Now that the dust has settled on NaNoWriMo, I thought I'd fill you in on my thoughts and times during it.
50,000 words, in 30 days... that's the challenge of the National Novel Writing Month, or NaNoWriMo for short. This is something that happens every November, and is aimed more at indie authors than anyone else. Its ultimate goal is to get you in the habit of writing every day, and to get you further down the line on whatever work in progress that you are currently working on,
On the outside it doesn't seem that daunting, only 1667 (ish) words a day. You think to yourself 'that's easy enough', but when you dig into it, it's exhausting.
I've done NaNo before, four years ago to be exact, and at the time I was no where near as comfortable writing as what I am now. However, that being said, despite thinking about doing NaNo again in the past I have for some reason never gotten around to actually doing it. That was until this year. I saw all of the posts starting to creep up on it from the various writer groups that I follow, and the idea of doing it again intrigued me. The day before the 01st November, my girlfriend challenged me to stop talking about it, and actually take part in it. So I did.
The first few days were easy enough. I was on track, and even ahead of myself at one point. But when I got about a week in I started to struggle. Things came up which meant I was too busy to be able to write on a certain day. Then somedays you sit down to write and end up staring at the keyboard because nothing wants to come out of the brain at all. The days when things worked, my fingers danced across the keyboard, the words spilling out of me. Other days I wanted to smash my head against the laptop, and hope that something would fall out.
When I hit the half way mark I managed to be level with what I needed to be. I knew that I'd struggle going into the back half of the month, but you have to push yourself. NaNo makes you sit down and write, makes you want to get to that goal at the end. I've also got to say that the writing community is a wonderful thing. Although we are all trying to get our stories read by random people out there in the ether, we all stick together and encourage each other. Theres no bitterness for how someone else is doing, just praise and encouragement to keep on going, if I'm honest I don't know many other communities like that out there. This helps to keep you going.
As the back end of the month loomed I started to see people posting on social media that they'd finished, their 50,000 words was done and they were still going. When I looked at my word count I knew I still had a fair old way to go, but again it didn't stop me from congratulating those people, and from reading the encouragement that they were giving to the ones like me still going.
The last week was the hardest for me. Work was crazy busy, and I had loads of family things going on, all excuses I know, but as I've previously said, life gets in the way sometimes. I knew I was close enough to the end that I couldn't fail now. I went into the last day needing just over 4000 words, and pushed myself onwards, plugged myself into Spotify, and started to type. When the playlist that I was listening to stopped I looked at my word count... 50,698... I'd done it! I uploaded my words onto the website and was greeted by the fact that I was a winner. The relief I felt that I'd finished, and in time (just) was amazing. I gained my winners banners, and took to social media to show my pride of completing it. What I was met with was amazing comments and likes, some from people I've never met before, and never spoken to, but all of them congratulating me on my achievement!
The main thing for me is not that I won, not that I'd taken part, but that it helped push me to write 50,698 words that I didn't have on the 01st November!
If you took part in NaNoWriMo and either won or not, well done! Every one of you is a winner no matter how many words you wrote, and as I said they are words that you didn't have at the beginning of the month. On the other hand if you thought about doing it, but for some reason chose not to... I'd encourage you to give it a go. Because whatever happens your writing will be better off for it in the end.
So this weekend I hit another personal milestone... I released 'The Rose Killer' in a paperback version!!!
Now this may not seem like much to some, but to me it's HUGE. Being a book worm as I am, I have moved over to using a Kindle a lot, more for convenience of being able to have so many books and it not take over half the world. But, that being said I still have a soft spot for having a physical book. Something that you can hold and know was lovingly created. Well, this is now true of one of my books to!
I was asked about having a paperback copy a few times (as not everyone has a Kindle), and I'd toyed with the idea of it but never actually got around to doing it. Well, with a mass amount of research (and a lot of pushing from my love) I took on the challenge of converting it. I'll be honest, it was a long task, and one that I'd seen many people warning me about. But you can't help but question if it really is that hard to do. I spent many an hour making my eyes go square whilst trying to format line spaces, check positioning, and worrying about bleed - all things that I'd never really had to worry about before. The hours that I ploughed into checking, re checking, and checking again just for luck, have finally come to an end, and before me sits a crisp, new paperback version, of one of my books, and one that people can order online and have delivered to their door! I also had a wow moment at one point, I was sat in a restaurant whilst I was away with work, reading a proof copy of my book. At that point it hit me that I was sat in public, with a physical copy of something I'd written in my hands!
