Writing through the Block

Sometimes I’m kind of an idiot. There are several stories I should be working on, but I just can’t find the motivation. I actually have the next part of Hermes925 drafted and ready to go, but instead of typing it up I spent most of the day playing Oblivion (in my defence, it was on sale).

I’m tempted to blame it on feeling too tired to write, which would launch me into another rant in which I whine about having to work at a hotel part-time when I’d rather just be writing for a living. It’s necessary for now though. I’m living in a room that’s about 8′ by 10′ at my grandparent’s house. I really need to get a place of my own.

When I moved in I didn’t plan on having a girlfriend, but I do, and I’m grateful. I think the lack of room for her stuff is upsetting her. She needs some territory she can claim as her own beyond a pull-out bed, a drawer and part of a shelf!

I think it’s also frustrating to her how much time she has to spend at work. She works more hours than I do and seems to spend most of the time she’s not at work napping. She’d much rather have the time and energy to enjoy her time off, as would I.

I tell myself that I need to buckle down and get writing, or I’ll never be able to give her the freedom she deserves. Instead, I find myself procrastinating. I’ll be checking Facebook to see if any members of the Creative Writers group have a problem I can help with or playing a game instead.

I’ve often advised others to start freewriting when they get into a funk like this. Just pick up a pen and paper (or in this case open a new blog post) and start writing. I tell them, quite sagely, that doing so might help them figure out what it is that’s really holding them back. Yet, I didn’t think of it myself. Hence the self-abuse at the beginning of this post.

I’m still no clearer to understanding why I can’t seem to be bothered. I’ve maybe written five lines all day on an actual story, which is more than I’ve done the last four days. To be a little fairer on myself I was working at the hotel 3 of those days. 

I like working at the hotel. I get along with my co-workers, the view from the bar is fantastic, and sometimes I can get a free meal. I just wish I wasn’t so tired all the time. My feet still hurt. I can’t imagine how much worse I’d be feeling if I worked five days a week instead of only three!

I know everyone hates going to work. I should just man up. One of my colleagues has had surgery lately and still manages to work a full week. I feel like a whiny brat in comparison. There are lots of others too, willing to work their fingers to the bone for a steady paycheck. I still feel I’d be much happier getting by on what little money I can make from writing, but I have much more to worry about now than my own wellbeing.

Before I had to start taking a second job, I had a system that seemed to be working. Get up when I like, but start writing at 10 am. Keep writing (which would also include research, editing, re-writing, and sharing my latest updates online) until I can’t concentrate on anything anymore. This system would often give me about 6 hours of writing and writing-related work each day, and I would give myself weekends off.

Things got more complicated now. For one, I needed to be able to buy my own food instead of raiding my Grandparents all the time, so day-job. I can’t even stick to my old plan on the days I’m not at the hotel. One or both of us will have to over-sleep to recover from a hard shift at work, so no strict 10am start. I also can’t, in good conscience, ignore my girlfriend as she’s sitting on the bed right next to my desk.

Something has to go. It’s not going to be the writing. The very idea makes every cell in my body rebel. It had better not be my girlfriend or I’m going to be very upset. It has to be the job that gets sacrificed, but with the job also goes our main source of income. Even if I could secure income enough to support us both, I still wouldn’t have the time to write. Unless I can either find a way to include her in the writing process or hope she finds a passion of her own to pursue.

I also realise that all of this is a complete waste of time. The fact is I have chosen this life and I’m the only one who can make it work. It’s my responsibility. Yet I still have this childish, almost girly, dream that some day a famous author (Neil Gaiman) is going to see my work, tell me that my ideas are awesome but they could be better expressed, and then take me under their wing as their apprentice.

Even that isn’t going to happen unless I have my work out there to be found. I need to stop wasting my time whining, overthinking, sleeping, etc. I need to create the future I want to have. That’s not going to happen while staring at a screen and feeling sorry for myself.

I really should be working on my Monolith submission. Maybe I’ll sleep on it and try again tomorrow. Maybe when I wake up, I’ll discover that I have a hundred new paid subscribers each paying £10 a month, which would be more than enough for me to make writing my only job. I’ll keep dreaming until I do.

Have a great day 🙂

 

 

Time To Write

I know I’m not the only writer that has this problem. You get up ready to write, pull out your notebook and pen or turn on your computer (or both) determined to work on a story that you know has to get written. You know exactly what you intend to work on, but the words just refuse to come.

