Tuesday, 18 December 2018

New Diary!!

I'm a stationery addict. A new diary is something that needs a LOT of thought. I can spend a ridiculous amount of time choosing a diary (often time I can't really spare, but hey ho).

For 2019, I wanted a diary that:
  • was about A5 size
  • had a week to a view with the days in vertical columns
  • had equal sized columns for Saturday and Sunday (my life isn't less busy, just because it's a weekend!)
  • had the week starting on a Monday (who in their right minds splits the weekend so that it bookends the week? It's a weekend)
  • had space to list tasks for the week
  • preferably also had space to list Most Important Tasks for each day
  • would also help me with planning my week/month/year
  • preferably was pretty/attractive because I have neither the time nor talent to do it myself but like the look of them
  • would lie flat on the desk
  • preferably had 2 ribbon markers, but at least one

Not much to ask for, is it?? You can see why I can end up trawling shops and the internet for yonks, trying to find this mythical beast.

Well, this year I have struck gold!!

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

I managed a run at the weekend!

I realise that this may not seem a startling announcement, especially given that I have described myself as 'a runner' for the last couple of decades or so...

... but I've been ill for what feels like forever! I've been feeling queasy/sick since late September and running hasn't been great - usually resulting in me feeling as if I'm about to throw up for much of the time I'm out and then especially when I've got back from the run.

Add to the mix the fact my Dad's been in hospital for more than a month, and a significant chunk of my time has been taken up with taking Mum to visit and/or helping Mum with stuff. Consequently time when I've felt well enough to run and had the time to get out for one has been hugely limited. My last run before the weekend had been the third week of October. For someone who tries to get out at least three times a week, not running for so long has been hellish.

But, on Sunday morning, I threw my kit on, laced up my trainers and plodded around a couple of miles. The pace was slow, but I ran without stopping, throwing up (or falling!) so I'm putting that down as a success!

We're all hopeful that Dad will be out of hospital soon, with a care-package that helps at home, so if I could just stop feeling sick all the time, running time might become commonplace again. Here's hoping all of this comes to pass soon. It's been a bit of a double-whammy because a lot of things have been stressing me, but my main way to decompress is usually to get out for a run...

Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

SMART goals for my antagonist

From: https://www.developgoodhabits.com/goal-setting-worksheet/
The other day, I was taking stock of where I was in the current book. I'd written about 60k words, had mostly (mostly) stuck to my original plan, but wanted to check what was coming next and how everything was still fitting together.

What I've found really helpful (but perhaps a bit weird) is to imagine that my antagonist has to complete a SMART goals worksheet, like the one pictured. In the current book, Aegyir, a soul-and-life-stealing entity, wants to destroy everyone, especially anyone who would be able to 'kill' him. Unfortunately, the pesky protagonists don't want him to kill everyone (and especially not them) and keep trying to thwart him.

So, how is he intending to achieve his goal? Why is it important to him? What steps are there on the way to completing this goal (and what issues might stand in his way)?

In all honesty, I don't fill it in in huge detail, but I do think about everything from the antagonist's perspective. It helps me to remember that in the antagonist's world, he's the hero.

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Scrivener motivation...

Writing has been tough going recently. It's not that I don't still love what I'm writing... I do. I just haven't been able to sit down and write as much as I would like, because my father's in hospital. Even when I have been able to sit down and write, I've been tired (and worried and upset) and writing hasn't always flowed well.

Until recently (when he got transferred to a hospital closer to Mum), taking my Mum to visit him involved a 50-mile round trip and at least 4-5 hours out of my day. The Rest of Life™ had to fit into the time remaining, squeezing writing into ever smaller portions of time. I blogged a couple of weeks ago about how I was managing to get some stuff done, even if I had fairly tiny windows to work in That was working well for scene planning and background research and so on, but perhaps less well for writing a whole scene. And then when I did get a chunk of time to write in, my focus wasn't always great.

But, I finally discovered that the session target feature in Scrivener could stay as a floating window as I wrote.

Tuesday, 20 November 2018


What my desk looks like, most of the time!
I am still loving writing this (when I get the chance... see my last couple of posts for why writing time has become even more precious than normal). I spent a bit of time a week or so ago looking at the plot and sorting out how a new strand that had developed fitted in with the rest of the book (and in fact the rest of the trilogy) and it dawned on me... there's a fourth book there. The story doesn't end at the end of this book (though one major arc will be finalised) - there's a whole new aspect I could still write about.

This is ridiculously thrilling and scary to think about. Thrilling because I don't want to let these characters and their world go. Scary, because I had plans for three other, different, unrelated books that I intended to work on once I'd 'finished' the trilogy. I have writing plans that will take me years to complete. I wonder how many of them will ever actually get written?

How I feel about these characters is in complete contrast to how I feel about finishing the follow-on from The Wrong Kind of Clouds/The Call. If I never saw those characters again, I wouldn't care. The thought of not writing about Aeron and Faran and the rest of them fills me with dismay. Maybe I will end up spending the rest of my life writing about them. Part of me is perfectly happy with that idea, but a big chunk of me also wants to explore the other projects that are piling up around my ears.

Whatever I decide to do, I need to get these three books finalised first!

Anyone else had a project that just grew and grew?

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

Writing in small chunks of time...

You may have gathered from last week's (lack of) post that life here got busy. My Dad has been ill for a while and got readmitted to hospital last week, so writing (and life in general) has had to take a bit of a back seat.

A while ago, I did two amazing (and free!) courses by Writers' HQ - "14 days to a solid writing habit" and "Turbocharge your creativity". If you've not done them, I really recommend them! And their blog. Just them, really. They're amazing!

Anyway, in the 14 days to a solid writing habit course, the exercises started small - ten minutes of writing, building up to longer sessions. One of the biggest things I learned from this course was that I could squeeze at least some writing into even a tiny portion of time. That has been a godsend this last fortnight or so!

Thankfully, I'm a planner. I may not have had big enough chunks of time in which to write a scene over the last couple of weeks, but I have had time to plan out scenes. If and when I do then get a bit of time to write, the scene is prepped and ready to go. I tend to plan out the start of the scene and how I'm going to finish the scene (because otherwise I get tired and it can ramble on!) and the key things that need to happen in the scene. I also run through my checklist (which I wrote about here) to make sure that the scene is earning its place.

Tuesday, 6 November 2018

Writing, interrupted...

Sorry - no new post this week. Family illnesses stole all my time and energy.

Back next week.