Something else has cropped up from this that I'd not expected and hadn't really thought about either. That was being asked to sign copies of the book for people. I've got to say that being asked the first couple of times was very odd, but in the same light extremely exciting. These are things that you know actual authors do - they have signings in book stores, do competitions to be able to win a signed copy etc, and here I am now being asked to sign copies for friends and family! I'm embracing all that comes of my writing, and if that means signing copies, or running competitions for people to win signed copies then I'm all for it!
Ultimately this has been a great end to the week and beginning of this week, and something that I wanted to share with you. All of this is inspiring me to write the sequel (which if I'd not told you already is well on the way), and for me to get more things out there for people to read. I love writing, and my head is full of stories all desperate to be told. If I carry on at the same rate that I am then the future is very exciting!
Oh... and if I'd not already mentioned it 'The Rose Killer' is now available in PAPERBACK. If you've not already picked up your copy you can do so by clicking on the button below.
As a writer I'm always looking for ways to improve myself. So I thought I'd do a blog post on some of the things I'm doing, and also give a little insight into my writing process.
Firstly, writing's hard. Don't let anyone try and tell you anything different. I've always enjoyed writing from when I started to let my imagination loose as a child. Writing random stories about aliens invading, or knights slaying dragons, were just run of the mill for me. However, for anyone reading this that's actually tried writing a book (I bet there is a few) you'll agree that it's not easy. For me I have to be in the zone, completely in tune with the task in hand, and then the words just flow. People say that you should write every day, and that you should make it a habit. That way you're brain will get used to being most active at this time of day. I'd agree to a point it works, but life gets in the way sometimes and it's not always possible, so you have to have some flexibility.
For me, I write when I can. I work a full time job, and have a family at home. Thankfully I have a very loving girlfriend that's extremely supportive of my passion for writing, and encourages me to do so. I utilise the time at night, when the kids have gone to bed, and before we settle down to have our time together. If this is only for half an hour, then so be it, either way writing some words are better than writing none at all. This keeps my thoughts flowing and also keeps me in tune with the book itself.
The actual process of how I write is currently up for debate. I've always been someone that has an idea of what the story line will be, and then just starts tapping away on my laptop. This is classed by many as the wrong way to do things. The last three novellas that I have written have been done in this way. But.... as a writer (I still love to say that) I always want to improve myself, and my work. I've been doing more research now than I ever have been before, on what sort of things to look out for, tips and tricks when writing certain scenes, I listen to audiobooks when driving, and read a lot to. All of this is soaking into my brain and helping me become better at my creative trade.
Despite being half way through a sequel to one of my novellas, I'm now debating outlining it from start to finish - something I've never done before. Not starting the book again, but giving me a better idea about flow, plot outline, and some of the character stories throughout it. This will ultimately help, and mean that I don't have to keep referring back to a certain point of the book to make sure I've got something right. I'm also looking at gathering some beta readers for when it's done, contacting ARC reviewers, and making it available for pre order. All of this adds time onto the release date of the book (which I struggle with as I want it out there when it's finished), but in the end will make it better.
Basically, as a writer I'm never happy with what I do. I re read things over and over always finding something I want to change. I over think things in normal life, so imagine how much I do it with my writing! I think if I start to incorporate the above steps then this will not only make my writing better, but also will help me be able to spot things more as I'm going, thus improving me!
Anyway, I think that's enough information for one day. I hope that you'll continue to join me on this journey that I'm taking. Writing is not all about the money for me, it's a passion, a hobby that I enjoy doing and one that keeps the creative juices flowing. One day I will see something I've written in a book shop available to buy, or in a library for someone to check out. Hey, you've gotta have dreams right?
So, 3 years have passed since I last did a blog post, and 2 years have passed since I last released anything. However last night just before my brain shut down and drifted into sleep, I decided that I wanted to do a post to update on a few things. Why the long gaps between things happening you may ask? Well, let me explain.
