Writing Writing & Writing

WURDS!! There are things! With WURDS! All of the things!

The first Thing is a short story, just from a random idea that I had while standing in the kitchen (also when you ask a writer “so where do you get your ideas?”… I get mine while stirring pasta, apparently.) It’s currently at 3000 words and I’m just mulling over where I want it to go; my original ending idea was a mild twist but it seems to be taking a slightly darker turn, and I may do some world-rewriting to fit that in. It’s a silly and fun and off the top of my head, and I AM WRITING AGAIN!! (Also, it includes necromancers. What is it with me and necromancers? …And cake. Same question.)

The second is that I have had my editorial letter for No Man’s Land (which has hopefully fairly permanently been renamed Every Ghostly Scar) back from the amazing Rebecca Brewer and I am just SO HAPPY. It’s always hard to read an editorial letter, but I knew the book needed work, and it’s so good to see someone else rip it to bits – but also so gratifying to see that it actually only needs a bit of work on the characters, a couple of scenes added/deleted, a couple of threads tidying up… the book and story overall seem to be in good shape, which is such a relief. I do love the book so much, and it’s so good to hear from someone impartial that they liked it too! So I’m going to take a day or two for mulling that over, maybe have a further chat with Rebecca about how to do some of the things (and also what needs to be done, because some of the ambiguity that she picked up on is deliberate, and I want to know how annoying that is) and then get working!

I’ve also been thinking about another project for a while, based on a rewriting of a children’s book – I’m not going to say more than that currently! But I’ve finally bought myself a paper copy of said children’s book so that I can scribble all over it and see if the idea has any legs.

And finally on the writing front, I’ve been playing with redesigning covers for the GreenSky series – I’m doing some more text-based ones, just to see if they work. They all need more work (I’m adding backgrounds at the moment) and I think it’s going to be a long-term project, but it’s something to keep me playing anyhow!

I’m aware that I’m still feeling broken, and that my writer’s block is still definitely there – so I’m taking everything cautiously, and don’t dare yet plunge into the morass of my unfinished stories. But TEH WURDS! They are back!

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.