Last year I wrote 151,370 words for the year. That averages down to about 414 words a day. That’s my lowest word count since 2013, but with the ups and downs we had last year there was times when something had to give and unfortunately writing was more often than not sacrificed.
At this time of year I think most people are looking at their goals moving forward and I’m no different. I’m not going for huge targets though, last year showed me that I really need to be able to adapt as the days come. My big word count goal of the year is quite simple, 500 words a day. I have got other plans for the year, but every time I put up a declaration I never follow through. So I’m going for the keeping it to myself till I’ve got the stuff done. So I won’t be announcing any dates that I plan to have things released on or anything like that.
I haven’t written my 500 words for the day yet, so I’m off to do that.
This last year has been a tough one. As a family we’ve had a lot of crap thrown our way this year. We’ve lost loved ones, and had issues of health pepper us amongst other difficulties life has a habit of throwing in our paths.
It has been a hard year, it’s not been harder than anyone else’s year. It’s been what it is. We’ve taken each day as it comes and in my opinion that is the best way to take life at times.
These things I won’t go into detail on. They are things that affect my family as well as myself and I don’t think it’s my place to talk in-depth about these events on my public blog.
One moment this year that hit me harder than I thought something of its nature could was the death of Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington. Although now I am really out of date with most music, I was a huge fan of Linkin Park when they first hit the scene. Their first two albums are two of my favourite albums ever, I didn’t even listen to that type of music until they came along. It’s music that speaks to me, but I didn’t realise how important it is to me until Bennington’s death this year. I mourned his death in a way that I haven’t for other public figures. I read a lot of Tom Clancy when I was in my late teens. I was a huge fan of Alan Rickman as well, and although it saddened me when they died it wasn’t like when Chester Bennington died. I immediately binge listened to the Linkin Park albums I had, and blitz their YouTube channel. It was only a month or so ago that I’ve stopped getting a lump in my throat when I hear his vocals. I realised a few weeks after his death that I felt like this because it was the first death of one of my icons. Someone who not only did I look up to and admire, but someone who spoke to me. I didn’t know the death of someone I didn’t know would hit me as hard as Chester Bennington’s death did.
I’ve had highs and lows with writing this year. A few projects I put a lot of time into have crashed and burned pretty badly. In particular I was quite demoralised by a zombie story I thought was going to be something good but it just didn’t pan out how I was expecting it too and it kind of gave me a bit of a confidence hit. I had done a lot of outlining for it, characters had been thought out and developed, but it just didn’t go right. I tried to rewrite it for NaNo, and it’s not bad. I’m happier with it now than I was initially but it’s not how I was expecting it to go. I think I can roll with how it’s changing, I just need to do some re-thinking on it.
Something I have learned is that it doesn’t matter whether I write with a pen and paper or straight into a word processor the words are the same. I wrote a first draft of a story I’ve got a lot of hope for by hand but was writing something else at the same time digitally and realised quickly that it didn’t matter how I wrote something, if I was in the mood to write it all came out the same. With this story in particular I’ve got to change a lot for the second draft. Like the zombie story I mentioned it came out different to how I envisioned it. The biggest problem is I’ve written it from only one point of view, and to tell the story I want to I need to do it from multiple POVs. I don’t think it’ll be difficult, but I want to let it sit for another month or two before I return to it. I’d like to get some more planning done for it as well.
The work with Owen is a little up in the air at the moment but I’m expecting to find out what’s happening early in the new year.
The highest points of this year for me have been getting two stories published. Both through charity anthologies from Burdizzo Books. The first one, The Final Charge was in Sparks: An Electric Anthology in October. The second was my take on The Three French Hens in this years 12 Days of Christmas 2017 Anthology. I am incredibly proud of both of these stories. They were a lot of fun to write and knowing the proceeds from both books go to good causes makes it feel even better than it does. The folks at Burdizzo Books are fantastic people as well, along with the group of writers they have around them.
