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Posted on 21 September 2020 08:54


Going great guns on the final novel edits and really enjoying it, which is a very pleasant surprise. Everything else has pretty much fallen off the to-do list, but that’s okay, because the novel is the most important thing.



I finished a book and wrote my review.

I started a new story that took me rather by surprise with its direction.



I set up a virtual writing date with Ann - for the first time since lockdown - so it was lovely to talk to her and for us to help each other with our writing focus again.

I started out with a GYWO discussion post.

And then I launched into the FINAL ARTISAN EDITS! I printed off the editor comments and the covering email from the publisher and read through everything very carefully, marking bits up with coloured highlighters.

I made a list of the three things the editor said needed attention throughout (sense of place, reducing qualifiers, and over-explanation) and then opened the marked-up manuscript to start the actual edits.

I completed Chapter One, and worked out how many chapters I would have to do on each subsequent planned writing day to finish on time, which turned out to be three.

I also wrote three book reviews and continued with my strange story from earlier in the week.

After I went to bed, the subconscious crew kept me up for a while, writing the acknowledgements for Artisan, so I ended up getting up to put them down on paper while I could still remember them.



I invited Ann to join the regular Thursday ‘working together’ session with Claire from CP’s Day Off, as she was struggling with a deadline (and unfortunately a sick toddler).

I started off with my three chapters of Artisan editing, but enjoyed it so much I carried on to complete another three chapters as well!

Later, I finished yet another book and wrote my review.



Back to Artisan edits, with some external structure provided by UWR’s online retreat.

I wrote a list of all the things I could/should/want to work on over the weekend, but the focus for today was Artisan edits, because it’s the most important thing, it has a hard external deadline, and it was also the most appealing thing on the list.

I completed my designated three chapters of Artisan by lunchtime and decided to call it a day.



I had a (technically) reading retreat booked for today, and decided I would ‘read’ my own novel - ie do Artisan edits - during the designated period.

So that meant I had to get all the other tasks (that couldn’t be claimed to be reading) off my list before the retreat began.

I started with another Bear post, then did my second GYWO discussion post for the month, then did a couple of submissions.

During the retreat period, I edited another three chapters of Artisan.

Later, I finished listening to my current audiobook and wrote the review.



Posted on 13 September 2020 16:58


Very light on writing this week - but big plans for both novels from next week until the end of October, so activity should be really ramping up again shortly!



I wrote reviews of the three books I finished while on holiday.



I wrote a review of another book.

A query came through from my publisher and I came up with the final title for Artisan (which isn’t going to be ‘Artisan’)!



I did a few submissions.

Later, I helped Bear with his first post about our Highlands holiday.


Posted on 06 September 2020 15:28


Feeling very happy about the state of my novels this week (at some point soon I may start to consider myself a novelist!), and happy to have cleared the decks of all editing responsibilities before going on holiday.



Last day of my five-day weekend!

I picked a section of Colours that needed editing, and that the subconscious crew had recently provided answers about, and I did the edits! First proper editing work on Colours for a while, so that was good.

Then I wrote my script for the next podcast episode.

Later, I helped Bear with his latest blog post.

Then, I updated my writing journal by reflecting on the past month and planning for the month ahead.



I played some more Thousand Year Old Vampire, adding extra scenes to my dark and twisted tale.



The final edit on Artisan came through from my publisher, so I considered new title suggestions and read through some of the comments, all of which seemed very clear and very reasonable.



I added a few more notes to my script for the next podcast episode.

Then I submitted four stories for potential publication.

After that I turned to editing my last three stories for the TL;DR anthology.

I finished off a productive session by doing some more edits on Colours.



I got my last TL;DR anthology story back from the author and devised my final score.


Posted on 31 August 2020 13:27

August has been an interesting month for my writing.


I finished and submitted three short stories, which felt really good and also cleared my writing to-do list of everything except the novel.


Also, after planning to complete the next round of edits on the novel by the end of August, and realising very quickly that this wasn’t going to happen, I also came up with answers to most of the remaining plot problems, thus enabling me to reorganise my notes multiple times.


So, going into September, I ought to have a clear run at the novel, as well as a clear path to get the edits done this month instead.


But, I just did my planning for September in my writing diary and - guess what? There are two writing competitions I want to enter in September, and four more submission opportunities in October that I’d like to write something for, and which will likely require some prep work in September.


And I’m also still on the editing team for an anthology that needs all its submissions finalised in September. Plus, we’re still recording the podcast monthly, so that’ll always be on the schedule in one form or another!


So, it seems I’m never going to have a totally clear run at the novel. And I think perhaps that thinking I need one is incorrect. I always like having several projects on the go, and being able to switch between them. The idea of only working on the novel for a whole month is absolutely horrifying.


But, I also feel as if I haven’t really been getting on with the novel lately.


My August plan of always doing the novel first, every time I sat down to do any writing, worked to a certain extent. I did do some very useful work on it. And keeping it in my mind, and at least actively thinking about it several times a week, is probably what enabled the subconscious crew to come up with all the amazing solutions they presented me with in the last week.


