Monday, 8 December 2014

Last Post I Think

I know I've been MIA for a long time. So here's a brief explanation.

I got sick over the summer holidays and spent some time in hospital and then started my final year of university in September. I've been very busy.

And I no longer write. I still read but I no longer write so I'm no longer going to be posting on here since the aim of this blog was to be a writer blog. I'll keep the posts up for now but might delete them or make the blog private in the future. And I'll be starting another blog soon but for now, I don't think I'll be blogging much.

Last of all, thanks to everyone who's ever read this blog.

:D

Monday, 5 May 2014

04.5.14 - My Week In Review

Sorry I'm a day late. And this will have to be really short.

So my word count for this week was 850 words which was a bummer but I've been working hard on my coursework so I guess it's justified.

So I'm going back to university this week and I have my last exam on the 6 June which is exciting because then I get like 4 months off to write blog posts and get work experience. Although the work experience is kind of dead at the moment.

I've been happy with the blog recently. It's nice to finally be blogging on a regular basis again. I've missed it.

I haven't been able to do much reading and have pretty much disconnected from the world so the post is going to have to end here.

Have a lovely week everyone!

Kamille.

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

How To Be More Productive

A few weeks ago, I remembered how back in 2009 or 2010, I managed to write around 12,000 words in a single day. Mind you, this was during the holidays and I was younger so didn't have very many commitments.

I eventually gave that name a day. Yes, I named a day.

I call it Epic Day of the 12k.

And I came up with that name when I was in the shower.

I spent a total of 9-10 hours writing that day. I was tired after it and had a lot of rubbish but I was proud of myself.

Since then, I've tried doing it again it but it's so hard. The highest I've managed since then is 7k which is still pretty huge. And I noticed a few months ago that even if I set aside an hour for writing, I'll only spend a small portion of that time writing and only manage a few hundred words. I spend too much time on the internet.

So I'm now undertaking the task of figuring out how to increase productivity levels and write more and I think I have it figured.

Get necessary things out of the way. If something really needs to be done, like make lunch or call up your mobile network, do it first. Then you can focus on your work without things nagging you.

Plan for distractions. Unless you can find a sound proof room with nothing but you and whatever you need to get your task done, there are going to be distractions. Especially if your task requires internet access or a way to communicate with anything in the outside world. So make sure you know what your distractions are and find a way to deal with them

For example, if you need to write a paper and need to use the internet, your distraction will be e-mail and social networking and well, the whole world wide web so block all the offending sites that you won't need.

Another way to deal with distractions is to allow yourself to get distracted by them. For every 25 minutes of work you do, allow yourself to get distracted during a 5 minute break. This requires so much self-control.

What I like to do is to load all of the pages I need on the internet and then I disconnect so I can't look at anything else.

Organise your time. For example, if you have six hours to finish your paper or story or whatever you're working on, take a piece of paper out and draw a graph on it, a bit like this.




What needs to be done?
Have the tasks been completed?
Hour 1
Make a plan for essay

Hour 2
Gather research for essay

Hour 3
Write body of essay

Hour 4
Write introduction and conclusion

Hour 5
Insert references

Hour 6
Proofread



Or you can do this in a word processor.

This will help you know what needs to be done. If the task hasn't been completed then write it down in the third column and then edit the second column for what extra stuff needs to be done.

It doesn't matter if you don't finish everything during the slotted time. Just make you're keeping track of things. If you keep track you're less likely to get lost.

Have a single, clear goal in mind. I know some people suggest splitting your goals down into more achievable goals but you also need your ultimate goal so you are actually working towards something. I always like to have 2 or 3 smaller goals (sometimes more) and then my single goal. I write the single goal down on a post it note and I stick it somewhere on the wall or desk so I can see it clearly. Thus, every time I get off track, I know I need to get working again. This just reminds me of what I'm working towards.

Have a reward/punishment system. Okay, I don't mean literal punishment like a whip or something. I mean something that you aren't too happy about. It could either be eating vegetables or throwing away something you like.

