New Years Goals 2019 #AmWriting

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Hello folks! How are you? Once again, I have managed to neglect this blog. There’s been a few more changes this last year personally for me and again, it is my Twitter that I am turning to rather than here.

The world seems to have gone that bit more insane this last year, what with Trump still in the White House (somehow!) and Brexit turning into a bit of a mess shall we say. This time next year, the UK will have left the EU but whether it will be with a bad deal or no deal remains to be seen. The UK has had the Beast from the East and a scorcher of a summer. Both caused trouble, giving us Brits plenty to talk about in relation to our favourite subject: the weather! We’ve had a royal birth, 2 royal weddings, the English became convinced football was coming home and once again had their dreams crushed. The world also lost an icon of pop culture in Stan Lee, a man whose work was loved by millions around the world and probably encouraged some of them to become the creators of the future.

With all that in mind, it feels right that my success and failure in completing my 2018 goals was very much mixed:

1) Write something at least once a week, every week.

Not a complete success on this one but that’s not been a bad thing. My yearly target was 38,000 words and I have written 52,320 words overall. I cleared my target for the year in September despite having missed some weeks and taking a break in the same month. I also succeeded in writing every single day of November, so I could get all the challenge badges for consecutive writing days.

I ended up taking a break because I was experiencing burnout. I suspect it was because I had been working on the Steampunk Dragon Rider WIP, a project had developed quick in a few months and is in a genre I don’t have too much experience in. I needed to step back and recharge my creative energies. I don’t normally do this but I reached out to a writerly friend of mine, @Draebox on Twitter, who gave me some advice and made a video about the question:

I came back from the break stronger. It helped me work out what I needed to do. I will elaborate when I get to goal 4. Like last year, I have been reviewing and occasionally adjusting my targets every 3 months to help me keep writing even when things in RL have got busy needed to take priority. Any adjustments have always been down to enable me to create a buffer should I need it later in the year. This has worked a treat as it took the pressure off me for the last 3 months of the year (very busy ones for me).

Looking ahead to 2019, again I will be keeping this goal. Not because I didn’t succeed but because it works for me.

2) Keep this blog active, somehow.

Yeah, this is a big fat FAIL! I think I know why I have not succeeded on this one for two years straight: it is simply not achievable for me. At least, not right now. Writing and life and other personal stuff means that even taking 10 minutes to write on my blog even once a week with a writing update that I use to do is just not possible for me it seems.

I have started using an app/website called Habitica in recent months that lets you set goals and tick them off as you achieve them. You can set goals to reoccur at certain intervals and I am tempted to put a blogging daily on that is set to occur even just once a month but looking at life and how I have not managed this goal for two years makes me think it would be a waste of time.

With that in mind, I think it is time I retired this goal. It is not possible for me. I will just have to hope that I can at least be doing something on this blog when I have a chance I guess. In time, if life allows me, I will try to return to regular blogging.

3) Read more and finish books

Whilst not a complete success, I have at least been reading comics and some books. Granted I have also had to check GoodReads to see what I have read this year. Mostly comics rather than books but I have at least been reading and I will take it, all things considered. Rather than reading, I have been watching a lot more YouTube videos and gaming more. I have recently started playing Persona 5 and it’s story is incredible. I feel I can learn a lot from it about pacing but I also think I need to be putting the game controller down and reading more.

Going forward into 2019, I think I am going to adjust this one to simply read more.

4) Continue to work on the Dark Witch and Dragon Rider projects.

This one is definitely a success because I have been working on both projects all year, flicking between them. That isn’t to say that there has not been problems or that I haven’t been writing Destiny fan fiction.

I mentioned above about having to take a break due to the work and nature of the Dragon Rider project. The break though served me very well as I realised that I needed to step back from the Dragon Rider project and it made me see what I needed to do on the Dark Witch project (known as the Hallie WIP on Twitter).

The Hallie WIP was in a mess and all over the place because of how it had developed since even January of last year. I had to stop writing and do some planning, replotting and world building. I have also been writing stuff that takes place later on in the timeline for the characters. This helped solidify and understand who these characters were and their eventual place in the world. In turn, I know what I needed to do and how to remould the characters for the very start of their journey. This has helped me when I made a fresh start on the project for November NaNoWriMo. That fresh start has been a slight slog but I know the WIP is stronger and better for it.

