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Posted on 01 April 2018 21:38


The admin has to be done, or there will be no publications, no matter how much I write. But it’s really, really annoying.


I got very little sleep on Monday night, so wasn’t feeling particularly enthused by this afternoon, but a booked writing date with Hannah kept me out after work and focused on at least attempting some writing.

I went through the four critiques on Scribophile for my 750-word story, which all had something useful to say, so I made some revisions. I think I managed to improve it.

Then I went through my current Colours outline spreadsheet and worked out where the scenes for the new plot thread will need to go in the structure of the opening sections.



I did the one-minute challenge at



I spent an inordinate amount of time posting my GYWO Yahtzee/Fic Promptly/Ficlet Zone combo stories. Wow, is it complicated and annoying to put together posts of multiple fics with links and info and everything.

I took a break, then submitted several original works for publication or competitions. Submission admin is so tedious.

I did some of the research I needed for my planned WIP Big Bang story - which involved watching a couple of very good movies and making copious notes (much less tedious than submissions!).



I did the day’s one-minute writing challenge at

I registered with the Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society, and logged all my printed publications to date.

I watched another movie to complete my WIP Big Bang research and wrote a ton of notes. I have the whole outline in my head now - I’m just not sure I can do it justice.


Posted on 25 March 2018 17:22


It’s amazing how much you can get done, and still have time to relax, when you’re on a six-day retreat in a Devon manor, surrounded by snow.



My plan to work harder today got off to a good start - I was ready to go at 8:15am!

I started off by reading a recent Well-Storied article about brainstorming, and trying one of the suggested writing prompts from Reedsy.

Then I went back to the Artisan Revision Plan and did amendments to the scenes on another five notecards.

I moved onto my Space Swap story next and wrote the first draft, based on the notes I took last week. It was too short, but I decided to leave it for now and come back to it later in the week to expand it.

I wrote and submitted my second GYWO post for the month, a motivational discussion of how it’s never too late to get started on your writing.

Then I went back to the Artisan Revision Plan and completed the last five notecard scene amendments in the first round of major revisions. That took me to nearly four hours of work done since getting up, so I decided to take a well-earned break until after lunch, and also decided to leave Artisan alone for the rest of the day.

After lunch, I brainstormed an interesting speculative submission opportunity and came up with a couple of ideas. I set my subconscious crew to work on them, asking for some insight on where to go next tomorrow.

I read some stuff about CBT on SuperBetter, which gave me an idea for a poem that fit this week’s Hour of Writes prompt (Power of Myth), so I submitted something to that for the first time since January.

Then I had lots of fun figuring out a way to combine my GYWO Yahtzee prompt card, with several abandoned prompt fills on Fic Promptly, and the first month’s challenge from Ficlet Zone

I collated some notes on Colours (which has been sorely neglected in recent weeks) and had an epiphany about one of the characters, which will improve the plot arc a great deal.

Then I finished off my afternoon stint by reading some more of Bird by Bird, to bring me over the three hour mark since lunch. A very productive day indeed!



I put together a full day’s schedule, like yesterday, and was at my chosen spot in the manor by 8:15am again. The subconscious crew had been firing snippets of fanfiction at me since I got up, so I launched straight in with the first story for my Yahtzee prompt challenge. (I struck the speculative submission idea off the list altogether, since the crew had roundly rejected it.)

I got two short fics done quite quickly, then moved on to checking the proofs for the story of mine that will shortly be appearing in a Schreyer Ink anthology. I discovered that my story is first, which was a lovely surprise. I also found three typos, which was annoying because I was supposed to have proofread the story before sending the final version, and obviously missed these errors.

I did some research into how to write good query letters and synopses, and honed my drafts of both for Artisan.

After lunch, I wrote two more short fanfics for the Yahtzee challenge, then perused my notes for the next section of Colours, trying to get it back in my head after its recent abandonment. I read some more of Bird by Bird, then called it a day on the writing front, because my brain was starting to struggle.

I did then have a very productive half hour just before dinner, working out a calendar for the rest of the Artisan revision. I’d completed revisions to the first two thirds in approximately seven days of actually working on it, and figured out I had another twenty-one days to work on it before Winchester. That seemed like a lot, but the last third of the novel has to be pretty much rewritten, so it’ll be a lot of work. I added deadlines for various bits, and then brainstormed the main plot points, which all felt really useful.



I woke up mega early with my head full of Artisan thoughts. So, the first thing I did when I settled down to work was to write more notes to get the ideas out of my head and recorded somewhere so I wouldn’t forget them.

I went through my Space Swap story, expanding it where I could, because it was 300 words short of the minimum. Then I went through my notes for a possible John Wick fanfic, to decide whether or not I should sign up for WIP Big Bang this year. To complete my fanfic trifecta, I wrote the last little fic for my Yahtzee challenge.

Then I went out for a long walk to clear the cobwebs from my brain and get my glucose levels down a bit before lunch.

After lunch, I did a Tarot card draw to generate ideas for the John Wick fanfic, and it worked so well that I ended up with a rough outline for the whole thing. So I guess I’m doing WIP Big Bang this year! The deadlines are similar to Winchester, so I’ll have to juggle it with Artisan, but I think it’ll be good to have a completely different project to work on at the same time.



Last day at Stickwick and only the morning available, so I thought I’d better not waste it.

I woke up with my brain full of Artisan thoughts again, so I went through my notecards for the last third, working out the best way to structure the rewrite. It turned out to involve adding in a couple of extra scenes and just re-jigging bits of the rest. I came to the conclusion that it didn’t have to be as complicated as I thought, so the June deadline for the whole manuscript is looking more possible than it did, and I’ll hopefully have more time for copy-editing than I previously thought, which can only be a good thing.

I did a couple of reviews, bringing myself up-to-date on that, I brainstormed some ideas for an upcoming Writing Magazine competition, and I finally started reading through the Masterclass Workshop materials I got from The Master’s Review last summer.

I also made a comprehensive list for my planned full day of writing, back in London, tomorrow, to try and keep my retreat momentum going.



Momentum was stalled somewhat by a very late night and a very early morning, but I made it to Good & Proper by 10:30am, with a clear stretch until a dinner engagement at 6:30pm, so no excuse to give up early and go home.

