How to write a novel when you're working full time

How to Write a Novel when You’re Working Full Time

Rather than complaining about my progress, I thought I’d tackle how to write a novel when you’re working full time.

You remember the surge in hobbies recommended last year? And how one of them was writing a novel?

As someone who has been writing for years, it was frustrating. It felt almost blaise: have an idea; write it; done.  True, some people had extra time they could utilise, which always helps.

But what if you’ve got the idea, but are working full time? Fitting in time for hobbies is limited. Today’s post is focused on fitting writing into a busy schedule.

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March 2021

Monthly Check in: March 2021

By complete accident, I missed my slot for this in February.

To be honest, it sums up February quite well. It’s been a month of lack of motivation and inspiration, of letting everything feel overwhelming and not being productive. I guess the current situation plus the fact that it’s – y’know – February doesn’t help. I’ve struggled trying to decide what I want, I’ve lost the motivation to push myself and the self-care that I did really well with in Jan? Yeah, that’s gone too.

BUT it’s a new month. There is something satisfying about a new month starting on a Monday as well; neat, tidy and just feels organised. Maybe that’s just me. A new month means new books, new goals and a new chance to say that this is my month.

February’s Reading

At the time of writing (last week) I’m still on track for my reading challenge. I’ve been dipping in and out of being one book behind or on track.

February’s Reading: 4 books

Year to Date: 9 out of 60 (on track)

Leviathan by James Byron Huggins

Leviathan by James Byron Huggins

Plot: In an epic novel that echoes the best of Beowulf, Jurassic Park, and The Abyss, this sci-fi/fantasy recounts a tale of an unholy alliance between science and nature– one that unleashes havoc beyond any and all imagining.

Thoughts: After sitting on my shelf for a long time, I wanted to like this book. But the plot felt stunted and it lacked momentum for a lot of it. It started getting predictable about the halfway mark and really dragged out to get to the end. Not sure on this.

The Bear King by James Wilde

The Bear King by James Wilde

Plot: As Rome’s legions abandon their forts, chaos grows on the fringes of Britannia. In the far west, the shattered forces of the House of Pendragon huddle together in order to protect the royal heir – their one beacon of hope.

For Lucanus, their great war leader, is missing, presumed dead. And the people are abandoning them. For in this time of crisis, a challenger has arisen, a False King with an army swollen by a horde of bloody-thirsty barbarians desperate for vengeance.

One slim hope remains for Lucanus’ band of warrior-allies, the Grim Wolves. Guided by the druid, Myrrdin, they go in search of a great treasure – a vessel that is supposedly a gift from the gods. Success will mean a war unlike any other, a battle between two kings for a legacy that will echo down the centuries. And should they fail? Well, then all is lost . . .

This is the shattering conclusion to James Wilde’s rousing reimagining of the myth of King Arthur . . .

Thoughts: I waited a long time to get my hands on this book with library lockdowns etc, and it only increased my enjoyment. Full of great characters, an engaging plot and fantastic writing, it was everything I was hoping for in the final instalment of the Pendragon trilogy by James Wilde.

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Plot: Between life and death there is a library, and within that library, the shelves go on forever. Every book provides a chance to try another life you could have lived. To see how things would be if you had made other choices . . . Would you have done anything different, if you had the chance to undo your regrets?”

Somewhere out beyond the edge of the universe there is a library that contains an infinite number of books, each one the story of another reality. One tells the story of your life as it is, along with another book for the other life you could have lived if you had made a different choice at any point in your life. While we all wonder how our lives might have been, what if you had the chance to go to the library and see for yourself? Would any of these other lives truly be better?

In The Midnight Library, Matt Haig’s enchanting new novel, Nora Seed finds herself faced with this decision. Faced with the possibility of changing her life for a new one, following a different career, undoing old breakups, realizing her dreams of becoming a glaciologist; she must search within herself as she travels through the Midnight Library to decide what is truly fulfilling in life, and what makes it worth living in the first place.

