The Halfway Mark 2021

Well. Halfway through the year already. My goodness.

This year has certainly been a strange one. I didn’t think there could be much more upheaval for me personally than Brexit drama and a global pandemic but life likes to keep things spicy. Who knew that going into lockdown would be a lot easier than coming out again? I mean I, as many introverts did, liked to joke about that a lot at the start but I truly wasn’t prepared for the emotional and mental toll it’s been taking. It turns out as well that there may be another issue contributing to that but I need to get to a doctor first before I’d feel comfortable talking about it (it’s nothing to worry about, just something that might explain a few a lot of things). It’s not been the easiest environment to focus on my writing goals.

So, in the middle of everything that has been going on, how have those 2021 goals been progressing?

  1. Write 1 short story per month – This has completely flopped. I managed two and then it all went wrong. Oh well. I tried! And I’ve not (totally) given up. The “per month” part might be dead and buried but I can still bash some out before the end of the year. There are a few old short stories that I’m planning on refurbishing and posting up here for your viewing pleasure and there are a few that I’ve got ideas for that I may eventually get around to scrawling somewhere. 
  2. Get something beta ready – Actually going well! No one would have expected at the start of the year (especially not me) that I’d stick working on one project for 8 months straight but here we are. Looks like The Halfway House just really speaks to me. I’m about three quarters through what is for me the slowest and least enjoyable part of editing, and then I’m on what normally feels like the downhill. I don’t want to jinx it but this one is currently ahead of schedule.
  3. Read new books – I’ve not kept up with my goal (and I’ve given up on hitting it) but I’ve managed to chalk up a few on this one. Hopefully without any big beta reading obligations for the rest of the year I might increase pace a little but I’m not holding my breath just yet.
  4. Keep Through the Black on submission – Technically yes. A few months I’ve left it a bit longer than was probably reasonable to hear back before sending it out again but I have kept up with sending it out, even if I’ve dragged my feet for a couple of weeks here and there. I’m still classing this one as on track, considering, well… everything.
  5. Keep up blog posts – Whoops. You haven’t heard from me since mid-May, so I think we know how this one’s going. That aside, I haven’t been doing too bad for me and I’ve got a backlog of ideas I just need to get on paper. Then hopefully I can post weekly for a while to catch up. So shaky, but I have hope on this one.

Moving on to some non writing related ones:

  1. Draw 1 piece of art per month – Failed this one too. Currently at four months out of six. However, some of the pieces I’ve made I’m really proud of and I can see a marked improvement on where my art was last year. A fail on paper but not one I’m too broken up about. Again, I’m hoping to ramp this one up again once things become a little more normal again. Just…  just don’t watch the news, okay?
  2. Weight goal – It’s gone in the right direction? That counts. Not enough yet to help with dysphoria but I’m taking that as a win for where we are in the year.
  3. Voice Therapy – I started it, just need to get consistent and then get the courage. I was even relatively consistent for a bit but fell off the wagon. Still, it’s a starting place and I’m building up my skills again. Gonna mark this one down as on course. 

Not the most hopeful midpoint of a year I’ve ever had but I like to think that I’m doing pretty well, considering. It’s been a rough year and I hope you’re all doing well. We’ll get there together.

2021 Goals

Hoooooo boy, here we go again. New year, new goals, though a lot of them are going to be veeery similar. Still, I find announcing them makes me more focused and less likely to abandon them. 

  1. Write 1 short story per month – Writing short fiction is not something that I do often, nor is it something that I’m good at. It is, however, a good way to improve your writing and a much quicker way to get samples of your writing critiqued, which is an invaluable thing for developing as a writer. As such, I want to try and write at least one piece of short fiction per month, be it as a random prompt or for specific submissions. 
  2. Get something beta ready – I don’t want to commit to a specific project this year as things happen and the way I feel at the start of the year certainly won’t be indicative of what I want to be working on later on. I want to commit to getting another draft beta ready, but this time around I’m not going to commit to a specific one. 
  3. Read new books – Another in the essential tasks for honing my writing skills. I’ve fallen into the bad habit of constantly rereading old favourites which, while safe and enjoyable, aren’t helping me broaden my skills. I’ve a set number of books I’ve never read before that I’d like to achieve before the end of the year.
  4. Keep Through the Black on submission – Fairly self explanatory. I don’t want to let myself get disheartened or lazy. This is something I need to keep on top of and plan to, no matter how harrowing it gets. 
  5. Keep up blog posts – I know if I don’t keep some accountability for this one is going to go straight out of the window. In 2020 I got more blog views than I have done any other year! Moving into 2021 I want to keep up that momentum and do more interesting posts about writing and resources (for example, my Trello post that got a lot more engagement than I’m used to!) and hopefully some more stories as well. 