I compiled my Colours notes and made a few more. I also typed up notes for a random short story idea from much earlier on in my current notebook.

I worked from my Artisan notecards to add in a new scene and do a few more revisions.

I went back to my notes for the Writing Magazine competition and attempted a first pass. It went unexpectedly well, and also came out at 746 words (for a word limit of 750 words), which was pretty awesome.

I read some more of Bird By Bird to finish things off, and felt very happy with what I’d achieved today, as well as what I’d achieved over the course of the week.



I mostly gave myself the weekend off, but did manage a few writerly bits and pieces.

I posted Friday’s short story on Scribophile for comments.

I did my Hour of Writes marking.

And I helped Bear post his account of our glorious week at Stickwick Manor.


Posted on 19 March 2018 08:48


Snowed in at a writing retreat - every writer’s dream? I’ve certainly enjoyed it!




I went to Vauxhall after work to meet Hannah and got on with some more Artisan revisions (this will be a common theme in Weeknotes for the next few months…), working on finishing off the requirements of putting the minor character’s point of view back in from the previous draft.


I finished the Self-Editing book, and then put together a master list of all the different projects and activities I can choose from on the writing retreat next week.


Then I moved on to the next point on the Artisan Revision Plan, making the description and capabilities of the magic robots clearer! I went through my notecards and highlighted all the scenes where the robots appear so it would be easier next time to identify possible revision points.




Off to Devon for a writing retreat today!


But I decided to be extra specially keen and stop off at Good & Proper with Ann for a few hours during the day, to make sure I really took advantage of my writing opportunities.


I spent a few minutes adding submission opportunities from Mslexia to my rolling spreadsheet, and then went back to the Artisan robots. I went through their first few scenes, adding extra physical description and going into more detail about how they think and feel, and how the human characters respond to them.


Over lunch, I started reading Bird by Bird, by Anne Lamott, which is something that’s been recommended to me many times as a good book for writers.


Then, I looked over the rest of the Artisan revision plan, and realised that the rest of the points I wanted to cover on the retreat could be grouped into two or three categories. So, I wrote some notes, trying to organise my thoughts, as they all required further development, rather than being things I could just get on with fixing.


Then it was off to Paddington to get the train! I spent some time on the journey, planning out what I wanted to achieve during the retreat at the glorious Stickwick Manor with the amazing Charlie from Urban Writers Retreat.




I started off my first full retreat day by compiling notes on the Artisan ‘bad guys’, which helped me crystallise where their involvement in the story needed expanding and changing. It’s a tricky area because there’s a ton of back story, complex character relationships and ideology clashes that need to be conveyed, but in a way that doesn’t clog up the plot, or give away too much, too soon.


I took a break by writing a review of the last and next family book club books, and sent it to The Wordy Birds for their next radio show.


I went through the current set of Artisan notecards and highlighted where the new ‘bad guy’ scenes needed to be and where the current scenes needed to be amended.


Then I did some very important research for my Space Swap story by watching some episodes of The Orville! I made notes as I went along.


I went through all the Artisan notecards again, highlighting more scenes for edits or additions, and jotting down reminders for aspects I want to include. This resulted in a comprehensive list of all the remaining changes for the first half of the novel. Then I plugged myself into Marilyn Manson’s The Pale Emperor and set to work!




Bit of a slow start today, though I think reading in the bath was beneficial to my general mental health.


Once I got downstairs, I got myself set up with tea, music (Evanescence today), tablet and notecards, and set myself a target to complete five more scenes before I could have a break. That took less than an hour, so I went upstairs and watched my final research episode of The Orville, taking more notes as I went along. I then compiled the notes I wanted to use in my story and added them to the current draft for ease of reference.


After lunch, I went out to play in the snow for a while, before settling back down with Artisan revision, making it to the halfway point for the next round of amendments. I ended up ahead of where I was expecting to be by this point in the retreat, which was gratifying.


I also caught up with my reviews, after finishing a book last night. I finished off by putting together a full day’s schedule for tomorrow, since I didn’t think I’d been working hard enough on retreat so far.

Posted on 11 March 2018 21:52


Really got into the novel revision this week, and actually enjoyed it, which was a very pleasant surprise!


I set out early for my writing date with Ann at Good & Proper. I hadn’t done much actual writing for the last two or three weeks, so was hoping a whole day in my favourite cafe would set me back on track.

I eased myself in gently with a writing prompt from Pobble 365, then wrote a letter to Writing Magazine in response to one in this month’s issue.

I then moved on to Artisan, organising my revision notes onto a schedule, based on my Winchester deadlines. It’s an ambitious plan, and I can’t afford to waste the opportunity presented by Winchester, but I feel a lot better now it’s all prioritised and I can see exactly how much I need to do and by when.

I took a break by drafting my first March GYWO discussion post and catching up on my reviews.

Then I took a deep breath, and launched into the new and improved Artisan Revision Plan! I did all seven of the quick wins, which made me feel as if I was really making progress at long last.

I read the next chapter of the Self-Editing book.

Overall, it was an extremely productive day and made me feel a lot better about the immediate future of my writing projects.


I had a writing date scheduled with Hannah but she didn’t make it. It was a shame not to see her, but I still managed to get a lot done.

I went through the whole of the current draft of Artisan and added information about transport and how all the characters get from one place to another. I had thought this would be a mammoth task, but my notecards really helped, and it only actually took about 90 minutes.


I took advantage of a trip out of London for a work training session to do some more Artisan revision. My editor identified one of the minor characters as important, but not having enough to do to make her arc credible. So, I decided to put her back in as a point-of-view character (which she had been in an earlier draft) and bulk up her part in the story. I went through the previous draft, finding all her POV scenes and saving them in a new file, then inserted notecards into my current stack where these scenes should go. I then went through the rest of my current draft (which takes the story a lot further than the previous one) and highlighted scenes that should be switched to her POV, or where new scenes from her POV should be added.

I thought this would take much longer than it did, and I finished up with a very clear path to inserting this character’s POV back into the novel, which will also be much faster than I had anticipated. Hurrah for notecards! They really do make it so much easier to track aspects of the novel and figure out how to change things without screwing it all up.


