Good Morning, 19th July 2021

Good Morning Folks, how are you all doing? I’ve been up about fifteen minutes and am hoping a blog post will help me wake up a little quicker. Plus tea, tea is a gift from all the gods!

I am waking up a little easier now. I was going through a period where I was struggling to get up, I know this is a marker of mental health concerns, but the last few weeks I’ve been setting an alarm, generally for 8am and I’m finding that I’m waking up about 7:30am most mornings. It’s a little different when I’m working an early as I have to be up at 4am for those, but I’m finding it easier to get up for those as well. I’m just not waking up thirty minutes beforehand!

Writing wise, I’m going to add a few more words to the short story I’ve been working on. I think it’s taking shape nicely and although yesterday I was thinking I’ve nearly finished this draft I think I may be a little further off than I thought.

Last night I had a thought and realised that this story I’m kind of letting loose a little and I think there’s an icky factor to it that I like, and I realised last night that is what I should be doing. Finding that element of boundary pushing. I’m a horror writer, the stories are meant to be uncomfortable.

It really got me thinking about the writing I’ve been doing lately and how I need to go down that more uncomfortable path. Art isn’t just meant to be beautiful. It’s allowed to make you think as well, it’s allowed to trigger things that make you feel uncomfortable. So I’m going to try and embrace that.

Right, I’ve work in a bit and would like to get a little bit done or writing work done before leaving. I also need tea! and something to eat.

Rock on folks! It’s the start of a new week, so lets all hit the ground running and make a difference.

18/02/21 (2)

Just a quick post while I’m sitting in my car before walking into work. I wrote a little over a 1000 words this morning. I’d planned to write till 8:30am which would give me plenty of time to get ready for work before I had to leave. When it hit that time I saw I was at about 800 words and change for the day. So I pushed through another few minutes and got over that 1000 word mark.

That’s where I want to be, hitting a thousand words in a little over an hour. And I want to be at the point where if I’m close to hitting a 1000 words in a small window of time then I can push through and pass it.

That drive is essential! If I can capture that mentality then I can hit my goals, and there is no reason except myself for that not to happen!

Ready for work, having been productive already means I’m feeling good and raring to go!

Good Evening, 17th February 2021

Hey folks, I’ve written 1231 words today on the vampire book and added some notes to Black Blood character files before I felt wiped out and decided on a nap.

After the nap I was going to do a little more but due to a car issue I took my parents to get their vaccine jabs. I made a few notes while I was waiting for them.

I did finish the episode of the vampire book I’ve been working on. The next one has me scratching my head a little, I’m not really sure how I’m going to tell the story I want to tell. I’m going to think it over a little and see what I can think out. I like this story, but it definitely needs rewriting and bringing onto track with how I want the story to be.

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been struggling a little with my mental health. Nothing drastic, but enough to make me notice it. I’m taking steps, using what I’ve learnt from the help I’ve received to get back on track. Getting up early is part of that. The last two days I’ve been up around 8am and writing by 9am. Tomorrow I’m going to get up at about 7am and get cracking again before work. It worked well for me on Tuesday, and has worked well in the past. I get a good start to the day and I have a good day.

I feel like I’m on the right path again. Being productive helps, especially first thing of a morning. It means I’ve achieved something already that day.

A selfie a day keeps the black dog away…

Mental health is something that is still stigmatised. It’s still a dirty subject that people don’t want to hear about. I’m lucky, I’ve got loved ones who will listen when I need them. I’ve gotten great help, but I will fall at times. It’s how quickly I get back I that matters.

My favourite pen, a Parker Cartridge one, that I manage to misplace at least three times a week, but only ever for a few moments 🤣

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11th February 2021

Yesterday I started the day off well. I got up early and got work done. I took a member of my household to the dentist and while they were in there I did some scouting in Gravesend town centre, in particular the Civic Centre (see video for more). Once I got home though, I took a mental health hit.

Something small triggered it, something that I see often but yesterday was the first time it knocked me like it did. I didn’t hit rock bottom, but I did fall somewhat. This made it hard to sleep, I think I had maybe two hours altogether. Maybe three at the most, and most of that was today. I was up at 8am like I planned, like I was yesterday but I knew I had to get my head back down. I finally got up at about 10ish and have felt that lack of sleep all day. I’ve tried to nap this afternoon but with no joy. So I’m going to work for a little while, not long, maybe an hour, and then a bath and reading after dinner. Try to relax into sleep.

On the plus side I did get some writing done last night. A little bit on the vampire era, and the part of it I was working on struck me that it might be a part where people may assume that I’m taking from real life experiences a little too literal. I do bleed into my work. I take what I’ve experienced and put it into characters, but how I think I do it is I put the dark moments I’ve had into the stories, but not the situations. I may get close with the odd one but I’ve not got the urge to turn my life into literature, not 100%.

