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.
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’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.
I did a pretty solid 5 hours writing work this morning. I worked through an episode of the vampire book before getting some non-fiction done for an upcoming piece. In was a nice steady morning where it feels like I had a strong focus and was able to fend off life’s various distractions. I did stop here and there and had a slight break about 11ish but overall it was a productive morning.
This afternoon was a little more chilled then I’d planned but I’m listening to my body and that’s what it asked for.
Tomorrow I’m probably going to have a little bit more of an easy day. I’ve got some bits and pieces in GTAV Online that I want to get stuck into as I’ve not played much if it lately.
It’s been a nice steady start to this time off I have, and I’m looking forward to keeping this momentum going.
Yesterday I edited 10503 words and wrote 141 words. I did the 141 while waiting for my car to be MOT’d, trying to make some use of time that is presented to me. The 10k of edited had kind of burnt my brain out though, so although I got some words down I’d like to have got closer to that 200 words in that time period.
This morning I’ve edited 6149 words and was going to start on the next episode but if I do that then I’ll not get any housekeeping done afterwards. I’ve got a number of little bits and pieces that although not urgent, do need doing.
I got up an hour and a half earlier than I was planning to, so I’m ahead of where I was expecting to be by this time. I’m trying to remap my sleep patterns, and a big part of that is getting to bed earlier. My day job tends to have a 6am start time so I’d like to get to the point where I’m getting more sleep in general at night and not have to rely on naps to keep my energy levels high. I also want to be getting better sleep. Although last night was a little interrupted a few times it did feel like a decent nights sleep.
Having a decent nights sleep helps with mental health as well. Lack of sleep, for me at least, is a big reason why I can be more susceptible to feeling down. When I’ve got a decent amount of sleep I also feel a lot more productive and able to work in the manner I want to.
I’m going to be working for another hour or so, and I’d like to get a bit more editing done as well. Let’s see how much my brain can take before it checks out for the day!
So, I’m still struggling to get my arse in the chair and get some writing done. I did write a little before work and during my break yesterday, which was a start, but I still feel like I’m slacking off.
The why of that is a mystery. I think it may be a side effect of mental health. I was a little down recently and when I get like that writing tends to be put on hold, but I can normally get back into the flow pretty easily.
Away from writing, life is good. There are some big changes coming at work, but nothing that I don’t think will have a negative effect at work or on myself.
There is a lot going on in the world though. We’ve got Ukraine, Covid, Brexit here in the UK. Raising cost of living, rise of Nazism (I refuse to call them white supremacist. They’re nazis. Simple as that).
Here in the UK we’ve got a parliament that is in disarray. Our Prime Minister had to resign and feels like he’d already checked out before his successor has been chosen (not by the population of the UK but by the Conservative membership by the way). The two people who are the candidates to succeed him are both not very inspiring and honestly, much of the same. The opposition party is weak. So we’ve got a weak government (that is allowing raw sewage to be pumped into our rivers and seas) and a weak opposition. That’s not good for this country. Which feels more like corporations are being allowed to dictate policy when it should be the government telling corporations what they can and can’t do and if the corporations don’t like it, they can fuck off!
Okay, rant over.
In regards to writing and my lack of, everything above is just bollocks! It’s all just bullshit fucking excuses that I’m using to justify my lack of work. And bullshit is what it is. Everything above should not stop me from writing. When I’m down, use those emotions in my writing (writing also makes me feel good about myself, so why wouldn’t I do it?). The state the planet is in, the shitshow that is Westminster at the moment, vent that frustration into fiction. Or even a blogpost like this.
I’ve spent most of my life hiding from the world. Hiding who I am, what I think, feel and so on. Suppressing my own fucking voice!
I need to use it. I need to put it into fiction, I need to stand up for what I believe in. (For the record, if i have a racist, sexist, just generally horrible nasty cunt of a character in fiction; that’s not my voice. That’s me creating a character who is FUCKING what is wrong with so much of this world).
Okay, I’m going to shut up now and do some writing work.
Be true to who you are. Even when it’s hard, thats when we have to be strong and stand our ground.
