With over 350,000 words written so far this year, I’m having quite a productive year. And as can be seen from some of the success I’ve enjoyed so far, productive writing doesn’t mean bad writing. I recently did an article for the British Science Fiction Association on productive writing and how to implement it. If you’re a member, then you’ll be able to find the article in the Summer 2015 issue of Focus Magazine.
The BSFA provide some excellent resources for writers looking to get published and were certainly a help to me in years gone past, so if you’re not a member, it’s well worth considering joining (and not just for my excellent article!)
In many ways, June was a funny old month. From the perspective of my overall plan for the year, June was to be the month I knuckled back down after May’s storm chasing adventures. My slow April had enforced that even more. June was the time to launch myself into a new writing project and start doing some insane first draft word count again.
But then everything changed in May.
So I realise that I’ve been very quiet since coming back from storm chasing. Those who have somehow missed the “worst kept secret of 2015” have asked me if I’ve “stopped the writing thing”. No, the reason I’ve been quiet is because a LOT has been happening behind the scenes these past couple of months.
I’m happy to say I now have an agent… and an exceptional agent at that.
Caitlin Blasdell of Liza Dawson Associates has an amazing industry record and I would have rated her well within the top 5 genre agents in the world even if she’d rejected me. She represents Brian McClellan and Charlie Stross amongst others and I still can’t believe that she now represents me. I honestly cannot express into words just how stunned I am.
I’ve been trying to draft everything that’s happened into a single blog post, but I think they’re better being split out into separate articles. I’ll do one on my agent process and what worked for me (it’s a little boring so don’t expect any real insight, but I know I read a lot of similar blog posts by other authors and they helped even if just reinforcing what I already knew). I’ll also do one about the experience and the excitement surrounding it (because I sound slightly deranged in it but it’s a happy post that is the written equivalent of me having to breath into a paper bag whilst hyperventilating). Look for those over the next couple of weeks.
So for now, let me just say that I’m hard at work on doing rewrites on Black As Knight. The editorial feedback she gave me was so incredibly helpful and as much as I loved the book before, this rewritten version is going to be incredible. Progress is a little slower than my first drafts but I’m still a good 20-30,000 words into the rewrite.
As you can imagine, I’m very, very excited about the future (I’ve had to level up my aspirations as a writer many, many levels over the past couple of weeks) but after a few weeks of bouncing around with glee, I’m knuckling down and getting the work done.
Working hard is what got me here, and that’s what will carry me on. And the end of the day, whilst I’m enjoying the journey it’s not at the expense of getting stuff done.
So I’m aware I’ve been incredibly quiet since coming back from storm chasing. We’re nearly half way through the month and I’ve not posted an update in nearly two weeks.
Whilst it’s true to say I haven’t done a lot of writing, I have been really busy. There’s been some huge things going on in the background over the last month that you’ll all hear about in good time. And I do mean truly huge! I can hardly contain my excitement.
It’s meant that I’ve had to completely re-jig my schedule and prioritise some other work. But that’s fine, my approach to the Year of Hard Work was always that if something came along I could rejig and reprioritise without everything falling apart. Looks like that’s now going to be put to the test!
I’ve spent the last couple of weeks dealing with the business side of writing and I’m sure I’ll have a blog post or two on that when the time is appropriate. I’ve also been doing a LOT of outlining as well (Project Ultron). And remembering something I read in a Neil Gaiman interview I read once… I’m taking a bit of time to enjoy the journey.
But it’s now time to knuckle back down and return to the word mines. However, far from being a grim prospect I’m actually eager to jump back in and get to work. The first six months of this year have been hard work, it looks like the next six months are going to be even harder.
Bring it on!
I feel like I’ve been very lax lately. Just writing this blog post feels like a lot of work. I worked hard until Easter and then found myself treading water until I went Storm Chasing in May. Of course, this meant that May has effectively been my month off – I can count the number of words I’ve written over the last month in the low thousands.
Truth is, a break from the word count was healthy, and just because I wasn’t writing a lot of new words didn’t mean I wasn’t working. There’s been a lot of the business side to writing going on in the background. One of the things I hope my processes allow is for me to adapt quickly if something comes along. This is going to be put to the test in the coming month as a previously unexpected piece of urgent work has come up (I’m calling it Project Ultron because I found out about it as I was leaving the cinema after seeing the latest Avengers movie) and it means I need to shift things around. It’s a spanner in the works, but a really good spanner and I’m excited to see how well my processes can adapt to these sorts of things. As an added bonus, it should mean a lot of work count!
Fantasy-Faction Article On Writing Journal App
Catching up on things that happened whilst I was away, I see my article on the Writing Journal App was published by Fantasy-Faction whilst I was away.
I swear by this software and credit it for helping me get so much work done, so be sure to check out the article!
April saw the Year of Hard Work take a marked change as I moved from first drafts to editing and submissions.
With hindsight I think I could have handled this a little better. Project 4S surprised me with how well it went. I’d honestly thought I’d blow past my initial deadline and finish it sometime around now. I would have still been happy if that happened but instead I finished the first draft of the novel in just 58 days and then found that my next project (the third book in the Four Realms series) just wasn’t ready to start writing.
So I did some work on articles, shorts and a novella as well as a bit of editing and got a bit stressed out when my word count wasn’t as good as previous months. I had to remind myself, especially in the euphoria of actually hitting a quarter of a million words, that I wasn’t in a race with myself.
So this month I missed my ambitious target of 333,000 words… mostly because I wasn’t writing Four Realms #3 that would have given me a lot of word count.
So far this year I’ve been blogging very much about the things that have been going right. I know some of my friends have become secretly a little sick about hearing about my insane word count. But a lot of this is unsailed terrirtory for me and as a result I do make mistakes.
And this month I’ve made a huge one!
So I drove to Eastercon with just under a quarter of a million words under my belt. I was so determined to hit the quarter of a million mark that I took myself off and forced myself to start some new things, all so I could get to opening ceremony with my word count total over the quarter of a million.
And that’s where my problems began.
Fantasy-Faction Article On Dropbox
The latest in my monthly articles for Fantasy Faction went live a couple of weeks ago and due to Eastercon I forgot to update you all about it. In my latest article, I look at Dropbox and how it can be used by writers as not only a backup solution but as a way of syncing your work between computers. Be sure to check out the article!
Eastercon is usually a time for me to get enthused for the months ahead. It’s the start of the convention season and usually a time when I’m working toward completing things. Two years ago, when I was last here, I was promoting The Four Realms with a massive hole in my leg. Last year, I missed Eastercon to go on my big storm chasing adventure, telling everyone that I was in Scotland with the day job.
This year, I came prepared.