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Posted on 11 January 2021 09:54

Summary:

Back to the day job this week after a long festive break. It wasn’t too bad overall - I kept on top of work without getting stressed and I kept to my scheduled writing time, focusing on the one most important thing (Colours) each time, and also getting some other useful stuff done. I’m reminding myself that all progress is good progress.

 

Monday:

Last day before going back to the day job! Luckily, I had Charlie from UWR to keep me on track with an online retreat.

I revised five more scenes of Colours, then finished editing the latest podcast episode.

I made some notes on Connection based on feedback from Scribophile.

 

Tuesday:

I did some submissions.

 

Thursday:

I started out with five more scenes of revision on Colours, then I did a couple more submissions.

I also gave more feedback to a TL;DR writer on the opening paragraphs of her novel.

Later, I finished a book and wrote my review.

 

Saturday:

I made good use of Charlie’s UWR online session again, completing five more scenes of Colours, and looking into some more marketing opportunities for The Defiant Spark. I researched, selected and contacted a blog tour provider, and sent requests for reviews to four different places.

 

Sunday:

I took part in the theme-setting workshop with CP’s Day Off. There was lots of free-writing and sharing of thoughts and ideas, which was great. As ever, it took me in directions I hadn’t expected and was a valuable experience.

Later, I wrote a review of a book and a review of a film.

 

Posted on 04 January 2021 09:08

Summary:

A solid innings for my first official writing week of 2021. I faced some obstacles and didn’t get as much done as I’d planned, but I focused on the most important things and revised my expectations of some of the others. Happy overall!

 

Monday:

I did some more planning of marketing activities for The Defiant Spark (available for pre-order now!).

Then I settled down for my first proper writing session of my new writing year (even though it was only 28 December).

First on the list was diving back into Colours, to check for consistency, add depth and increase the word count a bit more. My plan was to do five scenes per session, so I read through my notes and then started at the beginning. I expanded the first five scenes, adding 444 words. It felt good to get back to it and remind myself that it was a promising story and worth working on.

Then I went back to the original short story of Safeguarding and reread it, adding to my notes for the novel as I went.

Later, I wrote a blog post about my writing plans for 2021.

 

Tuesday:

I spent the whole morning doing marketing activities for The Defiant Spark - contacting local media, people I support on Patreon who might be prepared to plug it, writing contacts who have communities they can advertise it to, school alumni associations, etc. It was pretty exhausting and felt a bit like shameless self-promotion - but I guess it’s all part of the deal of being a published author!

Later, I started editing the latest podcast episode.

 

Thursday:

I made a prioritised list for a full-on writing session today..

Sticking to my own rules, I started with Colours, expanding another five scenes. Then I went on to revising a few old pieces to fit upcoming submission opportunities, and submitted them. After that, it was back to Connection to complete the first draft before the end of the year.

I posted Connection to Scribophile for some feedback.

Later, I wrote my final two reviews of 2020.

 

Friday:

I started 2021 with my six-month review stats.

 

Saturday:

I did some submissions.

 

Sunday:

I meant to have a full day’s writing today, but got significantly derailed by other things.

Still, I managed to revise the next five scenes of Colours and do a couple of submissions.

 

Posted on 28 December 2020 14:27

It may only be 28th December 2020, and 2021 may not actually start for another four days. And the official Week One of the 2021 calendar may not be until 4th January… But I’m starting my new writing year today!

 

I closed off most of my ongoing projects before Christmas and had a few days off from writing. But I have eight days left before I have to go back to work and I want to make the most of them. My 2021 UWR writing diary arrived a while ago, and I’ve already set my goals for the year. So why not take advantage of my remaining time off and start working on them now?

 

I’m keeping my usual weekly schedule from 2020 - writing on Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. I’ve got UWR online retreat sessions to help me twice a week, and my regular focus session with Claire from CP’s Day Off as well. I want to start trying to do longer sessions, so I’m going to start slow, by intending to log on to the Monday UWR facebook group in the morning and the afternoon, and see how that goes.

