Animals, Author, Blog, Book Publishing, Career, Creative, Equestrian, Fiction, Happiness, Horse Riding, Life, Positivity, Reading, Writing

“Larry” and “Animals’ Guide” have been Republished!

Hi Everyone,

Hope you’re well πŸ™‚

It has been exceedingly busy here at ‘D.E. Kendall HQ’ over the last few months!

However, this post isn’t about a general update (hoping to write an update sometime in the next month), it is to celebrate the (FINAL) new editions of Larry and Animals’ Guide to the Human Race being republished πŸ™‚

The road to this point has been exceedingly long and winding, so it’s an enormous relief that two of my original books are finally finished…

So, I started writing Larry when I was 15 years old, and it has seen several versions in various states of quality/readability to reach its current edition – and I am delighted to have completed the journey, at long last! While I realise my perfectionism may not ever allow me to feel 100% proud of my work, because – as with every aspect of my life – I always perceive facets of myself through a highly critical lens (though I wish I didn’t!), I hope I have done the adaptation of Larry’s story justice.

After a close call with a vanity publisher in 2014-2015, Larry has been self-published, traditionally published, and has now been self-published once again for the final time. I’m tempted to craft a more in-depth blog post in future, to write about each phase Larry has endured to get here – please let me know if that’s something you’d be interested in reading πŸ™‚

For now, if Larry can inspire even one person to treat animals with more kindness and compassion, 15 years of hard work will have been worthwhile. There has been a considerable amount of research and editorial work poured into Larry, and I hope you’ll gain something positive from reading it…

Larry: A Rescue Pony’s Story

by D.E. Kendall

This third edition of Animals’ Guide to the Human Race has been completely transformed from its previous editions, thanks to my improved writing and editorial skills owing to four years of a creative writing degree and over two years of ghostwriting experience. Therefore, I hope Animals’ Guide will provide readers with some much-needed positivity, in a world obsessed with everything that’s wrong instead of celebrating the little joys in life. For those of you who are familiar with Animals’ Guide, please rest assured that this version is almost unrecognisable from previous editions; it’s actually readable now (I hope)!

The purpose for Animals’ Guide is to be read in small snippets as opposed to being read cover to cover as a novel. Therefore, Animals’ Guide has been designed to inspire positivity and laughter, no-matter where you are or whatever’s happening in your life – I hope Animals’ Guide becomes a form of comfort to readers, somewhere nice to turn when life gets overwhelming. Also, previous editions of Animals’ Guide have proven especially popular for those who don’t have the time to dedicate to reading, so it would be amazing if it appeals to an even wider audience moving forwards πŸ™‚

Please let me know what you think of Animals’ Guide to the Human Race – I’d love to know that it has made you laugh and/or brightened your day by even a teeny tiny amount…

Animals’ Guide to the Human Race

by D.E. Kendall

Infinite thanks for your continued support! πŸ™‚

Best wishes,

Dannika

Animals, Blog, Equestrian, Horse Riding, Writing

Eira Diaries – Post #2

Hellooo! Welcome to the second post in the ‘Eira Diaries’ series πŸ™‚

So, it has been waaayyy over a month since I last wrote about the adventures of my beautiful pony, and the reason for that is our distinct lack of adventure over the last few weeks. But I’ll get to that in a minute…

At long last, I discovered a gorgeous saddle that fits Eira perfectly. She’s so comfortable in the saddle, that we were actually able to enjoy hacking without napping! And we managed to go for a ride out with Kara for the first time ever, which reminded me why I work so hard and go without a heck of a lot to pay for Eira’s lavish lifestyle; I realised how much I’ve missed being in the saddle, and Eira was delighted to be getting out and about again πŸ™‚

Our schooling sessions were going superbly as well, and Eira finally seemed to feel comfortable as she worked in a lovely outline, showing off her floaty paces and seamless upward transitions.

Then, the weather couldn’t decide what it wanted to do, and switched from sunshine to rain and back again several times a day for a couple of weeks.

One especially sunny morning, I brought Eira in from the field and noticed that she was slightly uncomfortable on her right foreleg. I checked for a digital pulse (a tell-tale signal of laminitis), but couldn’t find one – and Eira was still able to put weight on her sore hoof without rocking back onto her heels, so I assumed it was an abscess.