So, in the grand scheme of things, I am making progress on the novel, and have been doing so regularly since the start of July. But, my original plan was to be in a position to submit it to my publisher today - and that’s really not happening. Even if I start really pushing myself and get all the current round of edits done by the end of September, I’ll need at least another month to do a read-through, find and fix the inconsistencies, and do a final edit.


Maybe I can submit in November then? Maybe.


With projects that have no external deadline, it’s very easy to let them slip. But, if I’m making steady progress and I know where I’m going with it now, does the timeline really matter? Probably not, but I do want to keep giving myself deadlines, just to make sure it doesn’t slip off my writing schedule altogether.


But it’s important to accept that there are always going to be other projects that crop up to get in the way. And that’s a good thing. I like writing short stories. I like submitting to anthologies and competitions. And I honestly don’t think I’d be working on the novel more if I didn’t have those other projects on my list. In fact, I think I’d probably be working on it less.


So, I welcome the arrival of the next edition of Writing Magazine (which should be turning up in the next week) because it will likely have some new and exciting submission opportunities for me to add to my list. But I’ll keep putting the novel at the top of the schedule for every writing session, just to make sure I keep chipping away at it.


The decks will never be clear. And that’s okay. Because what on earth would I do with my time if there was nothing on the to-do list?


Posted on 30 August 2020 20:47


Stellar work from the subconscious crew this week, which left me feeling a lot happier about my novel edits. Even though there’s still a lot of work to do, the path is clearer than it was, and it all seems more possible now.



I caught up with Day Twenty-Three and Twenty-Four of AWC’s Mojo Month.

Then I did some more edits on Colours, completing the revisions for the alien POV sections, which felt good.

Next, I threw myself into my WIP Big Bang fanfiction, which had been languishing somewhat, but needed to be finished for a 6 September posting deadline. I wrote nearly 2000 words and finally finished a first draft, which also felt good.

Then I edited the most recent podcast episode and did the art for my WIP Big Bang story.

So, it was a very productive session all told, enabling me to tick off a fair few items on my list.



I caught up with Day Twenty-Five, Twenty-Six and Twenty-Seven of AWC’s Mojo Month - I know today was only the 26th August, but AWC is in Australia so each module got released the day before for me.

Later, I finished a book and wrote my review.



Five days off before having to go back to work!

I started out by brainstorming some more stuff for Colours, then did my fifth set of edits for the TL;DR anthology.

Next, I read through my WIP Big Bang story, made some edits and posted it, along with the art. It felt really good to get this off my list and into the world at last! Plus, when I read it through, it turned out it wasn’t as bad as I’d feared.



I woke up with a whole new climax for Colours in my head, so I scribbled down some notes about how it would work.

Then I did Day Twenty-Eight of AWC’s Mojo Month.

Later, I finished off and submitted the lengthy publicity questionnaire from my publisher and talked with Dave about Colours on our daily walk.



The subconscious crew outdid themselves again by coming up with answers to all the problems for another revision strand of Colours. I just wish they hadn’t done it in the middle of the night…

Anyway, I got up and made some notes, to ensure I wouldn’t forget their genius.

I completed Day Twenty-Nine of AWC’s Mojo Month.

I also wrote a review of the book I finished at 2am, after the subconscious crew woke me up and I couldn’t get back to sleep.



I completed Day Thirty and Thirty-One of AWC’s Mojo Month. There were definitely some useful and interesting things about it, though I think it was aimed more at people wanting to start writing or experiment with their writing, rather than wanting motivation to work on their major projects. Still, I certainly got some good stuff out of it, even if the daily habit aspect did start to drag after a while.


Posted on 23 August 2020 15:53


Three good writing sessions on my dedicated writing days, so back into a more regular groove for writing. Very happy with progress this week.



I completed Day Seventeen of AWC’s Mojo Month and listed my intended goals for the day on the UWR online session page.

I did some admin and sorting out of various things, then I edited the podcast script template to fit our special format for the next episode.

Then I did some actual research for Colours (practically unheard of!) and discovered how deeply wrong my secondary character background is - hopefully, I should have a contact soon who will be able to help me fix it…

Next was revising my own submission for the TL;DR horror anthology, based on the feedback I received from my first editor - not enough horror in my horror story! I added some extra words and felt it was definitely improved, so I submitted it again as my final version.

After lunch, I knuckled down and finally wrote the first draft of a short story I’ve been planning for ages, for an upcoming anthology submission. I was really pleased with how it came out, but posted it for feedback on the TL;DR Slack anyway, because stories can always be improved!

A very good session today - yay!



After a couple of days off from writing, I started today by catching up with Day Eighteen, Nineteen and Twenty of AWC’s Mojo Month.

Then I made some amendments to my short story from Monday, based on excellent feedback from the TL;DR writers. I created two versions - one with more overt reference to magic in it for the specific anthology call it was written for, and one without the magic for submission elsewhere if it didn’t find a home right away. Once it was done, I submitted it, along with a couple of other stories to other publications.

I recorded and edited an interim podcast episode, then read a story by one of the TL;DR writers and gave some feedback.



I decided to make a list of all the writing stuff I really, definitely wanted to get done today and then spend the morning working through as much as I could.

