3

The Year of Positivity 

  
The first book I read this year was The Secret by Rhonda Bryne. The premise of the book is that we all have the power to have everything we want in life, we just need to ask the universe for it, believe we will get it and visualise already having it and then it will come. 

  
I struggle with being positive. It’s not easy to believe good things will happen when things are pretty rubbish in the present. I have decided then that my one New Year’s resolution is to be more positive. I’m going to believe that good things will happen this year and that I can achieve all my goals.

   
 I just bought this notebook to list all my dreams for the year. I am hoping for a healthy year this year for sure, and a happy one. I have a lot of writing goals I’d like to achieve, namely a new book deal. I am excited to fill the blank pages in and to see if I can bring these goals to life. Oops, I need to say I will bring them to life, not just try to!

  
It’s a sentiment I seem time and time again in inspiring quotes shares around the Internet. The power of thinking, dreaming, and believing. Being positive that you will do what you want to do. It’s not easy to train your mind to move away for negative thoughts, from thinking your dreams are impossible or that other people have be more success than you’ll ever have. I don’t know if the universe will grant me my wishes but I do know that being focused on what I want to achieve and not letting me, and negative thoughts, hold myself back can’t fail to help.

  
I am naming 2017 as The Year Of Positivity. Do you have any advice for me on how to stay positive? Post in the comments!

Victoria

xoxo 

4

Books read July – December 2016

Earlier last year I posted all the books I had read during the first six months of the year and chose my favourite six (https://victoria-writes.com/2016/07/07/books-read-january-june-2016/) so here is what I read in the second half of the year:

  
  
  
  
  
My six favourites from July to December were:

  
I love Colleen Hoover’s books. I’m always gripped straight away and there’s always a twist to her love stories, often a dark one. 

  
A dark coming-of-age book about two teenage girls who have an intense friendship which spirals out of control. Absorbing and unsettling. Also set in the 1990’s which I loved.

  
A book about a group of friends who are leaving university. We follow them through their lives and the twists and turns of their friendship. A great summer read. 

  
A moving story of a couple who make a decision that will carry many consequences. Set on a remote island where they tend the lighthouse, I was gripped quickly and was left with tears in my eyes.

  
This book started out with a lot of similarities to Twilight except that this is about witchcraft but then the story came into its own and had a great twist leaving me wanting to read the sequel immeadiately. 

  
I loved this true life story of a man whose life was changed by a ginger cat. It’s an easy and moving read and left me with a big smile on my face. I then read the next two books and bought a Bob calendar haha!!

What books stood out for you in 2016? Anything you’d recommend I put on my reading list for this year?

Victoria 

xoxo 

6

Storytellers

  
I keep seeing memes online about the disaster that has been 2016. It really has felt like a year of ups and downs across the world. It seems a lot of us are looking forward to rolling over into the New Year soon.

This year my debut novel was published and I have been so grateful for all the support I’ve had from readers. Getting a message from someone saying they loved your book is the most amazing thing. Something I wrote connected with someone else. All I ever wanted was for someone to fall in love with a story I had written, as I have done so many times as a reader. Thank you so much everyone who has been in touch about the book, and everyone who picked it up in the first place! 

I love to write and I hope that I get to have another story out in the world one day soon. You’ll be the first to know when I do! It’s hard to have self belief as a writer particularly when you don’t set the bestseller charts on fire. It’s easy to doubt yourself at any stage of your journey I think. I wish I had a magic wand to wipe away all our doubts. All I can do, all us writers can do, is keep on telling our stories the only way we know how to do. And, hopefully, people will connect with them. 

The last few months have been a struggle as I’ve been ill and am hoping now my overactive thyroid is being treated I will soon be feeling more like myself. It’s been difficult to write when I’ve felt so out of sorts but it’s also been a way to take my mind off it all. 

I never want to lose my love of storytelling. I think you can get lost in worrying about publishing and achieving your goals whether they are getting an agent or a book deal or something else, but there’s really no point. We have very little control over anything other than our stories. So that’s what I’m going to be focusing on next year. 

Telling stories. 

  
I am looking forward to Christmas and I’m not going to lie am hoping that 2017 will be a healthier and a happier one. For ALL of us! 

Lots of love to everyone,

Victoria 

xoxo 

2

Becoming a sensible writer 

This blog has been rather neglected of late. The past couple of months I’ve been feeling poorly and one thing that’s been getting me down has been shoulder and neck pain. And I think the culprit is writing. I have been a naughty writer – sitting at the dining room table or on the sofa or even in bed with my laptop and it’s taken its toll on my body.