Moving on to some non writing related ones:

  1. Draw 1 piece of art per month – This was a success last year and not only made me keep up with my practice and facilitated a real, visible improvement in my art but it gave me an awesome collage at the end, and I’m a sucker for a collage. It also gave me the confidence (lol kinda) to finally bring to the canvas some of my characters(!) which has been one of the main reasons I wanted to draw anyway. Bringing up those skills to give my favourites faces is definitely an end game goal and one I intend to keep working towards this year! 
  2. Weight goal – Yup, the usual one. It’s a lower priority one but one I want to deal with to keep on top of dysphoria and stuff. 
  3. Voice Therapy – Same as above, although this one has been SEVERELY neglected since I moved away from my local GIC. Time to get back on it properly. If I get the confidence to talk over Discord again while I’m gaming before the end of the year, I’ll consider this one a success. 

So there you have it, my goals for 2021! I’ve tried to keep it easier this year so no big, specific goal really, just little things I can chip away at throughout the year. I have a few manuscripts that are close to beta ready and one that isn’t but I’m completely obsessed with currently, so with any luck and a bit of work at least ONE of those will be ready by the end of the year. 

I’m anticipating a pretty rough start to 2021 thanks to the UK handling Coronavirus like a toddler handling Gran’s favourite porcelain and some essential staff at my place of work moving on to better pastures, but after last year I’m moving on with a new attitude. None of this new year “fresh start, clean slate, all gets better from here” nonsense. Going through 2020 was like going through the washing machine, and I’m fully expecting 2021 to be the spin cycle. I’m keeping my head down, eyes on what’s in front of me, and am just going to do what I can.

Happy New Year everyone!

2020 Goals – The Review

Many, many, many people are saying this about 2020 but I have to add my voice asking “what in the everliving fuck was that?!?” Whatever, let’s grab a big glass of vermouth and have a look at how I did on this year’s goals.

1.) Start doing blog posts again – For this one I managed to post 73% of the planned blog posts for the year (one every two weeks) which, in this year of 2020, I’m counting as a win. As Meatloaf would say, 19 outta 26 ain’t bad.

2.) Finish TE1 synopsis (by 28 Feb) and keep on submission – Success! Not only did I finish the full query packet but it’s been on submission ever since and the rejections are piling up! Yaay! I mean, every one of them is a gut punch but I’m treating this like my training montage right before the film KICKS OFF. That’s how you do it, right?

3.) Get Fishperer beta ready – I made a lot of progress on this at the start of the year and then in the second half it kinda went out of the window. Still, it’s a lot closer to being done than it was so that’s something I suppose. 

4.) Complete a Goodreads challenge – Yeah, this one never recovered. It’s not been a good year for reading new books at all. This year was far too much about the comfort zone. Oh well. There’s always next year?

5.) Do enough art to do the end of year meme – I DID IT! I made enough art and made the meme. Despite September to November being very phoned in, I’m still very proud of myself for it. The best thing about this goal is that I can look at my January art and my December art and actually see a difference. I’m hoping to make this one a tradition because I finally feel like I’m making some progress with my drawing skills and I don’t want to lose it again.

6.) Hit weight goal – Zero shits given about this one. It’s 2020. I’m just along for the ride. This one will probably be back next year as I want to achieve it for my dysphoria but if we’re up for 2020 2.0 then I’m not going to stress about it too much.

If we include the very shaky “win” for goal number one, that’s a 50% hit rate. Sod it, it’s 2020. I think I did good. Happy New Year everyone, let’s raise our glasses, cross our fingers, and enter the brace position because like it or not, here comes 2021!

The 2020 Halfway Post

It’s July, which means it is time to review how I’m doing on this year’s goals! As I’m certain most of you are also feeling, this has been a very odd year. This post feel about 9 months overdue and also about 3 months early at the same time. Seriously, 2020 really needs to get its act together. Anyway, on with the post!

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1.) Start doing blog posts again – This has gone well so far! Two posts were one day late but aside from that, we’ve been rocking and rolling. I’ve managed to keep this up through some pretty rough patches so hopefully the momentum sticks and we keep going for the second half of the year.