My life over the last couple of years has taken a massive change in direction - for the better I might add. I now have a family to think of, whereas before I did not. I wouldn't change it for the world either as I love them dearly. However, anyone out there that has a family will know that if you try sitting down and doing anything for 5 minutes you get about 30 seconds in before getting pulled all over the place! This is all excuses on my behalf really, because as soon as they go to bed that's when things can be done. I have chosen to spend the time with my loved one more than sit at my laptop writing. She is massively supportive of me and what my goals are, and encourages me to write, but I make the excuse not to. That being said, I have found my rhythm now and realised when I'm away with work (which I am every week) there is an opportunity to write. When I get a chance to sit down for half an hour, there is also an opportunity to write. Whether it's 100 words or 1000, it's still writing, and something that's pushing me towards my goal.
Currently I am away on holiday with the family, and despite it being full on, I've found the time to write. I've also managed to achieve a few things (with the help of a very insistent girlfriend). So, what I have done during this break is below...
- Written another 4000+ words on a work in progress
- Had a cover designed and approved for my next work in progress
- Created another Author Page on Facebook after some time out
- Found my love and inspiration for writing again
Now this may not seem like a huge amount to most, but to me it is all positive steps in the write (see what I did there) direction.
I currently have 4 things in the works. 1 is completely finished but in need of editing before I decide to try and get it out there. 1 is just over half way through, and will be my next release (before the end of this year). 1 is about a third of the way through. And the last is only a few chapters old. Either way these are all things that I have looked over and I'm excited to finish and share with the world.
So.... that's pretty much my musings as we stand. I have lots of work to do, and it's all stuff that I enjoy. I've also decided to update my blog on here more often, especially with things like cover releases, promos, work in progress updates etc. eventually I will work out a way to enable people to follow, so you'll get an alert when a new post has been uploaded, but that's for another day.
Right now, just be assured that I'm back on the right path and loving it!
So it has officially been a year since I self published my first piece of work. It's crazy to think that a life long ambition finally happened and I have moved on and done more since then, plus have so much more going on! I think I finally realised that I was a writer when I had about four things going on at the same time! You have deadlines that you are aiming towards and are powering through to acheive more. So far I have managed to self publish two novellas, have a short story appear in an anthology, took part in and completed NaNoWriMo, have had two more short stories accepted for upcoming anthologies, have entered work for another, and am writing a story to submit to one more. All of this on top of writing an actual novel, and two more novellas. It's crazy to think what happens when you dig into the creative side of your mind, its like turning on a tap and everything just keeps pouring out. I aim to keep doing as much as my brain will let me do and hope that by this time next year I would have acheived a lot more.
The hardest part was easily getting the first story out there. Once that's been done then it seems to open a door of opportunity. It took me a good six months to write the first novella (approx 20,000 words), then another three months to get it edited, proof read, and get a cover for it before realising it. I think I ended up reading the story a good twenty five times before I finally submitted it to Amazon to be available to be purchased. You then have to work on your 'brand'. Facebook pages, being part of author groups, and working with other indie authors is definitely key. It is like a community where everyone wants to help and encourage each other, far from the heavy competition which I expected.
From this I was invited to write a story for an anthology, something that I had not even thought about before I did it. It was also in a genre that I never thought about trying before. Despite being sceptic at first I decided to give it a shot, and thankfully they thought it worked well and it was accepted into the anthology. Not only did my confidence increase, but it enabled me to be asked to write stories to try and go into other anthologies. Two of these have been accepted. I'm currently waiting to find out about another, and am submitting for another. Getting my work out there is definitely worth it.
The second novella seemed to flow better than the first, with the ideas just working. I was also more confident in my writing ability and can see the improvement from the first to the second. Although I have not sold as many as the first one I am still happy with the end product and it has made me strive to better myself.
NaNoWriMo was a huge task, 50,000 words in the 30 days of November. It is easier said than done. I thought it would be quite easy to do and tasked myself with a certain amount of words to do each day, 1,750 to be precise, if I stuck to this then it would have been done with time to spare. You have to be really determined as life gets in the way and you just think, it'll be okay, I'll make up the words tomorrow. This happened a few times and I left myself 9,000 words to do in the final few days. Despite the rush I managed to get it finished and emerged as a winner. I will be taking part in it again this year as I feel it helps with getting a beginnings of a novel out there and down on paper.
Despite a bit of a slow couple of months my writing is taking a turn towards the tracks again. Another novella has been started, the beginning of my novel has been edited and gotten good feedback, and I have so many more ideas flowing which I need to get down on paper.
