NaNoWriMo 2020: Day Twenty-Two

Good morning folks, how are we all doing on this brisk autumn morning?

I was going to blog last night, and write but I fell asleep. So I got a mighty 295 words written and I am now below the projected total I should be at. I was thinking about how to hit my words on days when I had an afternoon/evening shift as I was overlaying each morning due to poor sleep the night before. But now I’ve actually looked at my rota’s for the next two weeks I’ve got all morning shifts (they could change but we’ll see), so I should be able to get home, grab a bit of lunch and then get cracking.

Today I am aiming for a nice 2k day, maybe more if I can get my arse into gear. Then continue the 2k a day through the rest of the week. I need 1900 a day to hit target, so I really need to pull my finger out and get those words down. I can do this. I just need to be disciplined and sit in the chair and write until the target is hit. I keep telling myself I want to be more professional with this, to treat it like a career. So, I need to properly put the time in and not have the TV on in the background.

So, my arse is in the chair. I’ve got bits and pieces around the house to do as well, but I’m going to work that into my targets for the day. Write a 1000 words, go take the rubbish out.

Today’s featured piece of my published work is Pumpkin Attack in the Beneath The Leaves anthology that was written to celebrate the birth of the one and only Em Dehaney. When I got invited to submit I knew what I wanted to write about these antagonists but I knew I couldn’t just write a story from their point of view. I wanted to go a route I haven’t gone before and that’s where the protagonists came into it. Writing about teenagers I found tough, especially a teenage girl, because I’m not a teenage girl but I thought about someone who is finding their confidence and overcoming shyness, while still keeping to what they were comfortable with. I also wanted to write something about a parent who was themselves growing as a person, while still being who they are. So it was very tough, and a lot of the depth of the story I wasn’t really planning and it evolved as I was writing it.

Right, thats enough procrastination! Armand, if your reading this please yell at me because I’ve fallen behind when I’ve had no real reason to have done.

Rock on, folks! ūüėÄ

Good Morning 3rd of November 2020

Good morning, folks! I hope we’re all well today? I am not even close to being awake yet, but I’ve got an hour before I host an online NaNo write-in, so plenty of time for tea and something to eat, which should have me ready and firing for two hours of writing.

I’m also planning on editing today as well as maybe a little work on Penal Earth. Something I’ve tried at times is to get my head around is treating writing like a job. I think I’m beginning to understand it more now and with doing less hours I’ve got to learn to maximise my time and get the work down. I’m thinking about setting myself hours to write, ie: five hours a week, and depending on my day job hours I’ll increase or decrease it. When I say five hours I don’t mean sitting on my bed writing while watching a movie or something, I mean at my desk and working without anything to drag my attention away, with the exception of music. Today is a good example, I’ve got something on at about 1pm so I’ll be wrapping up for the day about then. Then a couple of hours chilling out before Stefan from Stefan’s Daily Gaming comes over for, you guessed it, gaming. Due to the lockdown we’re getting in England from Thursday we had to move this forward a couple of days and thankfully we can game and maintain social distancing.

Last week I was interviewed by the fantastic Leah Solmaz over at at site, and I’ve recently watched the pilot for her series Theosight. I’ve put the pilot below because not only is Leah very cool but this was very good. It’s intriguing, funny, and has heart to it. The characters were portrayed greatly and it was nice seeing a protagonist acting like I think most of us would if this happened to us, and I’m a sucker for this type of humour as well. There’s not been much that has made me laugh aloud like this did. So please check it out, they’re trying to get attention on it for financing a series and all the views on YouTube will help, if you dig it then share it on social media. It all helps and if the rest of the rest of the people involved are as nice, creative, and passionate as Leah Solmaz then it’s going to be something very special.

Right folks, it’s time for me to be getting some breakfast. I hope everyone has a good day!

1st Of October 2020

Good evening folks, today I’ve written 1406 words after a few days of not writing anything. I’ve been a bit down for the last week or so, and I needed a couple of days to work through it.

This year has been hard, and although I’ve got out of the hole I was in with help from a number of people and I’ve got someone who is driving me to be the best I can be.

I’m not saying any of this for sympathy. I’m saying it because it’s something that has affected writing. It knocked me off it for a few days while I was focussing on myself. Three days without writing, then today I knocked out 1406 words in about two hours. Those words weren’t easy but they did begin to flow nicely as I got into the scene I was working on.

I was easily distracted, so have lost some of the discipline that I had built up. So, over the next couple of days I’ll be working on getting that determination back.

