Time Lost

I feel like life is moving at a grueling pace some days, and other days seem to go on forever. No, that’s not quite it. While at work, the day never seems to end, but because I’m so tired my spare time is over in a snooze (quite literally). Suddenly another week has passed, and I still haven’t accomplished anything.

My tiredness seem to have gotten worse again. Maybe it’s the time of year. Everything is darker. Colder.

I force myself out of bed in the morning, I go to work, I make it through the day… Then I get home and I struggle to stay awake. Most days I don’t manage, and I end up sleeping for a couple of hours. Precious hours when I should be doing other things, but I just can’t keep my eyes open.

tired-cat

On a positive note, it’s only three more weeks of school until the Christmas holiday. Two glorious weeks off!

I went to the hospital a week ago for a blood draw. Never been fond of needles, but as long as I don’t look I’m fine. This time I jumped when the nurse jabbed me, and she said “you’ve obviously had a bad experience”. My last experience was the daily blood draw they did in the hospital last summer when I had that surgery that went so very, very wrong. When my veins kept blowing from the blood draw and IV, and my arm looked like I’d joined the local Fight Club.

That little comment from the nurse was all that was needed to bring it all back, and to my mortification I broke into tears. She was very understanding though, just got me a few tissues and let me have a few minutes before calling the next patient. I never expected to have that kind of reaction, since I’ve always managed my blood draws okay in the past, despite the fear of needles.

Another positive note, turns out my values are all fine. No more monthly injections! The mal-absorption issue seems to have sorted itself out. Go me!

go-me

Lastly, I’ve started another blog. I know. I know. I’m like a serial blogger. Not in that I write lots of blog posts (I wish!), but in that I keep making new ones. It’s supposed to be focused a bit more on my writing, because I felt like the title of this blog might put some people off. I don’t know. Maybe the blog addict in me just wanted another blog. I could just put everything on that one, but I suspect no one’s really interested in my random ramblings. (Not that I think they’re particularly interested in my writing and rambling about that, really.) I just like to keep my ramblings for posterity, or something. It’s quite nice to be able to go back 10 years through my blog posts and see what I’ve been up to. It’s like an online journal/diary.

If anyone wants to check it out, it’s http://thestrugglingwriter.com and I even made it a Facebook page. Because… I could? It’s nice for posting random pictures and things that don’t deserve its own post.

Okay, that’s enough rambling for today.

I need a plan

Since I’ve decided that 2017 is the year that I’m going for it in regards to getting a novel published (most likely self-published as an e-book, but I will write more about that another day), I need to start making a plan on how to go about it.

In fact, I really need two plans. The first one being how to get my manuscript edited and ready for publication, the second one being a general writing plan. A schedule, basically. I need to figure out how to fit writing into my life again.

I started this blog a little bit before 2017 as a means to get me back into the writing habit, even if only to blog for now, and to start said planning.

My first step will have to be to find a dedicated time for writing. This is most likely the most difficult part, and I admire writers who seem to be able to sit down and just get it done. I need to work on becoming one of them!

My weekends and evenings are generally free, minus two nights a week. The biggest issue for me is probably energy, rather than time. When I get back from work I’m usually knackered, and I often end up falling asleep. I suspect this is because of my chronic fatigue, in that I have a limited amount of energy and work tends to drain all of it. Still, if I can somehow push through it – that’s easily an hour or two every day that I could write rather than sleep.

Me, after work.

Me, after work.

I think that’s going to be my goal. Limit the sleeping (anyone have any tips on how to stay awake?) and use that extra time to write.

Step two will be to figure out how to split my time writing between the things I want to write/do. There’s the editing/proofreading and formatting that needs to be done on the finished manuscript(s), as well as the writing I would like to do on new projects. I don’t think it’s good to do only editing and proofreading, one also needs to do some writing and get the juices flowing. And after all this time, I definitely need to practice writing again!

What I need to do!

What I need to do!

The Love of Reading

I love reading, always have, and I would like to think that being an avid reader also makes one a better writer. By reading you expand your vocabulary, you learn the rules of writing and sentence building, and you can get inspiration.

A writer that doesn’t read is missing out on something very vital. You have to study your art if you want to create something. That goes for everything, not just writing.

I don’t read as much as I used to, partly for lack of time and partly for lack of energy, but I do try do read as much as I can. My favourite genre is of course the one that I write myself; Historical Romance, more specifically Regency set romance. I read a lot of other genres as well though, anything from fiction to humour, from horror to fantasy. I won’t lie though, most of what I read will be romances.

