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Posted on 29 March 2020 19:00

Summary:

First full week of UK lockdown, which initially looked like it wouldn’t be a productive one on the writing front. But this was turned around by fantastic people running workshops and retreats online, and a series of three days at the end of the week where I made real progress on fiction for the first time in ages.

 

Tuesday:

A friend of mine who normally runs face-to-face freewriting workshops set up a virtual version via conference call this afternoon, so I dialled in and it was a lovely 90 minutes.

 

Wednesday:

I did some submissions.

I also wrote a couple of reviews and helped Bear with his first post about our recent trip to Centre Parcs.

 

Friday:

I edited the most recent podcast episode.

Later, I sat down to try and to a proper session. I started with a freewriting prompt, which got the juices flowing a bit. I edited some existing pieces to fit the requirements of an upcoming competition.

Charlie from Urban Writers Retreat sent an email out about some online retreats she was planning to host over the weekend, so I put together a plan for what I wanted to work on at the first one.

Then I went through my unassigned pieces and found places to submit them.

 

Saturday:

I logged on to the UWR online retreat and posted my goals for the day.

Then I started off by finally cracking on with some more of the edits for Colours. I completed two columns on my editing plan by the end of the first session, which was an excellent start and the first progress I’ve made on Colours in quite some time.

In the second session, I brainstormed and wrote notes for two upcoming short story submission opportunities and also wrote a blog post about my experience of the lockdown so far.

Later in the day, I completed the first quarter reflection exercise in my writing diary and planned my writing schedule for April.

Great day all round!

 

Sunday:

Slow start today, but I logged my intentions on the UWR online retreat, made a list and set to work.

I brainstormed ideas for my prompt from the TL;DR Flash Fiction competition.

I considered the next edit suggestion for Colours and added some notes to my editing plan.

I helped Bear with the next post in his Center Parcs series.

Later, I wrote the first scene of a new short story, for an upcoming anthology call.

I finished off with another couple of submissions.

So, another great day, which didn’t initially look like it would be, but became so by slowly and steadily working my way through a very specific task list.

 

Posted on 23 March 2020 16:52

Summary:

Lots of reviews again, but I also finally got a short story rewrite done, which has been on my list for weeks.

 

Monday:

I did a Scribophile critique.

 

Wednesday:

I wrote lots more reviews of all the games I played earlier in the week.

 

Thursday:

I finished another book and played another new game, and wrote my reviews of each.

 

Saturday:

I helped Bear with an overdue post about our most recent reading retreat.

 

Sunday:

I finished off the next main podcast script, ready to record later in the day. Then I finally finished rewriting my teddy bear love story, so it was ready for submission. I also read through an old story to check it fit the requirements of the submission opportunity I wanted to send it in for.

 

 

Posted on 15 March 2020 16:09

Summary:

Mostly reviews this week, with a bit of new writing courtesy of an excellent workshop.

 

Monday:

I reviewed a film I went to see over the weekend, and also a book I finished after work.

 

Tuesday:

Big plans for today! I signed up for a freewriting workshop in Hammersmith early afternoon, and I had to review a show at the Vaults festival in Waterloo in the evening. So I found a lovely cafe in Hammersmith to write until 1:15pm, and decided I would do another session in Waterloo after the workshop and before dinner.

I started with the next main podcast episode script and that was about as far as it got.

However, the workshop was great fun and spawned an idea for a new short story I’m excited about, so that was cool.

 

Wednesday:

I wrote and submitted my review of the The Vaults show I saw the night before.

I also made some more submissions.

 

Sunday:

I could have spent a lot of time on writing projects in the latter part of the week, while at Center Parcs, but instead I enjoyed reading a lot and also playing games with my friends.

I did, however, write some more reviews.

 

Posted on 08 March 2020 20:26

Summary:

I feel like I got some good stuff done this week, and am happy that I scheduled some proper writing sessions.

 

Tuesday:

I edited the first chapter of a friend’s novel.

 

Wednesday:

I reviewed a Vaults show I went to see the night before.

I finished two books and wrote reviews of each of them.

And I went through the new edition of Writing Magazine and added a few submission opportunities to my spreadsheet.