Now, to the first image in this post. If you’ve been reading my blog over the last week you’ll have seen the announcement for the Corona-Nation St anthology, well the pre-order is now live! It is doing really well, so please hit the link and check this out. The proceeds go to charity, and there’s a hell of a good list of writers who have pieces in here. Here’s the list again:

Matthew Cash
Alys Daddi 
Dani Brown
Lisa Presley 
Ian Woodhead
James Jobling 
Dale Parnell
Ian Davies 
Norbert Gora
Penny Jones
M. B. Feeney 
Matt Humphries 
Richard Archer 
Tom Johnstone 
Paul Hiscock 
Richmond A. Clements
Patrick Flaherty
Patrick R. McDonagh
Peter Germany 
Ryan Simons
Al Barz
Jacob Prytherch
David Court
Mark Cassell

My story ‘The Wank Diaries” is a story that means a lot to me. I rewrote the ending after a major change in my life and it was this story that helped me get my head back into writing again. I said in my post the other day that I bled onto the page in it. I really did. I channeled a lot of what I was going through at the time into it, not literally but I used how I felt by putting that sense of despair I was feeling into the character. The entire ending was rewritten and the tone of the story changed a lot, and for the better I think.

Burdizzo Books who are putting this book out have done a lot of work on this anthology and I can’t wait to get my hands on a copy.

I’m going to end this post by pointing out that NaNowriMo is a month away. A month….. Is everyone who is taking part getting exited? I know I am.

Have a good one folks.

Good Morning 22nd September 2020

Yesterday I wrote 907 words on Penal Earth before work. When I got home I popped onto Facebook, as you do, and saw the announcement of the Corona-Nation St anthology from Burdizzo Books, which features my story, The Wank Diaries, amongst the many fine writers works included. I am super stoked for this. Much of this story was written at a time when I was going through my own personal hell and I think some of that gets reflected in the story. Brian Keene refers to it as Bleeding onto the page. That is something I’ve done in the past and something I think will happen more, simply because that’s what we do. When we create we tap into what we’ve experienced in life. Whether it’s light and fluffy or dark and hard. We put it on the page.

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I absolutely love this cover!

Back to Corona-Nation St though, its a charity anthology that’ll be tasing funds for a NHS related charity. It has a hell of a table of contents as well: Matthew Cash
Alys Daddi 
Dani Brown
Lisa Presley 
Ian Woodhead
James Jobling 
Dale Parnell
Ian Davies 
Norbert Gora
Penny Jones
M. B. Feeney 
Matt Humphries 
Richard Archer 
Tom Johnstone 
Paul Hiscock 
Richmond A. Clements
Patrick Flaherty
Patrick R. McDonagh
Peter Germany 
Ryan Simons
Al Barz
Jacob Prytherch
David Court
Mark Cassell

Like seriously, there is a hell of a lot of talent here. I really cannot wait to get my hand on a copy of it ūüôā

Back to writing though, I’ve got a fair amount of time today that I’m going to aim for about a thousand words and then I’ve got a few bits and pieces to do around the house and then I’m going to crack on with some more of this filing.

Have a good day, folks!

Here We Go

Post originally posted on BuyMeACoffee on 27/7/2020.

A lot of what I’ve been doing recently is trying to get my head back on track with all this. I know I’ve got to get these stories edited. Getting fresh work isn’t going to get me where I want to be. I can work on new stories and keep rewriting the ones I’ve already got until the end of time and it’s not going to get me where I want/need to be.

I know the chances of me earning enough to write full time are very slim, but you know what? That doesn’t matter. I want to have my work published. I want people to read it. I want to grow as a person and as a writer. I think the two can go hand in hand. Even if I just break even, or make a loss for the rest of my life I’m going to write and try and get my work published. Whether that’s through publishers, or self-published or a bit of both I’m going to try and get my work published.

What does that mean for the foreseeable future? Well, at the moment I’m working without much of a direction. I know the three main projects I need to be working on, with one in particular that I should really bump to the top of the list because that one is the one that’ll be out first.

Speaking of out first. I’ve given the artist a heads up that I’ll want him to resume work on the cover for the zombie book (absolutely love what he’s done so far). I’ve spoken to an editor and got a quote, and I’ve spoke to someone about formatting, and gotten a quote for that as well. So, I know what it’s going to cost roughly for me to get this out. So I’m going to be putting as much away as I can to get that sum together. It’s doable, just. Like everyone I’ve got bills to pay, and expenses, but I can do it. Anything I earn from writing until I’ve got that cash together will go to it as well. So anything I receive through this website will be a part of that. All my writing costs (.com fees etc.) are covered for the year, so I don’t have to worry about those until the new year.

