Lifestyle · Writing

What it’s like to write a book

When I was 16 years old I had an idea for a story. I began to obsess over it. I would put my headphones in and as my music played I would imagine the characters in my head. I’d think about what they’re doing, how the characters would meet and work together.

So I began to write down my thoughts. Now almost 4 years later, I’m no closer to finishing it.

I have hundreds of word documents with different sections of the story. For a moment you finnally think you’re making progress, then you get an idea or decide you don’t like something you wrote. So now, the entire story has to be changed to fit around new details. 

I never thought it would be so hard or consuming! 

My characters feel real! I think about them all the time. Sometimes I can’t sleep because I just have a pressing need to write about them. Sometimes I can’t type fast enough, I want the words down. My hands cramp but I still want to write. I begin to understand why authors kill of some characters, sometimes someone needs to die. I feel the pain I feel when I read other books. I stop and think, why am I doing this but I know it needs to happen. I cry about the people I habe made. They have emotions, lives and history. To me they feel real. They are a part of my life. 

It’s hard to describe. It’s so much harder than I thought but don’t let this put you off. I can’t describe how amazing it feels to finish a chapter. To see your characters develop and start to become something solid. To see a light at the end of the tunnel. 

I don’t tell people about my writing. I find people judge until you make it then they act proud.

It is super rewarding. Follow your dreams and don’t let anyone stop you from doing what you love. 

-Hidden Shadows

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Education · Experience · Lifestyle

What to expect at University

This is just a little blog on what to expect when you start university, I hope this helps some people as I was freaking out this time last year. (UK though I’m sure it’s the same experience around the world).

First week…expect to get lost because everyone does. The first week is a separate timetable, it’s all about introducing you into the university. Setting up your IT accounts, getting contact information for teachers, tours and picking up your ID.

If you manage to make a friend or more, that’s great. Honestly, you literally just have to be like, “okay if I hang with you?” It honestly works. If you’re a loner, don’t worry about that either, there are loads. Being a loner will probably be useful, you’ll be able to concentrate more.

Seminars and lectures

Seminars are compulsory! They take a register. You’re in a class of about 20-30 people. It’s kind of just like being in class at school. At my university we got told if we missed 1 seminar, we would get an email. If we missed 2, we would get a warning and if we missed 3 we would have a meeting and may be kicked off the course. It’s usually just to scare you. I missed A LOT and never got anything more than an email. You’ll do exam preparation in these lessons, course work assessment help and random other tasks to get you used to any programmes you may be using such as SPSS for psychology students. 

Lectures

These are not compulsory. They say they may do random register checks, but they never do. They are huge rooms, just like you see on TV shows. Theatre like chairs with a table to write on. As you progress along the year you’ll notice the numbers of people turning up getting fewer and fewer. I skipped the majority of them, the ones I did go to I rarely took notes.

GO TO ALL YOUR LESSONS AND MAKE NOTES

Boy do I regret not doing this. For the assignments they set E.G 2500 word essay on the nature vs nurture argument for people who commit crime. It’s easier to do these, you have books and Google (saviour!) and about a month to do it. Of course I left it till last minute every time.

With exams, they’re not so easy to get through. I turned up to one and thought “What-the-fuck?” It was multiple choice so I thought, easy yeah. I was so wrong. I think the only question I got right was that babies start to smile at 3-6 months haha.

Overall I got for each of my subjects:

First (the best, only just!)

2.1 

2.2

2.2

2.2

Hey at least I didn’t get a third. But, if you get thirds throughout your first year don’t worry. The first year is basically just getting you used to everything. The grades you get will get you into the next to years, fail and you will have the chance to resit. However, if you only just manage to scrape through the year don’t worry. It won’t effect your final grade for your degree. The 1st year is basically meaningless when it comes to your degree. But it may be different for your course so don’t slack!

They usually have gyms, discount prices for students. Mine costs £100 for a full year…totally got my money’s worth 😆. Good to destress though.

The libraries usually have sections, quiet areas, group areas and books on every single topic. It’s a nice place to relax and normally have a cafe inside eith pretty decent food and drink. My university sells Costa Coffee 😏 at a good discount. 

