Tag Archives: failingtowrite

2020: Aims for the Year

I, once again, manifestly failed at 2019’s aims.

I mean, I sort of did do them… read more, yes, but at work. (LOTS more.) Reading at home? Um, not really, despite trying. Writing? Nope. Baking? I’ve been doing bits, but not much, and definitely haven’t got the macarons right yet. BAH.

Friendships? Actually, I feel I’ve done ok there. I’ve kept up many of them, despite obstacles, and the list of people that I’ve sent Christmas cards and presents too has felt good, even if I haven’t seen those people much. I’ve also made a bunch of new friends, or consolidated other friendships – so actually, that’s one success.

And adventure? Well, yes! It hasn’t been as dramatic as I would have liked, but I’ve been to Ireland, Italy, Scotland…

And I have grown; I have learned. I’ve found new paths. I’m still struggling to find the joy in it all, but that’s something I’m working on – I’m putting my roots down, and I’m hoping that they’re going to keep spreading.

What do I want to achieve in 2020?

Actually, I think I’ve only really got a couple* of things I want to work on.

1.Adventure

I’m hopefully (fingers crossed!) going to Canada in October, Belgium at Easter, and have various trips to London planned. I want to do a long weekend at least in Norway and Prague. I want to go to Wales and trundle round castles. I want to explore more of Oxford. I’m taking the long routes home!

2.Qualifications and Consolidation

In my work life, I want to get to SFEP Professional level: I’ve nearly got the hours for it, and I’m just doing more training credits. That would be really satisfying, although I definitely want to do it alongside more useful development for my job – every editing role is specialised, and so I want to keep working on my own development and needs.

In my personal life, I want to Get Shit Sorted. I want to sort out my finances, and also various accounts/passwords/will/pensions/forms/all that boring jazz that only becomes important if something goes drastically wrong. It’s tedious but it makes me happier to have it done!

3.Self-Care

This kind of fits in with the consolidation, but I want to spend more time just being. I want to sit with a cup of tea on the sofa and look out the window. I want to plan the garden and work on it. I want to take time to write cards and see my friends. I want to work on my courses and finish some projects and just let myself do the things I want to. I want to let my brain have time to recover, and let the grey recede, and start living again.

And hopefully, somewhere in all of that, I’ll be able to start reading, and start writing.

Somewhere, hopefully, there’s a story that I want to write.

So – here’s to 2020, a year of slow building and small joys.

 

*Ok, so there’s a story behind the “Foster Couple”. When you say “a couple” to me, I’ll bring you three. Or four. This is because my father is an engineer, and therefore if you bring him two screws, he’ll drop one or need three or they’ll be the wrong size and actually it’s just easier to bring more than he needs, and therefore it’s become a habit that if you want two, you say two. If you want a couple, you mean three or four.

This especially applies to donuts. Who actually wants two donuts when you could have more?

Blog Writer’s Block?

I just… don’t know what to say.

If I think of a post, it’s either too complicated and difficult to articulate (politics), too personal (relationships), too sensitive (work), not happening (reading and writing) or just… not interesting.

And I don’t feel I have the attention span to be able to write anything. I can barely cope with a book for more than a couple of pages; trying to settle to write something here just feels like reaching through fog.

I’ve got more energy than I’ve had for a long time; I’m baking, sorting stuff in the house, bouncing around work, able to do more… and then I’m exhausted when I fall into bed, having really weird (and sometimes bad) dreams, and am finding it hard to settle to anything.

But I don’t want to stop, y’know? I managed this all the way through the last five years of depression and personal shit and job changes and the chaos of NaNoWriMo, so surely I should be able to cope now that I’m getting better?

I dunno. I might drop the post frequency down to twice a week, but… this was – is? – something I enjoy doing. I just need to get my ass in gear!

(Although for now, I have cakes to finish off… chocolate with blackberry jam and dark chocolate drizzles! Anyone at work may get lucky, assuming I haven’t eaten them all by 9am.)