Since Eira didn’t seem too uncomfortable at that point, I allowed her a couple of hours’ turnout the day after I noticed her minor discomfort – she seemed to improve slightly as I was leading her in. However, the following day, something definitely wasn’t right and both her hooves seemed uncomfortable. So, even though she was still putting weight on her hooves and there was no sign of a digital pulse in any of her legs, I created poultices and wrapped Eira’s hooves in vet wrap. We gave her a thick, fluffy, shavings bed while awaiting the farrier’s response to my attempts to contact him over the weekend.

By Monday, Eira hadn’t improved. The farrier visited and removed Eira’s shoes, which instantly caused her to portray ‘that’ stance. There was no denying that Eira had laminitis – a word dreaded by horse owners the world over. Despite our best efforts to avoid it, and the seeming lack of grass in her field, laminitis reared its ugly head for the second time in Eira’s life πŸ™

This photo was taken on the first day Eira started to seem uncomfortable on one of her front hooves. As you can see, Eira developed a ‘crest’ overnight, thanks to the rain and sunshine causing a sudden rush of sugars in the grass of her field.

Eira was stuck in on complete box rest, until the farrier gave his permission for Eira to be walked in hand for a few minutes a day in her hoof boots (which protect the sensitive soles of her hooves from stony ground en route to the soft, spongy arena). Poor Eira hasn’t been able to enjoy much of the glorious sunshine we’ve been having, and hates that she’s now on a severely restricted diet of soaked hay. We’ve tried to brighten up her box rest experience by providing mini haynets dotted around the stable (which also prevents her from standing in one place all day) though she can’t enjoy her usual boredom-breaking toys, such as her Bizzy Bites toy, Likit, and Decahedron treat balls – and the poor girl can’t even enjoy apples and carrots in her haynet anymore. Eira is getting plenty of cuddles and lots of attention from everyone, however. And she’s enjoyed time out of her stable, being brushed and pampered on the rubber matting of the wash bay next to her barn. Though she’s not so keen on having a bath, it is the longest I’ve ever managed to keep her tied up!

We hope to update the Eira Diaries with exciting adventures in the very near future…

Though until Eira has recovered, we won’t be getting up to much unfortunately. I do, however, hope to write some product reviews at some point, so please check back soon πŸ™‚

My Beautiful Eira Β© D.E. Kendall

Thank you for reading! <3

Best wishes,

Dannika & Eira

Animals, Equestrian, Happiness, Life, Writing

Eira Diaries – Post #1

Welcome to the Eira Diaries!

Why the ‘Eira Diaries’? Not only does the title sound poetic, but both words contain ‘Eira’ – which, I think, earns extra ‘writer points’ πŸ˜‰

This series of blog posts will feature not only my beautiful pony, Eira, but also our family’s handsome horse, TΓ’n, and, from time to time, my sister’s gorgeous horse, Kara.

The reason I’ve decided to create a blog post series is to document the journey Eira and I are taking to get fitter and healthier, after many years of struggling to get moving with our adventures.

Throughout this series, I hope to include stories of both mine and Eira’s past experiences, alongside the tales of our – inevitably winding – road to fitness. I also hope to include some useful product reviews πŸ™‚

So, this first post of the series will focus on the beautiful pony herself…

I rescued Eira when she was 11 months old, in the summer of 2013. Destined for the meat market, Eira was bought at auction by landowners who were inexperienced in caring for horses, but longed to save horses from slaughter. Eira was turned out in a huge field with countless other horses who had been rescued from various auctions. The people who’d bought Eira thought it was a great idea to leave the mismatch herd of horses and ponies (from huge cobs to teeny tiny miniature Shetlands) fight over crates of bananas left in their field!

Perhaps naively, I purchased Eira without being able to get anywhere near her. There were several horses and ponies available to choose from, though even from a distance, I fell in love with Eira’s scruffy chestnut foal coat and near-white flaxen mane. The next day, it took us hours to get her into a trailer. When we arrived at her new, temporary home, she was so terrified of us that she hid in the corner and trembled whenever we tried to approach her.

