6th February 2023

Howdy, folks! How are we all doing?

I’ve had a good weekend with family. But I did manage to get a little writing down first thing yesterday and a little tonight. About 4500 words edited in about an hour or so altogether.

It’s been a good start to the writing month, I’m nearing 8000 words edited with around 500 new words down. Most of those are on a non-fiction piece.

I did also, finally, find a way to get my iMac up and running. It’s been out of acton for a while. What happened was the screen just up and stopped working. Well, it was like someone turned off the screen’s light. You hold a torch to it, you could still see the display. Now, I did do a little googling at the time, and here and there I’d look into it. Although I didn’t go into Apple and speak to someone I did speak to a couple of computer repair shops and they were quite clear in that it just wasn’t cost effective to repair it. The annoying thing was, it would work for a bit and then nothing for months. Eventually I just stored it, having given up on it.

Then, a few weeks ago I got thinking about it again, like could I just not connect it to another screen? Well, back to the googling, and yes. I was searching for the problem previously. This time I was searching for the solution, can I connect my iMac to another screen? After a little digging, all I needed was a thunderbolt connector plugged into a HDMI adaptor. I plugged it into my tv and boom! it worked! I planned to connect it to my old tv which had lost its sound, but the tv had completely died. So I hopped online and ordered a monitor and I’m up and running. The annoying thing is, the damn iMac screen is working perfectly well, at the moment………

Until it does, I’ll run it as a multiscreen set up. It’s strange, a lot of the changes I’ve been making the last couple of years all seem to be coming together. I’ve got better concentration, I’m more at peace in myself. I don’t have so much of the self-hatred running around my head like I used to. It feels good.

Right, I’m off to watch a bit of Orange Is The New Black. Have a good one, folks.

January 2023 Reflections

January wasn’t a bad month, I wrote 5448 words, and edited 51758 words.

I realised I needed a lot more background work on War Child before I can move forward with it. So I decided to go back to Black Blood while I start building what I need to progress on War Child. Because I’ve had a somewhat busy and interesting month I’ve not done as much on War Child, or writing work in general, as I’d have liked. But it’s not been disappointing though, it’s given me time to let War Child simmer nicely, let ideas grow naturally. I think that element has been very helpful in that I haven’t just rushed through it and made a pigs ear out of it all.

The edit on Black Blood is not overly taxing. For the most part it is just going through and taking out any little spelling and grammar errors. This will be my final pass on Black Blood before it’s shelved until I have the money to get it edited. It’s behind Penal Earth in that queue.

Not quite what I was hoping for, but still enjoyed it.

On a personal note, I had some good news which came near the end of the month. I broke out of my fear-built cocoon and got away for a couple of days, I’ll have a post about that soon. I feel like I’ve had some good mental and emotional growth, and have made some interesting self-realised revelations about myself. Which, honestly, I’m still working on figuring out.

Selfie while in Brighton

But I tell you what, it feels good.

2023 Goals

So, here we are, 2023. I feel like the last few times I’ve tried getting goals scribbled down I end up loosing track of where I am on them. This time I’m hoping to be able to stick to them much better. I feel more focused, more capable at the moment and like I can actually follow through with these plans.

1 – Publish my zombie novella

2 – Publish one vampire era story to my ko-fi a month (this covers me till august)

3 – Continue writing War Child (2022’s NaNoWriMo project)

4 – Find publishers to submit Penal Earth to

5 – Complete Black Blood (just need to do the final edit)

6 – Continue planning for Penal Earth 2

7 – Spend no less than half an hour a day, for at least twenty-five days of the month working on writing projects

8 – Blog on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays

9 – Continue serial killer story

10 – Find anthologies to submit to

This feels like a big list, like there’s a lot I’ve lined up for myself. I do feel like I can do it though, I don’t feel like I’m fooling myself with what I want to achieve in this calendar year. A lot does rest on me continuing working on my life in general. I’m going to try and map out some personal growth goals as well, but I’m not sure where I want to start with that one.

17th November 2022

We’re well past the NaNoWriMo halfway mark now, and I’m at 23246 words. So, about 5000 words behind. Quite happy about that. I feel like I’m staying in sight of the goal while still building a story. I think I’m going to end up with a lot of fragments of scenes when the month is over, but that’s a foundation to build from.

