Monthly Archives: January 2013

New Year Greetings, Satisfaction and Hope (January 2013)

I love January.

 

I know a lot of people hate it, with the constant ice, intermittent snow, and the cold, dark nights.

 

But not me, I love it. For me January is and always will be a sign of things to come, the month when the world tries its best to wake from the dreary sleep of winter, shedding the old slumber and doing it’s best to wake to sunshine and daffodils.

 

It brings hope – how often do we hear that old saying ‘new year new start’? It signals the start of a new year where we can all aspire to our dreams once more and not let the mundane stop us from doing so. And it brings satisfaction, with Christmas over and life settling back down, comfort food in the form of warming soups and stews, and the occasional hot pud, and that feeling of warm coziness when the world outside is freezing.

 

It’s also been a highly productive month – you may remember on an earlier blog I mentioned wishing to get my novel finished by Christmas – that unfortunately wasn’t achieved with one thing and another, however I am now nearing the end! Only around another 10k words to go and it shall be printed and placed in the dark drawer for several weeks before editing will commence! I am very proud of the way the story has progressed, in love with my characters and already know who out of this novel will be in the second novel!

 

It’s an astoundingly wonderful feeling to be so close to completion, I can only begin to imagine how good it will feel to be edited and sent to agents, and eventually I hope accepted for publication – a hard slog but sooooo worth it.

 

It’s exciting stuff reaching finish lines, kind of an out with old in with the new feeling.

 

It’s also been a good ‘connecting’ month – I’m speaking with people I haven’t spoken with properly for years, I’m exploring my current friendships and enjoying a rehash of closeness with the ones I love – sometimes it’s hard finding the time to see everyone you want to see, and do everything you want to do, and to remain positive about the future and what’s coming. But it’s these times when you need to take a step back and evaluate where you are going, who you are travelling with, and more importantly making sure you are travelling with the people you want to be travelling with.

 

And it’s an important month for seeing the magic (yes again I mention the magic!) – just look around. The snow lining the edges of tree branches, the sparkle of ice on your car on a morning, the freshness in the air at this time of year. Look at the other things you can’t normally see – place your foot into fresh snow and listen to the satisfying crunch, then step off and look down. Your footwear impression remains, every minute unique detail of something that is all you! Nobody else in the world will have the same impression as you do – we all wear our shoes differently, walk differently. Yes that’s also the crime scene examiner in me – but its remarkable none the less!

 

As I find myself coming to the end of January, I also discover just how thankful I can be for the simple things, how grateful for the things that arrive just when they are meant to. With working so much overtime it’s been hard connecting with my husband as we have been like ships passing in the night – but the last few weeks there hasn’t been any overtime available, and I was worried about the lack of money this would bring, but then amazingly a windfall in the post off the tax man. This took the worry away, and some annual leave meant a new level of closeness, less like ships passing and more like ships docking together. Sometimes it’s worth less worry about the things we don’t have, and just accepting that the Universe, in all it’s glory, will see us right if we just choose to believe it will do so.

 

Finally I’d like to wish a very happy new year to all my new followers and readers, as well as those who have been with me since day one. 2013 will be fabulous for all of you. Last month I hit more readers than ever before which is fabulous! You’re all amazing – thank you!

Christmas Cheer and Happy New Year – December 2012 (copied from previous blog)

Well this month has been a bit of a mish mash of good and bad, but as we near the end of the year (and thankfully not the end of the world!!) I’m choosing to ignore the bad.

Christmas always means a lot to me, always has. I love having the opportunity to spoil all the people I love. I love the sparkly tinsel and decorations, the repeated music on the radio, and even the wrapping of endless presents and my spare room looking like santos grotto!

It’s also the perfect time to remember everything I’m thankful for. I could list them all but that would take me forever! I’m thankful for my friends and family, who are there with never ending support and non judgmental attitude. I’m thankful that I’m surrounded by people I love and who love me too. I’m thankful for memories of those not with me, and the memories created with each passing
day.

