I’ve been playing catchup with podcasts, so have been bing-listening to The Mando Method Podcast by Armand Rosamilia and Chuck Buda. There was an episode, I think it was Chuck’s Mailbag #9, but don’t hold me to it. But in it there were responding to a question and the conversation got around to social media and being present. Making sure you post consistently and so on. I can’t remember the exact wording but there was mention of crowd sourcing and expectations. This kinda hit home a little. I’ve got an active Ko-Fi page and I’ve been regular in posting in my ‘Welcome To My Nightmare’ tier which is a short story/chapter from a longer story, once a month that hasn’t been been published elsewhere before.
I have zero expectations of earning money through this site. I’ve been blessed in that I have had contributors. (You know who you are and I love you!) But I didn’t set the page (or my inactive Buy Me A Coffee page) with the intention of making a nice chunk of cash each month. I set it up because once I get a few books published I will start building a fanbase, and then it’s somewhere people can come. When they do they’ll see there’s a number of posts, mainly short stories that they can check out.
I am feeling like a fraud. I talk a lot but don’t do anything to get my work out there. But, I feel I am making progress. I’m wrapping up longterm projects. I’m planning future projects. I am moving forward, just slowly. But I am getting there. Stories are ready to go, the zombie book and Penal Earth are there. Just need to get the money for the cover for zombie (this cover is awesome!). And with Penal Earth, I’m gonna start trying to find a publisher for it.
It is a gorgeous morning here in the South East of England, so obviously I’ve been sat at my desk, in my pjs and dressing gown writing. I’m off to work this afternoon and knew I wanted to get some words written. This I’ve done, 1393 all in all and I’ve finished typing up the ending of the zombie book. The next stage is transferring it to the main file, then do my final pass. In that pass I’m looking at just a few minor tweaks. There will be one larger addition to the first part of the story that will give a character a lot more depth and motivation. That will only be a couple of lines though and is the largest tweak that this final pass will have. Then it’ll be off to my editor for her to give it a final pass to make sure I’ve not left any really stupid grammatical errors or plot holes with this new ending. Which reminds me I need to message her and the cover artist.
So, what’s next? Next will be typing up one of the short stories that I’ve recently written as well as continuing with the story for an anthology I’ve been invited to submit to (need to check that deadline). I do also want to start my final pass on Penal Earth, but that can wait a little as I don’t have the money to send it to an editor yet. I do have a few notes from a dear friend who read it and picked up a few pieces that I, my mum and beta readers had missed. So this coming pass will mainly be for those.
I just want to give a shoutout to The Mando Method Podcast. Armand Rosamilia and Chuck Buda have always produce engaging, informative, and just damn entertaining content that I have learnt a lot from, but now they are doing a monthly roundtable episode where they’ll bring in two other authors and I’m really enjoying these episodes. Sometimes a podcast will make a change like this and it doesn’t quite work, but Armand and Chuck have nailed it with this one, and it really adds a new element to their podcast. I strongly recommend checking them out.
Just a little pimping out my Ko-Fi page. It’s still the bog standard page but membership will be up and running soon. You can follow for free, and I won’t be putting this blog behind a paywall. Once in a while I’ll put a post up on Ko-Fi that will then come here maybe a few weeks later, but these what I think of as journal posts will never be behind a paywall.
I’ll end todays post with my flash fiction piece, Ghost, which appeared in the 84 Stories 84 Words anthology.
Good evening, folks! Today I wrote 1038 words on a new short story. It took a little to get going, a couple of false starts but once I changed a small detail I found the spark that got the story going and boom! A thousand words flowed in a good half an hour. I’ve not had a session like that in, what feels like an eternity.
Here’s the the thing I’ve been struggling with, I’ve lost my confidence. I keep rewriting and editing and putting off finishing something. Listening to Armand Rosamilia and Chuck Buda on the Mando Method last week has really hit home. My confidence in writing is generally pretty low, but lately its been rock bottom. I’m going to work on smashing through that and building that confidence up again.
Something that I feel I need to do, is stop censoring myself. I do that a lot, holding myself back. The last two stories I’ve worked on I’ve just written. I’ve not thought about it at all, I’ve just written it
Right, I’ going to wrap it there. I feel like I’m rambling.
When I moved back to my parents I asked them if I could make the spare room into an office. They were happy for me to, so I got stuck in. The room was a typical spare room and just had lots of bits and pieces put in it. It wasn’t a mess but it wasn’t anything more than somewhere to put things that didn’t have a home, and weren’t often used. So there was a little sorting out to do but not much got done until I got a desk.