So I decided I have to be sensible and change my writerly ways. I have invested in a desk and chair along with a laptop stand and separate keyboard and mouse in the hopes I can ease my aches and pains and stop them from getting any worse. 

Finally, I can do a desk selfie:

  
I love my new writer corner and can’t wait to put it use. Fingers crossed it helps me feel better and produces a bestseller. I might be pinning too many hopes on a piece of furniture but it’s good to dream big, right?!

Where do you write? Share your desk selfies with us in the comments!

Victoria 

xoxo 

2

Do you care who an author is? 

There has been a fierce debate about  whether authors should be as well known as their work after an American journalist claimed to have discovered the true identity of the author using the penname Elena Ferrante. 

  
The author has always guarded their real name and has spoken about wanting the books to speak for themselves. I don’t agree with the article that claims to unmask her. If she wants to remain private, this should be respected. 

Why is there a need to know the author behind the books?

Nowadays authors are expected to be public. Authors are key to the promotion of their books we are told. We should have Twitter accounts and be open to book signings, readings, attending festivals etc. Because it’s so difficult in a crowded market for a book to stand out, authors are encouraged to shout about it themselves. But does knowing an author’s face, background and favourite books make you enjoy their novels even more?

I think books do speak for themselves. Obviously as a writer myself, I am interested in hearing other writers talk about their craft but knowing more about them wouldn’t make me enjoy their book more or less. It can be a bonus sure to converse with a writer you love, and fun to get your book signed by them, but still it’s their book that brought you to them in the first place.

And you can be successful without self-promotion. Look at Elena Ferrante or Suzanne Collins whose Hunger Games series is huge but I know almost nothing about her and she has no social media presence. 

Is it a myth that a more accessible author can make a book more successful? 

I think it comes back to the book itself and whether it connects with readers. Awareness of a book is key, adverts can make it more visible but I don’t think interviews or appearances by an author can make a huge difference. I think if an author enjoys doing them, that’s great, and I personally have loved meeting readers but if you don’t want to do that then you should be allowed to remain private.

We all want readers to connect to our books. Whether you use your real name or a penname, that should be all that matters.

Do you think she should have been unmasked? Should authors be public figures?

Victoria

xoxo 

2

A Writer’s Life 

  
Possibly one of the most famous quotes on writing and fairly typical. Whenever I search for quotes on writing it seems that we are supposed to find writing painful, torturous and impossible. We are meant to consume copious amounts of coffee and alcohol. We are meant to shut out the world and sit in darkened rooms writing all night. 

But how do we actually do this when we have jobs and families to juggle alongside our writing. I think the question I’ve been asked the most about writing is: How do you balance the rest of your life with it? How do you fit writing in? How can you have a good work / life balance when you’re a writer? 

I do think our worries come from all the quotes we’re fed about writing. We’re told we must suffer for our art. Writing tips consist of ‘you must write everyday to consider yourself a writer’ but is this actually possible with you have a day job / a family to look after / both these things?

I would love to write full time but at the moment that’s impossible so like most writers I try to fit in writing when I can. I haven’t been feeling well lately and I’ve felt stressed and had difficulty sleeping. I’ve told myself off for not wanting to write, for not being focused enough on it, for having days off from writing anything.

But the thing is – we do need to look after ourselves. Sitting in a dark room writing all night with coffee and alcohol isn’t good for us. I think we should be trying to achieve that work / life balance and not tell ourselves if it isn’t hurting us, if it’s not a constant struggle, then it isn’t ‘real’ writing. 

I want to love writing. Sometimes I want to write all day everyday and sometimes I need to have a break. And I think that’s okay. I think we all need that sometimes. 

Why can’t we give ourselves permission to enjoy being writers alongside everything else we have going on in our lives? 

  
What do you think? 

Victoria 

xoxo

1

My Favourite Book

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is my all-time favourite book. I have lost count how many times I’ve re-read it and watched the BBC adaptation! I love it so much I just can’t help but buy new editions of it when I spot them.

I just saw this new edition from Macmillan, and nabbed it. I love the gold edges to the paper and its miniature size:

  
It joins my large and rather fancy White’s edition:
   
 And then my Penguin paperback for when I actually want to read it and not just admire on the shelf:

  
I picked up this one this year from Waterstones and it’s a lovely black leather hardback:

  
This caught my eye and had to be added to the collection! There are some lovely pictures to colour alongside quotes from the book:

   
 
I love how there are so many ways to package one book! I think I’ll always be drawn to new editions of this book and it will need a whole shelf to itself soon. 

  
Do you buy new editions of your favourite book? Is there another edition of Pride and Prejuduce I should have?

Victoria

xoxo