Wednesday, 30 July 2014

5 things | craft projects I want to do

Secretly, I’d love to compete one or three by the end of the year.

1. Make soft toys. This one I’ve already started. Mum and I have plans for a few different designs to feature on our market stalls in the coming months.

2. Finish that shirt. I’ve got the pattern cut-out for a lovely, loose shirt and I’d love to actually start sewing it.

3. Finish my Hufflepuff scarf. The goal for this one is by September and I think I’ll get there!

4. Sew a skirt. I’ve been on the lookout for a pretty, high-waisted skirt and haven’t really come across the perfect one yet. So, naturally, I decided to sew one myself. It perfectly combines my want to sew with my want for lots of pretty skirts.

5. Start scrapbooking, again. More specifically, I’d love to start a Project Life album. Looks like so much fun.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Someone like you

I’m a strong believer in using the method that works for you, rather than forcing yourself to do what works for someone else {your favourite author, say}. Having said that, there is something really heartening about hearing an author talk about the type of process you use. It’s a moment where you feel validated; you have someone confirming your process works.

Most writers’ festivals I seem to find an author who goes about their work in a similar way to me. For example, this year at Writers’ Week, my sister and I were listening to Steven Carroll’s talk and she turned to me and said, ‘he’s like you.’ It was a great talk from a fellow planner.

This feeling is one of the huge benefits of making it to writers’ festivals or reading writing article. Even though you run the risk of feeling you’re doing everything wrong if you read an opposite opinion multiple times in a row. Try not to feel disheartened {as I sometimes do} and remember what works for you, works for you.

You can listen to Steven Carroll's talk here, and more awesome podcasts here

Friday, 25 July 2014

A note on Inheritance

Inheritance (book 4 of the Inheritance Cycle) by Christopher Paolini
The dragon Saphira roared, and the soldiers before her quailed.
‘With me!’ shouted Eragon. He lifted Brisingr over his head, holding it aloft for all to see. The blue sword flashed bright and iridescent, stark against the wall of black clouds building in the west. ‘For the Varden!’
An arrow whizzed past him; he paid it no mind.
The warriors gathered at the base of the slope of rubble Eragon and Saphira were standing upon answered him with a single, full-throated bellow: ‘The Varden!’ they brandished their own weapons and charged forward, scrambling up the tumbled blocks of stone.

It’s always sad to come to the end of a series you’ve loved, but satisfying when that end is good. I really enjoyed the final instalment of the Inheritance Cycle.

The book (and the rest of the series) has a strong and diverse group of characters who, although I don’t love them like Aubrey and George, I’m really quite fond of.

I was a bit daunted by the size of the book, it’s a big book and I knew it would take me quite a while to read. It’s a bit slow to start but once it gets going it keeps interest throughout and even the battle scenes are good, much improved from the other books in the series.

There are one or two things (like a continually repeated and often unnecessary phrase) that jolted me out of the story in odd moments, but overall I like Paolini’s writing. It’s detailed but also clear. It is also nice to see how much he continues to improve. (I was also really glad for the recap at the front since I couldn’t remember much!)

The world is fascinating and a good example of a developed, fantasy setting. Being the last book there was a lot of tying off to do and questions to answer, Paolini did this in a rewarding manner.
The end was good, but took a little while to come to terms with.

Mostly, I finished the book sad: sad a book I really enjoyed was over, and sad that a series I’ve loved and a world and characters I find fascinating were gone.

I’m consoled by the promise of more adventures in AlagaĆ« day.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

On not being the next Christopher Paolini

After reading Inheritance not long ago, I started thinking about all my super-unrealistic-dreams of being some kind of prodigy.

One of those super-unrealistic-dreams was to be published by the time I was 18. I, at 15, thought this was reasonable, seeing as I wasn’t going to be 18 until, like, forever. {How it escaped me that that is only three years, I don’t know. It feels longer when you’re that young.} Perhaps I could have, I don’t know, but I started studying writing and never finished that novel I drafted at fifteen. Just as well, I really wasn’t good enough yet.

When I first started out on this writing journey, I had no idea how publishing worked, how hard it was or how long it would take for me to get good enough. When my sister told me that Paolini was 18 when he was published {I know this isn’t totally true, as he was self-published younger, but that isn’t important for this story}, rather than feel encouraged, as she hoped, it dismayed me. Here was another teenaged, home-schooled, fantasy writer who was already published and successful and I was fast losing hope of ever being young & successful.

Now, of course, I find reading Paolini to be inspiring, mostly because my style is in a similar vein to his and seeing what he’s allowed to do is encouraging. But also because he’s skill level is reachable for me. He’s still a better writer, but I feel I’m only a book or two behind. That’s really heartening {so long as it’s true and I’m not deluding myself...let’s go with it’s true or I might fall down a black hole...}. He’s improved so incredibly as a writer since his first book came out and that’s so exciting because it shows me how vastly it’s possible to improve.

It’s funny, I’d actually kind of forgotten how much of a thing being published super young was for me. Now I’d just like to be published before I’m 30, which I’m reasonably, sort of confident is possible. It’s hard to say with something that to a certain extent is out of my hands.

All I can do is my best and that’s what I’ll do.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Hair // lilac strands

I feel this hair kind of fulfils a childhood want. I loved {but never actually watched} A Little Snow Fairy Sugar when I was little and really wanted light pink hair, but, because my hair was dark, I’d have had to bleach it, which seemed to made the whole thing impossible.

But now, even though it’s purple not pink, I’ve got my crazy, bright hair. {The purple is inspired by my favourite Dead or Alive –a game I love when I was younger- Character Ayane} Strangely, I don’t find it strange to look into the mirror and see purple hair. I think due to the constant changing of my hair lately, I’m getting use to my hair being odd.

This purple hair took more time, effort and money than I’ve ever spent on my hair before, so that made the process a little scary. But I’m really happy with the finished product, so I can now say it was diffidently worth all those hair appointments!

Photos were kindly taken by Vickie, who put up with my strange faces and not having a clue what to do. Thanks, Vickie!

Friday, 18 July 2014

5 things | goals and projects for 2014 {update}

It’s the middle of the year and, as well as sharing how my writing is going, I thought I’d update the status of the five goals I shared at the beginning of the year when I still had no clue how I was going to operate in a post-study world.

1. Read more. So far I’ve read 5 books (currently on no. 6) and I’m feeling more than a little confident about completing my goal of 8 books by the end of the year. I’m also thinking I might surpass it.

2. Write every day. I’ve been doing really well with this one, there have been periods of struggle but mostly it’s been easy and fun. I’ve only forgotten a handful of days (which I then fill in the next day), so overall I’m really pleased with progress!

3. Be playful with my hair. Defiantly been having fun with this one, from blonde to red to blue tips to cut off, I’ve loved every stage. Can’t wait to show off the latest phase next week, it’s been weeks in the making.

4. Be able to play a song on the piano. This one’s been a bit tougher. Sometimes piano practice is just another small thing to do among everything else and I don’t get around to it. But lately I’ve been getting back into it and I’m determined to complete this goal.

5. Send more birthday cards. We’re making our way through our list and, although not all get out on time, we haven’t forgotten one yet!

All going pretty well at the moment! I’ll share the results come December.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014


22, it fits quite nicely.

My birthday and the day we celebrated were pretty great, spent writing, watching tennis and whatever else I felt like.

As always, my family spoilt me with lunches made, endless cups of tea, beautiful gifts, amazing cake and two awesome celebratory meals.

I gave myself a long weekend and, even though it didn’t rain, the weather was perfect.

All in all, a pretty fantastic birthday!