I did some brainstorming for Colours, I caught up on Day Twenty-One and Twenty-Two of AWC’s Mojo Month, I edited two short stories for friends, and I wrote my GYWO discussion post for the month. So it went pretty well overall!

Later, I wrote two book reviews.



I edited another short story for a friend.


Posted on 17 August 2020 09:06


A bit of a scattershot week - I ‘wrote’ every day but don’t feel like I made any real progress on anything. I did, however, give myself permission to let go of the task list and read a lot, which was lovely, and never a waste of time.



I reached out to some friends for expert advice on a couple of aspects of Colours. It was hard to be vulnerable about it, since I’m aware what I’ve got at the moment is probably embarrassingly wrong, but I figured it was better to ask for help now than to get attacked for screwing up later.

Then I completed Day Ten of AWC’s Mojo Month before going back to finish reorganising my Colours notes. I answered some more plot questions along the way, and it helped me figure out which section to tackle next, so it was a useful exercise.

Next was editing my own horror flash piece for the upcoming TL;DR anthology, which I finalised and submitted.

Later, I received a publicity questionnaire from my publisher, with a whole load of questions about Artisan and my journey to publication, so I started filling that in.

I also heard back from one of the people I contacted earlier about Colours, so I sent her the scenes I wanted her to review.



I reviewed an article for a friend, then completed Day Eleven of AWC’s Mojo Month.



I completed Day Twelve of AWC’s Mojo Month.

Later, I discussed the protagonist’s background in Colours with one of the people I reached out to earlier in the week. She gave me some great insight, let me down gently about all the things I’d done badly, and came up with lots of interesting ways I could make those sections better.



I started off the day with Day Thirteen of AWC’s Mojo Month.

Then I knuckled down and rewrote the protagonist’s background scenes in Colours, based on the feedback I got the day before.

I did the edits for my third TL;DR anthology submission and sent them back to the author.



I made some amendments to the previous day’s amendments to Colours.

I also completed Day Fourteen of AWC’s Mojo Month.

Later, I got an acceptance for a short story I wrote back in 2016, from the twelfth place I’d submitted it to - perseverance is the key! I was really pleased as I’ve always had faith in that story and was glad it would finally be receiving its time in the light.



I discussed Colours with the other friend I’d asked for help earlier in the week.

I also did multiple submissions and completed AWC’s Mojo Month Day Fifteen, which involved a Bear post!

Later, I did some more work on the publicity questionnaire from my publisher for Artisan.



I completed Day Sixteen of AWC’s Mojo Month, and also wrote a book review.


Posted on 10 August 2020 08:19


I wrote every day this week, which I know I decided was a bad idea, after the July Camp Nano experience. But the daily aspect was mostly small, fun exercises, and I had a relaxed approach to it in terms of not putting myself under too much pressure, so it was okay.



I wrote a list of what I wanted to work on today and in what order, reminding myself that all progress is good progress, and that I have found I enjoy the process more and actually get more done if I’m more relaxed about how much I want to achieve.

I completed Day Three of AWC’s Mojo Month, which continued to be fun and interesting. Today was all about thinking about the future.

My Mojo Month goal was to put Colours at the front of each writing session (so to work on it for an hour at the start of each morning slot, and then again at the start of each afternoon slot) so I then moved onto Colours editing. My brainstorming session with Dave from the night before resulted in a plan of moving ahead with the smaller and easier edits, just to get moving on it, and let the bigger problems hopefully take care of themselves further down the line. The rationale behind this was just to make progress and feel better about the whole thing, rather than letting myself get paralysed by the big void of the new ending, which I don’t know how to fix yet.

I picked what was probably the easiest set of edits, as they were confined to a small section of the narrative, and worked through them, completing the whole set, thus enabling me to cross out an entire page in my notebook, which felt good.

I wrote a review of the book I finished the night before, then went back to my horror short story to revise it based on feedback from one of the TL;DR writers. When my next draft was complete, I sent it to another TL;DR writer for further feedback.

Later, I edited a blog post for Dave and did some submissions.

Thousand Year Old Vampire continued to provide a light challenge and a way to feel productive without having to concentrate on anything too much.



I completed Day Four of AWC’s Mojo Month. Today’s segment was about loneliness and isolation, and it turned out I was already doing all the things they suggested for mitigating the effects of separation from other people, so that was good.

I also added a few more scenes to my vampire game, just to keep the story flowing.

Later, I had a bolt of inspiration about an upcoming submission opportunity, so added to my notes for the story I was planning.



Day Five of AWC’s Mojo Month - all about procrastination, which isn’t something I have all that much trouble with generally, but it’s always good to get tips and remind myself I don’t need to be ‘in the right frame of mind’ to write.



I completed my scoring for my first TL;DR anthology submission, then did Day Six of AWC’s Mojo Month.



Day Seven of AWC’s Mojo Month, which was all about imposter syndrome. This is something I have been a victim of in the past, but not really about my writing, at least not for a while. I think my writing is generally good, and reasonably often it’s good enough for publication - but it’s not often great, and I’m okay with that. I could spend a lot more time and energy making it better, but I’m happy with the balance I have between quality and enjoyment.