I have not written much for the last couple of weeks. Partly because I’ve not been sleeping well and that led to a drop in my mental health. Nothing major, but writing was sacrificed so I could put more energy into family, friends, myself, and my day job. This isn’t to say I haven’t been thinking about it. I’ve solved a couple of problems I was having and I made sure to note them down.
One of the problems I’ve been fighting this last few weeks is imposter syndrome. That has hit me like a freight train. I haven’t felt this insecure about my writing in quite some time. A big part of it was finding a solution for a problem with the vampire series I’m working on. I’ve been fearing that it’ll need another huge rewrite and that dented my confidence. I don’t have the will to try and rewrite this series which has been in the works for well over a decade. I’d started working through it again last month, and got to two of the episodes and both need a lot fo work to fit into what I want to do. This led to a feeling that I would have to do that big fucking rewrite, and I’ve not looked at it since. I was torn between putting it to bed and moving onto other things. I was done. I don’t have the will to rewrite it again. A writer who is someone I have a lot of respect for keeps telling me to stop editing, and he’s right. I need to stop going over and over this shit time and time again.
But I now know how to fix it by making a few adjustments to those two stories which I felt wasn’t working. I’m a little mad at myself for not realising how to fix it sooner, because it’s such a simple fucking solution! Once those few tweaks are done I just need to go over the rest of it quickly to make sure the continuity works. Then it’ll be all but done! I do have a plan for what I want to do with this series, and not for nothing I want to move on.
Moving on includes Black Blood. This is another one that has been on and off the burner for a while. It’s one of those things where I know I can do better. To give you an example I’ve got a character who I Tell the reader is an arsehole. I know I need to show that more then telling it, and I can do it. I’ve just got to get out of my head that I’m a no good wannabe, and I can’t say I’m not until I put my work out there.
I know I can do it. I fucking know it! I NEED to get out of my own way. I’ve got to stop overthinking every single word I put down. It’s never going to be perfect, I’m never going to be happy with it. But I’m at the point where some projects I know I can’t go any further with. Like Penal Earth. Aside form one dinky little thing I need to add (literally one sentence) I’m done with it. I can’t make it any better. I need another pair of eyes on it. That’s an editor. I know who I want to send it too, but I don’t have the funds and I know they’re super busy at the moment. So I need to save the funds and send it to them when they’ve got the time of send it to another editor.
I’m gonna wrap it there, because I want to get cracking. I know what I need to do with the vampire book, so I’m gonna get it done.
I was up at 6:30am and had edited 7936 words on the vampire book by 10am, amongst a number of non-writing chores.
It’s been a very warm day here in the UK. We’ve got Red weather warnings in place from the met office for heat. There’s predictions of temperatures hitting 40 degrees C over these few days. We’re not used to this here, but we love talking and complaining about the weather. So it’s all good!
The rest of the day has been very low impact. I made sure I did as much as I could yesterday after work and this morning before the temperature rose to its peak. Even the cats have done very little. I’ve not let either out, which hasn’t bothered Dizzy but normally Raven would be trying to claw her way through the windows. She hasn’t. Most of the afternoon both cats were sleeping on my bed as I did a little gaming.
Tomorrow I’ve got lunch planned with a friend but I don’t think I’ll be doing a lot that requires exertion. Probably writing/editing in the morning before lunch and then after, during the hottest part of the day I’ll keep it low impact like today.
Although writing has been a little slow lately I feel I’m picking up again. I have these ups and downs. They normally happen when I’m directing more energy into another part of my life than normal. But, it’s on an upward curve at the moment.
Today I’ve edited 3779 on Black Blood, 238 on a flash piece called Watermelon, and 171 on another flash story called Roommate Wanted. Roommate Wanted is now live on my Ko-Fi for all supporters.
I’ve been a little burnt out this last week or so, which means I haven’t written much. So I’m playing a little catchup with things like Ko-Fi and where I want to be with Black Blood. I think I might have to print Black Blood off before I go into the next stage. I’m working through the notes I made on my last pass and have a lot of work to get it where it needs to be. It’s been A slow start but I’ll build my momentum slowly and get back on target.
That’s my writing day done, I’m going to go and start unwinding a bit before an early night as I’ve got an early tomorrow.
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.
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!