Being thankful makes me think of the people who don’t have the things I have. I don’t have a lot of money to give to charity, but this time of year I always put a little aside to help if I can. Even if its just buying a gift for the TFM cash for kids drive that happens every year. I look at it all realistically – I have so much in my life that the things I don’t have and struggle with are things I can cope with. No one has an easy life after all. I can’t imagine having more of things I struggle with and less of what I do have and it makes me reflect when I think of the people that live this way. We all like to think about what we can do to help – but how many of us actually do something about it? I was talking with my mum the other day, and mentioned I’m intending to contact the Salvation Army and offer to help serve the Christmas lunch next year – I’m due at work n a late shift so will only be able to spare a
couple of hours, but its a couple of hours that I want to spend giving back to the people who help me realise just how much I have. And maybe in turn give a little to them.

The job I went for had to be turned down due to my current employer not allowing me to drop my hours – but even that can’t put a dampener on my good cheer. Because the new year will be here soon enough and that just means a whole wealth of new starts.

Normally I’m not one for making resolutions but I am this year. The first one started at the beginning of December with my return to slimming world. The second is that I’m going to focus more on my writing wherever possible – the writing group I intend to start will happen and I am going to embrace each new day with a smile, and a positivity quote from Vicky Brown’s new inspirational book for 2013 (slight plug there haha) – title to be updated as soon as I know.

2013 will not only be a good year, it will be a great year. For all of us. All we have to do to make it
so is believe. So call on the memories of being a child and the faith that Santa Claus could fix anything. Believing the tooth fairy would leave you a present in exchange for a tooth, and call on that belief and make it work for you in 2013. Life’s too short to be unhappy – so make yourself happy. No one can do it for you.

Hope you all have a fantastic Christmas and new year. Thanks for reading and much love from me to you. Xxxx

Random Thoughts – November 2012 (copied from previous blog)

Most months my blog subject comes to me with a little ray of light saying ‘aaaahhhhh’.

 

This month however not so much. Perhaps it’s due to me being tired and run off my feet doing overtime to pay for the lead up to christmas, or perhaps, and this is probably more accurate, I’m allowing myself to become a little numb, a little out of tune to the things surrounding me due to some issues going on personally.

 

That, and my ipad has suddenly decided it doesn’t like me posting my blog!

 

So this blog is going to be a little random, a bit of a mix up of things that occur to me as I write.

 

My novel is luckily not affected by my current lack of …. whatever this is 🙂 – managed to write a few thousand words and get through my third murder with relative ease – am actually looking forward to the next 20k words! Action is the name of the game!

 

I am heading up to Scotland this weekend with my lovely mum. It’s a last minute surprise visit – my aunt and uncle were supposed to visit us but my uncle is in ill health and they had to cancel – so we are going there to surprise them instead! It’ll be lovely – rolling countryside, a nice hotel, and my trusty ipad in hand. My aunt lives in the middle of nowhere – literally wildlife everywhere, huge hills and long forests – in other words perfect to write! I could quite happily live there given half the chance.

 

I met with my writing group last week – well we are more of a chatter group I suppose. We were all on the Ma course together and meet once every month or two, eat snacks and talk about our writing – and our problems. Gotta love group therapy. They’re an ace group though – with my group and my friends/family, it’s great knowing there are people around who understand when I need a little understanding.

 

Speaking of writing groups, I’m looking into starting my own in the new year. Location to be confirmed, but with the help of people I know, I anticipate it being structured and aimed at normal people who just want to write. I will naturally keep the blogosphere updated with this exciting news. If this is a success, I may look into starting a kids writing group too but we shall see. No running before we can walk!

 

On other fronts, thinking positively definitely works. As per The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne, I envisioned myself in the job I mentioned applying for a month or two back – and I got offered the job! There are some hurdles to overcome prior to a definitive start date – the job is only part time and I require full time hours so am working with my current place of work and new employers to come to an amicable agreement that suits all parties – but hopefully it shall all go smoothly and I anticipate starting sometime in the new year.

 

Looks like 2013 is going to be a big year doesn’t it? New job, new writing group, finished first novel (hopefully as soon into the new year as I possibly can!) Using my new found belief in positivity to bring some luck my way also. When at Slimming World last I was slimmer of the week one week and received a magnet that says ‘It it’s meant to be, it’s up to me’. It’s become somewhat of a mantra. That and a poem called Don’t Quit which just says it all.