This is especially frustrating if you know that this is the only time you’ll get this week. The rest of your schedule is filled with prior commitments. Work, family. friends, other writing projects, classes, housework, etc. All vying for attention while the one thing you’re trying to pay attention to refuses to cooperate.

You may be trying to keep to a deadline, a schedule, or a promise, but you just can’t focus. You try to read over your notes, scan over the last thing you wrote, and get into the mindset of your characters. You find yourself just staring, your mind wandering to other worries.

Sometimes I can get around this by working on something else, or updating this blog. Other times I can post a question on Facebook to my fellow writers to figure out what direction I need to take the story in. Most of the time just forming the question is enough to get me going again.

Right now I’m supposed to be proofreading and editing the short story I’m working on for UbiquiCity, the RPG sourcebook I’m contributing to. I have already fixed a lot of it, but I know it needs more. I keep meaning to find the time to read over the stories that have been submitted by the other writers to make sure that my descriptions of the City are consistent, but I keep having the same problem I’m having with my own work. I’m just staring at the screen.

I have four days until the writers meet up again. One of those days I have to be out of the house for about 10 hours for my day job, and on another I’ll be doing the update for my Facebook RP group the City of Gate. I’ve had all month to do the rewrite and I’ve spent maybe 2 days actually doing it. The rest of the time I’ve been working, sleeping, doing not enough writing and spending too much time discussing a new project.

To be fair the new project is very exciting. A series of short-story anthologies called Monolith. The Creative Writers group is now up to 343 members (and probably more by the time you read this) and a lot of them are pumped about writing something for book one. I don’t expect each book to make much money, but the more books we publish, the more the royalties will add up.

Working on Monolith will also give me invaluable insight into self-publishing and allow me to make use of some of my accumulated knowledge on sales, marketing and entrepreneurship. At one point I thought I’d use these skills to attain a corporate position of some kind, or start my own business, but it feels right to apply it to creating a series of books instead.

If you think you might be interested in contributing a short story, please do. You can get more info about it on the pinned post of the Creative Writers group. Eventually there will be a dedicated website to go with the Facebook page I’ve made, but for now there’s a link at the top of this page for submissions. You have until June-August to get it in, so that should give you plenty of time to polish it up and make it awesome.

I should get back to the UbiquiCity story I’m supposed to be writing. If not, then I should at least be working on The War on Magic, City of Gate: Chronicles, Hermes925, or The Haunted Story. I may have too many writing projects!

If you happen to be someone that likes to invest in entrepreneurial new writers, you can do so either on my Patreon page, or by selecting one of the Paypal subscription options below. You’ll get updates on my writing projects and free copies of every book I’m published in if you do. Have a great day 🙂

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My Monday Motivation

I love alliteration. It comes easier to me than rhyming. I was tempted to actually make this opening paragraph rhyme, but as usual, I found myself stressing about the arrangement of words to get the right rhythm, and flow of words stopped entirely.

Trying to write poetry leaves me feeling like a rank amateur, but writing a story is like diving into a river. You may get a few bumps and bruises along the way, you might even experience real terror and struggle to keep your head above water from time to time, but overall the experience is enjoyable, thrilling and exciting.

The hardest part is often taking the first plunge. Seeing the page, pristine and undisturbed, laid out before, knowing that one you make your mark, you’ll be carried away can be a daunting prospect. Lucky for me, I find staring boring, and my mind wonders and begins putting random words together just to keep itself entertained.

There are lots of things to do today. Over the weekend I got my first two Patreon.com subscribers. This makes 3 total including one person who subscribed via the Paypal buttons I made. I’ve promised subscribers is weekly emails including updates on everything I’m writing. So I may need to put some thought into how I’m going to present it all.

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I also have more work to do on the story I’m writing for UbiquiCity. I’m enjoying this project. We’re all working together to create a unified world in which all our stories take place. We’ve discussed law enforcement, social standing, food, technology, transportation, economics, environment and healthcare among other things. The team is very imaginative and creative, and I’m proud to be included.

I’m beginning to think that my ghost story isn’t going to be accepted by the magazine I submitted it too. To be fair it was the first ghost story I’ve written in a long time, it probably doesn’t stand out among the hundreds of other submissions they received. They might accept it yet, and there are plenty of other publications. I’m not terribly concerned, but the money would be nice.

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Another publication I’m working with is all set to publish Hermes925 as a series, which is very exciting. They’re called Diversions from Drudgery and they need more artists and illustrators. They’ll take almost anything you can submit and, you’re free to use the same work elsewhere. I can’t wait to see the first issue!

