Neurological problems

Why have I started to schedule myself so rigorously?

Because I would like to be more productive in writing my stories and actually sending them off for the first time to an agent for representation and to start a career as a writer, instead of having the lifestyle of an unpublished writer!

I am also doing this because I am getting scary neurological symptoms, which look likely that my ability to write, may not last long.  I know that may mean that agents will be very reluctant to take me on, because potentially my writing career could be short, but I hope that I get enough books out there, that I would have felt that I have at least done that.

What neurological symptoms have I been getting? 

The inability to realise I have said wrong words in a sentence and even wrote wrong words in a sentence.

I have also struggled to pronounce easy things and jumbled words up, for example, I have never had problems with literacy, ever, and it has always been my strong point.  But I may, in my speech say something like this…

“I waked to the ships today” instead of “I walked to the shops today”.

I am also making huge nonsensical writing errors, such as….

“They needed to zit down and drink about things” instead of “They needed to sit down and think about things”.

This is not too regular, but it is increasing in its regularity as months go on.  This started around 10yrs ago, but it was fun back then, because I thought it was just the odd spoonerism, but the odd spoonerism, which would happen around twice a week is now a three or more times a day thing on average.

I am also finding it hard to focus on conversations and answer questions quickly.  My son is causing issues with this, because he is impatient and bad tempered and he wants quick fire answers to his quick fire questions all the time!  I get muddled and I come across as offensive because I am confused.

For example he rambled off ten questions in the space of two minutes and then, my brain hadn’t caught up.  He told me he is upset with this life and he is becoming a bad negative person over it and he hates himself, then wattle on for a couple of more sentences then he said to me…

“Oh by the way, dad just said my test is negative, are you happy I am negative”?  I said that I wasn’t happy he was negative because he needs to find something to be happy about.

But before I could finish the sentence, Henry screamed and ran away and slammed the door, I was confused by this.  Paul explained that I didn’t understand what he tried to say to me, that Henry now thinks that I am not happy that he is Covid free and my god that felt awful!

But it is things like this, which seems to be making me feel like I am going around the twist!  It is one major factor as to why I am not writing as much as I used to for the blog.

I have noticed a lot of huge errors in past posts!

Thing is, my brain is changing so much that I don’t even recognise the errors even when I read after I wrote.  It can take one of my good days, when I am not so ill, to realise what I have done.

I am scared, but there is nothing I can do about it, because hospital appointments during Covid are almost non-existent now, even if the doctor has put me down for emergency scans and so forth.

I am scared because MS, motor neurone disease and early dementia are rife in my family on both sides.

Happy reading everyone!

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Formatting my life

I have concocted a plan (it is not a resolution for the New Year, I never go in for that sort of commitment each year, it can be demoralising at times), but the plan is a sort of schedule of a kind of commitment to my writing; specific writing, not just any old writing – this is a new technique I am starting as from the 1st February 2022.

From the 1st of February 2022 I will allocate Friday and Saturday as a weekend for me, as those days work best as a weekend for me than any other day, because those are my busiest family and shopping days, when I could get out and about.  I have also allocated the time slot between Sunday and Thursday where I know I am least likely to be interrupted by the household on a day to day basis, which is 1pm to 3pm.  This 1pm to 3pm time slot is my time block for working solely on one specific novel only.

I have chosen to write a minimum of 1k words during this time per day, with the goal to finish 5k words in one week and 20k words in one month.  If I do not manage to write 1k in two hours of writing (which will be very unlikely), then I will work over that time until I do!

Normally, when I set out to write my stories, I tend to write an average of 500 to 750 words every fifteen minutes, if the story has been rigorous planned beforehand.

By forcing myself to use the regular time slot of 1 to 3pm each day, I hope to eventually build a habit, where my mind will trick itself into focusing on one single project at that particular time of the day and therefore I should become more productive.

I am doing this because I would like to be the sort of author that can finish at least three books per year.  I have always worked best with a schedule and deadline and unfortunately Paul is not very good at keeping to timetables and so forth, so he is not the person who will help push me… I have to learn to figure it out for myself until I develop professional relationships that will do that for me eventually.

I have pinned messages on walls around the house to remind me on what I should be focusing on.  All of this was advice from a book I borrowed from the local library called “The One Thing” by Gary Keller; the messages I have pinned around the house are “UNTIL MY WRITING IS DONE… EVERYTHING ELSE IS A DISTRACTION!” and I have also made another message which says “1K WORDS PER DAY IS 5 BOOKS A YEAR”!

1k words per day are very doable, but it wasn’t focused on anything in particular. 

