Categories
Adulthood Non-fiction Observations Writing

An introduction to my newsletter…

I’ve been writing this post since January, I’m ashamed to say it’s my first newsletter of the year and somehow it still hugely applies. I’ve been writing a newsletter monthly (sometimes more often) for a while now where I speak of my writing achievements, my goals, writing tips, book recommendations and, as you can see below, plenty of other stuff!

Most of the words you read my subscriber’s received in their inbox a few months ago in my non-regular but hoping to be much more frequent newsletter. If you enjoy and want more then you can sign up to get exclusive news and extra blog content here. Or by following the link at the bottom of the page, OR by heading to my sign up page on this website!

New Year, No Motivation…

I read recently on Dawn O’Porter’s Patreon how she too was struggling with writing motivation. She made a really good point in that: How can you write meaningful, authentic stuff when you aren’t living? Nothing is happening in life. Yes, we are more free and there have been less rules and restrictions lately but I know so many, myself included, who are still reluctant to venture out. Home feels safe. The virus is EVERYWHERE. Even when out it isn’t how it was. You’re always on edge. Feeling guilty. 

Merely by going for a walk the other day I sparked up some ideas and motivation to write. That was just a walk on my own by the sea. Imagine what a whole day or weekend out and about would do. 

I’m very lucky with my place of work as that alone provides so much life from all different parts of it. Reading also does this but has anyone else struggled to chill out and read?!

I have and it took me the whole in between bit between Christmas and New Year to get back into the practice of it. Recently I’ve hardly read at all. I really think we are all just COVID/ doom and gloom news consumed and burnt out. Here’s to 2022, third time lucky!! And look how that’s going already……

The moment…

My sister and I had a really good conversation the other day and, as this is my newsletter, I will relate it to writing. She is very different to me in that her choice of read is usually non-fiction over fiction. She’s currently reading a book about the moon. While I haven’t read the book, my understanding of the particular part my sister was explaining was living in a cyclical pattern and the benefits it has. Living like the moon. There are times in the month to be productive, to reflect, to get busy and to unwind.

I liken this to living in the moment. Of course, planning to a certain extent is useful, but getting bogged down with it is unproductive. Take writing for example. If I get het up on the fact that I’ve not written as much of my third book and haven’t nearly been as disciplined of late then I will just continue in a downward spiral. If instead I put that on the long finger and focus on what I have achieved and seize the day then that is far more helpful in achieving my goals. Live in the moment like today and take advantage of opportunities like being on a walk and ideas flowing, having the motivation to go back and write, and feeling good at the end of the day with a big fat glass of wine. YES.

Time

A line on a friend’s Facebook page struck me the other day: ‘The thing is, we always think we have time…’ Maybe we do, maybe we don’t but one thing that is certain is that nobody knows how long we’ve got or what is going to change suddenly. I refer to above… live in the moment. 

Be happy. See the good in the little things in life. Speak to the trees, smile at the birds, take photos of a particularly pretty sky. Don’t dwell but embrace. That is what is going to get me to my writing goals this year. I plan to produce a lot more varied content for you while also working on novel number three. Watch this space…

Has anyone else had really weird dreams?

You heard it here first, unless some scientist has already written a paper on it, there is going to be a whole lot that makes more sense as more studies go into how much COVID/ the news is taking up our brain time.

I’ve heard so many people not sleeping who have never had problems before. I’m sure it’s because our brains unknowingly are on override. For that reason I’m cutting myself a bit of slack for not putting much time aside to write.

Then there’s the content…

There is none.

While I always bang on about the fact that my novels are NOT autobiographical in ANY SENSE of the word, obviously to write about things, I have to experience or observe things. I have to live. That proves rather tricky when frequently I go weeks on end without leaving my village.

Shall I just write about my walk on the beach?

On that note, this walk has ignited my writing motivation. It took longer than usual as with everything since March 2020, but eventually ideas started to flow as I silently plodded along the beautiful Suffolk coastline. I came up with the notion for this post, for example, and actually wanted to write it. I was enthusiastic. My next newsletter has also been written in this sitting. In this one sitting?! That hasn’t happened for ages.

