Monthly Archives: August 2012

Finding the Time to Write

Last Thursday I went home for the weekend. Home, for me, is a little over two hours on a train. I watch a lot of people on the train stare at their phones, gawp out of the window at the passing sheep and eat obscenely priced, sad looking food purchased from the on board shop for their low price of their soul.

But two hours on a train is a godsend if you’re busy and need time to edit or write, especially if you’re a busy person. You are stuck in that seat whether you like it or not. If you book your ticket in advance, you could even request a seat at a table and avoid curling around the little fold down flap from the seat in front. This is especially useful if you have some sort of portable writing device which won’t balance on this little fold down rests.

I edited two short stories (one of which I entered in the competition I talked about here!) and had time for a nap on the journey home. When I make that trip during November, I will scrap the nap (rhyme intended) and write for two hours. Last November I used to reward myself after I’d written so many words by reading a book or just relaxing and listening to music for ten minutes.

Trains aren’t the only form of public transport good for writing. Any time you are stuck waiting or travelling, is writing time. This is particularly useful in November when you’ll be pushing to reach 1,667 words a day and suddenly find you haven’t got the time for such a word count.

If you have a smartphone, get a writing app. I personally use Writer (geniusly named but it does exactly what it says on the tin) which was free. It’s a very simple app which lets you create new documents and saves them automatically as you write. You can even bold and italicise your writing, make lists and insert quotes! It kinda looks like Notepad on your phone, but it does more things.

‘Writer’ on Google Play.

I apologise for not linking for iPhone but I couldn’t find an easy way to search apps on the store online and I refuse to own anything Apple related to search that way. If anyone finds a link, let me know and I’ll update.

I’m sure there are plenty of other apps out there as well. Find one which suits you and your needs. I have a Dropbox account and I upload each file from Writer to Dropbox via the Dropbox app when I’m done with my travelling for back up and for ease of copying it to my main file on my computer.

If you don’t have a smartphone, invest in a notebook. Sometimes the old way is the best way!

With your notebook/smartphone you are ready to write whenever you find a spare minute. Bus stuck in traffic? Perfect. London Underground delayed? Awesome! Your friend’s running late? Brilliant! These are your writing times. Use them wisely. (You could even write standing up, if your balance is good.)

You’d be amazed at how much you can get written by snatching a few minutes here and there. It’s not as productive as sitting down for a good solid writing session but if your day is busy and you’re not sure if you’ll find the time for that good solid writing session, then snatching ten minutes where you can will stop you from losing your mind when it comes to watching your word count levels. And you’ll be amazed what you can come up with whilst squashed on the subway next to that one person who still hasn’t discovered deodorant for fifteen painful minutes.

And, if nothing else, writing will help you block out the horror of the rush hour commute.

The Kitten That Survived

I’m learning. Apparently going home for the weekend involves me spending as little time on the Internet as possible in this day and age (which is a surprisingly small amount!) which is why I haven’t blogged in a week. I do apologise! I’m going to try and blog three times this week to make up for it.

As promised, way back when, whilst I was visiting my family, I dug out the first story I ever wrote. (I did, however, manage to completely forget to take a photograph of it… I spent a lot of time with my parents and friends and little time in my room, other than to sleep. That’s my excuse.) I typed it up, fixing spelling errors and adding it a few bits of missed punctuation. But, otherwise, this is the story as it was written back in 1996.

And, no. I have no idea why my characters sound so poncy. Back then I was reading Enid Blyton and Goosebumps. I don’t think either had dialogue like this…

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The Kitten That Survived

One Christmas Eve, a family of cats were let out to play. While they were outside it began to snow. Whilst they sat there wondering what the snow was, it came down thicker and faster. Then the mother cat who was called Pippa told her kittens who were called Sooty and Snowball that they must run away from all this white stuff. So they ran far away from their home but everywhere they went there was snow.

Then Snowball said, “everywhere we go there is this white stuff. I want to go home.”

“So do we all,” said Pippa, “but I’m afraid we are lost.”

“Lost! We can’t be lost,” cried Sooty almost in despair. “Surely you know the way back, mother?”

“I’m sorry Sooty,” said Pippa, “but I don’t.”

“I’m cold, mother,” said Sooty.

“I’m starving,” wept Snowball.

“We are starving too, Snowball,” said Pippa in distress, “but we won’t find any food at this time of winter.”

Very soon a man saw the cats walking past and he went outside and gave them some food.

“Well, my beauties, what are you doing out here in the cold snow?” said the man, kindly. “Would you like to live with me?”

