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Posted on 14 April 2019 19:53

Summary:

I’m keeping up with the plan for both novels, but not much else. But that’s okay, as they are the most important projects at the moment and are taking a lot of energy.

 

Monday:

I tried another writing day at home and started out with submissions, since that’s always much easier on a PC than a tablet.

I edited a friend’s short story.

I revised Chapter Nine of Artisan and did the next three scenes of Colours, to stay on track with the plan.

 

Wednesday:

I went to Le Pain Quotidien after work and completed Chapter Ten of Artisan and the next two scenes of Colours.

 

Thursday:

A Writers’ Initiative meetup at the National Theatre got me up and out and working relatively early. I focused on my Artisan (Chapters Eleven and Twelve) and Colours (next three scenes) targets first, to achieve my aim for the week. Then I moved on to one of this month’s GYWO discussion posts.

 

Friday:

I wrote two reviews.

 

Sunday:

I posted the first 1000 words of Colours for review by the other Six Month Novellers, and helped Bear with a post about his weekend activities.

 

Posted on 08 April 2019 07:47

Summary:

This week was when the real work started on both novels and I kept to my planned schedule with no problems. I’m not saying the work I did was good, but it got done!

 

Monday:

I finally watched the video of the first Six Month Novel hangout from three weeks ago, which contained lots of sage advice from Amie and Charlie about not freaking out.

I identified some upcoming submission opportunities and found existing pieces of work to send for them.

I also found two old GYWO discussion posts and edited them to fit a couple of calls for articles about writing.

I went through this month’s Writing Magazine (in which one of my competition entries was shortlisted!) and added new submission opportunities to my spreadsheet.

Then I cracked on with the main tasks of revising Chapter Four of Artisan and starting the expansion of Colours with the first two scenes.

 

Wednesday:

I wrote a review for a wonderful show I went to see the night before.

Then I revised Artisan Chapter Five and the next two scenes of Colours.

I typed up the short piece I wrote in last Thursday’s workshop and sent it to the organiser to put up on his website. I wrote a blog post about the ALCS and how amazing it is and also posted about my shortlisted story in this month’s Writing Magazine.

 

Thursday:

I headed to Hounslow several hours early, found a cafe and settled down to work until it was time for my osteopathy appointment.

I polished off Chapter Six of Artisan and another Colours scene. Artisan went well and I felt like I had hit my stride a bit with the editing, but Colours not so much. My outline has a rough plan of 1000 words on average for 100 scenes across the novel and all of them so far have come in way too short. I know there are going to be longer sections later on, that it’s quite good for it to be punchy at the start, that this is only a first draft and that I shouldn’t get hung up on the details at the moment, so I decided to just forge ahead (in Charlie’s patented ‘gloriously craptastic’ style) and figure out if it’s a major problem later.

 

Saturday:

I attended a Just Write Fiction meetup at the British Library. I had my newly minted Reader’s Pass all ready to go, but I prefer refreshments and pens as a staple part of my writing sessions, so (as we were all working independently anyway) I settled myself in the King’s Library Cafe, where it turns out they stock sugar free syrup!

I made a list of all the things I wanted to work on, prioritised them, then started out with Artisan Chapter Seven.

The Australian Writers’ Centre runs a monthly flash fiction competition with a lucrative prize. I signed up for their newsletter a couple of weeks ago and the first prompt came through yesterday. The piece has to be less than 500 words and has to contain the specified elements, both of which are criteria that appeal to me. You have two days to complete and submit an entry so I did a first draft for mine.

I edited the next three scenes of Colours, then did Chapter Eight of Artisan to complete my scheduled work on both novels for the day.

On the way home, I had an epiphany about the climax of Colours so added the new ideas to my outline document.

 

Sunday:

I did some admin, tracking my submissions, identifying pieces to send to upcoming opportunities and selecting a story to send to someone offering free editorial services.

I wrote a review of the play we saw on Friday night, then caught up with my short fanfiction challenges, including this week’s Fandom Weekly entry.

 

Posted on 03 April 2019 18:46

There was an article in Writing Magazine some time ago about The Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society, suggesting that all published authors should sign up and log their publications on the website. So I did, not really knowing what it was all about.

 

The ALCS collect money for ‘secondary uses’ of writers’ work – such as photocopies, cable retransmission, digital reproduction and educational recording. Now, I don’t understand what most of those things are, or why they would apply to the paltry number of publications I’ve managed to log on the site.

 

Whenever I get something published, one of the things I now do is log it with the ALCS. This requires providing the name of the publisher, the title of the work, the ISBN of the publication and the date it was published.

 

They then do whatever magic investigations they do and collect fees from people who are using that work for the purposes listed above.

 

The ALCS website says:

 

“For many members, we’re a mysterious organisation that sends them a payment every so often. Some even find us secretive. Yet for others, the reality of where the money comes from is possibly too detailed. There are even potential members who think we’re a scam — until their first payment arrives.”

 

As they were featured in Writing Magazine, I knew they weren’t a scam, but I had no real idea what they did and how it might benefit me as a writer. But it was only £36 for lifetime membership, which would be taken off my first payment, rather than as an up-front fee. So I figured why not?