I also still need to make time to write more of the science-fantasy prelude to ‘The War on Magic‘. I’m going to submit it to as many publications as I can get away with when it’s done, including SciFan magazine, the Writers of Tomorrow contest, and I’ll probably send it to Diversions from Drudgery too. Once ‘Before the War’ is out there I’ll have to get ‘The War on Magic’ written.

I need to get ‘Hermes925‘ finished first. The story is about to get very interesting. You’re going to find out where the Swordbearer has been during his exile and one of the meteor fragments that Pan brings in is going to be a little too much to handle. In addition to writing the next part this week, I’m also revising older Hermes925 entries to prepare them for inclusion in future issues of Diversions from Drudgery.

Every so often I wonder if the fluff I wrote for ‘the City of Gate‘. To me, they don’t make much sense out of context of the game. Nevertheless, I have this little stockpile of first person tales within a fantasy world I created. I should use them to try and regain my financial independence. Somehow. Maybe I’ll include them in the subscriber emails.

At one point I was trying to make them into a book. Filling in the gaps between first-person accounts with a third-person narrative recounting the events that have taken place in ‘the City of Gate’ rp group. If you’d like to read what I’ve put together so far and let me know if it’s worth trying to finish it, follow this link.

In addition to all of that I also need to check my audio equipment for a voice acting gig. They haven’t sent me the new script yet, so I posted a request for suggestions on Facebook. I’ll be adding the results to that post once I’ve recorded them.

I’d best get on with it. Please help support my writing addiction, if you can, by becoming a patron on Patreon.com, which is set up for American dollars. If you’d rather contribute in British pounds (or any other currency), please click one of the Paypal subscription options below.

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Thank you for reading and have a great day 🙂

 

 

Give Me Another One!

I’m going to be brief, just to catch you up, but then I’m going to go back to hunting!

As you know I’ve been trying to get Hermes925 finished. The theory being that the sooner I get it finished, the sooner I can pitch it to publishers and get it on the shelves. The only problem being that in the mean time my cash reserves are dwindling to nothing. If I wasn’t living with family right now I’d be scuppered.

I’ve been aware for some time that it’s possible to sell short stories to anthologies and magazines, but I’ve been putting it off. Currently, I’m not entirely sure why. Maybe it’s just that I hadn’t found one I wanted to write yet.

However, a couple of very exciting things have happened since I started networking more actively on Facebook and Twitter. Firstly I was pointed in the direction of an e-zine publisher that is willing to publish Hermes925 as a series, starting with the first 3 entries, in their bi-monthly publication.

The publication is called Diversions from Drudgery, and they are still looking for contributors. So if you want in, contact Chris Maddock or join the Diversions from Drudgery Facebook group. They need writers and artists.

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I also didn’t realize that one of the writing groups, called Fiction Writing, I was in also had their own series of short story collections, until it came up in a conversation in the group. The theme for the next one is ghosts. My first thought was a ‘ghost in the machine’ idea. An MMORPG gamer dies, but he remains online, continuing to exist in the game and scares the shit out of his surviving friends (until they get used to it).

Turns out it’s been done and was even a film. I might have still been able to go with it if I told the story differently, but I wanted to do something new. I was wide awake in bed thinking about what I knew about ghosts from when I was a kid collecting unsolved mystery cards and reading Usborne books.

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This was one of my favorites.

What if someone had decided to treat these books that try to explain the existence of ghosts as a ‘how-to’ guide and set out to become a ghost himself? That’s the premise of a short story I just submitted to Scout Media. I’m looking forward to telling you more about that too when I have something more to tell.

So now I’m looking for more publications that accepting submissions that I want to write. I now know that I can come up with an idea, write, re-write and proof a piece in a few days. It may take me a little longer occasionally, but the idea of writing for magazines no longer seems as daunting as it once did.

I’m going to get back to looking for more opportunities now. There’s bound to someone looking for a story I want to write 🙂

Please show your appreciation for my work by subscribing:

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…and have a great day 🙂

 

 

Fortune Favors The Bold!

I know that if I write every day and develop my craft that someday, organically, someone with some pull might discover me. However, I’m impatient to start living the life I want. With that in mind, I’m going to start some aggressive networking.

I’m not going to step in gingerly either. I’m going to reach out to people I truly appreciate and admire in movies, business, literature, art, music and other forms of entertainment, and try to make a great impression (yes I do consider business a form of entertainment). I took the plunge when I decided to become a full-time writer, I see no reason to break that trend.

