Being a West coaster and an Islander, it's not often I get to experience a traditional Canadian winter. I had this opportunity with a quick four days in Ottawa where I spent the days in a conference, and the evenings enjoying the cold and snow. I missed the big freeze by a few days, but minus 15 was fine and an opportunity to play on the frozen Rideau Canal was well appreciated. I also had the opportunity to pause at the National War Memorial and the Tomb of the Unknown Solider - a truly humbling and solemn experience, as well as view the seat of Federal power in Canada, our Parliament Buildings. In general it was a pleasant time and gave me, as a writer, a few days away from the computer while also reminding myself, through experience, what the cold and snow was like. As an Islander, I can speak well to rain, wind, and mud, but since several of my books take place in snowy environments, I enjoyed the reminder of what those snowy environments were actually like. Cold, crisp, and hard work to live in.
Happy New Year all! I type this missive bathing in the glory of my new office. Yes, boxes are still cluttering the floor and nameless items sit on my bookshelves blocking my library, but it is finished and it is mine. No more lamenting, whining, and excuse making...it's time to write. Looking back at my handful of blogs over the year, I can see that I did not meet many of my goals from last year, so I renew those goals for this year. My writing projects are many: publish The Scarlet Bastards - The Bone Witch (now sitting with my editor); begin the first edit of the draft of The Scarlet Bastards - The Rule of Nine (now underway); begin the first edit of the draft of Titan Rising; and prepare for NaNoWriMo by getting my contemporary fantasy, A Child at Play in the Trees, fully fleshed out. In between, I hope to look at my published books to see if some tinkering is warranted - I usually find something that I now don't like. The other part is marketing, a topic I'm always harping on as my most significant challenge as a writer. More social media, more blogs, more advertising, and hopefully some new novel covers. In the end, I'm aiming for a productive writing year and hopefully, an uptick in sales. Stayed tuned.
I lamented here last month, that I have not had a space to write for many months. It resulted in my not participating NaNoWriMo for the first time in a few years (not since the infamous getting a puppy in November mistake of 2016)
Anyway, the time of being an officeless author is coming to an end. I now have day use of my new space, and although it's a disorganized mess, it has given me the privacy to write some new work on a book in edit! With luck, renos will be done in the next two weeks and the office will finally be mine!
I am just too excited!
Yes, it's true. I opted out of National Novel Writing Month this year, the first time in several years that I have done so. I have of course participated and failed a few times, generally because of outside events interfering - a puppy being be the last time (I won't make that mistake again.)
This year was different. Last year's participation was a success. I added 50,000 plus words to a novel that had been sitting idle for years and finished it. (At some point I'll take a look at it and begin an edit.) This year, however, has been a bit of a dry year. I tried Camp NaNoWriMo in July and actually wrote about 10,000 words on a new contemporary fantasy project I'm working on, but summer is always a difficult time for me to focus a lot on writing, so the project petered out with the arrival of a paddleboard. The main issue I've been facing is being without a space to write.
We're knee deep in renovations and have been for several months. I had had a corner of a junk room before that - hardly an inspiring place but it did allow for some privacy, an area to reflect, and a space for wrestling with my muse without a lot of distraction. That space is now being renovated and as an author, I'm now 'homeless' in the dining room. There are certainly better authors out there who can push by this minor impediment, but in all honesty, this has been a creative brick wall of sorts. The ideas are there - the imagery, the emotion, and the words - they just don't seem to make it down to my fingertips and the keyboard.
The renos will end soon I hope, and then I move into my own office - my very own dedicated space to hone my craft. Until then, I couch surf as it were, and this single blog entry is me forcing my way through the doldrums of self pity to put pen to paper on something.
I have many motivations for writing. Mostly they have to do with getting the words and imagery out of my head and onto a piece a paper. I have stories to tell: some are humorous, some are dark, and some are thrilling adventure. Some of my writing is about me and my experiences (loosely based of course) and some are pure flights of fancy that seem fun or challenging to write. In the end though, my goal has been to write, and I have had little thought for the finished product once it has been published. I'd be a fibber if I said I didn't care much about sales - perhaps it's more accurate to say I haven't been motivated much by sales. I do want sales since my dream is to make a living from my writing, and since every year I try and fail to make a dent at the marketing wall that lives within me, I have decided to try a different approach. This year I will be chronicling my next writing project - A Child at Play in the Trees. I haven't quite decided upon my strategy beyond my normal use of social media. Perhaps more YouTube and Twitter and certainly I'd like more of of this website and blog. So, keep an eye out for this year's resolution. I'm hoping it's as successful as my gym resolution (which is usually pretty successful) Perhaps I can mix the two...
