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While I have been absent, I have been thinking about what to base my next blog on. I got the idea while I was on holiday. I just haven’t had a chance to write it before now.

Before I continue I would like to remind my readers that this blog is based purely on my own opinions. It’s obvious really and you might wonder why I’ve said that. Well the thing is there came a point when I was worried about what I blogged in fear of upsetting people. That was why I was absent for so long. All my blog ideas were somewhat controversial. But then just recently I felt like a downright dweeb as I realised that this is my blog and I can blog about whatever the hell I want.

With that said, I am blogging about something I am very passionate about:

Children in child care.

Now let me start off by saying this: I have nothing against child care at all. I think it’s a great idea. There are times when parents need to have a break and in this day and age, both parents are working. That’s fine, no worries at all. What I have a problem with is how often child care is used and for what reason.

I know people who use child care because they can’t be bothered with their kids. they throw them in four or five days a week so that they’re not an inconvenience to them. Um hello? They’re your kids! You chose to have them so you have to take responsibility for them. Don’t just palm them off on to someone else just because you can’t be bothered. Then to top it off, when these people finally have the kids (usually only the weekends) they don’t spend time with them anyway. Think of the poor children. Their parents are strangers to them.

Here’s something to think about: Do both parents need to work? Are you working just because you want to be rich and have the best of everything? If that’s the case I think it’s time you re-evaluated your life. Put your kids first for once. If one person can work and still provide the income you need, maybe you should do that. How important are material possessions to you? You don’t need to follow the fashion. You don’t need to have the best in technology. You don’t need the biggest house or the flashiest car. Every child doesn’t need to have a phone or tablet.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to work. It’s good to keep your skills up to date for when your children go to school. But why don’t you think about reducing the hours you work so you can be with them more often? Parents often forget how vulnerable children are. They need attention…they need family. If they don’t have that, they’re going to grow up being lonely and who knows what else they’ll become.

Child care is a great thing to have. It’s important to have a break, it’s important to work and support the family and it’s a good way for kids to get to know other kids their age. But don’t do it because you don’t want your kids around. It happens too often and it breaks my heart.

Just something to think about.

I hope to blog more often from now on. 🙂

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First off, for those who made it to round three congratulations. For those, like me, who didn’t don’t give up hope. The truth is, I wasn’t expecting to get through. I had mentally prepared myself for it so when I found out I didn’t make it, it wouldn’t be such a huge disappointment.

Of course there is was that little part of me that was hopeful. So when the quarter-finalists were announced and I scanned through the names once, twice, three times and I didn’t see my name, I did get a little jab of disappointment. It wasn’t enough to have me crying my heart out. It was a simple ‘oh that’s a shame’ and then it was gone.

The truth is, it’s just a competition. It’s not the be all and end all of your writing career. The only thing I’m a little tiny bit peeved about is not getting my feedback until 23rd May. I’m eager to read it now so that if there are major problems I can fix them before sending my manuscrip tot publishers. I guess I have to be patient. 🙂

I was on the ABNA forums after the announcement and it was nice to see most people congratluating those who made it. However, I was quite surprised to see some really cut up about it and were even being nasty to others. If you ask me, that’s uncalled for. Why can’t people be happy for everyone else? It’s okay to be disapppointed and it’s okay to voice it to others but there is no excuse for being nasty.

Anyway, that’s my rant for the day. 🙂

But once again, I’d wish to wholeheartedly congratulate everyone who made it to the third round. Great work! And remember those who ddin’t make it, it’s not the end of the world. Keep writing and try again next year. For now, remember there are so many other ways to get published. Why don’t you start submitting some query letters to literary agents and publishers?

Bye for now and I hope to blog more often from now on.

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ABNA Outcomes

I was quite excited when I checked the ABNA results for the Romance category and saw my name there. I think I’m still on cloud nine.

So it’s now two years straight I’ve made it to the second round. Last time I didn’t make the third round but the feedback I got was good. I entered the same story and have made some major improvements. Hopefully these improvements will be enough to move me forward. If not, I won’t be disapointed. I really feel that getting to the second round is a great achievement. When you think about it, out of 10,000 entries only 2000 get chosen. It’s a very small number.

Whatever happens, I will be happy with how far I’ve come. I basically said the same thing last year too and I mean it. If I don’t proceed, I’ll just continue writing and improving. One day I might just make it.

But I don’t want to jump the gun, I won’t know anything until after the 11th April 2014. So for now I’m just going to focus on my other writing and not stress about ABNA.

To those that didn’t make it, don’t let it deter you. There’s always next year. 🙂 And when you think about it, it is only a competition. There are tons of them around so you can always look for others you can enter. And what’s stopping you from publishing anyway? It’s not all about competitions.

To those that did make it, good luck!

