Tag Archives: writing

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the first time to an agent for representation and to start a career as a writer, instead of having the lifestyle of an unpublished writer!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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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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Trying to function

My Henry has been sick again, doctors call it a growth spurt, but he is having a lot of time off school because of it.

Today I have started writing again, though I am not as comfortable as I was before my chair started tilting at the new desk; I am getting on with it in spite of having to do it again at the adjustable table, at least I am not in pain with my hip and lower back anymore, but there is a little neck strain going on, because I have to keep turning my head.

This will only be for the next six weeks, because we’ve rearranged the furniture in the living room to make room for the Christmas tree we’ll be setting up on December the first!

After Christmas things will be more comfortable again, until next year, that is providing we are still in the same house – hopefully we won’t be, even though the move will break Henry’s heart, I have never been comfortable in this house, especially since He moved in next door!

It’s unlikely we will move, but I always hope I’d have moved house around this time to year to a new house, since living here! It’s like a New Years resolution that never resolves!

Last night I thought I was going to sleep at 2am, unusually early for me, but then fifteen minutes after lights out, my brain decided to become poetic until 4am again, I wrote five poems by hand in bed – such a nuisance!

My hand is swollen and I should really rest it, but I can’t, I have things in my head that I need to type out!

I have decided tomorrow onwards I am going to force myself to write 3k words per day towards one novel and still write like how I usually do in other ways too!

But I need to get at least twenty books completely out of my head, because I am losing sleep over them!

Whilst writing the poems last night in bed by hand, I also started writing new ideas towards Steampunk 1 project, which was unexpected and I was irritated because I was nearly fainting in tiredness near the end of it!

I very nearly made myself a coffee and come downstairs to type it out faster on the computer, but I didn’t, I forced my brain to behave itself!

I am really struggling to train my brain to work at a reasonable time of day.

I have had long conversational rants at it, but it won’t listen, if anything it rebels all the more!

If I were a vampire, it would be reasonable, but since I am not, it is utterly ridiculous! 

I struggle to work too, when Henry is around, because Henry seems to get upset whenever I read a book or write in his presence, and I don’t do it so often that Henry should feel emotionally neglected, but he does tend to get really hot headed and playful whenever he sees me do anything like this.

Paul is trying to be strict with him about it, but Paul is still ill with the shingles after all this time and doesn’t have the energy to be persistent with him!

I really need to lock myself away in an office just for me, there isn’t much other choice!  For someone who can write with music and television on and even writing in a crowded café from time to time in the past, it’s really something if I can’t write with a whining, demanding, arm pulling eleven year old around me!  I don’t why he reverts when he sees me reading and writing or doing art, I really don’t!

Whenever I do art however he is different, he will sit across the table from me and do art too, but he jerks the table a lot and as sweet as it is, I wished he would sit on another table so I wouldn’t mess my own painting up with his sudden movements!

He gets upset if I don’t paint for as long as he wishes too.  I feel I can’t win!

But I am plodding along today, he went back to school today, but I unfortunately started work late, due to sleeping longer than usual.

I hate sleep, it’s so unproductive and a waste of time!

I have never been one who loves sleep, never been one of these people who proclaim a love for their bed!  I have always resented rest!

It drives Paul mad, he thinks I overdo everything!

Anyway, writing is going to be more consistent, even if I do forget my promises about updating on word counts on Wednesdays!

Happy reading!

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New Desk update

The desk is set up now, but the chair is very uncomfortable and has been causing me pain since I have been using it the past week now.

I need to find a more comfortable chair to work in, because the pain in my lower back and hip is making it hard to concentrate.

I may resort to going back to the adjustable small laptop table and sofa again for a while, if things do not improve!

I have decided not to write until Thursday the 18th November, because for the past few days I have suffered from migraines, back and hip pain which has added to quite a severe bout of depression, so I need to step away from writing for a couple of days – or at least, writing on the new desk.

I know it sounds silly, but I think part of the depression and the migraines are due to my sudden and abrupt cold turkey to caffeine, since having a good dose of the stuff today the headaches have subsided quite a bit.