I tend to have chocolates or ice cream for a reward and for punishment, I have to listen to a Law lecture on YouTube for 5 minutes.

You can use whatever system you want. Just make sure your reward is simple, like a cupcake and your reward can't be something like watch television or internet surf. Your reward cannot be a distraction or have the potential for distraction. Also, your punishment needs to be something which you really don't like and it also cannot be a distraction. I find YouTube lectures fairly helpful. They're dull and when my 5 minutes are up, I really don't want to continue.

Don't work in your bedroom. This is pretty much only an option if you have another option. I live with my family and so my bedroom is the only place I can work without be disturbed. I can go to the university library but then I'd have to travel to get there and I'd rather not waste time on trains.

Local libraries are a good idea but I personally find them too distracting. And I end up leaving early anyway. And when your library is right next to a bright, new cafe, it's even more distracting.

Do not have your mobile phone next to you. They're so small and yet there's so much on there that can be a distraction. I often find myself going through all my old photos so I make sure I keep my mobile away from myself that I have to go up to get it. I'm lazy so even if it rings, I just leave it. Lol.

Plan for failure/disaster. Don't allow yourself to fail or walk into the disaster but make sure you have some options if you fail such as continuing for an extra hour or asking your professor for an extension if possible. You might have to do an all-nighter. If you're studying, you may have to do one of these. They aren't fun but when they're necessary it's not that bad. Just keep snacks and drinks with you.

Just don't aim for failure/disaster. Otherwise your productivity is going to be bleurgh.

Reward yourself after. With anything. A day out shopping. Going to the beach. Going to a theme park. Holidays. Anything you want. But if you don't complete your task, don't reward yourself.

And finally, avoid too much pressure. Unless you work well under pressure. If you feel you're under too much pressure, get up, walk around, do something random and return to working when you feel better.



So I hoped this helped. And I would also like to point out that writing 12k in a day is insane and I wouldn't advise it. Most of those words were terrible, just saying.

Kamille.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

27.4.14 - My Week In Review

I'm ill so this is going to be really really short.

I wrote just over 4000 words this year which is a bit less than my previous weeks. And most of it was freewriting.

I also wrote a fairly long post for this blog but I still need to edit it so it should be up sometime next week.

Not done much reading. Most of it was about folklore. And Law.

Most Memorable Moment: My newphew's birthday.
Favourite video: I always loved this scene!
Favourite song: Within Temptation ft Xzibit - And We Run


So how was your week? Please feel free to leave a comment.

Hope you have a lovely week ahead!

Kamille.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

20.4.14 - My Week In Review

This is going to have to be short.

I wrote nearly 7000 words this week and that brings my total of my novel to nearly 20,000. I've had plot nightmares this week so I don't know where I'm going with the novel.

I'm still reading Bloodlines by Richelle Mead. I'm quite liking it. And I didn't even pick up Half Bad by Sally Green.

And I've been ignoring my coursework but I won't really go into that.

In terms of productivity, it's been my worst week ever. I'm not going to comment about that.

Most Memorable Moment: Having a BBQ.
Favourite Video: This video has some swearing in it. Just to let you know.
Favourite Song:
This also has some swearing in it. But it pretty much summed up every feeling I've had this week.
Favourite News Article: 'Frightening' Robot Toilet Exposing Women In Woking Town Centre' 

Hope you all had a lovely week!

Sunday, 13 April 2014

13.4.14 - My Week In Review

Hello again everyone!

So this has been a very weird week. I've been off university which is a godsend. I'm tired of studying.

I've not done much reading (unless you count university reading). I still haven't made any other progress on reading Half Bad by Sally Green. The book is just sitting there on my bookshelf. I did pick up a Princess Diaries book (by Meg Cabot) because I was bored and I started reading Bloodlines by Richelle Mead but I'm only on Chapter 2. I only read the first and second Vampire Academy books but I'm liking Bloodlines so far.

I've written around 11,000 words this week (I had something like 13,000 last week). I feel like I'm on a writing roll. However, I've been ignoring my coursework which is not good. I have three weeks of my holidays left to finish it all. I should really get started.

