Rising From A Slump

Well, I’ve had a relatively productive week. I’ve managed to hit a thousand words a day this week, except for Thursday that is, and over the last couple of days I’ve felt like I’m getting back into the mindset I had at the start of the year. Writing is still quite difficult and isn’t feeling as natural as it has done, but the urge to write is stronger now than it has been for the last four or five months or so. I’m also feeling the creative juices beginning to flow again. While at work yesterday I was actually having ideas and having to scribble them down quickly in my notepad. That’s something that hasn’t happened like that in quite some time. I’ve had the odd idea but yesterday I was having ideas that sparked further thoughts which resulted in more notes being taken. What I think helped was that I sat in Costa for fifteen minutes before work and forced myself to work on some character details for a project I’m looking at working on next year.

Most of this week has been working on typing up my handwritten draft of The Space Watch, last night I finished that and have sent it off to Owen for his thoughts on it. I’ve stuck quite well to our outlines but I have deviated and added a POV which we hadn’t discussed but that I think adds a layer to the story and also fills in what I think would have been holes to the plot once the first draft was done. I’ve also changed the gender of an antagonist (it just kinda happened and has worked out well), and added a fair bit of minor world building details that we haven’t discussed but came out during the writing process. At the moment its at 14k words, and if I remember right we were looking at either a 30k or 50k target. I honestly can’t remember which, but I’m not sure how long it’s going to wrap up at. I’m thinking we’re about a third of the way through. My gut is saying 30k but we’ll have to wait and see how it goes as we work on it, which will probably be after NaNoWriMo.

With what I’ve gotten done of The Space Watch with Owen I’m going to focus on getting last years NaNoWriMo piece wrapped up. I’ve got a long way to go on it, but as it’s part editing and part adding a whole new character and his POV I’m hoping I can get a good pace going and be nearly done by the time NaNo starts.

Speaking of NaNo, I know what I’m doing this year. I’m going to type up a piece I wrote earlier in the year. I know that’s kind of cheating but I’d like to get it done and have a digital draft completed by the end of the year, and I think I’ll be able to get it done during NaNo. Next year I’m going to plan things out better, as I’m writing this I think I’ve just decided what to do for next years NaNo.

I can’t really remember the last time where I’ve had such a long period where writing has been as difficult as it has been this year. I think I know one of the reasons why it has been, and I’ve moved to sort that out, but I need to learn how to make sure I’m writing regardless of what’s going on around me. I know I can do it, and I’m much happier in myself when I am being productive. I just need to keep getting the work done. I’m not ignoring the buzz I got from Bristol Horror Con last weekend either. Meeting Cat and Lynx Raven for the first time after building up a great rapport with them online was a serious highlight of the year for me. But I also met some other fantastic people and just the feel of the event and the energy that was there was so infectious and has really rammed home a few things to me.

Changing Mindset

Yesterday I didn’t get anything done. By the time I got home and sorted a few pieces out it was well gone eight and I was just wiped out. So I didn’t do anything aside from making a few notes on a couple of projects.

I had a decent day with mindset though; I’ve been re-listening to The Nerdist Way by the awesome Chris Hardwick. I’ve  had this on audiobook for a couple of year but have only listened to it once, so I decided to listen to it again and where I’m a little more mature a lot more of the content of Hardwick’s book makes sense to me. Hardwick isn’t some self-proclaimed life coach, if you don’t know the name he’s a stand up comedian, TV Presenter, Podcaster, gave birth to Nerdist, and a shed tonne of other things. What I like about this book it Hardwick is talking about the things that he has done to make his life better, and although it doesn’t necessarily match what I’d like to do, or am even in a position to do it’s been a great eye opener and I’m going to listen to it a few more times in the next few months and try to strengthen this pro-active mindset it’s fueling.

This coincides with a general desire to live a little better then I have been having. I’d like to live a little healthier, live with a little more focus as well and make better use of my time. 

When I am being productive I feel so much happier in myself, and it’s a feeling I’d like to get more used to. With all the story ideas bouncing around my head there’s no reason why I can’t achieve more than I am now.

