Wednesday, January 29, 2014

The First Month

This is the first January I've had to myself since I was a baby. Every other year, I've been in school, in college, or out a school. For the first year in my life, I actually have some free time in the month to really make a difference in what I do and how I do it. This is the first month of the year, and I think it's worth highlighting what's happened so far.

By and large, a lot of what I've been doing has ended up on ParagraVerse. By the end of the month, the site will have seen:

- 4 new poems
- 4 diary entries from Andrew McCourt
- 5 older poems, that are already on YouTube in video form
- 5 flash stories, covering Romance/Slice-of-Life, Science Fiction, and Magical Realism

At the time of writing this post, it's seen an increase of over 50% in the number of subscribers on the site. It's also seen a few return-readers. Quite often, subscribers will ignore new posts coming in, because they don't have the time to read them. (That's speaking generally, not just about ParagraVerse.) However, there are people who regularly come back to the site, read what's gone up, and sometimes comment on posts - especially the ones they really like.

The way things have turned out, I've written two flash stories that I'd like to use as a source of inspiration for books. As it happens, Andrew McCourt is actually one of the protagonists in a series of books I'm working on at the moment, too, which are set after the series of diary entries. You can probably tell right away from reading them, they're not like my Modern Irish Myth stories or books. He's just a regular guy with a few problems and a lot of sarcasm, and he's finishing school with some difficulty.

Of course, I've also released a book. This actually followed a pattern I'd set for myself last January. Last year, I wrote Planning Before Writing after my work had been done for Teaching Placement. This year, I didn't have to worry about going out to a school or doing work in the evenings, so I was able to work on 25 Ways to Beat Writer's Block during the day, a lot. I actually wrote a majority of what was left to do during my niece's naps, with the baby monitor beside my laptop.

Aside from these blog posts, I was also publishing an article-a-week on my personal website. I decided, what with it being the start of a new year, I'd focus on Maintaining Motivation. That was as much for me as it was for other people. There'll still be one more article to go up on that topic after this month, but I think the process has been good for me. I enjoy writing the articles, and they get me thinking properly about how much I know about writing.

For me, though, the biggest thing has been in setting up a schedule for myself and sticking to it. I've tried this before. I've tried to create a blogging schedule, and I always fall behind on it within the first couple of weeks. This month, I've managed to put out a lot of content. I've been scheduling posts and poems and stories in advance, which has freed up a lot of time. I can write a poem and a story in one night, and that's two days sorted for the week ahead.

Actually getting to do all of this in the first month of the year has made a massive difference to me. I've still managed to work a lot in the bookshop. I've gotten to see friends, go to most of the new movies released in the month, and sit back and enjoy new games, new music and new books. If, for the time being, life stays like this, I think I could be very happy.

Saturday, January 25, 2014


This week, I didn't do very much, and I didn't care. There are two reasons for this. One: I've started a six-day week in work. And two: I bought myself a Nintendo 2DS.

Let's go back a few weeks to explain the 2DS. And by that, I mean the run-up to Christmas. My brother told me, quite proudly, that he knew what he was going to get me for Christmas. He was going to get me a 2DS, because they were new, affordable and lovely. (He didn't use those words, exactly.) A few weeks later, he told me he'd found something else to get me. And so I knew I was to be without a 2DS.

Christmas Day arrived, and my parents gave me money as my present. I didn't buy anything with it.

So, I fixed that. I bought my new console, because I don't really get to use the PS3 in the house anymore, and I bought a couple of games to go along with it. Long story short, I've spent my free time playing Pokemon X, because I didn't get to use my parents' Christmas present until now - because I hadn't bought anything!

That's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it.

It's been nice, though. I was tired, and I needed a way to unwind after publishing 25 Ways to Beat Writer's Block. I needed something for me, and so I reverted back into Childhood Mode. It's been wonderful.

The way things are looking, now, between minding my niece and working, I won't have a day off to myself until February. That's not really how I'd hoped things would be for me, but I do appreciate the fact that I'll be earning a bit more than usual thanks to these extra hours. I suppose I just don't want to be tired as a result of it all!

