NanoWriMo, Writing journey

Research, Motivation and of course a Cup of Tea

For those who follow or know me it is no secret my MC, Willow like me loves tea. However, unlike me, Willow has taken her love of this delicious drink to the extreme and has studied, worked with, and lives for the perfect brew.

As I research her backstory and personality I’ve found myself longing to walk amongst the rows of tea bushes in Shenzhen, Guangdong. Wishing I could visit Tong Xin Tea House, who I discovered on Instagram.

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On April 28, Jake and I set out from 8 a.m. in Shenzhen and arrived at Wuyi Mountain safely at 9 p.m. The 13-hour long journey was very hard but very happy. On the morning of 29, we went to the hotel to find J who arrived at Wuyi Mountain in advance. We started our journey in Wuyi Mountain. We tasted Bian Rou in the morning, drove into my tea garden and tea factory for about an hour, and arrived at the tea factory with Ja. Ke and J visited our tea garden and tea factory. In the afternoon, we went to the mountain to make tea. Everything was ready. After tasting Rou Gui and Da Hong Pao in 2013, the sky suddenly began to rain heavily. Finally, three of us were soaked into soup chickens. The heavy rain did not affect our mood. We walked happily in the rain and enjoyed the magical power of nature. We drove to Tongmuguan on April 30 at 10:00 a.m. It took us two hours to get to Tongmuguan from downtown. The road was rugged. We arrived at Tongmuguan at 12:00 p.m. smoothly and safely. We enjoyed the delicious food in the mountains at noon. After lunch, we went to Tongmuguan's brother's tea garden and the tea factory to visit the process of black tea picking and making. The scenery along the way was beautiful. We picked tea in the tea mountain at 1200 meters above sea level. Ye is very hard, every leaf is hard-won, return to Wuyishan city in the afternoon, every day is very full, J, will return to Shenzhen tomorrow, my trip with Jake is continuing. 🙏 .#looseleaftea#teaddict#gongfucha#chinatea#teaset#gongfutea#tetitas#breakfast #organic #cascara #cake #cat #dress#morning#morningtea#green#cupoftea #flowers #茶道 #sencha#shenzhen #lovetea #yixing #tealove #茶 #oolongtea #tea #chinesetea #koreanceramics

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There are many inspirational places I would like to visit and enjoy the full sensory experience rather than using photos or videos as prompts. Some are not as far-flung as India or Nashville, Tennessee where the unique High Garden Tea House and Potion Parlour are; I would love to visit Twinings at The Strand which has been there for 300 years or have afternoon tea at Betty’s Tea Room in Harrogate.

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The discovery of an UK Tea Academy, where you can train to be a tea Sommelier, made my nerves tingle with excitement. What an experience that would be and would give me a deeper insight into Willow’s world.

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The possibilities where her story could go are endless and I want to explore them all but then with a click of a mouse, reality bites. The ability to research to that depth requires funds only a fledgling penniless duvet dwelling paperback writer can dream of and as it stands, is it crucial to this WIP to experience them first hand? Probably not but it has given me the motivation to keep writing, and to keep dreaming of success because one day if I decide to write about a character on safari in Africa, I may just be able to experience it first-hand.

Time for a cup of tea made in the pot and write.

Happy writing!

Love

Kate Kenzie's Blog

P.S. All these places are now firmly etched on my bucket list and if they get ticked off, you will be the first to know.

Writing journey

Hello March, Where Did February Go?

 

 

March has arrived. The daffodils are blooming and there are signs of green on the hedgerows. Looking back it has been more than a month since my last proper post. I know February  is a short month but the speed it flew by was ridiculous. The last few weeks have been devoted to self-care because I discovered ignoring tingling in your fingers and arms, which began during NaNoWriMo, was not a good idea. It only leads to your arms feeling like you are attached to an electricity pylon every time you pick up a pen or type. Prevention is better than cure. Has it enforced abstinence from writing helped? Not at all, when dystonia likes to cause problems it does not relent easily. Not being able to type on demand is frustrating because I have been trapped in an endless scenario of perfectly worded sentences flowing in my head without a release except for a few unsatisfactory notes. It is true you don’t realise the joy of something until it is gone. Writing group meetings and cake have also been skipped. I have not been a happy writer.

