Progress Report

There’s been very little progress.

I could leave it at just that but I’m not going to. I’m taking this month off from Project Apollo because I was struggling badly with it. The last chapter I wrote wasn’t acceptable at all. It was lazy, badly written and didn’t move the story along in the manner that Owen and I wanted it to.

My struggles with it was causing me sleepless nights and was causing a noticeable amount of stress. It wasn’t until a close personal friend sat me down and told me to take a breather from it that I realised how much it was affecting me. When I spoke to Owen about it he agreed that a break was needed.

Come next month we’re going to sit down and have a strategy meeting and read through what we have so far to make sure it’s on the right track and try to plot out the next segment of the story. I think this may be the hardest part as we’re entering the middle of the story and we need to advance in the right way so it ties in with the ending we have in mind.

Since the month has started I’ve thought a lot about the story and the surrounding universe and I’ve managed to come up with a few solutions to problems we’d not been able to solve. I think relieving that pressure of getting it written unblocked my mind a little.

I haven’t stopped writing totally though; I’ve gone back to working on the Avoiding The Game rewrite and I’ve solved the problem I was having with that. This rewrite is a totally different pace to Project Apollo which has been a breath of fresh air and I’m actually thinking about starting to type it up (so far its all been written in longhand). I’ve got a much better idea of my protagonist now and I’m happy with the reasoning for some of the actions that other characters do. After chatting with a friend today I’ve solved a problem with my protagonists past that was bothering me.

I am in a slump. I know I am because I’ve been here before and I’m trying to pull myself out of it. I’m happier when I’m writing, I’m more at peace and it energises me like nothing else. So over the next week I’m going to work hard on getting back into the habit of working on writing. I’ve got brainstorming to do, notes to type up. My vampire collection needs editing and I’ve got fiction to write.

I’m going to try and blog more as well. I find that being productive with my fiction and blogging seem to go hand in hand, so I’m going to make more of an effort to post here as well.

Making Time To Write

I often hear people say they would love to write but they do not have the time to do so, I used to think that a little but as I heard writers on podcasts say that if you want to write then you will find the time. They are all totally right!

Let’s assume that most of us new writers have day jobs (I do) so that’s, let’s say eight hours a day. I suppose we need to sleep so let’s say that’s another six hours. Let’s say four hours for all the little bits and pieces like house work, cooking, eating and so on. That leaves six hours a day to write. Result! ūüėÄ

I know what your thinking “what a load of [insert curse word of choice]”

There is no way that we can break the numbers down like that but let me ask you; how many hours a week do we give up to TV, or surfing the web? Or on Facebook or Google+ or Twitter, blogging even. Okay we can argue that social media is building our brands but how often do we pop over thinking “I wonder what’s happening” and most often nothing has changed since we last checked it. How about the time that we spend on video games as well? And lets not forget partners, kids and other family and friends. This is just some of the distractions that come to mind that distract me and I am the worst in the world for getting dis….. Ooo Audi R8………. Sorry where was I? Oh yes getting distracted. That is something I have to work on because I DO get so much done when I turn off the TV and ignore those pesky notifications.

I also write during my lunch breaks at work, sometimes I write in the mornings before I get to work as well. I have the Pages App on my iPhone so I have the ability to write whenever I want, saying that I also carry a pen and notepad with me the majority of the time. I write whilst standing in cue at the post office or the doctors, the dentist (that ones a good distraction as I’m petrified of the dentists!).

The biggest reason we don’t write is because we think we don’t have the time, if you only manage to write a thousand words a week that’s still 52,000 words a year, but if you are writing regularly it won’t just be a thousand words a week because the more we do something the better we get at it. You will find that if you write two hundred words an hour when you first start off then by the time you’ve been writing regularly you’ll find it’ll be four hundred, then six hundred.

Try to write everyday. I’ve spoken about WriteChain before, the App that gives you a link each day that you write, well on this
App you can set a minimum word count, I’ve set mine at a hundred words, that’s a piece of cake for me but if you start off with a hundred words a day minimum you’ll find that you will be smashing that easily and if you want to up it then go for it but all the time you’re writing you keep adding to your chain, and it feels great seeing that number growing (although I forgot to add a days writing into it once and lost a chain that was about thirty days long, I was gutted!)

So turn off any unwanted distractions and get cracking, if you don’t start writing then no one else is going to start writing your books for you. If you want to write just write.

