writing

Writing Wednesday: the perfect writing desk

I’m shopping for a desk for the first time ever. Never really had my own writing space before, the space to be organised and keep all my files and papers. And more importantly a place for my laptop and typewriter. Neither have a proper home at the moment. They’ve never had a proper home.

Where to buy?

I don’t think you can buy desks in shops these days so online is the only option. I thought about IKEA but searching on there brought up desk legs and worktops 😂 which tried my limited patience.

The ideal desk is probably something vintage, to suit my vintage typerwriter something like these:

Princes Risborough Desk

 

 

Maybe? I found these on Wayfair, it you search on Pinterest you can find even more of these types of desk… a writer’s dream…

But I can’t decide if I want a vintage style or something more practical. This one seems to have the vintage style:

Desk

But then others have more space for storage:

Desk

 

I’ve got some time before I need to buy one-when I move- so no rush yet to make a decision. Can’t wait to finally get my own space.

I need one big enough to keep my laptop and my typewriter  but I haven’t even thought about how big it would need to be.

Do you have a designated writing space or desk? Share your links in the comments 😀 Recommendations appreciated.

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challenge

Beat The Backlist Update!

If you’re a regular blog reader you will know that I signed up to the Beat the Backlist challenge this year to widdle down my ever growing list of books on my ‘to-be-read’ list.  I’m not doing too bad although I have got side tracked by books I’ve bought and Netgalley books I’ve aquired to read and review 🙂

I can’t help it, it’s an addiction. Anyway, here’s what I’ve read so far this year

  1. Uncommon type by Tom Hanks( ninja book swap)
  2. Thin Air by Michelle Paver ( recent/first book fairy)
  3. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (reread, readalong)
  4. Affinity by Sarah Waters (actual tbr book!)
  5. Good Wives by Sarah Waters (reread, readalong)
  6. Raven Black by Anne Cleeves tbr
  7. Hollow City by Ransom Riggs tbr
  8. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (felt like it)
  9. Dead Of Winter by Geri Brightwell (Ninjabookbox)
  10. Anne of Green Gables (not a tbr but a read along)
  11. Jezebel’s Daughter by Wilkin Collins
  12. The Black Moon by Winston Graham
  13. The Four Swans by Winston Graham
  14. How to stop time by Matt Haig
  15. Assasins’ Apprentice by Robin Hobb

I hadn’t been keeping track of my reading for a while (and haven’t been updating on the Backlist website or here!) so I was surprised to realise I’d actually read fourteen! Only the ones highlighted in blue  are from my to-be-read list but for the Backlist challenge anything published before this year counts.

I think I’m going to change my own challenge, I’m only going to count those books that are actually on my to-be-read list from now on, I still keep track of books on my reading challenge on GoodReads, but I want to read more books from my to-be-read list:

  1. The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo (ninja book swap
  2. Eragon by Christopher
  3. Three quarters of the orange by Joanne Harris
  4. Master of Shadows by Neil Oliver
  5. Solar Bones by Mike McCormack
  6. The Fry Chronicles
  7. Morganville series next books when I figure out which ones I’ve read (2)
  8. A Dance of dragons 2: After the Feast by George R. R. Martin
  9. Ink Death by Cornelia Funke
  10. The Raven’s Head by Karen Maitland
  11. A Parrot In A Pepper Tree by Chris Stewart (ebook)
  12. Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
  13. The Chisellers, The Granny by Brendan O’Carroll (2 ebooks)
  14. The Last Runaway by Tracey Chevalier
  15. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
  16. Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

Some books I am looking forward to reading but others it’s something I have to get in the mood to read. Why make it a chore? Why read something I don’t want to? I have this habit of impulse buying books I think that I want to read but never get around to reading them. If I buy one or two books, usually because I’ve got hooked into the first page, I usually tend to read them but not when I buy them in bulk. I can’t seem to get into the mood to read them.

I want to read them because then I can give them away and have more space for more books 🙂 Also it’s silly have shelves of books that I never get around to reading.

Not sure which one I’ll pick up next but I’m hoping to widdle this list down by the end of the year.

I might find more hidden away I can add to this list too and update as I go 🙂

Have you read any of these books? Which one do you recommend? How is your Backlist challenge going?

