Look Up

We’re behind, which for those of you on Social media will be no surprise. My second computer, pretty much essential for remote work and gaming, has become nothing more than an expensive paperweight. It has forced a fairly significant rethink not only of working space but of the next few weeks, and it is with a clear conscience and only the best of intentions that I’ll be withdrawing from NaNoWriMo.

This event has been part of my life since 2011, and in the seven years participated (I missed 2014) I’ve only failed to finish once. A second time is not a defeat, but really rather significant: November is the month where I’ve altered most as a person. There’s no real idea why either, but the majority of significant personal changes and positives shifts seems to happen just before Christmas hits. This year is no exception.


Taking the opportunity to leave now also means there’s no panic about what happens next. It will allow me to get back to EX/WHI (which I’ve missed) and that means a change to the scheduled web maintenance and other gubbins that were planned for the end of the month. The rest of this week are now blocked for replacing the old machine, reorganising my tech here and deciding what happens next. We’ll start a new schedule on Monday as a result.

It feels important at this point to stand up and walk away. I could have simply ridden through November and not mentioned it, but that’s no longer the kind of person I am. Instead, it becomes the means by which lots of other stuff gets sorted, which in the end will matter more long term. It gives me the chance to organise beyond a weekly deadline, or a daily word count. Taeken will be finished, but only when there’s time and ability to do so properly.


Yup, I did fail. Once upon a time that would have hamstrung progress for months, but not any more. Being able to admit stuff and move on remains the most difficult and painful lesson learnt at any point in writing. There’s a ton of other stuff waiting for attention, which if organised well have a far more significant impact on progress and attainment going forward. Central to that is editing a piece that I’ve wanted to finish all year, and that’s essential to the new direction.

Quality, when all is said and done, triumphs over quantity. That’s where the journey is pushing now, and that is the path to follow. It is time to focus on taking what’s already done and making it better.

It’s also high time I made a cuppa.

Stones in the Road

This should have been published on Friday, and although it’s sitting in the blog with that date, I’ll be honest, it was posted on the night of the 11th. I managed a week, with accountability, and then reality crashed the party. Thursday and Friday became a blur. I took a previously-scheduled and much needed Mental Health day to London on Saturday and, waking up this morning, any desire to write had summarily evaporated.

However, all is not lost.

Changing tack at the last minute, when there was a different a plan ready to go, might be partially responsible for the sudden disintegration of purpose, but I know myself much better than that. This is about knowing what is going on, and the hastily-sketched timeline produced on Friday is no longer enough. There needs a space to plan on, some Post Its and some string. Tomorrow, once the domestic issues are addressed, and there’s been some lifting of heavy weights, we will get into Work Mode.


I’ve never tried to tackle something this technically complex before, which is part of the problem. However, with the organisational skills that are already possessed, it should not be too much of a reach. I’m betting other people struggle with this shit too, or you wouldn’t have people joking with GIFs about it. In fact, if I remember rightly, I’ve seen at least one movie where the author uses all this stuff to sketch out what has to happen in their fictional opus. That happens for real all the time, right?


So, the next time we talk, there will be a narrative that not only a) can be understood by yours truly but b) allows me to continue the process.

Yes, there will.

NaNoWriMo Update : Day Seven

It’s a week since we started and, not gonna lie, it’s been a total nightmare. The novel’s pretty much writing itself. Nobody is on fire yet. The plot’s solid, THERE ARE JOKES but also some important philosophical posturing. That’s not the problem.

It’s the rest of my life that’s the issue.

I’m literally drowning in support and good advice. This is not the problem. TIME is the problem: thus far none of my other scheduled scheduling has been scheduled, and everything else is running by the seat of our collective pants. There’s a metric buttonne of RL issues on top of this and today, I’m not gonna lie, I just ran out of time. I wanted to write more but there’s not enough hours in which to do so, and fit in everything else. It’s gonna be like this until Sunday now. Then, perhaps, there can be some progress that makes me feel comfortable.

Also, please can I have a decent night’s sleep for the first time since Saturday?


However, for a first draft I’m pretty damn pleased with this, not gonna lie. There’s some moments to be really proud of, and a growing sense that writing ensemble pieces is where a real talent lies. I don’t yet have my full crew on board, literally and metaphorically. Tomorrow we’ll go and pick the last one up and set a chain of events in motion that might yet require me to create a timeline, just so I can be sure everybody’s done what they need to do before this entire shebang gets flipped on it’s head for the first time. There’ll be a second time too, but I’m getting ahead.

Also, there’s a soundtrack, which is proving VERY useful in building set pieces.

It’s all looking really positive thus far. Let’s hope I can keep the momentum going…

Not a Job

I have a confession to make, well several actually. The main one is to do with my mistaken belief that writing certain combinations of fiction at once is actually doable, and there won’t be any clutter or overspill in my brain. This, sadly, is utter bollocks. As a result, EX/WHI is on hiatus for November. I cannot cope with two lots of sci-fi simultaneously and so summat has to give. I’m also aware that last month’s short story needs publishing, and there’s a backlog of stuff to archive. I’ve spent a lot of today making sure that’s easily doable, and we’ll have October’s story up on site for Monday.

All in all, we’re off to a comfortable start.

I am planning to write 2k a day, give or take, which will happen as the first thing I do every morning. That means front loading as much of the rest of the month’s content as possible, which should hopefully come to pass by this time on Monday. Therefore, after that point if there’s more than 2k a day in me I can just have a go, and the house does not disintegrate around me from inactivity. There’s an important secondary point to all of this too: this is a good idea, it is sound and deserves the effort, and I need to prove to myself again that this is doable.

On the flip-side, I’ve also committed myself to edit and finish a previously unused NaNo project, which was submitted for a contest last month. I’m 100% confident I won’t make the shortlist, but regardless of this it would be nice to have the story completed and at the 40k limit required to be a novella. Once that’s done, I’ll have two things I can pitch at people, and not just one. The two things are different enough that I shouldn’t get my brain confused as is the case with Taeken and EX/WHI. It’s all part of a long-term plan to change the world, a piece of work at a time.


There’s still poetry, of course, and I have a Monday deadline for two pieces. For now, however, as you read this I’ll be out in the dark, taking pictures for a project I’m working on for 2019…

In Pursuit of Happiness

Yup, it’s that time again. November is (checks calendar) NEXT WEEK and so, we need a graphic for the upcoming ‘write a novel in a month’ journey and some definitive idea of what the fuck is going on. Fortunately, both of these things are well in hand.


If you don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, here’s my mate Tessa explaining why 50k words in a month is such a big deal. For me, this is my eighth year taking part, and (hopefully) the fifth year required wordage will be complete at the end. We’ve discussed the plot here, and I’m not going to spend any more time going over details. However, I will find the time to share some of my personal insights over a decade, including that horrible moment when all the planning goes to hell and characters rebel against your well-organised planning.

It’s happened for the last three years and already, I’m hearing mutters of discontent from my major players…


However, there’s a ton of stuff that needs to happen beforehand, including a rather important submission that is likely to take up all of my Monday. Therefore, it’s high time I got the backlog of work sorted and the new stuff prepared. All things being equal, we’re going to move into a new phase of work (and visuals) beginning on November 1st.

I’ll see you there 😀

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