What I am trying to say is for all you writers out there, for artists in any form, for people working on things for years who have felt that lately the mojo has vanished – I hear you! You are not alone. Go easy on yourself. What we are living through is HUGE.

I think we are all a bit burnt out. Take care xoxo

A note…

Book 2, Don’t Tell Jack is out. Order your copies now on Amazon!

For links to all of my writing related stuff, my link tree is below. You can also find published work in my portfolio. My debut novel, Dear Brannagh, is available on Amazon along with the sequel Don’t Tell Jack. If you enjoy what you’re seeing here and are interested in following me on my writing journey, then please subscribe to my newsletter by filling in the form at the bottom of any page of my website. There will be plenty of giveaways, news hot off the press and an honest insight into life as an author. Thank you x

linktr.ee/HJMWriting

Categories
Adulthood Recommendations Writing

A Sunday Morning Podcast.

I love a Sunday morning. The relaxed vibe, not having to do anything or answer to anybody, staying in bed, a quiet world outside. The nature of my work often has me naturally awake at around 6am but knowing that I can then go back to sleep with no alarm set on a Sunday makes me smile and shut my eyes. Usually this is a time when I write and read, though the past few months have been rather manic to say the least so I’ve not experienced many Sunday mornings as easy as Lionel Richie sings about.

This week I am certainly back in the game. It is ten past eight in the morning. I am onto my second cup of tea in bed and I have a pastry that I am about ready to devour. It is my treat each Saturday when the pastries arrive from the baker, a nice sweet start to my Sunday – sod the diet! I was speaking to a man yesterday who was questioning why us women frequently try to “be good”. ‘Who are you doing it for?’ he asks his wife, ‘because I don’t care?’ He had a point, so I considered buying two pastries but stuck to one.

As much as I love Sunday mornings I also love a good podcast. Happy Place by Fearn Cotton is my go to but I am always open to new ones. Recently I watched an Imagine Documentary: Marian Keyes: My (Not so) Perfect Life. I LOVE Marian Keyes as an author and a person. I found the entire hour long programme fascinating and it taught me so much about Marian that I didn’t know. When I was telling a friend about it she said that Marian has a podcast out so I searched for that this morning.

Now You’re Asking With Marian Keyes and Tara Flynn

It’s brilliant! Each episode is around 30 minutes long and they are in Dear Deirdre style. Listeners write in with questions/ problems, and Marian and Tara try to solve them in their funny, light hearted but also very heartfelt and with a point manner. They cover everything from relationships to in-laws to a resting bitch face committee and how yawning is A-OK (as long as it isn’t to passive aggressively tell someone that they are boring). I’ve already listened to two episodes and I’m about to get cracking with a third.

Anyone who follows me will know how sporadic my writing is of late and I can’t tell you when my next podcast recommendation will pop up here but I will be sure to keep you posted.

H x

For links to all of my writing related stuff, my link tree is below. You can also find published work in my portfolio. My debut novel, Dear Brannagh, is available on Amazon along with the sequel Don’t Tell Jack. If you enjoy what you’re seeing here and are interested in following me on my writing journey, then please subscribe to my newsletter by dropping your name and email. There will be plenty of giveaways, news hot off the press and an honest insight into life as an author. Thank you x

linktr.ee/HJMWriting

Categories
fiction Writing

Cover reveal…

Typical author blabbing about her new release… first it appeared in my mailing list, then inside the local magazine, next we headed over on Instagram and now, here on my blog, I reveal to you the cover of Don’t Tell Jack out October 2021…………………………

For links to all of my writing related stuff, my link tree is below. You can also find published work in my portfolio. My debut novel, Dear Brannagh, is OUT NOW. If you enjoy what you’re seeing here and are interested in following me on my writing journey as I self-publish novel number two, then please subscribe to my newsletter by filling in the form at the bottom of any page of my website. Thank you x

linktr.ee/HJMWriting

Categories
Adulthood Non-fiction Observations Writing

They had an off tasting bit of orange, they weren’t judging your life. Possibly?

I sometimes (who am I kidding) quite often question what I am doing in life. My work, my love life, the social side of things – basically everything that makes up life. Usually this happens very late at night or very early in the morning but question I do. And fret. Oh gosh do I fret.

