My new blog! (Autumn Reflections)
It's that time of year again. Summer is slowly petering out to make way for colder temperatures and darker nights. Leaves are falling off the trees, Christmas is gearing up in the back of everyone's minds. Oh, and Squarespace has charged me for another year's renewal fee, right at the moment when I want to be putting my money toward literally anything else besides boring website maintenance.
But still, something about this combination of events, and the fact I've been enjoying the blogs of other writers recently, has given me a little kick up the bum to get my own blog set up on here. I have always blogged extensively for a large portion of my life, from angst-ridden Livejournal posts as a teen to extensively detailed Myspace posts to Wordpress and every other blogger format known to mankind.
Then something happened. Real life got busier. I started writing actual fiction books alongside juggling a thousand other things and my blogging fell somewhere along the wayside. I guess I wondered what the point was anymore. But you know what? I miss it. There is something incredibly therapeutic about writing down your thoughts and feelings and adventures, even if it's only for your own personal pleasure (and maybe for your Mum to read).
So welcome to Becky's Diary, 2017 edition! I'm not going to stress about updating it tons, but when the mood strikes I am hoping to write about all the things I'm passionate about, list the things I am loving, rant about the things I am hating and generally share all the craziness that's been going on in my world. Did I mention 2017 has been crazy so far? Here are just a few of the crazy but awesome things that have been going on since January...
1. I GOT MARRIED.
Yep, after ten years together me and Matty finally tied the knot on July 8th at The Square Tower in our home city of Southsea. It was absolutely the best day of my life, neither of us could stop smiling for a second and having all of our friends and family in the same room was absolutely magical.
We had been planning the day for a year and a half, and after initially claiming what a cool, laid-back bride I was going to be, I turned into a total cliche. Crying over lamps, shouting over earrings, having "Weddy Krueger" style wedding-nightmares on a regular basis of everything going wrong. Because it turns out that planning a wedding is stressful. I think it nearly gave me a full-on anxiety-ridden nervous breakdown at points. But my God, was it all worth it.
It really is a day I will remember all my life and meant so much to me to make our commitment official in front of everyone we love. People say it's just one day and you shouldn't put so much importance on it, but it was about so much more than one day. It was hundreds of days of planning and laughter and love. I feel like it brought me closer to lots of friends and family and it made me appreciate just how far me and Matty have come together and made us even stronger than before.
In short, it was perfect. Also, the hen do was fricking brilliant and you should all watch me and my girlfriends miming to Destiny's Child like drunken superstars:
2. I GOT MY FIRST WORLD #1!!!!
Yes it really is as insane as it sounds. After a year and a half of waiting for news on my co-written song You Better Know it finally launched on the night of my wedding (what are the chances?!) with the K-Pop band Red Velvet. Meaning I woke up not only a married lady, but with 20,000 tweets to read through all raving about a song I wrote another lifetime ago in Sweden with my songwriting friends Kanata and Pontus and lots of rum. And then, after 3 TV performances and even a mini music-video by the band, the song hit #14 in the charts with over 120,000 copies sold (the best-performing Red Velvet album track of all time). Then the mini-album reached number one, not just in Korea, but in the world.
Surreal is not the word. I still don't believe this any of this really happened.
I have been writing and pitching songs for Asia through my publisher for many years and dreaming of the day a big band would finally cut one of my tracks, so I really can't put into words how much this whole thing has meant to me. To know there are literally hundreds of thousands of people out there (a number that boggles my mind) listening to this song just blows me away. To know that I charted in Korea. That it's been played on Korean SNL, on huge tour dates which other famous K-Pop acts attended (*waves to Taeyeon*) and that it has been covered by dozens upon dozens of strangers on Youtube all making their own art with it. The song has become bigger than the three of us who wrote it. You Better Know has flown into the world and become it's own entity now which I truly hope has brought strength and hope to people when they've needed it most.