The recording of my short story, Customer Service, went live on The Centropic Oracle today! It was great fun hearing my characters be brought to life, and I thought the narration was excellent. I cringed at a couple of lines that could have been better written, but overall I enjoyed listening to it.


I went into town early to take advantage of the time leading up to a lunch date with my family, and settled in at Eat on the South Bank. I was still feeling enthused about the Artisan revisions, so I launched into sorting out the new/old POV stream I’d worked out earlier in the week. It proved quite easy to put the old scenes into the current draft, though the necessary tweaking and formatting took longer than I expected. Still, I got a good way through before deciding to call it a day, and also discovered there was a scene randomly missing from the current draft, which I managed to slot back in from a previous one.


I sent my latest GYWO discussion post for publication, and also released a slightly edited version on my blog.

I sent out eleven submissions for various publication opportunities and competitions, which took nearly three hours and was very tedious. But, I guess you’ve got to speculate to accumulate!


Posted on 04 March 2018 22:26


Still getting back into the swing of things after the holiday, but deadlines are looming...


I booked my tickets for Winchester Writers’ Festival, including all my workshops and my one-to-one appointments with four different literary agents. This gives me until 24 May to get the opening of Artisan ready for submission, and ideally until 15 June to get the rest of the manuscript into shape, for the unlikely event of anyone asking to read the rest. Nothing like a hard deadline to focus the mind!


I had an idea for how to deepen one of the characters in Artisan, so I wrote some notes to add to my revision list.

I was supposed to have a writing date with Hannah, but we cancelled due to snow.


I got confirmation that my story, Safeguarding the Future, has been accepted for the Schreyer Ink Slave to the Axe Song anthology, which is very exciting.


I added all the latest submission opportunities and competitions from Writing Magazine to my rolling spreadsheet, and put together a plan for my writing date on Monday, where I’ll hopefully get back into the swing of things properly.


A conversation between two characters for my Space Swap fanfic came to me as I was waking up, so I quickly jotted them down. I’m not sure where it’s going, but at least it’s a start.

I helped Bear write his post about the JoCo Cruise.


Posted on 27 February 2018 15:41


Turns out the JoCo Cruise isn’t really conducive to getting much writing done…



NK Jemisin was on the cruise and held a Write & Chat session, which was awesome. She answered lots of questions about writing, and encouraged the attendees to talk about their own projects as well.

In between the chat, I wrote notes for my two upcoming GYWO discussion posts, and brainstormed the fanfic I’ve been assigned for Space Swap this year.

Other than that, my brain took a complete holiday and I failed to achieve anything productive, despite lots of spare time on long journeys and between entertainments.

Hey ho! Nose to the grindstone now I’m back in real life again…


Posted on 18 February 2018 13:16



Not a huge amount of work done this week, but some exciting submissions completed, and everything kept ticking over nicely.




I helped Bear post his account of the Thorpeness reading retreat.


Then I formatted a story and submitted it to an upcoming anthology publication.




I did some Scribophile critiques to get Shards into the spotlight for faster feedback.


I also revised my proposed Breathe Magazine article and sent it to Dave for comments.


Then I used the Scribophile comments I’d received so far to amend Shards a bit.




I completed my article for Breathe Magazine and submitted it.


I amended Shards a bit more, based on other Scribophile critiques. Everyone liked it, but also said it could (and probably should) be expanded into a much longer story. I think they’re right, but I didn’t have time to do that before the anthology deadline, so I submitted it with only minor amendments. If it’s not successful, I’ll add it to my revisions list for more development at a later date.


Later, I typed up my reviews of two books and a film, all with a unifying theme.




I went through Writing Magazine and added the relevant publication opportunities to my spreadsheet. One of them fit my only unassigned short story really well, so I submitted that.


Then I did some brainstorming for Colours, based on Geena’s ideas from last weekend.


Posted on 12 February 2018 11:46



A bit scattershot this week, but good progress on some projects.




I did today’s word at




I continued my plan of getting back into writing slowly by doing a slightly longer piece from the day’s image prompt at Pobble 365.




I used Pobble 365 to provide a prompt for a brief piece of free writing.


My planned writing date with Hannah was initially a bit derailed because all four of my venue options in Vauxhall were failures. We finally ended up in Pret, which was fine.


I completed my reviews from last weekend’s glorious reading retreat, and managed to write the next scene of Shards. I have a clear vision from there to the end of the story, so felt pretty good about it.




I did a first draft of an article I intend to submit to Breathe Magazine about the benefits of reading retreats.




My short story, Moving Forward, was published on Page and Spine.


I did some research and planning for this month’s GYWO discussion post, and figured out a way I could submit to an interesting anthology by the end of the month, utilising a story whose rights reverted to me at the end of last year.




I met Geena at The Counter at The Delaunay, a lovely cafe I discovered earlier in the week.


Geena read the draft of my proposed Breathe article and gave me some really useful feedback on improving it.


I finished the first draft of Shards and posted it on Scribophile for critiques.


I wrote up the GYWO discussion post about debunking writing myths, which was a lot of fun, and I hope will be helpful to some of the newer writers in the community.


Geena and I brainstormed Colours, which resulted in some interesting new ideas on how to expand the backstory and widen the scope going forwards.


Posted on 05 February 2018 13:49


Two abortive writing sessions this week, and then a complete break from writing altogether. So, apparently, writing every day lasted about a month!



I did today’s Detox prompt.



I wrote a couple of reviews at lunchtime and did today’s Detox prompt.

My intended after-work cafe was full and, by the time I eventually installed myself at Patisserie Valerie at King’s Cross, my sugar was low, my concentration shot, and my brain refusing to focus.

Still, I brainstormed Shards, Artisan and Colours, and came up with some good ideas of how to progress with all of them. But I didn’t do any actual writing.



I did the daily word at



I did today’s Detox prompt, which was the final one, so I looked up some other writing prompt sources and added a reminder to my calendar to do one every day, as I’m hoping to keep up my new habit of at least writing something very small and minor every day.

I caught up on some reviews.