It only took a couple of days for Eira to realise that we weren’t going to hurt her, and, once she’d learned how to eat from a bucket, she decided she was happy to let us near – after all, someone who feeds you three times a day can’t be that bad, right?

By the end of her first week with me, I’d managed to remove the scraggly foal coat still clinging on since winter (it was June), and I couldn’t believe how beautiful my new pony was underneath all that grime and dust!

I chose the name ‘Eirawen’ for her because it means ‘snow white’ in Welsh, and at the time her mane and tail were so bright they looked almost white. Plus, it was clear from the get-go that Eirawen believed she was a princess, so the name suited her. It didn’t take long for her name to be shortened to ‘Eira’ – the name ‘Eirawen’ only resurfaces when she’s acting like a diva, or decides to stand on my foot.

Prior to Eira’s first vet visit, it was obvious she had conformational issues. As the years have passed, she’s developed a plethora of health problems that have meant her insurance costs are ridiculously expensive (#cry). Aside from having wonky legs that require specialist front shoes, Eira has very sensitive skin that turns into sweet itch over the summer, she had laminitis around 4 years ago so is now prone to that, she has cysts on her ovaries, a few small sarcoids, dodgy teeth that require 6-monthly check-ups, a flat back that makes it really challenging to find saddles to fit her, and she can’t seem to keep more than half of her mane at any given time. (Oh, and she likes to sit down in the field, like a dog!) So, all things considered, she looks pretty darn good for a pony with all those issues, if I do say so myself πŸ™‚

Eira has a naughty streak and can be stubborn when she wants to be – she also loves a buck when asked to canter, whether under saddle or on the lunge, which I’ve learned has nothing to do with discomfort or imbalance and everything to do with overexcitement. For all her cheekiness, Eira is the most gentle pony – no more so than when she’s with my niece, whom Eira adores. Of our family’s horses, Eira is the one we introduce visitors to, because she’s the only one who can be trusted not to accidentally headbutt, nip, or squish them! We may not be flying around show-jumping courses or dazzling in the dressage arena, though I am incredibly proud to have produced such a kind, willing – if a little stubborn at times – pony whose fate could’ve been totally different if I hadn’t taken that leap of faith 9 years ago…

Due to a hand injury 7 years ago (that still isn’t better 3 surgeries later) and having such a hectic life since Eira was old enough to ride, my poor girl is still extremely green under saddle – through no fault of her own. My parents and sister help take care of Eira when I’m unable to due to my ridiculously long work hours and when my hand is too painful to move, for which I am eternally grateful.

I wish I could wave a magic wand to fix her health issues, fix my hand, and add a few extra hours into every day, but for now, we’ll just have to settle for trying our best under our given circumstances.

I’ve ordered a saddle for Eira that should be arriving tomorrow, so *fingers crossed* it fits because it’d be fab to finally return to ridden work after a month-and-a-half of lunging!

Anyways, I hope you’ll look forward to the next instalment of the Eira Diaries πŸ™‚

Thank you for reading!

Best wishes,

Dannika & Eira

Author, Book Publishing, Career, Creative, Equestrian, Life, Mental Health Awareness, Mindfulness, Positivity, Relationships, Self-Love, Share Your Story, Uncategorized, Writing

About Judgement

Hi Everyone,

Long time, no see (again)! Wishing you a Happy New Year – hope you were able to enjoy the festive season, whether or not you celebrated πŸ™‚

As you’ve probably guessed, I’ve been super busy so haven’t been able to write a new blog post for a long while. Although I felt inspired to write about this topic many months ago, recently, I’ve uncovered considerable inspiration for it that – I hope – will enrich my perspective.

So, in this blog post I’m going to write about judgement and misjudgement.

Judgement has several definitions dependent on context, though for the purposes of this blog post, ‘judgement’ is defined as: “an opinion or conclusion”. Whereas, ‘misjudgement’ is defined as: “the action of forming a wrong opinion or conclusion”.

As humans, we are hardwired to make judgements about everything. We have to, it’s an instinctive element of survival. However, the act of making unnecessary or unjust judgements of other humans has become toxic.

Of course, there are countless people out there who are dangerous and deserve to be judged as such – I should know, I’ve come across a few who I failed to judge correctly – but there are instances that unearned misjudgement causes intense pain for the recipient.

