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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January, February & March 2017 #Writing Update

 
 
Happy time zones folks. Life likes throwing in surprises and spanners and that has led to me not posting here. Writing wise, I have been much more successful.
 
Save for any words I write today I am on 17,926 words for the year. My target for the end of this month (March) for the year was 7,500 words. Whilst it is good over all that I am nearly 10.5k ahead, it is even better with Camp NaNoWriMo starting tomorrow. It is looking the next month is going to be very busy for me so having a buffer that I can use is going to be very helpful. The buffer is intended for the end of the year but if I have to use some now, so be it.
 
Majority of what I have written in the last three months has been my FMC’s first week of school, meeting classmates, teachers and first lessons. Seems a lot of words to spend on it but I am also aware that this draft is an absolute plantser mess! I have accepted that. I am focused on getting it written, not getting it right. The next draft is for tightening up and getting the big picture stuff sorted. I have also written some stuff that happens a few months later in story time. It connects with what I had written in December.
 
When I have not been writing, my mind has been on world building, new ideas and solving certain issues that had come to mind. Particularly, my thoughts have been about certain secrets and possible plans for the future. I may actually write some of the future stuff now, if only to get the ideas out of my head. My focus though is on completing this draft though.
 
Plans for the next few months is to keep writing, keep pushing for one completed draft of this story. Right now, I am reconsider certain word counts. A certain life surprise means the original goals I had set are now unlikely or pushing it too far. Take next month for example. I had planned on getting 10,000 words written during Camp. That goal has had to be revised down to 5k to accommodate it whilst also giving me the push to keep writing despite it. In May and June, I have set a target of 2,500 words each. These goals are based on what I wrote last year. All things considered, I am leaving them as is for now. They are attainable and any extra words will add to the buffer.
 
How is your writing going at the moment? Planning to enter Camp next month or in July? Had any problems or is everything going well? Do comment below.

Star Wars Reads Day

May the Force be with you!

Wakefield Libraries

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Star Wars Reads Day: Fully Armed and Operational on October 10!

Once again, bookshops, libraries, and retailers are taking part in the fourth annual installment of the global event and it’s even bigger this year as excitement  about the new film builds.  This year children can drop in to Castleford Forum Library 9am-3.30pm, Normanton Library 10-12 am, Pontefract Library 1-3pm and Wakefield Library 9-5 to find a selection of events, activities or things to do as well as a selection of Star Wars themed early readers.

If the Dark Side you would defeat, Read more you must!

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Camp NaNoWriMo July 2015: Day 1

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Word Count: 923 words

Characters are being introduced, an indication of the humour is coming through but my main issue is that I am trying to give it something of a sci-fi feel but as I only watch Doctor Who, the new Star Trek films, The Big Bang Theory and the odd episode of Stargate SG1 here and there, my knowledge is limited and it’s difficult. Need be, I will probably just go for telling over showing with this one.

It’s the story I want to get down on paper more than anything and any sci-fi-ness will be a bonus.

Tech Tip for Writers #65: How to use Google Street View

Until I can go to the places I write about, Google Maps, Earth and Street View are the next best thing.

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Tech Tips for Writers is an (almost) weekly post on overcoming Tech Dread. I’ll cover issues that friends, both real-time and virtual, have shared. Feel free to post a comment about a question you have. I’ll cover it in a future Tip.

Q: I can’t find enough detail about a particular area of the world my character visits. Any suggestions?

A: Try Google Street View. It’s a wonderful way to explore settings for your writing Here’s how to use it:

  • First, you must have Google Earth. It’s a free download and I’ve never had problems with the install. Take a minute to do that. I’ll wait.
  • Done? That was fast. Here’s what you do next:

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Read Regional 2015

Discover new writers from the North of England with this year’s Read Regional list.

Wakefield Libraries

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It’s Read Regional time once again. Every year this scheme introduces library users to new titles by authors based in the north of England. This year there are 10 exciting titles to explore.
There are five novels:
Letters to my Husband by Stephanie Butland
The Last King of Lydia by Tim Leach
The Quick by Lauren Owen
Herring Girl by Debbie Taylor
Into the Trees by Robert Williams

Three books of poetry:
Ellen Phethean: Portrait of the Quince as an Older Woman
Helen Tookey: Missel-Child
John Wedgwood Clarke: Ghost Pot

a novel for young people, Hate by Alan Gibbons and finally a graphic novel, Sally Heathcote, Suffragette by Mary and Bryan Talbot. If you have never tried reading a novel in graphic form why not give this a try. Their graphic novel Dotter of her Father’s Eyes won the Costa Biography Award in 2013.

You can find out more about…

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Camp NaNoWriMo

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Yes, you’ve guessed it, I am doing Camp in April.

My mind decided I was doing it  back in November when I got the idea for the main character really. I’ve been thinking and developing the idea since, especially the plot, as I had pretty much none when I first got the idea. My first inkling on the idea was just the character really. Think Valka from How To Train Your Dragon 2 in the modern-day and you have an idea of what I’m thinking. You can read my current synopsis of my story by visiting my Camp NaNoWriMo Novel Info page.

At least, I have my main character, things I want to happen and, thanks to my search for a novel title, a very basic plot idea and know how it ends. This is how I normally write anyway. As long as I know what needs to happen, the main points, I can usually work from there. This time around however I definitely think I need to be more of a plotter rather than the pantser because the story potentially takes place over 3 years and is a bit more of a mystery thing. It’s for that mystery part I need to work on some of the mythology at least to allow me to plot out the key points for the story.

It also doesn’t help that the planning I have so far is still not fixed. I am even messing with a romance sub plot line to help me, should things go awry and I get stuck. I do have just over a week to go before the event starts so I have the time to at least hammer a bit more plot into place to make sure I can get something written in April.

Are you doing Camp NaNoWriMo in April? Know what you are doing or are you waiting until the last-minute to decide? Are you in a cabin or going solo? Feel free to comment below!