All of this emphasis on my relaxation and work aside, nothing else will really change. I'll still be posting up my weekly article. I'll still be writing Andrew McCourt's diary entries, and posting new poems on ParagraVerse, and writing new Friday Flash stories to post up, and I'll still be blogging. I'll just be tired while doing it all. Until February.

It feels like a long way away, but it's not. I suppose it's just that I don't really have a day off until then that's making it seem worse than it is. (Plus, you know, the fact that it's another 8 days of working or child minding ahead of me.)

My big goal for this week coming, aside from just surviving the shop, is to write a chunk of The Blood of Leap. I have a figure in my head, which I'll be putting up in my room, but it'll be staying there, nice and private. I want to enjoy this book, but I also want to complete it. I'm hoping I can balance both of those aims with my much needed rest and relaxation.

On a positive note to finish, I can officially tick Publish 25 Ways to Beat Writer's Block off my to-do list in my FiloFax! I've been so busy not doing anything that I didn't do that until recently. That's one big project down, which is always a nice feeling!

(PS If you're interested in reading my new book, you can find it here:

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Another Project?

Lately I've been toying with the idea of starting a new book review site. It's another big project, I know, and I have to consider how it would fit into my schedule. For anyone else considering the idea, themselves, here's how I see it breaking down in the preparation stages:

- I'll write several reviews in advance, to have them ready to go,
- I'll organise several pages of book recommends without reviews, and
- I'll arrange a time in my weekly schedule to post the reviews.

I've already done two things: I've drawn up a list of books I've read recently that I could review, and I've drawn up a list of categories I could put together lists of books for. The scheduling part is the bigger problem. Right now, my weekly posting looks like this:

Monday: a diary-entry story on ParagraVerse, from Andrew McCourt
Tuesday: a new poem, written especially for ParagraVerse
Wednesday: a new blog post here
Thursday: an older poem, perhaps one that's been on YouTube in the past (as is currently the case), on ParagraVerse
Friday: a new flash fiction story on ParagraVerse (currently working on writing prompt stories)
Saturday: a new blog post here
Sunday: a new article on my website

The only way I can see this working without posting too much every week is to remove one of those seven items. I know that the Sunday article will remain, as well as the diary entry and the Friday flash story. Most likely, I'll only post one blog post here per week, unless I have something to say.

However, this still leaves a problem. I have to actually read a lot of books for this, and reading series books just isn't going to cut it. Why? Because if I liked one, I'll probably like the others, too. Then, every review will end up looking similar. The reason my last attempt at a review site failed was because I became overly aware that everything was getting five stars.

That's just praising everything. That's not doing a good job.

So, I need to read more widely. That's the only way to avoid only reading the really good books. Obviously, I'd love to only read good books, but I think that might get boring for the reader.

Basically, I'm really considering, but I have my doubts. I don't want to come across as boring for liking so many books and really disliking anything. The fact that I very rarely don't finish a book doesn't so much say a lot about the books I read; I just don't like leaving them unread.

However, it's an idea. What do you think? Did you enjoy reading my book reviews when I used to post them here?

PS I managed to release 25 Ways to Beat Writer's Block on time! You can find it on Amazon here:

Saturday, January 18, 2014

I'm Releasing a Book!

Remember all those times I said I was working on an ebook? It was a project that began before Christmas, before I was working full-time under a part-time contract. Then, it stopped. In December, I stopped writing the book because I no longer had the time to write much. I wrote The Ice Queen & The Legend of the Winter Folk, and I wrote the poem The Winter Folk, and the flash story Snow Day, but I didn't write much else for all of December.

Recently, with the way things have been moved around in the house, I've been in a position to use my time more freely throughout the week. I've been able to write more often, and for longer, and I managed to get myself into a pretty good routine of writing different things several days in advance. I was able to return to my ebook.

Last week, I told you its name. 25 Ways to Beat Writer's Block (While Improving Your Writing Skills). This week, I can show you the cover. In a few days, I'll be releasing the book.

Keep in mind this is a low-resolution image. I like it, though. I like the vibrancy of the colours. I like the simplicity of the design. I like how it looks when I print it on photo paper, and I like how the thumbnail is still identifiable when I see it from afar. I really, really like this cover, and I really love the book.