Thoughts: I’d heard this book recommended a lot and having enjoyed Haig’s previous novels, thought I’d give it a go. I enjoyed it, don’t get me wrong. But this one didn’t hit me on the same emotional level as some of his previous work did. Maybe my expectations were too high.

Watch Her Fall by Erin Kelly

Watch Her Fall by Erin Kelly

Plot: Swan Lake is divided into the black acts and the white acts. The Prince is on stage for most of the ballet, but it’s the swans audiences flock to see. In early productions, Odette and Odile were performed by two different dancers. These days, it is usual for the same dancer to play both roles. Because of the faultless ballet technique required to master the steps, and the emotional range needed to perform both the virginal Odette and the dark, seductive Odile, this challenging dual role is one of the most coveted in all ballet. Dancers would kill for the part.

Ava Kirilova has reached the very top of her profession. After years and years of hard graft, pain and sacrifice as part of the London Russian Ballet Company, allowing nothing else to distract her, she is finally the poster girl for Swan Lake. Even Mr K – her father, and the intense, terrifying director of the company – can find no fault. Ava has pushed herself ahead of countless other talented, hardworking girls, and they are all watching her now.

But there is someone who really wants to see Ava fall … 

Thoughts: Having thoroughly enjoyed He Said/She Said so when I saw the ARC become available for this, I jumped at the chance. Full of misdirection and multi-layers with complicated characters, this was an enjoyable tale even if I was confused about what was happening at times. Glad I read it quickly.

There we have it: my reading month. I’m looking forward to some new releases, backlog books and exciting reads in March.

What are you currently reading?

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Top 5 Disney Princesses

My Top 5 Disney Princesses

In case you haven’t guessed, I’m having far too much fun with this series. While I can think of different categories, I’m keeping ‘em coming! But today, it’s all about my top 5 Disney princesses.

We’ve had our swash-buckling princes come and save the day. But – let’s be honest – would they have got anywhere without their princesses?

Nope!

It’s our girls who figure it out, give them the nudge and end up saving the day themselves.

There’s definitely a correlation between my favourite villains and heroes. But there’s a few princesses who are bad-asses without a man being involved.

My Top 5 Disney Princesses

As we all need some fun in our lives, here are my top 5 (who may or may not be royalty!)

Mulan (the original)

C’mon! She literally saves the empire by herself!

She also risks the most? Defying her father and her society would have far reaching consequences, but she does it anyway. She also doesn’t have secret fighting skills when she signs up – she learns it, and beats the lot of them. Nothing this gal cannot do (apart from pour a cup of tea).

Anna

She may not be the one with magical powers, but we all know who the true hero of Frozen is. The naïve innocence of Anna makes her such a heartfelt character: she doesn’t want power; she doesn’t want glory; just her sister back.

Maybe it’s because I’m the little sister myself but Anna just speaks to me on so many levels!

Top 5 Disney Princesses

Meg

She’s not a princess. You can even argue she’s a bad guy half of the time. But Meg’s sass guaranteed her a place on the list!

She’s a character I’ve liked more now I’m older as I’m certain half of her epic lines went over my head as a child. No wonder Herc gets all flustered in her presence, but watching as an adult had me in fits of laughter. She also had the great moment of being prepared to let her guy go to live his dream, even if it was without her.

Nala

While Simba runs away to grow up forgetting about all his cares and worries, Nala grows up under tyranny, keeps her pure heart and adventurous spirit and is quick to put Simba in his place about his responsibilities. If she was the rightful Queen all along, Scar wouldn’t have stood a chance.

Jasmine

This film had to make it onto the list somehow, let’s be honest. But out of all the princesses around this time (the early 90’s and before), Jasmine is one of the few who has spunk. She flatly refuses to be married off, stands up for herself and sees through Aladdin’s BS straight away. She also has a pet tiger. I mean, that has to count for something, right?

This was harder than I thought to be able to narrow it down to five. There’s more of a focus on strong female leads in Disney now compared to twenty years ago, and I hope this trend continues for the next generation.