Parking costs, if you’re driving plan what you’re doing. There’s usually university badges or passes you can buy for a term or year of parking on site. Other than thst you’re going to have to find somewhere which is probably just going to cost more and be a lot more difficult so you may as well just get university parking 🙂

It’s not as bad as I thought it would be. You learn your way around eventually. Making friends isn’t that important but it is a perk. Just pay attention, if you need help ask for it. Don’t stress, it doesnt help. Have a nice cup of tea and a good breakfast. Relax! Enjoy it!

-Hidden Shadows

Lifestyle

Should you buy a cat or a dog?

A more care free post today…

So you want a pet but you don’t know what to get. Hopefully this post will give you some insight.

Dogs:

There are many breeds of dog. If trained well they should be obedient and loving. I have a black Labrador, she is so gentle and kind. Labs are one of the best breeds for family homes.

With dogs, you can train them however you like. We trained ours to not come upstairs and she has NEVER tried to. She is a little excitable when we get her leash out but other than that she is very relaxed. 

As a puppy, I recommend you cage train them or just have them in a cage/pen until they are potty trained. We gave her a section of the garden to use as a toilet (stone area) and she learned that is where she should go.

We feed her fresh meat from the butchers rather than tinned foods but that’s your choice. If you buy a puppy, don’t leave them alone too often, make sure you get all their vaccines and teach them early to be obedoamt on walks or they just pull constantly. Oh and make sure they respond to your calls, you don’t want to let them off their leash and them have them not come back. 

You should walk your dog 3 times a day and have her trained pretty early. We weren’t aware how much work a dog is, so don’t buy one with out researching! They need your attention just as much as a young child.

If you don’t want them sleeping on the furniture, give them a dedicated bed and teach the instruction ‘bed’. 

Cats:

I have 4 haha. In the past 5-7 years I’ve had 6 cats in total.

2 we bought (brother and sister) in 2010. We did intend to get two girls as males territorial pee. Of course mine turned out to be a boy but I love him just as much. Then the female had kittens, too cute to get rid of them all. Kept 2 (another male and a female) and have another to a family member. Sadly, the female was hit by a car The one we gave away had kittens and we got one of them (male). That got us back to 4 cats. 3 males and a female. 

The female would always growl and hiss at the other males, All except the brother she grew up with. I think it was mainly because 1 was her child and she wanted rid of him, the other was always trying to dominate her.

Sadly, the female died suddenly. No cause. Very young. A lot of cats can lice till they’re 18+. She was only 7. 

So a few weeks later we bought another female cat for my sister. She is…the most energetic kitten we’ve ever had.

She chases your legs as you walk, climbs up you, attacks your hands. Then 5 minutes later she’ll be purring in your lap. She is very loving but very playful. She is half bengal so we presume that may play a part as they are very energetic.

The others were tabby cats or fluffy black and white (all related ❤). They always had another kitten with them when growing up so they had someone else to keep them company. But our latest does not, which I think is why she has so much energy to waste on us. 

We’ve finally got the three males used to her. They no longer hiss or growl at her. She dives on them and they knock her to the ground with the tap if a paw, it’s hilarious.

With cats you can have them indoors or out. Outdoors, then you don’t have cat littler to clean up, you basically just need to leave some food out for them and  show them some love when they want it. 

Indoors, you’ll need cat litter and a tray. More toys for them to be entertained, and some people have their cats declawed so they don’t ruin furniture. DO NOT DO THIS IF YOU PLAN ON LETTING THEM OUTSIDE, THEY NEED TO BE ABLE TO PROTECT THEMSELVES FROM OTHER CATS.

Both male and female cats may also pee around your home. A males smells stronger. They usually do it on washing you’ve left on the floor or under your bed. I’ve made sure to now never leave things on my floor, just incase, and there’s no way for them to get under my bed. I also recommend feeding them with separate bowls. One of my males like to shove the others out the way and eat as much as he can so the others can’t. Then he’ll be sick from eating so fast. He’s a little bitch.

If you have small children both are great, but small kittens are probably going to scratch and a puppy may bite. So be careful.

Cats are less work, you can leave them to do their own thing all day. A dog, they need more attention and walks. If you work, again a cat may be best. You can leave them home all day and you can give eachother some company and love when you return.

Raised right, both can be great pets 🙂

-Hidden Shadows