 

Then, last week, based on the fifteen works I currently have registered on the site, I received my first statement. And it was over £400 - after the ALCS had taken their 9.5% cut and the one-off membership fee!

 

I was flabbergasted, not least because this is about four times what I was actually paid in total for the first publication rights of those stories! Even having read the statement, I have no idea where this money has come from (it was listed mostly as “reproduction of journals”). But I’m certainly not complaining.

 

So, if you’ve had anything published in the last few years (I think it has to be logged within a certain amount of time to be eligible), sign yourself up. You never know what might come out of it.

 

Mysterious they may be. But the ALCS can have their 9.5% and gladly. Keep up the good work!

 

Posted on 31 March 2019 18:30

Summary:

Two really productive days of writing this week, with some other useful bits and pieces in between. Plus, I have formulated reasonable plans for finishing both novels. The slump is definitely over!

 

Monday:

I wrote reviews for the weekend’s reading retreat.

I also did some planning for later in the week.

 

Thursday:

I took myself off to Good and Proper and wrote several lists of things I want to do or consider.

I went through this week’s Six Month Novel worksheet and made a plan of what I need to do to complete my outline for submission on Sunday.

I considered the timeline for WIP Big Bang and decided I would like to take part, as I need something fun and different to work on in between both novels.

Then I reread all the feedback on Artisan, as well as my notes on how to proceed and psyched myself up to just get the hell on with it! I went through the first chapter again and managed to revise enough that I was happy it would be clear significant changes had been made.

I took a break and caught up on Fic Promptly fills, as well as completing this month’s Ficlet Zone challenge.

I did a review of the first quarter of 2019 in my Writer’s Diary and planned goals and writing sessions for April.

Then I went back to Artisan and revised Chapter Two.

Later, I went to a great Write and a Pint workshop on the theme of death, where I met some lovely writers and wrote an unexpected short piece that I may develop into something larger.

 

Friday:

I edited the first two chapters of a friend’s novel.

 

Sunday:

It was a Six Month Novel Get It Done Day, so I posted my writing intentions for the day at 10:30am and then faffed around doing lots of chores and life admin until 2:30pm. Then I buckled down and revised Chapter Three of Artisan.

Then I did the main task for the day, which was the Colours official outline. I collated my notes from various worksheets and brainstorming sessions and added Part Two to the outline document I already had. I had to do quite a bit of wrangling but I ended up with a complete picture of the whole novel, which was very satisfying. I sent it off to Amie at SMN for her comments.

I also thought long and hard about WIP Big Bang and came up with a plan that means I can take part and produce a fic to post, but not put myself under too much pressure while working on both the novels. This made me very happy.

I finished off my writing day by helping Bear with his post about last weekend’s reading retreat.

 

Posted on 25 March 2019 15:08

Summary:

Still not really feeling it this week, but much more positive after an awesomely relaxing reading retreat weekend.

 

Monday:

I booked in a session with Ann at the Turk’s Head to provide motivation to at least write something today.

I started out slow and easy with a couple of reviews, then worked my way through some of this week’s tasks for the Six Month Novel Programme.

Later, I made my way to London Bridge for a writers’ coaching session with Claire, who runs the freewriting meetups I go to sometimes. It was great to be able to talk about the motivational issues I’m struggling with at the moment (which Ann really helped me out with earlier in the day as well).

 

Wednesday:

I used some spare time to look at this week’s worksheet from SMN and made some notes on the Colours climax and aftermath.

 

Thursday:

I completed the rest of the SMN worksheet, which provided some great guidance on story architecture and resulted in some new ideas generation for the end of Colours. I also got some really useful feedback and ideas from the other writers in my SMN group in response to my posted synopsis.

 

Friday:

I wrote a review and also dug out the outline for Artisan to have another look at the structure.

 

Posted on 17 March 2019 09:51

Summary:

This was the inevitable week when daily writing became a chore rather than a positive source of motivation. So, I let it go.

 

Monday:

I caught up on reviews and also looked at the worksheets for the first two weeks of the Six Month Novel Programme plotting boot camp.

Then I did a tarot reading for a new short story and brainstormed the resulting ideas.

Later, I did a Ficlet Zone entry.

 

Tuesday:

Back at work after a glorious five days off and I wasn’t really feeling it today in terms of writing, particularly since the death plague that had been going around finally struck me over the weekend.

Still, I managed a review.

 

Wednesday:

On my lunch break, I completed a post for a Fic Promptly request I’d been thinking about all week.

 

Thursday:

I wrote my last Fringe Guru review for this year’s Vaults festival, and also wrote a review of the audiobook I finished earlier in the day.

 

Friday:

I wrote a blog post about my decreasing motivation over the last couple of weeks, and decided to take the weekend off from working on writing projects.

 

Sunday:

I did have to revise and post my Colours synopsis for the Six Month Novel Programme today.

 

Posted on 15 March 2019 15:06

I had such a great start to the year, I guess it was inevitable that it wouldn’t last.

 

In the space of two months, I developed a daily writing habit, wrote six new short stories and two articles, took part in multiple short fanfic challenges, got high praise from someone I respect for my reviewing skills, got a really positive response from a publisher about my first novel, and devised a plan to finish my second novel.