The blame isn’t solely on those who make misjudgements of fellow human beings, though. We live in a world where humans are pitted against one another in an atmosphere through which “survival of the fittest” translates to “survival of the selfish, forsaking the feelings of others”. We are quite literally bombarded with messages in the media and through advertising that tell us we’re not good enough. Constant messages that unless we conform to the impossibly narrow rubric of ‘perfection’ conveyed by the powers that be, we are unworthy of respect and therefore fair game for judgement by those who may or may not know us.

I guess, for those who enjoy making rash judgements of others without truly knowing anything about them, it’s easy to deflect their own insecurities when someone else is just ‘there’ awaiting deconstruction. Often, misjudgements don’t surface instantly – allowing the judgemental to twist and contort their vision of another person to fit their own fantastical image, instead of taking the time and effort to uncover the truth.

I’ll illustrate several of the misjudgements I have been subject to or have seen, that once ate away at what little self-esteem I had until I realised that someone else’s judgements are nothing to do with me.

Humans should support one another, not tear one another down – though if all conflict ceased (whether conflict with self or with others), imagine how many businesses would cease, too. Unfortunately, health and wellbeing β‰  wealth and aesthetic.

If someone wishes to concoct a dishonest, unrealistic judgement of me based on whatever misinformation they have access to, I have no power to compel them to think of me otherwise. Unless a person has the strength to escape their blinkered viewpoint, through making the effort to learn the truth before making a judgement, is their opinion even worth your consideration?

(Mis)Judgement #1 – All Equestrians are Wealthy

I’ve heard this judgement made of so many horse owners, and it couldn’t be more wrong!

Obviously, owning horses costs a lot of money – nobody’s denying that. But there are countless other passions, pursuits, and hobbies that are expensive but aren’t getting nearly as much judgement as that experienced by horse owners.

For those of us compelled to rescue horses, the years of going without ‘normal’ experiences such as eating out at restaurants, shopping for ourselves, and holidays abroad were made worthwhile by the joy of seeing our horses grow and thrive after suffering unmentionable mistreatment at the hand of evil.

Owning horses can make it impossible to lead a life of freedom. Horses don’t allow us to be selfish. They force us to consider another’s life and wellbeing every day, without fail. While we may enlist kind helpers to support us in the care of our horses on occasion, ultimately, the responsibility of their care is at the forefront of our minds 24/7. As worthwhile as horse ownership is, it consists of endless hard work, too.

Horses become part of your family. So, when there’s a choice between a new car and vet bills, joke! There is no choice. Saving money is near impossible, because horses have this uncanny skill of injuring themselves or suddenly becoming poorly just as you start to feel on top of your finances – even if it has taken years of working long hours and forsaking a social life to have saved that money.

So, to conclude, horses are incredibly wonderful and while those of us who are fortunate to love them don’t regret our choice, we have to work sooo much to afford the basic care costs of horse ownership that we do end up missing out on several elements of life non-equestrians take for granted. If you love living paycheck-to-paycheck, enjoy having next to no free time, and appreciate shovelling wheelbarrow-loads of poop every day, invest in the ownership of a horse πŸ™‚

She’s worth it all – I love my special pony <3

(Mis)Judgement #2 – Self-Publishing Invalidates Literary Ability

In the publishing world, there’s a common misconception that unless your book has been traditionally published, it isn’t worth a reader’s time.

While there are a lot of self-published works out there that deserved an extra few rounds of editing before being released (my first attempts at self-publishing being a case in point), there are hundreds of thousands of incredible self-published works out there that are going unnoticed because their route to publication wasn’t ‘traditional’.

For those of you unfamiliar with the publishing world, I’ll give a brief explanation of the traditional publishing process and the self-publishing process…

Traditional Publishing: 1 – Write manuscript. 2 – Edit manuscript. 3 – Rewrite manuscript. 4 – Edit manuscript, again. 5 – Repeat steps 1 to 4 at least 3 times. 6 – Craft individual query emails to literary agents and publishing companies that accept unsolicited manuscripts. 7 – Wait at least 6 months, either receive several rejections or don’t hear anything back. 8 – Repeat steps 6 and 7 for years, hoping one literary agent or publishing company will notice your literary efforts. 9 – Can go one of two ways, either let the rejection eat away at resolve and give up, or, finally get lucky and get your manuscript published, perhaps getting a small advance that amounts to less than minimum wage over the time you spent crafting your literary masterpiece. 10 – Attend any literary events as requested by literary agent or publishing company, perhaps attend some speaking engagements, and look forward to writing your next manuscript.

