Goals Changed For The Better | A New Chapter

We all have a plan for our lives, whether it’s short term; ‘lose five pounds’, or long term; ‘I want to have a career in XYZ by the time I’m 30’. We all also know, that life likes to get in the way of our plans.

 

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#goals graphic, created with Fotor by @melissaholden94

 

My original life plan (at 16) was as follows:

  • Do A-Levels
  • Get a job and earn money
  • Go on lots of holidays
  • Get married
  • Get a Husky called Jeff
  • Learn to drive
  • Get a big house

…And that was effectively all I wanted from life.

Then, at 18, this was my plan:

  • Go to university
  • Get a degree
  • Get a part-time job
  • Save loads of money
  • Write my first book
  • Go travelling
  • Rent a house with friends
  • Get a tattoo

I did well on some points, and not so well on others.

At 20, my plan looked a little like this:

  • Get a temp job in home town
  • Go do my Master’s in October 2015
  • Graduate
  • Rent a house with Ashleigh
  • Go travelling
  • Pay off my overdraft
  • Save money
  • Learn to drive
  • Write more books

20-year-old Me was ambitious and didn’t plan for other people to affect her life plan. I had to move back home to be close to an ill family member. I had to leave all my uni friends behind and get a job in Bluewater.

Graduates-hats

What I also didn’t expect, was to have graduated my Bachelor’s degree, moved back to the home town I hate, and fall in love with my new ‘supposed-to-be-for-six-months’ job. I ended up with a good, stable job in optics, and didn’t follow the plan. I didn’t start my Master’s degree in October. Instead, I was doing training at work to improve my skill set.

I ended up with a good, stable job in optics, and didn’t follow the plan. I didn’t start my Master’s degree in October. Instead, I was doing training at work to improve my skill set. I also, 2 years in, ended up being promoted to a Team Leader position, and am loving it.

I also didn’t move in with my best friend, because she moved back home to be close to her family, and to look after herself  – cannot argue with that, really.

Now, at 22 (nearly 23), my plan looks more like this:

  • Save my Student Loans and pay off my overdraft
  • Start my Master’s in October 2017
  • Graduate in June 2018
  • Finish writing Finding Jennifer
  • Move out to my own place
  • Start looking for ‘love’
  • Spend more time with my friends and family
  • Be present in the moment
  • Be positive
  • Blog more
  • Read as many books as possible

Perhaps some of those are loftier than others, but I love all my goals and aspirations the same. I am glad that my priorities have changed because it means I have grown and developed as a person, and I’m pretty proud of that.

What are your goals in life, and have they changed over the years? 

 

500 Followers, A Milestone Post

Since it’s conception in 2013, this blog has had many purposes, many milestones, many birthdays. It is the one safe place; the one continuous space, where I can write freely and know my words will not only be seen but appreciated.

I just wanted to say thanks, to old and new followers – you make it worth posting. I know I am a bit of a sporadic blogger, but my work/life balance leaves something to be desired. I really appreciate the loyalty.

Thank you all so much for the love and support, and I hope we will be seeing more of each other soon.

Love, Mel ❤

Mist-ed Coffee Morning (poem)

a memory trapped in a coffee shop

its mist-ed rained window panes

sheltering us from the air

letting us hide

for a moment longer

in the steam cloud of secrets

pretending it wasn’t about to end

Chapter Eleven | Finding Jennifer Book Teaser

Here is a little taste of what’s going on in Chapter Eleven of my upcoming novel – and sequel in the SEARCHING FOR KATHERINE series, FINDING JENNIFER. Enjoy!

finding-jennifer-chapter-eleven-extract

Sex In Books | Not That Sexy (16+ content)

sex in books.pngEveryone loves a cheeky sex scene in a romance novel; or those secret make-out sessions in your favourite Young Adult series, but there’s a line.

With a society that is climatized to seeing sex in everything, perhaps no sex in a book is the New Sexy?

If an author tells you they have never written a salacious sex scene – they ar lying. But, ask them if it ended up in the book, and some will say no.

For my novel, Searching For Katherine, I wrote a sex scene for the night of Jennifer’s wedding – and then deleted half of it. Yes, I kept some of the build-up and the tension in, but there is no actual sex in the sex scene.

Sometimes, the idea of sex is sexier than the act itself. And sometimes, sex isn’t sexy. 

the-russian-concubineIn The Russian Concubine by Kate Furvinall, there is a sex scene between the two main characters who are roughly fifteen or sixteen years old. The boy is injured and weak, the girl tending to his wounds as she hides him the shed from her family.