After work, I fetched up in The Espresso Room on Southampton Row for a brief session. I started out launching into Part Two of Colours, which took an interesting, and possibly problematic turn, but that was where the story wanted to go, so I let it.

Then I suffered a complete brain fail, partially brought on by uncertain arrangements for the rest of the evening, and decided to head home early. So, I certainly didn’t achieve everything I wanted to do, but I at least managed some stuff, and had a clear plan for the next day.



I entered this month’s Visual Verse competition, and then I took the rest of the weekend off to properly enjoy the luxury of a reading retreat. I’m hoping a few days off will refresh my brain and enable me to pick up the writing reins productively again next week.


Posted on 28 January 2018 19:03



I experienced both accomplishment and doubt this week, so a fairly typical few days as a writer! I’m generally very pleased with the focus I’m managing to keep on my writing, but I’m also very well aware how far I still have to go to get where I want to be.



I had a writing date planned with Ann at Good and Proper but wasn’t sure how enthused I would be after the long writing session of the day before. But I got the train in with Dave at 9am and settled in with a lovely pot of Honey Orchid tea.


I started with today’s Detox prompt, which I based on the “Right Said Fred” song I remember from my childhood, so that was a lot of fun.


Then I cracked on with Colours, wrote two scenes and made it to the end of what I think is Part One, and a total of nearly 25,000 words written since the start of November, so I’m very happy indeed with that!


I finished the set of Artisan notecards, giving me a complete overview of the novel as it stands at the moment, and a jumping off point for the next stage of revision. I had some ideas about the restructure and how to move forwards with it, so I noted them down before I forgot them.


I did some more critiquing on Scribophile over lunch, because I think the Shards short story will need to be split into two parts when I post it, so I’ll need ten points from critiquing before I can do that.


I moved on to a new scene for Shards. I really like the idea of this story, but I’m not sure I’m doing it justice, and there are a lot of world-building questions I haven’t answered. I’m hoping its short length will let these slide, but maybe Scribophile feedback will say otherwise, if I can finish it in time.


By this time, my brain was suffering a bit from too much hard work, so I read a couple of chapters of the self-editing book, and typed up some notes on creating conflict, as an easy way to keep feeling productive.




I did today’s Detox prompt.




I went to the Friends Meeting House cafe on Euston Road after work today, which turned out to be very nice, if a little busy, with very cheap tea.


I read through the whole of Colours so far, and really enjoyed it, which is a good sign. I made a few tweaks, but couldn’t see any major issues, and it seems to hold together quite well. I decided it would be much clearer if I denoted the flashbacks in some way, so I went back through and added the year at the beginning of any section where there’s a change in timeline. Then I sent the whole thing to Geena for her views, since she helped me come up with the idea in the first place, and I’m not quite sure where to go from where I am now.


I did today’s Detox prompt and then wrote a blog post about the motivating effects of making a list for the next writing session at the end of each one, and completing each Weeknotes paragraph before actually embarking upon the task described therein.




Nearly didn’t make it today, but did the daily word at just before going to bed. It still counts as writing - just about!




Really wasn’t feeling it today, but still managed a minute of writing on - I really like this because it’s *always* possible to find one minute to write, even on a non-writing day.




Today saw me at the Costa round the corner from Highbury & Islington by 9am, a little bleary-eyed, but glad to be following the plan, not the mood.


I started with today’s Detox prompt, then went on to drafting new scenes for Shards. I wrote a quick fanfic for Fic_Promptly, which is turning out to provide just what I wanted - somewhere I can dip in and out for inspiration so I can keep my fanfic brain ticking over.


Then I did some more Artisan revision, working out what needs to change in the opening sections so I can make sure to have that done in time to submit to Winchester Festival. I moved on to brainstorming the next section of Colours, since I have now exhausted my original outline and only have a third of a rather short novel! I was feeling very accomplished and pleased about both novels on Wednesday but today’s activities have shown me quite how far I still have to go with both of them. Still, I have a list, so at least that’s something.


I read another chapter of the self-editing book over lunch and did a short critique on Scribophile to round things off.




I entered pieces in a couple of competitions, and did the daily word at


I also caught up on a fair few reviews to round the week off.


Posted on 22 January 2018 07:27


Good use of available time this week, and two new cafes discovered that are okay for emergency writing sessions. I’m also doing very well on my habit pledge, as I’ve only missed two writing days in the year so far.



I planned to have today off from writing, but was adding submission opportunities to my rolling spreadsheet and came across Visual Verse, a website where a picture prompt is put up every month for writers to respond to. The current picture was fun, so I wrote and submitted a quick piece, and also subscribed to their mailing list for future prompts.

I also did today’s Detox prompt, and submitted a couple of pieces for publication in various places.



I did today’s Detox prompt.



I went to the back-up Wednesday writing cafe straight from work but it was full so I took a wander round Soho and found Cafe Nespresso on Broadwick Street, where the tea is cheap, the hours are late, and the seats are comfortable.

While waiting for Hannah, I did today’s Detox prompt, then launched into the first draft of Shards. This flowed surprisingly easily, based on the outline I put together at the weekend.

I did the next five chapters of notecards for Artisan.



Tonight, after work, I made my way to the cafe in the lobby of the Wellcome Collection, which was bright and spacious, though a little expensive for long writing sessions.

I started with today’s Detox prompt, then completed a review of the musical we went to see on Tuesday. Then I did some more Artisan notecards, and read a chapter of the self editing book.

I finished off by writing the next Colours scene, then headed home.



I did today’s Detox prompt.



Today’s Detox prompt was about building from a piece of writing from earlier in the month, and I didn’t feel like revisiting any of those. I’ve really been enjoying taking the prompt and using it to spark completely new and random writing that I don’t expect to go anywhere. So, I had a look online and signed up for Figment Daily Themes, to keep me going after the Detox has finished.

I also discovered, where you are given a single word and sixty seconds to write about it. I gave it a try and it was fun, though sixty seconds really isn’t that much time!



A whole day at an Urban Writers Retreat! I made my usual list, but struggled a bit with focus.