Another magnesium and I’m usually fine!

It’s that timeline thing again. That thing you see so often all over social media and in books. It is not a race. Claudia Winkleman put it straight in her book that I wrote about a few weeks back.

IT IS NOT A RACE.

I think we all have goal posts and given the world in which we live, it is hard not to compare. I find with my writing my questioning is highlighted hugely at social gatherings when most there went to university, on to grad schemes or into a trained profession and are all very successful. I quieten when I say that I write books. I (wrongly I am sure) feel the ‘what’s the point’ eyes from those who don’t read.

Isn’t it crazy how much we make up stories that probably aren’t even true?! Try to control others actions which will have a detrimental part to play in our lives?! Mad.

Anyway I sometimes think the momentum has dried up with Dear Brannagh as I look at work at my shrine slowly browning and curling at the corners. The copies left sitting there. Everyone who wants to know has bought.

Then this happens.

I get home from work, rush to get ready for yet another hen do and receive a text from a friend looking for furniture on Facebook Marketplace. The text is a picture of my book. My book on some strangers gorgeous chest of drawers, helping to display for a sale.

I sell three copies in a day.

I recieve a message late at night from someone who quietly follows me thanking me for being an inspiration to her and encouraging her to continue her writing.

All that happens and I am back in the game.

It’s often easy to forget these things but deep down they are always there. Be strong in your decisions. Be bold with your choices and live that life for you.

Obviously be happy for others but remember that they too are also probably happy for you. They had an off tasting bit of orange, they weren’t judging your life. Possibly?

For links to all of my writing related stuff, my link tree is below. You can also find published work in my portfolio. My debut novel, Dear Brannagh, is OUT NOW. If you enjoy what you’re seeing here and are interested in following me on my writing journey as I self-publish novel number two, then please subscribe to my newsletter by filling in the form at the bottom of any page of my website. Thank you x

linktr.ee/HJMWriting

Categories
Adulthood fiction Non-fiction Writing

A lockdown anthology: Simplicity

When this is all over I will appreciate more. A trip to town, a mini-break at the beach, a hug, a social gathering, dinner with those you see the most, and dinner with those you see the least. I will certainly notice nature, let it bring happiness whenever I need it. The natural and pure. Children and mothers, wildlife, trees, grasses blowing in summer breeze, colours of lavender fields and smells of pollen.

I will enjoy sleep because I now know what it is to be deprived of it. Whenever I feel on top form and full of energy I will give thanks, for so long I have been run down during lockdown. Clear skin showing my radiance as opposed to spotty stress. A spring in my step and a smile on my face rather than clumping along with a frown.

Never again will I moan about slowness under pressure while waiting in queues. Instead I will understand the meaning of pressure and give the staff a break. I’ll try not to worry about money. I’ll endeavour to be kind.

When this is all over I will appreciate freedom we can so easily be denied. Lockdown 2020 – back to basics, simplicity and a love for life.

Published in the lockdown anthology: When This Is All Over edited by Jan Moran Neil and Adrian Spalding

For links to all of my writing related stuff, my link tree is below. You can also find published work in my portfolio. My debut novel, Dear Brannagh, is OUT NOW. If you enjoy what you’re seeing here and are interested in following me on my writing journey as I self-publish novel number two, then please subscribe to my newsletter by filling in the form at the bottom of any page of my website. Thank you x

linktr.ee/HJMWriting

Categories
Adulthood fiction Review Writing

The Midnight Library: a review

So I finished the book that lots of people are talking about – The Midnight Library by Matt Haig. Thank you sir.

I loved it.

At the start I wasn’t sure whether or not it would be my cup of tea as I began it with – of course – a cup of tea. I’m not into fantasy or other worlds. I much prefer books firmly set within this world and reality. Ones that I can sometimes relate to or that answer my own questions I have about this world.

The initial idea of the main character being somewhere between life and death felt too sci-fi for my usual taste but, having loved Haig’s previous books, I read on.

Yes the concept is fantastical in that – well nobody knows actually – what happens after death. Yet the main themes, the settings of the many lives that Nora transports into and everything else about the book is very very real.