All I've ever wanted to do is bring joy into people's lives with my music and I feel like I've finally made a small mark on the world through this song. Thank you so much to Kanata, Pontus and everyone behind the scenes who made this dream possible.
3. I HAVE HAD MORE CUTS IN 2017 THAN ANY OTHER YEAR
So on top of the amazing Red Velvet taking a track, this year has seen more songs than ever before finally finding a home. So far in 2017 I've been lucky enough to get the following placements for my co-writes:
- Elvina Milkauskaite: "Try" (Lithuanian Eurovision Heat 1)
- Mariya Nishiuchi: "Won't Leave Without A Fight" (Single B-Side)
- FAKY: "Surrender" (Music Video)
- FAKY: "Chase Me" (Ending Theme To Gundam Build Fighters)
- K.OH!: "Ponytail", "Take Me Back To Summer" and "Fight". (All performed at Summer In The City 2017)
- Djamila: "Invisible" and "Hush" (Both featured on Dutch Teen Movie "Misfit")
On top of this I am still waiting on two more release which (fingers crossed) are coming out later this year/early next. One with a solo J-Pop act and another with a well-known K-Pop girl band.
A huge thank you to both DWB and Kanata Okajima for all these opportunities and placements. I am hoping when the royalties start trickling through in a few years time that this will all be a great start to gettinga house deposit and building up a future from something I love to do, which is truly an amazing feeling.
I remember times when I thought I was never going to reach this level with my music, but everyone told me to be patient and keep working at it. I kept on being persistent and now all the hard work is paying off. Hopefully this is just the start of many more to come if I keep writing and pitching, fingers crossed!
4. I TURNED 30
This is the craziest thing of all. And I'm not going to lie, I've been having apocalyptic levels of existential crisis about hitting the big three-oh, the kind that keeps me awake at night worrying about the inescapable passing of time.
BUT on the plus side, I feel really good in my skin at this age too. I'm much more confident in my own decisions. I'm assertive in ways I could never dream of a decade ago. I know what I want out of life and I'm not wasting anymore time in getting it. People's opinions matter less and less to me. I've managed to stop looking slightly less of a mess in daily life (unless you see me at work, in which case you'll see the same scruffy state as always).
I can travel alone. I can make small-talk with strangers. I can use the oven.
I am getting "house-broody" and I'm filled with wanderlust.
I've held my dearest friends close and the ones who slipped by the wayside don't cross my mind anymore.
I am a wife and I have a husband. Blimey.
All in all, I'm in a really good place right now. And once I've accepted the fact I'm in this new decade, whether I'm ready for it or not, I think I'm actually going to really bloody enjoy it.
5. I AM WRITING A NEW BOOK
OK this is the last crazy thing on the list, for now. As many of you reading this may already know, I am writing a book! A brand new one outside of my Love Stories series with all new characters and themes.
I don't want to say too much about it yet because it's still in the super early stages and I'm not ready to reveal any secrets yet. But I will give a few hints...
1. I have a female main character this time around - and girl power/female friendship is a huge theme of the book
2. Other themes include sibling rivalry, jealousy, dealing with haters, self-esteem issues and most importantly MUSIC!
3. There's also some romance. Of course!
4. There are parts of this book project that I am working on with my amazingly talented friend Ellie Wyatt, and I am SUPER excited about our collaboration. That's all I'm gonna say for now...
I have been writing the first draft for around 7 months now, and I estimate it will take the same amount of time or more to edit it once I've finally finished. I've been working my bum off trying to bring the story in my head to life and I feel as though I've poured more of myself into the pages than any of my previous novels. I've also been working on it completely blind without any kind of audience this time around to steer me in the right direction. It's really scary. I have no idea if people will react the way I'm expecting, or rather hoping them to.
I definitely go through cycles of being absolutely in love with the story to doubting every little part of it. And motivating myself to keep writing every day, even on the bad days, has definitely been a challenge. However, I've had more good days than doubtful ones. Because I LOVE these characters, I love this world and I love having the chance to bring messages that are important to me to an audience. All the wonky little pieces will fall into place if I keep working hard. I won't stop going until everything fits just right.
