Thursday, 5 December 2019

Keep writing. Don't give up

This will be more of the same really and to use a very modern saying, I am very "on brand". I think by now, you know what you are getting with this blog. The title's a bit vague but really, it's more of a general update with, shock horror, some word counts.

Honestly, life has stayed the same. Days spent feeling scared, days of mild excitement and it swings from one to the other quite rapidly. The people who have read my short stories like them, but like is a very different thing to making it my full time job. For the last few years I have started to make some actual money from my writing - predominantly with the book I wrote about the battle with my skin, Curing my Incurable Eczema. Not much, but enough to feel like it's gone past a hobby now.

November was possibly one of the busiest writing months ever and whilst I was writing away doing NaNoWriMo every morning (full post about my experience with it this year *here*), ideas for two new short stories started brewing in my mind and so naturally, on Sunday 17th November when I was tucked into bed ready for an early night, I decided to start writing one of them and ended up writing 568 words of it. The following night, I did another 1,050 words. On Tuesday night, I wrote another 1,538 words which I really enjoyed and on Wednesday night (20th November) I wrote a further 1,967 words, bringing the total up to 5,123. It was only a mere 711 words on Thursday night as I couldn't keep my eyes open, which is a shame as I really wanted to carry on, but it was completely out of my hands ... maybe that has something to do with the fact I'd barely slept that week ... well anyway, on Sunday 24th November, after taking a few days break from it, and in the morning and having a brilliant NaNoWriMo session, I ended up writing and finishing the first short story which came in at a total of 8,515 words, meaning I wrote 2,681 words. I have mentioned before that every time I have finished writing a first draft, I quickly skim read it, tarting it up slightly before I send it to Mum, and on Monday night, I tried my best to do that, but my eyes were shutting in front of the screen again and so had to give up after 45 minutes, but the following evening, on Tuesday 26th November, I ended up doing it and bringing the final word count of the first draft up to 8,750 words.

On Sunday 1st December, when I felt very hungover and exhausted, again I naturally thought that was the perfect time to start writing the other short story I had an idea for and so before bed, I wrote 1,093 words. On Monday, I really didn't feel like working on the short story, so instead I wrote a 735 word article for a future website on the condition I suffered from for over two years, red skin syndrome. I was very happy with it and really love writing non-fiction just as much as fiction, but after that I felt a bit burnt out so I stopped for the day.

On Tuesday 3rd December, I slept in till 7.30am so I didn't have the time to do anything else, but after work, I spent an hour rejigging what I had written so far of the short story before bringing up the total to 2,028 words. Yesterday morning, I continued working on it and wrote a further 1,736 words and in the evening, I wrote in a kind of daze, but somehow finished it, coming in at 5,255 words, meaning I wrote another 1,491 words. Honestly, I am writing this post the following morning (hello 6am) and don't think I've ever felt so tired. It was very late by the time I finished last night, so heaven knows what the thing reads like. When I read through it quickly, I wasn't even conscious of what I was doing. I've sent it to Mum anyway so we'll see what she thinks. It definitely needs the most work out of all the stories I've written so far, but hopefully it also has some potential. Honestly, this is the first short story where the words have been more of a struggle at times to get out, but I wouldn't call it writer's block and more the case that I am so tired, my brain feels as if it is over capacity after all the words of the previous month and the beginning of this one.

The title of this post relates to what I tell myself every day when it's 5.55am and I'm cold and tired. Don't overthink things, Cara, just keep writing, don't give up and one day it will be good. I could be delusional, I could just be very tired, but either way, I'll do it and see what happens because really, I don't have an alternative. That's nice in a way. I literally don't have another option and am stuck in the middle of a tiny island barely large enough to fit me and just have to do exactly what I am doing in order to stay alive and not fall off the edge of it.

I am now going to have three and a half days completely off - absolutely no writing whatsoever - before I start reading through my first series again, Weighting to Live, because my goal is to get it sorted by the new year which would mean all my books are in a very good place and ready to really push next year.

Stick a fork in me, I'm done.

Until next time,
Cara x

Sunday, 1 December 2019

NaNoWriMo 2019

I shall be doing a separate update post in the next few days as this is solely to discuss my participation this year in the one and only NaNoWriMo. I have done NaNoWriMo before - the first time was back in 2014 when I wrote the first draft of what would become my first self-published title, Weighting to Live, and the day after completing the challenge, I set up this blog and for the last five years have documented the ups and (many) downs of my strange writing journey. I also tried to do it again the following year, but life very much got in the way and I haven't tried again till this year, when I only went and did it. Yes, I saw it through to the bitter end and reached the 50,000 words target. As per, I like to write too much about any subject presented to me and so I thought I'd share some commentary of how I got on day by day (... and it wouldn't be a writing project of mine without some word counts).

Day 1 (Friday 1st November 2019)
Word count 1,698
It was a fine start - nothing groundbreaking. I still felt a bit meh and a little bruised after my panic attack and trip to A&E earlier in the week, but I plodded on regardless.