It is a book that focuses on perspective, something that many of us need more of. It has a lesson on every single page. I found myself constantly noting down quotes and staring wide-eyed at the pages in total I-had-never-thought-of-it-like-that-before style.

Some books I read, love and share with friends. Others I give to a charity shop or swap in the phone box in our village. They were good books but nothing special.

Well, in my opinion, this book is special. While it is currently with a friend I have asked for it to be returned and returned to my shelf. It will sit there forever. I will dip in and out. If ever I need a bit of perspective I will read a page or two.

Thank you Matt Haig.

For links to all of my writing related stuff, my link tree is below. My debut novel, Dear Brannagh, is OUT NOW!!

https://linktr.ee/HJMWriting

Categories
Adulthood Non-fiction Observations Writing

My writing and me

I write for all sorts of reasons.

It might be to get something off my chest; to keep a record of my days; to entertain others; to remember what I need to buy from the supermarket; an idea that turns into a short story and everything in between. Writing is everywhere for me and a very useful tool in so many ways.

I was writing my diary earlier and loved the fact that my words weren’t going to be published anywhere. They weren’t for social media, nor were they to be put in a novel or a blog post. Instead they were just for me. Not that my diary entries are ever secretive, or very interesting for that matter, I just felt free in the fact that my words were for me.

On the flip side of that I love to write for others.

I get a buzz out of people engaging with my posts. I love to hear that I’ve phrased something how someone wanted to put it but couldn’t find the words. Often I feel proud or happy when I read back on a particular blog post that has gained more feedback than usual. There are even some lines in my novel that I can’t believe I wrote!

I always think long and hard about text messages. I find myself on walks feeling appreciative of friends. Then I write a message to put in a card or a text. People always need to know how valued they are and I love to tell them. Sometimes friends thank me for advice and I wonder if I was right in saying what I did. I usually think that the person seeking advice knew already they just liked how I phrased it.

I’ve written a lot of articles lately about the same thing and have welcomed the positive feedback. Articles, of course, referring to my debut novel and I don’t shut up about it! Some readers have said how my writing shows my passion or that it gripped them from the beginning and throughout.

I love and enjoy writing from others as well. Each year I keep cards from my birthday with particularly lovely messages or important notes inside. I have a friend who writes the most lovely labels on birthday presents (from the dogs) and I keep them all. Often I find myself screenshotting words on social media that I think people have put so brilliantly.

I read, LOTS.

Basically I love words. That folks is my writing and me.

For links to all of my writing related stuff, my link tree is below. My debut novel, Dear Brannagh, is OUT NOW 🙂

linktr.ee/HJMWriting

Categories
Adulthood Non-fiction Writing

One of those days

At the time of thinking about this blog post idea I was having one of those days. You know the kind. Behind before you’ve even started. Don’t know how you’ll fit everything in.

Since then my one of those days has turned into one of those weeks. Months even. Hence the lack of blog posts in March.

The nature of my job results in there being very rarely any spare time. Therefore when I’m asked, which I am fairly often, how I fit in my writing on top I struggle to understand it myself. I sort of finish a novel and think how did that happen? Obviously there is pressure and stress that comes with it but once I have the full manuscript written I think wow, I’m not too sure how that happened. It just does.

The trouble is that once the manuscript is complete and even published, the work doesn’t stop there. No, people need to know about your novel else how are they going to buy it?! That is where extra work comes in the form of social media posts, blogs, newspaper and magazine articles and everything in between.

This day was one of those days.

I was working until close but had been asked to write an article. My close is 5:30pm. The deadline for the article was 6pm. Latest.

EEK.

As usual my mind was going mad with ideas and my notes app on my phone were getting well used. This is the norm. Even after a random conversation I might get an idea for a blog post or even a novel and have to note it down before I forget. This becomes slightly difficult when I’ve had a few glasses of wine and I have to translate my badly spelled sentences.

Anyway.

Among serving customers and generally doing everything that work entails in a day that is too short (every day is too short) I came up with the bones of an article. I think we finished with about ten minutes to spare so I opened my laptop and typed faster than ever before.

Thank God for spell check.

