Good Evening, 1st of August 2021

Howdy folks, 1478 words today on Robert. I had to jump to the end of the story and get that written because I was getting stuck on the section I was on. So this coming week I need to connect the dots and make it work.

I’m gonna keep it short and sweet tonight. I’m about to hop in the shower and then watch a movie.

Have an awesome week folks!

31st July 2021

Good afternoon, folks!

416 words today, but I also edited my kidnap story and have submitted it! The publisher for the anthology it’s for are pretty good and I should know by the end of August if it’s successful.

It’s always humbling reading through Beta reader’s notes. I’m not fooling myself, I know I’m still learning how to write. But seeing some of the basic mistakes I make it grounds me and makes me want to push harder to improve. The only thing holding me back from improving is myself as I’m not getting enough of my work read by others. It’ something that I drastically need to change. I’m not even talking about publishing. I’m talking about Beta readers. It’s these people who’ll show me what works and what doesn’t, and dear god just how bad my grammar is! A lot of these things I think are the basics and I definitely don’t want to making too many basic mistakes in my work before send them out to editors and for submissions.

Right, I’ve got a few things to do tonight before a little gaming with friends. Then tomorrow, a lot to do!

30th of July 2021

Good evening, folks!

How are we all doing?

I’ve had a busy week outside of writing, but still managed to get a few words written. Since the 25th I’ve written somewhere between 3000 and 3500 words. Mostly on a story titled, for the moment, Robert.

It’s been a fun story so far, I’m trying to just write what I want/need to write. I’m not letting that ‘you can’t write that!’ Voice in my my head interfere with the story.

Some late night brainstorming the other evening.

I am very off track with this months goals, but I’ll try and reorientate myself on Sunday and then look at getting back on course properly the early part of next month.

Right, I’m off to bed.

I hope you all have an awesome weekend!

Good Morning, 25th July 2021

A very early good morning from here in the UK. Seeing as I couldn’t sleep I thought I’d be productive and get a few words down. I’m also hoping it all wipes me out and once this post is written and I put my head down I drift off easily.

I have written 1111 words on a short story about a serial killer. I feel the story is going well, although I’m not really sure where it’s going. I’m letting the story tell me where it wants to go, which is a little frustrating but also quite fun.

When the sun is up I’ve got some beta readers notes to look at and then I’ll be doing the out loud red pen pass on Penal Earth. I’m going to set myself an easy target, maybe ten pages. I may do more, depending on how I feel and how my voice holds out.

Right, I’m going to try and sleep! I hope everyone reading this is having a fantastic weekend!

22nd of July 2021

Good morning, folks!

I’ve not started writing yet, got a tip run to do this morning so need to load the car up first. Then I’ve got an errand or two to run. Then I’ll get a little writing done.

I’ve got beta notes to work on for the kidnapping story, and I need to start the out loud read of Penal Earth.

So, a busy day ahead. Should be good for the body and soul though.

Max says it’s too hot already!

Good Morning! 21st of July 2021

Howdy Folks! How is everybody this morning?

I’ve written 1048 words on the short story I started yesterday. It’s titled Robert at the moment but that might change. This one is flowing quite well at the moment and I’m going for two POV characters and see how it works out. I’ve not done a lot of this so I’m hoping it works out well.

I do love a good start to the day. It sets a good tone for the rest of the day having already achieved something.

Tomorrow I’m off from the day job but have a few errands to run early on. I’m going to try and get into the reading of Penal Earth tomorrow after I’ve done all the other bits and pieces that are needed. I’d also like to continue on Robert as I don’t want to loose my momentum.

Right, I need to get ready for work! Have an epic day, all! Make it a good one!

Good Evening 20th July 2021

Good evening, folks! Today I wrote 1038 words on a new short story. It took a little to get going, a couple of false starts but once I changed a small detail I found the spark that got the story going and boom! A thousand words flowed in a good half an hour. I’ve not had a session like that in, what feels like an eternity.

Here’s the the thing I’ve been struggling with, I’ve lost my confidence. I keep rewriting and editing and putting off finishing something. Listening to Armand Rosamilia and Chuck Buda on the Mando Method last week has really hit home. My confidence in writing is generally pretty low, but lately its been rock bottom. I’m going to work on smashing through that and building that confidence up again.

Something that I feel I need to do, is stop censoring myself. I do that a lot, holding myself back. The last two stories I’ve worked on I’ve just written. I’ve not thought about it at all, I’ve just written it

Right, I’ going to wrap it there. I feel like I’m rambling.

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.

18th Of July 2021

Howdy folks!

It is a scorcher here in the UK today, so I haven’t even thought about flicking on my laptop. I’m glad I bought this Bluetooth keyboard for my iPad recently. I managed to get 800 words writing on a short story today with it.

I’ve spent most of the day at work, so I wrote before work and during my break. It really is sweltering here today, so I haven’t done a lot this evening after work.

Tomorrow I’ve got a little time to play with around work. So more work will be done. I think this short story isn’t too far from being wrapped up, but we’ll see.

