Summer 2019 Writings

4 Week Writing Diary Challenge

I have absolutely nothing to do in July. No classes. No social responsibilities. Nothing.

This is no accident. I need to write! For the next four weeks, I plan to stick to a strict writing schedule to get my work in progress to a proper draft and my first novel in decent enough shape for presentation. These are not the same pieces of writing.

WIP: young adult christian fiction.
First Novel: women’s travel fiction.

Am I setting myself up for failure? Probably! But you don’t get anywhere without pushing yourself and I have carefully explained to myself that the following goals are IDEAL, not expected.

Mon-Fri Daily Schedule:

7:30-8:30 Walk a little up the mountain to sit in my favourite spot for daily devotional.
8:30-9:30 Breakfast and shower etc.
9:30-12:30 2,000-3,000 words/a chapter of WIP
12:30-1:30 Lunch
1:30-4:30 Edit 2 chapters of First Novel.

Weekends are family time, so I only have one goal: write a draft of a short story. Micro fiction is a great way to refresh my mind and keep working on my writing skills.

There is plenty of wiggle room in this for three reasons: social needs/appointments, travel to cafes or meetings, and my rebellious attitude to schedules.

I love making a schedule but I hate following it. I need the basic goals, but I want to do it my way each day.

I’ll be writing a weekly diary, with a short story or two, so please come back and check on my progress as a full time writer for the month.

1st - 7th July 2019 (Short Story at End)

The Good:

Will return soon!

While later than originally planned on a few days, I went up to a path in the mountain each morning this week. This never disappoints, but sitting on a rock in my favourite spot with the sun shining made for a lovely way to wake up. 

I made a friend! On my way down from the forest path in the mountain each day, a few of the older Koreans, who seem to make this their regular exercise, noticed me and I even heard a muttered ‘oh, pretty girl’ (flattering translation may not be fully accurate). Well, one particular ‘Halmoni’ met my glance with such a lovely smile that I had to vocally wish her a nice day. Each following day, we would greet each other as I went up and down, past her stretching spot.

Writing agenda on day 1 was to check through the few already completed chapters of my WIP. Reviewing my writing is in the good section because I was rather surprised at how much I enjoyed reading these chapters. I even chuckled out loud a few times. I was also pleasantly surprised while writing during the week as new ideas for settings or plot came about.

Editing my First Novel also went smoothly and I completed my goal of 2 chapters almost every day, even when this meant staying up late.

I ended up committing myself to a social appointment almost every day this week. Despite fears that I might not be able to complete all my intended writing goals because of this, I was able to, and of course had a great time with everyone I met. Highlights from this include turkish wraps, the Seoul version of Chipotle, good old sarcastic humour with people who get it, interesting debates about God and updates from fellow writers who have become close friends.

The Bad:

Found on a walk. Owner must have been disappointed.

With it being the start of the holidays, on Sunday night before starting this diary, I gave into the urge to play The Sims. I am not ashamed of my love for this game (students in my recent writing class know this well), but I did get carried away with ‘just one more day’ or ‘when this sim gets a promotion I’ll stop’. At about 1:20 am, I did stop. More from sore eyes than accomplished goals. This made my 7:30 am alarm just a distant rumble that I slapped into silence. Thankfully, my husband’s goodbye kiss 20 minutes later came at a better time in my sleep cycle. While I thought I might just sleep a little longer, I was alert enough to remember I did really want to start the week with a little time in the mountain.

A few days of late night editing, to make sure I didn’t fall behind schedule, made me snooze through a few early alarms and take a couple of naps during the day. This did mean that I didn’t get full chapters of my WIP finished each day, as I had optimistically hoped, but I did get good word counts. I’ll have a lot of editing to do on this one!

Friday was a struggle. I was tired from editing late into the previous night and restless with the same activities all week. What actually affected me most, though, was the desire to have it all done and make this month count. This had affected me on Monday, but it consumed me on Friday so that I felt too guilty to rest longer and editing became a vague readthrough. I woke up on Saturday morning knowing I needed to re-edit the only section I managed to get through on Friday afternoon. At least this time I knew what to do and was excited. The only problem was no time!

I’m not sure if this point is bad, or just normal. I’m reading through Isaiah and while some chapters contain brilliant pictures and concepts, I have to say that for most of the week I was clueless. I’m not disappointed, since I expect this when reading complicated books. I did actually have a great time praying about not understanding and asking if a verse or two meant what I thought they did, or if I was putting some of my own meaning onto it, in looking for something to take away from the time. Reading the Bible does take a lot of patience and I’ve often made the mistake of getting frustrated when a passage hasn’t spoken to me. It’s not about how the Bible speaks to me, but rather what I can learn about God from taking time to be with Him in His Word and in prayer.