Writing Angst: Editing After A Long Break

When I wrote my last post on Sunday I mentioned that I was a little nervous about getting stuck into editing, but I dove in Sunday all the same and knocked out fifty pages of 1.5 spaced A4. On Monday night I steamed through another twenty-two pages, and last night I got through another twenty-five pages.

Getting on with this editing has been just like getting back on a bike and has been a damn sight easier than I was expecting it to be. It’s not been a walk in the park but is has been quite straight forward.

It’s a lesson that I need to let take hold in my head. Stop worrying over something that I know I can do, just because I haven’t done something for a while doesn’t mean I’ve lost all ability in the field. I’m almost at a hundred pages of making these edits to my novella, in three days. It’s not a nightmare, it’s not (for me) the dreaded act of fixing the novella. At over the halfway point it’s straightforward and moving at a good pace.

So the angst is redundant here, I can do this. Like most of writing, it’s just a case of sitting down and getting it done! 

Terminator 2: Judgement Day

Terminator 2: Judgement Day is the second movie in the Terminator series, and really steps up multiple levels from the first film. In this movie instead of a Terminator being sent from the future to kill Sarah Connor its been sent back to kill her son, John Connor, while he is still a child.

Like with my post about The Terminator I’m not going to give a plot summery, its a film which is two decades old so I think it’s more than bled into pop culture enough for people to know what the story is.

Terminator 2 is probably my Star Wars. I first saw it when I was in my early teens and it took hold of my imagination and hasn’t really let go. It influences so much about me. Whether it’s my habit of inserting Mini Guns into my fiction whenever I can, or my love of post-apocalyptic stories right through to my crush of Linda Hamilton. Even now, about twenty years since I first saw T2 I’m still discovering ways in which this movie has influenced me.

Arnold Schwarzenegger comes back as the Terminator and he smashes it, again. Schwarzenegger really was born to play this role and he steps up into it for a second time with as much passion and commitment as he did in the first movie.

Linda Hamilton has almost a totally different character to play in this movie. She’s no longer the naive young woman that was told she would be the mother of a great military leader. In Terminator 2 she has embraced the mission of raising this child, protecting him, and preparing him, to an unhealthy level really. Add in the fact that she’s lived with the knowledge of knowing the date that the nuclear apocalypse will happen has sent her almost over the edge. Hamilton really steps up spectacularly here. The intensity she puts into the character is very impressive.

Edward Furlong plays the young John Connor. He’s been brought up knowing he’s going to be this military leader, but the life he’s been dumped in isn’t what he’d been brought up to think it was. So he’s more than a bit of a juvenile delinquent. Furlong is very good here, he’s got that snarky kid down well, but when the story needs to show hints of the man he’s destined to become Furlong is able to pull it off.

A new terminator is introduced into this movie, the T-1000 is an advanced prototype terminator that is essentially liquid metal. Robert Patrick plays the T-1000 and he does so beautifully. The T-1000 is cold, relentless, and efficient as it tries to fulfil its mission. Robert Patrick, in my opinion is as good in this role as Schwarzenegger is as the Terminator.

James Cameron steps up the action, and the storyline, and the performances, and the special effects of the first film to make what I strongly believe is one of the finest movies ever made. If I am ever to make a list of my favourite all time movies, then Terminator 2: Judgement Day will be at the top of it.

Bring It On, Monday! 

I’ve got a feeling it’s going to be a long day, today. I’ve woken up feeling incredibly tired and I know I’ve got a busy day at work before me as well. I’m also going to be doing some editing work tonight on the chapter I copied over to Project Apollo from an earlier draft.

So a busy Monday ahead, and despite feeling tired and that minor negative feeling that the day will be a long one I’m ready to attack the day head on! Moping around feeling tired etc. is pointless and counter-productive.

Bring it on! 