2.) Finish TE1 synopsis (by 28 Feb) and keep on submission – You may have guessed from my last post that the time lines were derailed on this one but good news prevails in the end. I hit the original deadline of 28th of February but then… Just didn’t send it out. Working with my therapist has been really helpful though, progress has happened and as of June 15th Through the Black has officially been on submission! I also have packets ready for the next couple of agents for when this one comes back. There’s a plan in place to keep up this momentum so there’s no stopping me now! 

3.) Get Fishperer beta ready – This is on track! Been working away at it and all of the comments have now been addressed. It’s scene by scene time now, then it’s onto the big print out and check, then bish bash bosh we’ve got a beta ready MS! Just need to keep at it. Handy that a certain Camp NaNo event just started, amirite? 

4.) Complete a Goodreads challenge – This is one that has started terribly but I’m hoping to pick up a little in the second half of the year. I don’t know with so much time wasted if I’ll hit the endgame goal but I’m determined to make a decent dent in it regardless.

5.) Do enough art to do the end of year meme – Some months have been better than others, and at least two have literally only had ONE piece of art, but that still fits the criteria so I’m counting that as a win. What I do count as a big win is that my folder for 2020 art now has more in it than any other year since… well, since before university. And we’ve still got six months to go! Let me tell you, that’s a great feeling and I can really see some improvements with my stuff. I missed art so much. It feels great to have it back in my life. 

6.) Hit weight goal – Not great progress on this one but with everything else that’s been going on in my life and the world in general, I’m not too surprised or worried about that. 

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Overall and considering the on goings both personally and not, I’m pretty pleased to have gotten to where I am. Some things are going slower than I would like but everything is moving forward. I hope you’re all out there smashing your 2020 goals, but if you aren’t I’m pretty sure there was never a better excuse.

Take care of yourselves and do what you can. Personal progress is nice but in the face of a global pandemic, looking after yourself and those close to you is the number one goal.

The 2020 Goal Post

Shocked

I hope you were sat down for this one popping up on your feed. Even by my standards, that was a long absence.

A lot has happened, non-writing wise. Relatively, not much on the writing front but life threw a lot at me over the last year and a half. I’ve still been writing but not seriously. I’ve had to focus everything I had at my life circumstances and my day job just to keep my head above the water. I’ve been through a few rough patches but coming out of the other side I’ve grown professionally (just not in the writing department unfortunately) and personally. I finally feel ready to turn back to the things I love. To return to my creativity. It’s time to move on again from just small, sporadic pieces of writing for fun and go back to pursuing my dream of becoming a published writer. 

What better way to do that than to return to the annual resolutions post? Though I’ve changed the name to “goals” partly because it makes them seem like friendly ticky boxes that are less scary and also because of that sweet pun in the title.

 

1.) Start doing blog posts again lol – We all know how good I am at this one. However, I need writing accountability and the old “building the author brand” chestnut that I’m so terrible at. I kept up fortnightly posts for quite a while in the past, so I’ll be trying to return to that schedule.

2.) Finish TE1 synopsis (by 28 Feb) and keep on submission – This is something that I should have done a really long time ago. Honestly though, I haven’t had the time physical or mental strength to get it done. So this goal is to get a query packet complete for Through the Black (which is just the full story synopsis left now) and then get it on submission, and keep it there. 

3.) Get Fishperer beta ready – This is another one that is so close that it’s actually quite frustrating that it isn’t finished by now. Time to put it in writing that this is a focus, and not check it off as “done” until it’s in the hands of some beta readers. Volunteers welcome!

4.) Complete a Goodreads challenge – Over the past few years I’ve fallen into the easy habit of re-reading old favourites. When everything in life just feels difficult, sometimes the brain can try and make everything it can that little bit easier. If I ever want to be a good writer though, I’ve gotta read wide. I’ve already started that by picking up a book I apparently bought and put on my TBR list in 2015. Whoops.

A couple of non-writing ones to finish up with:-

5.) Do enough art to do the end of year meme – If you follow any artists on Twitter, you’re probably familiar with the meme, or at least a similar one. To fulfill this goal, I would need to produce at least one piece I’m happy to post per month, to form them all into a collage in December. Makes me practice and gives a tangible goal I can complete to keep focused. 

6.) Hit weight goal – Not much to say about this one, I just want an accountability record of it. Hit and maintain chosen goal.

 

So that’s it from me – for now. It’s good to be back. Happy New Year!