 

And now I’m struggling to find the motivation to write anything at all.

 

The Vaults festival is over, so no more weekly shows and reviews. The fanfic challenges I take part in seem to be taking a couple of weeks off. I’ve had feedback from an editor friend on how to revise Artisan and I don’t know what to do with what she’s suggested, or what to do with what the publisher has asked for. Completing the first draft of Colours seems an insurmountable task with deadlines I’ll never meet. I haven’t had any publication acceptances since November. And I’m not feeling remotely inspired by any of the upcoming short story submissions I could write something for.

 

I’m still just about managing to write every day, though I do feel like I’ve cheated a bit on some days, and it’s starting to feel like a chore rather than something I’m enjoying.

 

Wow - I’m very whiny!

 

Maybe it’s time to let go of my attachment to daily writing. I’ve only ever managed ten days in a row before, so 74 is quite a record! And it’s not something I’ve ever felt very strongly about. I think what I’ll do is give myself the weekend off completely from writing projects, and come back to it fresh on Monday, when I have a writing session planned in town, following by a coaching session by my friend, Claire. I can spend the day taking stock of my various projects and making some new plans (I do love making lists!) and then talk about some of these issues with Claire in the evening. And if I come at it from a place of refreshment, rather than forcing myself to carry on with a habit that’s turned unhelpful, perhaps I can find my energy again.

 

Just coming up with that approach and writing it down has made me feel better. I know this is just a temporary slump and that my writing mojo will return. And I think it’s a case of being kind to myself for a couple of days and enjoying some relaxation, rather than always thinking what I could be writing in every spare minute.

 

Now that sounds like a plan!

 

Posted on 10 March 2019 17:22

Summary:

Trying to sort out the structure for a novel with four viewpoints and four separate timelines turns out to be quite complicated! Definitely time to stop tweaking and actually write the thing now, though...

 

Monday:

I wrote a review.

 

Tuesday:

I realised the new structure for Colours wouldn't work so I rethought and made a plan for an approach that was closer to the original one again.

 

Wednesday:

I attended two Vaults shows and wrote notes for my reviews.

 

Thursday:

I wrote both my Fringe Guru reviews for the week at a Writers Initiative meetup.

Then I went to meet Ann in Wapping and brainstormed this week’s short fanfiction prompts.

I edited The Dilemma, based on my Scribophile critiques.

Then I battled further with the Colours structure and came up with a new plan.

 

Friday:

I added new submission opportunities to my spreadsheet from Writing Magazine and Mslexia.

Then I spent the afternoon happily writing fanfiction, completing five entries for Fandom Weekly and Fic Promptly.

 

Saturday:

I went back to the structural battle for Colours and wrangled my documents into shape via the new plan.

 

Sunday:

I submitted several short stories for potential publication and wrangled the Colour structure some more.

 

Posted on 03 March 2019 18:54

Summary:

Ah, Stickwick! The writing retreat of champions! Five new short pieces completed, lots of brainstorming and a ton of structural work on the second novel. A very productive week.

 

Monday:

I was up early so I found homes for a few unassigned pieces, sending them back out into the world for judgement.

On the train down to Devon, I finished reading my comparison novel in preparation for the Six Month Novel Programme, and completed the worksheet about it.

 

Tuesday:

First full day at Stickwick!

I started with a couple of reviews to ease myself in gently. Then I drafted my GYWO discussion post for March, then wrote a blog post for my website.

I collated all my Colours notes into a central plan, getting my ideas about the story back into my head again ready for intensive work to begin next week.

In the evening, I thought about what I might write for this year's WIP Big Bang and made some research notes.

 

Wednesday:

I woke up bright and early, keen to be productive. 

I reread the last 50 pages of The Long Way To A Small Angry Planet and made notes for the first of my Space Swap assignments. Then I moved on to this week’s prompts from The Common. I really liked the short piece I came up with so I found somewhere to submit it.

I went back to my Space Swap notes and wrote a first draft of the Long Way piece.

I did another Scribophile critique to get my points back up to where I can post again.

I got some feedback on a recent short story from a fellow writer, so I made the requisite edits.

Just before lunch, the introductory Six Month Novel email came through so I worked through all the information after lunch, then went back to my Colours notes and did some more planning.

I did some ideas generation for a couple of upcoming submission opportunities.

 

Thursday:

I felt very keen again this morning and started with a list of planned objectives for the day.

First up was going back to the first half of Colours and making the specific changes suggested by the editor who looked at it over Christmas. Then I went through the scenes on my new plan and put together an order for what I already have and identified where the gaps are that need to be filled with new scenes.

I did the required research for my second Space Swap assignment and put together a first draft of that. Then I found an old flash fiction piece and adapted it to fit an upcoming competition. The results of another competition I had entered came out and I hadn’t been successful so I edited the story from that to be submitted elsewhere.

I brainstormed this week’s Fandom Weekly entry and eventually came up with an idea so I wrote and posted it.

 

Friday:

The four-hour train journey home seemed like a good opportunity to maintain my writing productivity for the week, so I wrote the first draft of a new story for a competition.

Then I reread some old fanfiction and made notes for a possible WIP Big Bang entry.

