Have You Signed Up To My Monthly Newsletter?

I’ve been thinking. This blog was supposed to be a place to explore my writing life from behind the scenes. But I want it to be so much more than that…

So I’ve started a newsletter! You can subscribe right here, if you’re already interested. (Yay!)

Each newsletter will contain:

  • Some of my writing secrets, my fears and a few high-fives
  • My top-picks for online writing advice articles
  • What I’ve been reading, including mini-reviews
  • Must-see bits from my social media, including YouTube and Instagram
  • Shout outs to other creative people I think you should know about
  • Sneak-peeks of what’s coming up in my writing life
  • Whatever else I think is inspiring, exciting or just mind-blowingly amazing

What’s the point when you already have a blog?

The idea is to share something truly special with you. Something that expresses who I am as a creative person and opens up conversations.

Most of you know that I’m not only a writer and editor, but also an avid reader, photographer and YouTuber.

The monthly writing recaps on this blog will be discontinued. Because there’s not much point when I’m offering much prettier, more exclusive content in my newsletter – right?

I’ll still post thought-pieces here from time to time, but if you want *the good stuff* make sure to subscribe to my mailing list.

The important subscription stuff…

To sign up for these monthly updates from me, you’ll need to subscribe to my newsletter.

If you follow my blog on WordPress (i.e. you’re reading this post in your email inbox right now), you’ll need to re-subscribe using the form linked below.

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Writing Life Recap: March 2017

In February I told myself that March would be the month I finished writing my book. I was so adamant that a new month would bring new drive to my work. But the complete opposite happened.

The Great Writing Drought of 2017

I fell into a deep writing slump and barely wrote a word for three weeks. I was devastated with myself, but also weirdly relieved. Part of me was actually okay with it?

It was a strange experience. My routine was thrown into turmoil. I felt really tired and spent way too many hours binge-watching Pretty Little Liars. But I was still in love with my story. I wanted to get back to it, but somehow just couldn’t.

Writing is hard. We hear that all the time. We know this. But this was a whole other level of hard. Luckily I had a really great support network to help alleviate the guilt.

Eventually I’d had enough and I got back to the writing. It wasn’t easy. In fact, I kind of tricked myself into it. Watch the video below to learn how.

New Writing Practices

After I broke my writing slump I spent a day working on the draft. I’d left off just before the climactic battle of the book and not looking at it for weeks had me in a bit of a spin on where the hell to start.

But suddenly the words were flowing and I’d written over 3,000 words! I felt great! I’ve since been having dedicated writing days.

Writing for an hour or so a day doesn’t work for me anymore. But if I can sit down for just one day a week and write slowly – really let myself sink into the story – for five or six hours, I feel more fulfilled.

When I start to lag, I do a wordsprint to pick up the pace or I do something mindful and focused like colouring in. Then I get back to the writing.

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Getting new ideas and inspirations for my book!

I Signed Up For Camp NaNoWriMo!

The Crossing is now winding down. I’ve got a few short, final chapters to write as a kind of wrapping-up-prologue-type thing. And then it’s done!

But to get myself over that finish line I decided to sign up for Camp NaNoWriMo. I started this book with NaNo, so it’s only fitting that I finish it with NaNo too!

I’ve set myself a goal of 12,000 words – something that should be fairly achievable. I’m hoping to finish the book and then do some re-writing to make up the full 12,000 words.

I had plans to finish the book and then let it sit for at least two weeks. But since there’s so much I don’t really remember (and since I’ll be pressed for time with Camp NaNo), I’m just going to jump straight in.

I’ve thought up some good sub-plots that I need to work in, as well as characters and arcs that need developing. But getting closer all the time πŸ™‚

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Yep, there I am! Ready for camp πŸ™‚

Shiny New Writing Desk!

As a full-time office worker and writer I spend most of my hours on my arse. And I’m well aware that being sedentary is a good way to shorten your lifespan. So I bought an adjustable desk!