The Ugly:

Tea party in the bathroom. I still joined them.

I said that editing went well, but that doesn’t mean I was impressed. There was a lot of deleting and re-typing! 

A few gems of shocking writing include “my earlier eyebrow practice has helped now” and “my sister’s making eyes at me”. 

I can’t give you context or evidence of my improved sentences, but rest assured the new sections make a lot more sense and don’t evoke so many groans. I’ll try to keep a better note of any more stunning lines and entertain you with them in future updates.

P.S. What other ways can you say ‘sip’? This was a challenge in my First Novel! Managed to cut all but one, however, I’m worried I’ll need more replacement phrases soon.

The Weekend:

View from our friends' home.

On Saturday, my husband and I agreed to chill with our friends’ kids for a few hours, so this meant a lot of playing and not so much writing. I woke up with clarity on some editing issues, but actually ended up starting a short story based on a prompt from a writing website I’d subscribed to. I didn’t get too far, since we had to get ready to go by 9:20 am and I’d once again stayed up late with my First Novel, but I grasped the overall concept and was curious about where it could go. Writing an extra story each week seemed like it’d be overkill on my creative resources, but instead, it might be a great refreshing exercise, as intended.

After arriving home and eating some dinner, I went back to my First Novel to complete those edits. I ended up only one chapter behind in my editing process.

I wasn’t able to finish that short story, but I did complete this:

Don’t Forget Your

Jacob was running late. Nothing unusual there. “Keys!” shouted Tilly, followed by, “Phone! Wallet!” Jacob dropped his backpack. A quick search in the front pocket confirmed the last two on the list, but where were his keys? “What were we doing yesterday, Till?” One hand holding the mascara brush, the other holding her phone, Tilly leaned out the bathroom and waved at the boxes littered across the floor. “Do I need to take you to a head doctor?” Till rolled her eyes and went back to her tasks. Keys. Where were the keys? Jacob lifted napkins, plates and cutlery off the kitchen surfaces. “Till, what time do you leave?” A take out box reminded him they’d ordered in, not picked the meal up, so he’d have had no reason to take the keys to the kitchen. “In thirty minutes.” No way he could wait that long. They definitely needed their own sets. Finished with the mirror, Tilly joined Jacob, now rummaging in the couch cushions. “We never sat there last night; just went straight to bed.” She was right, so Jacob stood upright and went back to the entrance way. “We need a table around here. Or some hooks.” Tilly kicked a box close by, labelled hallway. “Tonight?” Jacob suggested. Tilly shrugged. “What are you looking for, anyway?” Jacob pointed at the door handle. One selling point for the house had been the newfangled lock that granted entrance with a code, leaving them with one less thing to worry about losing.

8th - 14th July 2019 (Short Story at End)

A lot of walking this week!

Things Attempted:

Rather than working from home and interrupting my flow later for any appointments, I travelled in the morning, found a cafe and wrote until my scheduled social time. I did notice some advantages to being out and unable to chill on the sofa or nap. The problem was perhaps a little too much writing time, not enough breaks, and too much coffee! I switched to herbal tea by Wednesday.

A friend, who is also a writer, suggested that I try using a number generator to decide what chapter to work on and get a better overall picture. I found this intriguing. It didn’t initially work for my WIP, but I accidentally ended up writing the start of chapter 10 later on and had to go back, needing some earlier details. It did actually help to have a clearer point to work toward. I will try this exercise again with editing.

To appease by rage against routines and see if it would help some stalled sections, I took a day of only editing, then a day of only WIP writing. On Friday, I considered going back working on both, but a delay in starting and excitement while writing led to only working on my WIP. 

Appreciating the pretty things around. A shrub in the shape of a heart.

Things Realised:

Sharing writing experiences with my friend helped me to see more clearly about how well I have been doing and that some things need time before they can be written well. I also have to remember that God is not looking at my word count, but how I approach my work and look to him.

I’ve found that my favourite seat in a cafe is at the window and I prefer a view with a corner. This provides some varied views for me to blankly stare at as I consider how to word something or what should happen next. Of course, it also provides a little entertainment. (10 emergency vehicles at the building opposite one cafe did get me rather curious.)