 

Saturday:

I posted a new story onto Scribophile and did a couple of critiques to earn more points.

I completed a raft of submissions.

Then I spent a couple of hours working on my new Colours plan, tying my brain in knots trying to figure out the new structure and how it affects the already complicated timeline.

 

Sunday:

I reordered the scenes in the existing Colours manuscript, ready to crack on with the rewrite.

 

Posted on 26 February 2019 10:49

I’m gearing up to take part in the Six Month Novel Programme, which starts next week. One of the first tasks you have to undertake is to select what is called a ‘companion novel’ to read. You’re supposed to choose something that contains an aspect of writing you want to work on in your own novel, not for the purpose of stealing ideas from other writers (instructions are to avoid anything that has a very similar plot, for example), but to learn skills and approaches from them that can aid you in your own writing.

 

I think the idea is to choose a book you love and that you know well, but I went in a different direction and selected one I had been intending to read but hadn’t got round to yet. It’s similar to mine in that it involves a small group of people responding to an alien presence and the protagonist is a woman of colour, but otherwise it goes in a completely different direction.

 

What I didn’t realise before reading the book is that it also has other similarities to mine. The chapters are very short, the backgrounds to the main characters are revealed in flashback and the action builds up from fragmented pieces into a whole gradually.

 

I also didn’t like my chosen book very much, which made me wonder if I had made a mistake and should go back and select something else for the programme. But, I decided there is just as much value to learning from books you don’t like as from books you love, and I’ve gained some good insight into potential pitfalls for my own novel.

 

I recently got some feedback from a professional editor on the opening sections of my novel and one of the things she criticised was me telling the same events from several different perspectives, without adding any new information. This was the thing that annoyed me most about my companion novel because it felt like the same scene was happening over and over again and the plot wasn’t moving forwards at all. So, it was very useful to experience that as a reader, because I can now apply that lesson to my own writing with a much better understanding of the problem.

 

The extreme shortness of the chapters was also an issue for me, because it felt like I didn’t get to spend enough time with the characters to get invested in their fate. So, this is something else I’m going to be wary of in my novel, working to ensure the action isn’t too fragmented and that the reader has time to immerse themselves in the story before it moves on.

 

So, while I didn’t particularly enjoy the experience of reading the novel I selected, I think it’s going to prove extremely useful to have done so. I’ve made a lot of notes and feel more aware of the possible problems that could be created by the style and structure I’ve chosen for my own novel. I feel better prepared to continue with my first draft and that, after all, was the purpose of the exercise.

 

Posted on 24 February 2019 15:36

Summary:

Typical short story cycle this week. After weeks of not being able to start, I sat down and completed the first draft in one sitting. If only I could do this on demand!

 

Monday:

 

Judicious use of a five-hour gap between appointments saw me ensconced at Good & Proper for the afternoon.

 

I started by reviewing the film we went to see the previous night and then completed my Fandom Weekly entry.

 

I made notes for both my Space Swap assignments, went through the feedback I’d collected on Colours, then typed up the remaining notes in my current notebook.

 

Tuesday:

 

I wrote a review of a game I played for the first time the previous evening.

 

Wednesday:

 

I wrote a review of a show and an audiobook.

 

Thursday:

 

Lots of writing time scheduled today. I started with a Writers’ Initiative meetup at the National Theatre, where I wrote my two Fringe Guru reviews of the previous night’s shows. Then I cracked on with Six-Eighty as I was very aware that the deadline was looming and I really hadn’t got very far with an actual draft. A couple of hours later, I had written nearly 2,500 words and had a complete first attempt at the story. I had to do a couple of critiques before I could post it on Scribophile in the hopes that I would get feedback in enough time to revise it before the deadline.

 

I recently got feedback on a piece of flash fiction, so I edited that and found somewhere else to send it.

 

In the evening, it was the third Write & A Pint session, where I worked on the story I drafted across the other two sessions.

 

Friday:

 

I did some prep for the upcoming Six Month Novel Programme.

 

Saturday:

 

I did a Scribophile critique to get my Six-Eighty story into the main spotlight.

 

Sunday:

 

I attended an Urban Writers Retreat day at The Cube, ready to make progress on lots of stuff.

 

I started out with this week’s Fandom Weekly entry, then moved on to editing Six-Eighty, based on my Scribophile critiques. I did the same with the Stanley story, getting both ready for submission. I edited an old piece to fit a new submission opportunity and submitted all three, plus another pieces of flash fiction.

 

I finished up with a Fic Promptly fill.

 

Posted on 17 February 2019 14:38

Summary:

I did something unfortunate to my neck over the weekend so had difficulty focusing and being productive this week, but I still wrote or planned or organised or brainstormed at least a little bit every day, and that’s very definitely a win.

 

Monday:

I had to wait in for a delivery so I did my best to focus on some writing at home.

I started off with my Fringe Guru review for the show I saw the night before.

Then I did this week’s Fandom Weekly entry and added submission opportunities from Writing Magazine to my spreadsheet.

I finished off by completing the first draft of the essay I started the day before.

 

Tuesday:

I was struggling with neck and shoulder pain this week, but still managed to just about record a writing day today with a review of the previous night’s cinema trip.

