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Sunday, 30 December 2012

Running Update

Look at this! It's my personal best time for the mile, set early on Saturday morning.  I'm so happy I'm bouncing around like Tigger! Fourteen weeks ago when I started the Running Made Easy's 60 Second Secret Plan, I could only walk, not run. Back then, it was taking me twenty minutes to walk the same measured mile, so I've halved my time. As this includes hopping off the pavement to dodge brambles and hopping onto the verge to avoid cars, there's still some room for improvement.
My timed mile was part of a lovely early morning run with OH. It didn't start out so well - we'd shared our first  bottle of wine for weeks over dinner the night before, and it hit us both surprisingly hard. We crawled out of bed with heads full of cotton wool, but the 6am chill soon woke us up. Running the whole mile with no walk-breaks meant I achieved TWO personal bests on one session.
Have you ever set yourself a challenge? How did you get on?

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Writing From Life

I love this time of year. The weeds have stopped growing, so as long as it doesn't rain I might stand a chance of making headway with the disaster area my garden has become. There doesn't seem much hope of that.  After the long hard winter of 2011/2012 and the even longer and harder summer wet year we've just endured, the ground is saturated and impossible to work.
Despite the fact the days are short, it's usually gloomy and all the trees apart from  sombre evergreens have been reduced to skeletons, there's an air of expectance that I really enjoy.
Pruning the fig and grape vine in the greenhouse gives me a chance to anticipate next year's fruit. The early strawberries need a period of cold weather to form their flower buds, but it won't be long before I'm insulating the greenhouse and thinking about starting them and the first seeds into growth.
Fingers crossed I can get the greenhouse heater working again before then!

Friday, 7 December 2012

Writing - Four Top Tips

Hickel (1745-1798) [Public domain]
via Wikimedia Commons
1. JOIN: Writing is a solitary business. Sometimes it feels like you're the only person struggling to meet a word count or deadline, or grappling with characters who won't grow and a plot that won't arc. Meet up with like-minded people online for a new perspective. Facebook and Twitter are brilliant, but can take up a lot of time. Visit your local library to find out about local creative writing groups, or joinThe Society of AuthorsThe Romantic Novelists' Association or the Romance Writers of America

2. RELAX: The worst thing you can do is keep no keeping on when the words won't flow, or the rejections keep coming. Get right away from all writing based activities. Go shopping - even if you don't buy a thing, it's the change of focus that matters. Walk, run, or swim to get the heart pumping, the blood flowing while your mind freewheels.

3: EXERCISE: Sitting at a desk or crouching over a laptop does terrible things to a body - and I don't just mean the character who gets iced on page 58 of your latest manuscript. Set a timer to get up and walk around every hour or so. You'll reduce the danger of getting Deep Vein Thrombosis and it'll give you a chance to unkink all those compressed vertebrae and organs. Make a resolution to take more exercise in the New Year 

4.WRITE! At this busy season there are a million things to do and often, there's only you to do it. There never seems to be enough hours in the day, let alone time to write - but never forget the therapeutic benefits of "me" time. Give your brain a break. Turn off your phone, forget social networking for half an hour and escape somewhere with nothing more than pencil and notebook.  Doodle, plan, fantasise - it doesn't matter what you do, the act of making marks on paper is an exciting contrast to hammering away at a keyboard for hours on end.