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!

Good Morning, 15th of December 2020

Good morning, folks! I hope everyone is doing good!

Just a quick post before I start my day. I likely won’t be getting a lot of writing done today. Work later on and I’ve got an appointment to prep for that takes place tomorrow but I don’t want to be rushing the prep after work and before the appointment tomorrow. So most of my free time before work today will be on that, anything the isn’t though I’ll be getting some form of writing work done.

I’m feeling happy about my goals for next year, even if I do have a slight doubt that I’m being overly ambitious. The way I’m looking at it though, is it’s time I started pushing myself. After so many years of living with self-doubt beating the crap outta me (in every aspect of life) now I’m finding my confidence a little I feel like I can push myself that bit more. I’m not so scared of the world that I used to be, it’s still there but it’s not dominating me like it used to.

Yes, I’ve just woken up!

Right, I’m off to get cracking! Have an awesome day, everyone!

Tuesday, 8th of December 2020 Roundup

Yep, another early roundup post as I likely won’t be blogging when I get home tonight.

I have written 1896 words this morning, in about two hours. Which I am super chuffed with! I got up in good time, and made the most of my time. When I have the time to write I have to make it almost sacred. This I am getting better at. I’m to getting distracted, (with the exception of the cats) and I’m getting on with writing. I’m setting up sprints in my NaNo regions Discord and even though I’ve been sprinting alone today, it seems to be firing me on.

Dizzy chilling in the warmest place in the room!

This all reinforces to me that I can do this. That the only person holding me back is, can you guess it? Me. I said yesterday (I think), that aside from one element of my life, the most important, that I am in probably the best place I’ve been in for years. I think that is started to bear fruit.

I’ve always had self-doubt, a lack of confidence in all aspects of my life. After this year and hitting rock bottom and with the help I’ve had and addressing my problems it feels like it’s beginning to come together. Not perfect, but I am a better me than I was just a few months ago and people are noticing which is great.

Right, I’m pretty sure I just repeated a lot of what I wrote yesterday, but hey, a little repetition never hurts!

I’m off to get ready for work. I know I’ve got a challenge there today, which I’m looking forward to diving into.

Day off tomorrow but I’ve got a few things to do so writing time will be limited, but if I can get almost two thousand words down in two hours today, I can find time to try for that again tomorrow!

Have a great one, folks! And remember, be kind. It’s not hard.

NaNoWriMo 2020: Day Six

3172 words today while watching movies all day. It’s been a while since I watched the Lord Of The Rings trilogy and it was good merging the two.

I am feeling somewhat braindead right now though. If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know I share a selfie a day to keep the black dog away. Today that damn black dog has been nipping at my heels again and writing really helped deal with that.

Seeing as my brain is mush, I’m wrapping it up here. I’m wiped and going to finish watching Beauty and the Beast (sometimes you just need Disney), and then bed.

Good Morning 16th October 2020

I’ve had a strange couple of days. I’ve not had work today and yesterday but had an urgent matter to see to yesterday that was unexpected but that took up the morning. Then in the afternoon I prepped for a weekly appointment. I’ve been trying to do this the right way, which means its a couple of hours at the least I dedicate to it, and I think it’s really beginning to pay off. And yes, I’m going to be vague about it.

So after all that, I was a bit beat. So I didn’t write yesterday. The day before I didn’t write much either because I fell asleep. I did have a productive meeting via Discord with fella ML’s from the Kent region for NaNoWriMo. It was a lot of fun and I’ve not laughed that hard in a very long time. We did also get some bits and pieces sorted out for this years NaNoWriMo as well. It’s going to be a strange one as we won’t be having any write-ins at all. NaNo HQ have said that there will be none, so there will be none. It’s just not worth the risk, and I fully agree. If you’ve been reading this blog for a long time then you’ll know how much I love going to write-ins. I think they are one a great way of being reminded that even though writing is a solitary act, for the most of it, we’re not the only ones doing it. But, we don’t have them this year so we’re working on ways to make it a memorable year for people while doing it all virtually.

