Good Morning 14th April, 2021 (Make Art Uncomfortable)

Hey folks, how are we all doing today?

Yesterday I wrote 336 words on a short story but also did a lot of research for the same short story, and I’ve come to the decision that I’m just gonna go balls to the walls and yet loose. I’m not going to worry about grounding it in reality. I’m just gonna try and make it batshit crazy.

I’m having trouble letting go when I write recently. Stephen King said in On Writing that you have to write like an orphan, or words to that effect. I was reminded of this when watching the film M.F.A. recently. At the end of the film there’s a line where it basically says art shouldn’t just preserve the beauty of life, but also the brutality. Make art uncomfortable. I love this message. So many of us grow up listening to music about good love, or films where everyone lives happily ever after.

Art is different for everyone. Some people thrive on the uncomfortable while others thrive on a good old romcom. Everyone is different and we embrace different things. For me, what I write, people will find uncomfortable. But some will find it fun. I can watch Saw movies with barely a flinch at the content, but watched The VVitch and The Ritual, made me squirm in my seat. But there are different degrees of being uncomfortable. Listening to the audiobooks of The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum and What Good Girls Do by Jonathan Butcher made me very uncomfortable. Even to the point where I had to stop listening to them. M.F.A. falls into that grouping. Although not as extreme as I Spit On Your Grave, it’s still a content matter that is not pleasant and when done wrong, without the respect the topic deserves it just makes a whole other level of horrific.

For films like The Vvitch and The Ritual, these made me uncomfortable because there’s a witchcraft/cult elements to them. An unknown factor that made me uncomfortable in a way I’d yet to experience. It’s something I’m still trying to put my finger on exactly why I find it uncomfortable.

Another book that made me uncomfortable is The Silence by Tim Lebbon. This one I had to stop listening to three times. It’s got a quiet brutality to it, one which I can see happening. There’s three distinct moments in The Silence which I could see myself being in that situation. Having to make an uncomfortable decision.

Not being scared to write things which people will be uncomfortable with or offended by is something I need to be better with. I’m not going to write something just because it’s shocking. I don’t think that works and people tend to see through things like that. I’ll strive to write what the story is asking for.

Right, speaking of writing it’s time to get a few hours done.

Rock on folks, never give up on that dream. Never let someone take it away or belittle it or you. Just keep going.

1st of April, 2021

Good morning! It is very, very morning here in the UK, about 5:30am when I start writing this post.

A couple of hundred words yesterday before work. I’d planned more but got sidetracked. I’d like to say I’m going to get a nice chunk of words done today, but I don’t think I will. After work I think I’m going to have a nap! I’m about 2 weeks into very bad sleep patterns and it’s really beginning to take a toll on me now. I’m okay, I will prevail! But a few more hours of sleep would be nice.

I’ve got to think about my goals for this month. I think finishing this draft of Black Blood should be one of them, probably the priority. I can feel it’s endgame building and I think I can bring it home.

Something I’ve been doing this last few weeks is listening to First and Only by Dan Abnett. This is the first book in the Gaunts Ghosts series, which is probably my favourite book series. It’s great catching up with the story and characters who are long dead. But it’s also a reminder of how other people write. I’ve not read much the last eighteen months and most of what I have is done in different ways to that of how Abnett writes these books. I’m loving the depth he’s putting into this story but also realising that I’m not that writer. Yes, I need to put mire depth into my work but I don’t think I’m the type of writer (at the moment anyway) that will build background for a setting that is a smaller scene in the scale of the book.

Obviously I don’t find anything wrong with this, it’s just different styles. With my work I’m a little more direct, I think is the best way to put it. I like a story that gives plenty to the reader but it’s not my style at the moment. I’d like to put more of that in. I look at something like Black Blood and I can see ways for me to fit those details in, and I want to. It just won’t be world building to the extent I’m seeing in Abnett’s work. That said, the Gaunts Ghosts books are Warhammer 40k novels and there’s a lot of world building to be done.

Right, i feel like I’m beginning to ramble, and I’ve got to think about getting into work.

So, have a great day folks! Go for that dream and stuff anyone who tries to take it away from you.

Good Morning, 17th of March 2021

Howdy, folks! How are we all doing this morning?

I have work in a couple of hours so want to get on with some writing. I slept badly so I’m feeling wiped out already, but I’ll be okay once I get up and running and I’ve got tomorrow off, so it’s not too bad.

