Tuesday, 13 November 2018

NaNoWriMo Writer Link-Up


Hello! Yes, it's a slightly bashful greeting from me after such a prolonged absence! (But seriously I think the days of a host of teen Christian girls blogging away are dying out as we discover social media lol). Hope you're all going well :) Let's cut to the chase - the lovely Christine over at Musings of an Elf is holding part two of her writer's link up and since I am doing Nano this year, I'm joining in.

1. How's the writing going?
Surprisingly much better than I expected. The first few days did't go so well - I had a novel planned out and I just wasn't digging it. I couldn't get into the story and so I did a complete switch and decided that instead of beginning a novel from scratch, I was going to be a Rebel Nano-er. I went back to my other story and started continuing with that and I've done much better!

2. What's been the most fun aspect about writing this novel so far?
Bit of background, my sister and I made this story up about 14-15 years ago (HOW HAS IT BEEN THAT LONG? DOES THIS MEAN I AM OLD?!) and I wrote it down by by hand, with a pencil, in an exercise book. Over the years, we have added to and revised our story and tried desperately to smooth out the plot holes that were inevitable since we made it up so long ago. I've typed up a couple of versions since then but never finished them because this story has a hundred different sub plots and is LONG. I've just been enjoying writing, re-living bits, and seeing the latest version form beneath my hands.

3. Has your novel surprised you in any way?
The realisation that one of my characters is actually severely depressed and needs a good psychologist (although those wouldn't have existed in 1882) was a bit of a surprise. I'm afraid my heroine dumps him because he's a bit too melancholy - oops.

4. What do you think of your characters at this point? Who's your favourite to write about?
Christine how long do you want this answer to be?! I have a ton of characters who all have a part to play... I love most of them pretty well and am enjoying getting to know them more and more. My favourite would be either Mary (sweet and good but not too good) or Abe (what a guy!).

5. If you were transported into your novel and became any one of the characters, which one do you think you'd be? Would you take any different actions than they have?
Oooh I like this question but it's not the easiest! Hmm, perhaps Mary since I am writing a lot of the novel through her eyes. Yes, I would act differently - mainly because I'm a product of the 21st century and wouldn't be stifled by convention and society rules as much as she has been. In fact, I'd probably be ostracized by everyone for being too outspoken and confident so maybe it's a good thing I haven't been transported.

6. Give us the first sentence of paragraph and then give us 2 (or 3) more favourite snippets!
Noooooo but I haven't edited it yet! Here's a snippet but do remember that I am trying to get words down as fast as possible. I will go back and edit after and add in lots more description. For now, its about trying to get the action down.

Before she could stop herself, she also saw that Abe Olson was in church and that quite unmistakeably, he was watching her. Turning her head away from those piercing green eyes, Mary managed to make her way down the aisle after Mama and Papa without further mishap. Why were her cheeks burning so and her heart pounding? This was getting ridiculous. Abe Olson meant nothing to her – nothing whatsoever!

Don't judge me 😓

7.  Have you come across any problem areas?
Hahahaha.. um, YES! Let me put it this way: we created the story when we were tweens/teens and based it off 7 Brides for 7 Brothers and a few other books/ history. Trying to make this story sound half realistic really is something else lol.

8. What's been your biggest victory with writing the novel at this point?
Staying on track with the word count. Nothing short of a miracle!

9. Be honest, have you killed off any characters yet?
I'm too soft to. (Having said that we killed off a ton of people in the prequel with cholera).

10. Take us on a tour of what a normal writing day for this particular novel as looked like. Where do you write? What time of day? Alone or with others? Is a lot of coffee (or some other drink) consumed? Do you light candles? Play music? Get distracted by social media (*cough cough*)? Tell all!
I work 9 days a fortnight (ie Monday-Friday with every 2nd Friday off) + am training for a marathon. I normally don't get time to write until after dinner at night and I'm the kind of person who can't go to bed too late (e.g. after 9:30) or else I'll be way too tired the next day. Word sprints have been an absolute revelation this Nano. If I write for about an hour (2 x 30 min words sprints), I can get quite a bit done! My main distraction is my sister's gorgeous little kitten who is about eight weeks old, incredible lively, and insists on attacking my arm as I write. To be honest, I distract myself too by scooping her up and giving big cuddles <3

So there you have it! Are you doing Nano? How's it going for you?

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

It's OK to not be OK

The post title "It's OK to not be OK" comes from lyrics in Jessie J's "Who you Are" song. This post isn't necessarily going to be the cheeriest you've ever read, but I'd encourage you to read it anyway and let me know what you think! Hello, by the way. Yes, I know... It's been a long long time, but I've been busy with life 🙈

Recently, my boyfriend and I attended a large sporting event. Outside the stadium, volunteers were supplying blue glow bracelets to promote a major Australian mental health organisation. We both grabbed one and inside the stadium, I made sure mine was on full display.

Five years ago, I didn't believe depression existed. Today, I advocate for aids like the organisation above because I have seen and felt the effects of mental health on myself and others in my personal life, my professional world, and society in general.

Christians especially seem to struggle with the concept of mental health and depression in particular. How many times have you heard that a Christian cannot possibly be depressed for they have the Joy of the Lord? If you're suffering mental health issues, then maybe you're being attacked by Satan and in that case, maybe you're not even a Christian in the first place. Sadly, this extreme reaction can and does happen. Few people have an issue with physical health problems but somehow mental health can still looked on entirely differently, especially in Christian circles. Take me for example. I used to be very uncomfortable with the idea of people having depression, thought it probably did not exist, and that psychologists were bad. Turns out, I've likely had it myself for many years.

There are many different mental health disorders but two of the most common are anxiety and depression. Chances are you know someone who has or has had one or both of these. Maybe you have. I certainly have suffered from both.

Anxiety and depression don't happen because you're a bad Christian and / or the devil is controlling you. There are many causes including chemical imbalance in the brain, environment, abuse, traumatic circumstances and more. Even the symptoms of depression / anxiety may be different from what you think. Whilst suicide, self harm, and feeling sad are all results of mental health illness, so are tiredness, fidgetiness, panic attacks, feeling worthless or bad anxiety. (Useful info from mental health site Beyond Blue).

Just as it's not wrong to see a doctor for physical ailments, it's not wrong to see a doctor, counsellor or psychologist to help with mentsl health. In fact, if you are suffering from a mental health illness, I strongly urge you to seek some kind of professional help. It could be life changing. God often heals us through prayer AND medical intervention - we see this all the time with physical illness, so why should it be any different with mental health? (To be strictly homest, I need to do a better job at this myself and I do understand that it is H.A.R.D. to overcome some of the stigma around this subject.)

If you're reading this and thinking, *thatst me!" or feeling triggered by this post, can I encourage you to seek out professional help, or at the very least look for information to help. Here are some suggestions:


https://www.beyondblue.org.au
https://www.lifeline.org.au
http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/conditions/depression
https://adaa.org/tips-manage-anxiety-and-stress#
https://au.reachout.com

You're not alone xx