Tag Archives: failingtowrite

Brain Weasels

I borrowed the concept of Brain Weasels from Jim C Hines, because they’re just so apt. “They scheme against me, rubbing their tiny clawed fingers together and twirling their whiskers…”

They’ve been in full force for the last few days. I knew that having an overdose of People and Big City over the weekend at Forbidden Planet’s Small Press Expo (which was fabulous, and I’m very glad I went!) and seeing people in London would tire me out, but it really did a number on me.

It hasn’t really been helped by the last few weeks. I’ve had a few minor stresses that have all stacked on top of each other to make a bigger stress, and I’ve started to have problems eating again – I probably should do a separate post about that but I’ve got the fun combination of not really wanting to eat, and then when I do, feeling sick, which just reinforces the not-wanting-to-eat. I’ve trained myself over the years to force myself to have something (usually tea) which stands me in good stead whenever I get this bad, but it’s still not fun, especially when combined with other stress.

I think I’ve started separating the Weasels out more successfully, though – which isn’t entirely nice. It’s like falling over something: I’m coasting along on a “well, ok, things aren’t brilliant but I’m doing all right and I can do this” and suddenly I’ll trip over “everything’s shit and you should just kill yourself already and there’s no future and here’s some ways to do it” and it just feels so abrupt. And then I get ambushed by more Weasels and that ain’t fun either. Plus if I don’t want to eat then the Emergency Stash of Chocolate doesn’t help, so…

Yeah. My brain sucks.

the hill-fort cover

The only thing I can really do when I get bad is push on through it: there isn’t really anything I can do to make it go quicker. I’m coming up again now, thanks in part to my wonderful friends and in part to the Weasels fucking off. If I get bad for longer than about a week, I’ll consider looking at medication again, but for now I’m just keeping on swimming as best I can.

On that note, one thing that does help (while also stressing me out, but in a better way) is work, so I’m going to go dive back into the pile! It’s currently mostly proofreading and things for other people, but there is some of my work on there…

And I’m still doing my Dresden stories on Wattpad twice-weekly, so please do hop over there and have a read if you fancy something new (to you) of mine!

A February Update

Just a bit…grey, really.

Mordic Cafe speciality teas boardI’ve had a pile of editing work, so I’ve been trundling onwards through that. Then I’ve got proofreading and some formatting to finish, and then just the rest of my list, really. It’s all ongoing, and nothing particularly special – I’m still enjoying it all, but it’s all become routine (which is nice in some ways!) The pile’s not really leaving any time for writing, but then I don’t really have any stories in me at the moment. I’ve got some ideas – I mean, check out the list of teas from the Nordic Cafe in Lymington (which, by the way, is excellent): I just want to write all those characters! But nothing’s really flowing, or fitting itself into a story. I’m just uninspired.

In the rest of life, it’s sort of ongoing as well. I’m waiting to hear back on a job I’d love to get, but I’m trying not to get my hopes up; I’ve had some friend drama, but I’m so tired of it that I just stepped away rather than try to fix anything. I’m still playing games on a Tuesday night, still trying to walk every day. I’ve been reading a bit, but it’s either old favourites (Martha Wells’ All Systems Red) or I’m halfway through new ones (The Carpet Makers by Andreas Eschbach and The City of Woven Streets by Emma Itäranta). So nothing particularly new there.

There has been some good. I had a wonderful present through from my friend Pasty & Purls, which was brilliant and I’m currently halfway through framing – isn’t it CUTE? That was definitely a highlight in my week, as was Disney films with a friend – he hadn’t seen The Emperor’s New Groove. JUST WHAT. So we watched that. And I got to go out on a powerboat over the weekend in brilliant sunshine and a flat sea, which was fun (if cold!)

But beyond that…I don’t know. I don’t think it’s depression – or at least, it’s mild. It’s just grey. But I’m doing ok, just trundling along; just one step at a time and one thing at a time, every day.


Trying an arty skill

I’ve been having a play with some book covers recently. I’m usually the first to admit I’m not the best person to do them; I’ve got a fair sense of design but I just don’t have the right eye for it. Give me words and I’m happy, but design…eh.

But the opportunity came up, and it’s not going to hurt for me to try – so I’m playing!

I’m getting to use these wonderful images of Tarot Cards by Matias Del Carmine (yes, the images have been legally obtained before you ask). I’m currently playing with compositions and fonts…

We’ll see what comes of it!


Random musings on “no new stories” and writing new stories

I’ve been plotting a series of cozy murder mysteries (which may or may not have resulted in me wandering around the house muttering to myself, occasionally absently chatting to my mother about the best way to sneakily kill someone, and maniacally laughing) but I’m struggling to write them, and I still can’t get the damn voice for Necromancer’s Charm right. I’ve been feeling grey and annoyed; writer’s block at its finest, when there doesn’t seem to be anything stopping me writing, but I just can’t get it right.