Time is something I don’t have a lot of here so this is gonna be a short post. If I can hit 500 words today, I’m a happy word wrangler!

The Gaunt’s Ghosts books are being made into audiobooks and this is the first. Arguably my favourite book series that I’ve been wanting to reread for some time 🙂

Good Morning, 12th of March 2021

Good morning, folks! How are we all this morning?

I have written 836 on Black Blood this morning.

It was a slow start as I didn’t want to start another vampire one and with not much time I didn’t fancy working on the edit notes for Ashes. I thought about working on the Penal Earth short story I started the other day but I’m not feeling it. I looked at Black Blood, and yes it still feels like a mess but that’s the story that spoke loudest to me this morning and I managed to get a solid session out of it.

There is so much to do with this story that I’m a little intimidated by it but I just kinda want to dive in and get cracking with it again. So I think I’m going to bounce between Black Blood and the vampire book until one is done, then start on the Penal Earth edits. I used to always be quite productive when working on two stories at a time, so maybe it’s time to try and focus that creative energy a little more.

Right, time to get ready for the day job. Have a fun Friday, all!

Finally have a little space for my vanity shelf 🙂

2020 Numbers

Originally posted on Buy Me A Coffee.

Last year was a mixed year for pretty much all of I would say. I’m no different. It was both the best and worst year of my life, from an amazing high to a low I didn’t know existed. If you’re a reader of my blog at petergermany.com you’ll know I’m not going to go into details on those moments. I talk about them because they did have an impact of writing. As you will see from the words I wrote and edited last year.

So, let’s get down to business:

  • January – 9011 words written
  • February – 11171 words written
  • March – 5691 words written
  • April – 562 words written
  • May – 1454 words written
  • June – 517 words written
  • July – 4524 words written, 39962 words edited
  • August – 14641 words written, 55323 words edited
  • September – 20471 words written, 7495 words edited
  • October – 15773 words written
  • November – 50615 words written (NaNoWriMo)
  • December – 13698 words written, 4477 words edited
  • Totals – 148128 words written, 107257 words edited

I only started tracking the words I edit in July which is why there are no numbers for them before that.

I was also published in three anthologies:

  • Corona-Nation Street from Burdizzo Books
  • Beneath The Leaves from Burdizzo Books
  • It Came From The Darkness from Red Cape Publishing and Phillip Rogers

I am so proud of these stories. My story in Corona-Nation Street, The Wank Diaries, had been written with this anthology in mind but I didn’t like the ending and with everything in life I’d forgotten about it until I’d seen a reminder pop up about it. So I rewrote the ending, which totally changed the tone of the story and I bled into it a lot. In hindsight maybe a little too much, now that I think back to it. But what it adds to the story I think gives it an impact that wasn’t there before.

The other two anthologies are ones I was invited into, with my story in Beneath The Leaves written long before life took a hard turn. My drabble in It Came From The Darkness was easy to write, almost impossible to get it down to the required 100 words!

Looking back now I’ve got the numbers right there, yeah, I’m incredibly happy with how much I achieved as a writer in 2020. There was a moment late in 2019 that I quit, then during the darkest moments of 2020 I didn’t make a decision but writing wasn’t going to be something I ever did again. When I started pulling myself clear of the dark hole I’d slipped into the words started coming again. I remember when I started blogging again last year, I talked about how I was struggling to get the words out again. The Wank Diaries got me going again. There was a deadline and I got it done in time.

That story got me back to doing what I needed to be doing, writing. Many things have helped me to get to the good place I’m in now, but that was a very distinct moment. Writing to me isn’t just a career. It’s part of my soul. Written into my DNA at the most primal level, and I’m never going to stop.

11th February 2021

Yesterday I started the day off well. I got up early and got work done. I took a member of my household to the dentist and while they were in there I did some scouting in Gravesend town centre, in particular the Civic Centre (see video for more). Once I got home though, I took a mental health hit.

Something small triggered it, something that I see often but yesterday was the first time it knocked me like it did. I didn’t hit rock bottom, but I did fall somewhat. This made it hard to sleep, I think I had maybe two hours altogether. Maybe three at the most, and most of that was today. I was up at 8am like I planned, like I was yesterday but I knew I had to get my head back down. I finally got up at about 10ish and have felt that lack of sleep all day. I’ve tried to nap this afternoon but with no joy. So I’m going to work for a little while, not long, maybe an hour, and then a bath and reading after dinner. Try to relax into sleep.