My story ‘The Wank Diaries’ was one I bled into a lot. When I rewrote the ending after I was trying to get myself back it was a totally different vibe to the original ending and changes the tone of the story.

People ourselves into in our work is something that we all do, even if it’s something that’s subconscious. A lot of the time I don’t think we can help it. Writing, for me, is a great form of therapy. I can channel my emotions into my characters and I hope it makes them more real. More relatable.

Another plus side to last nights insomnia was I did look at the Vampire Era again. It’s on my to-do list but I’ve been so preoccupied with Penal Earth and Black Blood I hadn’t got around to looking at it. I’m going to start working on it, because it’s a rewrite and it’ll allow me to write while also working on editing and building worlds. I need to make sure I can find a way to be writing as well as working on the other elements of producing content.

Which is what I’m going to do now!

January 1st, 2021…. Here We Go!

Here it is, 2021!

I can’t describe how hard 2020 was for me, and not just because of Covid. If I took Covid out of it I still had the worst year of my life, but it was also the best year. And it’s the good that is driving me forward.

The changing of a calendar isn’t going to magically make life like it was pre-2020. It really doesn’t work like that. I know a lot of people don’t want to hear that, but it’s true. The reason why I got out of 2020 in the good place I am in now is because I’ve worked my arse off to get here. To make the best of the world around me and keep my head high, and my eyes focused on the next goal.

Do I fall down? Yes, I fell down over Christmas and it took its toll on me, but I get back up and moving forward again. I don’t dust myself off until I know I’m not at risk of being sucked back into that dark little corner of my soul again. I stop that from happening by talking to friends and family, being productive with writing, going to work. I defeat the negative elements of my mind by engaging with the people I love, the communities that have embraced me, and just being me. This last six months has taught me I don’t need to be scared to show who I am to the world. Because despite what I’ve thought for most of my life, I’m not worthless.

This year will see the release of my first novella. That’s the only release that I have scheduled for this year, at the moment. I’ve got to do better at finding markets to submit to. I’m not just going to focus on word counts and look at completing more projects, submitting more, and knocking items off my to-do list.

Last year I had stories published in three anthologies, which I think might be my best in a calendar year to date, don’t hold me to that though. So, I’m aiming for at least four pieces published this year.

Okay, on to today. I kinda overlaid, like till almost midday! So I’m a little behind where I wanted to be, but I needed the sleep and I feel pretty good for it. I’ve posted my first video of the year to my YouTube channel. It’s also the first one where I’m talking to the camera. A little nerve racking, and I know it’s not the best but it’s a new venture for me where I’m stepping out of my comfort zone, and like with everything else, the more I do the better I’ll get!

I will be getting into the Black Blood read through/edit shortly as well. I’ve edited about 2000 words a day over the last few days so I’m looking at doing about 3000 today.

I doubt I’ll be writing a lot of new words today. I’ve got a short story that I need to have written and off to the publisher by April but I need to think it out a bit, get some brainstorming done on it, before I can start writing. I’ve got a good idea of a major element of it, but I need more to it. At the moment it’s a few lines and an idea. Which isn’t enough.

Enough talking, time for action! Have a good day folks! No one is going to make this year good for you, people can help, but it’s You who will make this year, and your life, good or bad.

Good Morning, 15th of December 2020

Good morning, folks! I hope everyone is doing good!

Just a quick post before I start my day. I likely won’t be getting a lot of writing done today. Work later on and I’ve got an appointment to prep for that takes place tomorrow but I don’t want to be rushing the prep after work and before the appointment tomorrow. So most of my free time before work today will be on that, anything the isn’t though I’ll be getting some form of writing work done.

I’m feeling happy about my goals for next year, even if I do have a slight doubt that I’m being overly ambitious. The way I’m looking at it though, is it’s time I started pushing myself. After so many years of living with self-doubt beating the crap outta me (in every aspect of life) now I’m finding my confidence a little I feel like I can push myself that bit more. I’m not so scared of the world that I used to be, it’s still there but it’s not dominating me like it used to.

Yes, I’ve just woken up!

Right, I’m off to get cracking! Have an awesome day, everyone!

NaNoWriMo 2020: Day Six

3172 words today while watching movies all day. It’s been a while since I watched the Lord Of The Rings trilogy and it was good merging the two.

I am feeling somewhat braindead right now though. If you follow me on Instagram you’ll know I share a selfie a day to keep the black dog away. Today that damn black dog has been nipping at my heels again and writing really helped deal with that.

Seeing as my brain is mush, I’m wrapping it up here. I’m wiped and going to finish watching Beauty and the Beast (sometimes you just need Disney), and then bed.

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***