The actual release date has not been set. Nor will it be. I'm hoping to publish it on Tuesday, but that's not a guarantee for a couple of reasons. 

1. I don't know if anything will get in my way as I put the finishing touches on formatting and all that jazz.
2. I can't tell in advance how long it will take Amazon to actually publish the book once I hit the "Publish" button. I window of 12-48 hours is all I ever get, and sometimes it's even quicker than that.

However, all things going according to plan, and Amazon keeping up with its track record, Tuesday 21st.

This book wasn't just fun to write. It was educational. It was a benefit in and of itself. It allowed me to overcome my own problems in productivity in the very writing of it. I'm very excited to actually be releasing it. It's been my first big project of 2014, to complete this book that I think can benefit a lot of people in many ways, and I really want to get it out into the world for it to have a chance to prove itself.

If you've been following me on my writing journey from early on, since before the Balor Reborn days, you know I'm taking this seriously. You know that when I publish something, it's because I really love it. This book is no different. It's the start of something big for me, not just because it's a new type of book, but also because it sets a new standard for covers. I'll be re-doing my older covers, re-branding my books to make them look more vibrant and alive.

I needed this book. I needed to write it. I know other people will need to read it. A lot of what I've learned over the past ten years is in this book, from my very beginnings as a writer to one who's received an Undergraduate Degree and published several books of his own. From reading, from listening to mentors, and from trial and error, I've picked up a lot of different tricks along the way. This book, I hope, will help people on their own writing journeys.

Let's leave it there before I start getting too preachy about the book. It's coming, people, and I can't wait, and I think that should say a lot about how much I believe in it. Peace out!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Why I Shop Alone

I shop alone. I do it on purpose, and there are reasons why I do it. Sometimes, other people are with me. That's fine. But I prefer to do it alone. Why?

1. There's less pressure to buy. For a long time, I used to go into the city centre with my brother and he would encourage me to buy the things I wanted. This has resulted in me owning a lot of DVDs, but not really having much money saved until relatively recently. If I could go back two years and change things, I would. Most of those DVDs were watched once and never again.

2. I can decide to spend as much time as I want in a shop. This works both ways. When I'm with someone, I feel like I either have to rush, or like I'm waiting on them to make up their mind on something. If I really want to go to another shop, this can bother me a lot. When I'm alone, I can browse for as little or as long as I want. I once spent over an hour looking around a bookshop looking for books that were five euro or less, because I didn't have much expendable income that week, but I did have a five euro voucher for the shop. I found a book, too. I wouldn't have if I was rushing for someone else.

3. I don't have to worry about what people think about what I'm looking at. I can become quite self conscious about my reading habits especially when I'm out. I'm not entirely sure why. I've gotten more comfortable with it of late, but for a while I didn't want my friends or family to see me looking at books in the Business or Personal Development sections, because it didn't seem like anyone my age was reading them. Then it occurred to me that people my age are mainly working in retail jobs they hate, or aren't working at all, and here I was trying to learn more about business and how to improve myself, and I didn't feel quite so put off looking at the books with other people there. I've read them in public, now. I've read them in college, and I've read them on the bus, and when people ask what I'm reading I'll show them. (Oddly, I was more comfortable looking at Science Fiction and Fantasy in front of people. I was more willing to be nerdy and weird than to look like I wanted to do something different with my life.) I wouldn't have the confidence to look at whatever books I like now if I hadn't done it in private, first.*

Those are just three reason I shop alone, but they say an awful lot about my shopping experiences. I like to be able to look at things in detail. I can't do that with someone looking over my shoulder.

I like to go to different shops and do what I like in them. I can't do that if somebody else needs to go to a shop on the opposite side of the city, not without a lot more walking. It's partly me being lazy, and partly me being aware of how little time we really have before we have to get a bus home, because we still have dinner as a family as much as possible in my house. Plus, you know, shops have to close at some point!