The Resolutions Post, 2018

So after last year’s clown fiesta I’m back with a list of resolutions for 2018! This year is all set to be a bit of a mess as well but hey, I’m going in swinging. I’ve had two Bad YearsTM, will 2018 make it three in a row? I dunno but I’m going to try and go with no. As such, here’s some stuff I want to achieve! Let’s go!

 

New Year

 

1.) Submit short stories – Guess who’s back? This year’s resolutions are going to be a bit déjà vu thanks to last year. THIS year submissions are going to be happening. For one thing, I’m going to need to practice, for reasons you will see below.

 

2.) Put all relevant info from Through the Black into my Twyned Earth World Building encyclopedia – Not much more to be said about this one aside from I still haven’t done it and really, really should.

 

3.) Keep arting – now with more tutorials – I was actually impressed with myself and how much I managed to draw last year. Now, this year is again going to be a turbulent one so I’m not going to set a goal to beat last year’s twenty posted pictures. What I will aim for is one a month and to start looking up tutorials to try and get technically better at stuff instead of bumbling along by myself as I did last year.

 

4.) Get back on the FitBit thing – For a good year and a bit, since I got my FitBit, I was really good at keeping up with step goals. It was wonderful for my health and general wellbeing. However, last summer I got a foot injury (I was just playing Diablo dammit) and then with the latter half of the year being a puddle of despair everything went to pot. Now I intend to get back to hitting those goals every day. For one thing, it did wonders for my mood which helps with the writing.

 

5.) Read more – This year was a terrible one for reading. There are so many books I’ve wanted to read and just haven’t. I’m hoping to be in a much better place for reading this year and start hacking through that To Be Read pile again. Even ignoring the fact that reading is the best way to improve your writing, I just love it and miss it.

 

And finally, the big one…

 

6.) Start querying Through the Black – Yes, I know I already mentioned this one a couple of posts ago but this is big for me! It’s what I’ve been working towards for the last five-and-a-bit years. I’m aiming for the MS to be ready by March 31st and then to have the query packet sorted by April 30th. Then, after I’ve had a few people look over the packet and whatnot, it’s query time. Hopefully by the end of May depending on how long it takes for people to get back to me. Then I’m hoping the rest of the year will just be a steady stream of me bothering agents with it and sobbing into desserts.

 

Whatever you’re aiming to do this year, I wish you the best of luck and I hope things work out. If not, don’t worry. Just keep on pushing. That’s how I got through last year and I already know this year is going to be tough but I’m not giving up before it’s started. Let’s get out there and show 2018 who’s boss.

Resolutions Round Up, 2017

Wow, 2017, eh? That happened. Apparently. I try not to think about it.

So here is the yearly round up post from 2017’s resolutions! Let me warn you, it’s definitely not as good as last year. In fact, it’s so bad I’m going to be looking under every tiny rock for a little beckon of light like “hey I ALMOST did this lookit!” So just to warn you. Let’s get started, shall we?

 

1.) Submit short stories – Yeah, this was a flat out fail. I got a few submissions out but not a lot and I didn’t get any new stories ready to send out. I blame job applications for that one. Getting beaten down by one kind of rejection was quite enough, thanks.

 

2.) Get author logo and website banner – This was a half success. As you can see, I have a shiny new logo courtesy of the talented Nat Furman! Unfortunately, due to financial issues in the latter half of the year, there was simply no chance that I could get the banner sorted out.

design-CM-stick-fairy-black

 

3.) Put writing samples on website – A partial if very minor win. I did manage to stick up a handful (okay, three). It’s a start. Though, thanks to my writing workshop and a small serial I’ve got ready, there’s going to be a lot more going up in the New Year – which will also hopefully help me catch up with blog posts as well, since this is technically the post from November 5th. Hey, we’ll get there. 2017, amiright?

 

4.) Put all relevant info from Through the Black into my Twyned Earth World Building encyclopedia – Hoooooo-ey, this is another big splat. I got up to a certain point but we’ve still got a loooooong way to go. I’m hoping to throw that back into this year’s plan because it really needs done.

 

5.) Art more – Okay, you know what? This one is a win. In 2017 I posted up TWENTY pieces of art to my DeviantArt account and there are several that I didn’t post. They aren’t good but they’re there and I did them. And, I think maybe at a push, I’m getting better and that’s the whole point, right? That’s more than one picture posted per month (close to two even) and for me that’s a lot. A lot a lot. You know how much I posted in 2016? Two pictures. So yeah, this one is a win and I intend to keep it up.