Even without caffeine, I felt a little wired. I realised that I haven’t been giving my mind enough of a break from my stories. To solve this, I took the evening off on Thursday and played The Sims. This did make me feel refreshed on Friday, ready to write and find new ideas for my WIP.

Could do with some editing.

Things Cut:

As promised, I’ve tried to keep a better record of terrible writing I’ve edited this week.

The hand must move up as a nervous reaction with his sad eyes.
Must it? This was actually in the middle of a few references to a character scratching his head, which all confused me until I realised at the end of the scene that I had been attempting some kind of foreshadowing. Obviously it wasn’t working, and so needed to be cut. 

His eyes try out a hula exercise again at this comment.
An attempt at colourfully describing someone rolling their eyes, most likely thinking of hula hoops, not skirts. But again, like sip, it is terribly difficult to find other ways to write this action. Any good examples you’d care to share?

I’ll just wait for a nice quiet moment when that camera is facing this way.
No camera had been mentioned before this, which is why this line was odd. Perhaps an earlier draft had a camera, but not the current one.

Every bite delicious.

Things Enjoyed (aka, The Weekend):

‘Food Enjoyed’ might be a better title: Korean chicken (sweet and spicy sauce, flaky olive fried and sweet soy sauce flavours), an Indian feast, pizza and Vietnamesse sandwiches (after accidentally burning leftover chicken in the air fryer). 

Visitors on Saturday had fun with us, trying blind tastes of coca-cola and pepsi. It was decided that pepsi is sweeter, but that makes most of us prefer the other, while some felt price was more of a decider. 

Weekends are always full of meeting people and eating good food. I was careful to find moments to relax by reading, though. I finished one book (The Museum of Things Left Behind by Seni Glaister) and started a new one (She Lies in Wait by Gytha Lodge). From comedy to mystery/thriller!

To end my weekly update, here is a short story for you, inspired by an emailed prompt: Write a story about a world where every family has an assistant robot. Write it from the perspective of the robot.

Robert the Assistant Robot

“Seven thirty A.M. It’s time to wake up, Ryan. Ryan, are you awake? Hmm, it seems that you are not. Then, I will pull the covers off your body to help you feel the morning air.” Robert rolled closer to the bed, but just as his arm lifted up to stretch out and clip onto the blanket, Ryan answered him. “No, Robert. I command you not to that.” Roberts eyes flickered. He just needed a second to connect that speech to his inner programming and then he had his response. “You also commanded me not to wake you up at seven thirty each day, but I must follow my directives.” Of course, Ryan must know that Robert couldn’t go against them. This must be one of Ryan’s ‘jokes’. Still the definition that Ryan gave did not match the one in the dictionary, or the examples he could access in the Personal Robot Directive Manual.

The blue, clawed arm extended out from the black elbow and Robert snapped the blanket onto the floor. Ryan groaned long and hard. Robert could not find a meaning in this sound. “Get me some coffee, Robert.” Again, the eyes blinked off and on, “I cannot do such a thing. Caffeine is a drug and as such is not allowed until one reaches the age of 21. Just like cigarettes, alcohol, s-” A pillow, while no match to his reinforced plastic body, plopped against Robert’s circular head, causing the immediate reaction to veer back a foot and scan the room for unidentified dangers. “Fine, I’ll get it myself.” Ryan rolled up his torso, swung his legs round and bounced his body to the upright position needed for walking to the kitchen. This was the moment Robert had been waiting to witness, but his scan was not complete and took priority over the minor fascination he felt over elegant human movements. There would be another viewing tomorrow.

With no dangers lurking in the corners of Ryan’s room, Robert did a three point turn to trace the steps of his ward. He boosted his vocal volume to reach the kitchen: “If you are looking for the bag of contraband you left in the cupboard, it is not there.” Reaching the kitchen and viewing Ryan at the cupboard, Robert recorded that his logical line of reaction was correct and lowered his vocal level to match the larger size of living space. Ryan slammed the cupboard, causing Robert’s inner workings to re-calculate incoming sound absorption and survey for any damage. None. The green light under Robert’s head flashed twice to indicate all was well. “Robert. Who told you to look in my cupboards?” No time was needed for the answer: “Your mother.” Robert kept his vision on his now six foot five companion, a stretched out version of the recorded image he’d first been assigned to. “What is the point in moving out for college, if I can’t even be independent?” This question came with another loud noise that delayed Robert’s ability to respond before Ryan was voicing his thoughts clearly once again, “Robert, go away.”