I've been volunteering recently at a charity shop. I needed experience but I'm starting to get bored of it. I didn't really have much training (does 5 minutes count as training? So I spend a lot of time just standing there, doing nothing.

Most Memorable Moment: Having a 6 hour movie marathon while pretending to write essays.
Favourite Video: Rat on the New York Subway (this is hilarious!). I swear there's a guy in the background, crying. 

Favourite Song: The new Rita Ora song.
Favourite News Article: 'Chloe Campbell Found Alive After 42 Hours'. (Source: Sky News). I love a happy and lovely news story instead of the usual reporting of tragic accidents and war.

I hope you all had a lovely week and good luck for the week ahead!

Kamille.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Unknown Illnesses: Trimethylaminuria (TMAU)

TMAU is a rare, metabolic disorder where the body cannot break down something called trimethylamine. Thus, the trimethylamine builds up in your body and you give off a strong odour in: your sweat, urine and breath.

It's more common in women than men and stress and diet may play a part in worsening of symptoms.

The illness is usually genetic and is treated through controlling your diet by avoiding certain foods which make the illness worse, medication (through antibiotics, laxatives or supplements) and lifestyle changes. However, there is no approved treatment for TMAU. Treatments are really just there to help control it.

The illness can affect the lives of sufferers considerably, affecting their social lives and relationships. It's not helpful that society may judge or isolate individuals who may smell, even though it's not their fault, which has mental effects too.

If you wish to learn more, go to the NHS website where TMAU's explained in more detail.

Thanks for reading and hope you have a lovely day.

Kamille :D

Sunday, 6 April 2014

6.4.14 - My Week in Review

I don't really like talking about myself too much but I think from now on, I'm going to do a regular post (hopefully) on Sundays, reviewing the last week. Maybe this will encourage me to post more often. I have to warn you though, my life is not all that interesting!

Anyway, this was my last week of university before my Easter break, thank god! This semester has been brutal so far with too much work to do and just not enough time. I have 4 weeks off university which sounds great but considering I have three papers to work on during the holidays, it feels like the world is just being cruel. I get my coursework topics tomorrow so my freedom is going to be over in under 24 hours.

I've been writing like mad in the past week also. I've written over 11,000 words for one project and 2,000 for another project. Right now, I feel drained of energy and creativity so I'm just sitting around, doing nothing. It's a lot of fun, honest.

I've also started reading Half Bad by Sally Green which is being compared to Harry Potter and other insanely successful books. Right now it's a bit hard to get into because the protagonist is only really getting tortured and nothing else is happening but the idea is interesting. I'll just have to see how that goes.

Anyway, here's some extra stuff about my week:
Most memorable moment: Running to catch the train to find out it had been cancelled and the next train was delayed.
Favourite video of the week:
Favourite song: Okay, it's not a song. It's an audition from BBC The Voice
Favourite news article: 'Girl Gets Stuck In Drain After Dropping Phone'. She dropped her phone down a drain and tried to climb down to get it. And then she got stuck lol!

So I'm going to leave it there. Hope you enjoyed reading. I hope your last week was lovely and good luck for the week ahead!

Kamille :D

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Book Love: The Lost Girl by Sangu Mandanna



The cover on the left is for the US edition and the cover on the right is for the UK edition. I personally like the US edition more.
I bought The Lost Girl back in January while browsing through my local Waterstones. I had seen this book on Goodreads and remembered wanting to read it last year but I never got around to it so I bought it and started to read it. But then I couldn't put it down. I read it within the day and spent the next few days shell shocked.

During 2012 and 2013, I came across a lot of unoriginal YA books and didn't really like them. They weren't bad but I felt like nothing stood out. The Lost Girl is a loose retelling of Frankenstein about a girl called Eva. Eva is an echo, a creation of the Weavers who is alive only to replace her human in case her human dies. Her purpose is to be exactly like her human.

I felt so much emotion while reading the book. I loved how Eva was such a real character in the way she acted and felt the world around her. She went through so much during the book, which I won't reveal. I rooted for her through the whole book and really hoped she could just get what she wanted. At no point during the book did I feel like she was an annoying character. And at no point did I want to pull her out of the pages and rip her throat out. I did want to pull her out and hug her though.