All blog posts can be found at https://www.harrietmills.co.uk/ and to read my published work visit my portfolio. My debut novel, Dear Brannagh, is out now.

Categories
Adulthood Non-fiction Observations Writing

My Editing Process

When thinking up material to put on my blog, I always think about what I would love to read as an aspiring writer. Some may find my advice incredibly boring. For some it might not work or it could be the complete opposite to what others do but this is me and this is how I edit.

So, I have 65,000+ words on a page.

I know that this has to increase. I also know that some bits must be cut in order for the end product to be of my best ability.

Firstly, I set myself a goal. I put the pressure on. This goal is therefore usually unrealistic but I make myself slightly stressed out in order to edit at my best. For example, I have just finished my second novel and I am well into the editing process on that. My end goal is the end of this month which was initially the end of last year so that the pressure remains.

Next I read through chapter by chapter and as much as if I were reading it as a novel as I possibly can. This is done on my laptop. I make changes as I go. I note down ideas on a separate document to look at later regarding the piece as a whole. This might be to check that a certain character is consistently a girl or to ensure that the timeline of events works.

Once I have completed the first read through, I turn to the trusty editor button on Microsoft Word and I complete all amendments there if I agree.

I then print it out. Bind it.

Having it nicely presented somehow helps and it also makes for a good keepsake in the future when I reminisce about past works. This is partly for my own satisfaction, but partly because I find that my brain works in an entirely different way when it reads something printed as opposed to on the screen of a laptop. It also makes for a nice and easy presented version to give to proofreaders.

I send to any proofreaders that I have in mind and keep one copy for myself to read. I read again on paper, marking in pen any changes and again filling in my notes doc on the computer.

Next I take back any proofreader copies as well as my newly changed hardcopy and make all changes.

Finally I go over my notes doc and complete all task there.

Then it goes off to the publishers.

That’s it. That is how I edit. In case you were wondering. Apologies if you weren’t!

Happy Friday all.

All blog posts can be found at https://www.harrietmills.co.uk/ and to read my published work visit my portfolio. My debut novel, Dear Brannagh, is out now.

Categories
Adulthood Non-fiction Observations Writing

Where I’m at…

I couldn’t think of a blog topic this week. I think it is because my head is so busy. It makes no sense really as I’d have thought the busier my head, the more ideas flowing about. In fact it is the opposite. I have nothing.

Instead I thought it would be an interesting exercise to write down where I’m at. A stream of conscious style piece. My exact thoughts and feelings at the very moment.

Here goes…

Today I am in a good place. I’m feeling positive despite the news. Having just enjoyed a lovely cuppa accompanied by a slice of raspberry flapjack, I am feeling very content.

The week has been busy so far. We’re not even half way through and I’ve written an article for publication in a glossy mag, organised a giveaway and not completely failed at wrapping some presents on top of working full time. Not bad.

It’s birthday week. I’m feeling good about my twenty seventh trip around the sun. Being twenty five has been different to say the least. A global pandemic would make it somewhat different, obviously, but there have been plenty of good bits.

  • The summer was hotter than usual.
  • I noticed more, especially the birds and nature.
  • Appreciation has been a constant throughout.
  • My managerial development has come on.
  • I’m a published author!

Bring on twenty six.

I am on my break from work and as soon as I got in I put my sausage dog in his harness and took him for a walk. He’s in training. Though he is almost two. He gets very anxious about walking on his own. Put another person or dog into the mix and he is immediately fine but alone he is terrified. I’m trying to fix this. We didn’t get very far at all but we got further than the last time. Progress. Positive progress is what it is all about.

I have a longer break today and it is lovely. There we go with appreciation again. I’ve not had a day off in over a year which I think has made me more grateful for time off. Time out. Even just an hour to myself is total bliss.

I’m reading Us Three by Ruth Jones. It is a great escape. A huge page-turner. Perfect for these times. I have plenty of break left today so I think I’ll continue to indulge in escapism. I love reading and I love books.

There, that’s where I’m at.

All blog posts can be found at https://www.harrietmills.co.uk/ and to read my published work visit my portfolio. My debut novel, Dear Brannagh, is out now.