Whatever happens, keep moving forward. 🙂

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Plot holes. They’re wonderful things aren’t they? *note sarcasm* Your story is flowing really well, you’re so close to completion then suddenly… plot hole! You can’t finish the story because you realise there’s this big gaping hole that doesn’t let the story tie together.

Have you ever had that? I’m sure most of us have.

So what is the best way to avoid plot holes? This is what I’m here to tell you. Please remember this is just my opinion and not how it must be done. We all have our own ways of avoiding plot holes and this is just one way I find really helpful.

The simple answer is this: planning. That’s right, plan your story out from beginning to end and have a set idea of where you want it to go. To me, this is a foolproof way of avoiding plot holes. I’m not saying they will be avoided all together because that’s impossible. We’re still going to fall into that trap from time to time but it will certainly limit it from happening.

Basically what planning does is it allows you to see where your story progressing and will have you asking questions much earlier. If there’s going to be a plot hole you’ll notice it in the planning stage rather than toward the end when you’re tying everything together.

Trust me, there is nothing worse than getting to the end of a story and seeing that plot hole that changes the entire story.

Yes I speak from experience, and that’s what encouraged me to write this blog.

You see, the story I wrote for the ABNA had a massive plot hole, which I totally missed. Why? Because I didn’t plan the story out. This is a story I wrote when I was in my late teens. I was still learning how to write and I told myself planning was for people who couldn’t write. Oh how wrong I was.

What happened is I decided I really liked the concept of the story but it needed a lot of work so I recently decided to rewrite it. During my rewrite, I didn’t question the goings on of certain events, I just let them take place. Once the rewrite was done and I sent it to my critique partner to read, she brought up the major plot hole.

I was devastated because it turned out I had to rewrite the entire story again. Still, it was a good pick up by her and I will be forever grateful. If I sent it to a publisher with that plot hole, I would definitely not be considered for publishing. So now with that sorted I can happily send it in to the ABNA and to publishers knowing all major plot holes have been fixed.

So it’s essential to have a clear idea of where you want your story to go and how your events will unfold. It will mean you won’t have so much rework later.

I understand planning isn’t for everyone and that’s fine. However, before you say it’s not for you, I would encourage you to at least try it. You can’t say you it’s not for you if you’ve never tried it. But if you don’t want to then that’s fine also. 🙂

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I wish to apologise for no blogs in 2014 yet. It’s been a pretty full on start to this year and time has escaped me.

On saying that, it has not been in vain. Apart from my usual day job, I have been keeping busy with my writing. And it’s the usual topic of writing that inspired me to write this blog.

You see, just last night I did something extremely reckless…I submitted a manuscript to Harper Collins. Yes that’s right…Harper Collins. One of the biggest named publishers I know. Usually they don’t accept unsolicited manuscripts but a writer friend of mine provided me a link which allowed us to submit unsolicited manuscripts every Wednesday. Exciting, right?

You may be asking why it’s reckless. After all, I’m an aspiring author and getting my name in print is my biggest dream. Well the answer is this: I wasn’t intending on submitting my manuscript for a few weeks yet. That’s why it’s reckless of me. I’m the sort of person that always plans things out. I decide I’m going to do something in two weeks and I do it in two weeks. So when I said I would submit in a few weeks, I intended to stick to it.

Although after some contemplation I realise now there was no point in me waiting. The manuscript was completed, it had been critiqued and I was happy with it. I’m never going to get anywhere if I don’t start submitting to publishers and literary agents.

Hmmm. The more I think about it, the more I realise that’s what compelled me in the first place. My subconscious was giving my backside a good kicking for procrastinating and so I did it.

That doesn’t mean I’m relaxed though. If anything I’m halfway between excited and terrified. I know sending off a manuscript for publication isn’t a big thing. After all there are no guarantees they’ll even want to publish it. But that’s just it. It’s the fear of the unknown. I can handle rejection, no worries. What scares me most is being accepted. Silly, huh? But if I’m accepted, I’m going to be achieving a goal I never thought possible. This is what petrifies me.

So anyway, that’s what I’ve done. I will know in three weeks if they want to proceed further. If I don’t hear back then I’ll assume I’ve been rejected. And that’s okay because I’m going to keep trying. Now that I’ve jumped the first hurdle, future submissions won’t be so hard.

That’s all from me, I’ll try and be a bit more frequent from now on.

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Today I read an article on news.com.au about breakup texts. You can see the article here:

Breakup Texts to Finish a Relationship For Good

After reading this, it inspired me to write this blog. My question to you is, is it wrong or is it okay to break up over text?

My opinion is this: I think it’s the cowardly way out. Many people today don’t like confrontation so rather than facing someone and saying ‘sorry this isn’t working out, I want to break up’ they go to other extremes to do it. It’s not just text messages either. Here are some other ways of breaking up that I’ve either witnessed or heard of:

 – Get a friend to tell your boyfriend / girlfriend instead then go into hiding.

 – Just stop talking to the person you want to break up with and ignore them all together.

