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Saturday, January 27, 2007

More Revised Plans

This time where my OU Studies (E301) are concerned.

My original plan was to endeavour to get ahead (the first time in 3-4 years). I've now discovered that there's no way I'm going to be able to do that (surprise, surprise!). I'd hoped I'd be able to base my first TMA (Tutor Marked Assignment) on Chapter 1 and a specific Reading, which would've meant I'd be able to work on writing TMA 01 next week (making me 3-4 weeks ahead of the official schedule).

I've since discovered the minimum I can get away with studying is:
  • Chapters 1-3,
  • study guide,
  • CD Rom
  • and a rather heavy-going (trust me on this) academic book.
Okay, the last one isn't strictly necessary, but I don't want to rob myself of a better pass. I want to give myself the best chance possible of attaining what I know I should be capable of. Therefore, in order to do this, I can't take as many short-cuts as I'd hoped.

So, I've made a short-term decision. For the first TMA I'm going to aim to study everything that could be relevant to the assignment. However, if I do this and still end up with a rubbish mark, then I'll forget about trying so damned hard for the next TMA, and maybe if necessary unlink this course from my BA (Hons) degree.

This is my first Level-3 course and even the reading is so tiring. I pick up the course materials, determined to make some headway, and before I know it I've nodded off!!!

I'm not sure if I'll be able to achieve much with my studies or my writing next week as I have THREE medical appointments to attend - one of which is with the Neurologist. So far this year, that'll be TWO weeks or more that've been automatically wiped out; the first of these (mid January) I'm only just starting to recover from.

Well, in line with one of my important goals for 2007 (writing and studying), I'm prepared to be flexible with all of my aspirations. I'm going to take one day at a time and review the situation whenever I need to.

Sue :-)

Edited: finished reading Jeanne Whitmee's Wishes and Dreams and almost ready to post a review.

Friday, January 26, 2007

WIP Update

Just a quick note to tell you (and remind me!) of the following:
  1. I've found pics of heroine's rented property :-)
  2. I've found pics of hero's detached property - overlooking Country Park :-)
  3. I've found more pictures of their place of work :-)
  4. I've found heroine's family home that she moved away from :-)
  5. I've discovered more information (and pics) of hero's dad's family home :-)
  6. I've got a rough outline of Chapter One's beginning, middle, and end... :-)
Now all I need to do is:

  • Learn more about hero's young half-brother and the newborn baby half-sister.
  • Draw/create a map between all the locations so I know where everyone is.
And then I may be ready to write those words "Chapter One..."

Sue :-)

still reading Jeanne Whitmee's Wishes and Dreams and LOVING it.

I'm hoping to be ready to begin TMA 01 next week (E301)

Wednesday, January 24, 2007


... (I think) my writing's on its way back. :-D

I was unable to make my regular Weds appointment this morning because of the snow, but Gray and I did make it out to feed the local ducks.

I came back feeling invigorated from the fresh air, and guess what? My hero crept up on me and filled me in on his back-story/internal conflicts, etc.!!!!

So, I now have four pages of an outline document:
  • I know who my heroine is.
  • I know her back-story and internal conflicts.
  • I know where she works.
  • I know my hero.
  • I now know his back-story and internal conflicts
  • I know where he works.
  • I know where in the world the setting/location is.
All that remains for me to work out now is:
  • A clearer picture of the story's locality.
  • Research information and find a picture of heroine's house
  • Same as above but for hero.
  • Learn more about hero's little half-brother.
  • Learn my way around hero/heroine's place of work.
When I've done these things I'll finally be ready to write a draft of Chapter One - I've already mapped out/outlined what I think will happen.

The best things about my forthcoming WIP are
1/ that I'm enjoying it,
2/ I don't feel in a rush
(well, I do a little bit, but I'm in control and determined not to rush a single word but to take my time).

Already this year I've learned (and accepted) that I won't be able to write a full outline/synopsis in advance. I may be able to outline a chapter in advance, but I need to be writing my characters' story for them to show me what happens. No way am I going to try telling them!

I may learn things the hard way, but at least I am learning, and that's something I'm thankful for.

Look out for future posts where I'll introduce you to my hero and heroine.

Sue :-)

currently reading Jeanne Whitmee's Wishes and Dreams

Let it Snow...

... but not for long, please...

...and not least because my bagel (tomorrow's breakfast) has become a firm favourite with a certain duck!!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Falling in Love...

... with an ellie or three!!

This past week my daughter and I have sat riveted at 7pm every evening to the BBC's Elephant Diaries.

I'd heard about the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust and became interested a while ago, and when my friend told me about this week's series of programmes, I knew I couldn't miss it.