In other news from my little corner of the world, the paperback for Corona-Nation St is now out! I have my copy and I’m super happy with it. I’d given up on this story until after I’d moved back to my parents and started to get myself sorted. Matthew Cash, the ruler of Burdizzo Books, posted a reminder about the submission call and it spurred me to revisit my piece. I had a complete story but it just didn’t feel right. So I looked at it, and ended up rewriting the ending, which changed the entire tone of the story. I hope it works. I feel much happier with the story as it is now. I did bleed into the story, but that’s why I think it works. Although I didn’t literally do what the character does I channeled some of my feelings and emotions into it.

So pretty 😊

The pre-order for It Came From The Darkness is also available now! Like Corona-Nation St, this is a charity anthology full of flash fiction. This was an invite only and I am so proud to have been invited to it.

So, please check both of these out.

I’ve got an errand to run today before Stefan from Stefan’s Daily Gaming comes over for a few hours to game. If you haven’t checked out his stuff, please do! He’s a great guy and a very dear friend.

So I’ve got a couple of hours this afternoon to write. So I am going to try and make the most of that time.

1st Of October 2020

Good evening folks, today I’ve written 1406 words after a few days of not writing anything. I’ve been a bit down for the last week or so, and I needed a couple of days to work through it.

This year has been hard, and although I’ve got out of the hole I was in with help from a number of people and I’ve got someone who is driving me to be the best I can be.

I’m not saying any of this for sympathy. I’m saying it because it’s something that has affected writing. It knocked me off it for a few days while I was focussing on myself. Three days without writing, then today I knocked out 1406 words in about two hours. Those words weren’t easy but they did begin to flow nicely as I got into the scene I was working on.

I was easily distracted, so have lost some of the discipline that I had built up. So, over the next couple of days I’ll be working on getting that determination back.

Now, to the first image in this post. If you’ve been reading my blog over the last week you’ll have seen the announcement for the Corona-Nation St anthology, well the pre-order is now live! It is doing really well, so please hit the link and check this out. The proceeds go to charity, and there’s a hell of a good list of writers who have pieces in here. Here’s the list again:

Matthew Cash
Alys Daddi 
Dani Brown
Lisa Presley 
Ian Woodhead
James Jobling 
Dale Parnell
Ian Davies 
Norbert Gora
Penny Jones
M. B. Feeney 
Matt Humphries 
Richard Archer 
Tom Johnstone 
Paul Hiscock 
Richmond A. Clements
Patrick Flaherty
Patrick R. McDonagh
Peter Germany 
Ryan Simons
Al Barz
Jacob Prytherch
David Court
Mark Cassell

My story ‘The Wank Diaries” is a story that means a lot to me. I rewrote the ending after a major change in my life and it was this story that helped me get my head back into writing again. I said in my post the other day that I bled onto the page in it. I really did. I channeled a lot of what I was going through at the time into it, not literally but I used how I felt by putting that sense of despair I was feeling into the character. The entire ending was rewritten and the tone of the story changed a lot, and for the better I think.

Burdizzo Books who are putting this book out have done a lot of work on this anthology and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy.

I’m going to end this post by pointing out that NaNowriMo is a month away. A month….. Is everyone who is taking part getting exited? I know I am.

Have a good one folks.

Good Morning, 8th of August 2020

It is 8:37am and I am up and have had breakfast and have a cup of tea by my side. I am tired, I have a really bad back, and I’m still feeling down. I’m not going into why I’m feeling down, although I’m generally quite honest here there are some things I just don’t want to share here.

I’m feeling down, but I’m also feeling strangely okay. I can’t let the hard parts of my life get to me, I can’t. And this morning it feels like I’ve got enough to keep my mind occupied so I’m not just sitting feeling sorry for myself.

As I said yesterday, I’ve got a story that I’ll be submitting to an anthology by the end of the month. I’m going to get back onto Penal Earth, I know I should be working on the zombie book but I don’t have the cash for cover art and editing at the moment so I’ve still got a little more time for it. This is one that will be affected by Covid, not by much but I can integrate this pandemic into it in a way that it’s there but doesn’t change the story I’m telling. I’m not going to make it about the pandemic because that’s not what it was about.