It’s height adjustable so I can sit or stand when I feel like it, and so far it’s been great!

I feel like I have more energy and mobility and can channel that into my work, giving myself a physical and emotional boost. But only time will tell how beneficial it really is!

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Pretty flowers on my pretty new desk!

Plans For April

April is *definitely* 100% really-really going to be the month I finish The Crossing. I mean it this time! With Camp NaNoWriMo on my side, there’s no room for slacking.

I also want to re-assess my bookstagram aesthetic and step back from the monthly photo challenges I’ve been doing.

(I initially wanted to quit them in March but a few of my fave bookstagrammers came out with amazing giveaway challenges and I couldn’t say no!)

So April will see my Instagram with a brand new theme and a lot more photos of books I love and am genuinely inspired by.

I’ve also got some fun video content planned for April so keep an eye on my YouTube channel for some bookish stuff and writing developments!

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Writing Life Recap: February 2017

Let’s cut right to the chase. February was a disappointing month. I had a lot of big plans and I was probably too ambitious and now the fall-out has hit me hard.

But it’s time to get out of this hole! Dwelling on the disappointments only leads to dark places. And there’s no potential for creativity there.

So for this month’s recap I’m looking at what went right. It’s not much, but it’s something!

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Image Credit: StockSnap

Sparking Creativity

I started the month with inspirational vibes from Vanessa Carnevale. I sat in on an online author talk on her Facebook page and got to ask her questions and chat with other writers and readers. It was a really clever idea, and really lovely to converse about the creative space.

Similarly, at the end of the month I went on a roadtrip with my sister and we listened to a podcast where Elizabeth Gilbert spoke about living a creative life. You can find it here.

My husband and I also just went to the theatre and saw the Belvoir production of Jasper Jones, a book I read a few years ago and loved. It was a fantastic show and the adaptation of book to stage (and soon-to-be film) was very well done.

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Image Credit: Belvoir Theatre

A few times throughout the show I caught myself thinking about the actors themselves, wondering what it must be like to live out your creative processes to a live audience. It’s such a different world, but it’s fascinating!

All those experiences really inspired me, and I think it’s because it reminds me that I’m not actually alone in this creative thing! There’s a whole world of us out there. And that makes it less scary.

Keeping Creative In More Ways Than One

I really love photography. I always have. So when I found Instagram I gravitated toward the ‘bookstagram’ sub-community.

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My most popular pic for February!

Every weekend I spend an hour or two doing little photoshoots. I clear off my desk, look at some challenge prompts, and scan my bookshelves. It’s really nice to do something creative that requires me to get out of my chair!

I’ve also been venturing into the ‘booktube’ and ‘authortube’ communities on YouTube and filming videos when I can.

It’s another activity that feeds my creative brain, gets me standing and moving and talking – the total opposite of writing!

The only downfall is that since I’ve been spending more time on the weekends taking photos and shooting videos, I’ve spent less time writing.

And to be honest, I’ve had a pretty rough February for writing anyway. The words just won’t come easy! So it’s been nice to find alternate ways to stay inspired, even if it means I’m not putting words on the page…

But What About The Writing?

Okay, okay! Well, at the beginning of this post I said I was disappointed with my writing this month. That’s why I’ve left it til last…

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Needless to say I’m slightly nervous about this book…

I went back to The Crossing this morning after not opening the document for two weeks. That was hard. I went to the chapter I’d been working on in February and checked the word count.

I’d written just over 4,500 words. That’s around a thousand a week if you average it out. And you know what, I’m actually pretty chuffed with that!

I still have three chapters of The Crossing until the first draft is complete. And if I’m totally honest with myself, that could take three months to write. But I’d rather be a little more ambitious than that. I’d rather light a fire under my bum and see what happens.

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Image Credit: Kyra Thomsen 2017

So the new deadline is March. (I mean it this time!) My next step is to sit down and set myself some new goals for Autumn, really take stock of what I want to achieve across all facets of my writing life.

