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.

Good Evening, 27th December 2022

Howdy, folks! How are we all doing? Are people having a good festive period? Mine has been pretty darn good, but it’s back to work tomorrow. Which I am looking forward to, I enjoy my day job a lot and I like the routine (if shift-work has such a thing), and as most of my shifts are early’s I tend to have the rest of the day to get stuck into what I need to.

In the week before Christmas I had very little time to focus on writing, but I did manage to squeeze writing time in. This years NaNo project is still in process and I didn’t want to go too many days without working on it. I’ve had seven days this month where I haven’t done any writing at all, and likely a few days where I haven’t worked on NaNo ’22, but I’ve not let too many days in a row where I’ve not worked on it. Something I’ve talked about a lot on here is momentum, and I think it’s something that’s very important. I’ve lost momentum before and it’s very hard to get it back. I’m worried it’s going to happen again, so I’m hoping I’ve done enough so far with this story to stop me from hitting a roadblock that stops me dead like has happened in the past.

I don’t want this year to end with a bang, and I definitely don’t want it to end with a whimper. I want it to end with a nice steady pace, similar to where I am at the moment which rolls right into 2023 and continues.

I haven’t spoken much about my mental health publicly of late, that’s simply because I’m feeling better than I have done in a long time. Okay, then I’ve ever felt. Yes, there’s a long way to go. There are still things which really eat away at me, and as I kinda tick one thing off another three crop up. But I’m working on it all. I have less bad days now then I used to and the good ones are more frequent. I don’t believe it’s one or the other. I think some days are a mix of both, while others are neither. Those are the days I have most of, but even those days tend to be more towards the positive side of life.

The biggest lesson I feel I’ve learnt of late is to get a decent amount of sleep. Life is a lot more settled when I’m more rested.

We all have that one co-worker that don’t do much 😉🤣

30th October 2022

Good evening, folks! How are we all doing tonight?

I’m not likely to get the vampire book done by midnight tomorrow, but is it really the end of the world? I can multitask, especially in those early days of NaNo. The initial excitement of the month kicking off, that energy we all have as we jump off the start line like it’s a marathon and we’re sprinting over the start instead of taking a nice gentle pace from the gun.

I’m not going to try and get ahead early on like I normally do. Most years I prepare for the worst of loosing lots of days midway or at the end of the month, but this year I’m going to look at focusing on a steady pace and getting a good foundation of this story down. I’m going to try and push myself out of my comfort zone with this one. It’s one I’ve been wanting to write for a while, have even tried a couple of times, but haven’t felt competent as a writer to do this story justice. I’m not knocking my own abilities as a writer, I feel this story I’m going to need to dig deep, and go for a different energy to what I normally write.

Can I do it? can I make this work in the way that I want it to? Ask me in two weeks.

A random picture of the river Medway in Maidstone from Friday

20th June 2022

Good evening folks. Not much to report from the last few days. I’ve been writing dribs and drabs here and there. Tomorrow I’m aiming to get stuck into the next pass through on Black Blood.

I have been working on a piece about my lack of confidence but I feel like I’ve crashed and burned with it. I feel a little like I went off in about a dozen different directions with it. I might give it a little time and see how it settles.

On Friday I went canoeing with my brother and his partner. We went to Herne Bay and stayed in a patch of water protected from the sea by a break water. We’ve been tried to do this last year but were rained off. To say I stepped out of my comfort zone is an understatement, but I stayed out for about ten minutes or so and I did enjoy it despite the anxieties it was stirring up. I didn’t go out again, instead sat and wrote my thoughts down and chatted with my brother and his partner.

Despite the slapped looking face I was enjoying myself

I love the coast and want to get down there more often. Maybe not hopping in an inflatable canoe that often but getting down and enjoying the sea air is going to be good for the soul.

Right, I’m off to watch a movie and then bed. Have an awesome one, folks!

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, Sunday 18th April 2022

It is a gorgeous sunny day out there, and I’m at my desk because I need to get some words wrangled!

My aim for today is to do my final pass on Zombie. I’ve added in the rewritten ending and have a load of notes to work through for it and then I’ll hopefully be done with it. The notes aren’t like massive rewrites or anything like that. A lot of them are notes from my editor that’ll help build the characters and the world, and have it make more sense.

I do have a video that I need to get some more work done on and I’d love to post it today, but I’m kind of bottling it at the moment. Just that self-doubt creeping in again.

My plans for my Ko-Fi page are moving along, albeit it a little slowly. I’ve almost got the first year’s worth of content lined up. I’m just going to go simple and have it as one short story a month and then with additional bits and pieces added in as and when I can. I’ll be open with what I want to do when it comes to memberships, in time I’d like to change it up a bit but for now I’m going to keep it simple.

I had a little waiting around time yesterday while I picked up a prescription, so I walked down to St.Georges church and sat in it’s grounds for a little while. It was pretty nice and calming down there. (managed to find a plot hole fix as well). It was nice just listening to the world for twenty minutes, letting my soul absorb the space.

I can be very critical of my hometown. I think it’s one of many towns that is slowly dying and one of the things keeping it alive is its proximity to London. As I walked through town yesterday I couldn’t help but look at all the flats being built. Some into every nook and cranny going, while others are being rammed into old buildings. Gravesend feels like its become a bed for the workers who travel to London each day. I don’t like this. We’re not a B&B. This town has some amazing history and I’d love to see it bloom.