Self-publishing: 1 – Attempt all steps of Traditional Publishing process to step 9, except don’t get lucky by having your manuscript published and also don’t give up. 2 – Muster courage to forge your own path to publication and edit your manuscript, again. 3 – Pay an editor to edit your manuscript. 4 – Pay a proofreader and beta readers to work through your manuscript. 5 – Work on edits suggested by reviews from proofreader and beta readers. 6 – Hire a cover designer. 7 – Research the inconceivable number of options for publishing routes. 7 – Finalise all aspects of your book, from typesetting and metadata, to content and self-publishing platform. 8 – Publish your literary masterpiece. 9 – Market your new literary endeavour, receive very little support from family/friends/acquaintances who don’t quite understand how to help market your book, jump at any opportunity to sell more copies of your book, accept direct criticism, and spend money on advertisements for various social media platforms. 10 – Work on your next manuscript while juggling the marketing process of your published work, as you need to have a fairly substantial backlist in case you enjoy future literary success.

Of course, everyone’s journey to publication is unique, containing many diverse realms of experience – and it’s important to remember that every literary experience is valid (whether positive or negative). However, as you can see, self-publishing is not as straightforward as it may seem. Anyone who has the courage to write works that make a positive impact on readers is deserving of respect and fair pay, no-matter their route to publication πŸ™‚

(Mis)Judgement #3 – Showing Cleavage is Unacceptable

As someone who was bullied in school, suffers emetophobia, has been sexually abused/controlled/manipulated/cheated on/received negative comments about my body in the past, as well as having to deal with chronic pain/issues with dexterity since experiencing an injury to my hand 7 years ago, my relationship with my body has been turbulent. The manner in which I present myself is constantly evolving, in line with my confidence.

So, when I feel like wearing an outfit that happens to accentuate my breasts, it’s because I’ve garnered the confidence to do so. Yet I still receive derogatory comments – surprisingly, most often from people I know – or am mocked, as people seem to think it acceptable to say something unnecessarily unpleasant about how I look. I wouldn’t even begin to explore the reasons they feel the need to do so, though more often than not, those reasons are clearly not to empower me or to help improve my self-confidence. (Unending thanks to those who always try to build my confidence, however, your efforts are truly appreciated!)

I wouldn’t dream of saying something negative about someone else’s appearance, let alone write disparaging comments about their appearance on a public platform for all to see. In fact, I make a conscious effort to compliment others – online and in person – in recognition of their efforts to look nice, because I know it makes them feel more positively about themselves.

While I acknowledge that superficial beauty should never be regarded the essence of a human’s worth, the way society has been formed forces us to recognise the superficial and gives us little choice but to begin improving the world by making the effort to raise people up with compliments about their appearance instead of insulting them for the way they dress. Misogyny has a lot to answer for and really does need to be addressed. However, I don’t see those who comment about my appearance making complaints about BeyoncΓ©, or Lady Gaga, or Katy Perry, or any other famous women for leaning on societal notions of attractiveness by using sexuality to propel their brand? I wish I had their confidence; you’d see a lot more of my writing if that were the case πŸ˜‰

If you don’t like how a person presents themselves on social media, just scroll on. There’s absolutely no need to make damaging, negative comments about other people, especially when you don’t know their story.

In light of this, I’m making my point with a plethora of images of me in varying states of appearance – cleavage, no cleavage, make-up, no make-up, indoors, outdoors, filters, no filters, etc. – to illuminate the fact that it doesn’t matter how I look, I am who I am. In every photo I’m still me, I still have exactly the same sense of morality, exactly the same capabilities, exactly the same worth. The same goes for other people, too. Nobody else has the right to judge you for your appearance – so please keep being yourself, because the universe needs you just as you are πŸ™‚

Moral of the story (or, blog post): DON’T MAKE JUDGEMENTS WITHOUT COMPASSION.

