All Peopled Out!

Friday was my birthday, and it’s a significant one. I’m 50! The big five oh! Am I worried about that? No! I’m loving where my life is at right now. I’m happy, healthy (to a degree) and I’m cranking through my plans and goals for the year. I’m really enjoying where I am. I have a lovely family, a supportive partner and so many lovely people in my life.

On Friday, we had a ‘party’ for the my birthday. I say ‘party’, because it wasn’t really an official party, it was just an invitation to friends to join us (My Mum, son and Mr H) to celebrate with me. I was blown away with the people who turned up, and I know that I have a lot of beautiful and special people in my life.

On Saturday, my Dad and stepMum came over and we had a barbeque for my birthday, with two of my closest friends coming over. It was another really special and lovely day, with my friends making me the most beautiful birthday presents themselves. (See attached photo) I really appreciated the effort that they put into making me feel special.

I was in bed by 7pm on Saturday night, and asleep before 8.

Today is Sunday, and I am absolutely exhausted. I look like I have a hangover, and I can barely keep my eyes open. I’m not a drinker, I had one glass of wine on Friday, and one on Saturday, so I’m not actually hungover.

I love that I had so many people come and celebrate with me, but I am over-peopled! It doesn’t mean that I don’t like people around me, or with me, it just means that I have over-socialised, and being an introvert, I’ve had way too much social activity in the last two days.

I am so blessed to have so many wonderful people around me that love me. And I am so thankful for them in my life. Even if I do get tired out being around them.

Extra Naps Necessary

Hello from my corner of the world. I love this spot so much, and it was a lovely sunny day when I came outside, but now the sun has disappeared… and it’s gotten colder.

Anyway, Last weekend, I had a lovely weekend in Wineborough, catching up with my family. I had such a lovely holiday, and we (my partner, Mr H and I) also got to go to the Wings and Wheels show. It was pretty spectacular with lots of fancy and old cars, along with the old planes they keep at Omaka Air Base.

This weekend, it was the Car Show at the Show Grounds, so another few hours whiled away, looking at cars and spending time just inhaling exhaust fumes.

I easily get over-peopled. Its not people as such, its the crowd, the overwhelming amount of people that attend these things. I have a large personal space, and I don’t like people entering that space unless I invite them to, so people pushing around me, and walking into me, really makes me feel small and insignificant (even though I am anything but small!) Being an introvert, I like my little corner of peace and quiet, that’s how I recover from my day-to-day life. In the weekends, if I spend it at a large gathering like that, I almost need a day off to recover from being over-peopled.

Since discovering that I am an introvert, things make so much more sense, like how I appreciate time alone, how I recover from being overwhelmed when I have space and quiet around me.

Because of my depression, my brain goes into hyperdrive, and when I am overwhelmed, and over-peopled I tend to find that I need to shut down mentally, and to achieve this, I need to nap. Some might call it being lazy, but I have come to accept that it is part of who I am. And what I need to be the wonderful, zany and weird person that I am.

So, if you find yourself overcrowded and in desperate need to sleep, go and do it. You might find it is your body’s way of trying to recover.

How has your week been? Not too overwhelming I hope.

Kia Kaha

Catherine

And Back to work on Monday

I have had such a lovely restful week. So blissful, sleep in’s, afternoon naps, doing things, being places, and so much writing! But the hard reality is, I have work again. And I’m feeling kind of blah about it.

I love work, I love gardening, and I love the people that I meet, but sometimes, I would rather just be sitting at home doing nothing – but then, I’d end up wishing I was somewhere other than home.

This last week has been really nice, because Mr H has been home too, so we have been for swims together, played golf, been over to Richtown and had a coffee. He’s been there when I’ve woken up from a nap. He’s encouraged me when I’ve been writing and editing. The thing is, we are all back to work tomorrow, so it wouldn’t be the same. Mr H wouldn’t be there when I woke up from a nap. He wouldn’t be there to do things with.

Until I start making enough money from my writing – which will happen, (I have it on my 5-year plan, to be making enough money to retire from my day job and actually spend my time writing.) I just have to suck it up and go back to work.

Happy New Year!

It’s officially 2024 when you read this blog, but its still 2023 when I’m writing it.

It’s been a hectic week with Christmas, travel, more Christmas, then more travelling, so I’m now looking forward to a week at home, relaxing and doing, well, fun stuff. Like visiting the Brook Sanctuary (a bird Sanctuary over in Nelsun), and perhaps a game of golf, if my arms allow me.

And it’s that time of year, where I start setting some goals for my writing. And last year, I nearly accomplished all my goals. I wanted to write 3 new books last year (2023) and I wrote two (Finding Sam Healey and Carol’s Christmas). I also wanted to start on my dragon series, but ran out of year.

