January 1st, 2021…. Here We Go!

Here it is, 2021!

I can’t describe how hard 2020 was for me, and not just because of Covid. If I took Covid out of it I still had the worst year of my life, but it was also the best year. And it’s the good that is driving me forward.

The changing of a calendar isn’t going to magically make life like it was pre-2020. It really doesn’t work like that. I know a lot of people don’t want to hear that, but it’s true. The reason why I got out of 2020 in the good place I am in now is because I’ve worked my arse off to get here. To make the best of the world around me and keep my head high, and my eyes focused on the next goal.

Do I fall down? Yes, I fell down over Christmas and it took its toll on me, but I get back up and moving forward again. I don’t dust myself off until I know I’m not at risk of being sucked back into that dark little corner of my soul again. I stop that from happening by talking to friends and family, being productive with writing, going to work. I defeat the negative elements of my mind by engaging with the people I love, the communities that have embraced me, and just being me. This last six months has taught me I don’t need to be scared to show who I am to the world. Because despite what I’ve thought for most of my life, I’m not worthless.

This year will see the release of my first novella. That’s the only release that I have scheduled for this year, at the moment. I’ve got to do better at finding markets to submit to. I’m not just going to focus on word counts and look at completing more projects, submitting more, and knocking items off my to-do list.

Last year I had stories published in three anthologies, which I think might be my best in a calendar year to date, don’t hold me to that though. So, I’m aiming for at least four pieces published this year.

Okay, on to today. I kinda overlaid, like till almost midday! So I’m a little behind where I wanted to be, but I needed the sleep and I feel pretty good for it. I’ve posted my first video of the year to my YouTube channel. It’s also the first one where I’m talking to the camera. A little nerve racking, and I know it’s not the best but it’s a new venture for me where I’m stepping out of my comfort zone, and like with everything else, the more I do the better I’ll get!

I will be getting into the Black Blood read through/edit shortly as well. I’ve edited about 2000 words a day over the last few days so I’m looking at doing about 3000 today.

I doubt I’ll be writing a lot of new words today. I’ve got a short story that I need to have written and off to the publisher by April but I need to think it out a bit, get some brainstorming done on it, before I can start writing. I’ve got a good idea of a major element of it, but I need more to it. At the moment it’s a few lines and an idea. Which isn’t enough.

Enough talking, time for action! Have a good day folks! No one is going to make this year good for you, people can help, but it’s You who will make this year, and your life, good or bad.

18th December 2020 (Draft Done!)

Good afternoon folks. The draft for Penal Earth is done!!! I wrote 1924 words on it this morning and had it wrapped up in those words. Is it done done? No. Not by a long stretch. As I mentioned in a previous post I’ve now got to go through and start the editing process. I refuse to rewrite this one, again. It’s not happening! That way doesn’t work for me. Yes, it’s taken my dumb ass a long time to realise that, but I have now. So, better late than never.

The next stage will be to leave it until the new year and then start reading through it with a pen and paper and figure out exactly what I need to do to get it to where I want it. This is going to be a much deeper dive into editing than I’ve tried before and I hope I have the patience for it. I may just read through a chapter at a time so it doesn’t get tedious like it has done in the past.

Something I want to get in the habit of in the future is writing with a notepad to make notes as I’m going. Character names, ages, location names, and so on. Anything that is relevant. My drafts are full of XXX as placeholders when I forget a detail that I have put in earlier. I’m hoping it won’t slow me up too much, but if it does I might just read through what I’ve written at the end of the day and make those notes then, and tweaked any mistakes like grammar etc. at the same time. Until I try it though, I can’t say how it’s going to work.

Yes, I did dance around my office!

I really want to refine my process next year. Figure out what is the best way for me to work and then grow on it. It’s all about progress and growth. It doesn’t matter how many words I write in a year, if I never finish anything then it’s all pointless. I won’t be growing as a writer, and as a human being. I do have goals for next year, I’ve typed them up and pinned them over my desk, I might have also written a few goals for 2022 down as well. I might be pushing myself a bit too hard, but I need to know what I can take. I will have failures, but I’m also going to have victories. I need to learn from both in going forward or those same mistakes are just going to be repeated and, like writing a million words, absolutely useless if I’m not finishing anything.

I’m going to take the afternoon off and do some gaming and decide what I want to work on next. I’ll likely get back onto Black Blood but I’m always more productive when I’m not just cracking on with one project.

Rock on folks!

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!

9th Of December 2020

Good evening, folks!

I wrote 945 on Penal Earth and was planning to edit the zombie book, but I was a little limited on time today as I had a little shopping first thing and a couple of errands to run. Then this afternoon I had an appointment to prep for, which was this evening. So I had a little time between the prep and the appointment to write and fit in a number of other little bits and pieces.