Strangely I feel like I’m stepping up a level with this one. It has a lot of moving parts and I think I’ve got a good handle on them all.

I’ve written a little differently today. I’ve knocked out about 1700 words but done it while laying on my bed with movies going in the background. Both movies are ones I’ve seen a lot and have been helpful because I can drop into them when I need a mental breather and don’t end up getting sucked into a social media blackhole. Which happens a lot when I sit at my desk and try and write after a work shift.

I also had a couple of hours between work and starting to write to relax a bit. Going straight from work to writing can sometimes prove difficult. Kind of like I’m putting too much pressure on myself, but putting that mental break in there seems to be working okay.

Right, I’m off for the night.

Be awesome, everyone!

20th October 2022

Good evening, folks. How are we all doing?

I’ve had two productive days, well the whole week has been productive to be honest. Although today got off to a later start as I had shopping and some errands to run.

I am making progress with my goals for this month. I’ve typed up the short story I recently wrote and will be looking to do the next edit pass before the end of the month.

The read through of the vampire book is moving nicely. I’m finding more little errors and continuity issues than I was expecting, but nothing major.

I’ve also started digging into the planning for Penal Earth book 2. I’m hoping to have this as a major project for 2023. I’ve got a number of stories that are either ready to go (zombie and Penal Earth) or very ready to go (vampire and Black Blood), and I really want to push to get those published or submitted one way or another in the next two years.

I still need to be writing though. Yes, I’ve got those four pieces to get out into the world, but I also want to get ready for what’s going to be published after those.

This surge of productivity, I’ve had it before and it drifts away. I’m tired of letting it wonder off when it sees fit. I’m working on figuring out what causes me to loose this drive I’ve currently got. I know it’s anxiety, self-esteem. Confidence. I’m better prepared for working it all out than I’ve ever been. It’s still not always easy, and it’s something that’ll take time. But I’m getting there.

Rock on, Folks!

16th June 2022

Howdy folks, It’s the first really blistering warm day of the year here in the UK. So obviously I’ve spent a fair chunk of it at my desk. I did spend about four hours in the garden sorting something out, and have now got a sunburnt bald spot. Lovely.

But writing wise, I’ve written 2356 words on a non-fiction piece that I needed to type up, and it’s done now. This is one of those pieces that is acting a little about self-therapy. Analysing elements of life while I try and figure myself out better. This one was about the car trade of which I spent nineteen and a half years in. I’d love to publish it, but I think I’ll hold off for a while, if ever. It’s something I’ll have to see how I feel with it.

I’ve also done one of these on confidence, well my lack of confidence. That’ll be typed up next. Before that though I’m going to start working through Black Blood again. I’ve got a lot of notes that need to be transferred into it, and hopefully this’ll be my second to last post before sending it off to beta readers.

Right, I’m off for the evening. I’ve got work tomorrow then I’m off kayaking with my brother and his partner.

Have a great one, folks!

Good Evening, 8th June 2022

Good evening, folks. How are we all?

I have had a productive morning. I did a wee bit of tidying and rearranging before getting stuck into writing today. I managed 1023 words on typing up a short story that I wrote a few months ago. This afternoon I had a nap. I’ve got an early tomorrow and I never sleep well when I’ve got an early, so I’ve found that nap during the afternoon to be essential.

I posted a new flash fiction piece to my Ko-Fi tonight, please support and check it out if you’d like to.

There’s been a lot changing in my life recently, one of which is that my mental health medication was increased. I’ve been on medication for anxiety and depression for a couple of years now and with this adjustment it feels like the dosage is right.

That’s not the only element that has helped, I’ve been working on listening to my body. Whether it’s about how I feel after eating certain foods, or how something makes me feel. What the increased dosage of my medication has done is shut down the anxiety better than anything I’ve ever tried before. I was working out in our garden a few weeks ago, taking down an old shed that has long been past its use. We’re hoping to repurpose some of the sides of it, but it needed to come down. Half of the roof had collapsed and it needed to come down. As I was taking it down though I was feeling good about the task. I wasn’t hesitating in how to take it down, I was even thinking about how to make use of the space. After a good few hours of work I took a break, sat down, had a drink. I was also texting a dear friend who I was talking to about what I’d done that morning, when it struck me that I wasn’t anxious. I wasn’t questioning myself in any way. I actually broke down, began crying and text my friend ‘Is this what life is meant to be like?’ she called me and said, quite simply ‘Yes’. We then talked about it, as I cried. So many fucking years living scared of the world. Some days I was fine and did enjoy life, but these were few and far between. Most days I was anxious to leave the house, mainly doing so because I had a job (that I told myself I loved, but in truth I hated it). There was so much I wanted to see and do in the world, but I was too scared too. Twenty, twenty-five years of my life gone. That day as I was sitting in my back garden talking to my friend I cried with a sort of relief at finally feeling free of the prison that my mind had put me in, but also at anger of having let myself be in that prison for most of my life.