 

I hope last year treated you folks a whole lot better and I hope you had a Happy New Year! I spent mine in bed playing Skyrim and after that twelve months there was no where I would have rather been.

The Resolutions Post, 2017

So I’m a few days late but here is the resolutions post to keep me accountable for the year. I’m expecting a lot more upheaval just over halfway through 2017 so I’m not going to try and set myself too much and just focus on dealing with life a little better than I did last year.

 

1.) Submit short stories – So, this was a resolution for last year that I managed to keep up with. This year I’m going to set myself a higher goal for submissions and try and hit that, to slowly work up to being consistent with submitting work. After all, the only way it’s going to get accepted is if it gets submitted!

2.) Get author logo and website banner – So last year I attended the fabulous Jill Marcotte’s author branding workshop, during which ideas for these two things were brainstormed. With Through the Black ready for its second round of betas it’s time to start getting things sorted out.

3.) Put writing samples on website – Another action coming direct from the workshop, we discussed the importance of having samples of one’s writing on one’s author website. Eeep! As a direct result of this I have this (tiny) page here with a couple of links but resolution number three is to flesh this section out a little more with some samples from novels and maybe some short stories!

4.) Put all relevant info from Through the Black into my Twyned Earth World Building encyclopedia – So some of you may remember this post where I realized I hadn’t written down half the things I thought I had and that the vast majority of my delicate world building was precariously stored in the worst of places – my head. That is rather like trying to ask my dear cat Pandy to protect that block of cheese. So while I’ve been working through things, most of my world building doesn’t actually appear in Through the Black. (Writers, right?) So what I want to do is make sure I’ve noted all things relevant to book one to ensure consistency as I work on book two.

5.) Art more – I’m constantly lamenting that I don’t have time among everything to keep up practicing art, because like writing it’s one of those things that you really have to work at. I used to not be too bad but I haven’t had time to practice consistently since I was in school so since then I’ve really gone downhill. I’d like to work slowly towards getting it back, even if I’m not doing more than a sketch a week just to get in the habit.

 

As for what I’m going to be working on, novel-wise, last year the main project was Through the Black (insert Nick Cage face here) with The Deconstructor as my ‘official’ side project. Well I got the first done, got Deconstructor to a couple of readers and even managed to finally finish the rough draft of One Dead Prince!

This year the main project will be Twyned Earth book 2 The Fairy Godfather with my official side project being The Fishperer. We’re already eleven days in so time to get cracking!

Resolutions Roundup 2016

Happy 2017!

I meant to have this all posted before the turn of the new year but the holidays are a busy, busy time so sorry about that! Right at the start of 2016 I posted up my resolutions for the year so here is the roundup of how I did!

 

  1. Diversify my reading – This went well! While I didn’t read as much in general as I would have liked last year (and I blame the curse of 2016 for that one!), at least 50% of the books I read had diverse main characters written by diverse authors. I found some absolute gems that I would have missed if I hadn’t gone on the hunt for them specifically. This highlighted part of the problem as well – at times I struggled to find reads within the genres I was looking for. In future I’m going to continue putting more effort into hunting out these novels – and yelling about them on Goodreads!
  1. Start leaving short reviews on Goodreads again – Not quite a success unfortunately. I didn’t manage one a month like I had planned (the second half of the year really was an event and a half) but I got more than half of my goal done which is something. I think I’ll aim for one a month again this year, though it won’t be an official resolution, to try and help me keep a more critical eye as I read—and learn—from books.
  1. Lose weight – Finally an actual success! I not only hit the numerical value I was aiming for half way through the year, but I ended the year on it too. Huzzah!
  1. Finish next draft of Through the Black This is the big one! And a success! Excitingly, this shiny revised draft is completed! Which also means I need to send it to people again soon! Eeeep! I’m currently doing a last final read through and then I will be compiling a list of beta readers. If you’d like to be on it, drop me a line!
  1. Get tattoo – Tah daaaaaaaah!

Tattoo

  1. Move in with partner – Another success! And the shiny beacon in an otherwise awful year.
  1. Submit more short stories – Success! I hit my set submission goal and got what had to be one of the quickest rejections in history (it took them less than half an hour) but if you don’t submit you can’t succeed. Considering how long a year is, it wasn’t a huge number of submissions but it’s a start. I’m building up to getting things sent out relatively regularly.

 

So I didn’t do too bad, all things considered. Now it’s time to start working on those 2017 goals, which you’ll see next time! How did you do on your goals for last year? And Happy New Year all!