Category Archives: writing

I’m Writing!!

and it’s so exciting!
There’s lots going on in the land of BomBom right now, all of which is positive and hopeful and pretty damn wonderful. The best of all the new and magical is that I’m finally making some progress with My Book.

Something clicked into place recently, after a lengthy period of time when I felt like I just needed to switch off from it and concentrate on ‘realistic achievable goals’. Funny, that.

So, the culmination of the following things are making it work for me right now, and the purpose of this post (first one in quite some time, huh) is to share them with you. Yes, you!
If you’re reading this, chances are you’re one of the people who’s helping me to make it happen. Either that, or you’re a random person who might benefit from the little list of wonders below.

I reached the point where I was utterly fed up with being so perfectionist(ical) and self-critical about my work that I realised I could accept criticism from other people. Wow.
I’m not known for handling criticism well, but, truly, I’m totally over being all ‘I can do it by myself’.
I started sending copies of draft 306,756,423 to a friend. She picked up on the aspects of the draft that I was unsure of and Voila! that was all I needed.
She wants to read more, so I have to write more. So simple. Why didn’t I listen to the advice earlier? Ha.
Now I’ve sent the draft to a handful of superchums and I’m so excited to receive emails/facetime calls about it that I’m just pounding away at the keyboard making it better for you all.

Cos now I’m writing a book for my friends, rather than a book that I hope to make enough money from to buy a cliff-top house and hermit my days away with my dog for company.

I can do it, with a little help from my friends. Thanks x

I neglected to mention two people who aren’t my friends, who were part of the process that kick-started me.
There’s a lady, Marcy McKay, the Energizer Bunny of writers, who writes ace blogs and articles about writing. She was the first person I requested help from and she gave me heaps of helpful advice. Thanks, Marcy, I’m taking tiny steps.

And there’s a self-published author of a book called The Sham. Her name’s Ellen Allen and she very kindly kicked my ass with some astute feedback on my previous draft and reassured me that I wasn’t being overly critical of my work – it was dire. Thanks Ellen.
Just goes to show that sometimes it’s worth taking a risk and emailing strangers.

Hope the new year has started with a good kind of bang for you, yes you, you who took the time to read this.
Back soon!

Sometimes… On writing, mostly, but also life in general

I’ve had some of the best days of my life in the last few months.
Although there are times when I feel selfish and self-indulgent, I try to remember that I lived in a state of auto-pilot for so long, doing without thinking, that I need (deserve?) this time to do it the other way round.
There are times I feel indecisive and confused and as if I’m wasting my time and not being productive and then I zip back round full circle and get back to being absolutely in love with what I’m doing and why..

I came here because I love sunshine and the sea and I love the Portuguese language, people and food (not in order of preference).
I came here because I believed it would suit me and it does; it feels like home.
I came here so I could empty my head of everything but the stories in it, and focus on writing a book, which I’ve always wanted to do.

I’m not doing very well with that. Or at least I don’t feel I am.
One of the worst questions people can ask me is ‘How are you getting on with the book?’

I can’t quite hang on to my mojo.
I only need the slightest distraction or niggly thought and all creativity and inspiration vanishes.
I had a moment on Monday, while lying on the beach after a snorkel, when pages and lines and wonderful stuff appeared in my head and I couldn’t wait to get it all typed so I drove home being ridiculously excited, planning to sit at my desk and bash them out onto my laptop.. then someone asked me a question and away it all went. Whoosh.
What’s the answer?
I can’t stick a post-it on my head saying ‘Not now!’ – there are times when people need to speak to me, and they can’t be expected to know whether I’m in another universe and they’re going to drag me back down to earth and bury me under a pile of boulders for a month by asking me a very simple question.
Do I need to completely isolate myself and have absolutely nothing else to do but eat sleep and write in order to focus on this [insert swearwords of choice] book?!

Yesterday I spent some time looking for helpful tips; I found an abundance of webpages with useful advice on them – one suggested setting a goal of 300 words a day, so I checked my book’s word count and was excited to see that I’ve written 11,939 words.
Sounds like a lot, huh?
Well, it’s not.
Divide it and it breaks down to approx 40 days (of writing 300 words a day, which I probably never have).

Ok so I’ve probably written at least twice that and rewritten, edited, deleted, rewritten, edited again, revised.. but still, let’s say 80 days of productive writing..
I’ve been here almost a year! Shouldn’t I have finished it by now?!

I can’t write when I’m not feeling it.
So how do I get into the zone?

And what on earth have I been doing with my time?!
Apart from horses and dogs and cleaning and cooking, which only amounts to between 20 and 30 hours of my week, I sleep quite a lot.
I daydream a whole lot.
I read a fair amount and I surf, snorkel, swim, drive about admiring this wonderful place.. all of which are the right things for my writing brain. So I’m doing something right.

