50K words in a month thing. Okay, so it was me who thought I was getting good at it. Turns out this time around is not going so well at the moment.

It seems my writing partner, Inspiration, gave me a great idea this time but then she left me to flesh it out all on my own. Usually she stays by my side through the writing process. It seems she decided a holiday was in order.

Without inspiration I have found that when I do schedule myself some writing time, I am picking up some NaNoWriMo no nos such as:

Facebook Games

How many ball shooting, bubble bursting games are there out there? I do not know but I seem to have found a great many of them to occupy my limited spare time.

Snack Breaks

NaNo seems to have fallen in line with my mother’s latest care package filled with sweets arriving from the states. I cannot resist trying just one more Mystery Skittle and trying to guess what flavour it will be (they are after all one colour on the outside and a different flavour on the inside) or trying to see how many licks it takes to get to the centre of a Tootsie Pop.


Homeland is my new must see television series. Combine that with a few of my old favourites and there is one more reason to curl up in bed and avoid writing.


I am currently reading Uglies by Scott Westerfield and it is enough of a distraction from writing when I want it to be.


Well, I had to go see Starfall didn’t I? Then of course I decided to have an Austin Powers followed by a Shrek film marathon with the kids. I also enjoy working my way through the Marvel films too but they are usual staples in my house.

This blog post!

Currently, I am on Twitter complaining about my lack of time and inspiration for writing and yet I am also writing this post. A little ironic but it had to be done.

Now I am off to try to get 6,000 words written to catch up with my expected NaNo word count for day 11.

How about all of you? How are your own writing projects going? What do you find to be the no no distractions at the moment?






Posted in Writing Challenges | Tagged , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Voice Week – Post 4 – October 4th

Ass. That is what he is. He is an ass.

Every time a piece of vintage like the blonde over there dangles in front of him, he decides to become a cougar tamer. It is disgusting to watch and I told as much when we came in.

Now I am stood here staring at him, as he is staring at her and I am looking like a div. If he hadn’t had my corner so many times in the past, I’d leave him to it. I can’t do that though. Once I down this pint I will get him the hell out of here before he gets himself into trouble.


This was my fourth post for Voice Week.


Posted in Voice Week | 6 Comments

Voice Week – Post 3 – October 3rd

The Blue Lagoon is a newbie. I think Martini boy has taken a liking to her. He is harmless. He is a know it all but an inoffensive one. His friend is a cider guy. He is a character. The rest are all pints and most of them regulars. The Blue Lagoon must be the problem.

Twenty years in the job and I have never felt it this bad. The first ten I spent in town. Tips were good back then. Tips don’t exist in this dive. Thick air is swirling all around as if it is planning a way to crush me. Something bad is going to happen tonight. I can feel it.


This is my third entry into Voice Week.

Posted in Voice Week | 6 Comments

Voice Week – Post 2 – October 2nd

Shaken not stirred is how I drink them. Tonight it is a dose of liquid courage. I usually sip them to make them last.  This is the cheapest place to get them. It is always our first stop before heading to the clubs.

I glance over to the corner. The blond looks like she might cry. Mike teased me about her when I noticed her on the way in. I do not mind the teasing. I like older women. They are easier to talk with. They also tend to be more experienced. That is something I need more of.


That was my second entry into Voice Week. Each piece is told using a different voice but basically using the same theme.


Posted in Voice Week | 11 Comments

Voice Week – Post 1 – October 1st

I have not posted anything in nearly a month but it is Voice Week and I enjoyed it so much last year I could not help but return again this year.

Voice Week involves writing five pieces on a theme and experimenting with the voices of the different characters.

Here is my first entry:

I run my finger around the rim of my now empty glass trying to capture the gaze of the bartender once again. I tell my finger to ignore the stickiness leftover from the sugar rim. It had looked so tempting. I could not resist discretely suckling off its sweetness. After a day like today, the sea blue liquid in the glass did not last long either.