I started with today’s Detox prompt, then caught up on my reviews. I wrote a GYWO discussion post about finding other writers to build a community (which prompted a lot of good responses). Then I got a bit distracted by a challenge on GYWO where one of the mods provided a list of ten words and participants had to write a short scene with each word included on a separate line. I had no trouble completing mine, but then felt obliged to read and comment on everyone else’s.

I drafted and posted a short fanfic based on a prompt from Fic_Promptly, which was a lot of fun.

I then logged onto Scribophile and did some critiquing to build up points for when I next have a short story to post.

I did some more Artisan notecards until lunch.

After the break, I stuck some music on and launched back in to Colours. I wrote the next two scenes with Marilyn Manson to help me concentrate, then had some cake as a reward.

Next up was a chapter of the self-editing book, and then I did some more drafting of Shards. The only thing left on my list after that, which I hadn’t put any time into yet, was typing up notes, so I picked a file from my phone and typed up the notes I took last year on a book about creating good titles.

I used up the rest of the time doing some more critiques on Scribophile and some more Artisan notecards.

So, I spent time on all my different types of writing projects today, though necessarily didn’t do a huge amount on any of them. Still, lots of work overall, and I’m quite pleased with what I achieved.


Posted on 15 January 2018 14:41


Writing every day, which is very unusual for me. Some days, it was just the Writers’ Block Detox prompt, but it all counts!



I made my way to Good and Proper to meet Ann, not feeling particularly enthused. I decided just to work on one thing at a time, see how it went and not feel bad if I didn’t tick everything off my list.

I started with today’s Detox prompt, which turns out to be a good way to kick off a writing day. I might have to look into signing up for a daily prompt email from somewhere after this month is over, to cultivate a habit of freewriting most days.

Then I moved on to the next scene of Colours, which I should really have done the day before, as I tend to write them in pairs and only managed one at the pub.

I looked at my Artisan revision plan and started charting where the important turning points are, versus where my editor thinks they should be, and it ended up looking like I would have to switch part of the timeline in an impossible way. I decided I needed to spend some time creating a new set of notecards based on the current draft, to make it easier to see the book as a whole and shift things around without getting confused. Revision on this novel is taking longer than I intended and I’m really not getting on with it as much as I planned.

I typed up a set of notes on my phone from a book I read several years ago, about how to make lasting change in your habitual behaviours. It was interesting to realise that I’ve been applying the principles of the book pretty consistently over the intervening years without consciously thinking about it.

I read the next chapter of the self-editing book and made notes.

Considering I have a lot to do on my big projects, but still want to keep my hand in on shorter projects, I went through my upcoming submissions spreadsheet and picked one with a deadline about six weeks away, to see if I can write a new short story. I brainstormed around the required theme and genre for a bit, using some of the plot generation resources in my collection.



I did today’s Detox prompt.



I got my copy of Life Plus 2M Volume 2 in the post today, which has my short story, The Turtle, in it. It wasn’t a paid publication, but I like the editor a lot and I think his project is worthwhile, so I was happy to contribute and also buy a copy of the book.

I was suffering from a severe lack of motivation when I left work today, which wasn’t helped by discovering my usual Wednesday writing cafe was no longer there! But, I persevered, found somewhere else to park myself, and set to work.

I started with today’s Detox prompt and felt instantly better once I had a few hundred words on the page. I really do like this new habit of starting my scheduled writing sessions with five minutes of random free-writing.

I then moved on to the next Colours scene.

I started my Artisan notecards by working through the current draft and creating a card for each scene, detailing the characters, word count, setting and brief action points.

I had a long chat with Hannah after she arrived, which is always good, then did some planning for the weekend. And then, in the last ten minutes, most of the plot for the new short story I brainstormed on Monday just popped into my head, which was unexpected and awesome.

I’m so glad I didn’t wimp out on this writing date!



I did today’s Detox prompt.



I did today’s Detox prompt, and also wrote a review for this year’s Wordy Birds Reading Challenge. I also thought about some fanfiction ideas that are noodling around in my head, though I have no idea when I’ll ever have time to write them.



Today was going to be a complete day off, but an impromptu catch-up with Geena turned into a writing date. So, I did today’s Detox prompt, and wrote a review for a book I finished last week.

Then I wrote a blog post I’d been meaning to get to for a few days and carried on with my Artisan notecards for a bit.

I read the next chapter of the self-editing book, which was the most interesting so far, all about ensuring you spend time and details on aspects of your story proportionate to their importance.



I went to a London writing meetup at the St Pancras clock tower for the day. We had a bit of a slow start, while the organiser got to grips with the lights and heating, and everyone introduced themselves, but it was a nice bunch of people and an interesting new place to write.

I started, as usual now, with today’s Detox prompt, then went on to more Artisan notecards. I’m really not sure how useful those are going to be for the revision, but it’s a good way to get the whole story back in my head, if nothing else, and I’m hoping they’ll help with the structural, compression and expansion aspects of the rewrite.

I planned out the next few scenes of Colours and added them to my outline spreadsheet, then wrote the next one.

I read the next chapter of the self-editing book and made notes, reminding myself of important things like not explaining the emotion behind dialogue. Then I launched into a short piece of Stargate fanfiction for Fic_Promptly, which I’d been thinking about most of the week. As usual, it was just a case of getting started, and then it flowed perfectly, and I felt good about creating something complete, even if it was less than 500 words.

After lunch, I went back to the Artisan notecards and got through to the end of Chapter Ten. It was already proving useful because I got to a couple of the parts that need work and some interesting ideas presented themselves as to how to fix some problems, so I noted those down for future reference.

I brainstormed the short story I came up with on Wednesday and firmed up the outline. It’s for an anthology submission with the theme of ‘shards’, so that’s what I’m calling it at the moment. It developed into quite a complex tale, which I’m excited to start writing. I have no idea how long it’s going to be, but I hope I can finish it in time to get some feedback on it before the submission deadline.

Then I wrote the next scene of Colours, which is still flowing quite well, though I think it’s a bit all over the place. I’m just getting the words down for now, but I think it’s going to need quite a lot of structural work at the revision stage. I’m still enjoying it, though, which is the main thing.