Happy New Year, friends! Have a safe and prosperous 2018!
I admit to a certain trepidation for NaNoWriMo this year. I've had success in the past, but adopting a puppy midway through last year meant utter failure (I caveat that though by saying that I did add another 36,000 words to a book I'm working on). So I rolled in with good intentions and found that with a strong start, I managed to maintain it with a couple of hours a day until I finished on 26 November, four days early! I've been basking in the glow of accomplishment since, and doing very little I might add, as I regenerate do that I can finally finish the third book in my Gliesiun Chronicles - Titan Rising. I had really hoped to finish it with this 50,000 word push but no such luck. Honestly I just want it done because I have a contemporary fantasy almost ready to pill out. However, there is work left though I predict, not much more than two or three chapters so I know what my holiday plans are. Until then, I look forward to some badly needed hiking, something which I've done without these last four weeks. Hestia, the cause of my failure last year, and a bit of a writing distraction this year, will be much happier for it.
I tried it last year - to complete on old novel that's been gathering dust for a few years now. It's the final book in my military scifi trilogy and I've simply been sitting on it too long. NaNoWriMo 2016 seemed like a great opportunity to punch out 50,000 more words and perhaps finish it. After a great initial few days I made one of the silliest mistakes a writer can make when trying to finish this challenge...I got a puppy.
Her name was Hestia and she was a ten week old shepard/husky cross that demanded constant attention (housebreaking was a massive challenge) and she ultimately sank my aspirations to finish. I wasn't too hard on myself, mind, as I did add another 36,000 words to the book - no small feat in the end, but I never finished it. I didn't touch it again since I was focusing on a hard edit of my third Scarlet Bastards book, The Bone Witch (my 2014 NaNoWriMo success story).
So here I am into day four of NaNoWriMo 2017 with the same plan in place - finish Titan Rising. I'm a day behind already though I'm hoping to play catch up this weekend, but I feel if I can finish this book, and in the end, this series, I'll be pretty happy and ready to move on to some new projects.
Wish me luck!
Summer was short, hot, dry, and busy. I'd like to say that I achieved a lot as a writer, but that would be an exaggeration with the myriad of distractions that came with the season. I did finally finish my edit of the next Scarlet Bastards book, The Bone Witch, though. It now rests with my editor who is even now, sharpening her pencil/axe for the job.
I also worked a bit on marketing, but not nearly enough. As I look at new covers and expand my social media presence, I hope to firmly establish my brand while spreading the news of my tales, both sci-fi and fantasy, to the greater reading community. As I've noted many times before, the marketing is the real challenge for me; that steady and dedicated push to explain myself and my product. I'm no more close to a comfortable strategy than at any time before, but a slow and steady pace and a firmer resolve will, I hope, equal some sales success.
Anyway, I did also enjoy my summer, so I'll end with a few pictures.
Part of the reason for my laziness in writing this summer is a combination of finally getting some summer weather, and a writing space that's more storeroom than a space for productive musing.
I'm happy for our sudden warm weather after a colder than normal winter and a spring that never seemed to come. Right after the summer solstice it was if a switch was flicked and we jumped into summer high gear. That meant packing up the trailer for some camping with a bit of kayaking after.
Now, I did do a bit of editing, but frankly it just couldn't compete with a lot of hiking, fishing, canoeing, and kayaking. I've been waiting a while for that, and if nothing else, some simple time outdoors will help the muse on my projects.
As for my office, it's been a great day of cleaning out. I have breathing space and am feeling a bit more inspired to come in here and write. This week, I think I'll begin progressing my two writing projects; The Child at Play in the Trees and Mars Rising.
It's supposed to be spring, but here I am huddled in my basement with a hoodie after a cool cup of coffee in the back yard. I suppose on a certain level I should be grateful; I mean, I'm not drawn to go outside and putter amongst the vegetables if I'm forever blowing on my fingertips. I should therefore be feeling the compulsion to sit before the keyboard and type,blog, edit, market...well you get my drift. To be honest, I'm not quite there. This bought of writer's block is partly self-imposed as spring/summer tends to be my slow period of productivity since my time is spent in other pursuits on evenings and weekends - namely outside ones. But with our 'Juneuary' in full swing, I should be inside being productive, but I'm not. Perhaps there is a stubbornness to be outside irrespective of weather (last weekend was a beautiful 27 degrees and great for a 15 km hike) and to day I will certainly go out and stretch my legs. However, I'm starting to think that I'm tiring of this manufactured writer's block and that perhaps I just need to set that time aside and get on with it. Be it editing The Scarlet Bastards - The Bone Witch or finishing my next military scifi, I should simply run out of excuses and get back to work.