Happiness Project Week 14


holiday time! 2 weeks of nonscheduled time 🙂

Getting further in with wallpapering – slow progress but really starting to come together plus we are enjoying it more

Long phone call with Mags

Fridaycrafting with Fiona – making wedding crafts and having a great catch up

Sunshine beginning to come through

Easter eggs and chocolate

Playing Age Of Empires with Dan. 

Lunch at Saltaires Terrace cafe 

dan’s resilience and tenacity 

Getting all my coursework finished and realising next Easter there won’t be even half as much!

a new sewing machine *love*

Rocking the fifties dress and biker jacket 

Having my hair cut 

Me time

Reading a lot


Terrible Trivium — On ‘The John Green Effect,’ Contemporary Realism, and Form as a Political Act


Fantastically interesing post on the John Green effect and the credit he gets for saving the teen lit world from vampires.


Poetry Friday: The Darkling Thrush (Thomas Hardy)


Thomas Hardy’s poetry often has some gorgeous images in it, and I certainly feel at the moment that, with ice on my car in the mornings in March, we are experiencing the “dregs of winter”! In the first stanza here there’s plenty to feel sad about – the broken lyres, haunting of mankind, the scored sky. Yet then, through it all, comes the song of the thrush singing its “full hearted evensong / of joy illimited”. I love the line that the thrush “chose to fling his soul / upon the growing gloom” – the idea that no matter how dark it is, and even when the darkness seems to be increasing, this tiny thrush is singing his old heart out into the darkness because he knows, somehow, that spring will come again, Even though Hardy ends with the slightly doubtful thought that he “was unaware” of the Hope which caused the thrush’s song, he knows that there IS hope, because of this bird’s song.

The Darkling Thrush


I leant upon a coppice gate,
When Frost was spectre-gray,
And Winter’s dregs made desolate
The weakening eye of day.
The tangled bine-stems scored the sky
Like strings of broken lyres,
And all mankind that haunted nigh
Had sought their household fires.


The land’s sharp features seemed to me
The Century’s corpse outleant,
Its crypt the cloudy canopy,
The wind its death-lament.
The ancient pulse of germ and birth
Was shrunken hard and dry,
And every spirit upon earth
Seemed fervorless as I.

At once a voice arose among
The bleak twigs overhead,
In a full-hearted evensong
Of joy illimited.
An aged thrush, frail, gaunt and small,
With blast-beruffled plume,
Had chosen thus to fling his soul
Upon the growing gloom.

So little cause for carolings
Of such ecstatic sound
Was written on terrestrial things
Afar or nigh around,
That I could think there trembled through
His happy good-night air
Some blessed Hope, whereof he knew,
And I was unaware.

Thomas Hardy

Creative Writing inspiration: Romeo and Juliet

An unexpected meeting....fancy dress....a ball.....forbidden love.....arch enemies

An unexpected meeting….fancy dress….a ball…..forbidden love…..arch enemies

Avoiding the spiral of doubt and shame


I was directed towards this post on gamasutra – http://gamasutra.com/blogs/EthanLevy/20140320/213611/Escaping_the_Indie_Shame_Spiral.php – which has some really interesting things to say on motivation and  how to start to avoid the “shame spiral” that I think anyone who sets themselves goals and struggles to achieve them will be familiar with.

It goes something like this:

Start something with excitement, ambition and impossible goals. Fail to meet impossible goals. Beat self up about not meeting them, think work done so far is rubbish and you’d be better off anywhere but here.

Sounds familiar! There’s usually a stage in a project when you think everything you’ve written or created should simply go in the bin after all, or when you’re trying to lose weight, and don’t meet your target so go out and get a doughnut to make you feel better!

Reading the post and some of the comments is a great idea. There’s some really interesting points in it, like:

  • Allocate ‘points’ to projects which represent time. nothing should have more than 3 points, which is half a week. It’ll help you be more realistic about what you can do in the time you have – so you won’t set impossible goals.
  • Allocate points to personal tasks too, so you don’t get a false sense of achievement when you’ve balanced your cheque book and emptied the laundry!
  • Track what went well and what didn’t. No judgement, just hard data.

I also really like the idea of a commitment device – basically, promise to deliver something publicly and then doing so. If you’re trying to get in shape, make it a sponsored run, if you’re writing a novel, post on Wattpad regularly. I’ve been trying to do that more on this blog, making sure I post more often, and would like to extend that to writing fiction for both it and perhaps Wattpad as well. Short story competitions are also great – but remember not to set the impossible deadlines!

What would your ideal commitment device be?




Link: 7 Ways to Hook Your Reader — Jennie Nash Book Coach


7 Ways to Hook Your Reader — Jennie Nash Book Coach.

Poem: Underlying


Am I in it?
He leans over to see what castles of air I’m creating today.
I push him out of the way and return to my sorceress
deep in the forest, searching her way back to hope
through the black branches scratched on my page.
You are not. Why would you be?
You are here. You are not there.
He goes back to his game.

Words spill like scattered coins, rolling to their rest
Connect the dots to create a plot
Draw ideas together, chop adjectives with ruthless abandon
A mason, I chip, reshape, polish, refine.

A reflection emerges.
A minor character’s smile.
The act of kindness in chapter two.
Jokes shared. A sage’s advice, knights’ ambitions.
He is in it.