It was interesting to see how she was treated by the people around her. Some people were nice and some were, well, not so nice. There was a splendid range of characters and no insta-love (rejoice people!). The only thing I felt like I didn't get was a resolution for Eva. If you read the book, you'll see. I seriously hope there's a sequel because I feel like some things should have happened and they didn't. Plus, I'd like Eva to go on some Boudica-style campaign against the Weavers and Hunters (who hunt the echos).

I also would have loved if the book was a little longer. I did love Ms Mandanna's writing style. It was neat and just complete. I didn't come across any awkward passages. I think illustrations would have been nice but I'm one of those people who think illustrations should be in every kind of book.

I'm giving this book a rating of 5/5. And I think you and everyone on this planet should read it. It will certainly make you think about how people around the world are treated because they're seen as something different. And if you're emotional, it'll probably make you cry. I think I spent around five minutes slobbering like a fish.

Kamille :D

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

LLB Law: The First Year

Back in 2013, I wrote a post about my first semester of university (click here to read it).

I thought I'd do another post about the first year in general for anyone who's considering studying law at university but this could pretty much apply to any other course too.

Lectures

So in the post from last year, I mentioned that there's no point going to lectures if you aren't going to get anything out of them. To an extent, that is true. But unless you don't listen at all or your lecturer is completely useless, there is something to get out of them. I found that lecturers will often mention a topic a lot if there was  good chance it would pop up on the exam.

Also, lecturers will give lots of advice and tips in the lectures that they won't always give out outside of lectures so turning up won't harm you in any way.

Now in my first year, I wrote mostly in notebooks. (I sometimes use a laptop in my second year). It was hard to focus on lectures if I was writing down all the time so I tried to just listen but that didn't work. Always take a notebook or laptop to a lecture just in case you have to take notes. Also, if your lecturer has a tendency to go through lecture slides quickly and doesn't upload them, think about taking pictures of slides with your notes. But remember to turn flash off.

I've learned the really nasty habit of snacking through lectures and it's awful. It's noisy. It's rude. I'm trying to stop but it's hard since I get bored. If you are going to snack, ditch the noisy packets and use small boxes. Eat food that won't make a mess like small candy sweets. Also, avoid crisps; they're too noisy.

Tutorials 

Tutorials give you a chance to learn the information in detail and get some feedback. Most of my tutors have been pretty good but some of them were not as great. They will all have different expectations of you. Try and meet them but if you have an unreasonable tutor, just relax and don't kill yourself over it. I had a tutor in my second semester of the first year who hated me and was always telling me to work harder and told me I was going to fail. I studied at my own speed and ignored him. In the end, I did pretty well in that module.

But always remember to get at least 50% of the work done before going otherwise you're going to really not take in much.

And always greet them with a smile and say hello. Most will appreciate the friendliness and manners. Some will just grunt and ignore you but trust me, they're in the minority.

Study Life 

There's a lot of competition in university and sometimes it really sucks. Some people are a bit iffy about letting other people look at their notes so make some really good friends who you know will help you out if you need help. But remember to always give back. You can't expect help from other students if you never help them yourself.

The library is a fantastic space but try and minimise the noise in there. I've nearly been kicked out  numerous times for being so loud. Try and avoid going to a quiet study area with a friend. Take some water and snacks for the intense study sessions. And clean up after yourself. If you don't have a laptop/macbook/ultrabook, then think about getting one. You aren't always going to find a spare computer.

Keep your notes safe and take good ones to begin with so when it comes to revision, you will already have sufficient study materials in front of you.

Remember to get enough sleep and take care of yourself. You need time too. I'm even thinking of taking a gap year between my second and third year so I can unwind, do stuff I want to do and earn some money instead of living off loans. Some students can absorb themselves into their degree and ignore their loves and passions in life but I'm not that kind of student. I need creative time and it's hard to fit it into the day. So if you ever do get some time off, do something you truly love doing.