Day 2 (Saturday 2nd November 2019)
Word count 1,938.
I went into writing really not in the mood to do it, but I finished loving it. I just wrote - let it all out. I know the edit'll be a bloody mess, but we'll think about that later darling ...

Day 3 (Sunday 3rd November 2019)
Word count 1,667.
I did the bare minimum as I was bloody exhausted and, let's be real, hungry. Still went well though ...

Day 4 (Monday 4th November 2019)
Word count 1,782.
I went into it dreading it, but after five minutes, I really enjoyed myself. I also started to feel oddly excited that by the end of the month I could have a full-length novel by just taking an hour or so out of my day in order to do it.

Day 5 (Tuesday 5th November 2019)
Word count - 1,827.
Wow, I loved it. I woke up very early as I couldn't sleep and by 7.30am I was done. A bloody joy. The words came out easily and I didn't hate them, so a win win.

Day 6 (Wednesday 6th November 2019)
Word count - 1,738.
I really enjoyed it and again, went into it semi-dreading it, but by the end I LOVED IT.

Day 7 (Thursday 7th November 2019)
Word count - 1,861
Again, I dreaded starting, but loved it by the end. I was also exhausted as my dream just before waking up involved more writing, but going around and around in a circle meaning I didn't feel very rested.

Day 8 (Friday 8th November 2019)
Word count - 1,689
As per, a bit of casual dread going into it which made me sad as it's not how I feel about writing, because once I sit down, I love doing it. There is nothing quite like getting a burst of inspiration and going with it, feeling your fingers type frantically over the keyboard.

Day 9 (Saturday 9th November 2019)
Word count - 2,000
Today was a funny one because going into it I wanted it to be over - mostly because I'd told myself I would only have my scones *after* completing my word count. But very quickly, I forgot about the scones and lost myself in the writing and it was wonderful. I definitely remembered the scones after I had finished though, and they tasted bloody great.

Day 10 (Sunday 10th November 2019)
Word count - 1,816
Just fabulous. Natch, I still went into it dreading it, because I think I enjoy the drama, but it didn't matter. When I start writing, something else takes over.

Day 11 (Monday 11th November 2019)
Word count - 1,896
I had to set my alarm extra early to fit in my writing so I went into it as per, slightly resentfully, but I got over it quickly and had the best time. 

Day 12 (Tuesday 12th November 2019)
Word count - 1,830
Again, another day where I went into it wanting to do something else (I bought scones for breakfast again ...) but it turned out to be a brilliant day. I love how with writing you can look at a section of work and not imagine being able to fill the page, but something else takes over and words suddenly appear before you can understand how they got there. It's truly amazing.

Day 13 (Wednesday 13th November 2019)
Word count - 1,706
I spent most of the hour and a half writing getting distracted by every single thing but nevertheless, I still enjoyed it and was happy with what I wrote. Sometimes I feel as if I've failed when I get distracted or procrastinate until I remember I'M BLOODY HUMAN.

Day 14 (Thursday 14th November 2019)
Word count - 1,896
It was my first day back at work after having the luxury of being able to do this while I was off work, so when that alarm went off at 5.55am, let me tell you I was not feeling fresh, but oddly, I really enjoyed it, even though I JUST WANTED TO BE IN BED, and could have kept going if I didn't need to get ready for work.

Day 15 (Friday 15th November 2019)
Word count - 1,792
As I released my #ThirtyMinuteTales that day, I had so much to do that I had to get up at 5.30am in order to fit it all in before work, so I certainly didn't feel like it, but for some reason, it was so easy and I was done before I knew it. Then again, maybe everything I wrote was rubbish and I was actually asleep at the time and that is why it felt so easy. We'll see during the first edit ...

Day 16 (Saturday 16th November 2019)
Word count - 1,891
I went into it as per dreading it because I had a lot to do and felt mentally and physically exhausted from the book releases the day before and my day job, but ended up smashing the word count and loving every minute. Literally, the second I opened the word document, I was off.

Day 17 (Sunday 17th November 2019)
Word count - 610
For the first time, I decided not to berate myself because that day, my mind and body felt so saturated that I desperately needed a break. It's Sunday, so I decided that morning the only thing I would do was watch Christmas films, eat rubbish and revel in the knowledge I was not going to beat myself up about it.

... Day 17 (again) a few hours later ...
Word count - 1,087
What can I say, a few hours after my bold statement to take the day off to watch Christmas films and eat rubbish, I felt the need to write some more. Don't get wrong, I'd already eaten junk and planned on watching Christmas films straight after writing again, but more that I realised I had more to give than I previous thought I did ... so there you go.

***Amended total for the day - 1,697***

Day 18 (Monday 18th November 2019)
Word count - 1,747
That was a close one. I woke up at 6.35am, meaning I had 40 minutes less to try and fit in the word count, but by the skin of my teeth, I managed it, breaking it up before and after breakfast. It's amazing what we can do when we know our time is limited - we just adapt accordingly.

Day 19 (Tuesday 19th November 2019)
Word count - 1,711
I really didn't feel like writing, and I really didn't enjoy the process. MEH. But I still did it, so there you go.

