Archive for November, 2013


It’s official, I finished NaNo 2013 and what a month it’s been. I always think NaNo is a good idea for me and I always forget just how much time it takes all told to do, but hey, I’ve come out the other side with a couple of days to spare and something else to be proud of this year.

I finished the first draft of my fantasy novel, wrote half of an unexpected short story and returned to write another chapter of an old project that I had been putting off. All told a productive and enjoyable month of free writing and a chaotic imagination allowed to run free!

For all those who are interested in my novel here’s another snippet from my NaNo scribblings… enjoy!

Ash awoke with a start, sweating profusely and clutching wildly at his side. A loud scream flew from his mouth waking the triplets more affectively than any alarm. He could barely see them through the haze that clouded his vision but he knew they were there, feeling them draw closer and place their cool, withered hands over his body. Whatever it was that they were doing it helped, eventually easing his mind to clear and the pain to subside.

“What did you see?” Marta asked, fear evident in her voice for the first time since they had met. He locked his gaze with her white eyes and knew that even though she could not see him, he could not fool her so attempting to hide the truth would be pointless.

“Death…” he murmured breathlessly, “…death and a dragon.”

To all those that participated in NaNoWriMo this year well done, whether you ‘win’ or not I think you always get something out of it in the long run.


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Sometimes it feels like I live in my daydream world, one minute I’m here the next minute I’m off. I’ve always done that, Mum tells me she used to be talking to me and suddenly I was away. I have found that when it happens it’s like I’m tuning in to myself directly, the day dreams aren’t filled with symbolism and oddness like my night time dreaming, instead they are like visions, mini-movies of things that are happening or will happen.

Occasionally I will slip into daydreaming about things I want to happen but usually my daydreams aren’t things I instigate, they just happen akin to the trance-like states I find myself in when I really paint. It comes about at any time, when I’m sitting, napping, walking, watching tv, it just happens.



So this Journal Fodder page, swiftly became about being a daydreamer and what that means to me. It means opening and listening to my intuitive senses, it often means seeing things psychically that I don’t really want to see and usually those things are advanced warnings (so I can prepare myself for when it happens).

Above all it’s a celebration of being one of those people that has their head in the clouds more often than not, something that I can happily allow because my feet are always firmly rooted on the ground, stopping me from floating away.

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Next up on the topic of dreams is literally dreams through sleep. Now I dream a lot, in fact if I don’t dream I don’t feel like I’ve had a good night’s sleep. The ones I remember well and with detail are the ones I know I need to pay particular attention to, they feel different. At different points in my life I have had recurring dreams, usually these have elements in them that I am fearful of or strongly dislike.

One of the most vivid recurring dreams I have had over the years had Worzel Gummidge in it. I first had this dream as a child when he was on TV and really used to creep me out. The dream was always the same until a few years ago when the ending changed. I have had several like this, when they return after the first times having them something in them has changed which tells me that something in my life has or is going to change. Usually in the dream this is a positive change, avoiding the thing I first had to deal with in the dream or it just not being present anymore.

The page is simple enough and reads ‘when I sleep I dream’, the image at the bottom serving as a pocket for little memo pieces where I’ve been jotting down dream elements that stick in my mind and have an important message to share with me. Dreams are a really important part of my life, as are daydreams which I look at in the next Journal Fodder page.

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I’m over half way through my Moleskine sketchbook and I thought I’d take the opportunity to do a review of how it works for me, what I like and dislike and how it’s generally holding up.

On the whole I tend to make my own sketchbooks, I’ve tried a lot of different types over the years and have found that the majority just don’t stand up to the amount of stuff I put on. I’m not a neat artist, as you will know if you’ve been following my Journal Fodder exploration this year. I use a lot of paint and stick in a lot of stuff and the majority of journals I have had break, particularly over the binding with the sheer volume of stuff I plaster in them. Making my own journals became a habit as I could build them myself to withstand the abuse I throw at them.


There is, however, a part of me that also likes to buy and use pre-made journals. One I had never tried was a Moleskine, until now. When it came through the post I loved it, as ordinary and sleek black as it seemed it smelled nice (yep, I’m one of those people) and the paper was lovely and thick without being overly stiff, the elastic, bookmark and back pocket also pleased me. I bought this one and also loved the size, the pages being just slightly smaller than A5 size which is what I prefer to work on in my sketchbooks.


As you can see the spine has held up well, while it’s showing a good bit of warping and wear and tear it is still bound and holding with no real signs of it giving up any time soon.