There was a lot of faff this morning before I finally sat down to write.

I did Day Eight of AWC’s Mojo Month, then turned to Colours. The bigger issues still felt too much to tackle (I decided I needed to make a better plan - yay, more notes organisation - so I could break these down a bit more into manageable chunks - maybe tomorrow) so I went through all my notes and picked off all the quick wins. These were checking the timeline, making minor amendments to specific scenes and adding a few words here and there.

Then I wrote my script for the next main podcast episode, which we were due to record later in the day.

Later, I did my second set of edits for the TL;DR anthology and also provided feedback on another TL;DR writer’s story. I also added submission opportunities from this month’s Writing Magazine to my rolling spreadsheet.



I started off with Day Nine of AWC’s Mojo Month, which was about daily rituals, as distinct from daily habits. A daily writing habit doesn’t work for me at all, but daily rituals around meditation, tea-making, and going for walks are all great for recharging my creative energy.

Then I settled down to review my notes on Colours and work out a less overwhelming approach to my editing plan. I managed to organise some of the notes into a more coherent fashion to show me a way forwards for a couple of aspects.


Posted on 02 August 2020 18:17


I feel like I’ve come up with a better structure for my writing week and that I’ve settled back into a better routine again. I should remember the lesson that trying to write every day really doesn’t work for me and actually ends up being very counter-productive.



My brain had been ticking over an idea for a new short story for a while, so I finally sat down and started writing the first draft.

I got the bare bones down but it came out very short.

I finished a short story anthology and wrote my review.



I wrote the review of the book I finished the night before.

I also edited a friend’s short story.

Later, I brainstormed ideas for a new short story for a fun-sounding upcoming submission opportunity.



I did some reflection on the past month and planning for the month ahead, and listed my tasks for the next day’s session.



I started the day with excellent intentions to get lots done, then got derailed by tripping over during my morning run…

Still, I picked myself up, sorted myself out, and decided to keep to the plan as much as possible, whilst not pushing myself too hard.

I started with Day One of AWC’s Mojo Month, which turned out to be a lot of fun. Every day of the month, they post a Mindfulness message, something to look up Online, a visual inspiration to Juice up your day, and an Operation, which challenges you to complete a writing exercise.

Then I settled down and reread what I had so far on my WIP Big Bang story, before adding another 500 words.

Next, I turned back to Colours and carried on editing the alien POV sections. I managed some minor edits and the introduction of some new ideas, but it was difficult to figure out how to make major changes and ensure all the connective tissue was also changed accordingly. I made some more notes for further thought on the issues.

I wrote the script for the next interim podcast episode and then did the editing for my first TL;DR anthology story, which was fun.

Later, I started a solo roleplaying game called Thousand Year Old Vampire, which involves writing the story of your character as you go along. It was really interesting and the opening sections resulted in me coming up with some quite surprising ideas.



I did Day Two of AWC Mojo Month, which was fun. It was about habit-stacking and goal-setting.

I also reviewed the rewrite of a short story for a friend, and carried on with my vampire game.

Lastly, I brainstormed a bit for the new ending of Colours.



Posted on 26 July 2020 20:55


A bit hit and miss this week. I was low on motivation and decided to give myself the whole weekend off from the to-do list, but did make some good progress on various things at other times during the week.



I logged my planned goals on the UWR online session page and started out with this month’s GYWO discussion post. I then wrote a blog post for my own site about discovering I’d recently made about my revision process. Next up was editing the most recent podcast episode. Then I went back to reviewing the other TL;DR writer’s novel. I also edited a blog post for another TL;DR writer.



I added a few more words to the Colours manuscript.



I wasn’t going to do anything today, because it felt like the daily habit was becoming a pointless chore rather than actually progressing anything, but then I added a few more words to the Colours manuscript anyway.



I took myself to the park in an effort to focus better. I also logged my intentions on the TL;DR Slack and verbally committed to them with Claire from CPsDayOff. Those intentions were to finally start implementing the editing plan for Colours.

So, then I read through all my notes on the aliens and went back to the start of the alien POV thread in the manuscript and worked through as many of his scenes as I could, changing the way the alien society is presented and making the transition from loyal citizen to revolutionary more nuanced.

I got halfway through the alien scenes and was very pleased with my progress. As ever, actually sitting down to start was the hardest thing, and I quite enjoyed adding my new ideas to the existing manuscript. It was also a good mental transition, since I felt like I had properly begun, which I hoped would make it easier to carry on another day.

I also entered the AWC 23-word story competition, wrote a review of the book I finished the day before and edited the rest of the TL;DR writer’s novel.



I decided to give myself the weekend off because it had been a very busy week at work and I was feeling a bit burnt out.

In the evening, though, I attended an editing workshop from TL;DR Press, in preparation for acting as one of the editors for their upcoming horror anthology. It was fun and very useful, and I came out of it looking forward to working on the project.



I finished a book and wrote my review.


Posted on 20 July 2020 09:54

My current main writing goal is to get my second novel in shape to submit to my publisher in September.