 

For over a decade I’ve waited, putting my dreams on hold to build what I was taught to believe was a solid foundation. Marriage, house, career, etc. Only to find it all crumble beneath my feet and forcing me to return home to my family with my tail between my legs, my hopes dashed.

Until I realized that I have nothing to lose. I might as well go for it, aim high and see where I land. This is my first desperate bold attempt at joining the ranks of the successful as a writer.

You may just have stumbled upon this blog page at random, or even followed a link on Facebook or Twitter, but hopefully, you’re reading this because I reached out to you and asked you to. If you did, you are one of the people I admire and aspire to be like.

Please don’t be offended that this article doesn’t address you personally and that you’re not my only choice. I do realize that I may be shooting myself in the foot doing it this way, though. I know that you’d be more likely to respond and feel personally obligated to help me if I singled you out, and you alone, as the one person in the entire world that could change my life for the better.

However, it might also come across as a little stalker-like if I did. That’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. I hope you don’t see my approach as too impersonal or too public. Sometimes I get an idea in my head and I just have to follow through and write the down the words,  and perform the actions, as they come to me.

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Here I am. A writer trying to finish his first book, living with my grandparents at age 36. Frustrated that I can’t afford to help pay for groceries or the Internet service I rely on, or take my girlfriend for a date, or indulge in my hobbies such as Warhammer 40k, Munchkin and Magic: the Gathering! I used to have large collections of all three, but circumstances have forced me to part with them.

I’d also love to help my friends, many of whom are struggling artists and writers themselves, and my family who have supported me so much and helped me recover from my failed marriage. Especially my Sister’s two wonderful daughters, who deserve the best chance in life I can afford to give them.

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I’m not asking for anything grand. I don’t expect to be suddenly wealthy beyond my wildest dreams. Your endorsement and/or patronage would be appreciated but isn’t required. I really just want this opportunity to present myself and my writing to you, and see what happens.

I’m currently working on a SciFi. It has elements of Orwellian dystopia and dark fantasy, and I’m really enjoying writing it. It’s called Hermes925 and you can read everything I’ve written for it so far under the Hermes925 tab of this website.

 

I also have a roleplay group I run on Facebook called City of Gate that has a small cult following, and another blog I collaborate with several of my friends on called Games and Geekery. I have a few other crazy ideas, mostly sci-fi and fantasy stories, that I’m choosing to keep on hold until I’ve finished Hermes925 (my Sister challenged me to get it on the shelves by June).

I’d love to develop my YouTube channel and do a podcast again also, but I lack the proper equipment, as you can see in the video above. I did briefly co-host a podcast called ‘The Masquerade‘ when I lived in America (I’m ‘The Brit!’). Sadly, for financial and emotional reasons, I had to come home to the UK before it bore fruit.

 

What do you do?
If you do nothing else but answer this question, I’d be so happy!

 

I have enjoyed your work. It would please me to no end if you enjoyed mine.

Have a great day 🙂

Lately, I’ve been putting paid subscription buttons on my articles. I feel particularly cheeky adding them on this one, but here we go:

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Subscription Buttons!

This morning I got up and made these subscription buttons. What do you think? I found all the images via Google search and added a link to each of the completed buttons to the appropriate Paypal subscription site. Please let me know if they don’t work.

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They’re a little bigger that I wanted. I was hoping that I could fit all five images onto a single line, but I realise now that would make the words hard to read. I may have to tweak them a little more so that I can do what I intended, which is to have a small row of subscription buttons at the bottom of every article.

For now I want to make the ability to subscribe available. If for some reason clicking on the book of your choice doesn’t let you subscribe, here are the same links in list form:

Primary Subscription (£1 per month)

Preferred Subscription (£5 per month)

Premium Subscription (£10 per month)

Posh Subscription (£25 per month)

Preposterous Subscription (£50 per month)

I’m basically stealing this idea from Patreon.com, an American website that also allows you to become a paid subscriber. Since it’s based in America though, the subscription options are all in dollars. I’ve also been told that there’s a heavy tax automatically added to each transaction. If you’d rather deal in dollars then please feel free to go through Patreon.com instead. You’ll also find other artists, writers and other creative people to sponsor there.

So why should you subscribe? Besides the fact that you love me and want me to be happy? As a regular subscriber, you’d get automated emails to this website only. As a paid subscriber, the emails will come from me personally. Plus they’ll include links to the latest posts from this website, The Games and Geekery website, The City of Gate group, Hermes925, my Youtube channel videos, and any other projects I may be working on at the time.