It’s great to finally have my writing in print and has really fired me up and shown me that it’s not impossible. There is nothing stopping me except myself.
The last item I really want to talk about are a few of the people I’ve met this year. I attended a book launch for Sparks up in Walsall and met the head honcho and editor Matthew Cash as well as a couple of the other contributors. We later had another launch in my home town as Burdizzo Books’ other editor, Em Dehaney, is from Gravesend as well. Both launch parties were fantastic, I did a reading at both, although with the Gravesend one I was hit with a severe cold a few hours before and was incredibly unwell. I thought I was going to pass out during my reading, but it was still an amazing experience.
I also went to a few cons this year. Unfortunately DemonCon down in Maidstone has now come to an end. I was pleased to be at the last one in February, but will miss it. It’s the con were I first me Dan Abnett and his wife Nik, who are lovely people. I went to Birmingham Horror Con around that time as well, that was incredibly fun and I got to see my friends Cat and Lynx Raven again as well as Dave from From The Shadows. I also went to EGX with my buddy Stefan from Stefan’s Daily Gaming. Although I’m not a huge gamer this was a lot of fun as well. It was good seeing some great games and a lot of people who were in their element. Bristol Horror Con was my favourite of the year though. Not only did I see CL Raven and Dave (From The Shadows) again but I also went to a couple of panels. I spent a little time talking to Adam Millard and his wife in the VIP room. Seriously lovely people who were very encouraging of my own work and just fun to talk to. I also got the chance to speak to Tim Lebbon as well. Again, another awesome and encouraging person. I just hope the more of these I go to the more at ease I get speaking to all these fantastic people.
The horror community is really welcoming and seems to have a lot of heart to it. It’s definitely a place I feel at home it.
One night in particular that was both fun and tiring was an all-night ghosts hunt I went on with Boleyn Paranormal down at a True Crime Museum in Hastings. It was a lot of fun, very interesting and I met more awesome people, but I’m not doing another all-nighter. I was shattered for a few days after that. Cat and Lynx Raven were there as well, and they popped back to my home to meet my animal army before they returned to Cardiff. En Route to my house we stopped at the site of the Battle of Hastings. Although not far from my home I can’t recall ever going there and it was quite a surreal experience that I’m glad we took the time to do.
A massive highlight of the year for me was meeting Scott Sigler and AB Kovacs. I’ve been a fan of Sigler’s work for a decade now and when he announced he was coming to Europe, including the UK, it would have taken the zombie apocalypse to have stopped me from getting there. It was a great evening in a pub in London just hanging out with Scott, A and other fans of Sigler’s work (AKA the Junkies). It was good chatting to them both and seeing the love they have for the fans of the work. Both Scott and A have a lot of charisma and energy and clearly love what they do, and it was one of the highlights of the year.
With Scott Sigler
With AB Kovacs
2017 has had a lot of downs, but its had a lot of ups as well. That’s what I’m focusing on, I’m not ignoring the low points, just choosing to look at the positives. Most importantly I appreciate those important people I have in my life. My friends and family mean the world to me and I’m very grateful having them all.
This last week I haven’t done a huge amount of writing, what I have done has only been a few hundred words a day. I have been working on some world building and outlining for another project which could be a wasted exercise as I’ve a feeling it’s not going to go anywhere in the new year (long story). Despite it probably being pointless I’m going to crack on with it as it’s proving a good learning experience, in that I’m just jotting down ideas. They’re all randomly spread across the paper (I’m going pen and paper for this process) and what I’m going to do is put them in the right order when I type it all up. What my goal is, is to have it as a file I can present someone but in digital and paper format. It’s also helping me to get my thoughts organised. My brain tends to be a chaotic whirlwind of thoughts and this is helping quite a bit.
I have got a story with Beta readers at the moment that I’ll be submitting shortly. There’s another anthology that I want to submit to as well and I was planning on getting stuck into that one today, but I have a few non-writing bits to do today as well. So I’ll see what time I have once I’ve done those.