The calculation seemed instant in human time and space, but to Robert it was much longer than most. “Where to?” Ryan sighed. Another reaction that Robert could not assess. “Wherever you can go that doesn’t bug me, but matches your directive.” This was easy to reply to, “Such a place does not exist,” and Robert could even add one of Ryan’s style of jokes, “unless I were the one to have less existence.” Ryan smiled, “Now you get a sense of humour. Robert, how would a person turn an assistant robot off?” Robert weighed his responsibilities for honesty and self-preservation. Then he dutifully answered, “If an assistant robot’s head is unscrewed, a human will find the buttons to override voice or movement capabilities.” Robert viewed Ryan approaching, then heard the squeaks of metal turning against metal and a moment after, the room turned upside down. When it fixed itself, Robert noticed the red flashing under his head. No matter how high Robert pushed his vocal levels, Ryan didn’t respond to his warnings and Robert was unable to accompany him on his daily tasks.

A few days passed in the kitchen without even a breakfast visit, until one day Ryan picked the little machine up from behind, “Got some friends coming over. Don’t want them to feel watched.” Robert was set down in front of the bed, just at his usual morning spot. Perhaps tomorrow, if his battery didn’t finally drain down, he’d get to see Ryan wake up and use his body to its full potential.


15th - 21st July 2019 + Short Story At End

The tree house in the forest, up the mountain.


Writing on my WIP picked up again. I got about another chapter and a half completed, with some concepts added in that change how this whole story unfolds.

Even with some very late nights, I’ve still kept up my morning walks. I even extended them to walk an extra five minutes each way to sit in a tree house instead of on my usual rock.

I’ve had extra little chats with my new friend from the mountain (see week one, if confused). With my limited Korean, it’s a little difficult for me to understand everything she says, but we try.

The prompts I’ve been using for my short stories come from a competition email blast I receive every Friday. This week I managed to actually send in a completed story before the Friday deadline, plus another to add to this post.

The fine dust rose to high levels this week, causing foggy skies.


Editing is getting difficult. I’m very critical of my old work and too tired to fully concentrate. Sometimes this makes me doubt my writing and people’s possible interest, but then I get to sections that are pretty funny or even clever. Plus, my edits have improved the writing a lot.

I hate going to bed, so this week I didn’t. Even though I’ve been walking and working a lot, I didn’t get tired until 2AM most days. And yes, The Sims was involved in this. I haven’t played it this much in years!

Finally caught sight of some wildlife in the forest.


What I cut from my First Novel in shame this week:

I get a show of shoulder, mouth and eyebrow twitches.

This was changed to:
He finishes off his potato with a quick look around the green and then a shrug. 

Not a terribly exciting change, but much clearer.

The tiredness I felt this week meant that I couldn’t edit much and I had some odd moments.

On Friday morning I forgot there is a CCTV camera along my walk. In the middle of an imaginary conversation about a new story idea, I walked past it mouthing the words, matching emotions on my face and gesticulating for emphasis. At least I paused while passing people.

On Saturday, I fell into our car door and ended up with a lump on my head and scrape on my knee. My head still feels a bit funny, but that’s probably just the humidity. I’ll try to get more sleep in week 4.

Enjoying reading more: finished She Lies in Wait this week.


Friends visited our home for game night on Saturday. We didn’t save the world from viruses in Pandemic, but had good fun trying. Unfortunately, due to exhaustion and a little sickness, we were unable to join friends at the Brazilian buffet on Sunday. We have been packing too much into every weekend and it caught up with us.

I was able to write a second short story from a different prompt this week: Write a flash fiction story about a day where "TGIF" took on a whole meaning.

Am I Right?

Kit flusters into the restaurant; her hair flowing with the breeze, handbag and sunglasses seeming to jump from hand to hand. She always makes me believe somehow that a curious little shiatsu or chihuahua is pulling her along, zipping from one direction to the other.

“Oh my gosh, I can’t believe how many people are on the road at this time.” Well, it is 5:30PM on a Friday. “TGIF, right?” Um, I guess. “Love your new top, Tina! Good for this sunny weather.” It wasn’t even new when I wore it last month to Davey’s party. Having hair over my forehead is something I’m trying to get used to, though. Maybe she’ll comment on it in the winter. “What’s good here?”

There’s not much point in even looking at the menu. Kit only ever orders one thing: chicken strips and chips. I’ve had ten minutes to choose my own meal while waiting for her. Since I haven’t quite figured out how to tell her about Davey’s situation, I use this waste of time to try to get the words in order.