But then I stress.
I stress so much.
I worry and I try to make decisions and I get all in a spin about all sorts of silly little things and I try to make plans and be organised while trying to be flexible and ‘live in the moment’ and ‘go with the flow’ and when I get all whizzy about silly little things, I berate myself and start frowning and chewing my cheek and I send ranty long emails to my friends about how much I struggle with deciding how/when/whether/how long to pop back to Jersey for, and boys (they’re confusing aren’t they) and living in a house with other people (something I swore I’d never do again) and (I haven’t written a post on this blog for months so this is gonna be a great big long gusty one) I dwell on stuff.
Oh my, I am so so good at dwelling on stuff. And changing my mind about how to deal with it.
And then dwelling on how much I change my mind.

I feel like I need routine, but deep down I actually hate routine.. I need balance, I know, but I’m so fickle and changeable and prone to ear infections that I wobble about and lose it and walk into things all the time.

Sometimes I miss my favourite people, sometimes I feel like I should be there to give them a hug or cheer them up, sometimes I wish they were here, but if they were.. honestly?
I’d probably see or speak to them less than I do now; as much as they’re my favourite people and I’m trying to keep in touch because I love them, I really need this space and solitary time and I’m doing what I need to do.

Mikey sent me a photo of her baby, Eva, who’s just turned one.
Aimee sent me a photo of my son on his 21st birthday, looking handsome and happy and gorgeous.
My mum sends me photos of shoes and dog’s feet and flowers and all sorts of weird things cos she’s a bit mental, but most importantly she sends me photos of my niece, who’s growing up without me there to be a bad influence – how am I going to get my own back on my brother for all the naughty things he taught Sam if I’m not there.
My friend Nicki started a pie business and I haven’t been able to go along to one of her market stalls and sniff her pies.

But I am having some of the best days of my life.
That’s what I remember when I get sad or confused about anything.

I’ve made new friends, who are way more fun than all the old Jersey ones (kidding, obviously) and I live with The Wonderfully Funny Family, most of whom appear to like me, most of the time (either that or they’re good at pretending), and when they don’t I can totally understand. And sympathise. As would my real family. And most of my friends.
Hands up anyone who’s ever spent more than 24hrs in my company and not felt like beating me over the head with a cast iron skillet*.
I can imagine everyone nodding while sitting on their hands right now.
Even Bom couldn’t honestly wave a paw in the air.

So, sometimes I struggle with my world, no matter how wonderful it is.
And when I’m struggling, there are two things to remember that can make all the difference to my day.
Maybe they can make a difference to somebody else’s day somewhere too.

Two things.
drseussquote

IMG_0178

*Skillet – I know. Who the hell uses a word like ‘skillet’ these days? But it popped into my head this morning and I had to find a way to use it. Goal achieved. Blogpost complete. It’s a roaring success of a day already.

Kaboom! It’s time..

01-kaboom
In a couple of days I’ll have been here for 3 months.
What on earth have I been doing?

Not publishing much on my blog, that’s for sure.

I just logged in for the first time in a while and checked the how many views of the blog stats. Unbelievable; I thought it’d be about 12.

It should be easy to paste the chart thingy here but having spent an age trying to work out how, I realised that this is one of the reasons I don’t publish stuff… I get sidetracked (BOOM  *reason not to write* no. 1), so I figured it’s easier just to type them.

All time itsnotallaboutmybombom views total 84.

30 of those are from Australia, which means dear Miss H checks my blog more often than I do. Either that or the lovely Linzi happened upon it when I shared a link to her website (sorry – I later deleted that post because I felt it was too personal BOOM *2. I’ll do another link to it in a minute because I’m going to mention you very soon and not delete this one.)

26 views from Jersey.
I imagine my dad checked it once, showed it to my mum, perhaps she forced my son to have a peek, and that the rest are Nicki with a ‘C’ and The Ninny. Possibly Miss Bobby Marmite checked it once or twice. I might have given Barb the link and that’s about it. What a following.

Portugal 18 views. Errrr, probably me.

United States 6 and Ireland 4.
Given that I’ve only passed the web address onto a handful of people (because I’ve been too shy BOOM *3 to share the link on facebook) and I don’t know anyone in the US or Ireland, I suspect some poor souls suffering from a horsefly infestation were trying to find some helpful advice regarding their situation. Apologies if that’s the case. I have, since the previous post, discovered some invaluably useful information and almost foolproof methods for dealing with horseflies – I’ll share them on another post once I’ve finished with Kaboom!
I only hope they’re of use to you.

Other reasons I still haven’t been writing
Flies – covered previously and comes under *1 – Distractions
BomBom – as above
Fear BOOM *5.  This is a big one. I don’t feel brave enough to publish what I’ve written most of the time. Sometimes I write a draft and then I’m too frightened to publish it because I think it either
– reveals too much about myself *2 – Personal
– isn’t funny or clever or interesting *6 – Modesty/lack of confidence?
– gives away my location and I might get stalked * joking
– is a bit grumbly and I should be being positive and thankful and not grumbly *7
– isn’t entirely honest *8
– is too honest  *2 – Personal again
– refers to someone who might not like what I’ve written if they ever read it and they might feel hurt, angry, disappointed, or even in one particular case, flattered, which I certainly don’t want. *9 – Libel Slander Lawsuit
There are more but I’m beginning to bore myself.

