My NaNoWriMo Word Count Widgets!

Monday, 20 August 2012

A change... as good as a holiday, they say. Well, I can't go on holiday but I can change things around! I hope you all like the new blog design. Although purple is my favourite colour, I fancied something a bit different and settled on the zebra-print. Not only does it reflect my original training as a Zoologist, but it also reflects the black-and-white nature of BPD.

I've had some fun with my writing today, although I haven't particularly added to my word count. I spent a couple of hours making a paper Scrabble board! The two central characters in Agoraphobics Anonymous play each other online, and I needed to work out what words they could play whilst chatting to each other. I'm very particular about details, so I didn't want to write down "newels" gave a score of 12, when actually it gives a score of something else....I also wanted to make sure nobody could turn around and say "but you've used 7 letter "s"s and there's only 6 available". I'm a great one for minutiae!

Now I'm going to spend a couple of hours attempting to learn the drums....I'm determined that I'll be able to play a "knock-out drum solo" in 3 weeks. It might not be a very long solo, but I want it to sound and look impressive. I just don't think it's possible to fake playing the drums onstage! I don't have a drumkit (that arrives at tomorrow night's rehearsal) but I have sticks and things to hit - namely the sofa, a large book and my thighs! Let's get ready to rock!

Saturday, 18 August 2012

The unexpected jalapeno peppers in life...

I started writing this post a few days ago but my computer is on go-slow/crash every five minutes mode. I can't work out if it's the computer itself, or my new internet provider. It keeps freezing up when I'm browsing online. Big Toots is rather disappointed because she was in the middle of a new Moshi Monster SuperMoshi Mission (if  you have Toots of your own, you'll know what I'm talking about!). Even though I closed the browsing session, I still have the sound effects ten minutes later! So I'm writing to the accompaniment of a creaking, dripping, ghost ship......

But it illustrates the point of my post - life sometimes throws you an unexpected jalapeno pepper. Let me explain....

At 40,000-something words, I FINALLY wrote my panic pizza chapter. It's a chapter I first researched about 8 months ago, and I've been saying "next chapter, next chapter" since chapter 3. Halfway into the book, it's finally written.

What's a panic pizza? Well, it's a way of looking at anxiety in general. You can't deal with all the anxiety in one, big lump. You need to cut it into small slices and then deal with them one bite at a time. Angie and David both have to identify the "slices" of anxiety in their life - something they're both finding nearly impossible. David, whilst trying to eat a too big slice of real pizza (to illustrate the point), came across an unexpected jalapeno pepper....much like me and my computer today!

David knew how to deal with the real pepper (a glass of milk) - but it'll be interesting to see how he and Angie deal with the metaphorical jalapenos in their recoveries. They'd better get a move on though - they'll be meeting up in another 20,000 words!

Saturday, 4 August 2012


...slowly but surely, Agoraphobics Anonymous is taking shape.

The past couple of chapters haven't been pleasant ones to write - a suicide, an alcoholic with bipolar disorder crashing and burning....but that's the stark reality of life with mental ill-health. Not everyone is going to be lucky enough to recover and get to a point where they're happy with their life.

I look outside on this glorious, sunny summer afternoon and thank God I was never successful at my umpity-dozen suicide attempts. I look at photos of Big Toots and Little Tootsie, plus Lovely Boyfriend, and smile. No, I'm not working despite the DWP's best efforts, and I'm having to scrape by on £71 a week, but I've worked out how my head works and I manage my condition the best way I can.

But there are millions of people out there who are depressed, suicidal or just plain miserable about their lives. Not all my fictional characters will have a happy ending, but I hope that healthy people reading about their journies will take the time to think about a friend or loved one who isn't well. Mental ill-health isn't about poor will-power, or a lack of's an illness and deserves as much support as any other illness. You wouldn't tell someone with cancer to "just buck up" so don't do it to someone with chronic depression.

I promise to keep writing about mental ill-health until I run out of conditions to cover. And I hope people will keep reading the stories and develop a better understanding of everything involved.