So why pay more than just £1 a month if everyone paying gets the same? High level subscribers get preferential treatment. Your e-mails will come first. In addition, should you ever require my services as a writer, high paying subscriber’s requests will be prioritised. I’d be more than happy to put my own projects aside and write you a unique story featuring your favourite people and places, that will never be sold in stores, if you’re already paying me $50 per month

You don’t have to be a paid subscriber to be a client. We can always come to another arrangement.

I don’t have a lot of expenses right now, but I would still like to save up the cost of self-publishing, so that I can get Hermes925 (follow the link for the latest update) on the shelves as soon as possible. I also feed £25 per month into my smartphone, it would be nice to have that paid for. I’d also like to have a budget for the websites so that I can upgrade the look and layout, and also buy products to review on my Games and Geekery page.

I’ve also filed my divorce petition, which will put a £550 hole in my bank account once the check clears. I’m grateful it’s not more.

Please subscribe, and have a great day! 🙂

 

I’m So Excited!

Happy 2017 Everyone!

Today is going to be the first day of a great year! A fun, challenging, briefly frustrating and ultimately rewarding year!

I have my first client as a writer! The concept is fascinating and I’m really looking forward to tackling the project starting tomorrow. I’ve already begun tweaking it a little. The client has already written quite a lot, mostly I’ll just be working on the working, sentence structure, spelling mistakes and that sort of thing.

With any luck I can edit my way through it pretty quickly, and then the client can get it self-published, and then we can start selling it! Sadly I won’t get paid for the job, but I have been promised we’ll split the profits. The cynic in me says I should get it in writing. Documented proof of the arrangement and my involvement.

However, if I keep the relationship friendly, and he likes my work, then I can continue to help him with the sequels. It may even lead to referrals and additional clients. I’m getting a little ahead of myself as usual, but I’m just so excited!

I’m still going to make time for Hermes925 of course. I want to get that finished and published too, but I definitely don’t have the money to self-publish yet, and I won’t unless I can earn the money from clients and paid subscribers. I won’t put it completely on the back burner though, I love writing it.

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If you want some Hermes925 plot spoilers keep reading. If not skip to “It’s going to be great!”. You can also read the Hermes925 story from the beginning on Wattpad.com!

I knew all along that I wanted the rats to run wild aboard the Hermes spacecraft after the human crew dies. I wanted them to become overpopulated and start fighting among themselves. I wanted the rats to evolve rapidly to survive the vicious and cramped conditions.

Originally this evolution was going to be accidental, a metaphor of evolution on earth. It occurred to me though that the Hermes AI, and the secondary AI Pan have been programmed to colonise Alpha Prime. In order to fulfill that objective they might chose to encourage the rat’s development so that they reach a civilised state before they reach the new planet.

I had also originally planned for the rats evolution be influenced by the introduction of an alien bacteria. This occurs when the Hermes AI attempts to collect a passing meteorite to use as raw materials for fuel and repairs/modifications. The resulting breach allows frozen micro-organisms to enter the ship’s ecosystem. Now I’m thinking the corruption takes place during a pseudo-medieval stage of the ratkin timeline.

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At this point some of them would also be able to write, meaning if the ship’s Nymphs (bio-organic microdrones) can retrieve some of the writing, Hermes would then be able to relay the stories of the ratkin versus the plague-monsters as written by the ratkin themselves!

It’s going to be great! I’m very excited. I’m going to try and make time for Hermes925 tomorrow after I’ve put in at least 4 hours editing on behalf of my client. I also need to find time to make some more subscription buttons. I got a little way towards it but I’m not particularly happy with the results so far.

For those that don’t know you can currently subscribe for £1. These paid subscriptions would entitle you to email updates telling about articles I write for other websites, sneak peaks (if given permission from the client) of 3rd party projects, updates on Hermes925, City of Gate, and my Facebook Pages, and anything else I want to share.

You’d also be on my go to list of people to ask if I’m stuck and need to bounce some ideas around. If this is popular I’ll create a Facebook group specifically for the purpose. Of course this is all worth more than £1 per month, so I’m going to offer £5, £10, £25 and £50 per month options, for those who’d like to invest more.

Obviously those that pay more need to get preferential treatment, so I’m thinking of offering free writing services also. The more you pay for your subscription, the more work I’d be willing to do for you, and the greater the priority.

Does this seem like a good deal? What would you be willing to pay me, and what would you have me do for it? I look forward to your comments.

Have a great day 🙂

And please click the Subscribe button 🙂

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