On the plus side I did get some writing done last night. A little bit on the vampire era, and the part of it I was working on struck me that it might be a part where people may assume that I’m taking from real life experiences a little too literal. I do bleed into my work. I take what I’ve experienced and put it into characters, but how I think I do it is I put the dark moments I’ve had into the stories, but not the situations. I may get close with the odd one but I’ve not got the urge to turn my life into literature, not 100%.

My story ‘The Wank Diaries’ was one I bled into a lot. When I rewrote the ending after I was trying to get myself back it was a totally different vibe to the original ending and changes the tone of the story.

People ourselves into in our work is something that we all do, even if it’s something that’s subconscious. A lot of the time I don’t think we can help it. Writing, for me, is a great form of therapy. I can channel my emotions into my characters and I hope it makes them more real. More relatable.

Another plus side to last nights insomnia was I did look at the Vampire Era again. It’s on my to-do list but I’ve been so preoccupied with Penal Earth and Black Blood I hadn’t got around to looking at it. I’m going to start working on it, because it’s a rewrite and it’ll allow me to write while also working on editing and building worlds. I need to make sure I can find a way to be writing as well as working on the other elements of producing content.

Which is what I’m going to do now!

Good Morning, Sunday 17th of January 2021

Good morning folks!

I was going to write an end of day post on Friday(15th) but I was working on a post for my Buy Me A Coffee page and accidentally wiped out two hours work on it! Yes, I almost cried. So I gave up for the night.

Aside from that, I had a productive day. I wrote 1176 on a new short story in my Penal Earth universe, and edited 3204 words on Black Blood.

I’m still some way off finishing this edit on Black Blood. It’s not like an epic mess, but there’s a lot of work to do on it to get it where I need it to be. The ending is still eluding me. I kinda know what I want it to be, but I think I’ve got to map it out better. Figure out the beats of it and make the pay off worth it.

I had Dizzy’s company for all of two minutes this morning!

The A4 pad I’m using has pages of notes I’ve got to put in and I’ve got a lot of details to put into the character profiles as well. I made notes for Penal Earth in the middle of last year, but I’m not sure where they are. So I’m going to need to have a search for them.

Horror Drabble Anthologies from Kevin J. Kennedy that I won in an online event ☺️

Today, is going to be productive. I’ve got today and tomorrow off and I want to make a good use of that time. I’ve a personal matter to spend time on tomorrow so I expect I’ve get more done today. I’ve had a good nights sleep, I’m in an exceptionally good place in life, aside from that one part that I don’t talk about.

Time to rock and roll!

Taking Positive Steps

Thinking about the goals I wrote down yesterday something has struck me today; I need to learn how to make the most of my time. I’ve talked briefly about this before, but it really is something I need to master. The next few months I’m going to be trying to optimise my time. Between work, writing, family, friends, and downtime I need to be productive when I have the time. Something I’ve recently written on my dry/erase board above my desk is ‘Make Writing Time Sacred’. This is something I definitely need reminding of. To try and make that happen is that when I’m sprinting (writing intensely for a set period of time) not to do anything else. Just write. I’m getting better at that, especially when I don’t have much time available. Very little can’t wait twenty minutes. If its an emergency, I’ll respond but how often do we really have emergencies?

My office door

I’m exercising the same mentality with blog posts. I’ve got notifications I need to respond to, but they can wait. Don’t get me wrong, if its a private message I’ll respond between paragraphs, but I don’t want to stop mid paragraph.

Something I am good at is procrastinating. If it were an olympic sport, I’ve be wearing the fucking gold medal! I would be the world record holder and destroy all who come to take my crown, but am I like that anymore? No, I don’t think so. I’m getting my butt in the chair a lot more than I used to. Even though I’m blogging from my bed right now, with a movie on, I’m trying to do all my work from my desk in my office. That’s what it’s there for, and I write more. I write more when I’m working from my desktop (when it wants to work which isn’t often, I do need to get it checked out, but when I have the cash).

The office is a work environment. It’s got fewer distractions, and it’s set up to work. I can write anywhere, but it’s so much easier having that space to write. I can shut the door and get cracking. I’ve got all my notebooks, printer, and very little non-writing items in there.

I’ll take some updated pictures of my office soon, seeing as it’s all but done when it comes to the layout and furniture.