So... watch this space! Fingers crossed that sometime in 2018 I'll be able to say an agent has pricked their ears up at the book. And if they don't, I'll just work my bum off to launch it myself! GOD BLESS THE INTERNET!
Right. Enough mad rambling from me for now. I look forward to updating this little corner of the virtual world and sincerely hope some of you will come along for the ride.
I'd like the end with some of my current favourites, because who doesn't love nosing at other people's recommendations for STUFF?
1. Taylor Swift's new music video
COME ON THIS IS JUST A VISUAL MASTERPIECE. So many hidden references. A blinding hit of a song. Taylor looks bloody gorgeous and the sheer drama of the whole thing is breathtakingly amazing. THERE IS A FRICKING TOWER OF TAYLOR'S FALLING TO THEIR DEATH FOR CRYING OUT LOUD. Genius. I'm SO hyped for the album.
2. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
I just finished this book last week and I loved it sooooo much. Not to mention I cried a literal ocean in my living room at the ending. It was so well written, romantic and inspirational. I'll definitely be checking out Ms. Moye's entire back catalogue now.
3. Kesha's new album
Kesha released her new album Rainbow last month - her first collection of songs since escaping her record contract with Dr. Luke. It's been clear that Kesha has been forced to fit the wrong mould for years now and the hellish limbo of being unable to release any new material has lit a thousand fires beneath her. This record is absolute pop perfection, from the stunningly emotional Praying (best pop song of the Decade?) to the more upbeat and sassy tracks such as Woman, Let Them Talk and Boogie Feet. Also huge shout-out to the lyrical brilliance of Learn To Let Go and Hymn, both of which brought literal tears to my eyes in a public place (oops). Kesha has a lot to say on this record and I'm so happy she finally has the chance to say it. Plus her voice is immense, the best I've ever heard it. Such a good album!
I have always been aware of the phenomenon that is Zollea, but it was only during her Christmas vlog-a-thon in December that I really got hooked on her videos. Since then I have watched her weekly updates religiously, to the point where she basically feels like an extended member of my own family. I love everything about her warm, cosy videos. I love her style, I love her gorgeous house and homely tips, I love her dog Nala, I love her walks around Brighton doing fun things. It's total aspiration-inspiration viewing and makes me want to be a domestic Goddess (or at least be a Domestic Goddess vicariously though her). I also LOVE her entrepreneurial streak and have become a big fan of her shower gel and Let's Spritz body mist. Can't wait for the Snowella Christmas line to launch very soon, yay!
5. Black Mirror
After the news of a fourth Black Mirror season hit Facebook this week, I've been going on Netflix and filling the gaps of the series I've only half-watched. (Why I've been watching random episodes from every series I have no idea)... I caught up with San Junipero followed by the original episode National Anthem last week and loved the fact that two such wildly different stories and genres were written by the same man. I think Charlie Brooker is a genius and his twisted cautionary tales are scary, compelling viewing. Shut Up And Dance has been my all-time favourite episode so far (and feature's my friend Ellie's song in one scene!!!) - looking forward to what new dark twists and turns come next.
6. Dodie Clark
My last favourite of the month has to go to the incredibly talented singer-songwriter/Youtuber Dodie who recently released her second EP You onto iTunes. I was lucky enough to meet her and see her perform live at Summer In The City over summer and it was honestly one of the best gigs I've ever been to. Her music has so much passion and tenderness, I have fallen head over heels in love with every single song. Both of her EPs are beautiful and the extensive list of live covers on her Youtube channel are well worth watching too. I am a massive fan and I hope I can find a way to book a songwriting session with her one day. You never know right?!
I hope you enjoy these picks and check some of them out! Thanks so much for reading. I'll be back again very soon because writing this blog has reminded me how much I've missed the wonderful world of blogging!
Take care and let's catch up again soon!
Becky x x x