It’s NaNoWriMo Time Again

NaNoWriMo

What is NaNoWriMo?

NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month. It is a challenge to write 50,000 words on a new novel or your current WIP. You keep track of your progress on the website, where you can see how everyone else is doing. You don’t lose out if you don’t manage to do the challenge; it’s all just for fun.


Last year I took part in the challenge with my then WIP, It’s All in the Eyes. I ended up stuck as to where to go with that story, so the challenge pretty much fell by the wayside. But I did manage to add another 20,000 words to the story. This year, however, rather than carrying on with IAITE, I’m putting my current WIP, And Then I Killed Her up for the challenge. I’m currently 22,300 words in, so if I can add another 50,000 by the end of the month, then it will probably be near enough finished. I’d love to get the first draft of this WIP finished, I know there will still be a lot of work to do on it, but it’ll be another step closer to publishing.

This challenge is a great way to get you to write every day, even if it’s just a little. Having a goal to work to makes it easier to see how far you’ve come. I urge any writers out there to give it a go. You’ll also be able to see my progress on my profile over on the NaNoWriMo website.

This weekend I had another idea for a story pop into my head, so I spent a bit of time making notes for it. I don’t want to say too much about it at the moment, but it’s going to be different to other things that I’ve written.

In other news, my story over on Twitter using the #VSS365 daily word prompts, Who Lives Beneath, is still going strong. I will probably do another round-up as a blog post soon, so you’ll be able to read it without having to scroll through the thread.

I’ll leave this here for now; I’ve got some uni work that I need to get done. Have a good week!

University Nerves

Come September I’ll become a student for the first time since I was 17 as I head off to university to study creative writing.

I had my place confirmed several months back, but when this week I officially registered, it all became real; I’m actually going. Although I’m excited to go to uni and study something that I love doing, there’s still a part of me that’s very anxious about going.

I quit my job in IT back in May of 2020 as it was having an adverse effect on my mental health. After working in the industry for around 13 years, I had gotten to the point that I really didn’t want to work in IT for the rest of my life. I had started to resent it. It was a big step for me to take, as work had always been the one constant in my life, and it’s what got me through some tough times. So when it no longer helped, I felt lost.

I had no idea what I would do, but I knew that I wanted to give writing full time a try. However, there was always something in the back of my mind telling me that I’d probably end up having to go back into IT, even though I didn’t want to.

When it got to Christmas, I felt like I had to do something; otherwise, I’d spend my life feeling kind of worthless, so after discussing it with Alex, we decided that I should apply for uni.

Again, I didn’t want to do anything IT related; if possible, I wanted to do a course that would help me with my writing as I felt that I could really make a go of it. After browsing some courses online, we came across the creative writing one. After reading it, I was excited about the possibilities that it could create for me. I already loved to write, but I wanted to get better, so why shouldn’t I give the course a go.

I applied that night, but there was still a part of me that thought that I wouldn’t get in. Due to some pre-diagnosis struggles with my mental health back when I was doing my A-Levels, I didn’t get the best grades and thought this would hold me back as there would be someone better that could take my place.

I spent the next few months on the edge of my seat, waiting to hear back. Of course, I knew I would only hear after a certain date, but that didn’t stop me from checking the UCAS portal daily to see if there had been a response.

Pretty soon after the end date for applications had passed, I got an email offering me a conditional place. I didn’t know what this meant, but I already dreaded what I might have to do to get a confirmed place. Luckily, the only thing they wanted was a copy of my A-Level results and not long after I had sent this in, I had a full unconditional offer for a place. I couldn’t accept it quick enough – I’d done it.

There was still that annoying part in the back of my brain that was telling me that something would go wrong or that it had been a mistake, and they’d soon realise and rescind the offer. But they never did.

With my place confirmed, all I had to do was sit back and wait. I’d gotten my student finance sorted pretty quick, so now I just looked forward to starting.

So, here I am now, a month or so away from starting, and it’s hit me – I’m going to university. I never thought that I would ever have the chance after f!cking up my A-Levels so spectacularly and never having the confidence just to apply. This is one of the biggest things to happen to me in my life, and I still can’t believe it.

I don’t think the anxiety will leave me for a while yet. I know once I start, I’ll probably be fine; it’s just the anticipation and not knowing that kills me. It will all be new to me, and I’m never great with new things. But I want this so much that I’m willing to fight through the anxiety and my stupid brain to get where I want to go. I’m going to make the most of this opportunity that I never thought would happen.

Over the past few years, I’ve done several things that I never thought I would do, get engaged, write a book and now go to uni. Despite all the issues I still have to fight with, I feel that my life is actually going somewhere now, and I like it.