Now, I don’t keep track of the politics of the town, or the mechanics of administrating a town, but I’d like to see more done to build this town that has some amazing people in it. There are so many empty shops, so much litter on the streets (the street cleaners do a great job but it’s a never ending battle for them). We need to change the mentality of those who call Gravesend home.

Right, I’m off to get some words edited. You all have a lovely day.

Good Afternoon, 13th April 2022

Howdy folks!

Today I have written about 1600 words on a short story. Added the new ending to the zombie book, and done background work on Penal Earth. I’ve also spoken to a publisher about a couple of ongoing projects that unfortunately seem to be on hold at the moment, and I’m about to look up some submission calls.

I need more days like this! I easily have the time, but my own self-doubt and anxiety get in my own way. It’s not even imposter syndrome, it’s just me self-sabotaging out of fear of the unknown. I need to get out of my own way and just do it! I know I can, I know I’ve got good stuff to get out into the world. So let’s stop fucking about and do it!

Okay, rant over. I’m off to play some GTAV while I wait for a phone call.

If there’s something you’ve always wanted to do, a dream you’ve had, just go for it!

Raven ‘helping’ 🤣

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:

“I’m always good, me,”

I work at a supermarket and when I’m not on the shop floor I’m on a till. When customers ask me how I am I more often than not I’ll reply with “I’m alright, I’m always good me,”

Even when I’m not okay I say it, and I’ve been thinking about this and the mindset I’ve got growing of seeing the best in life despite what I’m feeling. There are times when I’m feeling down and not as positive as I’d like to be but I still say it.

Some of that is the ‘faking it ’til I make it’ mentality. But what I’m not doing is ignoring what I’m feeling. I’m listening to my body, looking at why I’m feeling like that. This is what I’m doing for all my moods. The more I know and understand what’s going on inside of me; mind, body, soul, the lot. Then I’m going to be able to draw myself to the elements that give me the most positive experience of life.

The biggest element that I’ve noticed which affects my mental health is tiredness. So, that is one of the major parts I’m focussing on improving. I’ve started adjusting my sleep patterns a little, but I think there’s a lot I’ve got to suss out with it. At the moment I’m focussed on getting my head down earlier on nights where I have early shifts. I’m also watching my intake as the day progresses. Definitely no energy drinks after about 3pm, as little sugary snacks after about 7pm (this one I think might be a little harder). I’m trying to wind down my head a little bit as the evening progresses as well. A little less proactive mind, and a little more passive input. Movies, TV, books etc. Gaming does relax me, as does writing and blogging, but those are both pastimes that require proactive thought. Other things are more passive. I can let them enter my mind without them firing up my creative mind too much. Something proactive makes me alert, brains firing and it’s harder to let my mind rest.

Getting good sleep makes all the difficulties of life easier to manage. It makes the fog less thick.

Realising The Fear

Wednesday really did open my eyes up to a lot of myself. One of which was writing my thoughts down. This is something I’ve known I’ve wanted to do for a long time but I’ve never been able to do it. I’m not really sure why but I think it might be a combination of the new medication I’m on, I’m having a little therapy, and it feels like something broke or changed in me on Wednesday.

Realising just how much fear and anxiety have ruled my life has been devastating in one degree, but freeing in another.

Fear was something we touched on in therapy on Monday, and I’m glad we did. The therapist recommended a book about fear that I listened to a big chunk of on the journey to and from the coast on Wednesday. And I think where it was something that we’d spoken about on the Monday I had realised that I was scared of everything and the therapist talked to me about it. Then going down the coast on Wednesday pushed open the door that was unlocked on Monday.

I’m finding this book really helpful.

I think about the excuses I used to make. For not going to the beach it’ll be things like I don’t like getting my feet sandy, or wet, or both. Or getting sand in my car (I was a var cleaner for almost 20 years, sand is a nightmare to get out of a cars carpets), but that doesn’t matter. It’s just sand. It was fear defeating me.

Even simple things like sitting in my garden to write or read. I wouldn’t do it, it would rarely even enter my head. The last couple of mornings I’ve made a cuppa tea and then gone out and had my tea while writing my thoughts done as the dog is running around doing his business.

This morning I was sitting there in shorts, t shirt, a hoodie and my sandals. I had Max jump up on the seat next to me as I wrote. It was chilly this morning. We’re moving into autumn here in the UK (almost halloween season!!!!!), so the weather is cooling and after a while I did retreat into the house. I am going to keep going out there till the weather is too brisk for my taste.

One of the fears I’ve had the last few days is that I wouldn’t be able to sit and writer as freely inside as I have been outside, but I managed to do it okay today. I’m not sure I can write like that when I’ve got loved ones around me, simply because of the distraction but I’ll give it a go at some point.

My fear seems to be focused on failure or disaster. If I drive somewhere I could be in a crash. But that could happen driving to work. It doesn’t stop me doing that. Yes, I could crash but the odds are massive of that happening.

As for failure. Well, it’s a case ‘well what happens if my book doesn’t do well?’ that’s something I can’t control. The best thing I can do it write the next story. If I play online and join a group doing a team mission and I screw up, what’s it matter? It’s not the end of the world. Learn the lessons from it and try again.

I only fail when I don’t try. When fear stops me. I’ve lived in a state of fear my whole life.

I’m not doing it anymore.

My eyes are open, I’m realising what I can do to move forward and over come this fear.

I’m going to do what scares me. I’m not fearing the anxiety I used to.

I am moving forward.