I’ve had a little bit of a good/bad day on the writing front. I got an update on the cover for the zombie book and wow! It looks amazing! I so cannot wait to show you all it! I also got a rejection for my story Flame Spitters. I am gutted, I really like this story and think it’s one of my best pieces. The editor liked it a lot, and it got into the last twenty-five, but I know they had over a hundred submissions and seeing some of the names that the publisher has worked with, so although gutted I’m not overly disappointed. There is always somewhere else to submit to, and worse comes to it I can put it in a collection.

I am working out my goals for next year. I’ve got a lot so far, so I need to sit and process them a little and see what I can aim for which’ll push myself just outside of my comfort zone. So far I don’t think what I’ve listed is overreaching, but I don’t suppose I’ll know until I start trying.

A new notepad that I feel in love with!

Right, I’ve got an early shift tomorrow. I’m planning to write for maybe two hours after I finish work, and then I’m determined to get the zombie book edited. I’ve seen the cover, and the editor is booked for early January. So I want this bad boy done!

I’m off to shower then bed. Night folks, rock on and be kind!

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.

Good Morning, Tuesday 8th of December 2020

Howdy, folks! my plans for today have changed as I’ll be working this afternoon/evening now. So I’m going to try and repeat what I did yesterday and write for a couple of hours before leaving for work.

I was super happy with how Penal Earth went yesterday. I liked the direction it took and I’m eager to get cracking on it today. I can see the end in sight now and feel positive about having this draft done by the end of the month. I feel the next draft may have a lot of tweaks but hopefully they’ll just be filling out world building elements, and not maybe plot points.

One thing I have been thinking about is for book two I might use a lot of the elements from the original draft I wrote for NaNo years ago. I still like a lot of the elements that it had and think it works better as a second book as I won’t have to do as much world building this second time around.

Seeing as Alexander Bailey and Armand Rosamilia shared their dry/erase boards…. I also do not apologise fir my handwriting 😁

I’m not going to just retrofit that first draft though. I’m going to start from scratch using what I remember and go from there. I think that’ll be more manageable. Not that I’m going to get to this one anytime soon. There’s at least three big projects to work on before I even think about Penal Earth 2.

I really do need to sit down and review where I am with projects and look at my goals for the next twelve months. Before we know it December will be rolling to an end and 2021 will be here.

Good Morning, Sunday 6th of December 2020

Good morning all. It feels like ages since I did one of this Sunday morning posts. I love working shift work now but when I wasn’t I’d get up on a Sunday, sit with my laptop and a cup of tea and write a post that’ll get the day started off. I have tea, but am in my office and not the living room and as my desktop is working this morning I’m writing on that.

Yesterday was a zero word day, which I hate, but I’m not beating myself up about. I had a long work shift that Started with the rooster and by the time I got home, had a bath and dinner, I was beyond wiped out. Although I did more hours when I was working in the second hand car trade I work harder in a supermarket. I knew it would be hard, but I wasn’t expecting it to be as demanding on my body as I was expecting. That is something I love about it though, it means I have to push myself that bit harder and at the end of my shift, I feel like I’ve earn’t my wage each day. When I have a long shift though, it’ll be a zero word count day and as my week progresses I have got to adjust my goals for that week accordingly, and take into consideration when my shift is each day. It’s a whole new way of balancing my life which I’ve never had to contend with, but I’m looking forward to working it all out as it’ll give me a whole load of new skills that I either haven’t had before of have been dormant.

Not only one of my favourite scenes from Terminator 2 but one of my favourite scenes of all time!

I am off today, a rare Sunday for me. So I’m going to get some work done. I’m tempted to leave Black Blood for the day and work on Penal Earth. I’ve have over a month working almost exclusively on Black Blood, and in the past I’ve noticed that when I work exclusively on one project like that I can get into a little bit of a rut. So I’m going to look at Penal Earth and get some work done on that one. I’m nearing the endgame with that one now, I’d like to say I’m close to having it wrapped up but I can’t say that just yet.

I’d like to get rolling with my final changes on the Zombie book as well. Having seen the latest update on the artwork I’m keen to get it ready for the editor, who is booked for early next year. So I have time but I’d like to have it done by Christmas.

Okay, time to get to the words. I hope everyone has a fantastic day! I’ll let you all know how I did.

12th of December 2020

Good evening, folks!

I’m actually on track this evening. I worked a few extra hours at work so I didn’t get much more than words written. I got 1289 done, but I’ve been wanting to get my final alterations on my zombie book done. Especially seeing as I’ve had an update from the cover artist and damn am I excited at how it’s looking! So that’ll be started in the next few days.