Lately I’ve tried to expand my romance reading from nearly exclusively historical romance to contemporary. I don’t like it as much, but I have found quite a few good stories.

eyesofthedragonGrowing up my switch from children’s books to adult books came early. I think I was eleven or so when I could no longer find anything of interest in my bookshelf or the young adult section of the library. Looking at the large amount of books in my mom’s library I asked her for a suggestion. She gave me Stephen King’s The Eyes of the Dragon, and I loved it. That book got me interested in the fantasy genre, as well as the horror genre as I ended up reading most of King’s books.

In the next few years I read nearly all of Stephen Kings books (that had been published up to that point), nearly all of Dean Koontz’ books of the same genre. I also got very interested in fantasy, and devoured the books of David Eddings, Terry Brooks, Tolkien and many others. For a long time, my main discourse when it came to books was horror and fantasy.

I don’t remember who introduced me to romance novels, but it wasn’t until my early to mid-twenties once-an-angelthat I truly fell in love with the genre. It was when I found wonderful authors such as Teresa Medeiros, Lisa Kleypas and Julia Quinn. This was also around the time that I gave up on trying to write a fantasy novel, and instead focused on writing romance. After writing many stories through my life, I realised that no matter the story – I had characters falling in love, whether I had planned it or not. So in the end, I decided that what I should probably be writing, is romance novels!

That is my story both of me as a reader, and as a writer. I do believe that the two are connected, and I will strive to continue reading as much as I possibly can.

What kind of books got you into reading? Are you still reading the same genres? If you’re a writer, do you mainly write in the same genre that you’re reading?

It’s November already?

I feel like I blinked, and suddenly it’s November. Wasn’t it August like, last week?

We had our half-term holiday just over a week ago, and I went to Sweden for a few days to attend my newest niece’s naming ceremony. It was a nice few days, and the first time I visited my sister in her new flat. They live nearly five hours from my home town (where I usually go when visiting Sweden since the majority of my family is there), so I didn’t get to see everyone. Still, I was lucky that a lot of my family actually was down for the ceremony as well.

olivia-foot

The ceremony was lovely, with my sister and her partner reading parents’ vows for their child, and my sister singing a song. There was a spread of food and lots of cheesecake and mud cake. Very delicious!

Since I stayed there a few days before the ceremony I also got to hang out with my sister for a few days, which was really nice.

olivia-hands

Now I’m looking forward to Christmas, which this year will be celebrated in Sweden. The boyfriend and I have an agreement to celebrate every other year in Sweden and the UK respectively. So this year we’re both going to celebrate at my mom’s. My sister is doing every other year as well (partner’s family in their town vs at mom’s), and we’ve arranged it so that we do the same year at mom’s. Should be quite a few of us this year!

A small “hello”

It’s been almost exactly ten years since I ran into the proverbial wall and had a burn out. I still remember the morning that I woke up a couple of hours before the alarm was supposed to go off, violently shaking and in a panic about the very idea of leaving the relative safety of my bed. It seems impossible for someone who’s never been in that situation, I imagine – but at that very moment, I could no more get out of that bed and go to work than I could have climbed Mount Everest.

Up until that point I had been working very hard, both in my professional job and at writing in my spare time; finishing two novels while also dealing with a stressful job and equally stressful things going on in my private life. All together, I guess they contributed to my eventual downfall. And fall I did, hard. Suddenly I wasn’t able to do anything.

I was someone who always prided themselves on being organised and remembering most things without writing them down, and suddenly I couldn’t remember the simplest things. To this day, I still struggle with my memory, and from having considered myself very stress-resilient, I now can’t handle any stress without coming apart at the seams.

Not only was I unable to work for quite some time after this, I found myself unable to write. Suddenly I was a writer without words.

Since then I’ve been through a lot, I’ve found myself back to a semi-decent life, though I still suffer from chronic fatigue and chronic pain (turns out that I have fibromyalgia, which might have been a factor in my burn out, or it may have come after… who knows). I’ve learned to deal with these things though, and after moving countries twice, breaking a leg, having a failed surgery (not leg related) that has damaged me in several ways, I’m feeling like I’m in a position to start to seriously look at what else I want to change in my life.

First and foremost; I want to start writing again.

And so I’m starting this blog both as a way to get me to write, and to hopefully keep me motivated by forcing myself to put how much I’ve done. The idea is that 2017 is the year that I will get into a writing routine, and get at least one of my two novels published.

Please join me on this journey!

One Year

I can’t believe that today it’s been a whole year since I arrived in England in my new flat, to finally live with the boyfriend after surviving years of a long distance relationship.