 

I’ve also got my mindset journal from TINACAW, which I started this morning and I’m hoping will help keep me in the right frame of mind. Not to mention, I’ve signed up for CP’s accountability sessions for nine months - if she can’t keep me on track, nothing will!

 

My actual goals are fairly simple. I want to do another draft of the second novel and then final polishing, with a view to submitting it to my publisher in the summer. I want to plan out the third novel and hopefully complete a first draft in the last quarter of the year, before sending it to my editor for a developmental edit. And I want to keep my hand in on short stories as and when I can, focusing only on the most interesting and most doable submission opportunities that come my way throughout the year.

 

I’m taking it reasonably slow, setting myself targets but keeping them small and flexible. I’ve broken the bigger stuff down into manageable chunks and I’m just going to work through one step at a time. All progress is good progress - and if I can keep making progress week by week, I’ll be happy.

 

My theme for the year is positive choice - finding positive reasons for the choices I make and the things I choose to spend my time on. So, I’m going to utilise my inner mentor to remind me why I want to write and to help me find the joy in the process. I’m going to utilise my subconscious crew to help me get past any obstacles that crop up. And sometimes, I’m going to make a positive choice to set my writing aside and enjoy some rest and relaxation without feeling as if I’m failing to achieve.

 

So, here’s to a great year of writing, with a positive mindset and a joyful approach, supported by excellent external and internal systems.

 

Posted on 28 December 2020 09:13

Summary:

Officially, there are 53 weeks in 2020 and 2021 starts on 4 January, but I’m calling it now and starting 2021 early! An excellent last writing week of 2020, setting me up for a great start to 2021. I made progress on several projects, did some good planning activities, and got the release date for my debut novel!

 

Monday:

During my planning sessions of last week, I identified a couple of things I want to do more of in my writing activities in 2021.

Since I (mostly) got my mojo back in November, I’ve been cautious about over-stretching myself. I’ve been making slow but steady progress on projects and have been very happy with what I’ve achieved.

But I’m excited about my writing plans for next year, eager to get stuck into some big projects - and I remember a time when I used to spend all day in a cafe, working on my writing, rather than just a reluctant two hours in the morning before giving up.

Plus, one of the things I’ve missed this year has been learning more about the craft of writing. I used to always have a writing-related book on the go, and reading that was regularly part of my scheduled sessions.

In 2021 I’d like to start trying to do a two-hour session in the afternoon on one or two of my writing days, as well as a two-hour session in the morning. I’m also going to re-introduce reading books about writing as part of those sessions.

And, since I’m excited about it, and I currently have time off work (so plenty of opportunity to relax in between writing days) - I figured, why wait until 2021 to start?

So, I decided to utilise Charlie’s excellent UWR online sessions as my structure today, and posted my goals and intentions for both the morning and the afternoon time slots.

I started with some more of the Novelry course, then added some words to Connection. Then I indulged in some brainstorming for the most exciting of the upcoming submission opportunities for early 2021, in order to get them on my task list and percolating in my brain. Later, I reviewed my pile of writing craft books and picked the one that seemed most appealing to start reading.

By the end of the afternoon session, I was totally knackered! So I’ll have to be careful about not over-doing it in the new year. But it was good and I felt productive.

 

Wednesday:

I finished the Novelry course. It was interesting overall, because it wasn’t what I expected it to be, and it demonstrated that I wasn’t interested in writing the kind of book it was guiding students towards - and yet, I wrote a lot of useful notes and it also prompted me to think about my next novel in surprising ways, and led to a lot of great insights at the pre-planning stages, which was what I had wanted to get out of it. So, a successful exercise overall, even if I didn’t feel the lessons were always relevant to the kind of book I wanted to write.