 

Yes it has been a tough month – I don’t admitting at times I feel like I am going a little nuts. But it’s also been productive and good things have happened. So I will continue to think positively – and I’m 100% certain the next blog will be back to my normal jolly old self – it is the month of christmas after all. And we all know what happens at christmas – pure magic, that’s what! Bring it on.

The difficulties people face – October 2012 (copied from previous blog)

I just returned from a glorious 2 weeks in Kos, where I managed to get a nice tan and write about 12k words on my novel. Doesnt sound very difficult does it?

 

Whilst there though, I met a family. This family are one I will always remember and inspired by. And here’s why.

 

The mother and father of the family were both deaf. Now I fully understand that being deaf is difficult but not impossible in daily life as a rule. I myself did my stage 1 in British Sign Language some years ago, and would love to learn more (as soon as I have a little more time on my hands). But being deaf in the UK where people at least understand the written word if they cannot understand you, is slightly different than being deaf abroad. Am certain there are deaf people in Greece who speak Greek sign language, but this is totally different to BSL and wouldnt be understood.

 

We all expect a form of language barrier when we go abroad. Some people, myself included, make an effort to learn the basics before going, and some people don’t. The staff in the hotels work so hard and generally speak russian, german, english and often a little spanish or french.

 

I was extremely impressed at how the deaf couple communicated with the staff members, and found myself staring (very rude from a sign perspective though I did apologise). After a day or two, the father and I made eye contact and I signed a simple hello, how are you. To say he was ecstatic to see that I knew a little of his language was an understatement. He shook my hand, patted me on the back and proceeded to ask where I was from and tell me his history. His wife, also emotional, gave me such a hard hug I almost lost my breath.

 

I guess the main theme behind this blog is a little mixed. Inspiration – you have to admire and be inspired by someone who goes abroad with a disability, especially one that means a double language barrier, and still succeeds in having a fabulous time (with the help of a dune buggy you speed demon you!) – and when, as a writer, am I not inspired by something 😉 but also I recognise a little more the difficulties people face on a daily basis.

 

Don’t get me wrong, I know we all have difficulties, and some are worse than others and have to be dealt with daily throughout life. I suffer with depression, and am not ashamed to admit there are days I simply do not want to get out of bed. But, and here’s the but (there’s always a but right?) I force myself out of bed and do my best to force the feelings back – l try and get through the day as best I can because at the end of it there is always a new day where I will feel differently. My brother is severely disabled and has to cope with these difficulties on a daily basis. One of my good friends, who was not even in her forties at the time, has had major surgery that even now makes her life a struggle. My husband suffers depression and, along with another good friend, acute bouts of anxiety.

 

I could go on and list the difficulties every person I know has to make a point, but I think the point has been made. We all have difficulties – and we all cope with these difficulties cos lets face it, what else can we do right? So next time you see someone struggling with something, either someone you know or a complete stranger, spare a thought for their difficulties. Give them a smile, even if you don’t feel like smiling – a smile costs nothing after all. And when someone smiles at you, smile back.

 

You never know, you may just help each other through the difficulty for that day.

Magic and wonder – September 2012 (copied from previous blog)

There are times I miss Crime Scene work so much it hurts, and other times when taking calls from the public opens my eyes to the wonder other people hold when they experience life.

 

There were bright lights shooting across the skies of North East England the other day, and as luck would have it I was at work. A lot of people saw these lights and went into panic mode, believing it to be an airplane on fire, and not knowing quite what to do. It wasn’t until about half hour later that it was established the lights were actually either a meteor or space debris breaking up as it hurtled towards Earth. I heard someone, after this had been established who made me think of the subject for this blog. She too thought it was a plane, and naturally I put her at ease explaining that it was a meteor or space debris, definitely not a plane. She almost started crying at the sheer wonder that both her and her daughter had witnessed the miracle of a meteor being glaringly visible – she giggled in girlish glee and kept exclaiming in shock ‘oh my god, I just saw a meteor!’

 

Her sheer wonder at this made me think about how great it is to have wonder in your life. Each and every one of us has experienced this at some point, from being children when we believed with all our might that Santa Claus and fairies were real, to being older and experiencing the wonder of children’s laughter, the magic and simplicity of a spider weaving its web, or even the sparkle of frost at the turn of Autumn.