I spent the whole of January trying to figure out my writing habits and typing them up on a spreadsheet to see what projects and things I am likely to write day to day, how many words per project I do each time and how long each time I spend writing towards them;  The spreadsheet was a revelation.

I spread myself around nine different projects and most of those projects are years old!  I write an average of 1500 words per subject and approximately 90 minutes per day.  However, I mostly focus on future blog writing, diary entries, journal entries and research notes, more than I do my actual novel writing.  Using a pie chart, I learned that the average time I spent adding towards a novel was around 20 minutes every 3 days and just under 1500 words each time.  In other words, I spent a lot of my writing time, not writing towards stories, but just playing around with ideas.

I felt there has to be a change in order for me to become productive.

As from the 1st February 2022 I will use the time slot of 1pm to 3pm to write towards one specific project daily until it is complete, then I will store it away for six weeks and look at it with fresh eyes to edit.  But during the maturing process as I will call it, I will immediately start on a new piece of work and so on and so on.

Any research papers, journaling, diary entries and blogging must be done outside of the hours of 1pm and 3pm, or else things will never change.

During writing the story, I will not interject ideas into the story as I am doing the first drafts either, it should be following the direction of the plan that I have laid out beforehand.  If my brain does another direction, then so be it, but it must be written like it is intended to be the final draft, though it won’t be.

I feel this is how I am going to get things done.

I am so dedicated to this new system starting on the 1st February, that I am not even making myself feel bad about not completing anything right now.  I seeing it as a sort of holiday – Paul thinks I need to do this too, he felt that I needed to have days off and I was always very angry at the idea of that – primarily because my imagination has never had a day off in its entire existence.  But I think, doing the actual work, does need to have days where I can allow myself time to relax from it.

I have made a holiday schedule for myself of days I won’t force myself to write at all, those weekend days, Friday and Saturday, but also bigger blocks of time where I can guiltlessly do other things if I want to.  I have allowed myself time blocks for Henry’s school holidays and other days in the year which are typically busy for me, though the six weeks summer holiday I have only blocked out three weeks, because I feel six weeks is just too long a time.

I can write if I want to, outside of those hours, but I am not going to be unkind to myself if I don’t!

I know all told I have blocked out 136 days a year, more than anyone would in normal jobs, but I do know that I push myself when I know I am expected to and I know I tend to do so much all at once that I easily burn out. 

I don’t know if any of you remember that a few years ago, I think it was 2017, not sure, that I did NaNoWriMo and I did 60k words by the 19th November and I completely wore myself out creatively for over two years because of it.  I came to the computer with dread of revisiting the project and writing any novel at all.  It was a really hard hurdle to get over.

I can’t go there again.

But I do know, at my writing speed and rigorous planning habit, that I will be able to produce three books per year by doing this new method.

I never said it is going to be easy, but I do know my limitations and I understand that keeping to two hours per day will be a doddle for me.  But, I do know this is not a perfect world and most of my hospital appointments are usually around 12 to 2pm, on those particular days I will have to force myself to do my 2 hours later in the day or try to reschedule the appointments.

Happy reading everyone!

P.S I know I said 1k per day is 5 books per year, but my aim is only 3 and I won’t be working every single one of the 365 days of the year!

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A revelation of themes

Happy New Year everybody!

It is surprising what you discover about yourself as a writer when you take time out to organise things and make spreadsheets of all your projects and so forth!

I have done that during the Christmas period, I have put down only 26 writing projects I have into files and made a spreadsheet about them and I am surprised to see (outside of the vampires I write) what my main themes and tropes are!

My spreadsheet shows I am mostly a fantasy author and secondary dystopian author; I am more likely to write about angels and demons or mutants than anything else and I tend towards tropes of survival, redemption and isolation.  The main sceneries are cities and subterranean, as opposed to what I thought was a more of a forest like leaning, and I am more of a standalone novelist, rather than a series creator.

This is a huge revelation to me, because I thought that I mostly concentrated on forests and mountains, dragons and giants and themes of war and revelation – I felt that I was mostly a steampunk and horror author above everything else, but no, I am not.  I also felt that I was writing too many series and sagas, but again, no, it’s a small margin in comparison to the majority of my work.

I was also surprised at how many of my stories are in water based sceneries too, I never imagined that would be the case; it is astonishing, as I have never really felt I was a person who had such a big connection to water before.  But water scenes are very common in most of my stories and my main characters are most likely to be predominantly female.

I am also surprised at how diverse my characters are in comparison to the average books I read from other authors, this is not intentional, but it is a good thing to note and I am more prone to comedy in my stories thus far, than I had first thought.

What did I include in my spreadsheet?

Genre

Title of project

Main creature race

Main scene

Is this a series?

Main theme

Are the characters diverse?