March is going to be hard. Harder than February. But I can’t avoid writing forever! Remember when Ron read Harry’s tea leaves in Divination? It’ll be like that…

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Writing Life Recap: January 2017

I just finished reading my very first monthly recap, which was exactly one year ago. It’s a bit surreal to see how much has changed, but it makes me feel incredibly proud of what 2017 has in store.

How things have changed…

In my Jan 2016 recap I was proofreading a book for a client, chatting to Helen Scheuerer about her literary fiction novel, and publishing other people through Writer’s Edit.

Fast forward to today. My writing life revolves around drafting my first novel The Crossing, I’m beta reading Helen Scheuerer‘s fantasy book Heart of Mist, and I’ve stepped away from work with Writer’s Edit.

I feel like my writing career has a much clearer path than it did a year ago (or any year before, for that matter). Everything I work on now has one goal in mind: become a published author.

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An update on The Crossing

I’ve been pushing myself to write more in January and I’m really proud of the word counts I’m hitting. I wanted to write 20,000 words in Jan and Feb but… that’s not going to happen!

However, It’s been nice to jump back into the worlds of Lihanna and Kharos after the madness of December. To find out more about these worlds I’ve created, check out my Manuscript Monday video below…

I found myself in a slump at chapter 16, which was an incredibly long and arduous chapter that ended up being over 7000 words.

By the time I got to the end of it, I found myself analysing the bigger picture of The Crossing and asking myself, ‘Is my outline way too long?’ Turns out that yes, yes it was!

My outline from NaNoWriMo originally had 42 chapters. I’ve since split the outline and am aiming to get to chapter 20 by the end of February to re-assess the situation.

A huge month for reading!

I’m usually a very slow reader. I’ve come to terms with that. But I was a little disappointed to find that I’d only read 36 books on Goodreads in 2016. I didn’t set myself a challenge and I just flopped.

So in 2017 I’ve set myself the task to read 50 books, and I’m already 6 books in! I’ve been switching up longer books with shorter ones to keep a nice balance.

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One of the biggest reading revelations of January has been the discovery of Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Aside from Spock and Kirk, I think Jamie and Claire Fraser are totally my OTP πŸ˜‰

Here’s what I read this month:

  • Watership Down by Richard Adams
  • Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur
  • Traditional vs Self-Publishing: Which Is Right For You? by Writer’s Edit Press
  • Outlander #1 by Diana Gabaldon
  • The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
  • The Reptile Room by Lemony Snicket

Coming up in February…

I’m aiming to get to chapter 20 of The Crossing in February and take stock of the story overall and see where my draft is really at.

I’ve also got a lot of videos coming up in the next month, including a recap of my Summer Goals and whether I achieved any or failed miserably!

Stay tuned…

 

 

 

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Writing Life Recap: December 2016

Coming off the back of an absolutely incredible November with my NaNoWriMo win, December was a month for me to slow down and take stock of my writing life in preparation for 2017.

Working on my first ever fantasy novel, The Crossing (working title), has brought me a lot of perspective about who I want to be as a writer and what I have to do to get there.

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Setting Summer Goals

At the start of December I set myself 16 goals. They covered my writing, my social media, my content management, and general things I wanted to achieve as a writer over the summer. Goals like:

  • Reach 1000 Twitter followers (which I have already achieved!)
  • Do 2 YouTube videos per month (which I have only just started!)
  • Subscribe to an Australian literary journal (which I haven’t decided yet…)
  • Finish The Crossing (which is seriously huge)

And a whole lot more stuff like that. The idea is to set challenging goals. I might fail some (or a lot) of these. And that’s OK. Because it will spur me on to try harder in Autumn.

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My WIP: The Crossing (Working Title)

Winning NaNoWriMo was amazing but when December hit I found myself in a slump. I needed to take a break from the intense word goals and I didn’t work on my WIP for a few weeks.

In mid-December I started back up again, writing a few hundred words. I’m now getting back into a solid routine of writing 600-700 words per writing session.