I finished off the day by typing up some notes from a book I read last year on dialogue and subtext, which is something the first developmental edit I got done on Artisan highlighted as a particular problem for me. So, it was useful to revisit these notes now I’m launching into proper revision on Artisan.


Posted on 08 January 2018 12:12



Lots of focus on writing this week, but I perhaps overestimated how much my brain would be prepared to put up with. It’s good to have lots of things to work on, but I need to be realistic about what I can achieve, and also make sure I schedule in time to relax!




I created a new tracking spreadsheet for both words and number of days worked on writing projects in 2018. My GYWO pledge for this year is 120 days, but I’m hoping to exceed that by quite a bit, and I’m still going to track my words as well.


I posted my final reviews of 2017 and also totalled my reviewing stats for the year.


I helped Bear post his photos from New Year.


I made a comprehensive list in my Self Journal for tomorrow’s planned full writing day.


I found and joined a fanfiction prompt comm on Dreamwidth because I’d like to write more fanfiction this year as a regular thing, and the previous weekly prompt competition I took part in seems to have ceased. I don’t know where I’m going to find the time for this, but I decided to subscribe for a bit anyway to see what happens.


I submitted a short piece to a literary magazine.




I set off for Good and Proper early, so as to get a full day’s project work done before dinner in town.


I had an ambitious list on the first page of my Self Journal, and launched in with the next two scenes of Colours. I really have no idea what I’ve got with that, but it’s trucking along nicely, with me planning two or three scenes ahead each time. At some point, I’ll have to give it a read-through to see it if works, and then properly plan out the second half, but I’m happy just adding new words at the moment.


One of the things I want to add to my usual scheduled writing time this year is reading reference books about writing, so I finished a chapter of Wonderbook and wrote notes on it.


I’d decided I wanted to keep up with some short, speedy composition while working on the two novels, so I brainstormed some ideas for this week’s Hour of Writes prompt (A to Z). I then tried freewriting a possible entry and came up with something completely different to any of my notes. It wasn’t great, but there were some bits I liked and it at least allowed me to feel like I had created something new, which was complete. I’m not expecting to get a very high score for it, but never mind.


Then I went through my revision notes for Artisan and made a structured plan with the series of steps I need to take to create a new outline for the next draft. It felt good to put this into a proper list, so it felt more like an achievable project, rather than just a huge and insurmountable void.


I moved tracks again and wrote a brief piece of fanfiction, based on one of the day’s prompts in Fic Promptly. New year, new fandom - My Little Pony, of course!


I went back to my Self Journal and completed a to-do list for my next scheduled writing day on Saturday, as well as reflecting on today’s accomplishments.


I finished up an awesomely productive day by typing up some notes from an old notebook, and thus achieved progress on all the different types of writing projects I had planned to do over the course of the day.




Charlie from Urban Writers Retreat always starts the year by running what she calls Writer's Block Detox, which consists of daily writing prompts emailed to those taking part for a month. The idea is to set a timer for five minutes and just free write whatever comes to mind. I certainly don’t have a problem with writer’s block at the moment, but I decided to take part anyway, because it’s useful to loosen up the writing muscles in this way, and fun to produce very short, random bits of fiction that are unconnected to my mammoth novel projects. So, today, I took a few minutes out of my working day to complete today’s prompt.




I went through the annotated version of Artisan with my husband’s comments on it, changed various things in the current text, and added new sections to the master revision plan. It seemed like an awful lot of work still to do, but I’m quite excited to get back into it.


I completed one review of an audiobook I finished this week.


I did the Detox prompt of the day, which had a very different feel to yesterday and didn’t produce as many words, but was still interesting.


I did my marking for Hour of Writes - I’d forgotten about this aspect of the competition when I decided to start doing it again, but it’s not too much of a chore, really.


Charlie and Amie, who ran the Six Month Novel Programme last year, sent me a book about editing for Christmas, so I read the first chapter and made notes.


I didn’t get nearly as much done as I would have done out of the flat for the day, but it was progress at least.




In the morning, I reviewed my plan for Artisan and saw that it was good.


I also read the next chapter of the self-editing book, and added the various opportunities from this month’s Writing Magazine to my rolling submissions spreadsheet.


Despite the desire to stay in my warm flat and just watch TV for the rest of the day, I went out early to a Let’s Write Together session. I started with today’s Writers Detox prompt, and then went on to write some more Colours.


The other people attending the writing session either didn’t turn up, or didn’t spot me in the crowded pub, and the environment wasn’t proving conducive to productivity, so I left after about an hour. I thought about trying to do more when I got home but decided I was trying to do too much with my weekend and gave myself the rest of the day off to relax instead.


Posted on 02 January 2018 13:21


Not too much done this week, but more than I expected, so  good end to the year!



I had some random inspiration about a major plot point in Colours so wrote some hasty notes to ensure I didn’t lose the new ideas.



I hadn’t intended to write anything on the fiction front today, but Colours started writing itself in my head, so I gave in and switched a few things around in earlier scenes before starting the next one.

I caught up on my reviews and wrote a blog post, reflecting on my writing year and looking forwards to specific plans for 2018.


Posted on 24 December 2017 20:47



I managed to work on writing projects every day of my week off before Christmas, which was satisfying, and made me feel better about taking some time off over the festive period. Big plans for the New Year, though!




An interminable trip to Lowestoft gave me the opportunity to write the next two scenes of Colours, and the only slightly less interminable trip back saw me doing some brainstorming on one of the main characters’ motivations.




I met Geena in Richmond for a writing session at Petersham Nurseries, but didn’t feel very focused. I wanted to get stuck into using my new Self Journal to plan the first few weeks of 2018, but I accidentally left the instruction manual at home. Instead, I wrote a list of all the various things I want to work on, with proposed deadlines for the main sections, creating a rough (and very challenging plan) for January to mid-June. I may have bitten off more than I can chew, but we’ll see!


I took a look at a flash fiction piece from earlier in the year to see if I could expand it for submission to an upcoming anthology, but decided I’d rather leave it as it is, since I think it works well at its current length. I haven’t been submitting short pieces as much in recent months, and I think it might be difficult to fit new short work into the schedule for next year, if I’m going to work on both novels. It may be necessary for me to prioritise and let go of some stuff if I’m going to stay sane.