“Ladies always sip,” my grandmother would always say.

Well I am no lady. If I were, I would not be sitting in this place.

The scent of staleness permeates the air. A coating of grime sticks me to my seat. It is going to be a long night.

Posted in Voice Week | 14 Comments

American words – what are those?

Before I moved to England I thought British people and American people spoke the same general way just in different accents. Before then I knew the British used the word fags for cigarettes. That was a lesson I learned after my old friend Lisa’s English mother asked if we could pick her up a few while we were at the store. The look of shock on my face prompted her to explain. I had heard the term bloke used to refer to a guy and a few other little words here or there through watching films like Austin Powers but for the most part I was entirely naive to how many differences there were between American English and British English.

I became pregnant with my son not too long after settling in England and up to that point aside from the time I nearly went into heart failure because my father in-law asked what time I wanted him to knock me up, I had not encountered too many other major differences. Being pregnant and living in a new country was difficult. I had to get used to a national health system instead of a private insurance system for my medical needs and other obvious differences. The biggest thing I needed to adjust to was what all those baby gadgets are called. I went shopping for a crib, a bassinet, some cloth diapers, onesies and a stroller but what I came out with was a cot, a moses basket, some cloth nappys, baby grows and a pram. It seemed overnight I was starting to conform to the word differences. Over time I found this easier than trying to explain what I meant by everything I said or dealing with the looks I was getting.

Nine years later my tone of voice, speed of speech and word choices have changed drastically from when I arrived in this country. Now fewer people have trouble understanding me and not too often do I need to repeat myself. Now I sound more British but not with the same accent as those from where I live. I still get asked if I am American but less than I used to. I am finding more people think I am Canadian or Irish now.

Here is a list of other words I no longer use as often and their British replacements:

Biscuit (at least in the American sense as a biscuit is a hard cookie here)

Broil – Grill

Buddy – Mate

Candy – Sweets

Catsup (Ketchup) – Red Sauce or Sauce

Cell Phone – Mobile

Chips – Crisps

Costume – Fancy Dress

Cotton Candy – Candy Floss

Dish Soap – Washing Up Liquid

Dish Towel – Tea Towel

Drug Store – Chemist

Dumpster – Skip

Eggplant – Aubergine

Eraser – Rubber (this makes me laugh each time)

Fanny Pack – Bum Bag (Fanny in this country is a body part located on the opposite side of the body of what it is in the US)

Flashlight – Torch

Fries – Chips

Frosting – Icing

Garbage – Rubbish

Gas – Petrol

Hood of a car – Bonnet

Jell-O – Jelly

Jelly – Jam

Ladybug – Ladybird

Mail – Post (so a mailman is a postman and a mailbox is a postbox)

Mathematics – Maths

Mini Van – People Carrier

Mom – Mum

Pacifier – Dummy

Paper Towels – Kitchen Roll

Parking Garage – Multi Storey Car Park

Period – Full Stop

Popsicle – Ice Lolly

Realtor – Estate Agent

Row House – Terraced House

Rutabaga – Swede

RV Park – Caravan Park

Sidewalk – Pavement

Sneakers – Trainers

Station Wagon – Estate Car

Sweater – Jumper

Track and Field – Athletics

Trunk of a car – boot

Vacation – Holiday

Wash Cloth – Flannel

Yellow Light – Amber

Zucchini – Courgette

There are probably many more. There are also American expressions I use that are not used over here and some British ones I have come to use often as well but I will save them for another post on another day.