“OMG, that pizza looks nice.” It’s just a margarita, nothing fancy. “I think I’ll get chicken strips, though.”

With our dinner cooking, I decide to get into it. “Kit, something happened this week.”

“Oh, I know!” Did Davey call her for bail money, too? “I mean FML, but this week there were too many moments.” I begin to think it might be too stressful for her to hear about Dave’s arrest, but then she laughs. “I mean, I have never seen something YouTube worthy in real life before, but my videos would be going viral if I had recorded all of Kenny’s slip ups in the office.”

Kenny? The clumsy guy who’s got a crush on Kit? What has he got to do with anything? “I was reading that new inspirational book everyone’s talking about during lunch on Tuesday, TMI.” While I don’t really need to know Kit’s reading habits, it’s not exactly inappropriate. “Along comes Kenny with two coffees and trips over the chair opposite me! Totally soaked the rest of the day! He was TGIF.” I wait to learn why Kenny was so excited about the end of the working week, but Kit’s sipping her water with her eyes wandering the room.

Asking about Kenny’s weekend could lead Kit anywhere, only further delaying the reason I asked to meet, so I start into the Davey issue again. “You remember that investment Davey wanted us to buy into?”

“Oh, the penguin companions for South African elderly? Yeah, has it started up now? I wonder if we could go visit.”

“No, that was the charity he represents.” Which first got me wondering about how much I should trust the ‘exciting opportunities’ he’s always harping on about. “I’m talking about the AI project to give voices to plants.”

“Even better. I’ve been talking regularly to my ficus, just to prepare it for when I install its chip.” But will she be prepared for the little tree to scream at her for silence? Not that it can ever do that.

“Well, Davey’s financial activities were flagged by the tax office and it turns out that none of his projects were quite what they seemed.” Kit sips at her drink again, as if this isn’t life changing for any of us. “Police took him in yesterday for questioning and pressed charges this morning.”

She takes a second to process my words. I should have chosen simpler phrases. “His projects weren’t real?” I nod. “Can I get a refund?” Now I shake my head. “But that was my housing deposit.” Kit starts to breathe a little quicker. “Oh my gosh, TGIF again!” This calms her down somehow. “Huh, funny how that’s often so true on a Friday.”

“What has your deposit got to do with that?”

Kit’s head turns up to me like she’s mimicking the little dog I imagined earlier. “Well, I’m totally getting in a fluster, obviously. I mean my parents are going to be so angry that I lost that money. Friday must be a day for big shocks.”

So Kenny wasn’t happy about Friday, he was embarrassed about falling. Suddenly our conversation makes so much more sense. “Kit, what do you think TMI means?”

“Teach myself intelligent.” That does connect to reading.

Was the pizza really that impressive to her? “OMG?”

“Open to many goods. It’s from a Chinese proverb, you know.” Um, I’ve only heard people use the French version.

“And FML is…”

“Finding many laughs. You have to see the funny side of things. Although, it might take me a while to find them in this.”

“Kit, how did you work out all of these?”

“Davey told me.” It’s a good thing Davey never told her to jump off a cliff with him.

“Should we go visit him? I’m sure it’d be nice to see a friendly face.”

“No, Kit. I don’t think we should. You wouldn’t see one looking back at you.”

“Oh, look at that sign, isn’t that strange?” Coming out of the plant pot beside the fake cactus behind me is a pole with a speech bubble stuck to it. The cactus is telling us to try out the new enchiladas. “Maybe I should try them next time. FML, am I right?”

More than she knows.

22nd - 28th July 2017 + Short Writing At End

Final week summary:

Writing my on my WIP this week went well, but it was difficult to edit. I did convert my First Novel into an ebook, to give a fresh look and make it more portable, for when I get back into it.

On Friday I woke up to a huge downpour and was tempted to go out for my morning walk, but worried that it might not be a good idea. A little while later, I received an emergency alert that warned of evacuations in low areas due to flood risks. It was a good idea not to risk the rocky climb.

Unfortunately, this means I didn’t get to see my friend in the mountain one last time before my month away. I hope she doesn’t worry about my absence and that I can see her when I get back in September.

It also meant that I just milled around the house, avoiding packing for my upcoming trip. I worked on a short story to submit to a journal, but didn’t complete any more on my WIP or First Novel.

My husband and I went to Gangneung, a seaside town, to visit his parents on Saturday. This was a great way to relax and we had so many dishes I adore; including his mother’s bulgogi!