One of my summer goals is to finish the first draft of The Crossing, and to do that I’m going to write 20,000 words in January and February.

By setting these NaNo-like goals, hopefully I’ll push myself to meet the deadline. I’ll then have around 90k words by the end of the summer which should put me really close to the end.

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Some Big News…

Another huge thing happened in December. I decided to step down as Deputy Editor of Writer’s Edit.

I’ve been with Writer’s Edit for three years and made friends for life, as well as gaining invaluable experience in publishing and editing.

The decision to leave was an extremely difficult one. It’s taken me a long time to realise that in order to dedicate the proper time, care, and creativity to The Crossing, I need to step back (at least for now).

I’ve been incredibly lucky to be part of the Writer’s Edit journey. From growing our audience internationally to publishing books and taking crazy roadtrips to writing festivals… It’s been incredible.

I’m also very lucky that the Writer’s Edit team are so supportive. It’s sad to leave them (especially when there’s so much exciting stuff going on in W.E. right now!).

But the Writer’s Edit team are writers too. They understand what it’s like to have a story calling your name. You can’t ignore it.

And that calling is truly exciting. The Crossing is the most important creative project of my life right now, and I’m going to throw everything I have at it.

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In 2017…

A new year means new goals and achievements. I’ll be working hard on my summer goals as well as writing lots to hit those 20k-per-month targets on The Crossing.

Taking time to focus purely on my own writing will be fun and scary, but I’ve got a wonderful support team behind me when things get tough.

All the very best to you and your writing! Happy New Year!

xx

 

 

 

 

Writing Life Recap: November 2016

This month has been incredibly exciting for me because a lot of different projects have either sprung up or come to fruition.

As a result, I’ve got such a buzz driving me to keep going, to further my writing as much as I can and make 2017 my best year. I want to write more, read more, and experience more.

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Getting started on new projects is always the best feeling! [Image credit: Kyra Thomsen 2016]

In my October recap I mentioned that I’d been planning a novel to write for NaNoWriMo from an idea I had in high school. It’s a genre novel, kind of a cross between fantasy and steampunk.

The book’s working title is The Crossing and it’s book one in a trilogy called ‘The King-Cutter Series’ (or at least that’s it for now!).

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Setting inspiration taken from my Pinterest boards. On the left is the peaceful city of Ealia in Lihanna and on the right is the dark world of Kharos.

I’ve never written anything longer than around 10,000 words so to write five times that seemed almost impossible while working full-time and juggling the rest of my life! Keep reading to find out whether I won or lost NaNoWriMo…

On November 16th, Writer’s Edit launched the third and final volume of the Kindling anthologies.You can read my official launch party recap here.

Every Kindling launch has such an electric environment – the room is full of writers and editors and everyone is so excited about the book.

It’s lovely to have a wine and a chat with new and old writing friends and discuss things like digital media, self-publishing, reader audiences, book covers, day jobs and more.

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Myself with editors Claire Bradshaw and Helen Scheuerer – the best gals I know! [Image credit: Yasmin Scheuerer 2016]

And seeing the book finally in print and up for sale is such a proud moment. To go from an inspired idea to having hundreds of submissions and working with editors and then designing a real-life book… it’s an amazing experience!

In November, I also had a poem published by Verity La which was one of three poems chosen from the group of the Mad Poets Workshop I attended in October.

I’m so pleased to have my poem ‘Spinning‘ published by Verity La. It’s an incredible online magazine and it’s so nice to have my poetry recognised since I usually only ‘dabble’ in it for fun.

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In other exciting news, after much discussion and support from Helen and Claire, I decided to make an official Facebook page for my writing!

I plan on posting about my writing processes (including developments with The Crossing), plus the books I’m reading and the writing I have published.

Like my page to follow my day-to-day writing updates and have a chat about books and the writer’s life in general πŸ˜‰

One of the major achievements I recently posted about on my Facebook page was how I fared with NaNoWriMo, because in the end… I won!