 

Friday:

I wrote a review of the dance show I saw the previous night.

I edited the next four chapters of my friend’s novel.

I wrote my GYWO discussion post for the month.

I wrote and recorded the next interim podcast episode.

 

Saturday:

I edited the most recent interim podcast episode.

 

Sunday:

I planned a proper writing session out of the flat and ensconced myself in Starbucks from 9am.

I brainstormed a new idea for an upcoming competition and made some useful notes, coming up with an almost complete outline, including a good ending.

Then I brainstormed the requirements for this month’s AWC Furious Fiction competition, came up with an idea and wrote and submitted the piece.

I went back to an old story and cut out 200 words to make it fit a submission opportunity. Then I checked another older story to ensure it fit the requirements of another submission opportunity.

 

Posted on 01 March 2020 21:25

Summary:

Basically just reviews and podcasting this week.

 

Monday:

I finished a book and wrote my review.

I also did some more submissions.

 

Sunday:

I wrote all the reviews from the reading retreat I went on earlier in the week and reviewed a film I watched earlier in the day..

I also started writing the script for the next interim podcast episode and edited the most recent main podcast episode.

 

Posted on 23 February 2020 15:55

Summary:

I worked on writing projects every day this week again, but I’m calling a halt now and going back to my regular-ish scheduled sessions. Not a bad week overall, though.

 

Monday:

I wrote my GYWO discussion post for the month.

 

Tuesday:

I did some more submissions.

 

Wednesday:

I wrote a review of a TV show we finished watching the previous night.

 

Thursday:

I met Ann in Wapping for my first proper writing session of the week, and started out with an extensive review of the book I finished the night before. Then I moved on to the script for the next main podcast episode. Later, I wrote a blog post about writing habits.

 

Friday:

I finished an audiobook and wrote a review of it.

Then I did some formatting for upcoming submissions.

 

Saturday:

I took myself out to the new cafe at Enfield Library for a proper writing session. I started out by writing my review for the Vaults show I went to the previous night.

Then I collated all the feedback from the critiques I received on Stanley’s The One. I did some edits on it and wrote notes for a more thorough revision.

Later, I wrote a few more reviews.

 

Sunday:

I did a bunch of submissions.

 

Posted on 17 February 2020 16:51

Summary:

Every day was a writing day again this week. I’m trying to write every day in February and it’s going pretty well so far! It’s not something I generally like to do as it quickly feels like writing is a chore, but every now and then I like to push myself.

 

Monday:

Today, I headed to Hackney Picturehouse for a few hours before a meeting. Sadly, they had run out of my favourite tea flavour (there may be half a box left in the world in the Picturehouse Central Members’ Bar, but maybe not).

I started out by going through all my old flash fiction competition entries and creating a spreadsheet of which ones would be worth submitting elsewhere. This was an excellent way of feeling productive while putting off getting stuck back into editing Colours. But it was a useful exercise for future submission opportunities.

Later, I proofread another two chapters of Artisan and read some more of The Emotional Craft of Fiction.

 

Tuesday:

I finished creating my flash fiction submissions list and identified some upcoming submissions to use them for. Then I actually submitted some!

 

Wednesday:

I wrote my Fringe Guru review for the previous night’s Vaults show and also a review of a book I finished at lunchtime.

I also did a couple more submissions.

Later, I proofed the next two chapters of Artisan and finally actually got back to editing Colours.

 

Thursday:

I tracked my outstanding submissions and brainstormed ideas for some upcoming competitions.

 

Friday:

I finished proofreading the last two chapters of Artisan and sent the manuscript back to the publisher.

I also did some more submissions.

 

Saturday:

I wrote a review for the book I finished the previous night. 

 

Sunday:

I reviewed the previous night’s theatre trip. I did some Scribophile critiques to restore my points total. I finally got around to doing lesson number 4 in the Neil Gaiman Masterclass.

Later, I went through all my unassigned stories and matched them to new submission opportunities in my rolling spreadsheet.

 

Posted on 09 February 2020 17:48

Summary:

I wrote (more or less) every day this week, and am feeling more positive about getting back into both longer and shorter projects again.