Desired coffee this week, but was careful again.

Overall writing review:

WIP: 8 chapters/29080 words added
First Novel: 104 pages/ 10.5 chapters edited

My WIP is now at 11.5 chapters, so just about half way to completing the first draft. 
The First Novel is 27 chapters in total, so I got a little over a third of the way, but this was with only 3 weeks work.

While I had hoped to have both these projects finished, I am pleased with what I do have. It has been better for me to take time with certain sections so that fresh ideas come to mind and the characters develop more. 

Plan Going Forward:

My bags are packed, I’m checked in and am typing this beside my departure gate. For the next three weeks I will visit my family in Northern Ireland. After that, I head to Italy for a holiday with my best friends for a few days. Then, it’s back to Seoul to prepare for the next semester of teaching.

Since the WIP is reaching a rather exciting point and I’m finally half way through it, I plan to keep writing each day, even with family catch ups. I won’t be able to dedicate as much time to focused writing each day, but being dedicated to it in this time will help to progress the story and make the habit stick for when I’m back at work.

With my kindle beside me, I will be able to read my First Novel anywhere. I do need to read for fun/study as well, but it would be great to get this novel ready to send out to agents soon.

My updates usually end with a short story. I’m not sure what you’d call this, but it came to me after a conversation with friends today. Nothing much special to it and it’s very rough, but it’s a little fun to end the four weeks of hard work. Thank you for following my journey and look out for updates as I hopefully write much further in the near future.

Tastes Like Home

Brad bit into the ranch drenched sub sandwich. 
Anurak sprinkled crushed peanuts and lime juice onto his noodles.
Sinead gulped down the potato and beef broth.
YoungMi slurped up the spicy, fermented noodle soup.
Brett tore at the char-grilled surf ‘n’ turf.
Van added a handful more cilantro onto her spiced beef stock.

The closest thing I can get is the 
‘milk’ flavour ice cream at that one supermarket
 - almost just like a Mr Frostie - 
and the imported Italian ‘oriental’ sparkling drink at the airport
 - sort of like Schleur.

Now I smile when eating my mother-in-law’s homemade dishes 
and beg on facetime for more recipes from my childhood memories.

Home is where your taste buds find comfort.

8 Writing Essentials - Diary Review

The Giant's Causeway, Northern Ireland

After a month of keeping to a regular schedule of writing, I travelled across the world to visit my family and friends in Northern Ireland and Italy. I still had a lot of writing I hoped to achieve, but I prioritised quality time with my loved ones.

Enjoying the view at Lake Como, Italy

The intensive writing time helped me to be more dedicated in using any moment I could to add to my WIP. Through these two months I have learned what I need to aid and encourage my work. 

Writing Essentials:

Having a long walk by the beach in Portballintrae, NI

1. Daily exercise 

(To feel productive, healthy and gain inspiration or clarity, I walk each morning and quite often in the afternoon, too.)

Room for all wildlife at a villa in Italy

2. Reading 

(Taking time out to read pushes me to write better, whether it’s because I’m hopeful to improve and reach higher levels, or because I know what’s wrong with the not so impressive examples. Reading the Bible is important to help my perspective and keep me curious about the greater world, too.)

A babbling stream in NI - sometimes writing is as slow or fast as this!

3. Dedicated writing hours 

(Even if I don’t gather a huge word count, I need to keep my WIP fresh in my mind and just be there to allow more progression.)

The White Rocks from a gate at Dunluce Castle, NI - we could see our next destination in the distance

4. Goals 

(I shouldn’t kick myself too hard if I don’t meet the larger ones on time, but without anything to aim for, I get a little lost.)

Took a slow boat and watched them pass on Lake Como

5. Chill out time 

(If I want to progress, I need to have balance.)

Secret passage at a villa in Italy - I love finding the quiet places

6. Noise cancelling headphones 

(Sometimes the cafe noise is too much or the quiet is suffocating. I can’t block out everything, but I can control to some level and that does wonders!)
The Dark Hedges, NI - could I write here?

7. Notebook/Phone/Computer 

(A little obvious, but I’ve carefully researched and purchased items over the last few years that are aimed at making my writing time more efficient and comfortable. For me, portability and adaptability are key.)

Lots of adventurous play with all the family

8. Loved Ones

(Friends and family asked me about my writing and supported my efforts, even if I couldn’t give them too much detail about the project. Just the fact that they asked, or made cups of tea and told me to write while I had a moment, helped me to remember that this process is worthwhile, even if tough.)