It was also useful because it confirmed that I didn’t want to go on to the next course in the series - The Ninety Day Novel - which initially sounded tempting, even though I didn’t want to put that kind of time pressure on my next novel. So, instead, I’m going to go back to the tried and true Six Month Novel Programme - though I’m going to use my saved materials from previous iterations and take myself through it on my own schedule, rather than signing up to do the course live with other people.

 

Thursday:

I wrote a review of the book I finished the day before.

 

Friday:

I helped Bear with his Christmas post and wrote a review of another book.

 

Saturday:

I did some submissions planning.

 

Sunday:

I wrote my script for the next podcast episode, and read through a critique I got from editors who rejected a story of mine recently.

I also worked on a marketing plan for Artisan, which is actually called The Defiant Spark and is available for pre-order in e-book form now, with a paperback coming out in February!!

 

Posted on 21 December 2020 09:26

Summary:

Lots of planning this week, ramping up my enthusiasm, goals, schedule and targets for the start of 2021.

 

Monday:

I wrote some more notes on Safeguarding, from ideas that came to me overnight.

I did some more of the Novelry course.

 

Tuesday:

I read a book and wrote my review.

 

Thursday:

I did four submissions and some more Novelry course lessons.

 

Saturday:

First day of seventeen with no day-job! I didn’t have any major writing plans for the period before Christmas, but I decided to do my 2021 writing planning, officially starting my new writing year on 28 December, to give myself a whole week to get started with everything before having to go back to work!

I also did a ton more of the Novelry course, wanting to finish that before Christmas so I could progress to the next stage for Safeguarding on 28th.

A newcomer to the TL;DR writers’ Slack posted the first chapter of their current work-in-progress, so I read it and offered comments, and also further beta reading services, as it was really good and I wanted to read more of it!

Today was also the final rounding-up workshop for TINACAW, which was lovely. It was an awesome course, that took me from being totally stuck with my writing, to achieving lots of great stuff in the last six weeks of the year, and being really excited about planning for 2021.

 

Sunday:

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

I did some more 2021 planning.

 

Posted on 14 December 2020 10:04

Summary:

Despite forgetting (yet again) that trying to write every day quickly leads to burn out for me, I did manage to get some useful stuff done here and there this week in the end.

 

Monday:

I woke up feeling incredibly demotivated on the writing front, after all the excitement and new ideas of the previous week. I checked my writing diary and discovered I’d done writing sessions ten days in a row, which historically has been about my limit.

So, instead of writing new Colours scenes based on the ideas the subconscious crew came up with the night before, I wrote some notes about them.

And instead of trying to force more words onto Connection, I did the next Novelry course lesson and then called it a day.

 

Tuesday:

I kept it light again, just completing the next Novelry course lesson.

 

Thursday:

I did my next GYWO discussion post and did a couple more Novelry course lessons, also making some additional notes on Safeguarding based on what I learned.

Later, I was thinking about the issues I was having with Connection, and an answer came to me. It was originally conceived as existential horror, but was coming out as an angsty gay love story. So I switched the submission opportunity I was aiming for with it, to another one it was a better fit for, and which had a later deadline. This made me very happy.

 

Saturday:

I made a list of everything I wanted to accomplish over the weekend, organised it in order of priority and then started with the first thing.

I reviewed the edits on the story I submitted to the latest TL;DR anthology call, which were minimal and accompanied by very positive feedback from my editor.

Then I added potential new submission opportunities from this month’s Writing Magazine to my rolling spreadsheet. After stepping back a bit from short stories for the last quarter of 2020, there were lots of exciting listings in WM this month, so I’ll have to be careful not to get distracted away from the bigger projects I want to work on in 2021.

I beta-read a story for one of the other TL;DR writers and offered some comments.

 

Sunday:

I did a chunk of Novelry course lessons and wrote some more notes for Safeguarding.

 

Posted on 07 December 2020 10:00

Summary:

Lots of excellent brain sparkage this week! Talking through ideas and fielding difficult questions prompted the good old subconscious crew to work overtime, so it’s been an exciting week on the writing front!

