April 2020 Round-Up

Hello and welcome to my April 2020 round-up! I honestly cannot believe it’s the end of April already and we are all stuck inside watching the weather through our windows. This is not how I thought 2020 was going to go, but I’m trying to make the best of the situation. I’ve been writing daily for Camp NaNoWriMo and making pom-poms like there’s no tomorrow. There is something incredibly therapeutic about winding wool round and round and round, especially while watching one of my favourite movies like Burlesque. Back to the books, I’m struggling to read as much as I did before, but I try to read a little each day, even if it is only a couple of pages. I’ve been feeling quite overwhelmed, so thanks for bearing with me while my blog posts are very sporadic. I will try to get some book reviews up soon!

Top 3 novels I read in April

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

What I liked about it: the unique format, the drama, the way she writes about music

What I did not like about it: Nothing that I can think of.

My favourite character: Camila. What an amazing woman.

Position in series: 1/1

Genre: Historical fiction, music

Aurora Rising by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

What I liked about it: sassy misfit crew, aliens, lots of sarcasm, the action and excitement

What I did not like about it: my heart exploding

My favourite character: Tyler or Zila. I didn’t realise how awesome I think Tyler is until I actually considered it.

Position in series: 1/3

Genre: young adult, science fiction, fantasy

Dust by Hugh Howey

What I liked about it: an incredible conclusion to the Wool trilogy, the worldbuilding, the unravelling of the plot

What I did not like about it: DEATHS.

My favourite character: Jules. I would die for that woman. Amazing.

Position in series: 3/3

Genre: science fiction, post-apocalyptic

Poetry of the month: Wild Embers by Nikita Gill

What I liked about it: emotional and empowering

What I did not like about it: that it wasn’t longer!

My favourite poem: For Her

Genre: poetry, feminism

Special mention: Reasons to Stay Alive by Matt Haig

Why: this book means more to me than I can put into words. It has saved lives and reminds you that at no point are you alone. You can get through than this. There is more to life than your mental illness.

Genre: nonfiction, mental health

And that, folks, is my April in books. For a full list of everything I read in April, check out my goodreads which I try my best to keep up to date! I hope you’re all well, even if you’re feeling unmotivated like I am. Wishing you and your families all the best, and if you ever want to talk you can reach me through my contact page here, Instagram here or twitter here.

My writing: an introduction

Hello everyone!

Like a lot of readers, I am also a big fan of writing my own stuff, and I definitely want to talk about both writing and reading on my blog so I thought I’d start with an introduction before I throw you in the deep end with my ramblings.

I have two main types of writing I do: fiction and poetry.

I have always wanted to write a book, and it is one of my dreams to have a novel published. I always have loads of random ideas swirling around my head, as well as my phone notes which are full of random words and sentences which popped into my head, and when I found out about National Novel Writing Month 2019 (NaNoWriMo) I impulsively decided to start writing the YA fantasy novel that had been hanging around my head for a couple of months. I unadvisedly decided to do this the day before NaNoWriMo started, with literally just a couple of plot points, one character and a vague sense of the world. I did the young writers challenge and set my goal as 30,000 words in November, which sounds like a lot and honestly, I’m still shocked that I completed it!

NaNoWriMo is great, and I would highly recommend it if you just want to take the plunge and start writing, but you feel like something has been holding you back. For me, I basically built the world, characters and plot as I went along. This was good in some ways, since I wasn’t worrying over whether I was sticking to a non-existent plan, but definitely had some downsides since I kept (and keep) forgetting details and what I had named my characters. I set myself the goal of writing about 1000 words a day. Some days I wrote more, and some days I wrote less but it averaged out and I completed my goal. One of my main motivations was the goal count bar chart on the homepage of the NaNoWriMo website, which allowed me to track my progress in a very satisfying way. It had lots of other features as well, but I mainly focused on inputting my word count each day.

After NaNoWriMo ended I kept writing, albeit a lot less. It’s very hard to find time every day to write, especially around Christmas! In the new year I returned to sixth form college and since I have the habit of spending lots of time in the library, I started writing a bit more again. I had no idea where my first novel was going to end, but I came to realise my ideas were certainly not going to fit in one book. On Friday (January 31st) I finished my first draft, realising that my story had come to a natural conclusion in its first part. I now have a first draft of 73,000 words, so the next step will be editing. I’m going to leave it for a week to give myself a modicum of objectivity, then print it out and begin the edits. Scary. That pretty much sums up my novel’s journey so far, apart from that short interlude a few weeks ago when I had a great idea for a different novel and spent a couple of days noting it down, before forcing myself to return to the first story because I was so close to the end it would be ridiculous to stop now.

So, what about poetry? I am a big fan of poetry, especially as I’ve gotten older. My favourite type of poetry is probably haikus, mixed with spoken word poetry. My favourite poetry is either on nature, or social issues such as being LGBTQ+, feminism and diet culture. I used to write poetry whenever inspiration struck, but I wanted to get into a more regular poetry writing habit, so I now write a haiku every evening, just to keep myself going. This does mean that some of them are completely terrible and will never see the light of day. My poetry tends to be very personal, written with lots of emotions especially when I’m sad or angry.

To conclude, I like writing. Thank you for reading about my writing, and I hope it was interesting. If you have any questions or queries about writing or reading or anything feel free to email me or get in touch over social media, and I would love to hear what kind of writing other people do!