In desperation Dragon Anywhere, the voice recognition app was tried again. My first attempt of using it was discussed here. The short story dictated was encouragingly accurate. Thanks to some wonderful people who I will be forever grateful, the full version of Dragon has flown on to my laptop. Words have been added to my MS word count;  a new way of writing has begun. The software needs training, laptop teething problems need solving and new neural pathways need to be formed but I have renewed determination to finish both my WIPs. Dystonia will not win.

Current Word Counts

The Ellfanian Journals: 48, 106

Willow’s Tale: 62,999

How has your month been?

Happy writing!

Love

Kate Kenzie's Blog

 

 

 

writing with a chronic illness
Writing journey

Writing With Chronic Illness – Madeleine Dyer’s advice

 

 

Today I am sharing a wonderful guest post written by Madeleine Dyer, author of Untamed, for the Book Lovers Blog. As a writer with a chronic illness her advice is invaluable. I wish I had read it earlier so I would not have beaten myself up so much for struggling to write after an epic November and times fatigue takes over so no words are added to my WIP. I am terrible at comparing myself to other writers, they achieve more than I despite working full time, and looking after young children but I need to remember having a chronic illness can be a full time job and if I don’t practise self care nothing will be achieved.

 

 

In this month’s Writing Magazine a reader wrote into the helpline section for advice on writing with chronic fatigue. Her friends suggested maybe she should stop writing. I hope she continues to write because it helps with mental health and is a wonderful form of escapism. I also hope she finds her tribe to help her on her writing journey as I have. The writing community on social media especially Twitter and FaceBook is strong and mainly supportive. Many writers have health conditions which impact their lives and are willing to share tips and advice. I may work on my WIP and stories alone but writing is no longer an insular hobby. There is always someone to talk to, bounce ideas off or laugh with online. I am grateful for Turtlewriters on Twitter whose quotes and encouragement always help on bad days and the Fiction Cafe Writers. If it was not for them I would not have known about the RNA and the New Writers Scheme.

Writers can be found using the following hashtags #spooniewriters #writingcommunity #FictionCafeWriters #turtlewriters #5amwritersclub (If you are awake then)

If you have a chronic illness how do pace yourself with writing or do you have any tips? Feel free to share below.

Thank you Madeline for sharing your thoughts.

Love

Kate Kenzie's Blog

 

bookloversblog

Hi guys! I’m so excited about today’s post, because I actually didn’t write it (except this introduction)! As you can see from the title at the top, this is my first ever guest post for BookLoversBlog, a super exciting step for me and one that I hope can continue because I love getting to connect with other bloggers and writers and have them share their experiences, there is such a wide world of writers out there with different experiences to mine and I want to make sure that is reflected in this feature. 

Which brings me quite nicely onto today’s topic. Madeline Dyer is a YA writer, who has several chronic illnesses, so when she suggested writing a guest post about her experiences of writing with chronic illness, I thought it was a great idea. I hope that any of my followers who are also writers with chronic illness find…

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Writing journey

Romance and writing is in the air

This year has begun with exciting news; I have been given a funded place on the New Writers Scheme with the Romantic Novelists’ Association. I can’t believe it and keep having to read the confirmation email to remind myself it is real. A big goofy grin appeared when I read the membership pack signed by Katie Fforde – yes, the Katie Fforde whose books line my mum-in-laws bookcase after I have read them – the Queen of Romance novels. I do not know who sponsored me, but I am very grateful. This chance feels like a big step in making my writing more than words on my screen and into a reality where others may read them. Last years’ luck of winning NaNoWriMo coaching gave me a confidence kick and a chunk of a WIP which has a romantic thread suitable for the RNA which enabled me to apply. I think the Gratitude Jar I started last week will be full of good memories by the end of 2019.

A jar full of memories

Nerves have kicked in. I doubt finances or health will allow me to join many events they offer but one event I would love to attend is the writing conference with workshops and talks. Fancy me being in a room of authors, editors and publishers. It is mind-blowing. I have highlighted it on my wish list. I just need the rail companies to sort themselves out, become co-ordinated with their times and change the rules to allow a small scooter on board so I can get there.

Thank you to Fiction Cafe Writers and Viola Bleu for telling me about the scheme.

Time to get writing as I have a novel to finish – gulp and a new adventure to begin.

Love

Kate Kenzie's Blog

Bye bye 2018 and hello 2019
Just life, Writing journey

Bye Bye 2018, Hello to a new writing year

After a very quiet Christmas, 2019 is insight and it is time to say goodbye to 2018. This year has been emotionally difficult but I have survived thanks to my writing. I am looking forward to starting a fresh page in the chapter of my life.