 

Monday:

This morning, I did another lesson of the Novelry course and wrote some notes for Safeguarding on infusing the story with relatable emotion.

I edited the most recent podcast episode.

 

Tuesday:

I did the next Novelry course lesson.

 

Wednesday:

I did the next Novelry course lesson.

 

Thursday:

I wrote some notes on Safeguarding and did some submissions.

I added a new scene to Connection and did the next two Novelry course lessons.

 

Friday:

I did the next Novelry course lesson.

Later, I went for a walk with Dave and talked to him about the basic idea behind Safeguarding - he asked some difficult questions that sparked some great ideas for how to expand the scope and involve a secondary narrative thread.

I finished a book and wrote my review.

I also made some additional notes for the next Colours revision, based on another conversation with Dave - he was really useful today!

 

Saturday:

Overnight, the subconscious crew came up with a new piece of Colours I’d been trying to fit into the puzzle for months, so I added a scene and made some more revision notes.

Then I did the next couple of Novelry course lessons before logging on for the weekly TINACAW workshop. This week, there was time in the session to do some actual creative work, so I added 500 more words to Connection. We also talked about life balance and identifying where we could carve out more time for writing, but I decided my current schedule was working well and though it best not to try and force my writing time at the moment.

I talked about Safeguarding with Dave again later in the day, resulting in more frantic note scribbling as new ideas sparked.

 

Sunday:

I submitted an entry for AWC’s final Furious Fiction competition of the year.

I wrote a review of the book I finished the day before.

And I did the next lesson on the Novelry course.

 

Posted on 30 November 2020 09:25

Summary:

The joy is definitely back! But I’m taking it slow, trying not to put too much pressure on my writing, in case it goes away again… Lots of good stuff this week, but in small chunks.

 

Monday:

I woke up full of enthusiasm (despite having finished my major retreat project the day before) so I launched in with this month’s GYWO discussion post, then wrote a blog post based on my experiences of the previous week about getting out of my own way.

Later, I did some brainstorming for some upcoming short story submission opportunities.

 

Wednesday:

Last day of my at-home retreat, so I decided to try and make it count!

I wrote my script for the next podcast episode. Then I revised an existing story to fit an upcoming submission opportunity and submitted it, along with several others to different publications.

Later, I continued brainstorming one of the possible short stories from earlier in the week. I set the subconscious crew the task of coming up with a way to start it on Saturday morning.

 

Friday:

I wrote two reviews, one of a film and one of a board game.

I also signed up for an online outlining course from The Novelry.

 

Saturday:

I woke up early, eager to get started on my writing to-do list for the day. I started out with a couple of meditation exercises from TINACAW, setting up my writing space and connecting with my inner mentor. I did my TINACAW weekly review, then started Connection, the new short story I brainstormed earlier in the week. The subconscious crew came up with an opening scene right on schedule so I drafted that.

I did a review of my progress over the year and discovered that Connection would be my fifteenth brand new short story of 2020 (not counting a handful of throwaway flash pieces I’m not pursuing for publication). This was more than I would have guessed, which was a nice surprise.

Then I logged into The Novelry site and started my new course, with a view to embarking on novel number three - working title Safeguarding. I completed the two introductory lessons and made some notes.

Next came the fourth TINACAW live workshop, which was awesome, as expected.

 

Sunday:

Sunday is usually my day off, when I give myself permission not to think about writing for the day. But I woke up excited to carry on with both my current writing projects, so I fired up the Novelry course and did another lesson, with a view to developing the idea for Safeguarding.

I wrote some notes for both Safeguarding and Connection based on what I learned in the course lesson and came up with some interesting new ideas for both, which I then left to percolate.

 

Posted on 23 November 2020 10:15

I had big plans for my second novel this year.

 

I was going to finish the second draft, send it out for feedback from my beta readers, complete revisions based on that feedback, polish up a final draft and submit it to my publisher for consideration - all by the end of June!