Well, as you can imagine, all the cats purred as if to say ‘yes please’. So they lived with the man. But, after a couple of days, they found out that the man had other cats, so next time the man opened the door they fled out of the house.

One week later they came to a busy road. And Pippa said, “just follow me across this road because it’s very busy.” So Sooty and Snowball followed their mother across the road. But a lorry came down the road just as they were crossing and it struck Pippa’s tail. She fell down in pain but she managed to get across to the other side safely. When they were all across Sooty said, “are you hurt mother? I saw that lorry hit your tail and I wondered if you were all right.”

“I’m fine, thank you Sooty,” said Pippa, but when she stood up she fell down again. “I don’t think I can go on,” whimpered Pippa.

So the kittens had to face the biggest and busiest roads, tramping feet and snowballs alone. So they said goodbye to their mother and scampered off down the path.

In a few weeks time the kittens came to a big hill. On the hill were some children sledging. The kittens started to walk across the hill but half way across a sledge suddenly came whizzing down.

“Run!” cried Sooty but before Snowball could even begin to run, the sledge bumped into her and carried on whizzing down the hill. Sooty burst into tears when he saw what had happened to his sister.

Sooty trudged on alone then as he passed a house, Sooty looked in the window and saw his family looking very upset. It had begun to snow again and Sooty was so tired that he could hardly walk up to the front door. When he did he gave a tiny meow. The family sat up at the noise and the girl ran and opened the door.

“Sooty!” she cried in amazement. “Sooty oh Sooty you’re alright! Oh I’m so glad but where’s Pippa and Snowball?”

Sooty ran down the path and the girl followed him. He led her to the hill and at the bottom they found Snowball’s body, tatty and dirty. Then he led her to where Pippa had been hit and they found her body limp and bruised. They took the two bodies back and buried them in the back garden.

Sooty, as soon as they were in the house, curled up in his basket and fell fast asleep.

The End

I Got Presents!

GUESS WHAT?! No, seriously!

The other week, I was browsing Twitter when some lovely person brought the wonderful blog of YA author  Zoë Marriott to my attention via a retweet. On her blog I found writing and awesomeness in abundance, and also a competition to win signed books! BOOKS! Naturally, I entered.

So, guess what?

I WON! I WON BOOKS! BOOKS! BOOOOOOOOOOKS! Ahem…

Zoë sent me a brilliant parcel consisting of her own books ‘The Swan Kingdom’ and ‘Frostfire’, ‘Unrest’ by Michelle Harrison, ‘The Iron Witch’ by Karen Mahoney and ‘Angel’ by L.A. Weatherly. I am so freakin’ excited about reading these books! They all sound awesome! And they are all SIGNED! I have never owned a signed booked before and now I have FIVE!

Here, have pictures:

Of course this is going to destroy my bank account as I proceed to purchase further books by all these lovely people. I can just see it happening. It’s almost like I’m psychic or something.

All the author’s are wonderful for donating the books and taking the time to sign them.  Check out their websites for more wonderfulness:

Writing Something I’ve Never Tried Before

Today, I wrote the hardest thing I have ever had to write. I wrote a story for a five year old boy, who I have never met, with him as the main character, including knights which I know nothing about.

In all honesty, if I had to write a story for a young girl about faeries, I would have gone to town! But a young boy and knights? That’s an area I just don’t connect with.

This was a request from my best friend. The boy in question is her cousin’s son and it’s his birthday in September. My friend’s a bit skint and asked if I’d write a story for him that she could give as a present. She’s my best friend, of course I said ‘yes’! And it sounded fun at the time! But now I’m staring the story in the face…

Let’s just say I’m writing this blog post faster.

I had no idea where to start. There were so many questions! Things such as ‘What words are too big?’, ‘How long should the story be?’ and ‘How do five year olds think?’ And then I have to decide if it’s okay to have a five year old leave the house in the middle of the night to meet a stranger stood outside (the stranger is a knight and relevant to the story) and whether a five year old boy calls him mum ‘mummy’ or ‘mum’.

I spent some time researching how to write children’s stories online. Of course every website is different and finding advice can be frustrating (I found several websites which were just your basic “how to write” tips but with the word ‘children’ thrown in to make it seem like it was help for writing for a child) but I did manage to put together a rough list of tips to follow:

  • Jump straight into the story
  • Have a clean, solid ending
  • If you use any big words, explain what they mean or don’t use them
  • Tell the story in a linear fashion
  • Remember, this is for a child. Anything goes!

I particularly like the last one. Whereas an adult would question a characters motives and analyse the likelihood of something happen, a child won’t. So, within reason, go nuts! A knight appears on the lawn at night? Awesome! An adult might question why the knight is there or how he got there and whether it was safe to talk to the knight and what would happen afterwards. A child is simply excited and curious and might not care beyond not waking up his mum as he goes downstairs and outside to talk to the new arrival.

All that’s all very well and good, but I’m still struggling. I’m used to writing horror stories aimed at adults, not adventure stories aimed at young kids. Even worse, I want to include the boy’s three year old brother. In an adventure story. Involving knights and a battle. I toyed with the idea of the three year old being kidnapped and being rescued by his older brother but realised that was a bit much for a story for a five year old. I’m determined to get the three year old in the story, though. I refuse to be beaten! Maybe the three year old can protect a mystical gem. Knights like mystical gems, right?

I’ll probably post a copy of the story here for some feedback before I hand it over to my friend. The story may not go beyond her and her family, but it’s important to me that it at least sounds alright.

I started working on the story around 10am this morning. As I post this, it’s now 5:00pm and the story still isn’t anywhere near finished. Luckily, the lad’s birthday isn’t until September 8th.

The websites I found at least partly useful for learning to write for a child:

What I’m Learning From Editing

These last few days, I have been Seriously Editing. Don’t look at me that way, I have! Okay, so I didn’t edit yesterday but I have a perfectly legit excuse! I was training to volunteer for a children’s helpline. See, legit. I will be editing after I blog this. I have my Scrivener open and everything.

But I did edit for two hours on Sunday (as mentioned in my last blog) and for about an hour on Monday. Editing is actually fun sometimes. I haven’t read this writing in over a year and sometimes get so involved with the story that I’m supposed to be looking for typos and bad sentences. (Luckily, this is only the first edit so anything I’ve missed I have a good chance of catching the second or third time round.)

But on top of the fun-ness of realising my writing doesn’t totally suck, I’m learning a lot which is very interesting…

  • I write notes in whichever notebook I have closest at the time.

This is not as useful as it sounds because then, a month later, I can’t find which notebook I wrote in and thus can’t remember what my plan was. I then spend several minutes searching each notebook I can currently find (which isn’t all of them) and yelling at my past self.

  • I start a lot of sentences with “so”:

1. So did you find any groups at all?
2. So you only found one group, so what?
3. So that’s cool.
4. So he began to tell himself he was alright.
5. So go for it.
6. So no one begrudged him a bad night.

All those examples came from a section 353 words in length. Examples 2 and 3 were in the same bit of dialogue, one sentence after the other. I suddenly realised (probably around this point, which is in Chapter 9) that I start way too many sentences with ‘so’ and it’s really not needed in the vast majority of cases. I can just delete the word and the sentence not only makes perfect sense, it doesn’t read like a babbling fool wrote it. I’ve since realised that I say ‘so’ a lot when I’m talking, which is why it’s in my writing. Gosh darn it! I’m going to need to keep an eye on that…

  • I can see the points where I was hitting the wall and just scrambling for words.

And the penalty of doing NaNoWriMo: trying to meet that word count. These moments are jumping out at me and I can see that then I was either behind for the day and desperate or writing on kamikaze mode on Write or Die and just needed to keep writing no matter what so my words didn’t get eaten! For example, these two sentences came after each other yet both say the same exact thing, but differently:

“Right now their choices seemed to end up between a rock and a hard place. It was a case of trying to pick the lesser of the two evils.”

(If anyone’s wondering, I kept the first one.) It is interesting to see these sort of points in my writing though. It’s almost like I’ve gone back in time to watch my former self write the novel. A bit Ghost of Christmas Past. But with novels…

  • On occasion I had the same idea when writing, as I do when editing – 18 months after I wrote the first part of this novel.

Let me explain. At one point, I realised I needed a certain character to do something and I groaned because it would involve a lot of re-writing up ahead (I really wish I’d copied down the scenario because now I can’t remember it) but then a paragraph later, the character was already doing it! Which means that when I was writing it, I realised part way through that this character needed to do this particular thing and went ahead and changed the story there and then without going back to edit the bit before. This was an absolutely awesome realisation! Partly because it was nice to feel that my ideas are consistent, and partly because it was a lot less re-writing to do.

  • It is far too easy to switch a character name without realising it.

