Fifty before fifty update Oct 14 2012

Clouds rolling in at Beacon Hill on Friday.

Well the Fifty before Fifty challenge is on, so I thought I’d give you a little update as to how it’s going (this is mainly because I spent the vast majority of my day yesterday in my pjs having a very, very lazy day and therefore have nothing else to say!)

Anyone who needs a refresher, the original Fifty before Fifty post is here.

So, as tomorrow is my 47th birthday, I officially have three years in which to complete my self-imposed challenges.

At number 2 in the list is read two books a month (72 books in total). Well, so far I have completed Jodi Picoult’s Vanishing Acts. I have previously read several Picoult novels and mostly I have enjoyed them.

This was ok but it didn’t really have an ending … it just stopped. I remember saying to a reporter at work once “stop writing “ends” at the end of your story. I know it’s ended because there are no more words.” Well with this novel, I felt there should have been more words. As far as I could see, it hadn’t ended. Well, you win some, you lose some.

In the days when I used to buy my own birthday presents, my birthday would usually find me sitting in a bookshop (often on the floor) surrounded by a big pile of books and I could take all day deciding which I was going to buy. Once I actually read one in the bookshop and returned it to the shelf before I left, which is probably not what a bookshop wants from its customers.

I always made sure I chose at least one book by an author of whom I had never heard. It was in this way I discovered Haruki Murakami, Amelie Nothomb and Ismail Kadare, now three of my favourite writers.

Now I read on my iphone and I have a collection of more than 800 books on there. I am currently reading The Zahir by Paulo Coelho and finding it altogether  more satisfying than Ms Picoult.

So 1.5 out of 72 so far :)

Numbers 9, 10 and 11 respectively are write a children’s book, get a short story published and gain a new qualification. And at number 38 we have write a novel.

Well yesterday I discovered – from those fabulous people at the Open University – a lovely thing called Open Learning. Check this out

It is packed full of free tutorials on all sorts of subjects and they are all bargainously free. I like free.

So I started working through their creative writing modules. I had fun with a plot generator. You write down the numbers 0 to 9 in one column, in the next you get a friend to give you ten types of people and/or careers, in the next column you get someone to give you ten locations and in the next ten objects. The final column is filled with motivators (love, survival, power). Apparently there are only seven and you have to use some twice.

You now have a numbered grid. Then you get people to give you a random four digit number -0000 to 9999 – and voila, you have a character, location, object and motivator as a story prompt. Fun, fun, fun.

I’m not sure I can gain a new qualification out of this, but it is a start.

At number 15 we have lose four stone – well I’m half a stone down so far :) and very pleased I am too. We will gloss over the ‘stop smoking’ at number 16 (sorry mum) cos I haven’t started on that one yet.

The ‘get more than 100 photographs accepted by a stock photo agency’ is falling down slightly because the buggers keep refusing them! More practice needed.

But I spent a lot of time practicing number 46 yesterday (become expert in Photoshop) and had a lot of fun trying some new things with some old photos – see yesterday’s post.

And, finally, at number 50, we have knit  a jumper for Man. Well here it is.

As you can see, it is a work in progress. The front (the first bit I’ve done) is currently 2.5 inches long and all I can say is that it is a good job I have given myself three years for this.

So, nothing on the list is so far complete – but I have made a start on several of them.

Maybe I should leave the next update until I have actually achieved something :)


  1. I have my own 50 before 50 but have decided any I fail will be carried over to 60 before 60 lol

    • Well I think I shall just nick that idea as well then … good fall back plan :)

  2. Lots of great ideas for writing! Thanks!
    I feel the same about Picoult……maybe try Sarah Walters, especially liked” Fingersmith”….a bit like a very twisted Bronte style…well, I liked it, nice change…some stuff that I find in bookstores or are reccommended by staff I’m not fond of….going through my old books now as I’m renovating my study (la de dah) and found the old story “39 Steps” by….and it is great fun …tongue in cheek, English spy adventure, mystery….haven’t finished it yet but it has stalled my clearing out of the bookshelves for a few hours…therefore a good book.,

    • Oh I love The 39 Steps :) I shall try Sarah Walters, thanks for the recommendation :)

  3. Rachael said:

    Happy birthday! I am so impressed by your project.

    • Many thanks :) It will certainly keep me occupied lol

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