I’ve said (written) it before and I’ll say (write) it again, we are unique – and, provided we strive to be kind in all we do, we do not deserve other people’s misjudgements so we shouldn’t let their misinformation taint our joy.

You are the only you in existence – please don’t allow others to let you feel unworthy because they cannot comprehend every complex facet of your brilliance πŸ™‚

Thanks for reading <3

Best wishes,

Dannika

Author, Book Publishing, Book Review, Creative, Equestrian, Fiction, Reading, Uncategorized

A Book Review: The Horse Dancer

Welcome to my ‘Dannika Writes… A Book Review‘ series! πŸ™‚

As a writer, I have a natural affinity with words. So, it makes sense that I enjoy reading the literary creations of others, too. I began writing book reviews many moons ago; I was in a book club and it was suggested to me by a kind person there that I share my reviews online, as they believed others would appreciate my honest approach to reviewing reads both great and not-so-great.

Being a published author myself, I also realise how awesome it is knowing someone has taken the time to appreciate your efforts to entertain and/or enlighten them, then gone above and beyond to tell others about it as well. Reviews are vital to the success of every book in every genre; and that isn’t necessarily tied to positive reviews and recommendations. From an author’s perspective, constructive criticism plays an essential role in the development of one’s writing, and ultimately, it becomes something every writer appreciates (even if they don’t realise it at the time!).

I only read paperbacks, by the way – which is the reason I include links to the paperback copies of books I’ve reviewed. While I know eBooks are amazing – and that maybe, one day, I’ll get into reading them too – I’m afraid that, for me, nothing beats the delectable scent of a fresh, new paperback or that sensation of being able to actually hold a literary masterpiece #literarynerd (I advise against falling asleep whilst reading though; being thumped on the head by a book is not so fun…). However, should you feel that fellow readers would appreciate a link to the eBook version of a book, please include it in the comments below.

Before you delve into this blog post, I believe it’s worth mentioning that I do not apply ratings to my reviews. In my opinion, every writer is an individual and, to be honest, I don’t believe it’s fair to compare their works – how would one even rate the work of mystery writer in comparison to a romance novelist, or a sci-fi aficionado in comparison to a non-fiction biographer? If you’re happy to place a rating value on a particular book, however, please feel free to include that in the comment section of this blog post πŸ™‚

(Please note that I will be adding a brand new Book Review page to The Emet. Review website, for those of you who have emetophobia.)

In this post, I will be reviewing The Horse Dancer by Jojo Moyes…

Description:

“The 2009 novel The Horse Dancer by Jojo Moyes, the bestselling author of Me Before You and two-time winner of the RNA Novel of the Year award.

In a hidden corner of London, Henri Lachapelle is teaching his granddaughter and her horse to defy gravity, just as he had done in France, fifty years previously. But when disaster strikes, fourteen-year-old Sarah is left to fend for herself.

Forced to share a house with her charismatic ex-husband, her professional judgement called into question, lawyer Natasha Macauley’s life seems to have gone awry. When her path crosses that of Sarah, she sees a chance to put things right.

But she doesn’t know that Sarah is keeping a secret, one that will change all their lives forever . . .”

My Review:

The Horse Dancer weaves stories of every character together through a tapestry of events. Moyes’ writing is saturated with such brilliant descriptive detail that it’s easy to become immersed in the story and empathise with the characters. I’m an equestrian enthusiast and horse owner, so I found the level of detail Moyes dedicated to her horse-related scenes absolutely wonderful! Although it’s worth mentioning that you don’t have to know anything about horses to enjoy the equestrian aspects of this story.

All the main characters were adequately ‘fleshed-out’, though my favourite character has to be Boo, the horse – whose bravery was the most believable of all. I think it’s worth mentioning that there were a few plot ‘twists’ that I anticipated, and there were minor aspects of the story that were improbable – for instance, it is highly unlikely that a couple in the middle of a divorce could plausibly live together, and a young girl being invited into the home of complete strangers was difficult to comprehend. However, for any tiny details of the story that were improbable, there were exciting scenes and emotive storylines that made The Horse Dancer so readable it was difficult to put down at times!