I have a character called Don but at various points in the story he becomes Dan, because clearly my brain has issues with vowels. And at one point Michael became Martin which was horribly confusing because I actually have a character called Martin…

And finally…

  • There’s something satisfying about deleting a bad sentence.

I don’t know about you, but noticing a truly bad sentence that has no right to be in your novel and just hitting that delete key is immensely satisfying. I enjoy having the ability to realise that it’s a bad sentence and that as I delete it, my novel is instantly that little bit better than it was before.

And that is what I’ve learnt from editing so far! It’s like looking into my own soul and I’m coming out the other side knowing myself that little bit better.

The Joys of Having a Desk

Do you remember my blog post about needing to have a particular set up in order to edit? (If not, well just clicky here!)

I’m super excited. For the first time in 2 1/2 years, I have that set-up! *does a little dance, makes a little love, gets down to tonight* A week ago I entertained the good people of Leytonstone in East London by purchasing a second hand desk from the British Heart Foundation second hand furniture store. Why is this entertaining? Because the desk had wheels. And since I only lived a 15 minute walk away, I decided to decline the store’s offer of delivering the desk and instead I wheeled the desk back to my flat. The majority of the roads I walked along were main roads with lots of people and passing cars. I told myself I was doing everyone a favour; when they went home, they’d have an interesting tit-bit to tell about the strange girl pushing a desk around.

In order to get to my flat, I had to pass under the A12 road, which was also the entrance to Leytonstone tube station. If you think wheeling a suitcase through a tunnel makes a lot of noise, you have clearly never wheeled a desk with a wonky wheel through one. I actually felt sorry for anyone I passed who was on a phone.

It was actually kinda awkward to push. It wasn’t heavy but it was too low down to push from behind without hunching over it awkwardly. I could push it from one side but one end tended to stray (like a trolley with a dodgy wheel). I ended up more pulling it along beside me and suffered a very stiff shoulder and arm for two days afterwards.

By the time I successfully manoeuvred the desk to my flat, I decided that pushing a pram around the pavements must be hell. They’re all bumpy with holes and in many places the ground is raised by the tree roots beneath it.

But! I had a desk! I then spent a good hour deciding where to put it. This involved much moving of furniture but eventually I decided to move my bed and put the desk between my bed and the wall, giving me both a desk and a bedside table at the same time (I know, I’m a genius).

I really like the desk. It’s small and used (and I managed to scrub some of the surface off when I was cleaning it) and I had to remove some weird half shelf which was at the annoying height of the middle of my shin but it’s mine. Why is that important? Well, I live in rented accommodation. I’m aware that the furniture isn’t mine and if I wreck it, I pay for it. But this little desk is 100% mine to do what I want with. I can burn candles without worrying if the wax drips, I can get ink on it, doodle on it or put stickers on it. And it’s a computer desk so it has the little pull out shelf for a keyboard. However, as I have a netbook, I’m using it as a shelf for my collection of notebooks. It’s totally awesome!

But the editing space wasn’t ready yet. Have you spotted why? Yes! I didn’t have a chair. Purchasing the chair was a less exciting story. I just bought a simple folding one from Argos and carried it back in plastic wrapping.

But what does this all mean? It means that I can now commence with Serious Editing (so serious is deserves capitalisation). And today, I did just that. It was glorious. I’ve edited on and off for several months but always in drips and drabs and never consistently over a number of days. That can all change! Now, I can have a daily editing schedule. It feels so wonderful I could cry. Today I edited for two hours in one hour slots. I intend on editing for at least half an hour a day from now on.

This blog was initially going to be about What I Have Learnt About My Writing From Editing but I kinda got carried away with the excitement of being able to edit. So, that blog will appear in a couple of days time.

To Spell Right, Or Not To Spell Right

Are there any words that you consistently spell wrong or have to spell out in your head before you write them down, no matter how many times you’ve written them in your lifetime?

No matter what, I always spell truly as ‘truely’ first, every single time (even then!) I always spell separate as seperate before spell check tells me off and I have long given up on spelling deoderent right.

And trying to spell itinererary correctly just reminds me of a poem I read when I was younger:

I thought I’d win the spelling bee
And get right to the top,
But I started to spell “banana”
And I didn’t know when to stop!

Business has to be mentally pronounced “bus-ee-ness” as I write it out and of course Wednesday is “Wed-nez-day” and February is “Feb-bru-ary”.

My best friend spelt ‘finish’ as ‘finnish’ throughout most of high school. I used to go through her homework planner and correct every single homework assignment which she’d written as “finnish question 5”.