Posted in Mad Ramblings | Tagged , , , , | 11 Comments

Leaving camp NaNoWriMo and heading back to reality

I did it! I managed to get just over the 50K mark on my work in progress in just one month. It has been a good boost for me and I hope to be able to get the next 50K finished next month. Hope is a good thing but I know sometimes what I hope for and what I get do not always add up. My success this month was due in part to a restructured work schedule for the school holidays which left me with more time to write than usual since I was at home most days. Next week marks my return to a five day work week and the real world. My summer vacation is over. My old writing schedule will most likely return. This for me means grabbing precious moments of solitude in the early hours of the morning and late hours of the night. Still in all, this boost has set me further ahead in this novel than I thought I would be at the start of the summer. In addition to this 50K, I also managed 30K on another novel back in July. So I have two WIPs to choose from when I do get those writing moments.  All in all the summer has been better for writing than I planned.

Aside from the writing, the best part about being at Camp NaNoWriMo this month was no sunburn, pesky mosquitos or uncomfortable cabins to contend with. It was just me, my muse and my laptop. Now that is what I call camping in style!

Posted in Writing Journey | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Yawning at my own novel is a bad sign.

So as of this morning I am only 9k off “winning” Camp NaNo for August. I am sure I will meet the target easily. I may even get there tonight if I do not fall asleep again. That however has become a big if.

I often fall asleep while writing. That usually has nothing to do with the interest level of a novel I am working on but more to do with the state my mind goes into while writing. I often find myself writing somewhere between consciousness and the dream world. Some of my best work comes from being in that zone. And yes sometimes I do nod off.

The problem I am having is I am treading water with this one and not getting anywhere. I know the ending and it is fabulous. The beginning is intriguing enough. It is this middle section that is troubling. I have had to evaluate why I have just written 5k words and nothing more has happened then the poor protagonist has slept, had a shower and went swimming.

I know the point of NaNo is to just write and sort it all out later and that worked brilliantly for me in November but this time that tactic is not going to work. My own novel is putting me to sleep after all.

I need more tension and I need more conflict. I need to torture the poor girl so she does not have time to sleep, shower or swim. And this is what I intend to do. The problem is I need to go backwards in the story to make any forward progress. I need to make things harder on my protagonist. She needs to scratch her way to freedom, she needs to get off her backside and toughen up and she needs to stop crying so much. The entire fate of our world is in her hands after all.

Posted in Writing Journey | Tagged , | 6 Comments

Why the Closing Ceremonies Were Good… in more ways than one

As some of you may know and more of you probably won’t, my father’s version of lullaby music for me was British punk straight from the 1970s. I spent my toddler years on a musical diet of The Clash and Sex Pistols. So it should come as no surprise that I have been pretty tuned into British music long before I ever crossed the big pond and moved to England. From an entertainment point of view the closing ceremonies of the 2012 Olympics in London were amazing in my opinion. And although I could have done without seeing Jessie J perform or the likes of the Spice Girls the medley of performances by some of the other musical acts lived up to my expectation. Some of the highlights for me include the Freddie Mercury video, the performances by Queen, Kaiser Chiefs, Beady Eye, Muse and The Who. Honestly though, I think there was something for everyone last night including my daughter’s current favourite which is One Direction but we will let her off because she is only young.

Seeing the athletes enjoy themselves was quite good too. We have watched them work hard to win and in the case of some do well with incredible consistency which made them sometimes seem a bit like machines. The closing ceremonies made them seem more human. I only wish I could have been there for the party.

Watching the games through the eyes of my children have made them some of the most memorable ones I have lived through to date. My children sat up late each night and got excited over the events. They then spent most of the next day acting them out in the living room. It is amazing to watch them be inspired as much as I was in my youth. Therefore, the end of the games was a sad moment in our house. The extinguishing of the torch brought genuine tears to our eyes. However, the lowering of the flag and the reminder that it will be on display in other Olympic games in other host cities in the future gives us something to look forward to.

Finally, I have not been very productive during the games. My writing has been slipping into a state of almost non-existence. Today with no games to distract me into a long break I managed to rack up a total of 10k words on my August NaNoWriMo novel. I have made it so I may be able to actually finish the 50k words on time.

Posted in Mad Ramblings | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments