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The Not-so-Peculiar Life of Emily

When It Rains, It Pours

You know that feeling when you’ve just had enough? Yes, that one. I’m having it right now.

Apparently, it wasn’t enough to get Covid or have our air fryer break. My kitchen needed to catch on fire too.

That may sound more dramatic than it probably was, but I’m still salty about the entire ordeal. First off, everyone is okay. Minus parts of our floor and stove.

Friday night, we felt lazy and had takeaway pizza. When we went to put the Tiny Tyrant down for the night (she wanted both of us in the room, so we all ended up on our bed), we left the empty boxes on the stove. We think our dog must have gone sniffing at the boxes and accidentally turned on one of the hobs…

Cue us waking up to the smoke alarm. We dash out to the kitchen and find the boxes are now on fire, with flames licking the fan above the stove. Smoke everywhere.

I’m holding a screaming, terrified Tiny Tyrant while my partner tries to get the burning boxes out of the flat. He fails to get the front door open and has to drop the boxes in the hallway. Fortunately, he managed to put the fire out before it spread but it did burn through our flooring. There are burn marks both in the hallway and kitchen.

We’ll have to replace the entire linoleum carpet in the kitchen. The hallway has slats, so at least we only have to replace the ones with the damage there, and not the entire hallway. In the end, I know I should be grateful that it wasn’t worse than it was (and I am), but I’m also tired and just wish I didn’t have to deal with this.

Our flat smelled of smoke for days. It’s a little better now, but the two areas with the burned flooring obviously still stink. I hope we can get it sorted soon as the smell gives me a headache.

Aaaanyway… How was everyone else’s weekend? Better than ours, I hope!

Main damage on the hallway floor. It just burned straight through the flooring.
Soot and burn mark in the kitchen.
The Tiny Tyrant’s favourite burn: the smirking smiley.
The Not-so-Peculiar Life of Emily

My Month in Bullet Points (January 2022)

What I’ve been up to in January. In bullet points.

  • Spent the first three weeks with family. Tiny Tyrant loved seeing her cousins and picked up a fair few bad habits (I have since been called stupid). She also picked up some new songs she wants to listen to/dance to. Finding out which ones they were was not the easiest when she doesn’t know the lyrics and only makes some random noises.
  • Did not write nearly as much as I should have.
  • Did write a short story for a collaboration with a few other writers in my writing group. It will be released in a little novella for Valentine’s Day.
  • Tore my hair out as TT decided that bedtime was between 11pm and 1am every night. (This may have had a fair bit to do with why I got so little writing done – or anything else for that matter.)
  • Went to a place called Universeum where you can walk through an indoor rain forest with birds roaming free, amongst other things. TT was mostly impressed by the indoor playground in the basement, though she did also like looking at the animals and trying the experiments rooms.
  • Watched a few movies. Which is rare for me these days. Quality varied greatly. My favourite of the bunch was probably Disney’s Encanto. I also saw the more recent adaption of Jane Austen’s Emma, and it was okay but not my favourite. Started watching Jungle Cruise, but admittedly didn’t finish.
  • Got Covid. Boo!
  • Total words written for January: 13 291.
One of the residents at Universeum. Fortunately, behind glass!
The Tiny Tyrant with a somewhat larger beast.
The Not-so-Peculiar Life of Emily

Hello, Covid

After a good start to the year with being back home and seeing my family, our return to England was… less than pleasant. Two days after we got back, both I and the Tiny Tyrant tested positive for Covid. So happy new year to the Morgans household!

In the end, it’s not been too bad. Omicron definitely seems to be the milder variant so far (though I am fully aware not everyone is so lucky). TT had a high fever for a couple of days, but by day three had no fever and only an upset stomach. After that, she bounced back as if nothing had happened.

For me, I suffered a bit more, but knowing how badly hit some people have been I don’t feel I can complain. I had a terrible headache, an incredibly difficult cough and runny nose, and fatigue, but that was pretty much it. The fatigue made it difficult to do anything, and I have fallen quite far behind on writing (something I now need to catch up on). I’m definitely better now, and no longer test positive, but the cough lingers and won’t quite go away. I am still fatigued but at this point I couldn’t say whether it’s Covid or my usual CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome) which I’ve had for years.

My partner fell ill a few days after us, but never suffered too badly.

On the whole, it was an unpleasant experience, but I definitely feel like we got off easy compared to some. Now I just need to catch up on all the writing and clean the house after having no energy to do anything for over a week.

Idle Thoughts

Happy New Year!

I know I say this e v e r y year, but… how is it 2022 already???

On 2021…

Despite the pandemic and lockdowns and whatnot, it still feels like the year has gone really fast. (While at times going incredibly slow, too… It’s a paradox.)

Like 2020, 2021 was an… interesting year. The pandemic was still going strong, and in England, we spent the first months of the year in a national lockdown. Restrictions eventually eased to allow you to meet a handful of people outdoors, then a handful of people indoors, then most restrictions ended. Then of course we got the Delta variant… and now the Omicron variant, so restrictions may return at any moment (some of them have, but no lockdowns yet).

Despite this, in the summer I managed to go see my family abroad for the first time in 20 months, which felt amazing. I had really missed them, and they had missed so much of the tiny tyrant’s life. As I’m writing this, I’m visiting them again over the Christmas period, though it was a bit touch and go for a while as they were reintroducing travel restrictions.

On Writing…

Writing went fairly well in 2021. I set myself a goal to write 240 000 words, and in the end, hit nearly 250k (248 966 to be exact). I think I would have had a little bit more if I hadn’t got sick for most of December.

I finished two novellas, one novel, and started a second novel and a third novella. (And finished up another novel that I started in December 2020, so most of it was written in 2021.)

I’d like to hit 240k again this year, but as I have a lot of revisions and editing to do, I’m not sure that will be possible.

On Goals…

I don’t like to make New Year’s Resolutions, but I will try to set myself some goals for the year. I failed on some of my goals for last year, so let’s see if I can do them this year.

  • Release first book in Howerty series (and all the things that entails)
  • Write more on the blog.
  • Be more active on social media. I will chose one or two platforms and focus on those. Instagram is a favourite of mine, but what should the second one be? A lot of people are saying TikTok is good these days because of #booktok but I don’t know if I have it in me for that one. Any suggestions?
  • Keep up with my ko-fi page.
  • Continue writing, hopefully hitting 240k again for the year.
  • Get the tiny tyrant’s room done. (Painting and some fixing of the room and setup in general).
  • Declutter our home in general.
  • More exercise and better eating. (The pandemic has not been good for my mental or physical health.)

What are your goals for 2022?

Idle Thoughts

The World’s Longest Writer’s Block

Once upon a time… I had the world’s longest writer’s block. As a child and teenager, I wrote a lot. So many (crappy) stories in so many notebooks. Then I paused as I got busy moving to another country and starting my career. After a little while, I started again. More seriously this time, and I wrote two novels.

I started my third and… I stalled. Not just a little bit, but I couldn’t seem to find the words to write at all. I wrote fourteen different drafts of the first chapter, and none of them worked for me. Nothing else came to me either. I was a writer without words.

Around the same time, and quite possibly related, I had a massive burnout and suffered from my first depression. I had time off my job in a UN Organisation, and once I realised I wasn’t getting better any time soon, I made the difficult decision to resign and move back to my home country. I definitely didn’t feel great.

Eventually, after many tests and meetings, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. While it didn’t fix me, knowing why I felt the way I did, helped. But I still couldn’t write. I couldn’t even read more than a few pages without needing a nap. Brain fog was a thing.

A few years in, I played the game Dragon Age, and for the first time in ages, I felt inspired. I started a fanfiction story. Then another. I didn’t finish either of them but just writing–no matter how little, felt amazing. I moved countries again, and writing fell to the wayside as I started working full-time again for the first time in ten years (I had only managed part-time up until that point since I was diagnosed). With limited energy, I could only do one thing; work or enjoy life in my spare time. I worked and did little but sleep once I was home.

Then I had a child. A little tiny tyrant who never slept. (Her sleep still isn’t good, but at least it’s better than it was.) In early 2020 I heard about Wattpad, a writing platform where writers could put their stories and hopefully find readers who liked it. Finally having the odd evening here and there free (or semi-free), I decided it was time to get back to writing. I always missed it and it has always been something I’d like to be doing professionally.