 

Wednesday:

I had several hours between an appointment and this week’s Vaults shows so I ensconced myself at Waterloo for a session.

I started with a review of the previous night’s theatre trip. Then I moved on to Six-Eighty in an attempt to make it in to a proper story. I named the characters, which always helps, and came up with some additional information to flesh out the plot.

Then it was back to Artisan for Chapter Three.

I took a break to tweak something I wrote last summer to fit an upcoming competition and to revise an article for submission to a mindfulness magazine.

 

Thursday:

I wrote one of my Fringe Guru reviews for the week.

I was meant to go to Write & A Pint after work but my neck was still hurting so I just went home.

 

Friday:

I wrote my other Fringe Guru review for the week and also a review of the book I finished the night before.

Sean from Write & A Pint sent me the exercises from the previous night’s session and I worked through them, completing a first draft of the story I started in the first session.

I also read through a draft of an essay I wrote recently and tweaked it slightly for submission.

 

Saturday:

I completed twelve competition, magazine and anthology submissions.

 

Sunday:

 

I found another submission opportunity for a homeless piece of flash fiction.

I also did some planning and some reading.

 

Posted on 11 February 2019 10:57

Summary:

Lots of minor progress on a variety of both big and small projects. Still a bit scattered, but I’m pleased I’m maintaining my daily writing habit.

 

Monday:

Back to The Turk’s Head in Wapping for a session with Ann today, which evoked memories of sitting outside in the sun all last summer.

I faffed around for quite a while, answering comments on my GYWO post, reorganising my submissions spreadsheet and dealing with email. Then I pulled myself together, launched in on the Artisan rewrite and took a stab at the first chapter.

I revised the freewriting exercise from Saturday’s retreat day to fit a flash fiction competition’s requirements.

Then I started the first draft of Six-Eighty just to get past the tricky transition from brain to page.

 

Tuesday:

I wrote a review of a film I watched the night before, and completed two Fic Promptly fills.

 

Wednesday

I tidied up my submissions folder, identified another couple of submission opportunities and completed a Fic Promptly fill.

 

Thursday:

I went to Write & A Pint after work, the first in a series of three linked sessions over the month. It was really fun and resulted in the start of an interesting short story that will make a good entry for an upcoming competition.

 

Friday:

I had some thoughts about the first chapter of Artisan so made a few edits first thing, before heading into town for a Writers’ Initiative meetup.

I started with my Fringe Guru review for the week, then moved on to a review for my latest audiobook.

Then I headed back to Chapter Two of Artisan for rewrites.

I typed up the start of the short story from last night, then continued on for a bit.

I finished off by doing the first prompt from Week Two of The Common Weekly Writes.

 

Saturday:

I wrote a review of a film I went to see yesterday.

 

Sunday:

I met Geena in town for a writing session, and started with Fic Promptly, just to get myself going.

I took a look back at the non-fiction prompt from Week One of The Common Weekly Writes and started an essay based on the notes I took.

I was feeling pretty scattered, so I decided to type up some of the notes from my current notebook as they were piling up.

The whole time, Geena was reading through the first draft of Colours and making notes, so afterwards we talked about what changes needed to be made and where I could go from where I’d got to.

 

Posted on 04 February 2019 11:46

Summary:

 

Still writing every day so far, and it’s not feeling like too much of a chore. And a couple of projects are now at the stage when I need to really launch into the meat of the work.

 

Monday:

 

I started with Day Three of Write With One Story 2019, then went on to Writers’ Block Detox, which gets more complicated in the last week as you have to decide whether to carry on with the daily prompts or start to build an actual short story. I used the provided outlining sheet and my Dixit tarot deck to generate ideas for an upcoming submission opportunity. Then I did today’s task of coming up with daily prompts to inspire sections of the planned story.

 

I wrote a review of the book I finished yesterday, and completed this week’s Fandom Weekly entry.

 

Tuesday:

 

Usual session of WBD prompt and One Story Day Four.

 

Then I did a Fic Promptly fill to keep up my trend of answering every post so far this year.

 

I also did some more work on the Fantastic Writer book in preparation for the Artisan rewrite.

 

Wednesday:

 

I did today’s WBD prompt, which was also brainstorming and making notes for an upcoming short story submission.

 

I went to two more shows at The Vaults and wrote a first draft of one of my reviews on the way home.

 

Thursday:

 

I did the next WBD-based prompt for my Six-Eighty story.

 

Then I finished both reviews from last night’s Vaults shows and sent them off to the editor.

 

I also finished the Fantastic Writer book, ready to launch into the Artisan rewrite over the weekend.

 

I wrote another couple of reviews, just for my own blog, then took a look at the first week’s hand-out from The Common workshop.

 

I finished off with a specific plan for my writing retreat day on Saturday and a more general plan in my writing diary for February.

 

Friday:

 

I continued with the WBD-prompted SixEighty development and also wrote a review of a book I finished on my way home.

 

Saturday:

 

I went to an Out On The Page retreat day, which started with a freewriting exercise based on a selected photograph. I wrote a 700-word piece that I was very happy with, so I submitted it for this week’s Fandom Weekly competition, as it co-incidentally fit the theme and original pieces are allowed.