So there it is. Not much of an action plan, but it’s a vague direction until I get my head settled properly and I can get a proper plan in place.

Crash and Burn

***This post was written on the 27th of November 2019***

During NaNoWriMo this year I almost quit writing. As in I was done and never going to write a word of fiction again. I was struggling to get any words written. I was failing, and have subsequently failed as an Municipal Liaison(ML). My personal life was busy, but good. I wasn’t writing though. I was snatching words here and there and never really feeling like I was getting anywhere.

I hit a breaking point where I realised that I’d failed as an ML. I’d screwed up my own schedule and couldn’t follow through with a commitment I’d made. I’d felt lost at sea with being an ML throughout the month. Luckily my region has two experienced MLs in place so I hope my lack of skill and capability as an ML didn’t cause any major problems. But even knowing that I had two MLs with me who knew the score I still couldn’t seem to step up. I know I could have asked both of them for help (hell, one of them was my official ML mentor!), but I hesitated each time. I felt stupid and incapable of being what I wanted to be. I found limitations in myself that I hadn’t even realised I’d had. Realising all this broke me one day.

In addition to that, I wasn’t getting words written. I’ve had to push back a release to early next year at least and I was feeling lost in a way that I’ve never felt before when it comes to writing.

I hit breaking point.

I was done. I wasn’t going to write anymore. I was a nobody, I had no talent, my writing and my ideas are just re-tellings of stories that have been done to death. I was a hack.

So for a few days I was done. I’d all but decided that I’d fullfil my writing commitments (NaNoWriMo ML and a short story I’ve promised to write), but after that I was done.

Then, one random day Dave B Jeffrey tagged me on Twitter as a genre writer worthy of peoples time. I think I was already coming out of my pit of self-loafing but this yanked me out. Without knowing it Dave Jeffrey threw a rope down that deep dark hole I was trying to claw my way out of and pulled me out. I only know Dave Jeffrey on social media. He seems like a nice guy but as someone with a touch of shyness and a lot of social anxiety I’ve not really spoken to him. So this was a big surprise.

Since then I haven’t written as many words as I’d like, I won’t be hitting even 20k on NaNo, but the ideas are flowing again. I’m seeing ways to solve problems in long term projects that have not gone how I wanted them too (also contributing to the crisis of faith in my own ability), I’ve had new ideas and I’m thinking about how to make the most of the small amount of time I have in the future.

I’ve also got to make sure to remind myself that I can write. I’ve been told this by people around me, but also by peers and reviewers. I’ve had one short story compared to a Stephen King work. A reader mentioned my story as one of the best in that anthology. A second said my story in another anthology has become one of their favourite short stories. I’ve had a writer give me a blurb for that book I’ve had to put back and what he said gave me a smile the size of Australia.

I think I will always have doubts about myself as a writer. Think it’s called imposter syndrome, but I’m not the only one who feels that. I look at people who inspire me and have to remind myself that I can do this. Maybe I’m not ML material, but I can write.

***I’m not in this place anymore. I struggled to get back to where I am but at that time I was so very done. I had quit writing. I had given up. Even though it took a long time for me to get back on track, this one tweet stopped me from giving up on my dream***

Good Evening Sunday 17th February 2019

Good evening everyone!

I had an awesome weekend. It started at 5:30am yesterday when I got up and was leaving the house at 6am to drive a couple of hundred miles to visit my friends CL Raven and support them at their signing at their local WH Smiths. In my opinion this is really big, indies getting into a chain like Smiths is awesome.

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CL Raven and their display in WH Smith Cardiff. Cat is on the right and Lynx is on the left. Photo credit: CL Raven

They had a good turn out and sold a decent amount of books ( I finally got my hard copies of Bleeding Empire and Empty Graves).

I spent most of the weekend in Cardiff and hung out with Cat and Lynx. It was somewhat of a flying visit as I had a few bits and pieces to do at home and an early start with work tomorrow morning. I’m looking forward to going back in the future as it seems like an awesome city.

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Myself with CL Raven. Photo Credit CL Raven.

Needless to say I’ve not written this weekend. I have very much so taking a break from writing. Obviously I thought about it and hanging out with Cat and Lynx means we talked writing but I haven’t really thought about it much. Its been quite some time since I had a break from doing anything writing wise. If I’m not writing I’m editing. Even if it’s only a few words its been rare that I’ve gone more than a day without writing a single word. I think the break will have done me a bit of good.

Tomorrow, back at it!