So I signed up to Wattpad.

I released my first few chapters to crickets. Then I joined a writing group on the forums (that have since been removed), and I met like-minded writers. It was probably the best thing I could ever have done. Not only did some of them read my story, but we clicked really well and we’re all still in contact on Discord where we have a server.

Since those early days in 2020, I’ve written consistently. I finished the first round of revisions on the two novels from back in the day, and I’ve written one novel and four novellas. I’m currently working on my fourth novel.

If it wasn’t for Wattpad and the group of amazing writers I met through it, I don’t know that I would have broken my writer’s block. I’m so grateful to them. They’re an amazing bunch of people.

So, how long was my writer’s block? If I ignore the random bits of fanfiction (which was rare with long times between updates), the time between finishing my second novel and when I started writing on Wattpad was… 13 years.

Yes, you read that right. I had writer’s block for 13 years. Hopefully, that’s enough to fulfil my quota for a lifetime and I will never suffer from it again!

Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? How did you get past it?

Melancholy Mummy

I Wonder What It’s Like To Have a Child That Sleeps

As I lie in bed awake at 2.30 in the morning with my child half-asleep (but not quite there) next to me, I can’t help but wonder what it must be like to have a child that sleeps. To get a full night’s sleep in one chunk. To maybe—dare I think it—have an entire evening to yourself?

It’s been just over three-and-a-half years now.

Three-and-a-half years of interrupted evenings. Of nights with plenty of wake-ups. Some longer (like tonight, when she did not fully fall back asleep until three hours later, being awake from midnight to around 3 am), some shorter where she will fall back asleep relatively quickly. I prefer the latter but even those make sleeping harder for me. I don’t fall asleep as quickly and easily as she (sometimes) does. Or my partner, who is capable of falling asleep in seconds. Sometimes mid-conversation. (And I swear, I’m not that boring!)

The lack of sleep makes the daytime difficult as well. I already suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS), and the bad sleep isn’t helping. Daily chores that should be easily doable suddenly seem insurmountable. Leaving the house to do grocery shopping? Might as well ask me to go hiking in the wilderness. That laundry mountain could just as well be Kilimanjaro.

It makes me a bad mother. I lack the energy to do all of the things I’d like to do with the tiny tyrant. Mum guilt hits me bad. But even the weight of the massive guilt can’t always force me out the door. Some days we just have to stay home, and it breaks my heart when she asks me if we can go to a playground and I just can’t bring myself to do it. We don’t have one in easy walking distance. It always requires a car trip. Fortunately, she enjoys quite a few things to do at home as well. She loves setting up little homes for her Sylvanian families and Barbies. I find them everywhere. (And if I try to tidy them up I get yelled at.)

Evenings after bedtime is meant to be a time to relax. And I’d like to. I try to do my writing in the evenings, as well as anything else I can’t really do during the days while the tiny tyrant is around. But I do it all with an eye and ear towards the bedroom, waiting for that dreaded wake-up. Rarely, there’s none. More commonly there’s between 1-4 before I go to bed.

I don’t know why she won’t sleep. Maybe it just doesn’t agree with her. Whether she’s had a busy day and is tired appears to have little to no impact. (Putting this out there since I know a lot of people like to tell me a tired child will sleep. Well, not this one.) All I know is that I’m desperate for some sleep myself. On a regular basis. And some evenings when I can relax. Is that too much to ask?

Apparently, it is.

And so I will continue to lie here in the middle of the night, with my child who won’t sleep. I will dream of days to come when she might—hopefully—sleep and all the things I might finally have the time and energy to do.

I will continue to wonder what is it like to have a child that sleeps.

The Not-so-Peculiar Life of Emily

My Week in Bullet Points (w21)

Another rundown of what my week has been like… in bullet points! Because, why not?

This week, I have:

  • Had workmen in to start our patio in the back garden. Something that we’ve wanted for years, and finally got around to doing. Rain delayed the work for about… four weeks, but it’s finally happening! They should be finished early next week.
  • Started the rewrite of my Fantasy Romance book.
  • Continued the struggles in getting the tiny tyrant to wear her new glasses. So far, the toddler is winning.
  • Started re-watching Rick & Morty because I couldn’t decide on what else I wanted to watch after finishing watching The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
  • Messed about with potential book covers for stories I shouldn’t even be writing.
  • Stared at the chaos that is my home (this is a running theme these days).
The Not-so-Peculiar Life of Emily

My Week in Bullet Points (w19)

A summary of what I’ve been up to the last week in bullet points. Because, why not?

