Back in the zone

I fell out of love with blogging for a couple of months. mainly because I was running out of things to say and also because I was focusing on my novel. I work best when I am single minded. I got so tied up with writing I neglected all other parts of my life. I am not sure if this is good or bad. I do get a lot of good work done but as we can see by the time between posts other areas really do suffer.

Originally posted 11.09.11

That was a huge break. I think I have now got my head back into the place it needs to be.

Brief catch up on progress and progress has been made. I have got the first 4,000 words of my novel down and the course is getting us to write another 1,000 each week. The deadlines always help as i Im not the most disciplined in the world.

I will aim to post at least once per week again now, more with luck and if I can think of something to say. I have some reviews which will be posted soon as well to expand the rest of the site.

Happy to be back :)

Conflicting emotions

I have come to realise writing is a job and as with any job you need the occasional holiday or break or you start resenting the activity or possibly running the risk of burning yourself out. I have a meal at the Hand and Flowers to look forward to at the end of next month for Kate’s birthday which is seeing me through at the moment.

Originally posted 16.06.11

Sorry for the extended downtime, but I have been struggling with my writing recently. This is not a case of writer’s block, I have a couple ideas I would ideally like to explore in short story form, and there is always stuff to be done on my novel. The problem is I have not wanted to write.

And this is why I am conflicted because I do want to write, it is my goal to make a career out of it. At the moment though I can’t bear to face that blank page and start typing. I have even started to lie to myself, convincing my brain that reading comic books and watching films is research. That making up a new  character I’ll never use is useful in some way.

I am hoping that it is because I have just finished my first two portfolios for my MA and the effort that went into them has drained me somewhat. Just writing this is nice because it is the first non business related writing I have done since my last post.

I am going to try just writing anything, rather than working on a project. Just to get my fingers moving over the keys again and my brain happy with writing again.

Hopefully my next post won’t be so far away.

Tidying up my research

I culled my collection of review sections from the Guardian and Telegraph this week as I procrastinated on finishing my Industry Analysis piece. It is very therapeutic and means I now have space on my office desk. Not a lot of space but some.

Originally posted 07.06.11

I am always putting magazines to one side to keep as they have interesting articles in for use in later research.

The problem comes when you run out of room for newspaper articles, magazines, books etc.

So last night I made a start on cataloguing articles and removing them from the magazines that housed them. A pile 5ft high was reduced to about 6 inches although getting the recycling bin out on Monday may be awkward. Other than the space saving, I found articles long forgotten that are now in folders classified by subject area for easy use when I need information later.

From now, I will just keep the articles rather than the whole magazine.

Cool down period

Oh how I am looking forward to this feeling next week.
Originally posted 02.06.11

Well, after a truly mental weekend of working regularly till two in the morning, my portfolios were posted on Tuesday.

Since then, I have been relaxing with beer, reading comic books (just finished Transmetropolitan, pure genius) and watching cheesy 80′s films.

Once brain has cooled down to a suitable level, normal service will be resumed.

Censored

Sorry still censored.

Originally posted 26.05.11

This blog post is subject to a superinjunction.

In order to read it, you will firstly need to get the privacy laws of this country reviewed to make sense in a global media environment.

Once you have done that, you will also need to make the great unwashed understand just because they can write something online doesn’t mean they are not subject to the laws the UK. There is a difference between the public interest and what the public are interested in.

Seeing as both are almost impossible, this blog post is destined never to be read. Shame, it was a really good one.

Life and stuff

I would feel happy to use the idea I came up with now, time heals and all that.
Originally posted 25.05.11

Some personal life stuff got me thinking over the weekend.

To summarize I had a missed call from a friend saying I need to ring her urgently, my mind started working overtime on what had prompted the call and I was filled with all sorts of worries.

When I finally spoke to her it was very bad news, but not as bad as some of the situations I had imagined, so I felt a perverse sort of relief.

This feeling of relief struck me as interesting and something that I could use with a character of mine, but then I thought that would be wrong considering how I came to think of it.

I don’t think any subject cannot be written about. Indeed it is often taboo subjects which make the most interesting reading. This is a more personal form of censorship. I know why I would be adding this scene to the story and it is too soon.

I will make a note of it and might feel differently at a later date.

Sleep no more, for writing hath murdered sleep

Seems this wasn’t a one off as I’m suffering from over running brain syndrome again. My current apporach is to watch a horror film on Netflix in bed to try and switch my mind off.
Originally posted 17.05.11

Preparing my portfolios for my MA currently and the work is having an annoying side effect: I can’t sleep.

