Finding My Focus Again

Writing of late has not been easy. I’m struggling to get the words down and when I do I’m not happy with them. For a while now I’ve felt that I have lost something, something that was allowing me to put a story together seems to have been lost and I don’t know how I can get it back. I don’t know if it’s where I’m writing stories which are more complicated then I’m able to write or if it’s a case that my head isn’t in the right place to concentrate enough to put the words together in the right order and have a good story there once I’ve written the final word.

Maybe its even how I’m sitting and the environment around me. On Sunday  (30-3-12) I was sitting at my desk all day and the words just would not come, and when they did they were really badly put together (probably much like how this blog post is). The last two nights (around a family meal out and a cinema trip) I’ve been writing with the laptop on my lap as I sit on my bed and the words have flowed a little easier.

I don’t know if its a lack of preparation that isn’t helping. When Chrystalyn and I are brainstorming for The Residents we’re going into a new level of detail that I have not even come close to thinking of till now. This is something that I need to transfer over to when Owen and I are working because knowing the details will help make putting the story together a whole lot easier I think.

With short stories I think I can get away with just writing and not having much of a plan but with anything over the 15k mark I think I need to learn how to plan it out and do all the research I may need to fill in the details that may come up in the story before I start writing.

I’m hoping that all of this will help in getting to a point where I can put a story together. I don’t know why over the last year or so I’ve been unable to get a story completed properly, it has felt like something in my head has broken or a skill been lost somewhere and I need to rediscover it. I’ll have time to try and find it though, Tracie and I ended our relationship last month, so I’m going to properly throw myself into my writing over the next few months. I’ve got Project Apollo with Owen and The Residents with Chrystalyn as my main focus points at the moment and maybe ten short stories that just need tidying up. I’d like to get back on Earth, After Liberation by the end of the year as well, but I’m not going to try and load myself up to much. I’m going to take each story as I go.

It feels like its been a long time since I’ve had the focus that I need to have for this. No more letting Facebook or Twitter distract me, it’s time to find my focus again.

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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! 😀

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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Time For A Rant: Shares & Re-Tweets

If any of you follow me on Twitter, or have ‘Liked’ my Facebook page you may have noticed that I share and Re-Tweet a lot of things. I do this because I either find something amusing, interesting or its to promote a writer I like or a book I like. Now some of the books I promote I probably haven’t read but I may have a lot of time for the author. This I will always do and I don’t do it for any other reason then I like to share these things, and if its a book, or a film or a writer I like I will scream it from the roof tops. I’m not expecting anything in return, I do this because I like to share the things that I find entreating. When its a fellow writer I’m even more keen to share their work because in a lot of cases they are Indie authors who I have gotten to know and they are awesome people.

If you are wondering why I am writing all this It is because I had a message via Twitter saying that I do this too much. The funny thing is the person that sent me the message has been someone whose work I’ve Re-Tweeted from time to time. When I pointed this out they un-followed me. Am I going to stop? no, not a chance. If I believe in something I talk about it, if people don’t like it I really don’t care. It’s not like I’m aggressively giving these shout outs like me invites on Facebook (Don’t get me started).

 

Okay Rant over 🙂

 

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Shattered!

Tonight has been one of those nights where I’ve not stopped.  I had not really appreciated just how many books I have and I’ve got to admit I’m quite proud of my collection.  But I’ve got that back into my room after decorating it and now I just have all the crap that I’ve got to go through to sort out and black sack the rubbish.  I have managed to get a little writing done, when I say a little I wrote just over my minimum daily target but I’m happy with that.  Give it another week and I’m positive that I’ll be getting into a proper routine and getting some serious work done.  At the moment I’m not able to really get stuck in to anything as I’m waiting on Owen getting back to me on one of our projects which I want to get the 2nd draft done of.  Once I’ve read through it and made my notes I can get cracking with it.  We’ve decided to change it slightly so we’re going to re-write it to a large extent which will let us put in the world building details and some other little plot threads as well.