I did some freewriting for a different magazine submission, with a limit of 300 words, and it was good to just let myself write whatever came to mind without a larger plan. I managed a first pass that took me by surprise in the direction it took.


In the evening, I had a video call with Charlie and Amie, who gave me some excellent advice on copy-editing and revising my current Artisan draft.




I remembered to pack the instruction booklet for my Self Journal today, so I started my writing date with Ann by reading through it and making some notes on scheduling. I completed the overall goals section and put a reminder in my calendar to start using the journal in the New Year. It seems like something that will be helpful in maximising my productivity, but we’ll see.


I typed up and edited yesterday’s 300-word piece and added it to my list of things ready to submit.


I went through my notes from Amie’s editorial feedback on Artisan and organised them into categories, then typed them up to provide an action plan for attacking the revision in the New Year.


I wrote a scene of Colours and planned the next three.


I typed up a whole load of notes from both an old and my current notebooks.


I finished off my session by reading some writing resources I had accumulated and saved for later over the last few months.




I had an unexpected moment of inspiration about a problem I’ve been having with part of the main plot arc of Colours, so I wrote some hurried notes on the train in an effort not to forget it.




I submitted a short piece to a magazine and scheduled some more submissions where the window doesn’t open until early January.




I wrote the next scene of Colours and made some notes about things to think about for later in the story.




I added some bits to a couple of earlier scenes in Colours, to bring in one of the major plot threads I had so far missed out.


Posted on 17 December 2017 15:45


Lots of plans to think about for next year - and hopefully some more stuff to achieve this year.



Very slow start to my writing date with Ann today. I still felt scattered and it was hard to get on with stuff.

I eventually started with this month’s discussion post for GYWO, which was about organising a first draft. I felt it was quite an apropos topic for me, after last week’s feedback on Artisan and my current difficulties with plotting Colours.

Then I helped Bear with a post about last weekend’s writing retreat in Devon.

After that, I couldn’t ignore it anymore, and had to start thinking about the teething problems I’m having with Colours. After an awesome start to the first draft, I ran out of steam a bit, and have realised there’s a lot more thinking and planning I need to do before I can really carry on. So, I broke out my A4 hardback notebook, gave myself a double page spread of space and did some brainstorming.

Then I decided I would feel better about my productivity for the day if I added some actual words to Colours, so I wrote the next scene.

Amie sent through in-depth answers to my questions about Artisan, and it was all very encouraging. I started looking forward to getting back into working on that novel, which was a surprise.

I spent the last section of the writing date typing up notes from an old notebook, which felt useful but was also really easy, as my brain was giving up by that point.

My writing day was rounded up by getting confirmation that the publisher who first offered to pay for one of my stories (back in July last year) has gone out of business - before my story ever saw print. Hey ho - I’m frankly surprised it’s not happened more often, but it’s an unfortunate end to my first supposed publication success.



I made notes from a new Scribophile critique I received on my flash fiction piece, and also added to my Artisan revision notes from Amie’s further feedback.

I got the final proof of an anthology story that’s coming out soon and checked for mistakes before confirming back to the editor that I was happy with it.



I caught up on my reviews and submitted some stories to publishers and competitions.


Posted on 11 December 2017 13:01



Lots of stuff whirring around in my head at the moment, which makes me feel a bit scatty, but it’s exciting (if a bit daunting) to have two big projects I love on the go.




Last morning at the Devon writing retreat and I completed one more scene of the new novel to get me up over 10,000 words written over the course of the four-day weekend. Woohoo!




Another day where I nearly cancelled my writing date with Hannah but was glad I didn’t because I got quite a bit more of the new novel done, as well as a blog post about motivation and productivity.


I also started a short story for the romance anthology I came up with the idea for last week.


On the train on the way home, I received the developmental edit on the first novel (Artisan) from my editor, Amie, and was instantly horrified by the amount of work it implied I still had to do. But I took her advice and tried not to over-react. Instead, I read it through once, took a deep breath, and decided to come back to look at it in a calmer fashion later in the week.




A whole day all to myself in Good and Proper. I made a list of things to work on, but felt quite relaxed about it because I knew I had several more writing sessions scheduled in the near future.


I started, as usual, by catching up on my reviews.


I made some amendments to the new novel (Colours), adding in some location detail to anchor the main plotline in the UK.


Then I reread the developmental edit of Artisan and made detailed notes - stuff I agreed should change, questions I had about some of the feedback, and queries regarding other feedback I’ve received that wasn’t raised here. Then I sent Amie a lengthy email with all my questions. It still seems like there’s a lot of work to do (and most of it I have no idea how to approach), but it felt like something I’d like to work on, rather than a horrible misery burden.


Artisan revisions are my main project for the start of 2018, though. So, I finished off my session by writing the next scene of Colours. I’m going to have to do a lot of careful planning if I want to keep both novels on the go in the first part of next year. I hope it will be possible, but we shall see.




Geena and I brainstormed Colours for a bit, always a good idea because she comes up with really interesting directions for the story to go and just gifts them to me. It’s a great partnership because she’s really good at inspiration but very happy for me to do all the work, and I need the ideas infusion but want to maintain ultimate control of the writing.


Posted on 04 December 2017 10:02



Another week where sticking to scheduled writing time has produced excellent results. As ever, it’s not about being in the right frame of mind, it’s about sitting down and just getting the words out onto the page. But why is that so hard, when it’s what I really want to do?




I almost didn’t make it to my writing date with Ann today, but I persevered and managed to get a few hours in.


I started, as usual, with reviews, always a good way to settle and focus before moving on to something more in-depth.


Then I worked on collating my notes for the new novel, expanding the rough outline I already had with more detail, in preparation for cracking on with the first draft at the weekend. I was still really excited about this story, though I had no concept of how what I had in the outline was going to be transformed into an actual thing. But hey, I figured I would get there one way or another!




I spent the whole day snarling at people at work, and nearly texted Hannah to say I couldn’t face our writing date, but I followed the plan not the mood and she actually turned up 90 minutes earlier than usual so we got straight into it.