(This post should have gone live about a year ago but for some unknown reason it did not, my bad because at the end of the day I forgot about it. Since then I have learnt a lot about writing and what the worlds distractions are and how to avoid them)

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Looking Back At My 2012

The last twelve years have probably been the most defining of my life.  Last year (2011) ended with the nasty ending of a relationship which left me asking a lot of questions of myself and what I wanted out of life.  Those questions found answers over a couple of months and the answers were that I did not need to change anything about who I am.  Those first two months of the year were tough for me, but thankfully I have some very good friends who kept me going.  Stefan, Gwen, Laura and Louise.  Aharon, Owen, Leah, Mike, Cinta and Chrystalyn were all there for me in one way or another when I needed them.  Especially Stefan, Gwen, Laura and Louise.  These four friends gave me more support then I knew that I needed at the time. It was not until I was beginning to feel like myself that I realised just how much they helped me through.  My Mum, Dad and Brother were also great during this time of the year, and the rest of the year. I just want to give my brother Ian a special shout out because he has been the best brother anyone could ever ask for.

In March my life had the biggest change when Tracie¬†came into it. I am struggling to put into words just how happy she is making me.¬† This time last year I dreaded waking up, now, I can’t¬†wait.¬† As of the 1st of January we have been together for nine months and those nine months have flown by so fast its¬†almost¬†hard to believe.¬†Never has anyone made me smile and feel as alive as Tracie¬†does.¬† She has an amazing spirit and a heart of gold. Tracie’s family has welcomed me and it feels like I’ve been¬†part of it for my whole life.

Like anyone else who breaths I’ve had a few ups and downs and other changes.¬† One of the biggest changes was where I worked.¬† At the end of june I was asked to come and work for a former employer who I consider a good friend.¬† When my car was off the road last year he sorted out a car for me to use in the time that my car was not usable.¬†He asked me to come back to work for him and I jumped at the chance.¬† I’m¬†still a car valeter¬†at a car sales, which I’ve been for twelve years now, but I’m working a few less hours a week and much happier in myself.

A highlight of the year was meeting Cinta Garcia de la Rosa in Oxford. It was great to meet someone that I have met through blogging and became friends with.  We spent the day walking around Oxford, we had a great lunch and it was great to talk to another writer.

As for writing, well, that’s not been quite as successful.¬† I’ve spent the bulk of the year working on The Space Watch (Project Delphi) which is all but complete, but the release date has now been pushed back due to other stories in this universe.¬† I’ll try to¬†write a post giving a little more detail about that in the next few days.¬† Project Apollo is finally off the ground thanks to NaNoWriMo¬†but is a fair way off completion.¬† Me and Owen¬†need to sit down and plot out the story from the middle to the end.¬† I seemed to lose my way with it a fair bit so I’m eager to see what Owen has to say on it.

I feel like I’ve failed with writing this year as I have not hit any of my goals that I set out at the start of the year. Saying that though I have learnt a lot about the art of writing.¬† About the depth that good world building requires.¬† What makes a good character.¬†I am still a long way off from where I want to be.¬† One major decision¬†that I made was that I will publish my own work myself.¬† I’m not going to try to go for the traditional route to being published.

Looking back at the year I think its been one of discovery and settlement.¬† I’ve found who I am, I’ve found a lady who truly¬†makes me happy.¬† I’ve come to appreciate just how important my family are to me and I have discovered who my true friends are.¬† There are things th at I never imagined myself doing, hell one night I went out wearing a bra and french knickers! and yes there are photos……… I’ve met great people and dropped the dead weight from my life.

In the years to come I am going to look back at 2012 and think of it as the year that I began to move forward.

Me and Tracie

Just A Few Hours To Go

So NaNoWriMo is just a few hours away now and I hope everyone is ready to go. I’ve learnt a couple of things from NaNo in the run up to this time of the year where many writers loose their sanity to try to win NaNo. The first is to NEVER be in the process of trying to get a story ready for release to the wide world while NaNo is approaching, that’s a big no no I know realise. I really do value NaNoWriMo. Doing it last year it taught me to just write, to forget about editing or whether the story was sellable to the mass market. Even though I failed it last year, and I’m not aiming for the 50k this year, the skills that NaNo installed last year have stayed with me and I am expecting to learn many more skills this year. My biggest hope is that it increases my confidence because I am lacking in that area at the moment.

I am aiming to blog throughout NaNo but my posts may be shorter then normal and focus on My NaNo progress.

To everyone who is doing NaNo this year, good luck! especially those on my buddies list (PeterJReaper is my handle over there) and remember, if you get stuck, there’s always space for a ninja ūüėČ

Where Was I?

I have had a couple of rough days, nothing to drastic in the grand scale of things but I’ve had a little bit of stress to get through and a couple of nights with little sleep.¬† So I’ve been running on empty for the last couple of days, but I’m feeling like me again now ūüėĬ† That said I’ve not done any editing whatsoever so come tomorrow I’ll be knocking out a few pages and getting¬†rolling¬†again.