 

It’s such a simple thing to hold something as wondrous; a simple thing that we should all try to embrace more readily when it does happen, because the occurrences as we grow older are few and far between.

 

Until then I had been stuck at work doing what I do – the woman’s wonder and excitement over seeing something she would probably only see once in her lifetime made my night – it was infectious. I went outside and sat watching a little spider make his web, and despite being a complete arachnophobe, I saw the wonder as he moved from section to section with intricate detail. I noticed the scuffling sound of a hedgehog scrabbling around the undergrowth looking for his next meal, and I felt the power of the stars as they shone brightly in the night sky. When I finally finished my shift, it had been so cold that the condensation on my car had frozen in an array of sparkling diamonds – the first frost of the impending autumn.

 

And I remembered believing in Santa, and wished that I could feel that way about everything as I did when I was in my innocent childhood. I made a decision that day, to embrace the magic and wonder I see every day and trust that it’s ok as an adult to still feel this way. The sunset the next night was amazing, better than any I have seen to date. The day after a neighbour gave me a second hand rug which was just perfect for my bathroom – the wonder of the giving apect of humanity, and today I looked at the leaves on the trees, just starting their wondrous change of colour from green to orange.

 

Magic is truely everywhere, we just have to want to see it.

Dilemmas, Decisions and Influences – August 2012 (copied from previous blog)

 

In the current time of constantly running around to a rat race, trying to make time to fit everything in and not just live to the mundane, I realise that sometimes you just have to sit back, meditate on dilemmas, make a decision and stick by it. These decisions can be influenced by the people / things around us but ultimately they are down to us to make.

 

Of late, I have been considering my future.

 

Half the trouble is finding the time to think about the dilemma that is the future without forgetting that I have to live in the present. The other half is deciding which of the skills I have, I love the most and wish to pursue as a career choice since jobs in SOCO are scarce in general and I have no desire to leave the North East at this stage.

 

I admit the whole thing has made me somewhat snappy and irritable of late. I’m one of those awful people who has to have a plan for everything. I write lists and schedules, and use diagrams etc. It struck me that as organised I am in some aspects of my life, decision making is not one of those areas in which I excel.

 

I thought about teaching as a career choice years ago, before I even trained as a SOCO or found that I loved to do it. I didn’t progress it back then as it appeared there was always ‘plenty of time’. Now I’m nearing 35 and having made the decision at 28 to go to uni, get my degree and then work as a SOCO I find that again I’m having to rethink where I am going and how I will get there.

 

The dilemma is this – I love writing, I love editing, I love proof-reading. I am however, pretty bad at business and dont believe I have a lot of business sense.

 

I am good at teaching/coaching (or so I’ve been told) and realised through Uni that I had a penchant for mathematics, physics and now english. Gaining my PGCE, especially in specialist subject areas such as math/physics would pretty much guarantee me a job, which pays well, has good hours and is generally regarded as a worthwhile career choice. I enjoy teaching and learning, and doing this as a profession would allow me a sense of achievement whilst helping other people. I know several people have encouraged me along these lines in the past. BUT, (and there is always a but right?) what if teaching means that I don’t find time to do the writing I love.

 

I like teaching sure, but I love writing.

 

I’ve been contemplating thinking about starting a business in copy-editing and proof reading, my Ma would more than suffice as relevant qualifications, and I know I can do it and do it well. I have infact done two novels so far from a copy-editing point of view and have thoroughly enjoyed it. I have also just had an unofficial request to edit a third novel upon its completion so obviously the market for such skills is there.

 

Not that this blog is in anyway asking for help making my decision – I fully understand it is my choice and will act accordingly, once I have made the decision.

 

I guess in explaining my dilemma, I’m hoping to point out to myself that making the decision will have to come, and relatively soon. To help with this I find myself looking at my influences. Many authors write the same genre as me, and write them very well. I know that my novel will be good, it stands out, and it will hopefully grab the attention of an agent/publisher. If I can produce something even half as good as my favourite authors then this is a very worthwhile pursuit, and so far feedback has been very promising.