And ‘fess up. All 90’s kids learnt how to spell difficulty thanks to Matilda:

“Mrs. D, Mrs. I, Mrs. F-F-I. Mrs. C, Mrs. U., Mrs. L-T-Y.”

I marvel at people who can spell effortlessly (namely my parent’s generation… they didn’t have the luxury of spell check). People tend to be surprised when I confess I’m not a great speller. The fact that my degree is in English Language with Creative Writing gets me a few odd looks at this confession. Shockingly, a degree in English Language does not mean that we spent our time learning the dictionary. Spelling came into it very little!

I am utterly glad that spelling bees are not a major thing in the UK. As if spelling when writing the word down isn’t bad enough, trying to spell it out loud is so much worse! I can rarely spell a word out loud when someone asks me. I have to write it down and dictate. (“How many’s c’s in recommend?”) And that’s not even a memory thing. I can recite numbers, names, dates, random facts and a good portion of the words and lyrics from The Nightmare Before Christmas without hesitating, but spelling? Nah.

I sometimes wonder if spelling is worse now because of the wonder of spell check. We no longer have to remember how to spell. As long as we get it almost right, the computer tells us what’s wrong! I cringe when wondering what my spelling was like on my final exam in university. I hadn’t written without a spell check for years by that point. It was probably atrocious.

I proof read sometimes as part of my job at the moment and can spot a punctuation error a mile away. But spelling? I wouldn’t bet my life on getting it right.

What’s your spelling like? Do you have particular words which, no matter how hard you try, always come out wrong the first time round?

Just so you know, I typed this in Notepad and proofread it. I then ran it through Word before publishing it. The following words were spelt wrong:

Atrocious (“atrosious”)
Luxury (“luxery”)
Consistently (“consistantly”)
And I spelt ‘spell check’ as one word throughout. Until Word told me it’s in fact, two words.

Tales of NaNo Past. 2003: The Year That Started It All

Every so often I’m going to dip into my memory and regale you with stories of previous NaNos. As far as I can remember anyway…

The story of how I came across NaNo and what that first year was like for me seems like a good place to start!

I was sat in class one day, doodling, dreaming, clock watching (as you do at 16) when all of a sudden, a UNICORN (no joke) came into the classroom. As everyone stared (and I thought I’d fallen asleep), it trotted up to me and bowed its head. There, on it’s horn, was a miniature golden halo. Inscribed on the halo were the immortal words: National Novel Writing Month.

No? Oh, fine…

Actually, a friend of mine told me she’d heard about this novel writing challenge online and as I wrote a lot, she thought I’d like to try it. (See? Doesn’t the above story sound much more exciting now?) I liked the idea, looked up the website, signed up and that was that! It was mid-October and I was totally into forums at the time so I loved it before it had even started. My username was ‘ShadowedWhispers’ and I was ready to go.

November begun. It was my only year of hand-writing the novel. We had a family PC at home but that meant I didn’t always have access to it if someone else was using it. So, I wrote a lot in my free periods at college (for any Americans reading, 6th form college is like the last two years of high school) and at night in my room. I actually, insanely, also typed up what I wrote when I did have access to a PC so I could have it officially validated! Back then I didn’t know about the Luddite Clause so essentially, by the end of November, I’d written twice as much!

I remember desperately wanting to prove to everyone, especially myself, that I could do it. My family didn’t get what I was doing, but my friends were supportive. November that year was a total roller coaster. I’d never written so much, so fast. It was exciting and scary and yeah, I’ll admit, my schoolwork took a bit of a hit that month. Luckily, I didn’t have any exams or major deadlines until December. (And I’m not recommending you put NaNoWriMo ahead of school, kids!)

I remember the thrill of validating my first NaNo novel. Picture the scene… It’s November 30th, I had just turned 17 (my birthday’s in November) and my curfew on the computer was when Mum went to bed, which was usually about 10:30/10:45pm. I still had a thousand or so words to go before I reached 50K when she came into the dining room and told me to get off the computer. I was horrified. I begged, actually BEGGED, to stay on it longer. I swear, I was this close to getting down on my knees. I’m not sure if she really understood my urgency but she reluctantly allowed me to stay on, with stern warnings telling me to be off before Dad went to bed. This was it. I was on it. My typing speed these days is about 80 words a minute, but back then, it was probably more like 40 or 50 words a minute. I typed. I just wrote, frantically. I was racing the clock. At 11:45pm, I struck 50,000 words and rushed to validate.