I’m going to spend the next few weeks putting together blog posts and continue work on, And Then I Killed Her, as I don’t know how much time I’ll have for these things when I start my course.

I leave you with this if there’s something that you’re thinking of doing but haven’t yet:

My Current WIP: A Teaser

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll have seen earlier this week that I revealed a little teaser for my latest WIP. It wasn’t much, but I wanted to show you at least something about what I’m working on.

And Then I Killed Her has been progressing quite well, until this week when I’ve not really been able to do a great deal on it for one reason or another. I’m hoping that this will change next week.

This story is something that came from a #vss365 writing prompt, and straight away, I knew that I had to write a full story. I don’t know if it’ll be a full-length novel or a short story yet; I need to see where it goes first before deciding. Either way, it will likely be the next thing that I publish, and I can’t wait for you to read it.

It’s a paranormal-horror-thriller (if that’s a thing), and in it, we follow Peter Finch, a serial killer whose latest victim just won’t stay dead.

I don’t want to reveal too much of it for now (mainly because I haven’t written it yet), but I’ve wanted to reveal something since I started writing it.

Below is the teaser video, and I hope to reveal more as I go – both on social media and on this website.

I hope I have piqued your interest enough for the moment, though.

Have a good weekend!

Stuck in a Depressive Episode

At the minute, I’m not feeling great. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been descending into a depressive episode, and I’m struggling to keep my head above water so that I can get out of it. This isn’t to say that I’m not happy in my life. I’ve got an amazing partner who does everything she can to make me happy, we’ve just moved to a beautiful house that we’re still in the process of making our own, and I have a lot of things going for me. But I can’t seem to bring myself out of the funk that my brain is putting me in for whatever reason.

I feel like I can’t do anything and that I’m just no good for anyone or anything. I’m not as bad as I have been in the past, and as much as I don’t see any point in me being around right now, I’m not feeling suicidal or anything, but unfortunately, I feel like it probably wouldn’t take a lot to make me feel that way.

I’m struggling daily just to get through and generally feel like I just want to spend my days in bed doing very little. But, I’m not doing. I’m getting up every day and doing whatever I can, no matter how little that is.

To help me through this time, Alex and I have created a schedule for me to give me some sort of routine. It’s not much, but it at least tells me what I should be trying to do that day. For example, today (I’m writing this on Monday) is a blog day, so I’ll be spending my day – working the same hours that Alex does – working on blog posts and trying to get ahead of the game.

Tomorrow (Tuesday) will be a writing day in which I will be working on my new WIP. I’ve not really spoken about my latest WIP all that much. In last week’s Friday blog, I said that I’m working on it and how much I’d written, but I’ve so far not revealed much else. I feel like I’m going to keep my cards a little closer to my chest than I have with previous novels and maybe only reveal some details when I’m a bit further on with it. However, I will say that it’s a bit different from my previous novels, and I’m really enjoying writing it.

On Wednesdays, I’m going to be working on game stuff. This might range from just playing stuff because I can or to review or even doing streams over on Twitch. I did my first proper stream at the weekend – I’ve finally got a set-up that allows me to use my camera and mic – and I really enjoyed it. I don’t know who watched it, but I had a few viewers, and it did a lot to help me keep my mind off the way that I’ve been feeling. I’m hoping that I can come up with a schedule that will allow me to do it on a more regular basis.

Thursday and Friday will be reserved for more writing. Writing does help me, although sometimes I struggle to get going, but when I do, I get lost in the story and characters. It’s a great way to get out of the depressed side of my head and create something that I can be proud of.

As of writing this, I’ve contacted the doctor and I’ve been given a new medication that’s been added to the ones I’m on already to hopefully help me through this tough time. As with every depressive or manic episode, there’s no telling how long it will last. I just need to try what I can to get through it and to the other side. I want to be positive as I know deep down that I have a lot that I can be thankful for and proud of, but at the moment, it’s hard to push past the part of my brain that’s telling me I’m just not good enough. I know it will get better; I just wish I could see the light at the end of the tunnel.

I’m just going to carry on with my schedule, adjust it if I need to, and get through this depressive episode the best I can.

I hope your week has been good and that you have a great weekend.

Friday Writing Update

So last Friday, I completely forgot to do a blog post. For most of the day, I was under the assumption that it was Thursday, so it didn’t cross my mind until later on in the day that I was meant to do a post. Anyway, today I’m just going to give a brief update on what I’ve been up to.

For the past week, I’ve been working on a new story. This one came about off the back of a VSS365 writing prompt post. I don’t want to give too much away, but the post can be seen below, and it might give a clue as to what type of story it is.