I'd never tell someone I don't want to go somewhere with them. That's not my point here. If there's company, I'll take it. There are advantages to it, too. It's a lot less lonely. It can be more fun. Usually, if I want to go somewhere alone to save time, I just do it. If I don't mind the company, I'll tell someone (usually my twin) in advance. If he wants to go, he will. If he doesn't, he won't. Simple as that.

This blog post came to me when I came to a conclusion with my friend: either she pick a shop she wanted to go to instead of her going for her bus, or I was going to a bookshop a bit too far from her stop alone. It was late-ish; she went for her bus. I shopped alone. I bought nothing.

*This is sort of like women reading erotica, feeling put off by it because of what people might think. Then Fifty Shades of Grey happened and it didn't have a bare-chested man on the cover, and suddenly it was okay for people to read them. They weren't embarrassed by the genre any more. I'm not a fan of the series, but I like that people can read what they enjoy without feeling insecure about it, now. I know what it's like to feel like people are judging you for what you read because of your age and/or the contents of the book. Yes, my reading of Business and Personal Development books is akin to others reading erotica - guilty pleasures, people, guilty pleasures.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

If It Falls, It Might Break Your Legs

Since the New Year began, I've been in the process of moving into the box room in my house. It took a day to move the bookshelves and bed downstairs, and then there were several long waits between getting the correct shelving put up on the walls. I'm still waiting on a couple of CD shelves.

The most noticeable addition to the room is a large square shelving unit from IKEA, Land of the Stylish Furniture, Home of the Ridiculously Convenient Storage and Shelving Units. It sticks out over a foot over my bed, and came with the warning from my older brother, "If it falls, it will break your legs." That's a rough paraphrase, but you get the point.

I like to think of this massive shelving unit as a worthwhile risk. Part of its job is to remove clutter from my desk - I have a set of boxes, one of which will hold miscellaneous office stationary - while also holding a couple of items for storage and some for display. It looks amazing. It will look more amazing when it has been filled with light-enough items. And if it falls, it will break my legs.

I don't think I can stress that part enough.

The reason I bring this up is because, having just finished reading The Curve  by Nicholas Lovell, I'm beginning to recognise the importance of taking risks. In every industry, someone has to take a risk for that industry to survive. Someone has to experiment. Someone has to try something new. Someone has to risk it falling down on top of them, breaking their proverbial legs.

It's probably not the most user-friendly metaphor for risk.

The book was an insight into the world of business, and it helped me make a decision I had been thinking about for a long time. When I publish book three of the Modern Irish Myth series, the books will be put on hiatus in terms of publishing. I will still promote the books. I will still work on the later books in the series - albeit without the immediate intention of publishing. I will still love the books.

The problem isn't how much I like them. The problem is how little they sell for how much time I put into them. That's not a complaint, just a statement of reality. I'm still working on building an audience, generally speaking, and I think maybe people need a different type of book. Heck, I need a different type of book, and I need to see how well I can sell the existing books in the Modern Irish Myth series. I'd also like to redesign the covers. Simplicity doesn't do it, any more. (That actually goes for all my older ebooks. I'd like to do new covers for them.)

This kind of falls into the same sort of thought patterns I had when I was reading The Millionaire Messenger by Brendon Burchard, and when I was putting together the plan for a new series of books. I can't just write all of these books that aren't selling as well as I want them to, not if I need the little bit of money I can get from writing others books that are more likely to sell, and that I also really like writing. (It's a rough guestimate, without really having done the maths, but I think Planning Before Writing has earned me about 95% of my royalties in total, and it's only 99 cent, USD.)

So, I'm taking a risk. I'm going to write other books and try them in the market. I'm going to try different things in my life that are based around the other books I'm writing. I may be setting up a small business from this. I don't know yet. (I know I want to, and I know what I would do, I just don't yet know how well I'd be able to do it. I still have more to learn on that matter, but I've been getting there for the past four and a half years, even though this is a more recent idea than, you know, when I started in college.)

Basically, my life is changing and I want it to. I've learned a lot about writing, about business, and about myself in the past few years. I like where my life is heading when I get passionate about something, and I have a magic green folder in my room that says I need to do this. I have articles in magazines telling me to write the things I need to write (for money) that I love writing, and I have books telling me to plan my life in the best way that the money I'm earning is nearly on automatic and whatever other time I have is extremely valuable.