Right, I’m off to watch a movie. I hope you’ve all had a fantastic weekend!

Last nights movie; Alien

The Evolution Of My Office

When I moved back to my parents I asked them if I could make the spare room into an office. They were happy for me to, so I got stuck in. The room was a typical spare room and just had lots of bits and pieces put in it. It wasn’t a mess but it wasn’t anything more than somewhere to put things that didn’t have a home, and weren’t often used. So there was a little sorting out to do but not much got done until I got a desk.

I knew I wanted a desk with draws and a nice surface space. I also wanted a light wood colour, I’m I sucker for soft tones so I knew furniture wise that’s what I’d go for. The desk I found has the draws but also shelves on the other side. The desk I found at Argos I fell in love with. Not only did it have draws on one side the other side had shelves. It also had a nice surface space and I was able to get it in a light wood that I like. This was the first piece I bought and I had it built and in place against the chimney stake pretty darn quickly. Thankfully we already had a desk chair, so that wasn’t something that needed to be bought.

Getting the desk up was essential for me as I wanted to get writing on it as soon as I could.

I later had to move the desk to under the window due to a water leak.

A fresh coat of paint was desperately needed! This was my bedroom for a very long time and the last time I decorated it I thought this shade of green was a good idea…… Fortunately I still had some of the cream colour I’d painted my bedroom in a few years ago. So I got painting, and yeah. I had enough paint for two coats, which wasn’t anywhere near enough. The green was still showing through. I might have used a little adult language! Again, a little bit of luck. My parents had this awesome colour that they painted their room in last year. Three coats of this (thats five coats!) and the green was not only covered up, but this colour (I can’t remember what it’s called) looked good. I liked the deepness to it, and found the colour to be quite calming.

The shelves on the desk are a great little bit of space, but they are not enough for my library. Now, my library has shrank over the years. I’ve cleared through a lot of the books I either had no intention of reading, or had read and would never read again, or the book just didn’t leave a lasting impression. My change of taste has also changed, so I’ve got less books but still more than would fit on the desk shelves. So I got two new bookcases, again from Argos. In addition to these two bookcases my aunt gave me a wall unit. This has shelves and a cupboard at the bottom. This unit is beautiful. In addition to giving more storage it’s got a great character to it. I was going to put two of these three in the alcoves either side of the chimney stack. The problem I ran into was that there was homemade shelving in one of the alcoves. Originally I was going to get some new sheets of wood and between me and my dad we were going to cut some new shelves for that alcove (my dad is fantastic at that sort of thing). But I decided to get units to go in the spaces. Now, the problem I had was I’d left the wooden supports where there were. Yes, this is me being lazy and thinking I didn’t need to take them out. These simple wooden supports have been there for probably twenty years, and yeah. Boy did they take some work to get off the damn wall. God bless hammers! I did have to do a little touching up with paint after they were off, but you wouldn’t know it.

I ended up putting the two bookcases in the alcoves. Partly because I like the symmetry of having the matching bookcases either side of the chimney stack, and it looks natural.

I put the wall unit on the opposite wall next to my wardrobe. Again, this works for me. It compliments the flow of the room.

Storage is important. I’ve had a lot of years where I’ve had lots of stuff squeezed into wherever I could fit them. The wall unit with the cupboard has been a given me a lot more options then I’ve had before but I’ve also got three plastic storage units. One of these has four deep draws and the two have a lot of slim draws. These two I’ve got copies of my work in. From hand written drafts, to printed drafts with red notations on, through to little slips of paper with notes on.

The one with the deeper draws has everything from A4 writing pads(I have a lot of these), to old tech, to various knick knacks. It’s a lot more organised than it ever has been.

As you can see, all three are lovingly decorated!

You can see the random items in the wall cupboard.

I have a little flexibility on where I put these, and the file storage ones have moved around the room a little. They’re now settled behind the door by one of the bookcases. The deep draw one is by the wall unit, in a spot that was almost made to measure for it.

Although these don’t really match the rest of the room, they’re really useful. I am trying to steer away from having so many plastic items, partly because I’m drifting away from plastic a little, but mainly because I don’t like the aesthetic of them anymore. I like these lighter wood tones for how they look and the feel they give to a room. They give a warmth I enjoy. In a perfect world I would replace these, but I don’t have the finances and in all honesty, there’s nothing wrong with them. I’ll replace them one day, but probably when they’ve started falling apart.

There are three other pieces of furniture in the room. Firstly, my wardrobe. This is in the office because it’s just too bulky to be in my bedroom. It’ll fit, but it shrinks the space a lot. I’ve made use of it though. I’ve got a calendar on it, but I’ve also got pictures of loved ones on it. This serves as an inspiration to keep growing, and moving forward and following my dreams.

The other two are matching chest of drawers that my parents had. I’ve got clothes and a few knick knacks in them. Nothing writing related inside, but on top they’ve got my printers and ring binders. The printers here isn’t idea, but it’s not a massive imposition.