 

Well, here we are nearing the end of November and I have tentatively finished a third draft, based on feedback from my beta readers, but I’m definitely not at the polishing stage yet. It needs at least one full read-through to check it all makes sense, it needs another read-through to try and add some extra detail and deepen the emotion, and then I can maybe start the final editing and polishing process.

 

So, five months after I’d planned to submit it, I’ve still got a lot of work to do.

 

But that’s okay.

 

And I’ve learned a lot of valuable lessons along the way.

 

Most recently and most importantly - that I need to release myself from my own expectations sometimes. I’ve had a clear revision plan for the novel for months now and I haven’t been able to make any real progress on implementing it, which has been extremely frustrating.

 

But, in the last week, I came to the realisation that I was putting way too much pressure on myself. I had a set idea about how and when I would submit, and a set idea about how long it needed to be. And that was stopping me from working on it, because I was expecting to be able to produce a final publication-ready draft at the end of the next round of revisions.

 

Which was utterly ridiculous.

 

I was only really at the stage of making quite significant changes to the plot and particularly the climax. You can’t do that and expect what you end up with to be perfect. It may not even make sense, since I’ve been shoving new plot points and character development in fairly at random. There’s no way this thing is ready for a publisher!

 

And that’s still okay.

 

But, because I had a timeline in mind and am now way past all my deadlines, it felt like I needed to rush to finish, in order to try and catch up with an impossible schedule that was already well out of the window, and had only been set by me.

 

So, I let go of my timeline and just focused on getting the words down, not worrying about whether or not they were any good, or if there were enough of them. And, with that mindset, I completed my revisions in four days - and I didn’t even work that long on any of those days!

 

And now I have a new draft that I can work to improve, though I’m not going to look at it again for a few weeks because I think I’ll do a better job on it after I’ve given it some space.

 

It will eventually be ready to submit, but it doesn’t matter if that’s now going to be next year (it is) because there’s no point in pushing myself to produce something sub-standard by an arbitrary deadline just for the sake of it.

 

I do want to finish. I do want to submit. And, to that end, I do want to make sure I keep working on it and progressing towards that goal. So I will keep setting myself deadlines and keep making big plans. But hopefully, I won’t beat myself up so much if I don’t hit them all.

 

Posted on 22 November 2020 20:31

Summary:

Some great prep work early in the week, leading into my at-home retreat, which went extremely well. As ever, once I actually got started, it didn’t turn out to be as hard as I expected.

 

Monday:

I consolidated my remaining Colours revision notes, in the hopes that reorganising them would provide a clearer route to completion. And it did! I came up with some new thoughts about the arc of the antagonist, which clarified how to approach the next round of edits.

I also finished a book and wrote my review.

Later, I used After Dinner Focus Hour to proofread three more chapters of Artisan.

 

Thursday:

Today marked the first day of my seven-day at-home writing retreat. I started as I meant to go on, with a decent session on Colours, making some really good progress on the antagonist arc.

Then I went back to Artisan and finished the proofreading, before sending the final manuscript back to the publisher!

Later, I finished a book and wrote my review.

 

Friday:

I started out with Colours again and completed the additions for the antagonist arc. So, then I went through my notes for the new climax and repeated the exercise from earlier in the week by consolidating them into a new format to help me clarify the way forwards.

I read through the details of a couple of new upcoming submission opportunities and identified unassigned stories I could send in for them.

Later, during my afternoon meditation class, the new climax of Colours played itself out in my mind’s eye like a movie, so I had to break off meditating to write some hasty notes!

I finished another book and wrote my review.

 

Saturday:

I wrote the new climax of Colours and consolidated my notes for the remaining things that need to be amended or expanded.

Then I took part in the third TINACAW workshop, which was awesome as ever!

 

Sunday:

I identified some potential submission opportunities for a story that was rejected.

Then I went back to Colours and added in some extra plot points from my notes, to complete the third draft!

 

Posted on 16 November 2020 10:25

Summary:

Fluctuating motivation and progress this week, but still progress overall.