It is a sweet, tender moment, but it is – naturally – a very awkward and fumbling scene. Why? Because virgin teenagers don’t know how to have sex, so it would be ridiculous for the author to have pretended otherwise. It is a beautifully written scene and one I have specially marked in my copy. I read it when I need reminding that sex isn’t always the sinners show it’s perceived to be. Sometimes, sex is communication.

It is a beautifully written scene and one I have specially marked in my copy. I read it when I need reminding that sex isn’t always the sinners show it’s perceived to be. Sometimes, sex is communication.

fifty-shades-of-grey-movie

It’s difficult to write an article about sex in books without mentioning the elephant in the room: Fifty Shades of Grey. Originally written as a sexy Twilight fan-fic, and quickly tidied up when the website when crazy and was picked up by a publishing house; Fifty Shades is the perfect example of Sex Overload in fiction.

I won’t waste too much time talking about this series, but if memory serves me right; there’s a lot of pretty ridiculous sex in this book series. They have sex anywhere and everywhere, several times a day and it some strange positions and situations. I think Mr .Grey needs to see a therapist because he just can’t keep it in his pants.

The sex is completely unrealistic – however, it also proves that sometimes there is only one way to write a sex scene: badly. E.L James repeats the same phrases and rhythms throughout the book, giving all the scenes a very samey vibe. But, she is an international best-selling author; so she must have gotten something right!

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Perhaps sex scenes in books scene somewhat ridiculous because they are a little bit more real than we’re used to.

Most adults have watch pornography at some time or another, and we’ve all seen those perfect six-pack muscle men with engorged penises and perfect bodies. They give women expectations of what a man should look like in bed, and I’m afraid to say that not every man is built like Superman. Nor, should they be!

And for the men, those poor bastards are relentlessly shown swimwear models with tidy, toned bodies and tiny waists. None of these women have scars or stretch marks, none have bore children and they certainly don’t look like the women we see in the high street doing their shopping.

Why is porn so popular? Because we like to fantasize. Why does sex suck in books? Because sometimes… you’ve just got to use your imagination – and the only references most of us have are porn sites and some embarrassing sex stories of our own.

And because reading the word penis is never going to be as sexy as seeing one! 

So maybe next time you read an awkward sex scene in a book; remember that sometimes it’s better in real life than it is on the page; give the author the benefit of the doubt. And, if it’s really bad, just skip it.

Got an opinion? Share it in the comments! 

Graduation | 1 Year Later

12015242_10153531992797488_4467283861848174181_oA year ago to the date, the Creative and Professional Writing BA (Hons) Class of 2015, graduated.

We were nervous and stressed and our robes were trying to strangle us. We had rogue family members randomly popping up to take pictures, and we spent our time either losing our friends in the crowd or readjusting our gowns.

We had spent three years stuck in cupboard seminar rooms, only 11 people in our year at any one time, freezing cold and drinking copious amounts of coffee.

Lectures were nearly always followed by alcohol, in the true spirit of sticking to the writing cliches, a tipsy wobble home to do our assignments. Quick nap or dinner and you were ready for  a night out.

It is safe to say that university was one of the most turbulent, stressful, broke, enlightening and friendship-filled eras of my life. I do not regret a single second – including the time I got so drunk that I had to go to class wearing sunglasses in the middle of December… yep… pathetic is the word you are looking for, my friend!

It is the time after university, after you’ve graduated that nobody prepares you for, not really. You are of course advised to get a job in your studied profession, but that doesn’t work for most students. We end up behind bars or retail or office jobs, slugging the 9-5 with everybody else.

You tend to lose your confidence, your passion, you lose motivation for your talents. As a writer and graduate of Creative and Professional Writing, it was never going to be easy to get a job, let-a-lone a career in creative writing. So instead, I did some writing projects and got a full time retail job, thinking it wouldn’t be a distraction. Oh boy, how wrong was I!

I have barely written anything for my current novel – compared to what I planned to write anyway –  and my poetry has all but resorted to a quick Instagram post every week. I am struggling to write, read and do anything creative.

But that is my fault. I spent three years training for this year, training myself for my future career goals, and I am wasting that. It has taken me a year to realise that I am not the writer I was whilst at university, but it doesn’t mean that I can’t be.

It’s time to get back into not only my writing, but also my studies. I’m going to go back to my studies and get my Masters degree (hopefully) in Creative Writing and go from Melissa Holden, BA to Melissa Holden, BA MA. Time to pull my socks up and get back out there!