In May, I finished editing the second draft and sent it to eight lovely people for feedback, which I received back by the end of June. I took a few days off work at the start of July, with the intention of going through all the feedback, collating my notes and completing a comprehensive editing plan, which I was then going to work my way through for the rest of the month. August would then be available for a sense-check, line edit, and reading the whole thing aloud to myself to check the flow.

Things haven’t gone entirely to plan. It’s 20 July and I haven’t even built my editing plan yet, let alone being most of the way through implementing it.

But that’s okay, because I was well aware that my July plan was ridiculous and unattainable. It was designed to put editing the novel front and centre in my awareness and hopefully encourage me to spend more time on it than I would otherwise. How successful that has been so far is debatable, but I’m not beating myself up over my lack of concrete progress.

This is especially because of an interesting experience I had a week ago, when I was massively procrastinating - and thought I wasn’t doing anything useful at all, other than playing around with coloured pens.

When I started going through my feedback, I had the notes from my beta readers up on my computer screen, and I went through them one by one, writing the points I wanted to action by hand in my A4 novel-notes-notebook. So, that exercise created a list of points by beta reader, which could be used to build my editing plan.

Last Monday, instead of going straight into building that plan electronically, I decided I wanted to organise my notes better, so it would be easier to see what I needed to do (otherwise known as putting off the actual work). I went through all the handwritten pages, colour-coding all the points by character, theme, or editing issue. And then I transcribed them all into a new section of my notebook, using the appropriately coloured pen to write each section.

So far, so completely useless, right?

As it turned out, this was very much not the case!

There are aliens in my novel, and the main issue that most of my beta readers raised was that there wasn’t enough information about how the alien society worked, how their ‘governing body’ actually ran things, and how the threat of war was even really a threat to them.

These are all very big world-building questions that I hadn’t put nearly enough through into, and I had absolutely no idea how I was going to address them - which was why I was reluctant to get on with the actual editing of the novel.

However, as I was collecting and transcribing my notes about the aliens (in sky blue), my brain started whirring and several very important ideas and plot points suddenly came together - and answered all the questions everyone had about the aliens! So, the very laborious process of collating my notes multiple times over several days actually gave my subconscious the time and the impetus to think about all these questions and come up with ways to work them out.

Admittedly, that was a week ago, and I still haven’t actually built my editing plan, or started the proper work of really revising the novel, but still… I think after all that mental effort and epiphany, I needed a bit of a break!


Posted on 19 July 2020 19:32



Intermittent good progress this week, interspersed with a total lack of energy and motivation. I’m hoping to be able to re-establish a better routine next week for making proper in-roads into my novel revision.



I started out by clearing my email, tidying up my desk and consolidating my lists.

Then I reviewed another two chapters of the other writer’s novel before lunch.

In the afternoon, I started compiling my notes on the required Colours revisions. At first, I was really intimidated by how much work there was to do. But, as I was categorising the various aspects of the feedback and transferring them to a new section in my notebook, I started working out answers to some of the big questions and got excited about making the story better.

I also finished a book and wrote my review.



I added a few words to the Colours manuscript.



I added a few more words to the Colours manuscript.

I also finished an audiobook and wrote my review.



I finished a book and wrote my review.

I also did some submissions.

Later, Dave and I went to Hackney (him to work, me to be somewhere that wasn’t Enfield). I sat on a bench in the sunshine outside the town hall and finished transferring all my notes on Colours into the new section of my notebook. It was definitely more worthwhile, since I had a few new ideas as I did it, and it also made me feel like I’m organised enough to build a proper revision plan now.



I looked through my notes on Colours and highlighted the biggest questions still to be answered.



I went to the park and finished the book I started the day before, then wrote the review when I got home.

I did an exercise from a Start With This episode, where I wrote a small piece and then just deleted it. I was then supposed to write a different piece and share it somewhere, but I just deleted that one as well. The exercise was supposed to be about learning the freeing nature of thinking of art as disposable, and it was quite nice to write something without any intention of doing anything with it.



I added a few words to the Colours manuscript and also wrote another book review.


Posted on 13 July 2020 09:34


My editing project for the second novel went more slowly than I’d planned, but I still worked on it every day this week, so I’m pleased with progress overall (though I'm not entirely sold on the idea of focusing on logging any number of words every day just because). I also really enjoyed working on some flash fiction and reading another writer’s novel to break up the focus on my own.



I embarked on the last set of feedback on Colours. I got about a quarter of the way through and decided to call it a day.



I started reviewing a novel for one of the TL;DR writers.

I also carried on with my final set of feedback on Colours.



Most words logged on Camp Nano in one day so far today! Not a lot in real terms, but I was still just going through my beta reader feedback, and I’m ahead on words compared to what I was expecting at the end of this first week. I didn’t manage to complete my editing plan, as scheduled, but that’s okay.

I commented on another two chapters of the novel I’m reviewing for another writer.



I continued reviewing my Colours feedback and also looked at two more chapters of the other writer’s novel.



I did a bit more revision on Colours.



Continuing the trend of the rest of the week, I spent the morning reviewing more chapters of the other writer’s novel, and continuing my revisions from the final set of feedback on Colours.