Little did I know that seeing the poor orphaned ellies for myself in their natural habitat would make my desire to adopt one irresistable. Following the first programme Gray agreed that I could adopt one for my birthday pressie (end of April). I was happy with this suggestion for all of ten minutes, before I caved in to my urges and adopted one sooner rather than later!!

Gray, bless him, wasn't in the least bit surprised - he doesn't call me MsImpatient for nothing!

So, meet my baby ellie Chyulu:

She was born in May 2006, and her mother is believed to have been killed by poachers, leaving her orphaned. She was rescued when she was five months old.
Chyulu soon settled into the nursery, and here she is being looked after by one of the older orphaned ellie's Lualeni.

My enthusiasm seems to have started a trend - my daughter is considering asking for an adoption for her birthday (either for an ellie, or cheetah, or snow leopard...), and even my mother isn't unaffected by these baby orphans' plights.

My son hasn't been introduced to my latest 'baby' project yet, but DD is already planning to try and rescue my family of ornamental ellies that remain with her dad...

Friday, January 19, 2007

Meet Chyulu

Next on the 'To Do' List - DONE!

I've unsubscribed from the M&B Reader Service :-O.

This was another decision I didn't take lightly because I LOVE the new Romance series. But:
  • I need to get my book-buying under some kind of control. While it was wonderful automatically receiving all those Romance titles every month, they weren't all books I would've chosen to buy. This meant that I was still putting online orders in to HMB, which in turn meant I was spending loads!

  • I just can't keep up with the reading!! This happened to me back in 2005 when I was subscribed to the Medical series. I still have heaps of 2005 releases to read!

  • I want to read across the series - ModX, Modern, Medical...

  • I'm also looking forward to getting back to reading other books/genres including: John Grisham, Philippa Gregory, Barbara Erskine, and lots of new authors - including Caroline Smailes.
So, that's another decision done and dusted :-).

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

First Things First

One of my major goals for 2007 is to try to accept the limitations my health creates.

Therefore, it's with great reluctance, that I've had to resign from being a local committee member with the MS Society, and editor/writer of our local newsletter :-( .

This wasn't an easy decision to make, especially as in doing so I had to acknowledge the reasons why it became necessary in the first place: I don't feel reliable or well enough and I loathe 'letting people down'. I haven't made it to a (monthly) committee meeting since Oct '06 and it doesn't look like things are going to change any time soon.

I last published a newsletter in the Autumn, and I struggled to do this. My hands have remained numb since Aug '06, and I've had permanent nausea/dizzyness since October.

My aim is to achieve the goal with my health in 2007, so that at some point in the future I'll be able to take up a position in the committee again - except stronger and reliable. I want to be able to help other people, rather than need help from other people.

So, there you have it. First difficult decision of 2007 made. Next I have the neurologist appointment at the beginning of Feb...

Sue :-)

Sunday, January 14, 2007

MIA - but on my way back!

Thanks to everyone who's left a comment and/or emailed me this past week. If I haven't replied yet, please bear with me, I'm working on it.

In theory I'm back, but in practise I'm not 'back, back'. I'm not going to blog about the whys and wherefores of why I've been MIA, just suffice to say that I'm now paying a price for all the stress with my health right now.

It'll take a while for me to be 'visible' on other blogs, because I am so behind with everything. Whose idea was it for me to resume my Level 3 studies with the OU (Oh yeah, it was mine, d'oh!)?! I'm hoping to begin my first TMA (tutor marked assignment) this week, even though the course doesn't officially begin for another two weeks.

I also need to continue drafting/researching my ideas for my new wip. I can't tell you how desperate I am to write 'Chapter One' but I'm not going to. I'm determined to learn from my past experiences, and, for me, I need some form of outline. Yes, I could begin Chapter One, but I know by Chapter Three I'll be stuck. So, I'm currently playing at being MsPatient... (and let me tell you that's just not me!).

The past few days have also brought me a lot of good things to look forward to in the coming months, and I'm hoping to blog about some of these soon :-).

Oh, one other thing I want to mention before I disappear again - I'm hoping to keep this blog more writing-related from now on. Yes, I'll still mention other bits and pieces about what (if anything) is happening in life, BUT, I'm reviving my first ever original blog, to talk about the more personal stuff. That blog will include talking about my faith and spiritual beliefs, and how it always gets me through tricky moments.

Looking forward to catching up with everybody again soon.

Sue :-)

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


... for a week or so.

But I'll be back - I promise.

Happy reading/writing everyone.

Sue :-)

Monday, January 08, 2007

Uh oh, notice anything different...?

No? Are you sure? Take a look up there .

Not only has my working title changed, but I'm also at the planning stage of my new WIP. Yes, I did say new WIP, as in, not a rewrite/rehash of my old characters in a different plot.

Confession time: As of yesterday, Kate and Matt have been (albeit reluctantly) filed away to the 'prospective manuscripts' drawer!!! I tried and tried, and then tried some more, but although Kate transferred across to my new ideas, Matt (surprise, surprise) wouldn't settle. His back-story just refused to fit in with the new structure.

