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.

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10 Great Quotations for International Literacy Day

Perfect quotes for today!

Interesting Literature

Today is International Literacy Day! What better time, then, to celebrate some of the wisest, wittiest, pithiest, silliest, and most profound things that writers have ever said about literature and reading? The following are 10 of our personal favourites from the last 21 months of Interesting Literature.

‘A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies,’ said Jojen. ‘The man who never reads lives only one.’

– George R. R. Martin

Parents should leave books lying around marked ‘forbidden’ if they want their children to read.

– Doris Lessing

There is no surer foundation for a beautiful friendship than a mutual taste in literature.

– P. G. Wodehouse

Cat with book

There are books of which the backs and covers are by far the best parts.

– Charles Dickens

No entertainment is so cheap as reading, nor any pleasure so lasting.

– Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

One always tends to overpraise a long…

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Make A Noise In Libraries Fortnight

Hurray for libraries for being inclusive of readers of all abilities!

Wakefield Libraries

WAKEFIELD LIBRARIES

Make A Noise In Libraries fortnight is an annual campaign to highlight the services available in libraries for blind and partially sighted people, to try to improve their access to books and information.

•We have a large range of books in large print and audio. All our libraries stock books in these formats and our free request service brings your choice to your library.
•We have a wide range of free Online services to access from home, including free talking books, language courses and magazines to download.
•Readers Groups meet throughout the District to chat about reading and audio books. Book titles are provided. Contact us if you would like to find out about the support we offer VIP groups.
•If you find it difficult to visit your local library, we can bring the library service to your home through our Home Library service. Our Mobile Library has regular stops…

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Why Genre Hopping is your best friend

Well worth a read!

Shannon A Thompson

Shannon, here, to announce our last guest blogger. That’s right. Our last. I will be back on May 29, but today is a wonderful day, because Ryan Attard – author of The Legacy Series – is sharing his thoughts on genre hopping, something we both feel very passionately about. Ryan has blogged on here before, so you might be familiar with him, but if you’re not, check out his website and podcast by clicking the links.

This is one of those subjects that gets a bad rep just for daring to go against the dogma, as established by . . . who knows who, and who knows where. Personally, I dislike rules and constraints of any sort – the reason I am an artist is because I wish to express myself in a free manner, and trying to limit art in any way shape or form…

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Why They Write

This caught my eye a few days ago but I am only just getting round to reblogging it now because I’ve been thinking about my own reasons for writing.

I agree with those that say that the reason changes day-to-day. For me, I write because my mind keeps coming up with stories, even before I realised what I was doing when I was younger. I suppose when I was younger, it was just my imagination coming up with games to play but as I got older, it continued and I started writing down the stories (a lot of fan fiction) because one of my school teachers pointed out that I had a gift for it.

It is also partly because I had just found my genre, the type of books and stories I liked to read and write, around the same time. JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series inspired millions of children around the world and I am one of those. Even now, I go back to the premise of the Harry Potter series and Enid Blyton’s school stories, especially the Malory Towers series occasionally.

I love fantasy stories, I enjoy school stories and over the years, I have also come to enjoy romance, crime, drama and some comedy and sci-fi stories. As I have read them, I have incorporated that in my writing. My writing can become dark in places but it can also be light.

What is it about them? It’s the escapism. It’s the discovering a world different to our own, sometimes right on our doorsteps. It’s the common premise of school that most people will be able to relate to. It’s the rooting for the characters to be together, the solving of a puzzle, the everyday dilemmas that we experience in our lives and the fabulous funny moments that we think of later which makes you smile and laugh out loud.

Even in the stories set in a place different from our own, there is the baseline of common themes and occurrences in our lives. That’s what attracts me to those sorts of stories and probably attracts many, many others to them too.

Reading and writing are inextricably interlinked I feel. You can’t do one without the other.

I also write because it is a type of therapy and escapism. When the life is getting stressful and tough, it is a nice way to escape for a while and to get out all those feelings through characters on to the physical (or virtual!) page. If I didn’t have an outlet for those sorts of feelings, and others, I don’t know where I would be.

I would love to get paid to write and maybe that will happen in the future but for now, it’s therapy, escapism and an outlet for all the stories clamouring in my head.

Is my answer clichéd? Perhaps but that’s how I feel today. Who knows? Tomorrow, I might have a completely different answer.

Legends of Windemere

Kenshin Himura (How I feel) Kenshin Himura

Sorry!  I totally forgot that I was going to list people’s answers and reasons to Monday’s question.  Please check out the blogs and published works of everyone:

“I’m on board with most of that but I write poetry and know there is no money in that.” The Mirror Obscura

“I love writing because I’m totally addicted to it since the day when I started reading “anything” so seriously” Insight

“For me as a total readerholic and mental escape artist all my life, the writing came late, but now that particular joy of creating worlds, people, dragons, scenarios – whatever – can’t be matched by anything else that I’ve ever done.” Jo Robinson

“I think the reason evolves over time. I began writing as a way to express myself in a healing way. But then I began writing poetry. Poetry is a great self-expression for me and I…

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