I received the prompt for the Writers Weekly 24 hour short story competition at 6pm and was entirely uninspired. But I set the subconscious crew to percolate over it during the night, in the hopes of them coming up with an idea before the deadline.



I woke up with the Writers Weekly competition prompt in my head and, over the course of about half an hour, as I dozed, the subconscious crew laid out the whole story for me.

I dialled in to the CPsDayOff writing retreat at 10am, wrote my competition entry, read it through and submitted it. Major success on the part of the subconscious crew - they are really on fire at the moment!

Then I finally finished going through the last set of feedback on Colours, ready to focus on putting together a comprehensive editing plan the next day.


Posted on 06 July 2020 10:17


It’s been a great start to the second half of the year! I’ve cleared all but one of my short projects off my list (and worked out what I’m doing with the last one) to make way for the grand novel revision project. And I’ve processed a lot of great feedback on the novel from my wonderful beta readers, to inform my editing plan. Very happy with progress all round!



I stated my goals for the day on the UWR online session page.

Then I read through and tweaked Broken Succession and submitted it, along with a few other stories I had ready to go.

At the afternoon session, I drafted my third story for the TL;DR flash fiction workshop and edited my previous two, based on the feedback I’d received. I also revised a very old story based on feedback from an editor, and submitted that, along with my first two TL;DR pieces.

I finished off my writing session by updating my projects list, doing some end-of-quarter reflection in my writing diary and planning my writing activity for the next month. I signed up for Camp Nano and set myself the goal of completing my editing plan for Colours and adding 25,000 words to the manuscript - no harm in being ambitious, right?

Later, I recorded and edited the next interim podcast episode.



I wrote two book reviews.



Day One of Camp NaNoWriMo! Started well by pulling Strength, Endurance and Talent from my blessings bowl!

In the morning, I edited a story for a friend, who needed feedback quickly to meet an imminent submission deadline.

Later, I put together my work station for embarking on the great editing expedition for Colours. I also added 43 words to the manuscript so I could log a start on Camp Nano. I always said I'd never get involved in a Nano event, but this has fallen at just the right time to help me with my Colours revision, and it's a lot more flexible than the main November one, so I'm going to use it to my advantage.

I planned out my writing sessions for the rest of the week in my UWR writing diary.



I faffed a lot this morning, getting my workstation set up, pulling blessings (Time, Innovation, Contentment - another good set for my editing project) and doing a tarot reading (the Captain of Airships is ready to accompany me into my editing with calm clarity, good counsel and an unemotional perspective - yay!), making tea, arranging my pens, refilling my medication for the week…

Then, eventually, I went back to my feedback spreadsheet and started reviewing comments. I went back to the developmental edit from Amie of the Six Month Novel Programme first, to remind myself of the aspects of her feedback that I still needed to address. There were a couple of people who had given me just a few short, but useful, points so I went back to those and added them into my notes. Then I read through the four longer ‘overview’ statements and decided what I wanted to take from those.



I went through the first of four annotated manuscripts from my beta readers on Colours. I made some amendments to my draft here and there but mostly compiled notes on larger revisions to consider later.

It felt good to be getting back into this story properly again. There’s a lot of work to do, but it feels do-able and I have confidence in the story, so that helps.

I added nearly 1000 words to my WIP Big Bang story, and it felt good to be making progress on that again. Then I reviewed my flash piece for tomorrow’s TL;DR workshop and added some more descriptive detail to that.



I started the day by collating my notes and writing my script for the next main podcast episode. Then I moved on to the second annotated manuscript of Colours, making amendments as required and adding notes to my master collation.

In the evening, I attended the fourth TL;DR flash fiction workshop, which was fantastic as ever.



I started out by editing a lengthy blog post for Dave. I had a brainwave about my WIP Big Bang story (the big question about how the heroes get out of the pickle they’re in was answered!) so I wrote some notes on that. I also made some amendments to my third TL;DR flash fiction piece, based on the feedback from the previous night’s workshop, getting it ready for submission.

Then I moved on to reviewing Dave’s feedback on Colours, made necessary quick amendments and added a lot more to my editing notes.


Posted on 29 June 2020 09:39


This week was very much a lesson in accountability and scheduling. I had two retreat days where I wanted to get specific tasks done but didn’t really feel like it on the day. But I stated my goals on two separate online communities and that helped me achieve them, even though I wasn’t feeling very enthusiastic.



I had a slightly late start but posted by goals for the morning on the UWR online session page and eventually settled down to review my Scribophile critiques on Suffering. I tweaked the story based on all the feedback and was happy with the final result.

Then I moved on to my ideas from the second TL;DR flash workshop and completed a first draft of one of them.

After lunch, I went through an old short story to attempt to expand and revise it to fit an upcoming submission opportunity. I managed to add a bit, but didn’t feel that just padding out the text I already had would be productive, considering the story needed to be doubled in length.

So, I posted it on TL;DR to ask for some help on how to expand it. (Having a responsive writing community is awesome!)



I edited an article for a friend and a flash piece for another friend.



I wrote a mammoth script for the next interim podcast episode.