I went through my rough outline for the new novel, assigned all the various sections to one of my POV characters, then interwove the main plot points with the flashbacks/subplots - and it all worked! There were even numbers of Anushka vs Charlotte viewpoint sections, and even numbers of present vs past sections, with an extra section at the end to round everything off. So, it looked like the basic structure was now in place, ready for me to launch into the first draft properly on Friday.


I got a rejection from an online sci-fi magazine, but it had an exhortation to try again in capitals in the middle, so I’m assuming they didn’t outright hate my piece. I therefore kept them on my submission spreadsheet, as they have a rolling monthly themed submission window.


I went through the Scribophile critiques on my flash fiction piece and made a few amendments here and there. I identified somewhere I could submit it, but also left it in my editing folder because it could easily be expanded in both directions to produce a much longer story, and I really like the scenario.


I finished off by brainstorming some ideas for a fantasy romance anthology that really appeals to me, though I don’t think I’ll have enough time to dedicate to it before the deadline.




I set off for a writing retreat weekend with my completed novel outline but no clear idea about how to launch into the actual first draft. I forced myself to write some stuff on the train, so I would already be in flow by the time I arrived, and it worked. I wrote three whole scenes throughout the rest of the day and it felt really good.




My sense of flow pretty much continued through Saturday. I had to be strict with myself about getting on with the writing, but once I was started it came quite easily. I operated on a schedule of writing two scenes, then taking a break, and completed eight scenes (nearly 4,500 words) during the course of the day. I could definitely have worked harder, but I know doing that just makes me hate it, so I was kind to myself and managed a lot of good progress as well as enjoying the process and the periodic relaxation.


I became less certain about this new novel than I was a couple of days before, though. I still loved the story, and I thought the writing was going well. But I was a lot further through the plot than I was expecting at only 7,500 words, so I wasn’t sure if it was going to make the distance to a full novel. I also wasn’t sure if my current structure of 500-word scenes, intercut with flashbacks, was going to work. I thought it might be too bitty, not allowing the reader to get into the story properly. However, I decided these were questions for a much later date. The priority right now is to get it down in first draft - I can see what it is that I’ve got once that’s done.




Writing was harder today, for some reason. I still knew what came next at the end of every scene (until mid-afternoon, at least) but it was a struggle making myself sit down and get on with it. I pushed myself, though, and did get quite a lot done, which I was pleased with. A break at 3pm for a brief walk and some knitting gave my brain the space to figure out where the story should go next and I ended the day very satisfied with my progress.


Posted on 27 November 2017 14:19



Lots of time spent on writing projects this week, but not much in the way of actual writing. Planning, brainstorming, editing, and typing up notes are all really important things that need to be done, but it never feels like I’m making much progress when I spend time doing them.




Today, I felt as if I hadn’t really achieved much at all in recent times, so I was glad to have a writing date scheduled with Ann. I put together a long list of possible tasks, with three levels of prioritisation, which made me feel as if I was exerting some control in an uncertain world.


First up were my editing responsibilities for the second Life Plus 2M anthology. I received two sets of comments from fellow authors, and made amendments to my own story accordingly. I then edited the two subsequent stories in the volume and sent my comments back to the authors and the editor.


I completed and posted this month’s GYWO discussion post, which was on techniques for breaking away from the one big writing project that demands all your attention. I have no idea why I said I would write a post on this topic, as this is not something I’ve ever experienced as a problem. I’m very good at ignoring my big writing projects, and actually need techniques for focusing on them, rather than all the short, shiny stuff that distracts me all the time.


I caught up on reviews from the weekend - one of my reading retreat prescription books, several games from the convention we went to at the weekend, a gig by my favourite band, and a weird but fun indie film I came across.


And finally, I did some more novel planning. It felt like a long time since I’d done any, and I think I need to make sure I work on the new novel more frequently throughout the week, to keep it fresh in my mind. The plot is definitely taking shape but it all feels very ‘broad strokes’ at the moment. I know the overall arc and a lot of what needs to happen, but the details are eluding.





My writing date with Hannah was nearly derailed because our usual tea shop was closed, but I was lucky to get a table at a different cafe when a couple got up to leave just as I arrived.


I made amendments to the airship pirates story I posted on Scribophile last week, based on the very comprehensive comments I received. Then I went through my submissions spreadsheet and found somewhere to send the new version.


I did a couple of critiques to get my points up, and posted a piece of flash fiction to Scribophile.


I’ve really got back into using Scribophile in recent weeks. It feels good to give people advice on their writing, and it’s really useful to get comments back on my own.





I arranged a writing date with Geena, me arriving as Good and Proper opened at 10am, Geena sensibly taking it more slowly, as we had both been out late the night before.


I eased myself in gently by catching up on my reviews. I’d not had much luck with the books I’d chosen this week, with two favourite authors failing to engage me, so I wasn’t feeling very positive on that front, but it was good to have a straightforward writing task to start off the day.


I spent quite a while going through an old writing notebook and transcribing the various notes I’d taken at workshops and events, as well as recording bits of ideas that hadn’t been developed yet. I’m never sure about the value of doing this, as I rarely go back and read notes from events, but I’d rather collect and keep them electronically than lose them - plus rereading and recording them might make them stick in my head, and the bits of ideas may come in useful one day.


One thing I came across during the above exercise was a whole load of notes for a story I’ve been noodling around with all year. I first had the idea during a Writer’s Block Detox course I did back in January and I’ve been periodically making notes for it ever since, but never actually got round to writing it. So, I collated all the notes for that to see if I could kick-start my brain into thinking about it properly.


I helped Geena with a blog post for her Master’s programme in media communications, which was really interesting and made me feel useful.


Then my brain died and I had to call a halt to productive output. But I managed about four decent hours of work.


Posted on 20 November 2017 14:39



Not much in the way of writing progress this week - too many fun, social things got in the way!




I helped Bear post his account of our marvellous weekend away at a reading retreat, and then posted my own account as well.




I met Hannah for a writing date, and caught up on many reviews.


I also made amendments to the story I posted on Scribophile last week, based on the critiques I received.


I then posted another story on Scribophile and did a few critiques of my own to move it up the queue to the main spotlight.