 

I look to truely inspiring people such as Vicky Brown, who despite having initial problems picking up an agent/publisher has gone on to self publish and will no doubt make this a success with her positivity alone, and my good friend Char who has overcome so much in her battle just to stay alive, and of course my wonderful mum who has overcome a great deal in single-handedly raising me and my disabled brother.

 

Seeing people overcome their own barriers and be inspired into doing the things they want to do and sticking at it helps make the decision easy.

 

I already stated the words love and like – that in itself should make it obvious to me that whilst searching for another SOCO job, I should stick to the things I love and put the likes on the back burner for another look at some point in the future when perhaps the loves are no longer loves.

 

This applies to every one of us – life is too short just to play by the book and do the things you like – we should all strive to at least try and do the things we love, or whats the point in loving them right? Perhaps a little of this attitude has come from a book I am currently reading, ‘The Thinking Person’s Guide to Happiness’ by Ruth Searle – it portrays some very interesting points about the neuroscience involved in decision making and happiness. Perhaps its just that in striving to make decisions, I have just realised that as long as I actually make a decision, I have a little time to think about making the right one.

 

The right one will have to make me happy, it will have to involve doing something I love and making time to do it, and will have to involve the ongoing love and support from all my family, friends and colleagues. I think I just made my decision – see I told you writing down my dilemma in my blog would help me decide.

 

So if you want some advice from lowly old me, make the decision to do what makes you happy. As I say, lifes to short for anything else. 🙂

Time and Decisions – July 2012 (copied from previous blog)

Last week I thought about time.

 

Time and how if you just blink for a moment you seem to miss a great deal. It feels like I graduated from my Ma yesterday but it has been almost a year. Christmas has been and already we are thinking about it again. Oh for a magic hourglass that you could run a little slower when needed.

 

I’ve had some knock-backs career-wise (not writing career, my employment career) this month – I applied for a CSI job with another police force and did extremely well to get an interview, gave an excellent interview too, but I was up against really stiff competition and lost the post to someone else. This was fine, because I was the least experienced going for the job, and being that I have 3 years experience it says a lot about the callibre of applicants.

 

I then applied internally for a CSI job and was refused an interview on a technicality – which I will be appealing, however it caused me to doubt myself in a major way. I thought that maybe they didn’t want me back because I couldn’d do the job, or maybe they thought I was no longer suitable. Or maybe it was just solely due to a technicality and there was no such undertones. The point is for a time, it made me very depressed in myself and made me doubt the choice to ever go into crime scene work.

 

It took a few days of me being grumpy, and snappy, to realise that though I had thought I had as good a chance as anyone of getting the job, and being refused had hurt a lot, I have so many other things going on in my life that I could focus on and put more time into just because of not getting the job.

I was thinking a lot about my writing this month – as well as the two job applications, interviews, stresses and working generally, I have decorated the stairs and landing (which I may add is not something I wish to try again for a long time!) which is an achievement as my house is now decorated 🙂

 

I also realised I have been neglecting some aspects of my life, some people in my life. My poor husband never seems to get a look in with me trying my damndest to fill as many hours in the day with as much stuff as I possibly can, and then moaning that there just isn’t enough time to do everything I want to do. It took a passing glance at myself through his eyes, to make me realise that I really need to learn to prioritise better and manage what time I do have much more effectively. So after much deliberation, lack of putting pen to paper, and complete lack of communication, I decided to take the proverbial bull by the horns and address the issues head on.

 

I made a time-table – I currently have a week off work and I didn’t want to waste it all away and then look back next week and think I had missed lots of opportunities to do the things I wanted to do. So time became my friend, or acquaintance anyway. I have scheduled in time to write, time to see friends, a little time to relax (spa day with my lovely mum who also doesn’t see me half as much as she would like to) and believe it or not, time to spend time with my extremely patient husband!

I also made the decision that a time-table is something that will work for me whether I am on leave from work or not.

 

I have missed lots of opportunities this month, and was suitably not impressed with the situation or myself as a result. But thanks to taking the time to weigh up my options, and consider all the implications surrounding time and the management of said time, I have come to the decision that I do actually have enough time to fit things in, as long as I stick to my schedule and don’t let myself be distracted.

 

I am however, just a little passed my scheduled blog writing time, so I suppose I’d better crack on with the next thing on my list. Until next month……thanks for reading, as always.