Who are your top five? Let me know!

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Disney Princes

My top 5 Disney princes

I had such a blast writing my Disney villains post last year that I wanted to carry on. So I’ve returned with my top 5 Disney princes this time.

Last time, I harped on about our heroes needing their counterparts to find their courage and defeat impossible odds. But, let’s be honest, they’re still our heroes even once they’ve defeated their enemy.

This time around, I’m going for my favourite princes. Like before, this is in no particular order – and certainly not in order of prince-li-ness.

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My Year in Books

2020: My Year in Books

As with everything else last year, my reading didn’t quite go according to plan. I had so many books to chose from in my 2019 wrap-up after a really solid year, and – needless to say – this year hasn’t been as good.

While everyone else seemed to be getting more reading time this year, my lack of commute meant I struggled to carve out reading time and make it part of my routine: I’d never had to before.

But by the latter half of the year, I think I finally managed to get myself sorted. My aim for 2021 is to clear through my backlog of ARCs as well as reviewing closer to the release dates. I’ve got myself organised for how to do it, so now just need to get reading.

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Not meeting your resolutions – and why it doesn’t matter

You know when you look back and realise you’re not meeting your resolutions? Well, that’s me right now.

No more excuses in 2020: it’s time to start fulfilling dreams.

Oh, the poor, naïve innocent me of last January, who hoped for a strong 2020.

As we’re coming to the end of the year, I took a look back, for curiosity’s sake, about how my goals for 2020 have gone.

Fair to say, they’ve failed. In spectacular ways.

It was interesting reading, though. They reflect a lot of what I mentioned in my post a couple of weeks ago: finding my way back to myself, and focusing on my passions again.

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Monthly Update - December

Monthly Check In: December

Welcome back for my December check in! It’s been a little while since I did a monthly update. It feels good to be back on them.

After my post last month about finding my passions again, I’ve been inspired with the blog. My reading buzz is back, and I’m getting myself organised for next year. Well, you know, trying to – I have a Trello board now, does that count as getting organised?

I’m not certain if I scared or inspired myself by making a list of the outstanding reviews I’ve got. I tend to take a “game on” approach when I see a long list but can’t deny the guilt with being spectacularly late to review several ARCs. I’m trying?

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Fantasy Trilogies

Top 5 fantasy trilogies

I wrote this months ago, before the world went to chaos, and it keeps getting pushed back. So decided it was time to post – here’s my top 5 fantasy trilogies!

One of the things I love most about fantasy is being swept away into a new world. World-building takes time though, and it can make some books lengthy and/or slow-paced.

I was thinking about some of my favourite fantasy books. I’ve come to the realisation that my favourites series (at the moment) are all trilogies. It gives the reader time to immerse themselves without it being too lengthy you forget who’s who and where they came from.

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Checking in with myself

Checking in (with myself)

I planned a monthly update for today, but it’s been so long since the last, I thought it would be a little random. Instead, I want to dive into something far more personal. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately, and checking in with myself.

Have you ever felt yourself on the brink of making a change, finding out who you are, and not knowing which way you’re going?

That’s how I’ve been feeling recently.

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My Top 5 Disney Villains

My top 5 Disney villains

For such a Disney fan, I can’t believe I’ve never written a Disney post before. What a way to start – with my top 5 Disney villains (not in order of evilness).

As I mentioned in last week’s post, I’ve been in the mood to do some seasonal content this year. I’ve never been a seasonal reader though, which has made it tricky deciding what content to post.

A few week’s ago, Jenny in Neverland posted this awesome list of ideas for this time of year. While some of these posts sound a lot of fun, this one really stuck out to me, and I couldn’t resist.

I’m a big Disney fan. There’s normally something related snuck into my film wrap up’s. Since getting Disney+ earlier in the year, I’ve been entertaining myself with the classics as well as venturing into the films I hadn’t seen before. I avoided a “what to watch” post though as I love returning to my favourites rather than exploring new movies.

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