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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Keep Writing!

The intention of this post really is to get an idea of who is still writing after National Novel Writing Month has finished and to give a little advice. Have people fallen by the wayside? Are they still writing? Are they working on the same story or another one?

Santa might be coming but don’t stop writing! Source: Google Images

It is post-NaNoWriMo and I am still writing the same story and it is still throwing up surprises. I am glad it is as it makes continuing to write it a joy. Let’s face it, once the amazing energy of the month of November has gone and we get ourselves ready for Santa to come, it is very easy to stop and give up. Having a goal to work towards has helped me as I am very goal orientated I have realised in the last few years but for others, it might be something completely different. The love of the story, the characters, the world the story is set in… Any manner of things can keep us writing.

Everyone has heard the advice to write everyday and it is possibly clichéd and overused but hearing it so often can only show that maybe it is good advice to follow. If you stop, it can be difficult to start again. It is a possible reason why people struggle with New Years Resolutions. We do it for a while, stop then pick it up again. The same goes with writing and if you wrote everyday during November, why not continue to write everyday? What about starting a journal or blog of some sort? Dreams, life, books, films; you could chronicle any number of things by sitting down and writing everyday.

If you loved your story from November and didn’t finish, why not keep going with it? If you did, go you! But keep going! Keep writing! If you joined write-in’s during NaNoWriMo, why not arrange more so people can set the guilt monkeys on you? See if your region has regular ones through the year.

In January and February, the NaNoWriMo website will be updated to give editing hints and tips and to get you going. Editing and rewriting is, perhaps, the toughest part of writing any type of story, from the short story to the novelling epics. Get your manuscript ready for then. Get it finished. Put it away to let it breathe. Work on something else then, in January, whilst hung over (or otherwise!), get it out and start reading through.

Just Don’t Stop Writing!

So who’s with me? Who’s writing? Or am I a lone voice shouting to no one in particular?

Writing only looks easy. But it can be learned.

Some great words of advice here. Never throw away your old stuff. Keep everything. Maybe, in the future, you can go back to it and realise you can use or recycle some of it.

Matthew Wright

Writing isn’t something you can sit down and do without training. It only looks that way.

Spot my title in the middle... Spot my title in the middle…

I’ve noticed, of late, various posts and comments around the blog-o-sphere along the lines of ‘my book is good, because I got positive comments on Good Reads (or Amazon, or Smashwords), so why did an agent say it was terrible?’

Or ‘I got positive comments on Good Reads, but the agent said the book needed this-and-this-and-this…’

Why? There’s no soft way to say this. Fact is that neither writer nor on-line reviewer actually knew what constituted a good book – meaning not just an abstract measure of quality and authorial competence, but what’s required for a specific market.

Agents do. So do commissioning editors.

What’s happened is that the aspiring writer’s sat down and thought ‘I want to be a writer’ – usually, meaning ‘novellist’. They’ve then churned out…

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Cunning plans for pushing through the creative flat spot

I think I might do one or two of these suggestions. Might help me get through the black spot I am having at the moment.

Matthew Wright

In all the years I’ve been writing books it’s always been the same. Somewhere along the way there’s a flat spot.

1195430130203966891liftarn_Writing_My_Master_s_Words_svg_medIt’s the point where inspiration or enthusiasm wanes, but the deadline is still there and has to be met. It hits most authors, and it seems to happen irrespective of what’s being written – or its length. Right now, I figure a lot of NaNoWriMo entrants might be hitting that wall.

Remember – if it’s flat for you to write, it’ll probably also be flat for your readers to read. Is there a way around it? Sure is. In fact, if there wasn’t, books wouldn’t be finished. I’ve got a few strategies for dealing with it.

1. If time permits, stick the book in a drawer and write something else for a few days or weeks. For me, anyway, there’s usually more than one thing on the go.  A change is as…

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Nine Writing Lessons You Can Learn From Cats

Some good advice from our feline friends.

Writers Write, Right?

1. Every realistic character needs a dark side.


2. It’s often the tiny things that make great stories.


3. Characters have to fail, or else it isn’t interesting.


4. Sometimes, it’s best to summarize.


5. Every author, even the best of them, will get told “no” at some point in their career.

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6. Small things in the story can have big impacts.


7. Even the worst villains have a personality beneath all that evil.


8. Proper research makes a story feel more realistic.


9. Mustaches make every novel better.

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World Building: Cultures

Some good points to consider if you are doing any type of world building.

Writer Block

     By culture I am referring to the distinct ways that a group lives their lives instead of the group’s symbols and creative aspects. Know the differences between the cultures in your world allows for both diversity and potential conflict. Knowing the specifics of a particular character’s cuture does the same – as well as helps you bring that character to unique life.

      As a reminder, culture traits are generalities – they are shared by most people in the culture but are shared to different degrees. There is still room for variation within a group even when they share language and dialect, aesthetics, gender expectations, social structure, and religious practices. Whether you are trying to understand your character’s surface culture or are trying to create new cultures, these are all key elements to examine. And of course a person can belong to multiple cultures and subcultures.

  • Dialect: Writers…

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