This year – I’m starting it with writing the dragon story – and continuing to edit Secondhand Daughter, because I write in the mornings, and edit in the afternoons. I think this will be the most efficient use of my time, until apple season starts anyway.

I also have a goal of achieving my first $1000 in sales this year. I haven’t had any money from my books yet, but I am focusing on advertising this year, and if you feel inclined, do purchase one of my books.

I plan on writing three books this year, and editing three, and publishing at least two – Secondhand Daughter being the first, then Compromising Positions. So here it is people, my goals for 2024

😊 Write Dragon’s Lore, first story (approx 75k words)

😊 Write Faith Hart’s story in my Racing Harts series (approx 60k words)

😊 Write another story, either in my dragon series, or another story. (Approx 60k words)

😊 Edit Secondhand Daughter, and get ready to publish before June 2024

😊 Edit Compromising Positions and get it ready to publish before December 2024

😊 Do first draft edits on Finding Sam Healey

😊 Do first draft edits on Carol’s Christmas

Wow, looking forward to this year already! I’m planning on doing the apple packing in the evenings again this year, to pay for my plate, my gums are healing nicely, and its surprising just how much pain I was in prior to having the teeth removed. Looking forward to being able to smile confidently again.

I also plan on taking the Friday’s off over Winter again, in order to get some writing done while it is quieter at work.

That’s my plan for the year, what’s yours?

Take care everyone, and happy new year!

Catherine

Merry Christmas

Well, today, in New Zealand and the southern hemisphere at least, it is Christmas, so Merry Christmas to you. I hope that you have a lovely day and are able to celebrate with family and friends.

As I’m writing this on Sunday night, I will have spent the morning with Mr H’s family and then heading over to Wineborough to spend time with my family. I love getting together with my family at this time of year, even if some of them aren’t talking to others.

Christmas is all about spending time with those you love, and today I will be spending time with those I am closest to. I make a lot of the gifts I give, because I want people to know how much I care about them. And I love to give gifts, and often I will give to people without expecting anything in return.

So eat, drink and be merry tomorrow, and enjoy your day, no matter where you are.

Kia kaha

Catherine

In My Happy Place

I am lucky, I get to work doing what I love, gardening. But this weekend, I got to spend time in my own garden, and I was in my happy place.

It’s been hard to find my happy place lately because of my mental health decline. Being outside is always good, and I was able to get into my vegetable garden and plant tomatoes, basil, sunflowers, beans, peas, corn, pumpkins and squash. It is really nice to have some things to eat in my garden. I even harvested some beetroot and potatoes.

My vegetable garden

My partner even tidied up around the manuka’s and I planted my new kakabeak (aka Ngutukaka, which just won plant of the year in NZ). I love the kakabeak, it’s always been a favourite of mine, with its bright red flowers. Can’t wait for it to start flowering.

Manuka hedge, the Kakabeak is in the middle of the photo.

As we come to the end of another year, I’ve been reflecting on things. I’m happy with where I am at with my writing, I got two books written, two edited and one of them undergoing its second edit before I find an editor for it. I hope to set up a pre-order for it in the New Year.

My home life is good, I’m happy where I live, with my partner Mr H and my son. We have a great dynamic going on, with all of us working full time, and contributing to the household with either cooking or cleaning.

I’m also working through my dental treatments; I have one more appointment to go for fillings before I get a scan for my plate. It’s just incredible how much pain I was suffering before I had my teeth removed. I was whipping through the painkillers like they were going out of fashion. I looked in the drawer the other day, and I have full packets of ibuprofen and paracetamol. Even though I have bigger gaps in my smile, I am less conscious of them as I was with broken teeth.

We are busy as we work our way up to Christmas, it is going to be chaotic, as we are mowing one of the rest homes now, which makes it one less day to garden, and with the temperatues we have in NZ at the moment (high 20s C), it’s a matter of keeping hydrated.

So, what are your plans heading up to Christmas? Hope your week is less busy and more chill.

Kia Kaha

Catherine

In a Holding Pattern

This week has been particularly hard with my mental health. I have good moments, but being in a downer mood is really hard. It affects so many aspects of my daily life.

I’m not sleeping well, in fact I have to take a sleeping pill (or half of one) twice a week now, instead of once a week.

I’m forgetting simple words, and I know this sounds really bizarre, but for someone who is a wordsmith, it is incredibly frustrating. And it can be something as simple as someone’s name. I can see their face in my head, but I can’t remember their name for the life of me, and the harder I try, the more it seems to slip into the ether of my brain.

I have been editing, but I need to be in a positive mood, otherwise I think it is crap and want to delete the entire book, which isn’t a safe place to be.

I feel so blocked creatively. It’s hard to be in my head right now, because there is so much I want to do, and I can only do it when I’m in a positive mindset, otherwise the entire project is not worth doing.