Raven investigating my work

Male suicide rates are significantly higher than that of women. Here’s some numbers from the Samaritans. And yes, I was suicidal on a couple of occasions (Not anymore though). There is so much more to what I put myself through over my life, but I’m not going into it here, not now. Partly because I haven’t figured it all out yet. When I mention non-fiction that’s what I’m talking about. Trying to break down the why of this all. I’m slowly getting there, I’ve had some counselling and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy that has helped immensely. I’ve also opened up with my loved ones. Instead of hiding my problems, thinking it’s better not to worry them, that’s bollocks as well. Being open and honest with what I’m going through has made it easier to work through all of this. Having that support, that I’ve always known is there, has been priceless.

Ask for help, Mental Health in this country needs a major overhaul and we as a society need better education on the subject. But there are resources out there. Speak to your GP, Google mental health hotlines, there are plenty of organisations, charities, out there who are able to help. Yes there are waiting times, yes it is hard to admit to needing help. Trust me though, it’s worth it.

I still have bad days (I took a big self-esteem hit recently), but they don’t last as long and I’m able to manage my moods so much better. I listen to my body, mind, and soul. Trust me, it’s paying off. I’m happier now than I have ever been, shit, I can’t ever remember feeling this settled and capable. There’s a lot playing into that, but we need to be open to seeing it. To appreciating what we have, to loving what we have.

A self-esteem hit knocked me hard but it doesn’t now last long because I know how to rebuild myself with the help of loved ones and all that I’ve learnt.

Okay, this became a much heavier post than I was expecting it to. But too many people out there are struggling with mental health. And the amount of men who are struggling that don’t seek help because it is not what ‘men do’ is costing too many lives.

Life is amazing when we get out of our own way. From a writing point of view, I’ve been more productive in the last few months than I feel I have ever been. See, brought it back to writing.

Good Afternoon, 31st of May 2022

Howdy, folks! How are we all doing?

Today I have edited 7408 words of Black Blood, adding 87 to the overall word count. That was a little bit of a slog but I got in done in about two hours or so.

I’ve also set up a few posts to go on my Ko-Fi page, including one flash piece which has gone live today. I was feeling a little behind with this so I got a few posts set up so I don’t have to worry about it too much for the next week or two. I do offer a membership in addition to one-time tips. Here I post an original short story each month in addition to bonus content. All for £1 a month!

Something I do want to touch on is that this month is the first that I have worked everyday in a very long time. For those of you who don’t know I have anxiety and depression, amongst a few other mental health bits and pieces, but my medications dosage was recently upped and I’m very much feeling it. Two months ago if I wasn’t feeling like working, I’d not. (when I say working here I mean writing. With the day job I haven’t missed a shift in a little over two years). At the moment I am working each day even if it’s just a few words while on my day job’s break. On days when I’m not at the day job I’m getting stuck into editing and making sure I get a decent start early in the morning and am normally done by midday. I’m making sure I have breakfast on these days and am getting a lot of little bits and pieces done that I’ve been putting off.

When I’m at the day job it’s a little different but I’ve found I’ve still been coming home (after a morning shift) and getting at least a little editing done. That’s normally in addition to writing something before work while sitting in my car, and during my break.

Max is waiting for me to finish so we can go play ball.

I’m feeling much more organised as well. I’m making notes on Black Blood on things like building a chapter to a conclusion to character motivations. I’m also listing what I’ve posted to Ko-Fi because knowing me I’d end up putting up the same story twice! I’m sure most people will be okay with a slight hiccup like that but people are giving me their money so I’m trying to be as efficient as possible.

I have had a hit to my self-esteem recently (I look hideous etc.) but I know how to rebuild that. I’ve done it, with help, recently and I know I can do it again.