The good news is I've decided not to separate them. Kate and Matt are staying together. I could've moved Kate across and ditch Matt for a new hero, but that didn't feel right. Then I had another to create brand new characters to go with the brand new plot.

All I need to do now is hope and that I've learned loads from my experiences in 2006 and that I do things the right way round this time (regardless of how long it takes), and that I remember, it isn't a ... Easy, right?!!

Being Flexible

Do you remember me saying that one of my goals for 2007 (see full post here) was to:
  • Work with my health and towards achieving acceptance of my limitations.
When I wrote my last post (see below), I felt so confident that I'd be able to achieve this without too many problems. I felt in complete control last Thursday when I said, "So far so good, I'm up, dressed and settled downstairs...". Little did I know that my resolve would be tested as soon as the following day.

Since last Thursday I haven't managed to make it downstairs, let alone attempt a 250m walk. By the time I'd done my first hour's study last Thursday I was already feeling wiped out. For the remainder of that first day I struggled with trying not to feel like a failure - so much for acceptance, huh?

I'm happy to say that with Gray's help, I did refuse to feel defeated. He helped remind me that it had been a very busy week. He also helped me remember that I have to be flexible with my plans/goals.

'FLEXIBLE' - it's not always easy, but it is achievable. Everybody has goals, and everybody has something that, albeit invisible to 'outsiders', can make their goals difficult to achieve.

I believe everybody can benefit by learning to be flexible. What do you think?

Sue :-)
currently known as MsFlexibility ;-)

Friday, January 05, 2007

To Review or Not Review?

I've been giving myself a hard time, and I don't know what to do.

Honesty is important to me. I loathe lies and insincerity, but sometimes I wish I could lie about my true feelings towards issues or people. The sad fact is, I can't.

I started the review blog with a promise to review every book I read with honesty. I knew it wouldn't be easy because I follow Thumper's Mum's philosophy (from Bambi) "If you ain't got nothing nice to say, don't say nothing at all". I've recently read a book that, imho, could've been more enjoyable than it was. I so wanted to love it, or at least be able to tell fibs about it and pretend that I loved it, but I can't.

Had I just been a normal 'reader' it probably wouldn't bother me as much. But I'm a writer, albeit an unpublished one, and I know how much criticism can hurt. Although, having said that, I crave criticism on my writing. Even if I become published in the future I'll still want to know what people don't like so much, so that I can grow as a writer.

I'm also aware that as with any creative process, opinion is subjective. If one person finds things they don't like about a book/painting/film/play etc. that doesn't make it a 'bad' piece of work. If I hear/read 'bad' reviews I'm even more inclined to read/watch something so I can make my own mind up. I love nothing more than to disagree with a reviewer!!

I've thought long and hard about whether I should forget about posting my reviews, especially as I may even meet the authors of some of the books in the future. One thing I know for certain is that every opinion/review I voice on a blog isn't a personal attack on the author. I may be the best of friends with somebody in 'real' life, but does that mean I have to automatically assume I'll LOVE their work and vice versa? No.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Back To 'Normal' - whatever that is!

Pheww!!!! Getting up this morning was a toughie.

DD and DS are back to College and School, Gray's away for the day accompanying his Dad on a journey, and I'm officially starting 'work'.

So far so good, I'm up, dressed and settled downstairs. I've checked my email, quickly skimmed eHarl's message boards, and in a minute I'll be visiting the OU's conference. Then I'll start my day's goals - which today are particularly flexible, basically I just need to get started (on both my OU course and my writing).

Now for the scary bit - I'm actually switching the internet connection off once I start 'work'. I'm allowing myself a quick peek during my lunch 'break' but that's it, honest. My self-discipline has to start somewhere, right?

I'm going to pretend I don't really want to sneak back off to bed, and the poochies will think Christmas is here all over again because I'll let them accompany me in the lounge - at least I know they won't let me fall asleep!

Wishing everybody a productive day.

Sue :-)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


PHEW, we made it!!!!!!!!

I'm very pleased to say I had the BEST New Year's EVER!!! I saw the New Year in with my children and Gray and I still managed to cook a big dinner the next day!! Not only that but Gray's Mum and Dad were both well enough to come over and spend the day with us! WOOHOO!!!!!!!

I confess I' ve come close today to having the heebiejeebies again at the thought of everything I'm planning to do from the 4th Jan, but I'm excited by the prospect too.

Today, I've even managed to walk 250m to the postbox to mail my application for the RNA's New Writers Scheme (NWS)!

I'm behind on catching up with my emails, and my Blogroll, and message boards, but I'm aiming to catch-up with everybody soon.

Love and Best Wishes for 2007!