As part of the world building when I have not been writing the WIP, I have began learning Welsh. Why? Well, the WIP has lost at least some of it’s Steampunk-ish feel, taken on an Arthurian Legends base and I am using the basic Welsh version of the story to help me. This also led me to realise therefore that the language of magic in the world is Welsh. I know it seems crazy to be learning it purely for a story but I want to make sure everything is right when the characters speak it.

The Hallie WIP has been my main focus for 8 months of the year. The other 4 have been taken up by the Dragon Rider one.

From a plot bunny that bit me and refused to let go of me in November 2017, this one has developed from a barely coherent story, plot and world building into something more solid. It does mean that, like the Hallie WIP, there is some mess and disjointedness but at the same time, this one also feels like it has developed and settled much faster once the work was put into it. I also feel that, unlike the Hallie one which could run on a bit, this one is more finite (and shorter!). With that in mind, I think I do have time to be working on the Steampunk aspect to make sure it is ingrained in the story rather than window dressing. The story I feel could take care of itself (with a bit more planning).

I am therefore keeping this goal obviously and hopefully, both will be much further along this time next year.

My goals for the next year are as follows then:

1) Write Something, once a week, every week.

2) Read more.

3) Continue to work on the Steampunk Dragon Rider WIP and the Hallie/Dark Witch WIP.

How has your 2018 been? Successful? Mixed? Otherwise? Feel free to comment below.

New Years Goals 2017 #SundayBlogShare #Writing

Happy 2017 folks! Hope you had a great Christmas and New Year!

New Years always brings a flurry of hope and optimism with them. After the last year, I think we all need it! This optimism leads to people making resolutions and promises to themselves and others. If you have been around here long enough, you will know I don’t do resolutions. I break them the moment I make them! Instead, I set myself goals I want to achieve. These are either for my own well-being or in the interests of improving my writing.

To say the least, I have had limited success with the goals I set myself last year.

Try to write something every day or every week. Writing every day is not easy. I was either being too lazy or life was taking too much of a priority. Looking at my spreadsheets, it shows that, on average, I wasn’t writing 11 days each month. I was achieving my word counts most months, until I gave myself a new word count after achieving it. This was a short sighted move. I ended the year with a deficit of 4,848 words. I am still proud of that when I compare it to 12,700 word one I went into November NaNoWriMo with.

It hasn’t been all bad on this front. I have been reviewing my word goals every three months. This has proven helpful. It made me reset some of them because of life and how that was going to impact on my writing. This is something I wouldn’t have done without the Word Nerds talking about it in their videos.

Post once a week, every week on this blog. Partial success again that fell by the wayside at the end of the year. I did achieve this, putting November and December aside. I was writing or reblogging something roughly once a week.

Read more. Uh, yeah. I am calling this one a failure. I did read stuff, like the Rivers of London comics and started reading books but did I finish them? Not many. Going by my GoodReads Reading Challenge, I set myself a target of 25 books and read 23. Some were rereads, like Doctor Who Writers Tale: The Final Chapter, quite a few were comics, like Kingsman and Green Arrow New 52 Vol. 1, then there were indie books like Witch At Heart and Preternatural Affairs. So a mix and I did complete some books but I still feel like that I just didn’t read enough or finish enough books.

Participate in as many writing/National Novel Writing Month events as possible. Done and dusted on the NaNoWriMo front but definitely not on the writing event front. I participated in the DraeBox Writers Club challenge, which was a lot of fun. I will be again this year and I am looking forward to it. I am not resetting this goal for this year though. Instead I am replacing it.

Reason being, I think the universe has been trying to say something. Few recent experiences have made me think this. Firstly, I was talking with good friends of mine about drafting. We noted that we seem to always be starting or restarting drafts but never finishing them.

Secondly, I have been seeing tweets about committing to finishing 1 draft of a manuscript in 2017. It’s just typical I can’t find any of them now. This is what got me considering this new goal.

Thirdly, as I was writing this and reflecting on the past year, I realised something. I have spent more time on just one story than I have done in a long time. That story is the dark witch story. I have had some detours but I have always gone back to this one.

Spending so long on it, talking with friends and seeing the tweets have made me want to get at least one draft done. I want to be able to say I have finished something.