Raven helping with editing this morning.

Life is moving in the right direction and I feel like I’m getting to the point where I can able do the things in life that I’ve always dreamt of.

Good Morning, Tuesday 22nd of March 2022

Good Morning!

I have tea, Raven is climbing over my printers while Dizzy is sitting staring at my from besides my chair. A scrap is imminent….but I’m awake. I’ve got a late shift today so I wanted to get up and get cracking early and for once it feels like I have done. There was no ‘snoozing’ of alarms. No rolling over for ‘another five minutes’ which always turned into at least another half an hour. I have an Amaranthe playlist via YouTube playing and I’m ready to get some words cracked out. I’m even dressed!

So, what’s the day got planned for me. I’d like to knock out another thousand words of zombie. I think that is very achievable. Just plug away until about midday I think and then that gives me a little time for lunch, half an hour on GTAV and a few other bits and bobs before heading off to work.

That all sounds really straight forward. It’s not. I’ll be editing as I type of the hand written draft of zombie. So I’ll be having to think on the go and I’m going to try and read the scene before I type it up so I know what point the scene is taking the story to. I am feeling quite a bit of pressure with zombie. This will be my first release and it’s got to be right. I don’t want to be that person who puts something out into the world and it’s poorly put together. Typos, spelling mistakes, bad layout, and so on. I trust my editor, she is incredibly good at what she does and I know she won’t let me embarrass myself.

They’re behaving…….for the moment……

But, I’m pushing through. I’m not letting my self-doubt stop me. I’ve had far too many months where that doubt has had me dragging my heels on writing. I know the why of this, and I’ll talk about it one day but it deserves more than a few sentences in a daily post. I know I can do this. I know it’s time to step up. And I know I keep repeating this, but that is more for myself. It’s me keeping that positivity at the forefront of my consciousness.

Self doubt, imposter syndrome, what ever you want to tag it with, is a prick. It’s a horrible feeling and one that when it takes hold it can shut me down in a heartbeat. But it will not win. It may gain ground by winning small battles but I will win the war.

Scruffy selfie!

Ko-Fi Link:

Good Evening, 7th February 2022

Hey Folks,

How are we all doing tonight?

I’m going through one of those periods where my sleep is all over the shop. So I’m working on trying to adjust my evening routine so that I hopefully get some sleep. Part of that is watching an episode of a tv show or a movie I haven’t seen before. Something that’ll relax my mind a little. I’m also hoping it’ll help me get through some of my backlog of TV shows and movies that I need to catch up on.

I’ve fallen into the rut of rewatching a lot of shows and movies I’ve seen before, so pushing me out of a comfort zone which is toxic. It is comforting to know what happens in a show, but it can also suffocate us a little because we’re not experiencing new things. We’re not feeding our souls, and as creatives it leads to us stagnating. (Some, not all of us). We need those new tales to fuel our own creativity.

That’s what I’m working on. I’ve recently watched the newest adaptation of Nick Hornby’s book, High Fidelity. Now, I’m a fan of the original film (am yet to read the book). Okay, it has its faults and has some great examples of double standards when it comes to genders. It’s still a fun watch though. When I heard that not only was it being remade but with a gender flipped main character I was curious as to how it would come out. I was a little unsure about Zoe Kravitz in the lead role, and I’ll admit those first few seconds I feared that concern was going to have truth to it. I was wrong though, as soon as she started talking I was in. She had it down, perfectly. The rest of the cast was pretty spot on, and I liked the changes they’ve made from the original movie. I will read the book one day, because it’s a story I’ve always enjoyed.

Right now though, I’m watching The Man In The High Castle. I’m about three episodes into season three, after having a couple of years away from it for a number of reasons. Which I regret. I wished I’d watched these last two seasons sooner. I enjoyed the first two seasons immensely, and so far season three is proving to be as intriguing as the previous two. It’s very different from Phillip K. Dick’s original novel, but I like what they’ve done with it.

Let’s end with a little writing update. I wrote 300 words today on the short story I’ve been working on, it’s taken a turn I wasn’t expecting and what was going to be a secondary character has become the protagonist of the piece. I’m not sure if I can weave it and the original story together, but I’m going to move forward with the intention of the original story being a part of it.

My editor wasn’t very helpful, like normal 🙄🤣