Due to yesterday’s falling asleep at the keyboard and today’s extra time at work I’m not as far as I want to be this month, but I’ve got Sunday off and a couple of days next week where I can really take advantage of the time I have.

A slow start to the month but a good one.

I’m in quite a productive state of mind at the moment. I’m making notes on Black Blood as I’m working on it, I’m also thinking about some visual aides that may be able to help with both Black Blood and Penal Earth. I’m going to try and execute some of those over the next week.

Tomorrow, I’m not expecting to get much writing done as I have a long work day. I will try and get a few words written during lunch though.

I’m super excited for this story now (title and character names likely to change).

I’ve printed off a draft of a story I wrote for NaNoWriMo 2018 (Lovers), and I’m going to read through that tonight, leave it till next week and then read through with a pen and make notes. This is one where it’s done, but I’ve never been happy with it. For a start it’s a romance, which I’m not exactly familiar with or known for; and secondly I always knew it was missing something. The other day I had an idea just pop into my head which changes the entire energy of the story and I’m really eager to get stuck into it. I’m going to be patient though and not start on it until next year. I want to read it those couple of times, make notes, and then let it simmer for a few weeks. I also need to watch a movie as I’m going for a format that this particular movie does very well.

I am thinking about my goals for the next twelve months, and where I want to be this time next year. Both in writing, work, personal life, and in who I am.

The rest of my evening will be a movie or two, some reading and bed. Some time to rest the body and mind.

I’m very much in a ‘let’s do this’ mindset. I’ve got some good happening alongside the bad news I had this week. This last week has also been a great reminder of how blessed I am to have the family and friends I do.

Right, folks! Rock on and have a good weekend. If you have a dream, do something about it and turn that dream into life.

3rd of December 2020

All my plans for yesterday went right out the window when I fell asleep while writing and came within an inch of face planting my keyboard!

I did get a few words written, but a little less than half or what I’d planned to and I didn’t get any of the other half a dozen items I’d planned to do done.

Much of it is where I’m nearing the second week of my early’s at work, and it’s my fault because I need to be getting to bed a little earlier each night and as I said yesterday, I need to look at my work rota and adjust it to how tired I might be. Then even if I exceed what I’ve set a target for I’m not going to get annoyed for having not hit goals. Like I’m feeling a little at the moment.

I should have gone for a nice little target yesterday, but I was feeling overly confident from the day before.

Anyway! Today is a new day. I did get an early night last night, and I read for a second night running. Reading is something that I’ve not been able to pick up again after what this year has been, but I felt inspired by a friend and I’m making an active effort to read again.

I am not going to repeat yesterday’s mistakes. I do have a list of work I was planning to do yesterday, but I’m now going to aim to have that all done by the end of Sunday. I’ve got to stop being overly ambitious and be more realistic in my targets.

Dizzy sulking because I was reading and not worshiping her!

NaNoWriMo 2020: Day Fifteen

Wow, halfway through the month already. I’ve had a chill out day today, which I need to stop doing. I need to get up on a day off, have breakfast, get dressed, get writing. Simple as that. No thinking I’ll watch an episode of this or that (today it was The Queen’s Gambit, which was lethal as I’ve all but watched it now). I still got 2317 today, but I could have got 3000 words done, if not 3500. I know I have the ability to do that when I’ve got a day off and I should be doing it. For the speed I can write at and the time I have, it is easily doable.

I was on a Facebook live event tonight with the Mando Method Podcast folks. It was a lot of fun and in the hour before it I managed to crack out about a 1300 words to add to the 1000 or so I’d already written throughout the course of the day. We talked about NaNoWriMo at the halfway point and how we were all progressing. We touched a few other topics as well. It was a lot of fun, its been a while since I laughed that hard. It was really good to talk to these folks in real time as well. Armand Rosamilia and Chuck Buda have been very supportive to myself and many other writers. Please give it a watch 😊

Grumpy cat stare!

I’ve got one more days leave before getting back to my normal working week, so writing time will be cut down. But I can still get all the words done I need to, and more. I’m going to set myself a target of an hour at my desk a day. That’s head down and writing/editing. I’m not going to set word count goals at the moment, I want to get in the habit of spending that hour a day at the desk. My biggest enemy is myself and in particular my lack of discipline. That is something I need to overcome.

Under The Weather is the third book I’ve been published in. With my story, The Snow, I knew roughly what I wanted to do with it but it took a few little twists and turns along the way, but it was never a difficult write. One major element did change in the story which changed the entire theme of the tale. I still think it works, and it’s one that I’m really happy with.

Well folks, that’s me wrapping it for the night. I’m gonna watch a bit of tv and then read a little before bed. I’m aiming for an early start tomorrow.