Monday, 5 December 2016

What Kept Me Smiling #5

This post is a day late again due to a busy Sunday, but last week was pretty good! A few great things happened, plus feeling motivated about life and a confidence boost about my writing! A pretty awesome week - even though I was plagued with a cold again. I swear, I am getting so sick of being ill. I bloody hate Winter! But on to the smiles!

Writing and Tea

Clean Sheets

It's a small and tiny thing, but I absolutely love getting into a bed with clean sheets. There's just something so comfy and cosy about the feel of fresh, clean sheets against your skin as you drift off to sleep (after lying there for about an hour or so, because I don't sleep well), while all cocooned up in the duvet. It's wonderful.

Writing for a New Platform

This week, I wrote a piece for Maximum Pop! Books, Give Groundbreaking Books This Christmas, and I am so excited! Maximum Pop! is a pretty popular teen pop culture site, and I was on there writing about really important YA novels (plus an MG novel and a picture book)! It's just so awesome to think that my words will be read by who knows how many teenagers, and I may have helped someone find a book they really need. Really excited!

Buying a 2017 Diary

Again, something that doesn't seem like much, except that this is a little promise to myself. I bought two diaries for 2016 (by mistake), and hardly touched them. I just don't really do enough to require a diary - but I want to do more. For whatever reason, I have a really good feeling about 2017; I just feel like it's going to be a great year for me. So I've bought a really pretty Paperblanks Flutterbyes Diary as a kick up the bum - "You've bought a diary, so you now have to do more things so you haven't wasted your money!" I really, really want to get to Northern Ireland in 2017. It's been years since I've seen my best mate, and I'm dying to meet his daughter finally. I also want to go see my wonderful friend Caoimhe, who is also in Northern Ireland. I also just want to have more days out doing fun things on my days off rather than sitting on my backside. There will be plans! I am determined to make plans!

Suzy's Comment

The lovely Suzy of From the Fringe mentioned in her A Currently Post: November how she was "determined to make a success of everything", and how she felt "more driven and motivated than ever." I commented saying I was envious of her determination and drive, and how I felt a little lost, as I have vague dreams around my writing but no specific goal that actually exists. Suzy's response was so wonderful! She said how being determined to be successful doesn't mean she knows what she's doing, that her dreams are also vague, and she doesn't know how to get where she wants to be - which was really comforting, to know someone is in a similar boat as me, but is feeling so motivated anyway. It's spurred me on a little! But she also said the most wonderful things about me and my writing:

"You're doing great work though and I feel that you're a really positive force in the blogging world. Not only that, I distinctly remember reading your first post for The Olive Fox and thinking WOW this is awesome. So you totally got this!! You don't need to have it all figured out, just keep working on the things that give you joy. Sometimes life just puts things in your path that you mightn't have considered before so it's worth keeping on trucking my lovely."

That is seriously such an incredible comment as it comes from someone who's writing I am inspired by so much. Suzy is one of the people I look up to as a blogger, so this just made my day. I swear I might just write that down somewhere to read when I'm doubting myself. I will keep on keeping on! :)

Handselling Books

On Saturday, I had a really awesome experience at work with a couple from abroad who were looking for some YA romance novels for their 17-year-old daughter. Normally when parents are buying books, they just want to know the basics to be able to decide if it's something their child is going to like, they don't want anything in depth, But this couple were really interested in hearing more about the story as their daughter had particular tastes, and they pretty much gave me leave to just gush about books for 10-15 minutes, and it was amazing! Really, having these parents want to find the right book for their daughter was in itself really rather lovely, it was more than a "This should do" attitude, but also that they asked questions and I was able to really gush and rave about these books I love so much.

Generally, this only really happens if I'm serving people who are buying for themselves - teenagers or adults - and it's such a wonderful feeling being able to have a conversation about books I love, books they love, share recommendations and just get so excited and enthusiastic. This doesn't really happen with parents. And even though this couple wasn't sharing recommendations with me, they were genuinely interested in the books themselves, and so I was able to really get into why these books are just so wonderful. The father said to me, "How lucky that you get to do a job you love!" And, well, that's not strictly true, but I took from it that they really saw my passion for these books, and how much I enjoyed them. It really is the best thing about my job, getting to talk so enthusiastically about books I love, and doing a good enough job at it that the customers actually buy the books. Technically, it means I'm doing my job well and making money for the shop, but I think more about the reader, and I get so much joy from knowing they'll be reading, and hopefully loving, something I completely adored, that they'll get to have the first-read experience and discover the wonders of a particular story. God, it is just so awesome!

(If you're interested, I recommended All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven - my favourite book of 2015, dealing with grief and mental illness, and my god, I don't think I've ever been as deeply affected by a book; so beautiful, and so moving, To All the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han - a lighthearted, sweet romance, and The Elemental Series by Brigid Kemmerer - a paranormal romance series featuring a group of brothers who can control the elements, so action packed and exciting!)

Another Awesome Sunday Date

Really awesome! And again, that is all I am going to say, because, as I said before, I don't really think it's fair to talk about it without permission, but also because I discovered yesterday that this guy reads my blog, which is mildly terrifying. So yeah, hey, if you're reading.

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