Social Life

I would be lying if I said that social life wasn't a big and important part of life at university. It's a really big part but being a stressed out law student means I don't get enough time for it. If you can, try and make sure you leave some time out for just hanging out. It'll help with the stress levels. You could think about combining your social life with leisure activities too. That way the exercise will be good for you and the socialising will help ease stress.

Meet as many people as is reasonable. Don't spend too much time socialising but make sure you do get time for it occasionally at least.

Be careful who you make friends with too. Some people will just distract you but most people are pretty cool. Always be friendly to people. People don't like someone who is standoffish. And I know what that's like because I used to be like that a lot but now I smile when I see someone I know and stop and chat for a minute if I have the time. If you have an hour between tutorials or something and someone is free, think about grabbing some coffee or tea and just talking in a Starbucks or something. It doesn't require too much commitment, doesn't take too much time up and lets you just be a normal person.

Miscellaneous 

Think about getting a part time job early or some work experience early. I was ill over the holidays so I didn't get a chance. But I really regret now having not had a permanent part time job with very little work experience. So always try and start early.

Also, make sure you find out what you want to do in life. I'm half way through my degree and I still have no clue. All I know is that I definitely don't want to be a lawyer.


If you have any questions, feel free to comment below.  Law school is daunting but trust me, it's not that bad. There are some fun times!

Kamille :D

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Why You Never Finished 'That' Project

Hello. Is anyone there? It's been so long I doubt anyone is but if you are then hi!

It's taken me a long long time to finally get the time to come onto here to write a blog post and I feel really guilty. (I promise I was not avoiding blogging on purpose.)

So, over my very long 21 years on this Planet, I have started many different projects. When I was 6 (or 7, I don't remember), I was going to build a rocket so I could go to space and see the stars. I only ever finished the drawing of the rocket. I never got onto the prototype. I didn't even colour the drawing in.

Then when I was 9, I was going to learn Italian because I wanted to be a Roman (I didn't know then that the Romans spoke Latin). All I can remember these days is Ciao and Arrivederci. So that didn't go down too well.

And after that, I began many novels and never got further than chapter 3. In fact, I've lost count of how many I've even started.

Here is a list of reasons why projects never get finished. This list is not exhaustive by the way. There may be many other reasons why. 

1) You never really wanted to do it in the first place. It was a Sunday. Everyone was busy or unavailable. Nothing decent was on the telly. You didn't have any comfort food. So you started your project. But then something fun comes up and you move on. The only reason you started the project was because you had nothing else to do. And when that something else came up, adios project.

2) You didn't have anything to keep that initial buzz going. When you first get your idea, it shoots adrenaline through you. You get excited and you just get going because you have so many ideas in you. Everything feels possible. But the problem is that nothing lasts forever. Even trees don't last forever because humans chop them down. If you want to start a project, give yourself a goal. But don't just come up with a goal and stop there. Make a visual representation of that goal so every time you look at it, it gives you a little buzz. But the visual representation has to mean something to you. The first novella I completed was with the help of the last few sentences. I wrote them up on an A4 piece of paper and drew a border around it. I stuck it onto my desk with tape. I finished it within 2 weeks.

3) It was a bad idea to begin with. You're never going to lose 10lbs in a week unless you chop a part of one of your limbs off. You're never going to be able to learn a language fluently in a couple of months. I don't know why but I've noticed we all tend to get a few really bad ideas every now and then. Because of this, I now ponder over my ideas for a few weeks before I start them. By then, I usually know if it's a bad idea or not.

4) You never gave yourself the time. If you're going to do something, you need to write down when you're going to do it. Keep a weekly diary and so if you plan something, you can slot it down to make sure it gets done.

5) You couldn't be bothered. Sometimes in life, better things come up. Sometimes they're more important. And sometimes they're more fun. And that's okay. Really. But it's probably wise to actually try or you could have missed out on something really awesome.

6) You have ADHD. This is not a diagnosis. See a GP. I am not a medical professional.


If anyone else has any other reasons why projects don't get finished, feel free to write it in a message below!

Kamille Elahi