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And I even finished the challenge one day ahead of time! Towards the end of NaNo I was writing over 2000 words per day, on top of work and life commitments. It was pretty unbelievable!

NaNoWriMo was fun and hard and exciting and challenging and exactly what I needed for November. It gave me a passion for writing I haven’t felt in a long time.

Discovering a new story for the first time and enjoying the writing itself was such a thrill. Writing has been difficult for me since starting work as a content writer two years ago.

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But I think now is the time to jump back in, to be a little bit selfish and really commit myself to this book. Because I think The Crossing is the book I’m meant to be writing, at least for right now.

So for the rest of the year, I’ll be working on my novel. And that’s it! I’m roughly halfway through so I’m hoping to have it finished by the end of summer in Jan/Feb 2017.

I won’t be writing with the same intensity as with NaNoWriMo but I’m going to get this book out into the world πŸ™‚ And that’s pretty damn exciting.

Writing Life Recap: October 2016

October has been an exciting month for me, with fun writing projects coming to fruition and lots of planning for the months ahead.

I started off, rather ambitiously, tackling three bookstagram photo challenges. I was overlapping the photo prompts and lasted a few weeks. I gave up (for reasons I’ll go into below) but took some photos I’m really proud of.

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A week or so into October I was struck by a story idea I had back in early high school. I’d started writing the story way back when and had flopped after the first chapter.

But this story idea just wouldn’t leave me alone. (Hence why I had to give up the bookstagram challenges!)

I think the ideas that follow us for years are the ones we’re destined to tell. It’s inevitable. And so I decided to sign up for NaNoWriMo.

NaNoWriMo stands for ‘National Novel Writing Month’ where participants aim to write 50,000 words of a novel draft in the month of November. It’s a worldwide event and huge in the writing community.

So I’ve spent much of October plotting out the story (which came to me easily and fell into place beautifully) and developing the characters and settings.

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The working title (for now, at least) is The Crossing and it’s book one in a series (duology, or possibly trilogy) called The King-Cutter Series. Of course, all this is likely to change as I start writing.

The story itself is fantasy with a splash of sci-fi/steampunk-esque stuff: multiple worlds, magic, firearms, sexual tension… You know how it goes πŸ˜‰

If you’re doing NaNoWriMo this year, feel free to add me as a buddy! You can find my profile here.

In preparation for NaNoWriMo (and also just for fun) the Writer’s Edit team have started doing ‘wordsprints’ on Twitter. We all get together and chat, then write non-stop for half and hour, then chat some more.

We use the hashtag #WEsprint to find each other, and I’ve found it an amazing way to meet new writers, catch-up with writer friends you haven’t talked to in a while, and just WRITE!

We’ve had some huge word counts so far, with people writing up to 1000 words in just half an hour. I’m super proud that we’re doing #WEsprint and that we’ll carry them on through November!

Amidst all that NaNoPrep, I also had a short story published by Spineless Wonders. It’s in digital format and is available to download for just $1.99 through Tomely.

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‘Buzzing’ is about adolescence and violence and identity and electricity, set in a small town and inspired by my old high school. I’m really proud of this one, so please have a read and let me know what you think of it πŸ™‚

October has been lovely but November is going to kick my butt. It’s like the calm before the storm.

NaNoWriMo starts in just a few days, and in the middle of the month we’re launching our final Kindling anthology by Writer’s Edit Press. Exciting stuff!

Don’t forget to subscribe to this blog to see next month’s recap and find out whether I really did manage to write my first book (or at least a 50,000 word draft of one)!

Writing Life Recap: September 2016

September has been a wonderfully creative month for me. I’ve been writing more than I have all year, colouring in and making crafty things, and dabbling in book photography on Instagram…

You sometimes forget that there are so many other creative pursuits, and it’s good to nurture your muse in as many ways as possible.

Getting out the old paintbrushes or making something new can often feed back into your creative writing.