I’ve got a list of pieces that I need to work on. Unless I see a submission call for something that tickles my attention I’m going to focus on what needs doing with what is already written.

Another picture of Raven ‘helping’ me yesterday 😂

Over today and tomorrow I’m going to look at my work schedule and see what time I can commit to writing and then map out the next week of writing. See how well I can do with planning and executing it.

Have a good weekend, folks!

Book Review: Practical Life Advice: or some $#!+ like that by Amber Jerome-Norrgard

Each one of these little pieces of wisdom from Amber Jerome-Norrgard is very spot on. A few in particular struck a cord with me in a way that I wouldn’t of been able to appreciate five years ago. Some of them are obvious, and almost common sense, in a way but I for one don’t always see this in a conscious way. So to have them written in front of me makes them very bold thoughts that are currently running around my head!

A few did tickle my funny bone and a few I wish I could put on billboards on major roads!

I do seriously need these in some sort of sub-dermal electronic tattoo on the inside of my eyelids and I get a random one each time I close my eyes.

Good Morning, Sunday 14-5-17

I’ve not been well this week. I had something that made me ache all over, I had a temperature while also having the shivers. After a couple days of that, and some weird as hell dreams I’m feeling much better, albeit a little more tired than normal. But I did loose a couple of days where I’d like to have gotten some words done. I have picked it up the last couple of days, although as I’m editing this fan fiction piece I’m not writing bundles of words but I am making progress.

Outside of that I’ve finished my edits on a short story which I’ll be sending to an anthology soon, once my Beta readers have looked it over. I have also made some progress on an outline for an Assembly story. I’d like to light a fire under my arse and get that done and off to Owen so he can put his touch on it and see what he can improve on in it.

Speaking of Owen, I really need to get those final alterations on The Space Watch done. I may try and blitz through that once I’ve finished working through the chapter I’m editing for the fan fiction piece.

Time for some breakfast and then to the desktop for some work. Have an awesome day, everyone!

Good Morning, Sunday

I’ve had another slow week, but as it came to an end I started feeling more myself than I have done in quite a few weeks. Thursday evening I was feeling a lot better and when I woke up Friday I actually felt energised.

So since then I’ve typed up my notes and order for my FanFiction piece. I’ve got a lot of organising to do with this project. I’m going to put it all into a Scrivener file and see what I need to add to connect the scenes together. I think I’ve got a good foundation, and a lot of what I need to be doing is connecting those scenes and expanding some of the scenes I’ve already written.

I have done some more outlining work on a zombie piece, but I’ve got to the point where I’m not sure what else I need to add to the outline that will be useful, so I’ve not done any work on it for a few days and see if anything shakes loose while I’m working on other pieces.

These last few weeks, okay more like two months now, I haven’t written a single word of fiction. As I said at the start of the post, I’m finally beginning to feel like myself again, and I don’t think I’d realised how unwell I was feeling. It was nothing major, but I think it was just a combination of loosing my Grandad at the end of January and some minor, albeit painful health problems. The last few months I’ve just not been myself. I do think how I crashed and burned on the Penal Earth rewrite I was working on at the start of the year hasn’t helped. About this time last week I thought about writing a short story, just a few thousand words, but I need to get some words down. Now I’m feeling pretty good again I’m going to try and get something done in the next couple of days. I’d just like to get some fresh words written, it’s been far too long since I have done that.

Owen is working his way through The Space Watch, I haven’t had any in-depth feedback so far, aside from a technical query, but I’m not expecting anything too detailed until he’s finished and we sit down and have a look at his notes.

I did finally get a Patreon going, and I’ve supported some podcasters and writers I’ve been following for a few years now. I’m a strong believer in supporting creative people, especially in this day and age when it seems like the arts aren’t being taken seriously, and I’m in a position where I can put a little bit of cash to people I like and respect.

Hopefully this coming week I’ll start moving forward again.