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That’s all from me as I need sleep.  Night all 🙂

Wiped Out

Since Wednesday night I have been absolutely wiped out with a dental infection.  I got treatment for it on Thursday night but it has really knocked me sideways so I havent written anything what so ever.  I do often get ill, yes I ge the odd cold here and there but never anything that knocks me off my feet like this.  I have not had a decent nights sleep since Tuesday and have not eaten anything solid since Wednesday also.  So when I have not been at work I have been home resting trying to let my body fight this minor infection, yes I am a total wimp!  But as I said I don’t often get ill, in maybe 12 years of full-time employment I have had 10, maybe 12 days off sick.  I am back at work tomorrow though so even though its wiped me out I’m holding enough strength to keep going to work, the writing will wait until I am back to normal.  okay lets say healthy, im sure many people will say that I’ve never been ‘Normal’ lol.  writing wise I had started off very I was hitting my daily targets with ease so I will get back running with that once I’m better.

Believe me when I say I’m not whining or trying to get sympathy.  Especially when there are people out there that have truly severe health problems.  Which brings me to sending a very big ‘Get well Soon’ to the one and only Neil Clarke who suffered a heart attack last week.  Heres the link to the Clarkesworld Website http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/ Thankfully Mr Clarke looks like he’s recovering well and my best wishes are with him and his family and friends at this tough time.

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End Of Week Update

The fiction front has been rather lax this week.  I’ve written I guess at most 500 words but aside from 2 days I have written almost everyday this week.  My Girlfriend Tracie is off to visit her sister in Wales for a couple of weeks so I’m going to focus on work and my writing in that time.  Seeing as my car has died and I don’t have the cash to fix it I will have plenty of time at home to watch Futurama and procrastinate on Facebook write.  I do still have edits to do and I am still in between projects so I still feel like I’m in a little limbo.

Owen has not got back to me on the project we’ve been working on for almost a year now.  We’re in the editing stage but I havent started writing my notes because Owen wanted to read through it before I did, I’m still waiting…………………

A couple of other projects are progressing slowly but mainly these are little ideas which are popping into my head.  I think I have solved a major minor problem on Project Phoenix, but I don’t think that we’ll be doing any serious work on that for at least eighteen months, more likely two years.  Me and Owen have Project Apollo in the early stages and I have my own projects that I want to dive into as well.  There is also NaNoWriMo to start thinking about, it’s not far away now people, better start thinking about some of the research that I need to do.

On Sunday I am going to get stuck into finishing that story I’ve had edits on, I am determined to finish this edit Sunday so if you see me on Twitter or Facebook feel free to tell me to go and do some editing 🙂

A Lot Of Progress Made

Me and Owen have had a long chat and a brainstorm today and we’ve made a lot of progress in the current project we’re working on, and we’ve made some good ground on another project which we’re calling ‘Project Apollo’ this story is tied into the one we’ve put a lot of work into this year and we now have a basic plot line for it.  So we have another project that we are now starting to put some focussed thought into.  Although this short story that me and Owen have been working on I don’t think we can call it a ‘short’ story anymore, seeing as it’s over 18,000 words now.

A lot of what we talked about was some of the technical and world building aspects of the Project Apollo world, but looking back there is still a lot more that we need to look at.  There is a film by Guillermo del Toro called Hellboy II : The Golden Army, In this film there is a scene in a place called The Troll Market. In this scene the attention to detail is beyond impressive and it makes this scene so rich and even more believable then it already is and that is the detail that we, as writers, need to put into our work.  I’m not talking about listing every single thing down to the way a character ties their laces, unless it is of importance.

Project Apollo is a project that I have mentioned before.  Its one of mine and Owen’s oldest ideas and it feels good that we’re getting some traction on it once more.  We are still in the very early stages of this one but we have a feel for the universe now and with the main plot now roughly decided we can start looking at putting a plan together and see if we stick to it.

 

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