February Update – Nuzzling The Grindstone


It’s been quiet around here lately what with me busy pressing my nose against the grindstone of my latest manuscript. I finished off the third draft a few days ago, and it’s a relief to put the most difficult draft behind me and give my face a brief rest. There’s nothing like seeing actual measurable progress on such a massive project.

I feel a little bad about neglecting my blog in the meantime, but I set myself the lofty goal of releasing four books this year, and I’m already a little behind schedule. I don’t want to post crap here just for the sake of it (he writes unironically in a post with zero substance), and I’m sure whoever reads my blog can survive with a little less of my rambling in their life. At least for a while anyway.

My plan now is to step away from my manuscript for a couple of weeks (I had hoped for longer, but deadlines) and work on something else for a while, then I’ll come back with a bit more perspective and finish the final draft. Which means hopefully by the end of March, I’ll have Solace Within, the shiny sequel to my first novel, sitting up there on Amazon’s kindle store for everyone far and wide to admire, or more accurately, quickly forget as it slides into the abyss to be buried under the never-ending cascade of paranormal romance. Still, getting a body of finished work out there is my sole focus this year. I can worry about sales later.

So that’s a quick update on my progress. Hopefully I’ll find time to post something interesting around here soon, but for the meantime, it’s back to nuzzling the grindstone.

Photo by Dave Ruark licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0.


Yearly Plans And How To Write A Novella In 24 Hours


So far this January, I’ve spent most of my time knee-deep in editing land. After stalling a bit during the holidays at the end of last year, I rediscovered my drive and it feels good to be making progress again. I’m even confident of releasing a finished product by the end of March.

I remember clearly writing this stage of my first book, and how agonising it became. I slumped in the middle of the second/third draft and it sapped all of my energy. I would open the behemoth manuscript, tinker with it for a few minutes, then lose all enthusiasm at the sight of how much work lay ahead of me. In the end it dragged on for so long, taking months longer to finish than it should have, that I promised I wouldn’t make the same mistake again.

One of the reasons for my renewed enthusiasm lately is this short time-lapse of author Ed Davis attempting to write 50,000 words in one day. Watch it and be uninspired, I dare you.

How did he manage it? An abundance of coffee and determination I think. Here’s a blog post by the man himself, explaining some of his reasoning for making the attempt. In the end, he managed 28,000 words in just over twenty hours before calling it a day. I think any writer would happily call that a success. I’ve never achieved a word count quite like that in one sitting, but watching it has inspired me to buy some coffee and put more hours into my writing.

So in directing this newfound eagerness towards my writing, I’ve decided to set myself a minimum target of releasing four novels in 2017.

These include Solace Within (book 2) and Zenith Rising (book 3) which will complete the Fielding trilogy I started with my first novel. Then I’ll be moving on to two new standalone novels, tentatively named Crawlers (a science fiction story revolving around giant wheeled machines the size of towns on a hostile desert planet) and Journey (a story about a young man forced to make a journey across an unfamiliar world, experiencing fantastical people and places which change him).

I’ve already done a lot of the outlining work for these projects, and I’m genuinely excited to see how they turn out. I keep my current projects page updated regularly, so you can keep an eye on my progress there. While I have already published a novel, it probably won’t be until the end of this year when I have a good few books under my belt, that I’ll truly regard myself as a professional author. Something I’m looking forward to more than I can put into words, which is probably a bad thing for a writer.

Now stop reading my ramblings and go write something awesome.

Photo by david silver licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.

October’s Creative Drought


It’s been deathly quiet around here lately, and I figured it’s time I put up a post explaining why.

In short, I’ve been in a creative drought. I was overly critical of everything I managed to write, and I struggled to make any measurable progress on my second novel. On top of that, I couldn’t find anything I thought worth posting here on my blog. Everything seemed weak and I didn’t want to post garbage content just for the sake of it. I also started avoiding social media because it’s so utterly saturated with the shitshow that is this year’s US election. I can only take so much Trump-this and Hillary-that before wanting to blow my brains out.

Oh and to cap it off, I caught flu and was sick for a solid week.

The end result of this jigsaw of misery was that I fell off the map for most of October.

stephen_king_on_writingOne upside of the slump was that I found time to catch up on some reading. I finally picked up Stephen King’s On Writing, which I burned through in record time. Full of engrossing stories and useful knowledge, I would recommend it to any writer at any stage of their career. Having never read any of King’s work before, I can now understand why the guy sells so many millions of books. At some point, I’ll try to post a review/run down of my personal highlights.

Anyway, I’m on the upswing now and starting to not hate writing again. I even managed to plan out the scenes of the final book in my trilogy in just a handful of days. I’ll be writing the first draft next month, which coincidentally happens to be National Novel Writing Month. I have no plans to take part this year though, not after my experience last year when I was barraged with shameless advertising, and found the forums to be steeped in so much fabricated enthusiasm and political correctness that it made me want to vomit.

Knowing how much editing lies ahead of me, and how it dragged during my first novel, I came up with an idea to help me keep focused this time around. Writing a novel is a huge project that can take many months, and progress can be hard to measure when you’re dealing with such a lumbering behemoth. As a result it can be demoralising to pack up after a full day’s work and realise it was all just a drop in the ocean. So I’ve been toying with the idea of setting myself a weekly (possible fortnightly) schedule to write a short story. Holding a finished piece of work every now and then could be just the thing to keep my momentum during the bleak, lonely winters of editing through an entire novel.

If I do find time to give it a try, and any of the stories end up being decent, I’ll post them here on the free writing section of my site which is already loaded with my older work if you want to check it out.

Happy Halloween, I hope your own writing travels are going well. Enjoy your pumpkin carving, horror films, and tooth decay.

Jack-o-lantern photo by Troy Pickard licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.
On Writing cover photo © Stephen King, used for identification purposes only.