Day 20 (Wednesday 20th November 2019)
Word count - 2,003
After possibly one of the worst sleeps of my life, I had a bloody brilliant morning of writing. I was excited to start and I was excited all the way through. It felt great, and I didn't want to stop.

Day 21 (Thursday 21st November 2019)
Word count 1,718
I was so tired that it was a struggle at times, but I was still happy with what I managed to achieve. After I had finished at 7.44am, all I wanted to do was go back to bed.

Day 22 (Friday 22nd November 2019)
Word count - 2,188
It's strange, today I was completely out of it while writing, but somehow, I wrote 2,188 words and bloody loved the whole experience. Interesting that it's the first time this month where I didn't keep checking the time and just wrote.

Day 23 (Saturday 23rd November 2019)
Word count - 2,055
A good writing day. Not much else to say :)

Day 24 (Sunday 24th November 2019)
Word count - 2,763
... Yeah, it was a pretty great writing day :)

Day 25 (Monday 25th November 2019)
Word count - 1,799
I loved it and could have kept on writing and only stopped because of work. All good.

Day 26 (Tuesday 26th November 2019)
Word count - 1,687
I woke up twenty minutes late, which held me up. I was a little tired, and not really in the mood, but I did it anyway.

WORD COUNT - 1,948
Today is when I actually hit 50,000 words ... but it wasn't over in my mind as I still had a few chapters left to write. Still felt pretty cool to win the word count challenge though.

DAY 28 (Thursday 28th November 2019)
Word count - 1,953
It went well, leaving me with only one chapter left to write. 

DAY 28 ... AGAIN
WORD COUNT - 1,062.
After work, I was a frazzled, exhausted mess, but for some strange reason, I decided I was going to just finish it anyway, which I did, and it felt amazing.


What a great month November was, and I couldn't be more grateful that I decided to push through the days where I really didn't feel like it and just do it anyway. We put so many limitations on ourselves that I would love to know what we would all be capable of if we believed we could do whatever it is that we wanted. I will save more words for my next post in a few days which will of course contain much unnecessary waffle ... so until next time,

Cara x

Friday, 15 November 2019

Thirty-Minute Tales

I'm ok still, and most of the time I swing between excitement, fear, doubt, then excitement again. Keeping busy has been my friend and I fight feelings of doubt and fear by just working through them. Even though overworking *might* be responsible for my anxiety, which has been terrible recently (hello worst panic attack of my life two weeks ago ...), in some ways, working has been my saviour, too.

Life since my last post has mostly been spent editing all my short stories ... that I am pleased to announce are done and AVAILABLE TO DOWNLOAD ON AMAZON NOW!

They are under my previously-discussed pen name, C.R. Ward (which I had to create a few months ago in order to not mess up my Amazon algorithm) and even though they are standalone stories, I have put them all as part of a series titled, Thirty-Minute Tales.

#ThirtyMinuteTales are for readers with limited time, or for those wanting something to read just before bed but still get a fully formed story. There are eight to choose from and here is the teaser trailer:

The trailer was created using Canva (for the video clip - I will never not talk about how much I love that website), Youtube's Audio Library (for the song - which is called 'Just Us League') and iMovie (to edit it all together).

Here are the titles and blurbs for each story:


Was there life outside my box?

Two men.
One great adventure.

A thirty-minute tale about friendship, hope ... and a dog called Zelda.


Who are you Bryan Trout? 

Bryan Trout is an exceptionally dull man, or so he thinks, with a rather unusual name.

A thirty-minute tale about finding yourself, finding love … and a goldfish called Brian.


‘Change, my darling, is happening, because it has to.’

Diana likes tea and cake every day at Polly’s, a bookshop called Blacks, and her perfect life, until one day, it isn’t. 

What happens when everything falls apart?

A thirty-minute tale about waking up.


Fear is blinding me.

A life for a life.
An ill-fated car journey.
What happens when saving someone’s life isn't the right thing to do.

A thirty-minute tale about obsession.


Who will know my secret tonight?

Two strangers.
One deserted playground.
One unforgettable night.

A thirty-minute tale about healing old wounds, burying the past … and some ironic neon signs.


‘Does anyone have a perfect life?’

The story of a rare green mouse and a man who lives on a concrete island.
We don’t know their names.

A thirty-minute tale about finding your shadow in the unlikeliest of places.


It's time. 

Five people.
Five reasons to get on the train.
Five lives that will be changed forever.

A thirty-minute tale about people.


‘Hello Mary,’ he said.
I backed away. ‘How do you know my name?’
‘Because I am your guardian angel.’

What would you do if you felt no fear?

A thirty-minute tale about living.

*Psst* They are free until Sunday. Who said that?

To download them now, click here for my Amazon author page (UK) and here for my Amazon author page (US).

Right, I am off to eat chocolate and generally be anxious. So until next time,
Cara ... or should I say now, C.R. Ward ...?

No, let's stick with Cara x

P.S. I'm on Day 15 of NaNoWriMo and still going strong - but I'll do a separate post on that at the end of the month. Ooooooooo