 

Monday:

I woke up with Colours writing itself in my head again, which was amazing. So I got up and did some work on it first thing - by choice rather than by scheduling!

Later, Dave and I embarked on our first After Dinner Focus Hour, during which we both committed to spend an hour after dinner working on non-day-job-related projects, rather than just watching TV or playing computer games. So, I did my requisite three chapters of Artisan proofreading.

I also helped Bear with a post all about Stanleys recent shenanigans and wrote a review of a game I got for my birthday.

 

Tuesday:

In today’s After Dinner Focus Hour, I did seven submissions and also chased a few that have been out for more than six months.

 

Thursday:

I wasn’t feeling massively motivated today, so I worked on small, easy things instead of trying to focus on either novel.

I wrote a review of the last book I finished and I went through my submissions list and tried to find new places to submit some of the stories that weren’t out for consideration anywhere at the moment. I found new opportunities for eight stories that had been languishing in the Unassigned folder, and actually completed all the submissions during After Dinner Focus Hour, so that was good!

 

Saturday:

I got up with good intentions, did my TINACAW weekly review, then got sidetracked by getting rejected stories back out for consideration. I did manage to do a bit on Colours, though, just so I could say I had. Then I caught up on some Artisan proofreading before the second TINACAW live workshop.

 

Sunday:

I edited the most recent podcast episode.

 

Posted on 09 November 2020 08:28

Summary:

The start of the week was all about forcing myself to stick to the schedule, but the end of the week was all about enthusiasm, all thanks to a new course I started. So, yay for self-reflection, encouragement and community!

 

Monday:

I did some submissions.

 

Thursday:

I scheduled my usual writing time and my plan of spending the first hour on Colours, but I really wasn’t feeling it when I sat down at my computer. I couldn’t focus on the text on the page and kept skipping through scenes I knew needed revision, so I stopped trying. Instead, I read through my antagonist arc notes again, noted down some important questions I hadn’t answered yet, and set my subconscious crew the task of percolating on them, asking them to come up with some new ideas for the next session on Saturday.

Then I turned to Artisan, figuring that proofreading should always be possible and that an external deadline was more important than an arbitrary personal one. I proofread the next three chapters.

I also went through this month’s Writing Magazine and added some submission opportunities to my rolling spreadsheet.

 

Friday:

I finished a book and wrote my review.

 

Saturday:

Today was the first day of UWR’s This Is Not A Course About Writing! I watched Charlie’s lovely welcome message and filled in the pre-work questionnaire, which was all about where I am with my writing, how I feel about my writing, and where I want to be with my writing. Even that short exercise brought up some interesting things that will definitely require additional thought - which is what the course is all about - looking at your mindset and the things you put in your own way, and working towards developing tools to identify why you write and to rediscover your joy.

Then I went back to Colours for a bit and forced myself to think clearly and carefully about just one scene so I could tell myself I had at least made some progress…

Next came another chapter of proofreading on Artisan.

And then it was time for the first live TINACAW Zoom call, which was really great! It was full of freewriting exercises and self-reflection. It reintroduced me to Captain Bear, my inner mentor, and had me visualising my resentment as a sulky teenager I pushed into a swimming pool! And it was great to spend time with other writers and hear about their experiences of the workshop at the end. I’m really looking forward to the rest of this course.

 

Sunday:

I woke up with a scene of Colours writing itself in my head, which hadn’t happened in a very long time and was a welcome development. I made some edits, then proofread another chapter of Artisan.

 

Posted on 02 November 2020 09:20

Summary:

Scheduling and trying to stick to a specific plan worked out this week. It was always tough to get going, but by the end of the week I made good progress on my second novel and felt like I was getting back on track with it.

 

Monday:

I started out working on Colours, as per the plan. I did some amendments to the build up of the main relationship in the story, and then tracked the timeline and adjusted it back a couple of years so as to avoid needing to mention the pandemic.

Then I went back to Artisan and proofread another three chapters, before moving on to editing some more of my friend’s novel.