I’ve been trying to do the VSS prompt tweets daily again. I started to do them a while ago and then kind of fell out with them as I struggled to come up with anything to write. Recently, however, I’ve not had that issue, and I’ve been able to write a few sentences reasonably easy. I think doing these is partially why I’ve been able to get back into writing again. They’re helping me get my brain in the right place for being creative, plus I enjoy doing them. Most of my posts seem to follow a theme of horror or paranormal, which is fine, but I’ve also been able to relate some of them back to either released novels or ones I have in the pipeline, which also serves to give me more ideas of where I can go with them.

So far, my latest WIP is around 9000 words and counting, so it’s coming along pretty well. As usual, I’ve not done any real planning; I’m just typing and seeing where I end up. I’ve done some bits and pieces of research – i.e. Googling – to help me along my way, but most of it just flows from my brain.

As much as I want to work on some of my other WIPs, like The Next Stage 2, I just don’t know where I’m going with them. I don’t want to write for the sake of it and not do the story justice, so at this point, working on something new is the best thing for me to do.

Anywho, I’m going to get back to it now and see where the story takes me.

Have a good weekend.

Back At It

This week for the first week since we moved when I’ve been able to sit down and do some writing. It feels really go to be able to sit down and make some progress on my current WIP.

I consciously took some time away from it while we moved so we could get things sorted for the old and new houses. I’d say we had some down time after the move, but we didn’t stop during those two weeks. We were either having people in doing jobs for us or we were busy unpacking boxes.

Although we never stopped doing stuff, by the end of last week I was ready to get back into my writing. I miss it when I’m not doing it and although I’ve not done a great deal this week – I’ve just been going through what I’d already written on The Next Stage 2 – it was a welcome return and my head has been happier for it.

Buy The Next Stage on Amazon now

I took a bit of a knock last week. I’d been waiting to see the orthopaedic surgeon and hoping that we would get to discuss the surgery for my hip. But unfortunately, he decided that if I had the surgery now, my recovery wouldn’t be great due to the loss of strength in my leg. I’m now going to have further physiotherapy (apparently my last physio was pointless according to the surgeon – woo!) I felt a little deflated after my appointment and felt like the past year had been a complete waste of everybody’s time, but now I see that physio can only be a good thing, especially now I’m probably under a surgeon. I’m trying to look on the bright side of things but at times it’s hard, especially when I’m in near constant pain.

To make matters worse, I woke up this morning to my back being extremely sore and I’m barely able to move…so that’s great. But I’m trying to keep my head above the line of depression and just taking this opportunity to write and work on some other stuff that I’m planning to do soon, hopefully I’ll be able to talk about it very soon.

It’s not been all bad though. My website has just hit the 5000 viewer mark, which is amazing. I didn’t think I’d hit that for a long time. I’ve also had a post reach the 100 views target too – you can read it here. So there is some good mixed in with the bad. I’m just trying to focus on that.

I hope your Friday is going well. I’ll be back on Monday with a fresh post. Have a great weekend.

Friday Houseday

The end of another week. But this Friday marks something very special for us. Today is the day we get to go around our newbuild house for the first time.

For the past few days, I’ve been resting up and have spent most of my time playing various games – mainly Oddworld: Soulstorm, Borderlands 3 and Detroit: Become Human – so that I can walk around our new house without being in a lot of pain from my hip.

As the days have gone on, we’ve been getting progressively more excited about finally being able to see our house, and it’s finally starting to feel real.

Today is our house demonstration. I’m not entirely sure what it involves, but I believe it’s where they show us where everything is and how it works. We also get the opportunity to ask any questions or point out any issues we may see.

We pick up the keys a week today, and we can’t wait.

Unfortunately, we can’t move in straight away as soon as we get the keys – we have to wait until our flooring/carpets go down. Although we just want to start moving stuff in as quickly as possible.

This journey of house ownership started around a year ago and has been a long and difficult saga. Moving house is stressful for ‘normal’ people, but when both of us have a mental health issue, it adds that extra bit of stress.

You’d think that now we have a date that we’re getting the keys, and we can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel that it would be easier, but we just want to move in now.

We can’t wait to be done with solicitors and our landlords. Both of which have been a pain in the ass and pretty useless at times.

We’re aiming to get out of our current rented property in a couple of weeks, giving us a week or so spare to clean and sort it out to the stupid exacting standards that the landlord wants. We know – because they’ve always been a pain in the ass – that they will be extremely picky about stuff, so they won’t have to give us our full deposit back. We’ve entirely accepted that we won’t get it all back because we know they’ll find something to complain about. We’re just doing everything we can to limit it…but there’s only so much we can do.

With the move imminent, I haven’t done any writing work since the release of Blindsighted. I just can’t focus on anything because we need to do things around the house, and we’re surrounded by boxes. I’m hoping that once we get in the new house, I will be able to jump straight into my next WIP – which may be the sequel to The Next Stage.

