Hello everyone, I hope you are doing well. I thought I would come on here and discuss something I have recently come to realise. I have always been a firm activist for the preservation of physical books. They, in my humble opinion, are superior in many ways. I love feeling the weight of a book, as it reminds me that these words came from someone’s imagination. A book makes them feel real. I have many more reasons as to why I prefer reading books, but that’s a completely different blog post.
Recently, I’ve found it increasingly difficult to pick up a book. The motivation to do so has been laying dormant somewhere inside me. But the desire and urge to read remained. I’ve been focussing most of my time on academic reading for my degree, of which has left me devoid of motivation for recreational reading.
I’m an Amazon Prime customer and am constantly bombarded with Audible advertisements, offering me 2 free credits for any audio books of my choosing. As I mentioned earlier I haven’t read a book in some time, so I decided to try Audible. I chose a book that interested me and decided I would try to fall asleep while listening to it. My only experience with audio books would be when I used an app that read soft sleep stories, in soothing hushed tones that lull you to sleep. I quickly realised this experience was vastly different. The voices were very expressive and demanded to be heard. I ended up listening to 5 hours of the book without realising it.
I finished the audio book and swiftly selected my second free title. I was equally as drawn in to the story as I was with the first one. I am very shocked to have enjoyed it so much.
It has definitely helped me reinvigorate the motivation to read again. Almost. To be fair to myself, I have been writing more recently which is a positive thing.
Anyway I hope you enjoyed this little post, it’s a lot less serious than a lot of my other posts recently.
I haven’t written a post just having a chat in a little while. I have been in writing mode for a while and have enjoyed getting my creative juices flowing.
However, I’ve found that it is proving very hard to read AND write at the same time. You see, I have been working on 3 short stories as well as my current WIP recently. This has come after having a break from writing as I had a lot of Uni work on. But somehow I still managed to read quite a few books and short stories while still doing uni work. I’m not sure how to balance both?
I’ve picked up a few books and read the first few chapters and each time proceeded to slam it down with frustration. Nothing is gripping me and I’m wondering if that is due to me being so invested in my own stories. It’s as though everything else doesn’t quite evoke the same feelings as my own.
I would like to think this is a good thing, but I miss reading. Yet I can’t bring myself to power through more than a couple of chapters.
I have been reading a lot of short stories here on WordPress, does that count?
I also quickly wanted to mention the current mismatched style of my blog. As I still consider myself a newbie blogger, I feel like I’m experimenting with what I want to post. I still love everything I’ve shared and hope the eclectic style is not distracting or off putting.
Anyway, ramble over. If you have any tips on how to balance writing with reading, please leave a comment!
So who is Jen? Who is the author behind this blog? The part-time poet? The part-time writer? The part-time Blogger? Yes, yes, yes and… Yes.
I see myself as all of the above, but there is more to me than that. I reluctantly shared a short extract from my current WIP of which I refer to as “Project Delilah”. After sharing and posting it, I came to a realisation. Although I have an “About The Author” page on my blog, it is only there as a temporary measure. I do believe it is important for anybody who may be interested in my work, to know a bit more about me and why I have decided to start blogging, as well as my motivations to write in general.
I can’t expect anyone to be invested in my work, without knowing more about me.
Hello There, My Name’s Jenny
So, my full name is Jenny Lee-Kearns. My last name is a double-barrel name from both my mum and dad. I love my name as I am pretty sure I am the only Jenny Lee-Kearns alive (well, my search on Facebook came up empty so that’s close enough, right?) My middle name is Maureen, as an ode to my great grandmother who sadly died the year before I was born. It also helps me feel a little more connected to my Irish roots.
I am 23 years old and am trying to complete my BA (Hons) Sociology and Criminology degree. I started this degree in 2014 and am still yet to graduate. This is due to some unforeseen circumstances of which seem to come up almost every year. I am determined to finish and come out with a high grade as I am more than capable of it.
I have always been interested in crime, criminals and especially serial murder. Any type of crimes that involve complex methodologies, piques my interest. In sixth form I wrote a 6000 word mini dissertation in which I posed the question of: “Is serial murder solely a psychological issue?” Spoiler: It is far more complex than that!
Creative Writing > Academic Writing
Although I love my course, I do have a greater love for creative writing. Not dissimilar to other writers, I have filled up countess notebooks since a very young age, with stories, poems and sometimes even drafts of novels.
My most memorable attempt was during my early teens, in which I bought a 250 page Pukka Pad and decided to handwrite my book that was inspired by Darren Shan’s Cirque Du Freak. I called it, “The Nightwalkers”. I dedicated it to my primary school teacher who was the first to recognise and nurture my flair for creative writing.
There is something about academic writing that is restricting. You need to stick to the facts, figures, statistics and specific terminology. However, all writing is writing. All writing is practice.
The Big Write
I had a wonderful Year 6 teacher, inspiring, encouraging and strong. She told me to dedicate my first book to her and that is a promise I intend to keep.