 

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Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb

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This is the beginning of the story of the assassin known as Fitz. I first read the book Fool’s Errand some time ago and realised afterwards that Assassin’s Apprentice is where the story begins. Fool’s Errand is a later trilogy where Fitz is older and I had to start at the begining after enjoying Fool’s Errand so much.

It can be hard to explain properly what makes a book so intriguing and why you like it so much. I read half of this book without even realising how much I’d read. This is one of those books where you do lose all perception of time, you are right there in the story world and read so much without effort.

There’s so much going on in this book and you can’t see it before it happens, it’s seamless. The characters are great and the settings, culture and history are rich and absorbing. I can only wonder at Robin Hobb’s ability to write a fantasy novel with such a immense world.

There’s a lot of politics in this book but I didn’t really think “oh, boring politics” but more that the politics were causing the events and problems that Fitz is affected by and this novel is never boring!

I loved this book. It’s a perfect read and I can’t wait to continue with the next one and be back in this world again.

Assassin’s Apprentice is part one of The Farseer Trilogy despite it being part of a trilogy, there are no loose ends or deliberatly drawn out story line like you usually find in books that have a follow up. You finish this book satisfied that everything is concluded but also wanting more.

Recommend to all readers 🙂

 

AN IMPORTANT NOTE ABOUT THE COVER:

I love the cover, who doesn’t love a gorgeous cover? And do you ever know you designs it? I found out after I’d bought this book that an artist I was following on Twitter designed this cover :0

And I just now discovered her work is/was actually in a gallery in Tenby my favourite place :0

Jackie Morris, you can read about how she designed this particular cover here

writing

Writing Wednesday: trying

Always want to write when I don’t have time but then can’t get motivated when I do.

 

I had a creative moment, a little success,  I decided to go back and continue doing the exercises in this book:

Image result for back to creative writing school

I thought that doing an exercise might help to encourage my creative brain. I enjoyed the exercise, I had to think of names for two characters, answer a few revealing questions and then write a scene. It was good, I was surprised how quickly the ideas came to me. The first time you sit down to write it always the best when it’s all new and it’s flowing well. Sometimes I’ll be sitting for ages trying to think of anything. But then it’s been a while and my creative brain has been itching to be exercised.

But then I tried to continue with a story I’ve been working on and my brain decided it didn’t want to know, which causes me no end of frustration.  The heat isn’t helping me either, just giving me a headache so I admitted defeat for the moment.

This story  has an ok beginning but is in scraps and bits of scenes. I know what will happen and how it will end but the story is just not wanting to be written down. I might’ve made the mistake of typing it up too soon, I always find it easer to write with a pen and paper, the words flow more, inspiration comes easier than when I’m staring at a screen.

I have another story that has gone so far but I need to know what my character is looking for before I can continue it, mindmapping might help there or spending time figuring out who my character is.

It’s so frustrating feeling like you’re not getting anywhere (espeically when you know you won’t have time at a late date to write) knowing you have these stories inside you but it’s a battle sometimes to get them on the page. It will be worth it in the end, I will carry on trying because giving up is what got me in this situation to begin with.

Share your thoughts and your writing stories in the comments.

Take a look at the book Back to Creative Writing School by Bridget Whelan, it’s full of helpful advice with exercises to get you writing, perfect for every writer. I have the ebook.

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Holiday Book Haul

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So I’m back from my holiday in Boscastle, Cornwall. Isn’t it a beautiful place? The cottage we stayed in is right on the river and it’s a constant calming background noise. This is the view from the cottage:

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I didn’t buy that many books this holiday, last year I bought a few from Truro charity shop and two from the second hand shop right opposite my cottage. I couldn’t find any I fancied in the second hand shop and I wanted to limit how many I bought. That was easy giving that the places we visited didn’t have books shops. I did find a book in the English Heritage shop in Tintagel, ‘Cornish Short Stories’ I’ve read afew already and they are really good.

But I found a bookshop in Padstow:

Image result for padstow book shop
I had to borrow this image from goggle/trip advisor as it was too busy to get a good photo

Ok, I didn’t just stumble upon it, I checked online to see if there was one. These are my books:

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The Salt Path by Raynor Winn I’d heard about recently, I’d read a sample online and loved it but didn’t want to buy it just yet, so many books, but I couldn’t pass a signed copy. I’ve read the first few chapters and I’m hooked already.