 

Monday:

Final retreat day at Stickwick. I had to leave my room first thing, but the taxi wasn’t coming until 3pm, so plenty of time to get some stuff done. Plus, relocating to the dining room and a proper work setup motivated me towards better productivity.

I started out by typing up the last of the notes from my current projects notebook - which meant I could start a new notebook when I got home - hurrah!

Then I planned my writing tasks for my next scheduled writing date on Thursday.

I did a freewriting exercise based on an assigned task from the Start With This podcast.

Then I worked on expanding an existing short story to fit a competition with a longer word count.

After lunch, I went back to reading The Emotional Craft of Fiction for a bit, and also proofread another two chapters of Artisan before I left Stickwick.

 

Tuesday:

I finished an audiobook and wrote the review.

 

Wednesday:

I organised my unassigned stories and found new places to submit them, and also added a few new submission opportunities to my rolling spreadsheet.

Later, I read and offered comments on a friend’s short story.

 

Thursday:

Back in Wapping with Ann.

I started out with a review of a card game I’d played for the first time the night before, then proofread the next two chapters of Artisan.

I completed the amendments to Beneath the Tree and decided where to submit it, then rounded off my session with another Artisan chapter.

 

Friday:

I wrote a couple of more extensive reviews than usual.

 

Saturday:

I wrote and submitted my Fringe Guru review for the show I saw at The Vaults the night before.

 

Sunday:

I wrote a couple of reviews and submitted a batch of stories for publication.

I recorded and edited the next interim podcast episode and did some planning for upcoming submission opportunities.

 

Posted on 03 February 2020 08:55

Summary:

Fluctuating motivation this week. Some good intentions sent awry, but also a fair amount achieved, and a light at the end of the tunnel, leading the way back to some of my more challenging projects.

 

Monday:

I wrote several reviews.

 

Tuesday:

I edited two podcast episodes and made plans for my upcoming writing retreat.

 

Friday:

Off to Stickwick Manor for another Urban Writers Retreat. I still wasn’t feeling massively motivated so I set modest goals for the weekend, giving myself the opportunity to feel appropriately productive, while still having the chance to chill out.

On the train, I wrote my first Fringe Guru review for the 2020 Vaults festival.

On arrival, I had a long chat with Charlie about my current motivation levels and dissatisfaction with my day job and came to the conclusion that break time was probably over and that my brain would likely welcome a decent work ethic with regard to my writing over the weekend.

But then I had a bad ulcer attack in the early evening and had to miss dinner, and ended up feeling quite fragile most of the weekend, so went back to my more modest plan.

 

Saturday:

Wrote in bed at Stickwick today - very self-indulgent!

I started out slow with the next two chapters of Artisan. And then completed two more later in the day.

I also wrote the next interim podcast script.

So, I completed everything I assigned myself for the day, but my list of tasks wasn’t very extensive.

 

Sunday:

Still at Stickwick, still in bed!

As with yesterday, I started with Artisan and proofread another four chapters in short order.

Then, I collated the feedback on Beneath the Tree and started formulating an editing plan.

After lunch, I typed up notes from my current project notebook and then read some more of my current craft book, The Emotional Craft of Fiction.

Later on, I reviewed my Colours editing plan and started thinking a bit about some of the bigger challenges for completing that.

 

Posted on 26 January 2020 09:44

Summary:

I’m still keeping up with the Artisan proofing, which is the most important thing, but everything else is pretty much falling by the wayside at the moment. Except the podcast, which is still really fun. I’m on writing retreat at the end of next week, so I suspect my output will increase a bit then, to move into February with a better work ethic.

 

Monday:

I reviewed a game and a book.

Then I wrote a blog post about how I’m not doing much writing at the moment, and how that’s okay.

 

Wednesday:

I wrote a review.

 

Thursday:

I wrote the next interim podcast script. Then I proofread the next four chapters of Artisan.

 

Friday:

I finished a book and wrote the review.

 

Saturday:

I wrote my script for the next main podcast episode, which we recorded later in the day.

I also submitted a couple of stories for publication.

 

Posted on 19 January 2020 11:03

Summary:

I’m not sure I’ve found my groove for 2020 yet, unless my groove is slacking off, which would be okay, at least for the moment!

 

Monday:

I wrote reviews for the four books I read on reading retreat over the weekend.