Farewell to my 2018 goals

Looking at the plans I made in January’s post there are some which will roll over into 2019.

  • I am still disorganised, with notes in different places but they are more contained and with a new planner  I am hopeful I can change.
  •  the first draft  for The Elfaenian Journals has not been finished because I got sidelined by Willow’s story. On the plus side,  it does not hide in a dusty file on my PC forgotten but always in my thoughts. By writing Willow’s world, it is evolving too.
  • a visit to Whitby for a research and chips is still needed

But I did achieve some.

 

  • I met up with the delightful Jennifer Gilmour for a hot chocolate after speaking to her online.
  • I have written more book reviews on From Under The Duvet – Books, Cards and a Wobbly Life, the new name for Duvet Dweller Books and made sure I added them on Goodreads and Amazon.
  • I have read books on writing and learnt lots from talking to the writing community on Twitter and Facebook

Other things I did this year which surprised me were:

  •  winning books for my book shelf and TBR in Twitter competitions
  • starting a new project with my favourite character so far Willow Anderson
  • completing NaNoWriMo thanks to winning coaching with the lovely Megg Geri

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The aim for 2019 is simple –  write, read and enjoy.

Happy New Year.

Love

Kate Kenzie's Blog

 

P.S Percy is still alive

NanoWriMo, Writing journey

Lessons learnt from being a NaNoWriMo Winner

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December is here and NaNoWriMo is over for another year. After succeeding in writing 50,000 words – yes I did it if did not already know – I thought I would reflect back on what I have learnt.

  • The main one is I can surpass my own expectations with the support of others and determination.
  • I can prove naysayers wrong.
  • I can not emphasise the importance of support from others. Having people behind you, believing in you when you do not believe in yourself gets you through the slumps and allows you to celebrate the highs. I can not thank those who have been with me enough, especially my daughter for the endless cups of tea and encouragement.
  • Accountability is an important factor. If I had not had Megg Geri checking in to see how I was doing, expecting 2000 words daily – not achieved often – I would have faltered in week two. Words would have fizzled out and  I would have given up. On days when only were written 200 words by lunchtime and I was tired, grumpy or dystonia was giving me a hard time, before I would have said “that will do”. Not wanting to disappoint Megg I would go back in the evening and write some more, sometimes surprising myself with the amount or content.
  • Rewards matter! Knowing I could buy a Kindle book if I completed 10,000 words spurred me on because I needed Justin Cronin’s The Passage trilogy. The reward of a coffee and catch up with a friend on a Friday if I survived the week gave me the boost I needed at times too. Thank you, Kris and Jennifer.
  • An excel spreadsheet was my best friend towards the end. Seeing my percentage progress on the screen helped me push through the last 10,000 words.
  • I discovered I am more of an evening writer than morning one. Ideas are better in the morning but bulk writing is an evening thing.
  •  Dialogue between characters when it comes to you must be captured and written down. Trying to think of dialogue in front of a blank screen is useless, for me it has to come organically from the players, usually when half asleep or doing something boring not related to writing.
  • Writing daily is a joy (except on  “I can’t do this” days) and routine matters.
  • It is amazing what gets done if people leave you alone to do it. My writing room became my haven. The writing room is also known as the spare box/junk room with a bureau squeezed in just in case I am seen as pretentious as in the J.K Rowling and Arron Banks row.
  • It is hard mentally. It pushes you to work beyond tiredness, life experiences and forces you to give priority to writing. As a mum and wife this was one of the hardest things. Putting myself first rather than others is not natural for me but they are old enough to look after themselves. I am in awe of people who can do it with a young family, work and other responsibilities.
  • I can get through the slumps to get to a better place.
  • It has pushed my health to its limit. I think I have got a way with it. I’m not in hospital which has happened before when I have pushed myself too far but I rattle more with more pills, have accumulated more consultants this last month and slept for seemingly days since Nano has finished. Is the pain payback worth it? Yes but I’m glad it is over. I could not keep the intensity up in the long run.
  • I need to get my head around dictating, my hands, well hand as I am a one handed sometimes one fingered typist, is painful and is on the verge of going on strike.
  • Knowing your characters well helps, but it is great when they throw surprises and unexpected ones turn up.
  • I love writing and need to continue. Having a few days off I miss it.
  • I can achieve when I believe.

Now I need to finish the draft so the joy of editing can begin.

Did you do NaNoWriMo?

What did you learn, I would love to know?

Happy writing.