Of Mice and Men…Men Trying to Write

Of Mice and Men…Men Trying to Write

A very, very short blog entry tonight, as plans for my evening of writing were sent astray by the skitter skitter skittering of an unwelcome visitor in one of my kitchen cupboards. Said visitor has caused the emptying of, cleaning of, and then trapping of an entire cupboard, and I am both sad and triumphant to report that whilst he screwed up my writing plans, I’m afraid I screwed up any plans he might have had for anything taking place after tonight…

Go gentle into that good night, tiny rodent, for ye shall squeak no more.

After all that chaos and disruption I did manage to finish my chapter, but at the cost of any other plans for the evening, including my dinner, which is now taking place as a midnight (ish) snack.

Usual blogging to resume tomorrow.

Stay Frosty, People. Frostier than I was when confronting my rodent invader, anyway…

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Planning for the Future

Planning for the Future

When I was leaving my job I was fortunate enough to have a really good group of friends there who made my parting gift something suitable, appropriate and thoughtful, a beautiful, leather-bound, cotton paged notebook for me to use in my new career.

As you can see I am yet to write in it, partly due to the breakneck pace at which I’m writing at the moment, and partly because when I do write in it I want to make sure I get it right. This is not the sort of book you want to just scribble in!

I do have a plan, though. My plan is to put an idea for a novel on each page of this beautiful tome, and a tick next to each when I’ve written them. So far I can very definitely write the first two pages (including a tick) with the details of my first two novels, and the third page can be filled out as the next book is already 50% completed (and mapped out in note format all the way to the conclusion) and I can put ideas down for at least another four pages/books that are my next projects. But what really excites me is the idea of coming up with something and then immediately getting it down on paper. As opposed to what I’ve done many times in the past, had an idea, thought it sounded really promising, then forgotten about it a week later when I tried to recall details…

Generally I have a single idea, a good character, or a particular situation, or a finale that I think would be amazing to write, and I build the rest of the book around that. Adding in supporting characters, a villain, a quest/mission/objective, fleshing out the original idea until it is a real story. I’ll write the first chapter, or sometimes the first two or three, and then add in the rest of the story in note format in sections written in CAPITAL LETTERS underneath. I then flesh out a section at a time from notes to prose, sometimes changing things as I go, but mostly sticking to the notes I’ve written.

An architect rather than a gardener.

So from now on I fully intend to write down each and every promising idea that pops into this old noggin of mine, and I will strive to turn each and every one of them into an entertaining page turner. And when each of them becomes a bestseller (as they obviously will, he says with a confidence borne of sheer delusion) I am going to go back to my old colleagues, and take them all out for a celebratory drink. Watch this space, I’ll hopefully be able to show that I am filling those pages very soon.

Oh, and a friend of mine suggested I bore you all with y process/journey as a writer, which I will make the subject of this online ramble in the next few days.

Stay Frosty, People.

To procrastinate or not to procrastinate, that is the question…

To procrastinate or not to procrastinate, that is the question…

…whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous dedication, or to take arms against a sea of distractions, and by opposing, end them.

OK, I’m no Bard, but I think that sums up my day quite nicely. I did spend a great deal of my afternoon and evening attempting to ignore all the little things that can get in the way of powering through and reaching the goal you’ve set yourself.

There was washing up to be done. Would my mind be more at ease and creative if this minor chore had been taken care of? I’ll never know how creative I would have been if it wasn’t done, because I did in fact scrub those dishes, telling myself I was thinking of a good opening while I scrubbed…

OK, sat down, ready to write. Wait! I don’t have a coffee! Must have a coffee by my side to write. Back to the kitchen I went.

One of my best friends called. Do I ignore the call, and appear rude? No, no, that would be unthinkable. Can’t be rude to one of the people who always faithfully buys a hard copy of my books (and has in fact done so for my recently released Silver Soldiers, so I’m glad I took the call). Still, another twenty minutes of potential writing time gone.

Three paragraphs in, I look up, wondering how to start the next paragraph. I see my guitar. Realise it has been a while since I played…one or two songs can’t  hurt, can they? Might even get the old creative juices flowing, art feeding art and all that. Another forty five minutes disappeared.

Right, time to get serious. An hour of solid writing occurs, I am flying, I am dedicated, I am a writer! Of rubbish. Reading it back I realise it has the wrong voice for the character whose point of view I am trying to portray. In a fit of pique I select the last hour’s work and press Delete.

Stop. Pause. Take a breath. I stepped away, moved to a different room, got my mind a thousand miles away from futuristic bounty hunters, assassins and the sudden absence of sharp, witty dialogue in my brain, and smiled for the first time that afternoon. Afternoon became evening, and suddenly there it was. The opening lines I’d been looking for, the voice of the character I wanted to come alive on the pages, the humour and “me-ness” that had been missing from y previous hour’s distracted work.