I knew I wanted a desk with draws and a nice surface space. I also wanted a light wood colour, I’m I sucker for soft tones so I knew furniture wise that’s what I’d go for. The desk I found has the draws but also shelves on the other side. The desk I found at Argos I fell in love with. Not only did it have draws on one side the other side had shelves. It also had a nice surface space and I was able to get it in a light wood that I like. This was the first piece I bought and I had it built and in place against the chimney stake pretty darn quickly. Thankfully we already had a desk chair, so that wasn’t something that needed to be bought.
Getting the desk up was essential for me as I wanted to get writing on it as soon as I could.
I later had to move the desk to under the window due to a water leak.
A fresh coat of paint was desperately needed! This was my bedroom for a very long time and the last time I decorated it I thought this shade of green was a good idea…… Fortunately I still had some of the cream colour I’d painted my bedroom in a few years ago. So I got painting, and yeah. I had enough paint for two coats, which wasn’t anywhere near enough. The green was still showing through. I might have used a little adult language! Again, a little bit of luck. My parents had this awesome colour that they painted their room in last year. Three coats of this (thats five coats!) and the green was not only covered up, but this colour (I can’t remember what it’s called) looked good. I liked the deepness to it, and found the colour to be quite calming.
The shelves on the desk are a great little bit of space, but they are not enough for my library. Now, my library has shrank over the years. I’ve cleared through a lot of the books I either had no intention of reading, or had read and would never read again, or the book just didn’t leave a lasting impression. My change of taste has also changed, so I’ve got less books but still more than would fit on the desk shelves. So I got two new bookcases, again from Argos. In addition to these two bookcases my aunt gave me a wall unit. This has shelves and a cupboard at the bottom. This unit is beautiful. In addition to giving more storage it’s got a great character to it. I was going to put two of these three in the alcoves either side of the chimney stack. The problem I ran into was that there was homemade shelving in one of the alcoves. Originally I was going to get some new sheets of wood and between me and my dad we were going to cut some new shelves for that alcove (my dad is fantastic at that sort of thing). But I decided to get units to go in the spaces. Now, the problem I had was I’d left the wooden supports where there were. Yes, this is me being lazy and thinking I didn’t need to take them out. These simple wooden supports have been there for probably twenty years, and yeah. Boy did they take some work to get off the damn wall. God bless hammers! I did have to do a little touching up with paint after they were off, but you wouldn’t know it.
I ended up putting the two bookcases in the alcoves. Partly because I like the symmetry of having the matching bookcases either side of the chimney stack, and it looks natural.
I put the wall unit on the opposite wall next to my wardrobe. Again, this works for me. It compliments the flow of the room.
Storage is important. I’ve had a lot of years where I’ve had lots of stuff squeezed into wherever I could fit them. The wall unit with the cupboard has been a given me a lot more options then I’ve had before but I’ve also got three plastic storage units. One of these has four deep draws and the two have a lot of slim draws. These two I’ve got copies of my work in. From hand written drafts, to printed drafts with red notations on, through to little slips of paper with notes on.
The one with the deeper draws has everything from A4 writing pads(I have a lot of these), to old tech, to various knick knacks. It’s a lot more organised than it ever has been.
As you can see, all three are lovingly decorated!
I have a little flexibility on where I put these, and the file storage ones have moved around the room a little. They’re now settled behind the door by one of the bookcases. The deep draw one is by the wall unit, in a spot that was almost made to measure for it.
Although these don’t really match the rest of the room, they’re really useful. I am trying to steer away from having so many plastic items, partly because I’m drifting away from plastic a little, but mainly because I don’t like the aesthetic of them anymore. I like these lighter wood tones for how they look and the feel they give to a room. They give a warmth I enjoy. In a perfect world I would replace these, but I don’t have the finances and in all honesty, there’s nothing wrong with them. I’ll replace them one day, but probably when they’ve started falling apart.
There are three other pieces of furniture in the room. Firstly, my wardrobe. This is in the office because it’s just too bulky to be in my bedroom. It’ll fit, but it shrinks the space a lot. I’ve made use of it though. I’ve got a calendar on it, but I’ve also got pictures of loved ones on it. This serves as an inspiration to keep growing, and moving forward and following my dreams.
The other two are matching chest of drawers that my parents had. I’ve got clothes and a few knick knacks in them. Nothing writing related inside, but on top they’ve got my printers and ring binders. The printers here isn’t idea, but it’s not a massive imposition.
I will replace these at some point, when I have the cash. They’re old and my folks had them for a long time but they’re not the most sturdy any more. I will need space for clothes, so I think I’ll end up buy one large chest of draws, maybe two depending on size and and how much space I’ll need.
Next to the chest of draws I’ve got this cute little cloth unit that, again, a few knick knacks in. This was a super impulse purchase and I love it!
The magazine holders are a very recent edition, that I’ve got notebooks that are in use.