I then spent most of the afternoon finishing my current book and writing the review.



I gave feedback on a poem for a friend.



I stated my goal of completing the expansion of Broken Succession on both UWR and TL;DR, and then sat down to review my notes and feedback. Several extra scenes presented themselves (courtesy of the subconscious crew), so I added to my notes and then dug into the story and added more than 2300 words to put it over the required target of 5000 words.

The third TL;DR flash fiction workshop was just as good as the other two. I got some great feedback on my second story and came up with an interesting idea for my third, which may well work for an upcoming submission opportunity I’d been mulling.



I wrote a review of the film we watched for online film night on Friday.

I also submitted Suffering.


Posted on 21 June 2020 20:09


Some good progress on various fronts, and a highly enjoyable collaborative workshop, which reminded me why I like spending time discussing things and working on stuff with other writers.



I posted my stated goals on the UWR online session page for the morning session - namely finishing the first draft of Suffering and the first draft of the flash piece from the TL;DR workshop.

Then I completed a submission.

I also managed to complete my stated goals and posted Suffering on Scribophile to get feedback.

Later, I wrote a book review.



I wrote another book review.



I critiqued a short story for a friend.



I did multiple critiques on Scribophile to get my points back up and push Suffering closer to the spotlight.



I attended the second week of the TL;DR Flash Fiction Workshop.

It was awesome! We discussed a contest-winning flash fic we’d all read during the week, then we worked in pairs to review and comment on our Week One first drafts, and then we brainstormed ideas from prompts for a second story. So much fun, and really productive.



I read a few of the other pieces from the TL;DR workshop and sent feedback to the writers. I also wrote some notes for the first draft of my second story.

Later, I discussed my various ideas with Dave, refined my plan for the second story and also made notes for a completely different version to do as well.

I also made sure I had a clear plan for the UWR online session I planned to attend the next day.


Posted on 14 June 2020 19:47


Monday has definitely become my most productive writing day, thanks to a great online writing retreat schedule that fits really well with how I like to structure my day.



I stated my goals on the UWR online session post, which were to continue drafting Suffering and the WIP story, and also to alter three existing stories to fit upcoming submission opportunities - one to shorten, one to expand, and one to change the tone of the ending from uplifting to dark.

I set the subconscious crew the task of working out my WIP Big Bang story ready for the afternoon retreat session.

I settled down to work, but got distracted when I got an email from the editor of Writing Magazine, accepting both the articles I submitted back in November, which was awesome!!

I eventually started my writing session with a book review, then continued drafting Suffering and managed 500 words. I also cut down a 3,100 story to 16,25 to fit a competition entry.

In the afternoon, I brainstormed my WIP Big Bang story and the subconscious crew continued to exceed expectations by presenting me with a workable plot. So, I outlined for a bit and then started writing the actual story - my first fanfiction writing of the year!



I wrote a review of a film we watched the day before.



I wrote a blog post about cultivating a positive mental attitude.

Then I wrote some more of my WIP Big Bang story, so I would have enough to submit my snippets, which were due on Saturday. I managed to add nearly 900 words to the story.



I wrote my script for the next main podcast episode, and also completed the next lesson in Neil Gaiman’s Masterclass.

Later, I brainstormed and drafted ideas for an upcoming submission opportunity.



I added a bit more to my WIP Big Bang story and submitted the required snippets on time.

I did my GYWO discussion post for the month and tweaked the script for the next main podcast episode, as well as reviewing a book I'd finished earlier in the afternoon.

In the evening I attended the first session of the TL;DR Flash Fiction Workshop, which was really fun and resulted in an idea for a new flash piece that will be developed in the next workshop.



I did some submissions and edited the latest podcast episode.


Posted on 11 June 2020 10:30

Things have been getting hard again. The daily routine has been feeling relentless. The future is still so uncertain. Everything has been seeming to take more energy that I don’t have. I’ve been grumpy and tired and not feeling like being constructive.


But it’s all in my head. And I do know that. But, sometimes, it takes a while to remember, and to give myself a nudge to change my attitude.


Everything I am doing in my life at the moment, I am choosing to do for good and positive reasons.


I work at my day job because I want to earn money, and also because I take pride in doing a good job for people I like, completing tasks that are important and that others don’t want to do. It gives me structure, and three days a week where I don’t have to decide what to do next, because it’s on a list that’s not determined by me. There’s pleasure and satisfaction in that.


I run because I want to take positive action towards getting fitter. I enjoy setting myself new challenges to run further or faster. And I want to know what happens next in Zombies Run!


I cook and do laundry and wash up because I want to provide good food for myself and my husband, because I like choosing meals and knowing what’s in them. I like the kitchen to be tidy and the crockery to be clean. And it’s nice to have clean clothes, not to mention that arranging them on the drying rack and then folding them and putting them away has become a very pleasant mindfulness exercise.


So, whilst a lot of those things can feel like burdensome obligations that I am forced into, that isn’t true. Nobody is forcing me to do any of those things. I choose to do them because I find pleasure either in the act or in the results. And it’s important to remember that.