I will replace these at some point, when I have the cash. They’re old and my folks had them for a long time but they’re not the most sturdy any more. I will need space for clothes, so I think I’ll end up buy one large chest of draws, maybe two depending on size and and how much space I’ll need.

Next to the chest of draws I’ve got this cute little cloth unit that, again, a few knick knacks in. This was a super impulse purchase and I love it!

The magazine holders are a very recent edition, that I’ve got notebooks that are in use.

I would like to get some new curtains at some point. These are the old ones from my bedroom, and are okay but a little short for the window, and I’d like to get black-out ones as they’d keep the sun from hitting me of a morning. How the house is positioned means the sun smacks the front of it till about 10, 11am and if I’m working there it does feel a little like an oven. Even with the curtains I’ve got up! As the mornings are times where I work a lot (day job permitting), it’s something I’d like sorted before next summer.

I’ve spoken about the layout a few times in this post, and in all honesty I can’t really have it in too many other layouts. I’m sure with different furniture I might be able to have it set up differently, but I like it how it is. The desk should be the centre piece of the room. It’s an office, where I do most of my writing work. So it’s the centre piece. I can easily get to my printers, to where printer paper is. With a turn of my head I can see my dry/erase board. I’ve got easy access to any writing files I’ve been putting together easily enough. Even things like where I’ve got my bins is easily accessible from the desk.

I’ve got a little room to pace around if I need to think. I can look out the window when I need to give my brain a breather.

The only real space that isn’t optimised is a wall cupboard that is part of the room. At the moment it’s just full of bits and pieces, but there’s not a lot I can do as it needs air to circulate otherwise mould starts building up. Long term, I’d like to be able to use the space better, but again it’s one of those things that isn’t a priority but something I’d like to get sorted out one day. Because I can’t really use that space at the moment I’ve got my bin in front of it. If I do need access then it’s easy to move the bin.

The centre piece. The desk. As I said, this was against the chimney stack and I was quite happy with it there, but due to a leaky roof which resulted in water coming through the ceiling and down the chimney stack. Don’t worry it’s all been fixed now and is good. But I’d moved my desk as soon as the leak was discovered (thankfully nothing was damaged). That’s why it got moved to by the window. I was intending to move it back to the chimney stack, but it works better where it is. It’s the focus point of the room. I did move it back against the chimney recently, but I think I did this just to confirm that I prefer the layout as it is.

I’ve got natural light, but it’s also under the light in the room and I’ve got an LED desk lamp for when it is winter and generally darker. Believe me, even with the light above my head it is still very dark in this room.

Something I was thoughtful of when I started making the spare room into my office was making it my space, having it represent me and for me to feel super comfortable when I’m in there. I do feel lucky in that I can write pretty much anywhere but having a space that is just for that does help focus, and it makes me feel like I’m at work and I am more productive when I’m in there. Another positive I’ve discovered is if I am not feeling the work I can force myself to crack on and hit a target a lot easier than I have done in the past.

The balance that I think I might find a little difficult is having those touches of myself in it, but also keeping it semi-professional so it doesn’t turn into a space where there is too much that will distract. I think I’m going to be able to do it. It’s pretty well rammed into my head that this is a working space.

I am a big advocate for NaNoWriMo. I’m a Municipal Liaison for my region and having it represented in the office is very important to me. NaNo introduced me to writers in person for the first time, outside of my former writing partner that is, and meeting all these people have brightened both my life and my writing career massively. I have made some fantastic friends, had some amazing conversations and so much laughter!

I’ve got a few framed inspirational quotes on the walls of my office. I saw these in a supermarket and the one on the front of the pack is one that I strongly believe and thought it’ll be great seeing that each day.

I have a cork board and a dry/erase board on the chimney stack. When I placed them they were above my desk but as I’v said earlier about the leaky roof, the desk isn’t there anymore. But I left the two boards there. They are easily accessible, but I will admit I don’t check the white board often enough. I need to look at it when I walk into my office to start work each day to make sure I’m still on target. But I generally like where they are both placed.

The white board has all of the months goals on it, as well as a few little motivational words I put up when I put the goals down at the start of the month.

The cork board has a few personal notes from friends, random ideas, and a couple of random little bits and pieces on it.

I’ve also got a metal frame notice board. Like the cork board I’ve got personal notes on it, but I’ve also got some swag and decoration on it. I put this behind my door by one of the bookcases as I felt it was the best place for it, and I think it works there.

As the years go by I’m planning on adding lots of lanyards, and con tags and entrance brackets.

I do want to thank Armand Rosamilia for giving me a few little pointers, which I found really helpful. And most importantly, my folks for letting me make this space into an office.

So, there it is. My office. It’s not going to stay like this, I will tweak things. There’s furniture I want to replace. I’d love to get a nice rug for the middle of the floor. New curtains, maybe a little more art on the walls. But overall I love the space. It’s comfortable, warm, conducive to getting words wrangled.