I lie down at a sensible hour, read for maybe half an hour, then turn out the lights and my brain keeps churning.

Oh he could do that instead, thudonk is a much better footstep sound than boom, she could be identified by the scar she got playing with him as a child and on and on and on.

AAARRRGGGH.

The problem is that I don’t want to lose any of the ideas so after ten minutes of trying to drop off, on comes the light, and I start scribbling in my note book. Then I turn the light off and it starts all over again.

AAARRRGGGH.

Now it is just before 9am and I’m at work, tired, and my brain has shut down, but you can bet come 11pm tonight the thing wont shut up. I might need some alcohol for medicinal purposes.

A change of view

On Thursday Kate and I booked our first proper holiday since our honeymoon. As enjoyable as my MA is, it is also very stressful, so having a two week break in Mexico to look forward to next year is fanatastic. The only downside is I have spent most of today looking at pictures of where we are going instead of writing.
Originally posted 13.05.11

I am a grouch when it comes to holidays. As much as I complain on here about computers taking over my life, being away from home for more than a couple of days is hell for me. I miss the convenience of being able to eat when I like, do what I want when I want. I just end up being miserable and grumpy and spoiling everyone else’s fun.

Yesterday we went away for a night to a very nice Inn in Bray. Why I am telling you this? Because this week I was struggling with my writing, words weren’t coming. I tried to write through it but just produced bland lifeless pieces.

After getting away from everything I have come home this morning and fired out a 1,000 word piece no problem, I have done a major redrafting of an earlier piece and I am writing this.

It pains me to say but it seems that occasionally a change of scenery is actually very good for the creative mind. I am raring to go, if I could write on two computers at once I would be.

So next time I have ‘writer’s block’ I will go for a drive, go to a different pub, change the scene and with luck will reboot my frame of mind again.

A rose by any other name is a goldfish

My wife’s cousin recently had a baby and so we were thinking of names. Their surname is Rice so we came up with for a girl:

Ava

and a boy

Barry Matthew (shortened too Baz Matty)

Names can be fun.

Originally posted 09.05.11

Having just done some work on developing characters, I got thinking. I had fleshed this person out, given them a background, appearance, disposition, etc. and was about to sit back happily, when I realized I hadn’t given him a name.

Easy, pick a first name and surname and job done, or is it?

I am pretty sure Lord Voldemort wouldn’t have been as scary to children if he had been called Tim McFluffywuffy, although it would explain why he was so angry.

Harry himself has a relatively simple name, a common British first name and surname, so an outlandish name isn’t necessary for a successful character.

A name can imply so much, Arthur or Albert are both viewed as slightly old fashioned and traditional currently, although would be great for a WW2 drama. Jean-Michel suggests the person will have a French connection.

J.K. Rowling is actually very clever with a lot of her names, Professor Lupin (a werewolf) has the surname that is Latin for wolf, Professor Minerva McGonagall (who can transform into an owl) is named after a Roman goddess whose sacred animal was the owl.

Colin Dexter hid his character Inspector Morse’s first name till the penultimate book in the series, creating intrigue into what it might be.

I digress as usual, so does it matter what we call characters? 100% yes and 100% no.

My character could be named anything, his characteristics and how I write him are much more important, no super cool name is going to make up for bad writing.

That said a name can add to good writing, making a character memorable, unique. Calling them John Smith is fine but they may get lost in the crowd a bit.

I chose Leighton in the end for my character in case you are interested.

PS. The best name I have come across to date is Spider Jerusalem. Now that is a name with some attitude.

Too many dishes befuddle the chef

Oh how I wish I only had that much work on now. Currently I have three pieces due in next week whilst still trying to work on my novel and a short story I had an idea for at the weekend. The short story is so that I can write something that isn’t required for my course, a way to relax almost. Bring on next Thursday when everything is in the post.
Originally posted 02.05.11

I have been trying to use the extended weekend to get ahead with my writing.

Currently, I am redrafting two pieces from my first module, working on two for the second, and completing four taster sessions for future modules.

And my brain has melted.

Too many irons in the fire and I have found myself writing a sentence here before having an idea for a sentence there, then an idea for a sub plot there and nothing gets done. So I have now resorted to writing about it here.

This kind of problem I can imagine occurs for anyone writing a series of books, with the need to complete the first before going onto the second and third etc. I love planning my plots, solving any loose ends. Once it is planned it is so hard not to jump straight to planning the next, we, like readers, want to know what happens next after all.

Anyway distraction over, I will get back to writing something or other.