My little goal this coming week is to try and get up to 500 words a day. If I can do that on my main project for the rest of the year I’ll be very happy.
Well, I’m not going to hit the 50k for NaNoWriMo this year. I’m at 18,583 words at the moment.
The reason why I’ve got to this point is I had a family member admitted to hospital about ten days ago. This meant I had to change my priorities, which when it comes to my family is a no brainer.
I am in somewhat of a rut with this story as well though. This is technically a second draft and it’s just not doing it for me. I am going to plough on a little with it, mainly because I don’t want to give up on NaNo altogether this year, but I am going to move over to other projects and get on with those. I’ve got two short story submission dates coming up so I’ve got to get those done. I also want to get some more progress with a story that I’m working on what is technically the third draft of. I’m about 10k into it and I’m liking what I’ve got with it.
So, NaNoWriMo is all but done for me for this year. I’m not disappointed I’m not going to hit the 50k (okay maybe a little disappointed) but my goal for NaNo this year wasn’t to just write the 50k. I wanted to get a cohesive story written, and although it’s not going how I want it to go right now, it is a lot more cohesive than some of my other NaNo attempts over the last couple of years.
I am going to take a little break from it tomorrow, I’ll add in a few words but nothing huge. I’ll focus tomorrow on a short story edit and then the other two active projects I’ve got going on. I think a change in what I’m focussing my attention on will help loosen up the fog around the NaNo project.
I am 10500 words behind target on NaNoWriMo, yeah 10500 words. I’m not stressing out though. I feel a little like I can call myself a NaNo veteran now. This is my seventh year, I’ve won the last three years and I’m pretty confident I can hit the 50k.
I would have got a few more words done towards the end of the week but I got wind of an anthology that I wanted to write a story for and have only had a few days to get it written as the deadline is a close one. That story is all but done, I’ve just got to make a few edits and then get it sent off. Once I’ve done that today I’m going to focus on NaNo and another story I’ve been working on for another anthology. I’d like to get that one done by the end of the month, and I think I’m close to having it wrapped up.
This coming week I’m off from work, so I’m going to try and get caught up with NaNo by the end of the week. I’m not going to go mad with it though, I’m going to go at a pace I’m happy with. I’ll repeat what I’ve said previously; I know I can do the 50k, my primary goal this NaNo is to have at least the start of a cohesive story. The 50k is a secondary target for me this year.
I’ve missed a couple of days here. I’m still not over this damn cold, although I think I’m past the worst of it.
Word count wise I am at 9001 words for the month. I managed a solid 1600 words on it yesterday, but I’ve kind of screwed my NaNoWriMo today. I’ve had the chance to submit a story for an anthology, but the deadline is the end of the month. So I’m throwing 90% of my writing time into that. I’m over 1200 words into that one. I’ve got a plan for getting this one done, which I think I’ll be able to do.
With NaNo, I am still going to be adding words, but it’s on the back burner till this short story is done. I am off work next week, and if all goes to plan I’m going to try and get back on track with NaNo then.
Yesterday I wrote about 800 or so words. Today it’s been about the 1200 mark. I’m on 6515 words for NaNo, which I think leaves me about 4000 words off target. The head cold of the weekend has really set me back. I know I can catch up, but I’m trying not to over do it until I know I’m over this cold. Also, this NaNo isn’t just about hitting the 50k for me. It’s about getting a cohesive story written. Already I feel like I’ve got a deeper story than I did in the first draft. (Hopefully) When people start dying the readers will either care for them and be gutted, or hate them and be happy.
I did add a few word to a short story on Sunday. I think I’ve got an ending, and now I just have to connect some dots. Hopefully then I’ll be close to having a first draft done. This story is for a submission and I’m finding that It won’t be what the editors are looking for, but if it’s not it’s not the end of the world. I can only write what comes into my head.
Tomorrow I’m aiming to get up a little earlier than normal and try to get some words down before going off to work.