 

Then I set to work putting together a proper plan for the Artisan rewrite, based on the publisher’s reader report and the notes I took when reading How To Be A Fantastic Writer. I condensed what I need to do into a list of bullet points that fits onto one side of A4. Now I just have to actually get on with it!

 

After lunch, I found an old piece to fit an upcoming submission opportunity, did today’s WBD prompt for the Six-Eighty story (coming up with a really great ending that I had been struggling to figure out), and looked at the second and third prompts from The Common Weekly Writes.

 

Sunday:

 

Just chilling at home today, with some writing crowbarred into the afternoon.

 

I reviewed a film we watched earlier in the week and wrote my GYWO discussion post for the month. Then I wrote a blog post about how many projects I have on the go at the moment.

 

Posted on 03 February 2019 16:51

I thrive on variety. I do my best work when I have multiple projects on the go and can switch between them at will. If I get bored with or stuck on one thing, my brain will likely come up with ideas on how to progress with something else. This helps me to keep working on projects regularly and stops me getting blocked from writing for long periods.

 

But there is perhaps a limit to how much I can work on at the same time. A range of stuff is good. So, it generally works if I have a novel, a short story, a fanfic and an article on my to-do list at any given time. That way, I can gain satisfaction from a quick win or delve into a much larger project. It also generally means the various projects are at different stages, so I’ll have plenty of choice depending on whether I want to brainstorm, bang words out onto the page or revise.

 

At the moment, my list is pretty stuffed.

 

My first-choice publisher has asked for some revisions to my first novel before they make a final decision about whether they want to accept it. Which is awesome, but which is also going to take a fair bit of work. There’s no deadline, but I want to get it back to them by the end of June, or before, if I can.

 

I’m reviewing at The Vaults 2019 for Fringe Guru, which involves one or two shows per week until mid-March, with short deadlines for the reviews. I’m loving doing this, but it’s taking a significant chunk of my writing time each week, and also taking up an evening a week for actually going to the shows.

 

I’m writing discussion posts for GYWO again this year, which is a monthly commitment and also something I really enjoy.

 

I have my usual rolling spreadsheet of submission opportunities, which has me working on two short stories for deadlines at the end of February. And I’ve just started a ten-week online writing course, which is going to involve developing several ideas for short pieces.

 

I’ve got back into short fanfiction challenges this year, which are great fun but require several new ideas per week, and also often involve reading and commenting on other people’s entries.

 

I’m still quite keen to work on my idea for a non-fiction book, though starting the research on that has been delayed as I’ve been too busy with other stuff.

 

And, this morning, I applied to take part in this year’s Six Month Novel Programme, with a view to getting a first draft of my second novel done by the end of the year. This may have been a mistake. I mean, getting a draft done is one of my main goals for 2019 and I could really use the structure and external encouragement/deadlines of the programme. But it’s also a big commitment and really intensive.

 

I have a plan as to how to fit both novels into my schedule, and I’m currently writing every day, which is unusual for me and going really well so far. I also have a lot of writing sessions booked into my calendar and I’m doing a lot better at writing at home as well.

 

But I suspect several things are going to have to fall by the wayside as the year goes on. I’m pretty sure I can’t keep up my current output on everything, especially if I get onto the Six Month Novel Programme. I think it will be good for me, though, and certainly help me towards what is probably my hardest goal for the year. If the amazing happens and I get a book deal in a few months, I really want to have something else ready to send to the publisher while the first novel is in production. And, if the first one doesn’t work out, it’ll be even more important to have something else in the works.

 

So, I’m going for it, and I’ll just have to be aware of the possibility of burn-out. It’ll be sad to give up on the fun/silly/small stuff and I’ll do my best to at least keep my hand in, so I don’t get overwhelmed by the bigger projects. But I’ve got to keep my eye on where I really want to go with my writing and make sure I dedicate enough time and energy to the important stuff. I’ll just have to see how it goes and adjust accordingly.

 

Posted on 27 January 2019 09:41

Summary:

 

Another seven-day writing week, with lots of work on little habit-forming activities, but also some progress on bigger projects, and the start of an exciting new reviewing opportunity.

 

Monday:

 

Good intentions for a proper writing day at Good & Proper with Ann.

 

I faffed around on the internet for half an hour, then settled down to today’s Writers’ Block Detox prompt. I did a GYWO challenge.

 

One of my projects for the next few weeks is reviewing at The Vaults festival for Fringe Guru, so I went through their archives to get an idea of their reviewing style.

 

Then I wrote a review of a film I watched last night.

 

After that, I finally got to work on a short story I’ve been thinking about all year. And, as ever, once I actually put fingers to keys, it just flowed out of me and onto the screen. I don’t know if I need the thinking time for the story to solidify in my brain before I start writing it properly, but it’s just so hard to sit down and get on with writing. And then I do, and it just happens.

 

So, I finished a 1500 word first draft of the Stanley story in the space of an hour, and posted it on Scribophile for feedback. It’s not due until the end of February, so I’ll have plenty of time for revision. Then I did some Scribophile critiques to get more points and get my story into the spotlight more quickly.

 

Then I went back to fanfiction and completed another two Fic Promptly shorts, so I was up to date with completing one for every post so far in January.