So, what I have been doing?
I’ve been looking after the horses and walking the dogs and doing a fair bit of cooking and cleaning. My work hours range between 3 and 5 (or maybe 6 at the very most) hours a day, 7 days a week.
I’ve been surfing and bouldering and sitting on the beach, usually reading and/or thinking.
I must confess I’ve done a little plucking but not as much as I’ve done in the past, and I’ve convinced myself that it helps me think. For those of you who’ve never witnessed me with a pair of tweezers, please let me reassure you that I do mean plucking; it’s not a euphemism.
I play on facebook more than I should. I email friends and family. I’ve made a few friends at the beach that I chatter with if I’m feeling sociable. I can’t be bothered to do bold any more.
I drive around a lot, mostly looking for perfect waves. I explore the dirt tracks that often lead to nowhere but my Kangoo loves them. I drink wine. I like wine. I like drinking wine. And it’s so inexpensive. It’s cheaper than buying water.
God I love wine.

I’ve also done some occasional shopping, sent some postcards and little gifts to a few of my favourite people and helped Norberto with building a new stable.

I’ve avoided making decisions (even the most basic ones, like which beach to go to) by throwing my dice or tossing a coin.
But the thing I’m supposed to be doing, the goal, the priority, the dream!

I’ve not been doing it.

I thought writing a blog would help me to get into the habit of writing, but I haven’t even been writing a blog.
I write in my diary, every day. I write the date. I do a little picture to represent the weather. I keep an account of where I’ve been, what I’ve done and who I’ve seen. If I’ve had a bad day I write about how I’m feeling and why. If I’ve had a particularly good day I usually finish with a ‘NICE DAY’ comment. I underline the spot I surfed in and any highlights.
It’s more of a record of what I’ve done, in truth, than a diary. The idea is that when I’m old (yes, Mrs L, I know it’s not that far off but I’ll never be as old as you) and want to do some sighing and reminiscing, I’ll be able to dig it out of a box and smile fondly as I recall the golden sunny days of my escape to Portugal.
However, if I’m unfortunate enough to suffer from dementia or some similar loss of mental faculty, I will have absolutely no idea what I did because most of the entries read like this ‘Did horses and walked dogs, went to Zavial, Ingrina, Mareta, Beliche, Tonel, Cordoama, Castelejo, gave up and went home, did the horses, walked the dogs, cooked dinner for the family, read book, snuggled up in bed with Bom and read my book.’ and I’ll be sitting nodding, probably frowning, saying to myself ‘I wish I’d taken more photos.’

I also write lots of lists. Mostly of things I need to do which I then mostly don’t.
One of my most commonly written lists looks like this..
Write some blog.
Write the book.
Learn some Portuguese.

Then I make a cup of tea, roll a cigarette, brush my teeth, eat some snacks, bake a cake, go out to give the horses some carob, try to teach the Jack Russells to ‘sit/senta’ (there are three of them. Tina started to obey about a week ago and DJ did it today for the first time – that was so exciting I did a little dance – Buddha, the puppy, is better at bouncing than sitting, but she’ll learn), swat flies, roll another cigarette, oo that reminds me. Here’s an example of another list I regularly write..
Stop smoking
Go running
Eat more fruit
Drink more water

I don’t know why I bother writing lists.

I’ve digressed. Another thing I’m good at. Back to the point.

Kaboom! It’s time. I’m going to start writing the book. Properly.
And I’m going to write something on here every single day much more regularly! (Updated after MASSIVE FAIL)
I’m not going to give up smoking or drink more fruit because the priority is to write.

I’m not going to worry about who thinks what about the content of my blog because I’m not forcing anyone to read it.
I’m going to check the stats regularly because it motivates me to write something when I realise that people are waiting for me to do so and I hate to think of one of you fabulous people clicking on itsnotallaboutmybombom to find that I haven’t written anything.

So, here I go. Starting from now.

Thank you, Miss Bobby Marmite, for the wonderful book you sent me
http://sairyou.me/2013/05/13/find-your-element-overcome-obstacles-success-stories/
I sat on the beach yesterday afternoon (avoiding the Boxing Day lunch crowd in the horsey house) and read a few pages then wrote some lists about what I’m good at and what I love and what I want and it was just what I needed 🙂 x

Thank you, Linzi Wilson of Hello Glow (http://www.helloglowcoaching.com/) for being such an inspiration. Every time I read one of your articles, emails or updates I admire your honesty, enthusiasm and openness and I want to be just like you when I grow up 😉  I hope you ask for whatever you want and get it, because if anybody deserves it, you do.
And I hope you don’t mind but I’m going to steal your ‘three awesome things’ idea and tweak it a little x
http://www.helloglowcoaching.com/three-awesome-things-a-gratitude-journal/

And last but not least, thank you to my dear departed Great Aunt Bessie for enabling me to spend the last three months meandering about and thinking about what I want to do and the next who knows how many months doing it. xxxX