I can’t stress how much we’re looking forward to decorating and making this new house our home. I’d be lying if I said the main thing I was looking forward to wasn’t setting up the new games room. We’ve already been sketching some layouts and looking at things that we can do with it. I’m excited to get all my consoles back out, on display and usable. It feels like they’ve been packed away for decades. The only problem I will have is what I play first – because, of course, they will all need testing.

I’m hoping we can get loads of photos this afternoon when we visit the house, so be sure to check out my Twitter and Instagram and our house Instagram.

I hope your Friday goes well and that you have a good weekend.

Writing Update – Blindsighted Second Draft

A few weeks ago I finished the first draft of my new paranormal/ horror story Blindsighted.

Rather than taking a break from writing I decided to jump straight into another WIP this one an as yet untitled sci-fi. I’ve got a few chapters and have a vague idea of where I’m going with it but I spent most of my time researching dreams, mainly what happens to us if they don’t dream, as this is a pertinent part of this new WIP. I won’t go into it much at this stage though.

After a couple of weeks of working on this story and putting together a few blogs for the coming weeks, I started to have ideas for extra chapters and ideas that I could slot into Blindsighted so I’ve taken this as a sign that I should get back into it.

I’ll start by going over what I have and then working on the extra bits and pieces as I come up to where they should go.

I’m excited to work on this story again as it’s completely different to my last release The Next Stage and I’m enjoying the change of pace.

Once I’ve completed this draft I’ll likely share the synopsis of it so you can have an idea of what it’s all about. The only thing I’ve generally shared so far is that it’s about “a man with no eyes” which I hope is whetting your appetite for more.

Anyway, back to the writing. Have a good week.

The End of a Holiday

Last week I posted about taking a break from writing over Christmas. I was only supposed to be coming back to it tomorrow (Tuesday), but I’ve missed writing more than I ever thought I would, so I’m starting again today.

When I worked my 9-5 – even though it wasn’t really 9-5 – in IT, and had time off, I dreaded going back into the office. Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy my job – in the most part – but I hated going into an office, or more recently, logging on while working from home. Now I’m writing full-time, I feel more relaxed with what I’m doing, which is doing wonders for my mental health.

Doing my own thing helps so much. Having the option of not doing anything if my brain is having an off day reduces the stress I feel on a daily basis, and I can just relax until I feel better. There was nothing worse on a day when my brain was rebelling than having to put my “happy face” on and pretend I was okay when inside I was screaming. Being able to take a break whenever I like also helps. I can have a wander, or get a drink/snack, without anyone monitoring the length of time I take away from my desk. It’s so freeing.

Anyway, today I’m back at it, and I’ll mostly be working on some blog entries for Wednesday and Friday. I’ve got a few ideas that I’ve been working on for the games blog on Wednesday, and I’ll no doubt have something to say on mental health on Friday, because, well, I still have my brain.

I’m surprised that I actually managed to stick to the no writing for the last week. I didn’t think I would make it this far, to be honest. I thought I’d be on day 2 and then get back into it. That’s not to say I didn’t want to. It was almost painful at times being away from writing, the urge to “just do a little bit” was always there (it would never be “just a bit”), but I also knew that I needed to take a break, to recharge and not get burnt out.

Having some time off from actually writing words, didn’t stop my brain from coming up with new ideas for stories or where to take my current WIPs. So now, when I come back to them, I have a stack of things that I can work on and try to fit into them.

The other thing I discovered having time off, is that not having writing to focus on allowed the pain I’m still feeling in my hip to bubble to the surface and feel worse. I’m hoping that getting back to writing will not only help my mental health but also stop me focusing on any physical pain I’m experiencing.

So…back to it.

The Next Stage; 100! (Bonus Entry)

It’s been a little under two months since The Next Stage released in Kindle and paperback form. Today it an amazing milestone.

It now has over 100 ratings on Goodreads, and every single damn one of them is ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

It has now overtaken Creatures with number of reviews and rating average.

This, to me, is a huge thing to happen and something that I never even thought would happen. When it 50 reviews and they were all ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ I thought that was amazing, but hitting 100 is phenomenal.

I mentioned in yesterday’s blog that I had started work on the second book in the series. I’ve done an outline, and I’ve already started writing -so far I’m up to just over 4000 words, so it’s slowly getting up steam. I think I’ve for a pretty solid story so I’m hoping it’ll follow in the footsteps of the first one and be something that readers enjoy.

Below are all the places you can pick up a copy for yourself along with the Goodreads page.

Amazon

Google Books

Apple Books

Lulu

Kobo

Goodreads

Thank you to all who have bought it so far, especially those that have reviewed it. I hope many more people will enjoy it.