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My writing has been about quantity and not quality this month and at the moment I’m just writing rubbish for the sake of writing. But I feel really refreshed, creatively. And that’s a nice thing.

Another new thing I’ve been dipping a toe into is listening to podcasts. I started listening to Your Creative Life on the train and it’s a really inspiring way to start the day.

I’ve also just started listening to fictional serials, in particular ‘Alice Isn’t Dead‘, and am finding the use of aural techniques in storytelling really interesting.

Since July, I’ve been taking part in ‘Bookstagram’ photo challenges. Every day there’s a new creative prompt and you take a photo of your books and share it with the Instagram world.

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Featured on @commasandampersands for my photo of the daily prompt ‘smell’!

Last month I did a challenge called ‘AmpersandAug16’ (you can view my August bookstagram gallery here). In early September I found out that one of my photos had been chosen as a feature for that day’s prompt.

Β It really reaffirmed that I might have a knack for this photography thing, and there’s a community out there who love it just as much as I do.

In mid-September, I had a book review go live on the New South Wales Writers’ Centre blog. I was sent a copy of Michelle Cahill’s Letter to Pessoa about a week before it launched, and I flew through the reading.

And later in the month, I turned 25! I decided a few months ago that I would have a Harry Potter party, so a lot of the ‘crafty’ things that I mentioned earlier were making decorations.

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Imagine Trelawney telling the dementors that she senses their souls are in peril πŸ˜‰

The place looked just as I imagined it, complete with fairy lights and jars of spiders among the chip n’ dip.

I dressed as Professor Trelawney and my husband came as Professor Quirrell β€” a true romance if there ever was one πŸ˜‰

I haven’t planned too far ahead in October yet, but I do know that I’ll be officially starting a bullet journal (more on that next month!) and that I’ll be trying to plan a something to write in NaNoWriMo. The rest is an adventure!

Writing Life Recap: August 2016

August was a pretty great month for me in terms of writing and work. There have been some big changes, and there are lots of exciting things in the pipeline.

The first thing you might have noticed is that I’ve changed my name. Bandte is now Thomsen!

All my social media channels have been updated seamlessly, and it was a bit of a weird thing at first but now I’m used to it πŸ™‚ Hopefully everyone else is too!

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In my July recap I mentioned that some publications had been pushed back into August, so there were a few articles of mine that went live.

The first was a book review of Word Migrants by Hazel Smith for the New South Wales Writers’ Centre.

The poetry was really clever, and had me thinking about migration and displacement long after I stopped reading.

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I also had a book review published by Mascara Literary Review, which I am so chuffed about. Mascara is a fantastic journal, and to be published by them has made me all fuzzy inside.

The review was for the 2015 UTS Writers’ Anthology Strange Objects Covered with Fur which was a great collection of fiction, poetry, essays, and script that showcased my contemporaries. Inspiring stuff!

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Last but not least was an article that has been swimming around in my head for a while, after I was asked by a friend how to get started as a freelance editor.

So I wrote it and Writer’s Edit stuck it online for me – thanks guys πŸ™‚

It goes through all the technical things I’ve learned so far (like ABNs and business cards) as well as what to do when you land a job.

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So there’s one last super-cool work thing that happened in August – I’ll now be working from home two days a week!

I’ve been working full-time for two and a half years now, and I commute by train for almost four hours a day. That’s over a month of every year, just sitting. (Yep, kind of crazy.)

Two days a week from home means I get those hours back. I can focus on my creative writing and looking after myself.

I mentioned the dangers of burning out in my July recap, and I’ll say it again – it’s okay to turn down work when you need a break; it’s okay to ask for help when you’re struggling; it’s okay to have limits.

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September is going to be fabulous, I just know it. It’s my 25th birthday, and I’ll be writing and submitting more stories, and I’ll have a proper work-life balance.

I’m also doing a September book photo challenge on Instagram if anyone wants to follow along with the hashtag #lilbookishseptember or find me @KyraThomsen.