So my goals for 2017 are:

  1. Write something at least once a week, every week.
  2. Post once a week, every week on this blog.
  3. Read more and finish books.
  4. Complete at least one draft of one story.

What goals are you setting or pursuing this year? Had any luck with your goals or resolutions last year? Wishing you all the best for 2017!

Final countdown for Sherlock’s return-BBC News

Sherlock returns tonight at 9PM on BBC One.

The BBC has published a (spoiler-free!) article ahead of the return of the acclaimed series. Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, Steven moffat and Mark Gatiss, who wrote tonight’s episode, have all  spoken to reveal their feelings of writing and reading the script, their surprise at how big the show had become and the nerves that came with filming in front of fans! They also address the copious amounts of fan work featuring John and Sherlock as lovers.

The article can be read here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-25547524

The Empty Hearse  will be broadcast tonight in the UK on BBC One at 9pm.

 

Happy New Year! Goals instead of Resolutions Anyone?

Big Ben’s bongs say goodbye to 2013 (Picture: AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL)

Big Ben’s bongs say goodbye to 2013 (Picture: AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL)

I hope the year has been kind to you already, wherever you are in the world.

Lots of people make New Years Resolutions at this time of year and you often find, on UK newspaper websites anyway, articles on fitness regimes or “proceed with caution” stories about resolutions gone bad. I never make resolutions as I struggle dreadfully to keep them so why bother make them?It might sound negative or defeatist but that’s just my attitude. Maybe I could learn something from Virgin boss, Richard BransonWhere are you going in 2014?

This year has been the first year I have  found myself without any deadlines, term/semester start dates or anything. It feels weird and, in that respect, I guess I should make up my own goals, rather than resolutions, and try to find a way to make them rigid so I have to stick to them. For me, the goals will have to be centred around the novella that was my dissertation for university and possibly even this blog. They are the only things that I really have any control over.

I can’t control the job market or job creation. Job hunting is the only other thing I have available to me to do that has to be done. It is such a soul-destroying trudge I find that I will need something else to focus on that will keep me from stressing and going insane.

So what are some possible goals for me to focus on?

1) Try to post on this blog at least once a week. Even if it’s just a little something that will keep this blog alive and kicking, it will at least be something for me to do that will rebuild my soul a little. It could also help me find a job by doing articles and reviews.

2) Rewrite, edit and try to find a reliable beta reader to get my novella turned around into something that is of novel length and, hopefully, publishable. The deadline I have tried to impose on myself to force me to work on it is September of this year, 2014. In September, I hopefully will be working on my summary, checking the up to date submission policies of literary agents and agencies to start sending it off.

3) Keep up to date and listen to the Welcome to Night Vale podcast when the new episode is released. Since I have subscribed to it on my iTunes, that should be a case of opening iTunes and letting it download the latest episodes instead of having to catch up and listen to half a dozen episodes all at once to keep up.

4) Keep in touch with friends. I have done a dreadful job so far trying to keep in contact with friends from high school and sixth form so I should at least attempt to keep up with friends from university and other places. Not too easy since I do not like FaceBook (due to stuff from sixth form) and everyone seems to be on there and no one seems to like e-mailing or using sites like Google+.

5.i) This and the next one are related, that’s why I am doing them in two parts. Find ways to network with people and keep in contact with them. This could easily help me find the elusive job that has been out of my reach so far.

5.ii) Keep an ear open and an eye out for any opportunities that arise at the National Trust to get wider and more varied experience. In particular, if a writing opportunity comes up, enquire and, if offered, grab it with both hands.

Not sure about any others but hopefully, these will help me keep sane and keep busy whilst trying to find a job. Well, that’s the theory anyway should I keep to them.

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Sherlock Series 3 Preview

If you are trying to avoid anything series 3 related, don’t read any further.

Steven Moffat, Mark Gatiss, Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch have discussed just a little about what we can expect from Sherlock series 3 in this little video:

If you have iTunes, check out the Store to download a FREE 2 part Meet The Makers documentary. Search “Sherlock Series 3” but be aware that the videos have been marked as having possibly spoilers in them.

Episode 1 of Sherlock Series 3, The Empty Hearse, will be broadcast on New Years Day on BBC 1 at 9PM and will be available on iPlayer later.