 

Tuesday:

 

Second writing date in as many days, this time with Hannah at Le Pain Quotidien.

 

I started out with the WBD prompt, then moved on to a review and first thoughts about this week’s Hour of Writes entry. Then I read through the Scribophile critiques on the Stanley story from yesterday.

 

The publisher potentially interested in Artisan recommended a book called How to Be A Fantastic Writer as a good place to start preparations for the requested rewrite. I ordered a copy and picked it up from work today, so I first reread the publisher’s feedback and then launched into reading the book and making notes.

 

Wednesday:

 

I did today’s WBD prompt and submitted an application for a free spot on this year’s Six Month Novel Writing Programme, as well as signing up for a ten-week online writing prompt programme with The Common.

 

I also attended my first show as an official Fringe Guru reviewer, with a press ticket and everything!

 

Thursday:

 

I took the opportunity of a three-hour gap between appointments to find a cafe and get some writing done. I started out with the review of last night’s Vaults show, Katie & Pip, then moved on to today’s WBD prompt.

 

After that, I went back to the Fantastic Writer book and made more notes.

 

Friday:

 

Today I just did the WBD prompt and wrote a review of my most recent audiobook.

 

Saturday:

 

I did both today’s WBD prompt and the Day One writing exercise from Write With One Story 2019.

 

Sunday:

 

A repeat of yesterday, comprising today’s WBD prompt and Day Two of Write With One Story 2019.

 

Posted on 20 January 2019 16:20

Summary:

 

Glad to be maintaining a daily habit, but I do feel as if I’m doing a lot of planning and a lot of noodling around, but not really actually getting on with anything substantial. Hopefully that will change next week with some proper scheduled writing sessions with other people.

 

Monday:

 

Made good use of a train journey to complete today’s Writers’ Block Detox prompt. Then finally got around to watching a Writing the Other seminar about creating asexual characters, which was extremely pertinent to a short story I’ve been trying to get done for over two years and which I’ve allocated to a submission opportunity with a deadline of the end of February.

 

I talked through a short story idea with a friend and came up with some interesting thoughts.

 

Tuesday:

 

I did the Writers’ Block Detox prompt for today.

 

I also heard back from Etre that they had decided not to accept any of the pieces I submitted for the first prompt. I decided not to continue as a staff writer, as I don’t feel I can provide what they’re looking for and I also think our processes are incompatible. It’s a shame, but it wasn’t a good fit and I have plenty of other projects to work on.

 

Wednesday:

 

I did the now habitual WBD prompt and then some planning for big writing sessions I have scheduled for the rest of the week.

 

Thursday:

 

I started with today’s WBD prompt. Then I caught up on some reviews and did some more planning. It turned out to be quite complicated, now I’ve got multiple projects with varying deadlines to work out.

 

I also wrote and submitted an entry for this week’s Hour of Writes competition, which I haven’t done for a while.

 

Friday:

 

I helped Bear post about last weekend’s reading retreat, then did another review.

 

I did today’s WBD prompt.

 

Then I did some submissions.

 

Saturday:

 

I meant to get up early, head into town and do a proper focused session.

 

I did get up early, but I stayed at home and didn’t settle down to write until noon, at which point I amusingly spent fifteen minutes reading an article about procrastination…

 

Then I did today’s WBD prompt and wrote this month’s GYWO discussion post, which went really well and may turn into another article to try and sell.

 

Sunday:

 

I started, as usual, with today’s WBD prompt, then did some planning for next week.

 

Then I completed some fanfic shorts for the various challenge groups I take part in.

 

Posted on 15 January 2019 06:37

Summary:

My 2019 goals are underway and looking closer to completion than ever. There’s a lot of work to do, but I’m excited to get started and see where it takes me.

 

Monday:

A good and proper writing session at Good & Proper with Ann.

I initially got distracted for a while by the internet, but eventually settled down with the first Writers’ Block Detox prompt and a raft of reviews.

I filled a couple of prompts on Fic Promptly and then turned my attention to the non-fiction article I was working on, completing a first draft.

 

Tuesday:

I completed today’s Writers’ Bock Detox prompt. Yesterday’s came out funny, but this one went very dark. I really enjoy exercises like this, as the results are always unexpected, and it’s nice sometimes just to write without a plan or a purpose.

I also filled another Fic Promptly request.

 

Wednesday:

I did my daily Writers’ Block Detox prompt and Fic Promptly fill.

Then I added the latest submission opportunities from Writing Magazine to my rolling spreadsheet.

Next I checked the length and style of articles in Writing Magazine and redrafted my article to better fit the requirements.

 

Thursday:

I did the Writers’ Block Detox prompt for the day.

I also got further feedback from the publisher who was considering Artisan. They gave me very specific advice as to what to look at and said they ‘would expect to accept it for publication’ after a further rewrite. I jumped up and down a lot.

 

Friday:

I did the Writers’ Block Detox prompt and both a Fic Promptly fill and an entry for this week’s Fandom Weekly contest. I also did some reviews.

 

Saturday:

I settled for just the Writers’ Block Detox prompt today as writing was not my focus.