What I’ve done in the past week:

  • Stared at a blank page while it stared back at me. Taunting me.
  • Pulled my hair because the EU Settlement Scheme after Brexit is giving me a headache. How can it not see that I’ve been here over five years? Do I really have to start searching for all these papers? Ugh!
  • Argued with a toddler about whether or not she needs to wear her new glasses.
  • Argued with a toddler about whether or not she should go to preschool.
  • Argued with a toddler about everything else.
  • Went to IKEA and was disappointed when I realised we’re a few days off their restaurant opening (due to lockdown restrictions). No meatballs for this poor, hungry writer.
  • Wrote the first chapter of a Paranormal Romance I shouldn’t be starting because I already have three WIPs and several in the pipeline. Oh, and several to rewrite/edit. So, naturally, I wrote something new. I blame the minor writer’s block. Sometimes starting something completely different helps me. (It did, I’ve since written a chapter for my actual WIP!)
  • Watched the whole first season of Jupiter’s Legacy on Netflix.

What have you been up to lately?

The Not-so-Peculiar Life of Emily

My Week in Bullet Points (w17)

A summary of what I’ve been up to in the last week, in bullet points. Because, why not?

What I’ve done this past week:

  • Not slept. The tiny tyrant has been poorly, so most evenings/nights have been spent trying to make her sleep. And then either being kicked in the back or used as a human comfort blanket.
  • Dropped the tiny tyrant off for settling in sessions at daycare. We managed two before she became poorly. Both times she went straight in, barely saying goodbye, so that’s good… I think? First time she had to be picked up a bit early, second went all right. Though I’m told she doesn’t share with the other children. I’m not surprised, we’ve basically spent a third of her life in lockdown and she’s had every single toy to herself.
  • Worried about hitting my word count goals since I got little to no time writing.
  • Dreamed about winning the lottery and how I would decorate my house. (As you do when you can’t sleep and are just lying there staring at the ceiling.)
  • Picked up my new glasses. Finally moved away from purple frames to something else. (Had purple for like 6 years, it was getting boring.)
  • Stared at the messy chaos that’s supposedly my home and decided it can wait for another day.
  • Finished writing a novella. I started it on a whim, but I quite like it and I think I might extend it slightly into a shortish novel. When I have time. So… in 2035?

What have you been up to this past week?

The Not-so-Peculiar Life of Emily

My Week in Bullet Points (w15)

I wanted to start a new weekly post on the blog where I do a sort of summary of what I’ve been up to during the week. It (obviously) won’t be a complete record since I don’t want to bore you (too much)!

So, this past week I have:

  • Been to the hospital optometrist with my tiny tyrant to confirm that yes, she does need glasses. If someone can explain to me how to convince a just-turned-three-year-old that she needs to wear glasses, please get in touch. (She’s adamant that she does not want to wear glasses. I am currently considering bribes. It seems reasonable, right?)
  • Wondering why the laundry mountain never diminishes, no matter how many loads of laundry I do.
  • Written less words than I would have liked, but I did write some, so… Win?
  • Met my friends and their kids (tiny tyrant’s friends) and had a whinge and a cup of tea. It was lovely. I highly recommend a whinge with friends now and then. It was all outside in a garden due to current restrictions (pandemic and all that) and sadly cut short due to rain, but hey! I saw other people that don’t live with me. I count that as a win these days.
  • Stared at a blank page and tried to remember what I was going to write. Again.
  • Amused myself by starting a chapter with the sentence: “I know it looks big, but I promise it won’t hurt.”
  • Been to the optician to choose new glasses. It was time. Literally. My old ones are falling apart by now and I have to use my nail to tighten the tiny tiny screw at least twice a day.
  • Forgotten to make several phone calls. Well, there’s another week coming.
  • Started watching Kim’s Convenience (only X number of years after everyone else, but it’s on Netflix, so…)

What have you been up to this past week?