I would like to get some new curtains at some point. These are the old ones from my bedroom, and are okay but a little short for the window, and I’d like to get black-out ones as they’d keep the sun from hitting me of a morning. How the house is positioned means the sun smacks the front of it till about 10, 11am and if I’m working there it does feel a little like an oven. Even with the curtains I’ve got up! As the mornings are times where I work a lot (day job permitting), it’s something I’d like sorted before next summer.
I’ve spoken about the layout a few times in this post, and in all honesty I can’t really have it in too many other layouts. I’m sure with different furniture I might be able to have it set up differently, but I like it how it is. The desk should be the centre piece of the room. It’s an office, where I do most of my writing work. So it’s the centre piece. I can easily get to my printers, to where printer paper is. With a turn of my head I can see my dry/erase board. I’ve got easy access to any writing files I’ve been putting together easily enough. Even things like where I’ve got my bins is easily accessible from the desk.
I’ve got a little room to pace around if I need to think. I can look out the window when I need to give my brain a breather.
The only real space that isn’t optimised is a wall cupboard that is part of the room. At the moment it’s just full of bits and pieces, but there’s not a lot I can do as it needs air to circulate otherwise mould starts building up. Long term, I’d like to be able to use the space better, but again it’s one of those things that isn’t a priority but something I’d like to get sorted out one day. Because I can’t really use that space at the moment I’ve got my bin in front of it. If I do need access then it’s easy to move the bin.
The centre piece. The desk. As I said, this was against the chimney stack and I was quite happy with it there, but due to a leaky roof which resulted in water coming through the ceiling and down the chimney stack. Don’t worry it’s all been fixed now and is good. But I’d moved my desk as soon as the leak was discovered (thankfully nothing was damaged). That’s why it got moved to by the window. I was intending to move it back to the chimney stack, but it works better where it is. It’s the focus point of the room. I did move it back against the chimney recently, but I think I did this just to confirm that I prefer the layout as it is.
I’ve got natural light, but it’s also under the light in the room and I’ve got an LED desk lamp for when it is winter and generally darker. Believe me, even with the light above my head it is still very dark in this room.
Something I was thoughtful of when I started making the spare room into my office was making it my space, having it represent me and for me to feel super comfortable when I’m in there. I do feel lucky in that I can write pretty much anywhere but having a space that is just for that does help focus, and it makes me feel like I’m at work and I am more productive when I’m in there. Another positive I’ve discovered is if I am not feeling the work I can force myself to crack on and hit a target a lot easier than I have done in the past.
The balance that I think I might find a little difficult is having those touches of myself in it, but also keeping it semi-professional so it doesn’t turn into a space where there is too much that will distract. I think I’m going to be able to do it. It’s pretty well rammed into my head that this is a working space.
I am a big advocate for NaNoWriMo. I’m a Municipal Liaison for my region and having it represented in the office is very important to me. NaNo introduced me to writers in person for the first time, outside of my former writing partner that is, and meeting all these people have brightened both my life and my writing career massively. I have made some fantastic friends, had some amazing conversations and so much laughter!
I’ve got a few framed inspirational quotes on the walls of my office. I saw these in a supermarket and the one on the front of the pack is one that I strongly believe and thought it’ll be great seeing that each day.
I have a cork board and a dry/erase board on the chimney stack. When I placed them they were above my desk but as I’v said earlier about the leaky roof, the desk isn’t there anymore. But I left the two boards there. They are easily accessible, but I will admit I don’t check the white board often enough. I need to look at it when I walk into my office to start work each day to make sure I’m still on target. But I generally like where they are both placed.
The white board has all of the months goals on it, as well as a few little motivational words I put up when I put the goals down at the start of the month.
The cork board has a few personal notes from friends, random ideas, and a couple of random little bits and pieces on it.
I’ve also got a metal frame notice board. Like the cork board I’ve got personal notes on it, but I’ve also got some swag and decoration on it. I put this behind my door by one of the bookcases as I felt it was the best place for it, and I think it works there.
As the years go by I’m planning on adding lots of lanyards, and con tags and entrance brackets.
I do want to thank Armand Rosamilia for giving me a few little pointers, which I found really helpful. And most importantly, my folks for letting me make this space into an office.
So, there it is. My office. It’s not going to stay like this, I will tweak things. There’s furniture I want to replace. I’d love to get a nice rug for the middle of the floor. New curtains, maybe a little more art on the walls. But overall I love the space. It’s comfortable, warm, conducive to getting words wrangled.
I’m not feeling as energised as I have been, and I’m writing this much later than yesterday for example. Something I do when I’m at work when customers ask me how I am I’d say ‘I’m good thanks, I’m always good me,’ It gets some laughs and it generally is true. Even when I’m feeling down I’ll try and snap myself out of it, because it doesn’t help anybody. I know it’s easier said than done. If you’ve been following my blog for a while you’ll know I was finding things very difficult last summer, and it’s been a journey and a half to get to where I am now, and its a journey that will never have a destination. Because I learn and grow with each day, each challenge. I’m not letting myself hold me back any longer.