You can find my available work below, when more appears you will be the first to know.
Undead Legacy - Short Story is called Trapped
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It's been a little while since my last post but I have had a lot of things going on over the previous months. The next phase of my writing has truly begun. It has been a bit of a whirlwind adventure up until now already but yet things still seem to amaze me.
I finished and released my second novella 'Breaking Point' to the world of Amazon, this is a follow up to 'Retribution' which was my debut novella last year. The recurring main character of Alex Sanchez is a joy to write and I will be looking to take the leap and putting him into a full novel over the coming year. I currently have an idea for it but just need to flesh it out now.
Anthologies have been coming thick and fast with opportunities appearing and I've been taking the time to write short stories to submit to them. I am happy to announce that my story 'The Hunt' will feature in the upcoming 'UNDER THE BRIDGE - A Troll Anthology'. The cover has just been revealed (which I think is amazing) you can find it below, when more details like release dates are available I will be sure to share them.
I have also had another short story 'The Box' accepted to appear in another anthology 'Kids: Volume One'. This is being released by Dark Chapter Press later in the year. Again when I have more information I will happily share.
To feature in these anthologies and to be a part of something bigger is always an honour, especially amongst other fantastic authors.
Although horror is not my main genre or something I felt I could write, I have taken a more thriller approach to the stories, which happily for me they liked and went with.
So the next journey now beckons as I push myself forward. I am aiming to finish my novel which I started for NaNoWriMo last year, a fantasy about a dragon slayer. I am writing two more short stories to submit for another two anthologies, which if I am lucky enough will get picked to feature. Then after that, who knows. As I have previously said I have some ideas rattling around in the brain of mine, it's just putting them down on paper and then making them become a reality. Either way watch this space...
So the beginning of the year brings new opportunities!
As a writer I am learning to take these opportunities and embrace them with both hands. I was given the chance to submit some work for an upcoming horror anthology, now considering I have never tried my hand at horror I was sceptical at whether I could actually do something for it. The topic was the undead, meaning zombies, mummies, anything that wasn't alive really. I chose the zombie option considering my love of zombie movies, TV programmes and the like, came up with a premise and then went to work. 5000 words later and 'Trapped' was born. I submitted and waited to see if the work was any good for what they wanted. I am pleased to say that they liked it and it has been accepted!
So my short story 'Trapped' will be featured in the JEA Press Anthology 'The Undead Legacy' which will be released on 29th March. To say I am happy with that is an understatement, it has given me another option to branch out into and something else that I may try and explore more of in the future. Below is a picture of the cover...
Other pieces are still in the works currently, I am writing a second novella which is a sequel to Retribution, then I have the NaNoWriMo project which still needs to be tweaked and finished, and then another novella in motion which will be a crime based story set in the fifties. With all of this going on it is shaping up to be a busy start to this year but all productive and fun. My mind seems to be awash with ideas for either short stories or novels which at some point will be put down on paper. Watch this space....
So this is the first blog post that I have ever done... With me launching the website and after the month I have just had I thought I would be able to tie it all in.
2014 was a breakthrough year for me. I got to finally get down the words that I wanted to and wrote and self published a novella, this is the first one in a trilogy, the second will be released at the beginning of 2015. This was the biggest thing I have achieved to date and I am now pushing myself further riding the crest of the wave that was releasing it.
I have just taken part in NaNoWriMo, for those of you that do not know what that is it's short for National Novel Writing Month, the aim is to write a 50,000 word novel in the 30 days of November. To say that it was more difficult than I expected was an understatement. I knew the task that was before me but didn't know how much work I needed to put into it to make sure that I would hit the target, I had to make sure that I broke the word count down into individual days and then try and stick to it. Unfortunately with life things get a little lost at times and you find yourself playing catch up. By the last few days I found my self with a huge task but with a lot of persistence and work I managed to finish on 50,218 becoming a winner! It was a great feeling and proved I could achieve anything if I put my mmd to it.
2015 is going to be a year of pushing myself to try and reach goals. I aim to release my second and third novella and all the time push through to try and finish my novel and get it on the road to being published.
With this being the first blog that I have written I am going to leave it there being short and sweet. As time goes by I will update this with things that have been going on in my life and how the writing is going, any new release or cover info and anything else that pops into my head I guess!