On the whole, I think that we’ve managed quite well. I was definitely a bit worried when first moving, since it’s always different meeting someone for limited amounts of time, compared to actually living together. It probably helps that we’re both fairly laid back kind of people, so we’ve not really had any big issues to deal with.

My biggest issue has probably been missing my family, especially the little ones. Sometimes feeling lonely with no friends in a new country. Still, I don’t regret moving, because I get to be with the love of my life.

1-year

Amusement Park

Viggo turned five while I was in Sweden, and for his birthday present I gave him a day at the amusement park in Gothenburg. I suspect that he liked his gift, because this was the face he had when we first went in.

viggo-isak

My mom and one of my brothers went with us as well. The weather was good for most of it, with just a spot of rain at one point. Viggo dares to go on nearly anything that he’s allowed to go on, including things that go very high and triggers my fear of heights. Something that he does not care about.

We had a great day though, and I’m kind of hoping to make it a yearly tradition to go to the amusement park when I’m in Sweden during the summer.

On the flume ride!

On the flume ride!

Waving!

Waving!

Our Garden

We still have a lot of work to do in our back garden, but in preparation for my family arriving we did get ourselves a nice, new table and chairs. We also replaced the old canopy on the gazebo, since it was getting quite bad.

I think it’s looking much better now!

garden

The back part of the garden still needs to be dug up and fenced in. We’re also planning to turn the furthest part of it into a parking space, so that we can park off the road. It’s moving along very slowly though, but hopefully we’ll eventually get there. You can tell from the next photo that there’s a lot of weeds, big weeds(!) in the back part of the garden that need to be dealt with.

garden-table

Failure

I only have four more working days until the summer holiday now, and I’ll be honest – it couldn’t come soon enough. My new job (if it can still be considered new after five months) is rewarding, but oh so exhausting. I’m working more hours than I’ve managed to in years since I became ill, and it’s definitely taking its toll.

When I get home from work I am so exhausted that I rarely manage to get anything done. Most days I fall asleep, and never wake up enough to do anything worthwhile. I’ll force myself to cook something for dinner, and that’s about it. The flat isn’t nearly as tidy as I would like, since I fall behind on cleaning. Lots of things need to be done/sorted, and I just don’t have the energy to do it.

All in all, it makes me feel like a failure. It might sound stupid, but I would like to keep a nice, tidy house for the boyfriend. I moved over here, and I’m contributing very little to the household in the form of income due to working less hours, and having a lower hourly rate to begin with. So I feel that the least I could do is cook dinner and keep the flat tidy. But I’m not even managing that most of the time.

I really hate being this tired. It’s the kind of tired when it doesn’t really matter how much – or little – you sleep; you’re still exhausted. I’ve tried to not fall asleep when I get home from work, just to have some more time to do things, but some days it’s impossible. I just can’t keep my eyes open.

I just wish I could do more and get more things done. It’s become especially obvious now that some of my family is coming to visit next week. There are so many things I’d like to get done before they get here, and I’m getting nowhere with them, because I’m just too exhausted after work.

Well, that’s enough whining for today I think. Every now and then I just need to vent. I realise that it probably gets boring for anyone reading this blog for a while, since a lot of my posts are basically “I’m tired”. Which, I suppose, is because I’m always tired. I’ve been tired for many years, and I honestly can’t remember what it feels like to not be tired.

Positive thought; only four more working days and then six weeks off!

And it’s gone…

My one week off is coming to an end, tomorrow it’s back to work. The week has gone by way too fast, and I didn’t get around to doing even half of the things I had planned. Still, it’s been nice to be off and I’ve enjoyed some much needed rest and relaxation.

I’ve received a letter from work confirming that my contract is coming to an end on July 20th, something which I already knew. They’re not offering an extension, but I’m invited to a chat regarding my employment in the near future. Whether or not they will offer me another temporary contract for the fall term remains to be seen. I guess I will find out during that chat.

I’m pretty sure that the letter is worded in that way to make sure that if they do offer a new contract, they only have to do it from the start of the fall term – rather than extending the current one. All of the temporary staff has received the same letter. It means they don’t have to pay us for six weeks. Which is really nice for them, but awful for us.

Still, a new contract from September is more secure than having to go job hunting, and I do enjoy the job. So I am really hoping for a new contract, as frustrating as it might be to be without pay for several weeks.

So, tomorrow it’s back to work. I have six weeks of work, plus two days (school finishes on a Tuesday this year) – then my mom, her partner and one of my brothers come to visit for a week. After that, I fly back to Sweden with them to visit home for two weeks, something I’m really looking forward to.

I just need to find the energy to get through the next six weeks and two days first!