So, three times three novels, three days in a row!

 

Wednesday:

I wrote a review of a game we played the night before and edited a bit more of my friend’s novel.

 

Thursday:

For logistical reasons, I had to break my rule about always starting with Colours. Instead, I proofread three more chapters of Artisan and finished editing my friend’s novel first thing.

Then I went back to Colours later in the day. I only had two sections of revisions left to do - the major expansion of the antagonist’s arc and involvement, and the total rewrite of the climax. So not much, then! I started out with the former by re-reading and re-organising my notes, because transferring notes from one notebook to another in different coloured pens is one of my favourite things to do - and justified by the fact that it really helps get the story back in my head and the subconscious crew working on the pesky details.

 

Saturday:

I did some work on the antagonist arc in Colours, and proofread three more chapters of Artisan.

Then I did my October reflection and November planning in my UWR writing diary.

 

Sunday:

I had some interesting thoughts about Colours during my morning meditation, so sat down to write with a bit more motivation than in recent times. I went back to the beginning and started going through the manuscript scene by scene to identify where the antagonist expansion aspects needed to be included. I made it 30% of the way through, which felt like good progress, though the majority of revisions need to be made in the second half.

Then I went back to Artisan and got back on track with my proofreading schedule by tackling two more chapters.

 

Posted on 26 October 2020 08:50

Summary:

I kept myself to my new writing plan and made good progress on all fronts, working on three different novels throughout the week.

 

Monday:

I stated my goals on the Urban Writers’ Retreat online session page, then cracked on with editing the last two chapters of Artisan.

And I finished! And sent the final manuscript back to the publisher! It was all very exciting and I felt a real sense of accomplishment. The editor’s comments were really great - constructive, reasonable, helpful and encouraging. The editing process was easy and fun, and I feel like the novel overall has been improved a great deal.

Next, I did a few reviews and then went back to editing my friend’s novel.

 

Wednesday:

I watched a film and wrote my review.

 

Thursday:

Today was the day to implement my plan! Back to three scheduled writing sessions per week, with the rule being that at least the first hour each time has to be dedicated to Colours. I was up really early, so aimed to start at 8am, and it was amazing how many other things seemed way more important at 7:45am (scrubbing my teapot, clipping my toenails…) but I got dressed in my favourite writing t-shirt, sat down at my desk at 8am and cracked open my Colours notebook to remind myself of the next set of revisions on the list.

I just about managed an hour, and ticked off a whole section in the plan, which felt good - though it was tough going.

Then I did my GYWO discussion post for the month and wrote a blog post.

Later, I did a bit more editing of my friend’s novel.

 

Saturday:

Artisan came back from the publisher for final sign-off already! I had been expecting a break of a few weeks to focus on Colours but suddenly Artisan was back on the list, requiring a close proofread…

Even though I didn’t actually want to work on either novel today, I still started my scheduled session with an hour of Colours, then went on to proofread the first three chapters of Artisan - because I persuaded myself my long-term goals were more important than my short-term desire to watch TV all day.

The Colours amendments went okay (progress made, at least, which is the main thing) and I actually enjoyed starting to read Artisan yet again.

I edited another couple of chapters of my friend’s novel, to round out my novel hat-trick for the day, then called it quits.

 

Sunday:

I did a mini novel hat-trick again - brainstorming on Colours, proofreading another chapter of Artisan and editing some more of my friend’s novel.

This is apparently my life now - which isn’t a bad thing!

I also wrote brief reviews of a couple of books I abandoned in the last week.

 

Posted on 22 October 2020 08:18

My last blog post saw me clearing the decks to focus on my second novel throughout September, in the hopes that I might finish my next round of revisions and have it in decent shape to submit to my publisher in November. That's definitely not going to happen.

 

Two days after I posted that, my publisher sent me the final edits on my first novel, asking me to review them, make necessary amendments and send the manuscript back within 6-8 weeks. 