The chapter flowed, and I maintained my Chapter a Day work rate. It was a close run thing, though…

Today’s reward went to my frequent writing companion Wade, pictured above. He told me to take a break, and he was right. Actually what he said was “let’s go the pub and sort all this wordy stuff out when we’ve had a few, yeah?”, but I got what he meant. Sometimes it’s ok to walk away from your beloved project and relax for a bit.

I think I’m learning as I go, with this whole authoring thing. And what I learned today was that sometimes, no matter how hard you push yourself, you should just step back and allow the procrastination to happen. You’ll feel better for it. And the dishes will be clean.

Till next time, Stay Frosty, People.

Hey look at that, 2 days in a row…

Hey look at that, 2 days in a row…

OK, so I did it, I managed to not shut my tablet down after finishing a chapter, remembering to leave it on to update my blog. Hurrah, well done me!

13 days, 13 chapters, somewhere between a third and halfway through my third novel, Metal Blade. There are times when I find myself wondering if pushing myself so hard will be worth it, if anyone is ever going to read my novels, and on such occasions I try to remind myself that they already have. My first book, Realmborn, did pretty well, and got some really positive comments from readers across the globe, but was it a fluke? Having launched my second novel, Silver Soldiers, onto an unsuspecting world a few days ago I have been increasingly dispirited to see only a few electronic versions of this work I am so proud of flying off Amazon’s virtual shelves…it’s been disappointing to say the least.

And then today I received my first review for Silver Soldiers from someone I don’t know/am related to, thankfully it was a very positive one, and suddenly faith was restored. People will read it, they will leave reviews, and it is very definitely worth me persisting with my breakneck pace as long as the quality doesn’t deteriorate.  And so I am rewarding myself, this time with a glass of wine (no, my rewards to myself are not always alcoholic beverages) and an episode of the Walking Dead. I am assuming that if I continue to burn the midnight oil at the rate I am going then I will run the risk of looking like something Rick Grimes might stab through the brain, but I will also potentially finish novel number 3 by the middle of April…I think it’s a risk worth taking.

So, wine and zombie TV for me, hope everyone else out there has had as productive a day as I have.

As always, Stay Frosty, People.

Wow, I am rubbish at blogging

Wow, I am rubbish at blogging

So it occurred to me this evening that I am terrible at this whole self-marketing thing, quite possibly a massive detriment to an aspiring independent author who has taken the plunge to concentrate on writing full time…

I now have two novels on Amazon, a fantasy epic called Realmborn, and a more contemporary sci-fi thriller called Silver Soldiers (more details and info on how to buy them can be found on this site) and with my last paycheque from my previous employment rapidly dwindling I have been aiming for writing a chapter a day on my third novel, a Sci Fi actioner called Metal Blade. So far, twelve days, twelve chapters, all very successful.

The problem is my routine-oriented brain has got me into the habit of finishing a chapter, sending it to my test readers, then shutting down my trusty tablet and breathing a self-satisfied sigh of relief…instead of reaching out to the potential gazillions of people who might have an interest in the inner workings of my midnight-oil burning sleep-deprived mind. OK, the dozen or so people who might find it vaguely amusing. OK, just in case anyone ever stumbles across it by chance.

So tonight I finished my chapter, emailed it to my test readers, and shut down my tablet…then kicked myself, poured a beer and booted it back up. This, then, will be my new routine (hopefully without shutting it down and needing to reboot every time), a chapter, a reward, and some blogging. Sometimes short, sometimes lengthy. Sometimes to do with my life and work, sometimes about what I’ve just watched on the TV. Or, as I am now in the literary world, comments on anything I’ve read, almost certainly plucked from the massive pool of quality work by my fellow independent authors.

Tonight’s reward is a pint of Hobgoblin, a particular favourite of mine, a good, dark English real ale, very much at odds with my love of good American country music, which I have playing in the background. Kip Moore, if anyone cares to google and take a chance, That Was Us is the track I am currently listening to.

I hope that if anyone does enjoy this that they will follow my ramblings and gain some amusement from them, and if I’m just screaming into an empty void, what the hell, at least I’m trying.

As I am fond of saying to anyone panicking/getting angry/stressing out…

Stay Frosty, People.

Day One as a blogger

OK, fairly new to the world of blogging, and tweeting and all that jazz, so I’ll keep this brief. Today marks the day I have entered the murky waters of the internet in the hopes of successfully marketing myself as an independent author. I have taken that leap of faith and plunged into self-employment, here’s hoping it is not a leap into a bottomless chasm!

 

Hopefully I will be able to chronicle my journey using this blog, as well as occasionally just spout nonsense into the universe.

 

Currently working on my third novel, my first, Realmborn, is available on Amazon, and the second should be available there too in the next few days. Watch this space…