I had an off day from writing yesterday. Aside from a couple of notes I made for War Child I didn’t get any writing work done.
Tonight I’ve done a little work on Black Blood and earlier in the day I managed to get some work done on War Child. I’ve really bitten off a lot with War Child, but it’s a weird feeling I’ve got at the moment because I feel like I can pull it off. I’ve never really had much confidence in any aspect, so it’s strange for me to be sitting here feeling like this. Like I can do this. It’s kinda scary.
But, it needs that work done. I was thinking I’d smash that draft out and boom, get cracking with book two. But no, it’s going to take a lot of planning. This isn’t like what I’ve worked on before, there’s a lot of moving parts.
Crap, that’s the time. I need to wrap this up and get settled in for the night.
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’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.
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.
This was my third EGX, but my first at ExCel in London. The other two were at the NEC in Birmingham. So a much shorter drive this time.
The first thing you notice when you walk in is the vibe. Even while standing in the queue to get through security and get our lanyards there’s an electricity in the air. The three of us are adding to it, especially when Stefan sees some of the PlayStation Access team.
We got our lanyards, much better than having just a wristband. They’ve an advert for House Flipper 2, which Steph got rather excited about, and we went into the event room itself.
There’s a lot to take in when you first walk in. There are a few folks handing out leaflets. Cosplayers moving around, not as many as I was expecting, but it’s Thursday and I’d imagine the weekend will ramp it up a bit. There’s a lot of folks in some amazing outfits. While not cosplay there is a lot that are themed as well as those that are just awesome. There’s all the gaming setups right there and they go throughout the space. Off to the left and towards the rear quarter of the floor is the vender stores. This is where we go first.
Now, my cash flow like many of us is shite at the moment so I only had a small budget but I couple of little bits went for a Mystery bag that was £25. Now, what I got in it I wouldn’t necessarily have bought, but I’m really happy with what was in there and it was definitely worth the money I paid for it.
I find I really enjoy looking around the vendors. As it’s a gaming convention most of them are gaming related in one way or another. There was a lot of anime as well, and strangely enough I noticed a lot of vendors selling pop culture themed swords at this con.
There’s a lot of people selling artwork based on video games and pop culture in general. Some of it I found mind blowing. The skill that goes into producing these pieces is amazing and I could have spent quite a chunk of money on those alone. There was a couple of DOOM ones that really caught my eye.
We explored the retro gaming section. This got the nostalgia going big time. The one that really got me was one called Dizzy Egg. Now I can’t remember if this was the exact game me and my brother had on the Sinclair Spectrum ZX as the one I saw today was on a different system. But I had a quick go, and died like four times! But it brought a big smile to my face.
I saw StarFox, Micro Machines, Halo 2, various Super Mario Brothers and Sonic The Hedgehog games. There was a few Batman ones, one of which Stefan dived into (he’s a big Batman fan) and so many more. Aside from Dizzy Egg I didn’t really play any as others were playing them while I was circulating, and honestly my anxiety was rising.
Steph did wait to play House Flipper 2 and she spoke to one of the developers of the game. I’d imagine seeing people queueing up to play and talk of how much they love the game you’ve worked your arse off must be good.
Now, my anxieties did get to me a little but not like they would have done before. I didn’t have to take a moment and regulate my nerves at any point, although a couple of times I did feel a little overwhelmed.
It was such a good day though. I was with two of my dearest friends, and seeing how much they loved it as well made the day even better.
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.