So I trundled over to see Adrian last night for a kick up the butt and some advice (and a few board games).

“Well, it’s yer ego.” (He’s actually insufferable if you ever meet him in person. Half of my job is a beta reader and half is his ego-flattener, because he needs both :-D). “You’re trying to write something popular, not what you want to write. You’re a good writer but you aren’t writing something you’ll enjoy.”

I promptly argued back that No Man’s Land was what I wanted to write, and that’s not what anyone wants right now. I do need to at least have one eye on what agents/publishers/readers want…so we had a discussion, and I threw some ideas at him. And then he threw one back at me.

Now, there’s no new ideas. Every story boils down to a few things, and as Desire says in Gaiman’s Sandman, every story boils down to the same thing; someone wants something. Sometimes they get it, sometimes they don’t.

But one of the problems of being a writer is that you have far more ideas than you could ever write. I have a folder stuffed with them! But because I can’t ever write them all, I’m happy to give them away: after all, if someone can write that story, then best of luck to them! And I’m lucky that Adrian thinks the same.

Besides, as I spotted the other day someplace on Twitter; every story has already been told. It just hasn’t been told by you.

So I have a base idea from Adrian, fitting in with the general time period and theme that I wanted to use. How I tell it is going to be my story; I’ll add twists, tell it in my own way, give it my own spin. It doesn’t stop him using it; if he ever did want to, he’d put enough of his own spin on it that it wouldn’t be the same story, even though it might have come from the same root. Maybe we could start a new genre…

Anyway. I’m not going to tell you anything about it, beyond that it’s a cross between Moist Von Lipwig, Agatha Christie and Only Fools And Horses – and may involve a parrot. Watch this space and we’ll see if this works!

2017: The Year of Shit

love 'em shoot 'em front coverSeriously, this year has been crap, on a personal level as well as a political level.

I lost my best friend, separated from my partner, moved house and city, started a new job, left that job, started another new job (as a freelancer, ARGH), had a few family stresses, and I miss my cat. I’ve had a nice wallop of depression, anxiety and insecurity as well as imposter syndrome, and frankly, I’m feeling pretty shit about it all. On a wider level, current events are scaring me; I feel like the world is spiralling out of control, and everyone seems so bloody horrible. It’s hard for me to understand the sheer level of hatred that seems to be the norm, and the wilful destruction of so much of the world just seems insane. I’ve had to back away from the news for the sake of my sanity, even though I want to do something – I just don’t know what’s going to help.

On the writing front, it’s been pretty shit too. I halted NaNoWriMo as the book I wanted to write wasn’t ready to be written; I’ve shelved No Man’s Land after twenty failed subs; there’s been a delay in publishing the next GreenSky book thanks to factors outside my control; and I haven’t been able to write the books that are sitting in my head, or even the short stories that I’d love to get out there.

But *takes a deep breath* that isn’t everything. I know it isn’t.

I’ve got a lovely new home, and an incredibly supportive family. I’ve landed on my feet with a job and time to just recover; even with the double wallop of depression and life, I’ve still been blogging, talking to people and managing to work. I’m reconnecting with old friends and working on making new ones. I’ve been watching Avatar: The Last Airbender, started yoga, found a kitten and gave him to a good home, read a bunch-load of really good books, and I’m still doing new things, little by little.

empty skies and sunlight front coverAnd on the writing front, Empty Skies and Sunlight was published, along with several short stories. I’ve edited one anthology (Terra Nullius, out next year) and assisted with more edits, proofreads and beta-reads than I can count. I’ve signed a three-novella deal under another name (no, I’m not going to tell you about that under this one, sorry!) and written & edited those novellas, and I’ve had several short stories published, both under this name and the other.  I haven’t got as far as I wanted to, but I’ve kept going. I’ve kept writing.

I’m feeling incredibly lost right now, and incredibly low. I can’t find my path; I’m just wandering, unsure of what to write or what to do. I feel like I’m making constant wrong decisions, and I’m still filtering through everything that’s happened in the past few years. I’m watching the world burn and trying to find something to do to let people know that not everyone thinks like the headlines, and that there are people who disagree with the current trend of events, but I feel like one tiny voice in the mass and I’m not strong enough to get heard. I’m scared for the future, both my own and the wider world; I’m trying to piece back together everything that I want to keep, without knowing exactly what’s going to help me in the future.

But I’m going to make plans for 2018. I’m going to spend a few months just getting myself back on my feet, pushing myself forward. I don’t know if it’s the right direction, but at least it will be a direction. And that’s all I can do.

I’ve had a Year of Shit, but I’ve got through it alive. I’ve taken it one day at a time, and I’ve reached the end. That is the biggest thing I’ve achieved this year. I’ve got to the end.

I’m going to do a post in a bit about my aims for 2018; at least if I put them down, then I might work on them!