I’ve got my wardrobe in there, which I’ve got covered with pictures of my loved ones. It’s the first thing I see when I walk into the room and it’s an instant inspiration. They help drive me but it’s not just that which is pushing me forward. I’ve had both the worst and best year of my life. Because of the worst I’ve finally addressed my mental health and the help I’ve got for that, along with great support from my loved ones and professionals has meant I’m feeling more focussed and capable now. I would never have been able to think about my goals for next year in the way that I have done without these changes in my life.

What I’ve learnt the most is that I dictate my moods. If I’m feeling down, I now know how to pull myself up. If I can’t do it myself, then I can reach out to loved ones and they help me out of it. We can’t control what happens around us, but we can control how we react to it.

The anthologies I’ve been published in.

This post went way off in a direction I wasn’t expecting! But I hope you enjoyed my rambling!

NaNoWriMo 2020: Day Twenty-Three

So, today was a good day. I finished up with 3724 words for the day, which puts me a little above where I need to be. So yeah, I’m back ahead but that doesn’t mean anything come tomorrow when I need to be hitting a good 2000 words again.

I also spoke to an editor I know and we’ve agreed a date for her to edit the novella I’m working on. And I’ve had an update from the gentleman who’s doing the cover for it, and seen it so far and I am stoked!

I’m working through till next Monday, with some long hours over the weekend, so I’m not counting on getting any words done then. I am off on Monday, but I’d like to be ahead of the game before then. So that means a solid few days writing between now and Saturday. I also have an appointment Wednesday night, which’ll be a couple of hours. That’ll also require a couple of hours of preparation tomorrow. So I’ve a lot to do, not including everyday stuff away from those things.

Can I do it? Yes, I bloody well can!

This is the final piece of my work that has been printed. My story ‘Dark’ in the ‘It came from the darkness‘ anthology was one I was invited to submit to and I was very proud to have been. It is a collection of drabbles and poetry from many big names and I was very humble when I saw who I was alongside in it and hoped my story didnt let the anthology down. Like many of my published pieces it is in an anthology that is raising money for charity, and I really don’t want to put up a piece which isn’t my best work. This got accepted, which tells me I did a good job (the publishers, Red Cape Publishing have published one of my stories and rejected another one. So I know they don’t take something they either don’t like or isn’t good enough). I can’t really say too much about the story, seeing as it’s a drabble which is a hundred word story, there’s not much I could say that wouldn’t spoil it.

It was a good day 😊

Right, I’m off to bed. I hope everyone is doing well and keep cracking on, folks!

NaNoWriMo 2020: Day Twenty-Two

Good morning folks, how are we all doing on this brisk autumn morning?

I was going to blog last night, and write but I fell asleep. So I got a mighty 295 words written and I am now below the projected total I should be at. I was thinking about how to hit my words on days when I had an afternoon/evening shift as I was overlaying each morning due to poor sleep the night before. But now I’ve actually looked at my rota’s for the next two weeks I’ve got all morning shifts (they could change but we’ll see), so I should be able to get home, grab a bit of lunch and then get cracking.

Today I am aiming for a nice 2k day, maybe more if I can get my arse into gear. Then continue the 2k a day through the rest of the week. I need 1900 a day to hit target, so I really need to pull my finger out and get those words down. I can do this. I just need to be disciplined and sit in the chair and write until the target is hit. I keep telling myself I want to be more professional with this, to treat it like a career. So, I need to properly put the time in and not have the TV on in the background.

So, my arse is in the chair. I’ve got bits and pieces around the house to do as well, but I’m going to work that into my targets for the day. Write a 1000 words, go take the rubbish out.

Today’s featured piece of my published work is Pumpkin Attack in the Beneath The Leaves anthology that was written to celebrate the birth of the one and only Em Dehaney. When I got invited to submit I knew what I wanted to write about these antagonists but I knew I couldn’t just write a story from their point of view. I wanted to go a route I haven’t gone before and that’s where the protagonists came into it. Writing about teenagers I found tough, especially a teenage girl, because I’m not a teenage girl but I thought about someone who is finding their confidence and overcoming shyness, while still keeping to what they were comfortable with. I also wanted to write something about a parent who was themselves growing as a person, while still being who they are. So it was very tough, and a lot of the depth of the story I wasn’t really planning and it evolved as I was writing it.

Right, thats enough procrastination! Armand, if your reading this please yell at me because I’ve fallen behind when I’ve had no real reason to have done.

Rock on, folks! 😀