After several runs that felt really hard and miserable, this morning I got up and ran all the way round the local park and back to the bottom of the hill without stopping for the first time ever. I have run further on other routes, but I had a mental block about the park, because it’s where I first started running, so I associate it with the activity being difficult. But I knew I could run that whole distance because I’ve done it before elsewhere. So, today, I decided I could do it - and I did! And it felt really good.


The same lesson applies to writing. Sometimes, writing feels like a chore. And I often think that if I didn’t have external deadlines (competition entries, etc), I wouldn’t do it. But I know that’s not true. Because I wrote a novel, and signed the contract last week for it to be published (YAY!). And there were no external deadlines for that. But I did it anyway, even though it was really hard, because I wanted to.


I’ve tried giving up writing before. And it doesn’t stick. There are always more ideas and more submission opportunities and more encouragement and more successes, all of which spur me on.


And, a lot of the time, I do enjoy the writing process, no matter how much I might complain about it at times!


So, I’m planning to turn my more positive attitude to my writing projects and try to inject a bit more enthusiasm, while still acknowledging that pushing myself every minute to be doing something productive is not a healthy way to be, or a route to being happy.


I’ve been looking at affirmations for a creative project this week, and one in particular has stuck with me, as being very appropriate for this attitude shift:


When you’re tired, learn to rest, not quit.


There will always be fallow periods, times during which I need to stop, take stock and recharge. But my projects and ideas and enthusiasm will always be there waiting for me, when I’m ready to come back to them. The important thing is to find a balance between working and resting, so that the cycle is more regular, rather than there being intensive periods of productivity, followed by burnout.


I’ll try to keep reminding myself to make choices for positive, rather than negative reasons. And I’ll try to keep reminding myself that I love the things I do and I do them because I want to.


Posted on 07 June 2020 18:23


More planning and brainstorming and revising this week than actual new words, but a couple of stories completed, lots of submissions done. Oh, and I signed the contract with my publisher for my first novel. So, that happened...



I logged my goals on the UWR online retreat page, then finalised both Missing Out and Secret Admirer, after some excellent additional feedback from Dave.

Then I submitted both of them, along with a few other stories for calls that opened today.



I wrote a book review.



I did some more submissions and enough Scribophile critiques to get my points up over five again, so I could post a new story if I wanted.

Later, I signed the contract with my publisher for Artisan!!!

I also assigned a story idea to the subconscious crew, asking them to come up with a way to move forwards with it on Saturday morning.



I wrote a book review and added some more submission opportunities to my rolling spreadsheet from this month’s Writing Magazine.



The subconscious crew outdid themselves, coming up with a ton of really interesting ideas for my horror story, and completely changing it from its previous version. I wrote some notes to plan it out.

I also went through all my upcoming submission plans and worked out either ideas for new stories or ideas for how to adapt old stories to fit.



I planned out some more submissions and also set my goals for tomorrow’s online retreat.

I also made some notes for my WIP Big Bang story, and wrote the first few words of the new opening to my horror story, now renamed Suffering in Silence.


Posted on 31 May 2020 20:25


Really great progress on the short story front this week, starting from an awesome session with structure provided by Urban Writers Retreat. I’m pleased that I then managed to build on that momentum to continue with the stories throughout the rest of the week. Here's hoping I can do the same next week!



I started out with a couple of reviews of books I finished recently.

Then, I logged on to the UWR online session, stating the intention to spend an hour each on the four short stories I’m meant to be working on. I then spent the first half hour of the retreat making tea, setting up my writing station and faffing around on the internet. Sigh.

After that, though, I did some useful research for my astronaut story, now called Missing Out, which helped me figure out where to start, so I wrote the first few hundred words.

Then I moved onto a horror story I’ve had swirling around my brain for years, and which I thought I could write to fit an upcoming anthology call. I wasn’t convinced the idea would work, or suit the theme, and I considered just letting it go. But I did a bit of brainstorming and came up with a new approach that not only fit the theme much better, but also improved the arc of the story and made it a lot easier to write. So that was quite an achievement! I started drafting the opening, while I was on a roll and got some words down and came up with the title, Comeuppance.

After lunch, I started drafting Secret Admirer, another idea I had some time ago and had already completed an outline for. I wrote the first couple of scenes.

Then I finished off a truly excellent session by brainstorming expansion ideas for my WIP Big Bang story, and managed to come up with some ideas for timeline and setting, as well as a list of questions for my subconscious crew to work on for next time.



I reviewed the film we watched the night before.



I set myself the task of recreating the morning session of Monday’s retreat and finished a first draft of Missing Out. I also rewrote the opening of Comeuppance to adjust the point of view, and added a bit more.

I also edited the next main podcast episode.



I did some submissions.



I logged my writing intentions on the URW online writing retreat page and settled down to complete my first draft of Secret Admirer.

Then I wrote the next interim podcast script.



I did some reflecting, planning and scheduling in my awesome UWR diary.

I talked to my parents about the Secret Admirer story and made some amendments based on their feedback.

I also did a ‘show, don’t tell’ exercise, prompted by one of the people currently editing Colours.

Later, I recorded and edited the next interim podcast episode.