I've needed someone to tell me that, and several authors did in their own ways. That's awesome.

With all of this said, I should probably mention a new book on its way to publication within the next couple of weeks. I finished writing everything but the conclusion earlier this week. Later this month, I'll be publishing 25 Ways to Beat Writer's Block (While Improving Your Writing Skills). I'm very excited about it. There are some really simple ideas in it, and some that I think are just wonderful. Every chapter has either a writing exercise to help you develop some aspect of writing while working on getting back to your current work in progress, or some tool for helping develop yourself as a writer and/or a person. (It really depends on what you take from the book.)

I still need to write the conclusion. I need to edit the book. I need to design a cover and write a blurb, and I need to do all of this while also working on my next big project. Before all of that, I need to decide on what my next big project will officially be. I have ideas. I know what I want to publish in March/April. I just don't know if I'll have another in February/March. There's a big one, and a smaller one, and I like them both.

Basically, I'm spoiled for choice on books I love the idea of and really want to write. (These are all writing books. Aside from book three in the Modern Irish Myth series, I don't have a planned novella for publication until September. That's assuming I nothing changes between now and then. That's very possible.) This is a very exciting time to take a risk by abandoning one thing I love writing for another. It could break my proverbial legs if it falls. Or, it could hold up well and look great doing so. Right now, with everything so unpredictable, I can only do my best, go in with a plan, and be prepared to fail spectacularly.

This is why it's so exciting to be a publishing author at this point in time, and even if there's a little bit of mess made along the way, if it all works out well, it really looks well.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

My Tools of Organisation

I'm a big fan of organisation. Looking at my bedroom, that might not be immediately obvious. At the time of writing this, there are two big bags full of CDs that should be on shelves. There's a coat that should be hanging up in my wardrobe. There are notebooks on the end of my bed that don't belong there. To make matters worse, there are wrappers from bars on my desk. I'm excusing myself of all of these things, because I've just moved into the box room again, without any of the functional shelving and storage space I actually need.

What I do have, however, is a FiloFax, a page-a-day diary, and more ring binders than most people consider sane. These are my tools of organisation, the things that keep me focused on different areas of my life. Mainly they're writing based. What can I say, my life is a lot less complicated than I sometimes let on. (Though, if I told you about every writing project I haven't considered "dead", the ones that are in folders and binders and notebooks in my bedroom, it would become increasingly complicated.)

So, let's leave it at "writing" and leave out the specifics of what I'm actually writing for now. I already talk about that enough.

My FiloFax was a present from my niece. Well, technically it was from my brother and his girlfriend, but it was given on behalf of my niece. I had wanted one for a while, but I didn't mention that to anyone. Now that I have one, I had to figure out what to use it for. So, I used the six tabs within it to designate different areas of interest.

Part 1: To-Do. This one is simple. It has note pages and to-do list pages alternating. I have a general list of things I need to do at the front of the section, but I imagine that when it comes down to the specifics of one or another, I'll use another page dedicated to it.

Part 2: Writing Notes. Anything I need to take a note of for a book or an article or anything like that will go on the note pages in this section. It's simple.

Part 3: Ideas and Inspiration. I've used it precisely once, so far. I got the idea to write a weekly diary series for a character from a series of books I plan on publishing, beginning this year. He's a cynical git, and it's a fun little series to have started. The first part, Dear Whatever went up on Monday on ParagraVerse. You can read it here:

That's right out of my FiloFax. See how helpful my organisation is?

Part 4: Books to Read. I have three in here so far, but it's actually missing quite a few. They're books I don't currently own, though I'm considering writing the list of books I want to read that I already own in it, too. That'll certainly make choosing the next one easier. (At the moment I'm reading The Curve by Nicholas Lovell, but I'm nearly done, so I'll need a new one soon.) It's a thinner section than the previous two. It's just titles, after all.