The elastic too is holding which was a very pleasant surprise, while obviously it has stretched and loosened it does still wrap around the book and keep in somewhat closed and is well fastened in the back. Like the spine it certainly doesn’t seem to be giving up any time soon.


As you can see I add a lot to my books, bearing in mind this is only just over half full of work and I’m pleased to say that it has stood up to what I’ve done really well which given the money spent on it I have been very happy with. I love the rounded corners to the pages as well, I’m not sure why I just like them.

I think that one of the only negative things I have to say about the book is that it can be a little resistant to inks, watercolours and water in general as it’s not very porous, however, I have found that saturating the pages with a water spray helped well with this and I found that I actually warmed to this resistance after a while, enjoying the way it reacted as it did help to make my watercolours more maleable once on the page given the time it took to really soak in and cling to the paper.

All in all I have been very pleasantly surprised with the journal. Once I got used to the paper and how it reacted with different media I have been thoroughly enjoying working with it. The pages are a good size and there are a lot of them so I haven’t found myself filling it so quickly that I have needed to buy another one yet. I think it’s safe to say that I would buy another of these in the future when this one is finished, though I do still like the freedom and individuality of making my own sketchbooks/journals as well.

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So NaNo seems to be kicking my butt, progress is slow and I’m playing catch up but I did what I set out to do, which was to finish the first draft of my novel. Once I hit that goal I lost a lot of motivation to continue which set me back by a good few days.

Eventually though I began writing a short story called The Letter which I’ve really begun to enjoy. There’s no planning involved just free writing and the opportunity to enjoy all the random surprises the plot is taking with my main character Susan…

“Tea? What kind of a nightmare was this? Some might call it an adventure but to me it really was a nightmare. Bad enough that I had to change my routine but drink tea as well? Maybe it was a sick joke? 

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t dislike tea I just don’t drink it, not since that day back in 2002 when Mum made me a cup and a moth flew into it. Sure it could have happened with any beverage but it didn’t, it happened with tea and now every time I see a cup I’m reminded of that moth, nose diving into the liquid and flapping about until it drowned, contaminating my drink with it’s moth germs. As you may have guessed, moths are also a big no-no for me.”

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This post signifies a bit of a turn around with my Journal Fodder moleskine. It’s safe to say that I had been going through a period of dislike for what I was creating in there but the next few pages, I am happy to say, have taken a more positive turn. Perhaps because I felt happier with the prompts and began looking forward rather than back and analysing the past, which frankly I do enough of as it is.

Here we begin to look at our dreams, I think we always have something to reach for and dream about, something to aim for, some wish we would love to fulfill even if we don’t admit it to ourselves or constantly find a way to dash it. The amazing thing about dreams though, is that no matter how much we self-sabotage an idea it is always there, it clings on because it’s important to us… sometimes we just need to do a little digging to find it again and allow the seed to sprout and grow once more.



The page is simple and pretty self explanatory, all of the writing aimed at exploring the theme of my life dreams and I have to say one that I actually like, I know, I know, surprising huh?

Earlier in the year I took a long hard look at my dreams and began taking tentative steps towards them. Some I have achieved, some I can see myself traveling towards, others feel an incredibly long way off but this page reminds me that they will always be there, planting roots and growing towards the sun as long as I don’t completely bury them in darkness and leave them to wilt. Like plants, dreams need care and love, just a small amount of time allowing yourself to revisit the dream nourishes it.

No matter how out of reach they may seem don’t bury them. You’d be amazed at what you can achieve if you let yourself dream.

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As with the last double page I wrote about this one is hard for me to revisit, I’ve been putting off writing about it but I did say I would share the journey in it’s entirety, just don’t expect wonders from this post.

It encompasses another couple of prompts, the last two in this section (I think) and they are on the theme of bolstering self-confidence and banishing doubt.


I think one of the reasons I dislike the pages is because both of these topics I find very difficult, confidence in my work spirals, sometimes I am happy, other times I am not and one of the reasons I’m forcing myself to blog and show the pages I don’t like is to make me accept this, the good with the bad, you know?


I doubt myself, a lot, but particularly artistically. I know what’s caused this in my past, I’m not going to write about it publicly here because the specific incidents are very personal and something I am working through as I feel them creep back up, but I think it’s good to show that doubt affects us all at some point in some area of our lives.


These two pages go together for me though because banishing doubt is the way forward for me to build my confidence. I’ve gotten past a lot of the doubt I held, the last one really is creativity related and a major block for me artistically with my business, ironically it’s the area in my life that makes me feel the most peace and joy. I guess that’s why it’s the last one to go…the biggest hurdle with the best pay off.

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