The beginning of the book introduces two seemingly separate storylines as it develops the individual backstory of each protagonist – if you dislike stories that are set out this way, it might take you a little longer to get into the story itself; but I assure you it’s worthwhile. There are many well-written chapters in the middle of the story that are compelling – they offer suspense, emotion, and action-packed excitement. As for the ending, I felt it provided a satisfying conclusion and wrapped up the story nicely.

I’d definitely recommend this book if you’re looking for an indulgent read to enjoy of a chilly winter’s evening, cwtched up in a blanket as rain patters against the nearest curtained window.

Adventure, Animals, Author, Book Publishing, Career, Creative, Equestrian, Ghostwriting, Mental Health Awareness, Nature, Open University, Photography, Reading, Studying, Writing

Long Time, No See!

Heyy,

Long time, no see – 3 months, to be exact o.O

I’m always apologising for being busy, though this time, I’m not going to. Instead, I’m going to include a brief (well, brief in terms of my writing) update along with my hope that all is going wonderfully well in your life – if it isn’t, please know you are not alone πŸ™‚

So, I finally completed my Stage 2 modules as I study for BA(Hons) English Literature & Creative Writing with the Open University. Due to my ridiculously heavy workload, I initially intended to complete one module at a time for the final Stage 3 section of my degree, though I’ve given deep thought into what I’d like to achieve, and have had endless discussions with my loved ones about my terrible attempts to forge a work-life balance – I’ve come to the conclusion that if I am to relieve pressure long term, I’m going to follow their advice and study full time from Sept/Oct this year, so I’ll have less pressure on my time as of June/July 2022. That means I’m going to take a small step back from taking on new ghostwriting clients with lengthy projects – if you’re a prospective client with a lengthy project, I apologise! But I have to focus on improving the quality of my assignment scores, since I achieved 80%-95% for Stage 1 modules (though I did complete them part time, around part time employment) and only 65%-75% for Stage 2 modules (completed around self-employment; the hours for which I spend working I dread to count!). I am still accepting smaller projects, such as blog posts, website content, articles, and short stories πŸ™‚

I am not at liberty to discuss any aspect of ghostwriting projects – as I sign confidentiality agreements for every project – though I can let you know that business has been incredibly busy, for which I am exceedingly thankful! Unfortunately, I did experience my first (and hopefully last) setback in my ghostwriting endeavours, when a client failed to pay the final fee for their project; they disappeared the day after I sent them the final document. I admit that my trust in the basic, moral goodness of human nature was tested, and though I have chalked it up to being a valuable lesson learned, it was also the catalyst for my decision to pursue the completion of my degree full time as I reassessed what I’d like to achieve through ghostwriting. It saddens me that despite my best efforts to help people and make a difference for the better, someone could be so thoughtless as to waste my valuable time and effort – especially since I’d turned down other projects to help the client, as there was a tight deadline and I was told the project meant a lot to them. So, I have decided to focus on completing my degree, and whilst I will continue ghostwriting and proofreading, I am only going to take on projects I know I’ll enjoy, as I am going to spend more time on my own writing whilst I pursue a primary school teaching career (unless, in the meantime, I manage to emulate a fraction of J.K. Rowling’s success with my own novels, enabling me to write for myself full time; which is highly unlikely!).

I have always been driven to make a difference for the better, something I have strived to do through ghostwriting and proofreading – for instance, I’ve taken on many projects free of charge for charitable organisations, alongside my busy work schedule – though have found that my love of writing has been tested on occasion when I’ve had to work 14-hour days while struggling to juggle everything going on in my hectic schedule. Enduring a miscarriage – as well as suffering with my mental health as a result of the constant stress caused by the struggle against the rising pressure of everything – has taught me that life is too short not to do what I love for a living. Whilst I love writing – and have earned more money through ghostwriting than any other job I’ve ever had – I cannot sustain the level of work I have been. I’m not making as much of a difference for the better as I intended through the type of ghostwriting work I do. Although I am going to continue working for several of my fantastic clients, for whom I provide ghostwriting projects regularly, I will be dedicating more of my time to achieving success with my own writing (since I’m able to do so for my clients, I may as well try writing bestselling pieces for myself too!), and I am going to work towards becoming a primary school teacher; following in the footsteps of many amazing female relatives before me, primary school teaching is a career I expect to be as challenging as it is creative, but will allow me steady, structured working hours and the ability to work as part of a team and ‘switch off’ at the end of the day (instead of being immersed in my solitary work 24/7) – enabling me to make the most of my life, whilst still making a positive difference to many young people’s lives πŸ™‚