Main character gender

I didn’t include any of my vampire novels in the spreadsheet, because I wanted to see what I am as an author outside of them.

I haven’t put every project into the spreadsheet because I only wanted to waste about half a day on this type of thing as I need more time to organise my files for revision.  I fully intend to send work to agents by the end of autumn of this year and I plan to send around four books out, before the winter and I am assessing which ones I feel are the best polished works.

I have done it this way quite deliberately; I have many alternative stories of most of the work I am proud of, so that I can test the water of each with any agent who sees me as a promising colleague.  If ever I have been called anything in the past by a lot of people who know me personally, they know me to be very time efficient, as well as flexible!

Thank you for reading!

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Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone!

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Snow fairy

With tinsel hair and twinkle toes a little fairy glides

Spreads ice and snow from her wand and wearing rabbit hides

She spreads her wings above us all and snowflakes flutter down

To rain joy upon us all and making smiles from frowns

Each and every winter, the little fairy comes

To paint the world white with snow so you can play in it with your chums

Hip, hip hooray for snow fairy

In her pearly gown

She brings such joy to everyone, when she has come to town!

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Crazy mind

My mind is above a joke lately.

I am getting so many new ideas for writing and art projects that it is affecting productivity in the past few weeks!

I have no idea what has happened to my brain, but today alone I have written down synopsises of nine new stories and I have too many ideas for artwork too!

But one thing is clear; I am becoming predominantly a science fiction and dark fantasy writer; if there is such a thing as dark science fiction, well I think I am that too!

I have only managed to write plans down in the past few weeks, because of intense pain and medical emergencies – the laboratories seem late in the results, I only hope there isn’t another laboratory accident as that would be the fourth one in the last five years, where I had have to have tests redone!

I have never known a hospital that is so accident prone!

Sitting at a desk is agony and the sofa is not that good either, but it is much better than the dining chair or office swivel chair.

I am trying to force myself to work on my writing and this is scaring Paul, because I am pushing myself a lot and I have been near collapse.

I am sedentary and yet I still can’t cope?  I don’t get it, I don’ know why the pain is getting so bad, but all I know is, it is getting worse every few days!

One of the stories came to me at 3:30am on Tuesday; a Christmas fantasy in Christmas tradition and that took me two hours to write by hand, the next day my hand was swollen.

I wrote three chapters since to that project, but I wouldn’t call it hard work, because the chapters are small for me. 

Usually I’d write 3k words in a day towards an interesting subject, this Christmas story is only around 1k at the moment, Paul reckons it looks like it could be a children’s book the way I am writing it, as it is very child friendly so far.

I love the story, but I am worried about how long it should be if it is deemed to be a children’s book?  I don’t know… I am not known for writing specifically for children!

Paul thinks it could be a slightly larger than average children’s picture book, because he would like to see a lot of pictures in this story – I am uncertain personally.

I know the story has the potential to be very popular, but I am not confident on how to market this.

Anyway, thank you for reading and if I don’t post before then, have a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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Just a heads up…

Due to Christmas and a lot of medical appointments cropping up, I may not be active on this blog until late January-ish.

I have several tests to go through between now and early January, the GP is hoping that they can rule out cancer. But we do not yet know.

What I do know is, the recent examination, feels like it has aggravated the problem a little.

Until I know more about this situation, I am unsure how often I will be able to post on here.

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Oily world

We’ve made plastic everywhere

In our food and clothes and without a care

Fishes dying on our mess

Cancer growing in our chests

Plastic and oil equals horrid future toils

How I wish we didn’t spoil this world

Greed and ease are our sin

Look at the mess we are in

I have cried those bitter tears

But am I alone in that my dears?

Roll your sleeves up and start a trend

Vow to make amends

Linen, felt, wool and cotton for clothes

Keep away from acrylic it’s rotten and society doesn’t seem to know

Don’t choke the world with your ease and greed

Listen to how I plead

Please

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Let’s get it on

The world is screaming in this heat

Life is on the verge

And it isn’t meat!

It’s all the toxins you consume!

All the chemicals are our doom!

Drown the world in oil plunder

Kill us all and all the wonder

Choke us with your smog and know

That we have no other place to go!

So think on that and change the world

A new mission for you has unfurled

We are super heroes you and I

And together the world will not die

One action and then another

We can save the world and build another

A newer greener happier place

On this same planet that we’ve disgraced

If we do it now it won’t be too late

So let’s get on cleaning up our mistakes!

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I am love

Come into my arms

Let me wipe your tears away

I know life hurts so bad

I have been there too, don’t be sad

I warm you with my arms

Hear my words work like a charm

To lull all your fears away

To make you happy, so you can play

And I’ll be here for you always

To make you smile

All of the while

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