Rest In Peace Mr. Leonard Nimoy

I can’t remember ever watching the original Star Trek series, but I remember watching the movies when I was younger and I always enjoyed them and as I think back to those movies many of the scenes that have stuck in my memory were of Spock. The straight way that Leonard Nimoy played this character made it memorable and iconic and to me Leonard Nimoy became iconic as well. He seemed to have a good sense of humour about himself and from what I’ve seen and heard people say of him he seems to have been a good human being.

Rest In Peace Mr. Nimoy.

Looking Back at 2014

Last year was a year that I don’t think I’ll ever forget. It was a year in which I grew hugely as a person and as a writer.

On a personal level life was turned a little on its head in March when Tracie and I broke up. I’m not going to go into details, except to say it was an amicable break up. It was sudden though and it was quite clear to me that we’d made the right decision.
That changed a lot in my life about how I wanted to move forward. One thing I didn’t want to do was to dive straight into another relationship. I wanted to get my head, and heart, clear before even thinking about another relationship. I also wanted to make sure I knew how to be happy, or at least content, on my own. And I think I have done that. I still get my lonely points but they don’t last long and if I’m being productive with writing then it’s almost never.
I’ve been single since then, and I am okay with that. I’m enjoying having the time to myself and that time is letting me get writing, but more about writing in a bit. I think a few of my close friends may think I’m against meeting someone but if someone came along who blew me away then I’d embrace that, but I’m not willing to start dating someone who isn’t right for me.
That wasn’t the worst part of my year, I have family who are fighting serious health problems, but I won’t go into those in any detail at all. All I will say is that they are serious health problems that I wouldn’t wish on anybody.

A big upside of the year has been my cash flow. I won’t go into details but since becoming single it’s something I’ve worked hard on getting more stable. It wasn’t out of control but I was living a little close to the wire at times and I really didn’t like it. I’m not quite where I want to be, that’ll take a little while longer as I’m paying off a loan. But thanks to a little bit of luck this year is starting off really well now. Even without that bit of luck I would still be starting this year off on a good financial footing. Many months of being sensible are paying off and it’s a damn good feeling.

Now to the writing. Most of the year I was writing like I have always done, erratically. To occupy my mind I threw myself into writing after the break up and I got a short story written in about a day in April. That was also the first time I went to write-in with my local NaNoWriMo group. I’d been a member of the Facebook group for my region for a couple of years but this was the first time I really interacted with anyone from it, and I wish I’d done it sooner. This group has been incredibly supportive and inspirational since April and I don’t think I could have done as much as I have done this year without them (including a day when I wrote 7500 words, a personal best).

After that I turned to getting my vampire collection of short stories sorted out. Which I have done. This is a series that I have had stories written for since the end of 2009 and it felt really good to get the last story done and have them all tied together. I had to write a number of new stories to make the collection a decent size and to tie them altogether. This collection is with one of my primary Beta readers at the moment, and I’ve already had great feedback from another Beta reader. I’m hoping to have this out this year, I do have a date in mind but that’s staying with me until I have everything I need in place to have it published.
For NaNoWriMo I wrote a sequel to the story I wrote for NaNoWriMo 2013. Before NaNo began though I wanted to go through the first story and get it all tidied up, but it didn’t work out like that. I spent a lot of time faffing about and cutting huge chunks of it, but I didn’t get done before November and decided to sort it out after I finished NaNo.
I ‘won’ NaNoWriMo this year, finishing with a good few days to spare. The problem I found as I was writing it was that it was much better than the first book. So during December I started to re-write the first book. I set myself an outside target of 60,000 words and I was over 30,000 when I finished writing last night.
That put me on 162,870 words for the year.

I just want to take a moment to talk about the two collaborations that I’m working on. Firstly, The Residents. This is still in the brainstorming stages but we’re getting closer to working on getting the outline done.
Project Apollo is a little closer to being ready for Owen and I to get the re-write started. Due to Owen’s work commitments he was unable to give the outline of the first third of the book a good look, over the last couple of months. So hopefully we’ll be getting more of the outline done, and locked down soon.

That’s the general parts of the year that come to mind as I sit here and write this, next year I’m going to up my output for word count and also get things edited and closer to being ready for release.