 

Thursday:

I met Ann in Wapping, feeling not particularly motivated. My writing goals so far this year seem very light, but I’m enjoying not putting too much pressure on myself at the moment.

I started with my first discussion post of the year for GYWO.

Then I proofread the next four chapters of Artisan, which I’m still really enjoying!

 

Saturday:

I helped Bear with his latest reading retreat blog post.

I also wrote a review of my most recent audiobook.

 

Posted on 13 January 2020 17:43

Summary:

And so work begins in earnest on getting Artisan ready for publication and Colours ready for submission. In good news, I’m really enjoying rereading both of them!

 

Monday:

I went through the whole Artisan manuscript, doing ‘find and replace’ on various things the publisher wants me to change. Perhaps dangerous, but I am going to do a close read over the next few weeks to double-check everything is as it should.

 

Tuesday:

I met Hannah after work, making good on our vow to start 2020 with a better work ethic. I proofread the first two chapters of Artisan, then knocked a couple more Colours edits off my master list. I restructured and consolidated my Colours editing plan, to hopefully make it less scary.

 

Wednesday:

I did my first batch of submissions for the year. Still tedious, but has to be done!

I posted Beneath the Tree on the TL;DR Slack, to ask the members for feedback.

Then I settled down to the next two chapters of Artisan, another Colours edit column and some notes for a potential new short story.

 

Posted on 30 December 2019 09:21

Summary:

Not a complete break from writing over Christmas, but certainly much reduced.

 

Monday:

I wrote a review of Saturday’s Olympia Horse Show and also the book I finished later in the afternoon.

 

Saturday:

I edited a friend’s short story and provided lots of comments.

I added some notes to my Colours editing plan.

Then I worked on an old flash fiction piece, expanding it to fit an upcoming competition entry, and submitted it.

I also wrote a few reviews.

 

Sunday:

I wrote a blog post, celebrating my writing achievements of 2019.

 

Posted on 23 December 2019 10:33

Summary:

I’m really pleased with what I accomplished this week, and also over the course of the whole year. So now I can take a break over Christmas and feel good about my writing.

 

Monday:

New week, new attitude. I was determined to make some real progress today, so I set off for a full day at Good and Proper. I got there at 11am, with six hours ahead of me before I needed to leave and lots of good intentions.

I launched straight in with the next few scenes of Beneath the Tree, as I’d completely neglected that over the weekend, in favour of easier and more prosaic tasks.

I managed two scenes before lunch, though it was a bit of a slog.

After lunch, I finished the next interim podcast script and wrote another scene of Beneath the Tree.

I stopped after the third completed scene for Beneath the Tree because I didn’t want to push it too hard.

I also got three acceptances for really old stories that I’ve submitted well into double digits each, so that was very satisfying. It’ll be great to see them all finally in print.

In the evening, I went to one of Claire’s free-writing workshops for the first time in ages. It was great to see everyone and a lot of fun, as always.

 

Tuesday:

I edited some more of Sarah’s novel.

 

Wednesday:

I finished editing Sarah’s novel, and wrote a couple of reviews. Then I did the next two scenes of Beneath the Tree.

I was due to meet Hannah after work and did another scene of Beneath the Tree before she arrived.

 

Thursday:

Last hurrah at Good and Proper with Ann today, as it was due to close the next day, which was very sad.

But I had a tremendous couple of hours of writing flow and completed the last five scenes of Beneath the Tree, to finish the first draft. It came out at just over 17,000 words, which was a little short, but I think there’s plenty of room for expansion once I start reviewing it. But I decided to leave that task until the new year.

I recorded some stats for a blog post review of the year.

 

Friday:

I broke open my awesome URW 2020 Writer’s Diary and completed the section at the start about goals for the new year.

 

Posted on 16 December 2019 08:46

Summary:

A bit of a struggle on the productivity front, but I did manage to get some good stuff done, even if I didn’t make progress on the bigger fiction projects.

 

Tuesday:

I finished a book and wrote the review.

 

Thursday:

I wasn’t really feeling it on arrival at my writing date in Wapping with Ann. I think I put in a bit too much effort last week, and my brain was rebelling. So, I started slow with a couple of reviews, then went back to a competition entry that was due the next day and made the required amendments. Then I submitted the entry.