Trying not to read too much of these books yet as I still have one on the go and one to start, a classic book I read with members of the readitswapit forum.

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It’s really hard though as they’re both good books. The Salt Path is a story of a woman and her husband walking and camping on the South West Coast Path which is 630 miles going from Somerset to Devon, via Devon and Cornwall. A true story! I recommend it, I’ll let you know more when I finish it 🙂

Have you got a holiday planned/ have you been? Do you plan to buy books? Or take them with you?

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Writing Wednesday: progress?

I won’t keep going on about not having time to write or to read and keep up with blogging. Although I honestly don’t know how you do it!

I did make some progress this week but not much.

paper pen write study desk education school black and white

There’s this worry I have that I will never be productive with my writing and as each month passes where I haven’t met my goal I worry and try again and again.

Sometimes like recently a lack of time and energy has been my problem. And I wondered if I’d ever get any writing done. But then one morning I was itching to write…. If I haven’t written in a while I’ll get this urge to, I just have to! I sat down with no idea what to write but after reading what I wrote last I continued with the story I’ve been writing.

It still doesn’t have a middle or end because I don’t have the idea yet. Brains work in odd ways.

Whilst not having time to write maybe the best thing to do is keep open to ideas and relax. Enjoy the free time when you get it. Enjoy the sunshine and maybe something will spark an idea and you’ll be ready when you have time again.

Time, clock, beach.

Thanks for reading. I’m on holiday soon so it’s going to continue to be a quiet blog. Crossing my fingers that I find time or find a way to fit blogging in with my job and everything else. 🙂 Suggestions?

 

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How To Stop Time By Matt Haig

I heard a lot about this book on social media, which made me want to read it more. I’ve only read one other book by Matt Haig so far: The Radley’s, which is a funny story about a family of vampires. It’s an original vampire story, much like How To Stop Time is original, Matt Haig is one of those writers who you can’t say is like any other writer. His ideas and words are original and fresh and you know you are going to get a good story when you pick up one of his books.

How to Stop Time by Matt HaigSynopsis from Wordery:

“Tom Hazard has a dangerous secret. He may look like an ordinary 41-year-old history teacher, but he’s been alive for centuries. From Elizabethan England to Jazz-Age Paris, from New York to the South Seas, Tom has seen it all. As long as he keeps changing his identity he can keep one step ahead of his past – and stay alive. The only thing he must not do is fall in love . . .”

My Review

Who doesn’t wish that they could be young and live forever? Since reading books about vampires I have been convinced that I would not like to, not unless my loved ones could also. Tom Hazard suffers with a condition which makes him age slower than normal humans and he has seen so much and been through so much.

His story is amazing, we’re told it in his voice dipping back and for through time. We’re told so much in such a small space of time. In the present he’s started a new life and is a school teacher, returning to London which brings back memories of his life and love from the time he lived there before.

This book is an effortless read, one you could sit down and read at once it is impossible to stop reading it. Once it’s over you wish there was more, although the story is told with no loose ends it’s a character you could happily read more about and learn more about his life. Matt Haig’s writing is exquisite, with sentences that have so much truth in them, pearls of wisdom:

“If only we could stop time…. That’s what we need to work on. You know, for when a moment of happiness floats along. We could swing our net and catch it like a butterfly, and have that moment for ever.”

“This is so often the way with life. You spend so much time waiting for something-a person, a feeling, a piece of information – that you can’t quite absorb it when it is in front of you. The hole is so used to being a hole it doesn’t know how to close itself.'”

“But the thing is: you cannot know the future. You look at the news and it looks terrifying. But you can never be sure. That is the whole thing with the future. You don’t know. At some point you have to accept that you don’t know. You have to stop flicking ahead and just concentrate on the page you are on.”

That last quote is the basic principle of mindfulness, being in the here and now rather than worrying about the future or dwelling on the past or wishing your life away because you can’t wait for something to happen.

I’d love to reread this book just to find more quotes like these and also to read more by Matt Haig as this book was uplifting in the end and speaks to everyone.

Did you enjoy this book? Share your favourite quotes.