My love for writing really began to flourish once she become my teacher. She created an initiative called “The Big Write”. Every Friday after 1st break, some students would stay behind to prepare the classroom. The blinds would be closed, the lights dimmed and electric candles and bowls of dried fruit were placed in the middle of the tables. Soothing concentration music hummed quietly in the background. On the table sat a brief for us. It could say anything from, the first line of our story as a writing prompt, to instructions of the format we should write in. Every Friday the prompts changed and we created unique stories, letters, diary entries or even pamphlets from the same few lines.
We would write in silence from the minute we sat down, for the next hour and a half. I remember feeling like it was never enough time. Ideas were born from other ideas, characters forming before my eyes. Our teacher and the lovely teaching assistants would walk around reading over our shoulder. If they felt what you had just written was interesting, well written or impressive, we were told to take a piece of dried fruit. It was like a message to our peers that we have talent. As a child, your pride is huge and it would encourage us to carry on writing the best that we can.
Our teacher helped us create “portfolios” of all of our stories. By the end of the year, we each had a portfolio filled with 36 short stories. My teacher wanted to expand the initiative to other schools after she successfully implemented it within our entire primary school. She chose a handful of the best portfolios (including mine) and showcased them to other schools in the local area. I have always wanted to re-read these stories but unfortunately I never received them back.
Unfortunately I found out she passed away nearly 2 years ago. It was heartbreaking to know, she will never read the book I am writing. She will never read my dedications page and see just how much she inspired me. Her unwavering belief in me is what is driving me to continue on this journey.
I Dedicate This Book To…
Of course, I shall be dedicating my book to Ms. S. But there is another kind soul I shall be sharing the honour with.
My grandad. He was my hero, my saviour and my inspiration. He was the most hardworking, funny, loving and annoying grandad a girl could ever ask for. I am so thankful for him and I genuinely would not be alive today if he wasn’t there. He was my rock when I needed strength and my clown when I needed to laugh.
There is so much more I could say about him, however it is still very hard to talk about him without asking why? Why was he taken from me? I don’t know. I will never stop needing him or missing him.
What I do know is, all I can do is try my best to make him proud. I can hear him say “Stop crying girl. You know I love ya don’t ya?” He would be so happy to see my writing this blog. I am such a shy person with a lot of paranoia. I have never fit in and doubt I ever will. I just want to finish my book and as my grandad would say “You’re the boss Jen” and he is right.
If You Made It This Far
I hope this gives you a little bit more of an insight into who I am.
I realised that is has been over a week since the birth of my blog, and I am yet to update you on the book I have been writing for the past 8 months.
I started this blog to hold myself accountable and to document my journey with finally writing a book from start to finish. So that’s what I’m going to start today. Right now.
I remember being around 9 when my teacher began encouraging my creativity through short stories. Ms. Sentkovsky has always been my main motivator.
The moment I decided I wanted to be an author replays in my mindseye whenever I feel a niggle of doubt attempting to poison my positive mindset. Ms. Sentkovsky came to me during break time with tears streaming from her eyes. I thought something awful had happened and I still remember my stomach dropping and the awful feeling of dread that took over. She took me aside and in her hands was a story I had written about a WWII solider named Thomas Clarke. This character was based off of my great great grandad, who was a solider in WWII. I had gathered information on him, who he was, how he spoke and what he looked like. I used him as the basis of my short story I had written for my teacher. My teacher finally told me, her tears were happy tears, proud tears and inspired tears. That was the day she told me, so definitively “Jenny, when you publish your first book, you better dedicate it to me!”
I have known since that encounter, that this is what I want to do. It is the only thing I can envisage myself doing for the rest of my life. Even if I fail a thousand times before I succeed. I will dedicate this book to you Ms. Sentkovsky.
So, I am around a third of the way through my first ever novel. It is a psychological thriller and I have just over 22,000 words. I aim to get around 80,000 total.
I do believe this story has trilogy potential, however if by the time I’ve completed it I feel the story has been told and has finished, I am okay with that.
Writing a psychological thriller is difficult as it requires a lot of problem solving in terms of the plot making sense; while still maintaining that element of confusion until all the pieces come together.
I’m not sure how much to talk about, so if anybody is interested it knowing more about my story, please let me know in the comments!
Left alone again
While colours and patterns consume you
Sweet dreams and hope settle around your slumbering body
While I am tormented by my mind
Black butterflies invade my churning stomach
While I look upon my sleeping love
Not a single dream appears to be of me
While I doubt and doubt and doubt
Not you, but me
While the sting of hot tears briefly warms my raw skin
Where are you? Where are you?
While I handle this sharp blade
Contemplating, longing for a different sting
While I try to push the evil aside
The anger, oh this anger is raging inside
While I pull my hair hoping for relief
Left alone again
I have just started my blog to document my writing journey! I would never go as far to say I am a poet, but I do dabble in poetry now and again. I only…