We have the potential to be great. Both on an individual level and as a species. Now, with the state of humanity in this day and age I think it’s going to be difficult for us to achieve that greatness, but as individuals. There’s nothing stopping us. Even when we get knocked down, we get up, and brush ourselves off.
On a recent episode of the Mando Method Armand Rosamilia said about me that I’m always moving forward, even when I’m taking steps back I’m moving forward. That’s what we all need to be trying to do. If we have to take a few steps back, its not a defeat, its a way of moving forward because we might not be quite ready for that next step. It’s like the timing of a pass in a football game. If you play it too early the recipient might not be in a prime position to take a shot. Sometimes stepping back is about being patient.
Right, I’m going to get a little writing/editing done before the day job. I hope you all have a great day, folks!
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.
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.
I’ve finished the red-penning part of the zombie novella that I started yesterday. I didn’t get any words down yesterday but I got 1403 done today.
I was at about 800 words, and about done for the day. But pushed myself as it was only another 200 words to go till I hit the 1000 word mark, and Armand Rosamilia popped into my head. He is someone I do look up to and it struck me that if he was in my position he’d push through and hit that 1000 word mark. And I got over 1400 words. Yeah, I’m happy with that. Very happy with that. That’s pushing NaNo numbers, which is just around the corner. So hitting a number like that at this point is probably a good idea.
I had hoped to get some prep work for NaNo done today, but it’s late now and I’ve got an early start tomorrow. So I’m going to read a little and then call it a night.
Good evening, folks! How are we all doing? Was a good Sunday had?
During work I got a few words done on a new short story that I’m going to write for an anthology, then added more after I got home and ended up with 646 words. I’m winging it a little with this one, but I’ve got a good feeling for it. I’m gonna try for something A little different to what I’ve done before and see what it comes out like.
I am also looking at getting another story brainstormed and ready to write once I’ve got a draft of the first one. Not done any brainstorming for a while so I’m looking forward to it.
I’ve been catching up on The Mando Method podcast, which I’d recommend checking out off you’re a writer. It’s great catching up with Armand Rosamilia and Chuck Buda and hearing how they’re progressing and the tips they’re dishing out.
This coming week I’m going to be working on maximising time and getting the most of the time I have to commit to writing. Obvious I appreciate that it could all go pear shaped but I’m going to stick to it.
Right, time for to call it a night.
Most of the time our biggest doubters are ourselves, don’t let that doubt defeat you!
368 words today. That took many hours. I want to get to the point where I’m sitting down with earphones on and music playing while I’m siting at my desktop and I’m knocking out that in twenty minutes. I’m not there yet. The one and only Armand Rosamilia commented on yesterday’s post and said about pacing myself. He’s right. Even though I desperately want to step up my pace to what I used to do, I can’t force it. I’ve got to slowly build up my momentum again.
Getting refocused is something I am struggling with. Refocused might not be the right word, maybe patience is a better word. I want to get reading again but having the patience to read enough till I’m hooked is not proving easy.
Thankfully I’ve got people who are encouraging me. Cheering me on. This helps. It’s nice knowing that the communities that I’m a part of are there to support me and all of us there when the time comes. That, is priceless.
Evening, folks. I am super knackered tonight. It’s been a long but decent day where I wrote 1472 words on the fan fiction piece.
I was planning on getting back to CS1 but I just needed to write today. Going to the Write-In tonight was good. It was low-key tonight but still good. I got a good few words written then and during my lunch break. I also did some minor NaNo planning this evening as well. I’ve got a couple of ideas that have really tickled my fancy so far, but until I start writing them it’s hard to know which ones will take off.
Audiobook wise I listened to Armand Rosamilia’s Darlene Bobich Zombie Killer today. This is a rare occasion where I’d forgotten that I’d read this one already. Within ten minutes or so I’d realised that I knew the story, but it was still damn good listening to it. I recall liking the way it was put together. I hadn’t come across anything like it before and it serves as a real nice little taster for what Armand Rosamilia has in store for this series (it’s one of his Dying Days books). I am looking forward to checking out more of these in the coming months.
Although I’ve listened to a lot of audiobooks recently I really need to get my head into a book again soon. I’ve got Appetite by Anita Cassidy that I started recently that I’m going to dive into. This isn’t my normal genre but I’m looking forward to it. I’ve been to numerous Write-in’s with Anita and she is a fantastic human being who has been good to me over the years and I’m so pleased to see her doing well.
Right folks, time to call it a night. I’m going to read a little of Appetite and then get to bed. Have an awesome one, everybody!