A Kate Update

I’m not doing too well at the moment. I got flu last week, and had three days off work (over a weekend, as well, so ended up being ill for about five days). A week later and I’m now off again as the lingering cough has developed into a full-blown raw throat and hurting chest, plus a mild bout of food poisoning yesterday, plus nightmares that mean I’m not sleeping well. My partner’s been ridiculously sweet about looking after me, but there’s only so much you can do when everything just needs to work itself through.

Fuck this I'm going back to bedMy mental state isn’t the best either. I know that I should be feeling really happy – I have a wonderful partner, a place of my own, a job I love – but everything’s feeling pretty overwhelming. I know that it’s mostly just brain weasels and depression talking; the point when I start thinking that I “should” be happy is usually the point that I know it’s not entirely me talking. But it’s also really hard to cope when I feel like my list is growing, and it all feels incredibly endless.

(…sort a plumber for getting the dishwasher out, and then sort them coming back to replace a part – and get the dishwasher fixed or replaced. Paint the shelves, and then again, and then sand and paint again. Email a solicitor about some niggly divorce financial stuff and then understand the answers – which I am seriously struggling with – and then have to do paperwork which is a task in itself, as printing and getting ID documents sorted and sending them is apparently a multi-day job. Get my boots fixed (again). Finish a formatting job for a client and then do six lots of corrections and then do the ebooks. Start another formatting job plus email a quote back to someone else. Sort a vet checkup for the cats, which involves ringing them as none of them put fees on their websites. Sort the council tax, which is in the wrong name and is somehow very confusing for them. Read five books for friends and give feedback. Think about the Grimbold Patreon because that’s getting urgent. Worry about my laptop screen not working in certain positions which means it’s going to fail soon, and have I backed everything that I need up recently? And this is on top of go to work, sort food, write blog posts, tell my partner I love them (not that that’s ever a chore), be nice to the cats, see friends, see family, email my Aunt, text my Dad about the latest thing he’s worrying about (although that was actually a new table he’s got, so that’s nice), work out which hug gif I haven’t used recently for my friend, book dinner with Badger, remember to ask another friend about their medical procedure, remind Otter that we’re baking eclairs and blues dancing sometime soon…)

I think one of the things that always gets to me is that it never stops. My task list will never be done; it’s quieter now than it has been due to my deliberately trying to throw some things out, but there’s always things. There’s always so many “shoulds” even on top of the task list – I should write more. I should see more friends, appreciate the people in my life more. I should read more. I should take more time for me. I should find space to improve myself or do more things that I want to do. I should be better at using my time than I am… I know it’s a familiar thing for a lot of people, and it’s something that won’t ever stop. I’m being whiny and silly. I do like being busy, I like having tasks – and I do this to myself! I could stop. I could just…say no. Stop doing it. This business and the subsequent tiredness is on me. It’s my own damn fault, and I shouldn’t whine.

But there’s reasons to do all of it. Some of it is shoulds. Some of it simply needs to be done. Some of it is for other people, for friends, for family. Some of it is expectations. Some of it is just because I don’t want to throw away a year’s hard work (the formatting) or 5 years hard work (the blog) or X years hard work (the writing). And some of it is because I do honestly want to do it.

cosy christmas with a book

I’m just very, very tired right now, and a lot of the tiredness is because there isn’t help available. I’ve asked for what I can; and now the only person who can do the rest of it is me. I just need to get on with it.

Anyway! I am going to be ok. I have a cup of tea, some sunshine, a fantastic sofa, and hugs promised this evening. I’m slowly doing what I can. One thing at a time, and I’ll be fine.

Writing snippets – when it’s not really working

I (try to) do a little writing group on Thursday evenings – it’s just a Facebook chat with a few of us encouraging each other on. I missed the week before last due to work, so I was determined to try to write something. Problem is, I’m feeling stuck on the new No Man’s story; it’s bitty and I can’t get any sense of what I want to happen to the characters. I’ve got a vague plot but no detail, and that means no scenes.

