Sunday, 17 December 2017

Lately (Christmas Shop Mayhem, Harry Potter & Agency Prep)

   It's an understatement to say that this month has been crazy. In fact, I'm writing this post on my laptop, which has been turned on for the first time in three weeks.
   Myth of the Wild was slow to take off this Christmas, but once it did, it didn't let up. I've been working until 11pm every night for the past three weeks and getting super stressed, bt as demanding as running your own business can be at Christmas, especially when you make very giftable pieces, I actually love the wind-down that descends around the 16th, when the sales come to a stop and I can finally breathe and realise that Christmas is only a week away.

   That's not to say that December has slipped by. Though it meant an even stressier weekend trying to catch up with orders, over the past three weeks I've been able to take an afternoon off to decorate the house, another to go to the Bristol Christmas market and another to play board games with my bestie, and it was all worth it. I've also been tossing cranberries into my porridge every morning with a cup of Christmas tea beside it - this year I've stocked up on Teapigs' winter spice, spiced pear and glühwein tea - and, of course my advent calendar...s. I've kept my Hotel Chocolat for the evening, but my Naked Marshmallow one gets devoured in the morning.
   I've also absolutely not missed any of my workouts, and I've really embraced them as opportunities to get back to myself and truly redirect my attention. It's been really nice, actually, and though this month's workout is tough (though it's proven to be ideal for warding off Christmas weight gain), I've actually been looking forward to it. I've even been doing yoga on rest day mornings in the dark before the sun rises - pretentious, I know, but it's a practise I developed during last month's workout when I wanted to exercise but not lose out on my long rest day mornings while they lasted. And they continued this month for two reasons: 1, because FitFlow Max's yoga video is the most relaxing yoga program I've ever used, and 2, Christmas lights.

   Going out with Lucy was the best event of this month, though. She, Seeg and myself all went to Lacock, to the abbey and old village, and it was wonderful. Owned by the National Trust, both the abbey and the old village have been preserved and maintained - not to mention they also have a lovely gift shop with some delicious apple and cinnamon straws at Christmas, and a café with, quite literally, the best sausage roll I've ever had. Apple and sage, I must find a recipe.
   But more than that was also the nerdy fact that a few scenes from Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone were filmed there. I stood in Quirrell's classroom, and walked the beautiful archway halls, which were decorated for Christmas with garlands and holly, from which a young blackbird was pinching all the berries.
   It was a cold day, but there was a fire burning in the great hall, and that was such a beautiful place to be. The old sculptures adorning the wall, one of King Richard the Lion Heart, while an enormous and perfectly decorated Christmas tree stood in the corner. It was marvellous. and the people there were so lovely, too.

   Naturally, I've had no time to even think about my writing since November, and that's not all that surprising, but I did manage to write, redraft and proof my cover and preliminary letters, blurb (yikes) and synopsis (triple yikes) before things got too hectic, and they're all ready to join the first three chapters of my book and hurtle off to fantasy literary agents in early January. I'm excited, but remaining level-headed. Writing quality and ability is only one part of what can get you rejected by an agent. Other factors include whether or not they feel they can represent your work, even if they think it's marvellous, another is whether or not they have the contacts to take it where it deserves to go, timing and the current market, and, of course, whether or not they even accept your genre (only about 10 in the UK actually accept fantasy). I've done all my research, and while I've always received positive feedback, there have been other factors that have led to rejections.
   But, if it is, then I'll simply self-publish it. My first released book, The Archguardians of Laceria, was rejected by literary agents, but every one of those who deigned to reply to my submission voluntarily gave me positive feedback and urged me to keep writing. So I self-published, and if this new book gets rejected, I shall do the same and hope for the best while I continue working on the next.
   Either way, I can't wait to have the time to write again!!

   My final order deadline was Friday afternoon, which means I've been spending this weekend working on getting the final orders together to post on Monday, the last post run of the year, and that Christmas feeling has finally began to seep in. Little pangs of excitement, snatches of phantom cinnamon, the ability to take a moment and stare at the tree lights, and so on and so forth. I'm spending Monday afternoon, after returning from the post office, wrapping all the presents with some Belvoir mulled winter punch, a box of Hotel Chocolat, all the Christmas lights turned on and a stack of Christmas movies ready to play in the background. Arthur Christmas, Miracle on 34th Street and The Hogfather are my favourites.
   Tuesday I'm having a bath with some magnesium flakes, a Lush Christmas bath bomb, and a cup of hot chocolate and finally slowing myself down.
   As for Christmas Eve, I have a gorgeous dark green dress from Pepperberry. I've had my eye on it for ages and finally treated myself to it. I've saved it for Christmas Eve because it's almost as good as Christmas Day - it's romantic, there's excitement in the air, the evening itself seems to last forever, and I always like to dress up for it (I prefer to dress more relaxed for Christmas Day - something with a little give in the waist!).

   In short, I've been insanely busy, but it's winding down now. I'm finally able to look into blog posts again - so much hasn't been posted because I've just not had the time to finish things, including several Etsy posts - and I'm excited to write again, and send off my previous book to agents in the new year. But for now, we're getting the Horizon Zero Dawn DLC now that I can finally watch Seeg play it, and I'm just going to stop moving, stop thinking, and just chill for a few days.


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