I have done hand notes in bed and I have been thinking about the adjustable table again, so I may go back to that, but tomorrow is very busy in this house anyway, so not much writing will get done purely because of that – hence the need for a couple of days off.

I should really take time off until after the weekend, because of a doctors appointment on Friday, but I don’t want to commit to that much time off – Paul thinks I am pushing myself too much, but then he always does!

I know I said I won’t be doing Nanowrimo but I have been updating the site and I have approximately 17k words so far, but it is not a first draft to a novel – well not a proper first draft, it is mostly just footnotes and ideas, so I guess that’s cheating to some – but for me these are pre-first drafts!

No, I am not writing an epic! I have 17k words of alternative ideas, I have been trying to decide which direction I prefer before I commit to writing the story from beginning to end. Last night I surprise myself with a new alternative and I like this alternative very much and Paul is excited by this idea and that’s saying something!

Happy reading all!

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A sleepy explanation

I have many projects on the go at once and so this category will get full quite quickly!

I tend to concentrate on up to three ideas at a time for bursts of up to one month, but I do still add to other projects outside of this.  I have a huge amount of unfinished ideas and some that are finished but are in storage for a later date when I will read them again with fresh eyes and determine if they need altering or not!

If a project is marked down as 1.2 or something like that, this means that this project is part of a series I am working on, I have some series I am working on but generally I prefer writing standalones.

My vampires are considered both series and standalones, because some vampire ideas are far removed from my main series or rather saga idea in the first place.

I am updating my categories along with my diary entries for Wednesdays that will start back up again, because I am determined to show people how much I do actually work towards my creativity, regardless of finished products!

To me it is lovely to have a final finished product that I can show an agent eventually, but right now that is neither my primary goal nor motivation!

My goal is to get into the swing of writing full-time – a set amount of words daily to a fixed project in order for me to feel like a real professional author.  To me that goal is to have one project that has had at least 3k words added per day consistently and not to write just a little each day to many projects.  Though added words per day to many projects is something I will never get out of, it is the focus on one particular project having 3k words per day that is my intended focus!

If you follow my drift?

I am exceedingly tired today so I may not make that much sense, because I didn’t sleep until 5am and I only had four hours of disturbed sleep and no access to caffeine for the past thirty hours!

So to break it down, my primary goal is to focus on adding 3k words to one story per day until it is finished without breaking that streak!  Once I manage to do this and finish a novel without breaking my daily streak, then I will feel like a professional author!

Though if I never accomplish that, do not fear – because this is has no basis on whether or not I approach an agent or a publisher first, no, no, no!  I will still do that, but I will not feel confident in my professionalism that is all!

Another thing that will add to me feeling professional will be the day I am actually writing 3k words to a project in an unbroken streak and also editing another finished project by at least three chapters per day – I am serious when I say I am trying to become full-time here!

Before the 11th November 2021 I would work approximately six hours per week towards my writing, that wasn’t my blog!  Since November 11th 2021, I am now writing or working towards my projects approximately four hours per day, broken up, so it is not full-time yet, to me!

I am forcing myself to do this, even when bed bound sick, I am taking work with me on the laptop in bed and with handwritten notes too!

I am determined to do this!

I think it is because my brain is so filled with so many ideas and unfinished projects that it is starting to taunt me, make me crazy a bit – so I need to get on with it!

I actually had a dream last night that various characters from my own stories were mocking and laughing at me because of my excuses, this was weird shit and I just don’t have time for that kind of thing in my dream time!

By and large this post was meant to tell you that I have so many ideas on the go and I do not struggle for ideas at all – but I am beating them off with a stick and I would like to share what those stories may contain without giving too much away! 

If you find an idea you like, let me know, it will really help to motivate me more to write it, if I feel someone out there likes the sound of it!

I will write it anyway, but at a slower pace, you have no idea how fast I can work when I feel like someone is waiting for it or there is a deadline set by someone outside of myself!