 

I had hoped to be able to work on both novels throughout September, but it quickly became apparent that I couldn’t hold them both in my head at the same time. So, the second novel got put on hold again while I was concentrating on the first, since that was the one with an external deadline (and a publication contract).

 

I thoroughly enjoyed revisiting and improving the first novel, and the editorial comments from the publisher were constructive, reasonable, specific and easy to implement. The manuscript went back to them on Monday, so today was my next scheduled writing session after completing that task.

 

I went back to my previous plan of doing three writing sessions per week and spending at least the first hour on the second novel every time. I still have a clear plan of what I need to do, but I’m still having trouble actually getting on with it. Having the excuse to put it off while revising the first novel was great, as there were good reasons for doing it so I didn’t have to feel guilty.

 

But, as of today, I have no excuses left.

 

So, I opened up the latest draft, looked through my notes on the next set of required revisions, and set to work.

 

It went...okay.

 

I added in some good stuff and crossed several bullet points of my list. And it was good to get back into the story, since I do believe in it and want it to be finished. But I was very aware that I wasn’t giving it my all. I skimmed over some of the harder aspects, rationalising that certain things were fine as they are. And I was glad to stop after (not quite) an hour.

 

So, there’s definitely room for improvement!

 

But I started and I achieved some things. And that was the most important hurdle to clear today. A greater sense of dedication will hopefully develop as I get more into it. And there are always more rounds of revision to pick up on some of the details I may have missed. Today, I made a start and that feels good.

 

Posted on 19 October 2020 08:37

Summary:

Lots of editing, both of my novel and someone else’s.

 

Monday:

I started off by editing three more chapters of Artisan, then did a bit more editing on my friend’s novel.

 

Tuesday:

I did a bit more editing on my friend’s novel.

 

Thursday:

Back to the regular focusing session with Claire from CP’s Day Off.

I started with submissions, then wrote a review, and then went back to editing my friend’s novel.

 

Friday:

I edited a bit more of my friend’s novel.

 

Saturday:

I went back to Artisan and edited a few more chapters.

 

Posted on 12 October 2020 08:46

Summary:

Mostly not writing this week as I was on holiday and doing other things. But I kept my hand in and knuckled down on my return home.

 

Monday:

I wrote a review of a game I played a few days before.

 

Thursday:

I wrote a review of a film I watched the night before.

 

Saturday:

I wrote my script for the next podcast episode.

 

Sunday:

I planned to do a proper writing session today, starting with submissions.

I wrote a review of a book and also a film.

After lunch, I finally got back to Artisan edits and completed three more chapters. Only nine to go!

 

Posted on 05 October 2020 09:27

Summary:

 

Not much on the writing project front this week, and unlikely to be much progress next week either - but then the big push to the end of the year will begin!

 

Monday:

 

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

 

Tuesday:

 

I edited another two chapters of Artisan.

 

I went through this month’s Writing Magazine and added submission opportunities to my rolling spreadsheet.

 

Then I went back to editing my friend’s novel.

 

Thursday:

 

I wrote a review of a game we played the night before.

 

Friday:

 

I finished a book and wrote my review.

 

Posted on 28 September 2020 14:37

Summary:

Bits and pieces completed here and there this week - nothing major but still progress on several fronts.

 

Monday:

I spent some time going through my unassigned stories and finding places to submit them.

 

Thursday:

I did some more submissions, expanded my fantasy novella by a few hundred words for a submission opportunity, and then went back to final Artisan edits.

Later, I helped Bear with his third and final post about our holiday in the Scottish Highlands.

Later still, I started editing a friend’s novel.

 

Friday:

I edited some more of my friend’s novel and wrote a review of a film we watched over dinner.

 

Sunday:

I finished a book and wrote my review.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on 21 September 2020 08:54

Summary:

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.

 

Monday:

I finished a book and wrote my review.

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

 

Wednesday:

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.

 

Thursday:

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.

 

Saturday:

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.

 

Sunday:

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.