Me and Tracie went and saw The Sweeny¬†on Sunday and we both really enjoyed it.¬† I would not say that it is the same as the original 1970’s version but it is a damn good crack at how that sort of unit would act in this day and age.¬† Ray Winstone¬†never¬†gives anything but his best in films and plays Jack¬†Reagan very well¬†¬†and Ben Drew (A.K.A Rapper Plan B) is very impressive as ¬†George Carter.¬† With Hayley Atwell, Damian Lewis and Steven Macintosh we have a strong main cast and the support cast hold their own too.¬† This is a very good film with plenty of edge and some great dialogue.¬† It does have its weak points but only one really pulled me out of the film, one minute they are in Gravesend and the next they are in a caravan park on the Isle Of Sheppey.¬† It’s not really explained whether the car chase takes them from Gravesend to Sheppey or if it’s just the filmmakers saying there is a caravan park like that in Gravesend (I just want to point out that I was born, raised and still live in Gravesend which is a forty minute drive to Sheppey) so I know the area quite well.¬† That aside it’s a film that is a lot of fun ūüôā

That does lead into something that needs to be thought about as a writer.¬† I have often heard other writers on podcasts say that the location details have to be spot on because there is always a chance that someone reading your book or watching your film lives just down the road from where you are setting your story.¬† That can take the person out of the story and worst case scenario put your book etc. down and never look at anything else that you do.¬† The part that sucks for all of us starving artists is that we can’t always afford to travel to the places that we write about.¬† So how do we go into learning about foreign lands without going there.¬† Let’s say that I am writing a story set in New York the first thing that I would do is Google New York and check out what is said on Wikipedia and follow on from there.¬† I would also get in touch with a couple of people who I know have been to New York and ask them what they thought of the city.¬† Then there is Twitter where I’m sure there is someone tweeting and blogging about everyday life in that fine city.¬† Then there is Google maps and street view.¬† Obviously not every location on earth has had the attention that New York has had but then it is just a case of¬†digging¬†deeper.

Something that I need to improve in myself is doing all this research.  We can never know enough about a city, or a culture or technology we may talk about, but we also have to be wary of over loading the reader.  I could clock up countless hours doing this research and only use 10% of what I have learnt but knowing all the details makes the story real.  This goes for making sure that our locations are accurate too.

 

I’ve Been A Bad Blogger

I forgot to say in my earlier post that I am well behind on the blogs that I read and That I’ll hopefully be catching up with a few of my favourites in the next week or so.¬† On a general basis I am a little lazy when it comes to keeping up with blogs but I tend to keep up to date on the ones that I like the most so I will be finding a little time to catch up on what I’ve missed by the end of the week ūüôā

Here’s An Update

This week has been a bit of a write off because I’ve not got much done.¬† It’s been a prime example of life messing up with my writing. ¬†I’ve not been that well and I’ve had some quite tough days at the day job in addition to some everyday life irritations that keep popping up.¬† I seem to be having one good week and then one bad week with writing at the moment.¬†¬† I’ve written maybe a 1000 words of fiction which bearing in mind some of the walls I’ve hit this week I’m not too disappointed¬†about.¬† It’s not just about the writing though, I have done a little editing on my later part of the year project which I showed an excerpt to a fellow blogger who loved it! ūüėÄ that made my day ūüôā and I’ve worked on a couple of future blog posts, I’ll have a surprise for you in one of them, a little change from my normal format ¬†ūüėČ

Tomorrow night is going to be a movie night around some good friends of mine and¬†Sunday I am taking my Grandad to spend the week with his sister so by the time that¬†I get back itll be late in the afternoon but if I’m not too¬†tired then I’ll try to get some fiction written.

I’ve had my ups and downs recently but next week I will be getting into a routine with¬†writing.¬† With some of the kind words that¬†I am receiving¬†here I am feeling a little expectation beginning to weigh down on me so I want to get some fiction written, editing, proof read and once it is all¬†polished up then we’ll get it¬†out into the world for everyone to see.

I’d just want to mention¬†a film,¬†The Girl With¬†The Dragon Tattoo.¬†¬†This was a pretty good film but some people who I’ve spoken to about it have said that the Swedish version¬†is much better so I think I’ll have to get it and see.¬† In my limited experience of film remakes in this sense the American version is rarely better than the original.

I’m also watching Predators as I’m writing this post and it’s given me a few ideas for a story that I’ve had in my head for a few months now that I may scribble some notes down for before I go to bed.

Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol still hasn’t¬†hooked me in the way that makes me want to turn the pages but I’ve not got to the magical Hundred page mark yet so there’s still time.