So I picked a couple of prompts from the Wattpad #urbanfantasy, just on the offchance that they’d work; sometimes things do just fall into place for short stories, and I end up with a random one! However….neither really worked, and so I’m putting them on here to say – yes, this happens. This is my version of stop-start-stop, when the stories just won’t come, when something doesn’t fit. This is one of the stages of writing something; this is when an idea gets turned and twisted and ends up as one of the random hundreds of files I have in my writing folder, with a snippet that might end up in something else, or might not.

The first prompt was, “I would never bring my mobile to a demon hunt ever again.”

I picked my Dresden fanfic world for this, because a) snark, and b) demons. However, the specification was that the prompt had to be the last line (or paragraph), and frankly, I was struggling to work out what problems a mobile could cause on a demon hunt! Someone else trying to get in contact constantly? The mobile itself sends out signals that disrupt things somehow? I just couldn’t pin anything down as being the problem that needed to be overcome, and that meant that the story itself wouldn’t resolve.

“This is your idea of a date?”

I raise my eyes from my phone and look at the scarred, lanky, pissed-off form of the Winter Knight. From battered trainers to battered t-shirt, topped with a battered – well, scarred – face, he’s the picture of grumpiness.

“If I’d known it was going to be this romantic,” he continues, “I would have brought you roses.”

I open my mouth to say something snarky, but someone gets in ahead of me.

“This is not a date.” It’s laced with as much disapproval as a Fae Marshall can output – which is, it turns out, quite a lot.

“Dollface invited me here,” the Winter Knight points out, shoving his hands into his pockets and smirking. “And she didn’t state that she wanted to hit me. Therefore, it’s a date.”

“I can rectify that second criteria if it helps,” I say mildly.

“Your levity is out of place,” the Marshall grinds on, ignoring me. “We have a serious purpose.”

…and then I couldn’t work out what they were doing, apart from ‘fighting demons’. It may turn into a short with them fighting vampires, or just generally arguing, but the mobile phone was giving me problems.

However! That doesn’t mean that the prompt isn’t any use – and if you’re ever in this situation, my sincere advice is to go off the rails. Abandon the prompt! Write whatever comes to mind! It just so happened that I huffed, tried another prompt (see below) and then got caught up in something else…so I may come back to this one sometime.

“Couldn’t you have just broken my heart like any normal guy/girl?” I asked with tears in my eyes, leaning over him/her and his/her blood – so much blood.

I considered this, and considered how dramatic it was on the surface… so I promptly went light-hearted.

And I couldn’t hold back the laughter any longer.

[NAME] turned, her expression turning from shocked to bewildered, and then to horrified realisation.

And then she spun back to [BOY], dipped one long finger in the blood, and tasted it.

I sat down on the edge of the stage, my stomach hurting, yet unable to stop the howls of laughter that were shaking me. My cheeks were wet with tears, and I laughed and laughed.

Pippa turned and stormed out.

[BOY] started to pick himself up as I regained control of myself, and met my eyes as I pushed myself up and wandered over.

“Can’t you just break my heart like any normal guy?” I ask with tears in my eyes, leaning over him and his blood – so much blood. That should have been her clue.

He grinned up at me. “It’s more fun this way.”

“You’re a dick, [BOY].”

“And you love me for it. Here, help me up, and let’s go post the photos on the web!”

For this one, frankly, there’s no way anyone in the Dresden universe would go that light (I did play with some Kindred/Dini stories but ugh for drama and that’d be seriously depressing, and just…no) so it ended up being random. That said, I don’t necessarily like it. It doesn’t fit anything existing and it’s not a story that I want to tell in a new world.

And that’s the thing with prompts, for me. Sometimes they do lead to stories that I do want to tell, just from that one snippet – and sometimes, like these two, they just end up as scraps.

So it’s still writing progress, even if it’s somewhat dead-ended!