 – Sleep with someone else and get purposely found out

Okay, seriously people it’s time to stop being such a wuss. If you’re really that disinterested in someone and want to end the relationship, do the decent thing and tell them to their face. There is nothing worse than going out with someone then they suddenly stop talking to you. You’re left confused and wondering what went wrong. Not to mention the confidence you once had being totally squashed.

This happened to me when I was 17. I was going out with a guy from school. He was my first ‘official’ boyfriend. I thought things were going well but then suddenly one day he just stopped talkingto me. If I tried to call around, his parents would say he wasn’t home. If I tried to phone him he wouldn’t answer. When I saw him at school, he ignored me. I had become nobody to him. And it bloody hurt. Then one day I heard he had another girlfriend. Yeah real smooth. It was like being kicked in the nuts… not that I have any but you get my gist.

And the worst part is, I never found out what went wrong. We did start talking again about six months later and I questioned him but he pretended to not hear me and it was never discussed. I gave up asking in the end, knowing full well I wouldn’t get an answer.

The same thing happened a few years later when I was around 21.

I wanted to know what went wrong. There is nothing worse than not knowing. I mean, what if I was a bad kisser or I just sucked at relationships? If I’m not told, how can I improve it for the next poor soul I go out with? Needless to say, I didn’t have another boyfriend after the last one at 21, until I was around 25. That was when I met the man who is now my husband. Somehow I did something right with him. But my confidence in relationships and with the opposite sex was low and I was petrified of doing something wrong. Even now, we’ve been married for nearly 5 years, I’m still petrified of doing something wrong because in the back of my mind I fear I’m going to make the same mistake I did all those years ago. Even though I don’t know what that mistake was.

But all I’m saying is, do the decent thing and break up properly. Talk about it, tell them what’s bothering you and what’s not working. Otherwise the other person is going to be left wondering what they did wrong and it is going to destroy every inch of their confidence.

Please don’t think I’m being sexist and writing this purely from a woman’s perspective. Yes I’m a woman and yes women react differently to this sort of thing. However, I know this sort of thing does happen to men and belive it or not, it ruins their confidence too. They just don’t tend to express their emotions as much.

All I’m saying is personally I don’t think it’s okay to break up over text. Nor do I think it’s okay to just suddenly ignore that person and never give answers. Men and women should all do the right thing and talk about what went wrong so they can both learn what not to do next time.

Does anyone else have opinions on this?

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Before I start, this is not a dig at anyone in particular. Everything in this is my personal opinion and I am not intending to cause offense to anyone.

Everyone has their own beliefs about Christmas. Some people celebrate it, others don’t. I fall into the latter and never have since I was born. I don’t miss it, if anything I’m relieved I don’t have the stress of it. That said, I don’t go around telling people they shouldn’t celebrate it just because I don’t. What they do is up to them and I respect that.

However, there are things that really annoy me about the Christmas season. And you know what? I’ve spoken to many people who are really into celebrating it and they agree with me.

Here are five things that annoy me about the Christmas season:

1. The stress of having to buy presents for everyone you know, friends, family, other long-distance relatives etc.

Even though I don’t celebrate Christmas, this is one thing that bugs me. I watch how stressed people get having to buy so many gifts, and in my eyes it defeats the purpose. After all, isn’t Christmas supposed to be about giving? If you really want to give people something, why stress about it? Relish in the happiness you get from buying them something you know they’re going to love. After all, ‘there’s more happiness in giving than in receiving’, right?

2. The financial burden Christmas puts on people

People feel they should spend big and they get into bigger debt as a result of it every year. And believe it or not, many of the receivers expect to get expensive gifts – iPads, new cars, holidays – just to name a few. If it’s supposed to be about giving then the receivers should be happy with whatever they get. Why expect so much?

3. The selfish people

Need I say more? When I go shopping, the shops are choc-a-block full of people and the majority of them are so selfish. All they want is to get the best bargains they can and barge through as many people as they can, not caring if they hurt or frustrate anyone. Hello! It’s not all about you!

4. The crazy drivers

This ties in to number three. People just want to get from one place to another as quickly as possible and they care about no one but themselves. This causes accidents, which then means more expense. Then you get them trying to shift the blame even though they were the ones in the wrong.

5. My biggest peeve… those who try to force people like me to celebrate Christmas

Hey, mate I don’t say you should stop celebrating it so the least I expect is the same sort of treatment from you. Please, don’t tell me what you think I should be doing. I don’t celebrate it, it’s that simple, and I’m not bothered by it so don’t go forcing your opinion down my throat. You will never change my mind, I promise.

As I said, these are my opinions based on what I have observed and I know other people who feel the same way. I will reiterate once more… I am not out to cause offense.

So now that I’ve spoken my mind, tell me, whether you’re a celebrator or if you’re not, is there anything else that annoys you about this time of year?

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