Part 5: Travel. So far, it's empty. Why? Because I don't have the budget to travel yet. However, when I do find a way to travel, I'll be using this section to organise everything I want to do. I'll begin filling it in soon, anyway, with the things I'd like to do on the first trip I want to go on: London. The shows I want to go to, the touristy things I want to do, the people I'd like to meet if this were an ideal universe. Not every city will have one of those lists, but London definitely has one. People who know my little niche interests (you know, something more specific than books or writing) might be able to guess who a couple of them are from London.

Part 6: Contacts. So far, it has one thing in it: a business card. However, I plan on bringing the FiloFax with me everywhere, and having somewhere to put people's contact information and business cards is important. In the end, who you know is as important as what you know. This is the world we live in, now.

Obviously, my FiloFax also has the diary section that all FiloFaxes come with, and that's helpful. I use it record what I need to do in a day, and record what I did do, in terms of writing or publishing. I have a year planner that pulls out, too, but until I have my room sorted and can access my estimated publication dates for different projects, I can't really fill anything in.

Complimenting my FiloFax is my A4 page-a-day diary. Two things about it: it was cheaper, and it's not going to be carried around with me whenever I go somewhere. It's just too impractical for that. However, I'm using it plan out things like articles and stories, on the day on which they are due. This leaves me with a full page with which to work, and means I have every plan recorded in a nice hardback for protection, too. I used that diary to plan my first article of the year, and I used it to determine the possibility of even beginning the weekly diary series that I mentioned above.

Alongside this, and the oldest of my organisational tools, is an A4, green ring binder. It's basically my CV. Except that it also contains my CV, so that's a CV within a CV. It also has my first published article in a national magazine; the poster for The Rest is Silence and the letter from the charity we supported with it; printed records of monthly book sales from Amazon; and my notes from Brendon Burchard's The Millionaire Messenger, which I'm using as a template for planning various aspects of my life.

All in all, these three things focus on future planning and organisation. The binder is the long-term plan. The diary is the mid-term plan; nothing in it will be planned more than three weeks' in advance in full detail. The FiloFax is more short-term, updated at most a week in advance. It's also the one I'll address a lot more often than the others, because some days I'll need to record that I have successfully written a number of different things across different projects.

Does it  all work? Well, on the day I wrote this blog post - Monday - I also wrote four short chapters for an upcoming ebook. This was between doing various things around the house, checking in on people online, and spending a bit of time playing games online. I watched YouTube videos, I spent some time with my niece, and I arranged the bits and pieces within my new bedside locker. I had a productive,stress-free day, while managing to accomplish an awful lot. So yes, my tools of organisation work.

What about you? How do you stay on top of the various things life requires of you? Does anyone have an interesting App for that?

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Writing and Scheduling

It occurs to me that I've been working on ways to make publishing content on a daily basis a lot more easy for myself without even realising it. Thursday's poem on ParagraVerse was scheduled in advance. The same goes for yesterday's flash story, next Tuesday's poem, and next Thursday's poem. This blog post is being written on a Friday night, to be published today - Saturday. I had a need to write something to keep to my goal to write every day.

What this has done, essentially, is make life easier for me to manage. I know that on Tuesday and Thursday next week I don't really need to go online. I can avoid social media if I'm running behind time to write something. That's not my intention, of course, because I enjoy talking to people online, but I know that in order to stick to my professional obligation I no longer have a need to ensure I am sitting at my laptop at whatever crazy hour it happens to be.

This will be further put into practice when I write Sunday's article for my website a day in advance, using notes I drew up earlier in the week. With the article written, I merely need to ensure I share the link to it. That's the greatest obligation I have, and it doesn't necessarily require me to access my website to do so.

Pre-scheduling posts allows me to do other things during the day when I migh find myself overwhelmed with work. This week, for instance has been especially busy. My three days off work were spent packing boxes and moving books and shelves and a bed downstairs. It's been a lot of work, and it's meant I couldn't just sit at my laptop writing for a while, not until everything was done. As it is, I spent extra time at my desk on Thursday night to ensure that I could write my Friday Flash story in advance, and schedule next Thursday's poem on ParagraVerse while I was doing so.