Honestly, I am a workaholic, especially if I know that my work pleases another!

I know I sound needy right now, but I am being honest, I work best when other people’s expectations are higher than my own regarding my work, I am like this in everything in my life!

As I think I have mentioned before, I live for others, I don’t live for myself!

Happy reading everyone!

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Project – Steampunk 1

Steampunk 1

This project contains the following scenes, tropes and types of characters;

Travelling companions

A lost love

A ghost

Debunked scientific theories

Debunked superstitions

A search for truth

New found freedom

Comedy elements

Hot air Balloon

Space travel

Trio of main characters, primarily an early twenties female, late twenties male and a recent widower

Eccentric inventor

And a mystery solved

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Increased productivity

Since learning that ideas and character names cannot be copyright protected and that generally creative license as long as your idea is as unique it can be is unlimited in reality, I have found that I am starting to write at my old pace again.

This is exciting, because I used to be a workaholic in regards to my daily word count and the amount of projects that I used to do!

In the past eight to ten years I have been very stunted as far as creativity goes, because of false information that was given to me from non-professional sources.  I have in that time been unable to produce more than say, twelve thousand words per week and I could only concentrate on around three ideas at a time and I completely gave up the idea of short stories and articles because of this!

Now, I am back to my old self again and it has only been two days now!

I am now writing towards a vast array of projects once again and I am thinking about restarting my short stories for my blog again soon and I may even start up my online magazine articles again!

I used to write a lot for online magazines and article websites a decade ago, but due to fear of coming across as a rip off from similar subjects by other people I stopped!  I never outwardly copied another person, but the subject matter may have been similar.  For example, back in 2009 I read an article about the increasing population of wildlife in urban areas and I did an article based on foxes in urban areas in particular.  This had no backlash, but I was riddled with guilt for a while over it and a friend back then, suggested that I was copying too many themes from others (not theirs)!

I told them that although wildlife in urban places is a shared theme, it was not a direct copy because our subject focuses within our articles were very different, but she made me feel that it was too obvious and noticeable, though it was only in our minds at the time, for nobody else suggested otherwise.

I should have listened to an older friend of mine, who is more professional in the article writing industry that what she said was nonsense and there was a defined difference between each of our articles and that it was clear to him! 

These articles were non-profit anyway, but my female friend made such a do about it, that I decided to stop.

She even affected my ability to produce wildlife photographs too, because again, she claimed that my wildlife images, although I took them myself with my own camera, looked too much alike to other professional photographers that I would be in the same situation even there!  That in her opinion, I would find it very difficult to prove that my photograph is not the same as their photograph.

Paul being a professional photographer in the past said to me this is utter tosh and that I can of course prove it because of the time stamp on my camera and on the memory chip!  My friend retorted and suggested that those things can be easily faked or photo shopped!

Paul didn’t want me to give up my photography and articles, but I did anyway, as I was getting a bit too stressed out by all of it and other personal things in my life at the time!

But now, because these things are now confirmed or dismissed by professional friends I have been making it has lifted a huge burden from my creative shoulders.

Honestly, overnight my depression has lifted by at least 50%!  The tension in my back is much less; it is so weird how some kind of belief like this can actually physically manifest itself on your body like this!  I am beginning to wonder if some of my health may actually improve now, because of this too?

Hope so!

So it has only been around two days since I learned this and my writing amount has increased dramatically.  In the past two days I have written approximately 6k of words towards projects, a nearly a 5k increase to my usual amount when trying to work hard, from how I have been for the last five years in particular! 

Anyway, Happy reading all!

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Category for current projects

This is a new category which will enable me to share more of what I am doing as a writer.

I will not tell vast details of the plots I am doing but I will talk about what kind of things are going to be in the story and if there are any major changes in any rewrites.

By doing this I am hoping that people who are interested in stories like the ones I will mention will cheer me on and spur me to write faster for them!

It is always nice to know that there are people out there who need a book I am writing!

I always do better when I feel that there are people out there who are genuinely interested in my work!

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