 

Sunday:

I thought is was just going to be the WBD prompt again today. But I'd already written 4500 words this week, which is a lot for me, so I was very happy with progress so far.

But then I got all worked up about one of the books I was reading on retreat and decided I needed to write the review immediately before starting a new book.

I also got an editorial evaluation on Colours which was very positive and had lots of useful suggestions so I'm excited to get back to that.

 

Posted on 06 January 2019 20:38

Summary:

Very happy with the start to my 2019 writing. So far, I’ve worked on it every day (though I don’t intend to keep that up past January) and I’m excited about what I’m going to achieve this year.

 

Tuesday:

I edited a piece of flash fiction down from 650 words to just under 300 for a competition entry.

I also identified a few other unallocated pieces that fit upcoming submission opportunities.

 

Wednesday:

I did a whole load of planning - year, quarter, month, week, day.

 

Thursday:

I reviewed a new TV show we just finished watching.

Then I wrote a blog post about my writing goals for 2019.

 

Friday:

I started work on my first non-fiction creative process article of the year.

I also signed up for an online writing class to kickstart some new story ideas, and decided to take part in the Writers’ Block Detox again, as a way to keep a daily writing habit alive, at least for January.

Then I read some notes from a writing seminar a friend went to recently.

 

Saturday:

I went into town early and settled in at Le Pain Quotidien for my first proper writing session of the year. After some faffing around with planning and list-making, I embarked on what I hope will be the final revision of Bystander for submission to Etre. The editors eventually gave me some concrete feedback, so I did my best to rewrite the piece to their specifications. Only time will tell as to whether or not I succeeded.

Next, I revisited a story I wrote some time ago and cut it down to the right length for an upcoming competition.

I rejoiced earlier in the week that, after a whole year’s break, Fandom Weekly is starting up again. So, I finished my session today by writing and submitting an entry for the first post of 2019.

 

Sunday:

Admin day!

I went through Writing Magazine and added all the new submission opportunities to my rolling spreadsheet.

Then I completed five new submissions.

 

Posted on 03 January 2019 19:19

It’s a brand new year! And, no matter how arbitrary that may be, that means goal-setting. And I have big plans for 2019. So much so, that I’m going to write them down here for all to see (though I reserve the right to discover they are wildly unrealistic later…).

 

First of all, by the end of the year, I want to have a concrete publication plan for Artisan. Hopefully, the publisher who asked to see the whole manuscript last summer will contact me in February to say they want to offer me a book deal. The next best option would be for them to offer feedback on revisions and ask me to resubmit once I’ve done them - this would at least give me a direction for rewrites and a reasonable chance of a favourable response later in the year. If that doesn’t pan out, I’ve already made submissions to a few other places, so maybe one of them will pick it up. And I still have others I can try, including Unbound, which seems like an interesting option. If I haven’t had any luck by September, I’m going to look into self-publishing options. So, come 2020, I hope Artisan will be on its way into the world, one way or another.

 

My second goal is to complete a first draft of Colours. I started really strong with this one back in December 2017, and made good progress through to the end of March 2018, getting to 25,000 words. After that, I pretty much didn’t work on it for the rest of the year, apart from a brief spurt in August to add in an extra POV stream. It’s currently with an editor for developmental feedback and I’m expecting to hear back from her soon. I’m hoping this will kickstart me into getting on with it, and also help me with the best way to move on from where I’ve got to. So, come 2020, I should have something reasonable to show whoever is going to publish Artisan, as a follow-up.

 

Thirdly, I’m going to find another paying market for my non-fiction articles about the creative process. I really enjoy researching and writing these, they’ve had good feedback from the places I’ve submitted them up to now, and I think it would be another good revenue stream for me. I have an idea for a first attempt, in terms of both content and destination, so that’s high on my list for my first proper writing session of 2019.

 

In fourth place, not to be forgotten - I don’t want to let my short story writing drop by the wayside while I’m focusing on bigger projects. I’m going to keep adding to my rolling submission spreadsheet and try to keep my out-for-consideration pieces around 20. Ideally, I’d like to write an entirely new short story every month for a competition or anthology, but this may end up not being feasible.

 

Because, fifth and lastly, I have a new major project on the horizon. A couple of years ago, as a result of an amusing brainstorming session to come up with possible titles for Artisan, I had an idea for a non-fiction book. Over Christmas, this idea rose back to the top of my mind and I started getting really excited about looking into it. Now considering in 2018, I decided to learn how to write comics and quickly discovered it was way too hard, this project may well falter before it even gets off the ground. However, I’m currently very keen to research how to write a non-fiction book, and then research the particular subject of the one I want to write. It seems like something that should be possible to work on at the same time as my fiction projects, and also like something that should have a fairly predictable trajectory and process. I suspect it will prove much more complicated than I anticipate, but I’m enthused about giving it a go.

 

Ambitious? Well, absolutely! And it’s likely some of these goals will be abandoned somewhere along the way. However, I work best when I have multiple projects to work on at once, and I’ve definitely been coasting with my writing in recent months. So, I want to launch into 2019 with a whole load of exciting plans, along with my intention to maintain a better and more rigorous writing schedule. I have all my January sessions booked in my calendar, so here’s to motivation and productivity!