While I won't always have the time to write several pieces in advance - especially not when I have books to write - it does help to know that there are plenty of things I can do to help make life that little bit easier for myself. When I'm minding my niece, I can ensure that something is going online without my needing to sit at the laptop to do it. When I have work, I can publish something at the same time that I'm serving a customer, without having to go near my blog. If I eventually get to travel, I can schedule poems and stories and blog posts to go live every morning so I can see the sights and enjoy the time away from the computer.

I know I go on and on about scheduling posts - it's not exactly a breakthrough - but these past couple of weeks have been made easier by having something on automation. It's meant that I can move bedroom without hassle. It's meant I could maintain an online presence during the busiest Christmas period I've experienced since I started working in the bookshop over six years ago. I've been able to relax a bit more, get out of bed when it suits me, talk to my family, have breakfast when I wake up (and not after I've written a short story), and make plans with friends without running risk of falling behind on my writing.

Life hasn't slowed down for me in a long while. The Christmas period was busy in work, and while I did manage to secure three days off this week, they weren't days off doing anything. They've been exhausting, especially when actually transferring the bookshelves from the attic to the box room. That was the worst part, but also the part that said that the box room was now my bedroom. This was before the bed was even moved down, and my laptop was still plugged in in the attic when it was all happening. But it was the books that made it all clear. I wasn't just sleeping in this room by nightfall. It was my room, with my books, and they're what make all the difference for me.

I'll continue to write a few posts at a time. It's not just good sense, it's also the most helpful thing I can do for myself. I need to establish a rhythm of writing and scheduling a week's posts in advance over a couple of days, and using the rest of the time to write books and live the rest of my life. I need time to research for agents and publishers and a Masters degree and magazines, and I can't find that time if I'm constantly looking at the clock considering how much longer I can do something before I have to write the day's piece to be published.

I know I'm not a big name writer, but that doesn't mean I haven't learned a thing or two about how to manage my time when things get really busy. Take it from me: it's much easier to plan things in advance and leave your blog to do the work than it is to try chase up your own work every day. It's made all the difference for me.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Write Every Day

Last year, I set myself a goal. I wanted to write something every single day of 2013.

I failed. I'll admit that openly. I failed in August, and I stopped writing for a while. I hit a slump. Whether it was emotional, or physical, the exhaustion that overtook me then kept me from writing on a regular basis for a long time. I almost recovered it last month, but then I really was too tired to turn on my laptop at the end of the day.

This year, I want to make up for that.

I'm giving myself that very same goal, to write every day this year. However, I'm being a little more direct about it. I want to be putting out material on particular days, which will require me to write particular things on particular days each week. I won't just be writing a blog post every day and saying that's that. I won't just be writing bad poetry and thinking it's enough. I'm going to write something specific every day, and a lot of what I write is going online very shortly after it's written.

This is my goal, this is my resolution. I know it's possible, and I know I can do it. I suspect that the realisation that I wouldn't be returning to college had something to do with what happened in 2013, but this year I'm off the hook. Life is what it is, right now, and I can handle it quite effectively.

I'm not going to release a publication schedule, because things will probably be changing every now and then as time goes by, but for now I'm using my  FiloFax to help organise and plan what I'll be writing this year.

Of course, between all the different poems and stories and articles I'll be writing for various sites I run, I'll also be writing books. This is the big challenge: to keep up with both my online presence and to produce the books I want to write, and to the deadlines I've set myself. This is all while also working on a book I want to submit to an agent or publisher in the near future. By this day next year, I want to be able to say that I tried.

That's the point of New Year's Resolutions, really: that we try. We try to change our habits, change our diets and our lifestyles. We try. Sometimes we succeed. It's great when we do, but it's not the whole point. The attempt to change is the big thing. It's why I always ask people what their New Year's Resolution is, because I like to see who wants to make a change in their lives.

For me, it's about finishing what I set out to do last year. I want to be able to go the whole writing without missing a day of writing. I want to be able to make it a habit, and one I purposely set out to do. I want to be able to say that in 2014, I tried to write a lot, I tried to become successful with my online publishing (I have my own definition of successful), and I tried to get a book that I love published and on its way into bookshops.

At the end of the day, and at the end of the year, the very least we can do is try.

So, what are your New Year's Resolutions? What are you going to try in 2014?