Moving on from my career aspirations, I created a special book for my niece (whom I hadn’t seen for a year due to pandemic lockdown restrictions) for her 5th birthday. She’s going through a tough time with her health, so I felt it would cheer her up to have a book created specially for her πŸ™‚ Whilst I still have a lot to learn in terms of illustration and typesetting a fully-illustrated document, I thoroughly enjoyed working on Evelyn-Rose’s book around my crazy work/uni/life schedule; it helped me channel stressful energy into something positive. In case you’d like to view it for yourself, the link to the listing for “Evelyn-Rose’s Magical Adventure” is here.

Something I’d been debating for many years was getting a second tattoo. My first experience was traumatic, to say the least, so I’ve spent years researching and pondering whether the benefits outweigh the risks. Though I am pleased to say that I did go ahead with getting a tattoo, inspired by a photograph I’d taken on the last family holiday we went on with my wonderful grandparents – something my late Nan and I talked about for a while was my getting a peacock butterfly tattoo, so I hope she’d have appreciated my decision to finally go ahead with getting it done πŸ™‚ As it happens, butterflies are also representative of the beauty of change, of hope, and of triumph through adversity – a fitting testament to my life experiences.

I have been revelling in the beautiful weather lately, taking every opportunity I can to get Cai walked and ride/spend time with my horses, as well as to delve back in to another of my hobbies – photography πŸ™‚ I’ve not been feeling quite myself, so I’m currently working hard to exercise more and eat healthier, in hope of losing weight, improving my strength, and toning up; I’m pleased to report that it’s only been a couple of weeks since I finished my final end-of-module uni assignments, though I feel better already for spending more time out and about. You can follow some of Cai’s adventures on his Instagram page.

However, as often seems to be the case, my injuries have made being more active far from straightforward. Not only has my hand been more painful lately (due to increased exercise through following YouTube HIIT/Pilates videos, horse riding, Cai pulling on his lead, etc.), but I have discovered that my jaw is dislocated and has been causing me major issues in the form of pain, swelling, and headaches – I had mistaken the issue as being an impacted wisdom tooth for a long time; it was the thought of having another tooth removed that put me off making an appointment with the dentist, but if non-invasive treatments don’t work, I might have to go through some pretty unpleasant surgery on my jaw o.O

My boyfriend, Gareth, and I have a few events to attend this year, as well as a few days away in Edinburgh to look forward to this summer – and I’m working hard on improving my self-confidence – so, I’ve spent a little time practising using make-up. My skin has been terrible lately – which I imagine is largely stress-based – and that hasn’t helped me feel better about myself. Whilst I’m nowhere near as great at using make-up as I’d like to be, I’m hopeful my face painting/sculpting skills will continue to improve…

I’ve been working hard to improve my confidence whilst driving, and am pleased to be making progress πŸ™‚ I even went to the cinema a couple of days ago, for the first time in around 18 months!

Annndd I’ve decided to dedicate as much time as I can to my own writing by taking it more seriously – as such, I’ve signed up for Mslexia and WritersHQ, which will help me gain confidence by interacting more frequently with fellow writers. I’ll be making more time to read books from fantastically inspirational authors too, to improve my writing as much as possible and ‘switch off’ – just received a mega Waterstones order; anyone else love that ‘new book’ scent? πŸ˜‰

For more regular updates, please feel free to visit my Facebook page, Instagram page, and Twitter account πŸ™‚ I am also updating The Emet. Review as often as I can.

I hope to be more active in terms of content creation for my blog from now on, so you can expect more interesting posts than this – such as a short story series, book reviews, and a variety of posts about all things literary, equestrian, and mental health πŸ™‚

Anyways, I hope all is well with you; I look forward to reading messages about all the exciting things happening in your lives too!

Stay awesome <3

Best wishes,

Dannika