Then I decided I wouldn’t allow myself to go home until I’d written the next three scenes of Beneath the Tree as I didn’t want to lose impetus after doing so much on it last week. I managed two and then stalled, but decided to let myself off and not push too hard.

 

Friday:

I edited some more of Sarah’s novel and wrote a list of all the tasks I wanted to complete over the weekend.

 

Saturday:

I started early with more of Sarah’s novel, along with some thoughts and ideas about how to approach several upcoming submissions. By the end of the day, I’d edited ten chapters of Sarah’s novel and written nothing of my own… I decided I needed a different plan for tomorrow.

 

Sunday:

I edited another chapter of Sarah’s novel before heading out for a solo writing session in Enfield, hoping that would help me focus more on my projects by being out of the flat..

Once ensconced in a cafe, I completed and submitted an entry for this week’s Reedsy Prompt competition, and looked over another story with a view to amending it to fit an upcoming submission. But I was finding it really difficult to focus on fiction, so I switched to easier tasks.

I wrote my December discussion post for GYWO and also some podcast scripts.

 

Posted on 08 December 2019 22:35

Summary:

What a week! Great news about Artisan and a tremendous amount of progress on all sorts of writing projects, plus cementing new writerly friendships online. Exhausting, but very satisfying!

 

Monday:

Off to Stickwick Manor for a four-day retreat with Urban Writers Retreats!

But, before that, I got an email from the publisher I re-submitted Artisan to earlier in the year - and they want to publish it!!

The words that will forever be burned into my brain: “we like what you have done with the manuscript and want to offer you a contract to publish”.

They can’t send anything through until March, because their publication schedule is too full, but that’s fine with me! I was expecting to be doing more edits over Christmas, but they’ve only asked for one more, very minor change, which will give me the opportunity to do one more read-through before sending them a revised manuscript at the end of February.

I’m aware that the wheels of publishing move very slowly, and sometimes get stuck altogether, but this is still a major moment for me!

So, it then felt a bit mundane to be writing reviews on the train to Devon - though I suppose my writing life must go on!

I planned out my desired writing tasks for the rest of the week, then wrote my script for the next main podcast episode and brainstormed some ideas for an upcoming competition.

 

Tuesday:

Slightly later start than I had intended, but I was set up in the gorgeous dining room at Stickwick Manor with a pot of tea, and ready to get started by 9:15am. I launched straight into the next three scenes of Beneath the Tree, completing 2,500 words in less than three hours.

I did some brainstorming on upcoming submission opportunities, either coming up with ideas for new stuff or identifying old, unpublished stuff that would be appropriate.

After lunch, I got out my notes for developing the second draft of Colours and had several moments of complete paralysis as the enormity of the task started to sink in. I briefly read through the things that need to change and decided the best approach would be to go through the scene list and add notations to each to determine what needs to be added/changed where. This required careful consideration of each point to figure out how much alteration was required. Scary stuff, but at least I came up with what I hope is a workable plan.

I finished up the day by reading some more of my current writing craft book, which was really interesting.

 

Wednesday:

Second full day at the Stickwick retreat!

I started out like yesterday with the next three scenes of Beneath the Tree, which went better than I expected.

Then I brainstormed some more ideas for new stories.

After a short break, I went back to Broken Succession and did the edits from my Scribophile critiques to finish off the story.

I finished off my morning session by reading another chapter of my current craft book, which is proving to have a lot of excellent, concrete examples of how to apply its proposed techniques.

After lunch, I identified the easiest edits for Colours and knocked those on the head, just to feel like I had started the great editorial endeavour.

Later, I rewrote a really old story, in order to fit it to an upcoming submission opportunity. I thought it was going to be a lot of work, but it actually turned out to be pretty easy and I think the story was much improved by the alterations. I posted it on the TL;DR betaswap channel and got some great suggestions from the writers there, so I wrote some editing notes.

Then I read another section of the emotional craft book.

 

Thursday:

Two decent writing sessions left of the Stickwick retreat - morning at the manor and the train journey back to London.