Now, any newer members of NaNo won’t remember the days when the website would crash under the numbers of members trying to validate before midnight on November 30th. My memories of those days are immensely fond (veterans know what I’m on about) but on that particular November 30th, I was in fear that I wouldn’t have my novel officially validated in time.

At 11:55pm, my novel validated. I had never been more happy.

I began a tradition that night. I saved my novel to a USB drive and wore it on a lanyard around my neck until I went to bed. It was my pride and joy. I remember trembling from the slight adrenaline rush I had got.

I had written a novel.

I wrote some typically teenage angsty stuff, which has become the source of several jokes between myself and my friend who read it afterwards; but even so, I had written a novel. I was on top of the world.

And I have never looked back. (Except for the purpose of this blog…)

What’s your first NaNoWriMo story?

The Obligatory Olympic Post

I apologise if you’re someone who couldn’t give two hoots about the Olympics. You don’t have to read on, I don’t mind. I am someone who adores the Olympics. I’m not really a sporty person but I always enjoy the Olympics and get wrapped up in the happenings.

This year, they came to London. I fully remember shrieking with delight when we won the bid for 2012 and I swore I would get tickets for the swimming. Why swimming? I used to swim competitively and although I don’t anymore, I always hold an interest in the sport and enjoy watching it more than anything else.

I went through that stupid draw for tickets last summer (you had to request tickets for a sport and put in your card details but they effectively drew names out of a hat for who would get the tickets, then debited your card appropriately) and came out with nothing. They released more tickets around April and I failed once more.

Then they released more in June. I was ready and waiting at 11am when the tickets went live. I sat through five agonising minutes of ticket “requesting” as I prayed I had got the tickets I had selected before somebody else. I would’ve shrieked when I saw I had got two tickets for a swimming heat had I not been in work. I was SO happy I was shaking a little! Seriously excited.

And so, this morning, I watched some swimming heats. It. was. AMAZING! I seriously love the British people. We will seriously cheer anyone. I’m one of those weepy people and I was ready to cry with sheer happiness as the crowd exploded whenever we were in the lead. Which was several times throughout the course of the heats.

We watched the women’s 50m freestyle, men’s 1500m freestyle, women’s 4 x 100 medley and men’s 4 x 100 medley. The first Brit up was Francesca Halsall in the 50m freestyle. A spectacular race from her to warm up everyone’s vocal chords!

Ullalmath Gagan of India received a huge backing from the fans in the Aquatics Centre today. He swam a brave 1500m, coming in last a good two minutes behind the winner of the heat. But he finished and he got just as much support, applause and cheers as any British team member! I love how we support everyone’s successes.

Daniel Fogg for Britain landed 2nd in his heat for the most interesting of the 1500m heats. That was tight enough! But then, our men’s medley team were phenomenal in an even tighter race! We touched in 1st literally hundredths of a second in front of 2nd. Our screams were probably heard outside the building!

The morning ended with a race-off for the last slot for the semi-final of the women’s 50m freestyle. Amy Smith for Team GB was in the race off and the crowd went mental for her! She touched in first to get her place in the semis. I’ve never heard noise and joy like it! She was amazing. It was amazing. Everyone was amazing! I can’t even describe it.

The Olympic Park is a great piece of architecture in general. You don’t get the feel of the size of it on the TV or the number of people who are just around before an event. There are literally thousands upon thousands of people swarming everywhere, all happy and excited. You see flags from every country (and a couple of blow up kangaroos from Australians!) Everyone’s happy and polite and nice. Shout out to all the volunteers and the soldiers who are constantly perky and lovely throughout the crowds. You guys are truly awesome.

I just watched Team GB get Gold (YEAH!) in the men’s team pursuit (on the TV) and I felt the crowd. You can really understand the noise and the tension and the positive energy in the room after you’ve seen an Olympic event. You know when you’re super excited and everything’s really tense and you get a lump in your throat and you can’t seem to shake the excitement no matter what? That is what it’s like watching your team compete with the chance of winning. There’s nothing like it.

Overall, I’m loving the Olympics. London has a whole new feeling to it right now. I was worried what the transport would be like and it’s been absolutely fine. Getting through security at the Olympic Park was a breeze today, despite warnings of queues. Everything is just running smoothly and people are getting in the Olympic mood.

From the moment the Opening Ceremony began, I have never felt prouder to be British. We are rocking these games the only way we know how. We’re here to have fun and love our country. And that is exactly what we’re doing.

Go Team GB!

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