Thursday 2nd March 2017

Today was a good day that saw me get a lot of stuff done.  Not only did I make progress with the things I’m currently working on, but I kicked off one of the big side projects I wanted to start this year.
As I predicted yesterday, I did not take the day off ill from the day job.  I have, however, booked an appointment with my GP the week after next to discuss ongoing treatment.  I think I felt a bit better than I did the last couple of days but being in the midst of this storm going on around me it’s really hard to know.  I don’t think I’ve felt as tired today as I have done, the evidence being that I got more stuff done.
One of the things I really want to do this year is write more short stories.  I’ve had a couple published over my career and they’ve been generally well accepted but I seem a bit hit or miss with them.  Whilst, I don’t see this as a primary focus for the year, I would like to get to the end of the year and have better luck placing them.
Personally, I think my issue is, by and large, that I don’t read enough short stories.  One of the things I wanted to do this year was read a short story a day.  In particular, I was going to read stories from one publication with a view to eventually writing a story for that market.  However, I’m having enough problems finding time to do the things I’m already doing and so I’m aware that it’s now two months into the year and I’ve done nothing.
So here’s my plan and you’ll get to see all the success and failure within The Climb.  I’ve chosen a publication and I’m going to work towards getting a short story published in it.  I’m also going to document the entire process here within The Climb – my thoughts going into creating the stories, maybe share snippets of drafts, as well as all the rejections.
The publication I’ve chosen is: Beneath Ceaseless Skies.  There’s a couple of reasons for this.  First, they have a lot of stories available for free online, so I can read those and get a really good understanding of the market.  Secondly, they regularly show up in short story award categories so they’re about as good as it gets with fantasy.
I’m under no illusions… this is going to be really, really tough!  It’s possible that I get to the end of the year and I’m still getting form rejections (highly likely in fact).  This is also a little side project  (We’ll call it Climb The Sky to make it easy to refer  back to).  Novels are a huge part of my world (and even more so in the coming months) so this isn’t going to be something I work on every day.  But whereas I won’t always be able to talk about everything going on with Black as Knight, I can be completely open about this.
The first stage is really to familiarise myself with their stories.  I’m going to try and read one each day, even if it’s just in audio form, but I suspect that I’ll be a bit hit and miss on whether I get this done each day.  I’m pretty much going to be doing just this while I work on Shade Knight book 2.  Once that draft is done, then I’ll work on my first submission.
I kicked it off today with a short story from their website.  The story was well written but not for me.  I’ll try to read another one tomorrow.
I’m changing my diet next week and so I need to finalise some replacements.  Changing is always a little rough for me so I’m expecting to feel a little ill, especially from the caffeine withdrawal.  I know my writing suffers when I don’t have caffeine and so that could prove interesting to monitor.  And by interesting… I mean the withdrawal headaches will make me a nightmare to be around for the next couple of weeks
The gym went well tonight.  My warm up on the cross trainer set a new record of 99rpm (which is about twice my average a year or so ago).  That wasn’t the only personal best.  I reached 126kg on the deadlift and 65kg with the bench press.  I’ve seen a lot of progress in recent weeks and I put it down to being on a very steady diet.  I suspect changing things and varying the calorie amount again will slow my progress but – on the plus side – could see me drop another stone or so.  As vain as it is, I would like to lose a bit more body fat and have better abs for summer (especially as they are rock solid under there).
I got some of the documents set up for Storm Chase 2017.  I really need to sort out visas and flights this weekend when I have a bit more time.
I did a bit of planning on the chapter I’m working on in the novel tonight.  After yesterday’s conclusions on what this chapter needed to do, it’s been a bit easier to turn this from just a chapter that has some pretty visuals into something where there is some genuine character tension.
I got a lot of writing done on it as well.  Knowing I’ve had trouble with concentration, I split with writing time into shorter blocks.  So instead of writing for 2 hours, I did several blocks of 30 minutes.  The wordcount seemed to suggest this worked for me so I’m going to use this going forwards (at least for the next few weeks).
I suspect that the scenes I wrote could be trimmed and tightened.  There’s a lot of talking in there right now.  But as a first draft I’m very happy with them, and given the last few weeks of slow word count, having a good burst is a bit like a spring day after a long winter.
If you want to follow more of my journey, then be sure to check me on my social channels.  Likewise, if you’d like me to expand on any point mentioned above, please say so in the comments.
Twitter: @figures
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