I started out with the next two scenes of Beneath the Tree, to get to the halfway point. The first one flowed really well but the second one was a struggle. My brain was definitely reaching saturation point with writing by that stage of the week.

I took a break and did some planning, some scheduling and some task list amalgamation. Nothing like making lists and plans with different coloured pens in a notebook to rejuvenate the brain!

Then I completed my retreat experience by writing an Hour of Writes entry on the train home, a competition I used to enter a lot but which hadn't released a new prompt in nearly a year until this week.

What a fantastic few days! I was worried I would be unfocused and lazy, and not make the most of the opportunity, but I exceeded my wildest expectations with what I achieved at Stickwick Manor this time around!

Roll on the next visit in January!

 

Friday:

I took a break from actual writing today and did eleven submissions instead.

Then I started work editing a friend’s novel and later, I wrote a review.

 

Saturday:

I was due to meet some of my family for lunch so I dragged myself into central London early and set myself up to do some writing in the Starbucks over the road from the restaurant.

I started with the next two scenes of Beneath the Tree, as per my recently constructed schedule.

Then I worked on expanding an old piece of flash fiction to fit this week’s Reedsy Prompt competition and also entered this month’s Furious Fiction competition.

 

Sunday:

I edited some more of my friend’s novel.

 

Posted on 02 December 2019 10:39

Summary:

Much improved in terms of actual writing done and feeling productive this week, largely due to the support and encouragement of TL;DR Writers!

 

Monday:

After errands in Enfield in the morning, I took myself off to Good and Proper to try and get in a decent stretch of writing before meeting Dave for dinner and the theatre.

I recently joined the TL;DR Writers who have an active and supportive Slack community, so I checked in yesterday with my intentions for the week, and then again this morning to connect with other writers who were also trying to get stuff done today.

I started out with the most important and least appealing project, which was making drafting progress on Beneath the Tree. I have a full scene plan and the whole story in my head, so there was no excuse for not being able to write some of it. I gave myself the target of writing the next two scenes before I was allowed to have lunch. I actually broke for lunch partway through the second scene but did complete it afterwards.

Then I moved on to my Scribophile critiques on Broken Succession. I amended the bits that were easily changed as I went through, and also made notes on bigger edits to be tackled at a later date.

I looked at my editing notes for Colours but it all felt too overwhelming to launch into that, though I did clarify a few first steps to act on later in the week.

Then I started a book that Charlie and Amie from the Six Month Novel Programme sent me, about creating emotional resonance in fiction.

 

Tuesday:

Back to the staple weeknotes entry - I wrote a review!

 

Wednesday:

I completed a new scene for Beneath the Tree and did some Scribophile critiques.

 

Thursday:

I spent the afternoon at Picturehouse Central and completed two more scenes of Beneath the Tree. I also wrote a review.

 

Friday:

I wrote another review.

 

Posted on 24 November 2019 22:11

Summary:

I’ve recorded this week as seven straight writing days, but I’m not sure any of them really count as that, as I’ve only done blog posts, admin and reviews. But I’m recording it that way anyway and vowing to do better next week!

 

Monday:

I found out I’d won a writing competition I entered back in September, with a comedy science-fiction story, written to a specific prompt in a 48-hour window - so that was very satisfying!

I also helped Bear with his post about our latest reading retreat.

 

Tuesday:

I did some scheduling and planning.

 

Wednesday:

I caught up on some reviews.

 

Thursday:

I reviewed the books I read on reading retreat over the weekend.

 

Friday:

More reviews!

 

Saturday:

I did a ton of submissions and tracked and chased a few that have had no response.

I also created a plotting spreadsheet for Beneath the Tree to record the scene plan and track my progress.

Dave and I recorded the next main episode for the podcast and I edited it.

 

Sunday:

I wrote yet another review.

 

Posted on 18 November 2019 17:52

Summary:

Yikes! My writing week apparently dropped off a cliff after two days...

 

Monday:

I got an acceptance for a drabble I submitted recently for an anthology, so I submitted another one to hopefully increase my contribution to three.

I also updated my script for the next main podcast episode.

 

Tuesday:

I went in to Picturehouse Central early, before meeting a friend for lunch. I wrote a couple of reviews and then did some more Scribophile critiques.