It isn’t going to last forever, I know that. It’s just until we can find a solution, which we are working on (me and my doctor is the ‘we’ I am talking about.) In the meantime, I have a wonderful support network around me, in particular my partner, Mr H, my son, and my Mum is over at the moment, so that has been really lovely to catch up and spend time with her.

So, until I have a solution, it is just a holding pattern in my life, but that’s okay, because I know that this isn’t permanent.

Winding down for the Year

Thank goodness I didn’t do National Novel in a Month Competition, I think I would be pulling my hair out by now.

I got my assignments done and submitted for my organics course, and with a couple of resubmits, I passed. I’ve decided to do the final course in February, it gives me some time to get back into the rhythm of work and stuff like that.

And I should have been editing Secondhand Daughter, but I haven’t. And I am putting it down to a super-secret project that I’ve been working on, and it was such a success, that I’m thinking of extending the super-secret project. I’ll only be able to tell you after Christmas what I’ve done, because they are Christmas pressies. I’m so proud of them.

I did do one chapter of edits, but things are about to go haywire at work. We’ve taken over the mowing at one of the lifestyle villages, and to say I’m rather unenthusiastic is actually an understatement. There was a reason I went to work for my current employer – they contracted out the mowing to my previous employer.

Anyway, enough of that. Now is the time of year that I start getting organised for Christmas. I used to avoid it as much as possible, but having left a relationship that made Christmas hell, and being with someone who loves Christmas and spending time with his family has really made it more enjoyable. Plus, there is less stress, not big fussy meals, no full on ‘visiting everyone in the family’. We’ve got it all sorted now, we have Christmas here, with his kids, then I head over to Wineborough with my son – and sometimes my partner, and have Boxing day with my family, as Mum, my brother and his family, and my Dad and StepMum all live in that area. It means two lots of fun family time (the second one is more funny haha though, watching Mum ignore Dad while Dad is trying to get Mum to talk to him.)

Anyway, I hope your week has been more productive.

Take care, Kia Kaha

Catherine

When it Rains it drizzles…

So, I thought I had over three weeks to get my assignments for my Organics course done. But no. I don’t.

You see, when you log on, it tells you that the assignments are due on 26th November. Which is fine, I try and aim to have them in about a week before hand.

But I logged in on last Sunday, and they’d changed the date to the 9th of November, which was ten days away. I swore and cursed a little, and then had to knuckle down and get through the study notes to get one assignment finished. The second one is due on the 9th too, but it is only one chapter of the course material, so I can get that bowled out before Thursday.

But it’s annoying, and it’s the second time they’ve done it. I am considering laying a complaint, because it’s not fair to move the goal posts when I work full time and only have evenings to do my study. If I was unemployed, it would be my own silly mistake to be so far behind.

It also means that I haven’t done any editing this week, which is frustrating, because I want to get some done. I did however manage to get some done yesterday when I caught up with the fabulous LaVerne Clark and had a coffee together. We’ve started meeting up to encourage each other with our writing. She’s such an amazing author, and I can’t wait to see what she brings out next year. We’ve been discussing goals for next year, so watch this space.

I hope you had a better week than me.

Kia kaha

Catherine

Work, work, work, work, write.

After last week’s epic dental visit, I can confirm that all stitches have fallen out (they were dissolvable, as I later found out) and everything is healing nicely. I have graduated from soft food to slightly more textured food. Now I know how a baby feels!

So, I thought I would take you through my writing process. I work fulltime, so every morning I get up, have breakfast, clean up and then sit down and write for ten to thirty minutes (sometimes longer, but not always). I often get between 200 and 1000 words written in that time.

Then I head off to my day job, and garden. All day. Then I get home, shower, watch some videos and hopefully do some study, because I’m studying organic gardening.

And that is my day. Sometimes I might write at night, but not often. My best thoughts flow in the morning, and during the day, my mind is busy thinking about what I can write the following day.

At present I’m writing Carols Christmas, a modern version of the Christmas Carol. I’m loving this story, but it isn’t going to be novel length (50,000 words plus), probably more of a novella (35 to 50k). I honestly don’t mind, as it is going to be for release next Christmas. It’s a christmas story, but to be honest, it would fit any time of year. The whole thing happens over one calendar year, but it has elements of Christmas Past, present and future in it.

And I have just received the edits back for Whiskey Rose, which is a 1920s mob prohibition romance. This is a novelette – its 27k long. I think this will be a gift to my newsletter members and as a freebie for people who sign up to my newsletter.

On Sunday, I plan my facebook posts for the week, and I started up Why Wednesday, where you can ask me anything about my writing. Last week I started with when did I start, this week I’m going to tell you why I write.

Anyhoo, hope you guys have a good week, and see you next week.

Kia kaha

Catherine x