On Pantsing.

Going into the cold I found myself with the time to get some writing and editing done. Once it hit, however, I found myself with no concentrations to give. But that nice sweet spot between creativity and tiredness was lovely.

On the couple of days that I did manage to write it was a glorious sensation of progress. I weaved in my old draft with the new by writing the bits that needed to be added, and tweaking stuff that needed to be rewritten. I’m currently four chapters into the rewrite. Well, the current rewrite, in which I have changed the entire world construct.

I’m hoping that this is the last draft before the round of rewrites. I know I need to develop a few of the characters, but I can polish their personalities in the edit.

I have a massive amount of envy for those that can produce a clean draft first time around, alas, that does not seem to be how I work. I am a pantser. No matter how much I plot and plan, my brain refuses to give up the whole picture immediately, and so I pants.

Part of me quite likes the fact that it’s such a struggle to get it right because the outcome is far more rewarding than just being able to do it. However, I would quite like to get this story out of me now. Mind you, I have several more follow up books and at least one prequel around this story. So it won’t be finished with anytime soon.

Do you have any seemingly never-ending projects?

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Dealing With Writer’s Guilt

The Two Forms Of Writer’s Guilt

Writer’s guilt seems to be that peculiar phenomenon and it comes in at least two forms. One where you feel guilty for having not written anything for any length of time, and the other where you feel guilty for writing when you should be doing almost anything else.

But why should we feel guilty about it?

The only person who it’s affecting is us. Unless you have a deadline, and readers waiting for you, then it’s affecting other things. But even then guilt is wasted energy.

Sometimes life throws things at us, and we have to deal with it and adjust. Adding guilt into the mix seems a pointless exercise.

The trouble is that knowing this, and ‘knowing’ this seems to be two different disciplines. You can tell yourself over and over that you have other priorities, but the brain seems to pile on this imaginary guilt.

Feeling Guilty For Writing

Writing when you know you have other things you need to do, but you just need to write anyway comes with its own special kind of guilt and is completely counterproductive. You end up sitting there and get barely anything done because half your brain is concentrating on the things you should be doing.

Feeling Guilty For Not Writing

Recently I’ve stopped writing altogether. I will get back into it, but right now I need to form some new and better habits in other aspects of my life.

And it’s a slow build, but I’m getting there, and every step closer is nearer to the time that I can start writing again. And that writing will, hopefully, be guilt-free, because I won’t have the nagging sense that I should be doing almost anything else. But in the meantime, I occasionally have pangs where I think I could have written more or even anything at all.

Part of this habit-forming is writing these blogs, one for Thursday, one for Sunday. Mostly for my own sanity, and to keep my brain writing muscles limber.

And the blog is a perfect thing to do that, because I don’t have to keep track of where I am, what I’m doing, and a million other little plot points I need to keep in mind when it comes to writing a novel.

Do you suffer from writer’s guilt? How do you deal with it?

The Life Of A Notebook- Bee’s Story

I’ve had a particular notebook since I was tiny wee.

It’s got a silk cover and is decorated with beads.
It is, in short, very pretty. And you know and I know that when you have a really pretty notebook you don’t know what to use it for. No one purpose seems good enough, and so it has been used for many many different things.

As such it has become some sort of time capsule of my life.

It has been a diary from when I was a young teen, still a kid really, and thought I should write a diary because I felt like I ought to for some reason. I’ve had little spates of this over my life, I’ve never stuck to it.

Reading back over the entries has been weirdly like reading pages from someone else’s life. Or like reading a book that I know I’ve read before, but don’t remember it until I’m reading it.

Some things I have outright forgotten, and so this ‘past me’ character is, in a way, a totally different person living a completely different life. And it makes me way too thoughtful to realise that that person has gone.

I don’t feel sad about it, but it leaves me wondering how much of her I still have left over. Wondering if I have I outgrown her completely.

Ideas Busting

For the next entries, it served as a vessel for ideas busting for one of my stories. When I was younger I tore some pages out and threw them away because I thought they were no longer relevant. Of course today I regret that. Because I have woven the concept of that story into the mammoth trilogy I am writing today. A lot of the ideas for the next books come from past me.

So I guess in that way past me still lives on.

Notebook Neglect

I took a break from writing for the longest while, and I had begun to feel bad of my neglect of the notebook, and so I used it for some of my college notes. That was a very short-lived existence before I decided that the notebook was too nice for that.

It hosted some of my exercises when I decided that I wanted to become more organised with getting fit.  I quickly found that it wasn’t all that handy a thing to use for exercising.  And even if I did keep it for doodling out exercise plans I could never hope to fill the pages.
And it just seemed a waste.

But I never tore pages out again. And I have never deleted an idea (on purpose anyway).

Why Do I Really Need A Notebook?

Now that I write almost everything on my laptop I began to wonder whether I really needed the notebook at all. Of course, I still wanted to use it, but I just couldn’t find a suitable purpose.

I like notebooks, which it seems completely irrational when I have to work so hard to work out what I want to use one for. Surely if you have a notebook, you should know why you need it.

Its current incarnation seems to be to write out plans for where I want my stories to go. When I get stuck it’s been useful to use the notebook as a different medium; as if somehow staring at my laptop knots my brain up, but stepping away I can think clearly and untangle whatever aspect I’m stuck on. From time to time it’s hosted character sketches.

And I think that is now the use I’ll continue to put it too. Getting unstuck and character sketches. It’s taken roughly 20 years to work out how I like to use a notebook. And even now I realise it might change.

Yes, It’s Hard. No, You’re Not Failing #writerslife

Yes, I Can

The highs and lows of writing a novel are pretty intense. I have felt like I reached breaking point more than once.

If I had followed online advice about how I should write every day, or how I should plot every scene, or climb every mountain. Chances are I wouldn’t still be working on my story now.

You can’t always write every day, sometimes you start and you get nowhere, and you have to go away and rethink and replan, and then you start, and you get so far, and then things need changing.

Because plans don’t always pan out, things don’t always look the way on paper the way they do in your head. Because of a million little reasons that set you back again and again.

And then you look online for advice only to be told you need to be on it all. the. time.

You know what helps me?

Ignoring all of that, working through the story a piece and a time, and finding a fellow writer to howl at the moon with.

I get out, I stop, I *gasp* procrastinate.

And progress is still made, not fast progress, but better progress than writing a thousand words and then having to delete them because something needs to change.

One of the reasons I’m struggling so much is because I have a mammoth series I’m working on.

It’s taken world building, character building, plot building. For the whole series. Not down to the last detail, but at least enough so I know where I’m going and where I’m coming from.

Writing one single book would be much much easier. But it wouldn’t be right, not for this story. And so, I plot, and I plan, and I struggle, and I do what I need to do when I need to do it.

So, I have to bear this in mind when I feel like I’m getting nowhere. With so many pieces of the puzzle I have to get them all in the right place or my picture of a tiger will look like a pixellated mess at the end.

I have berated myself so many times for not being faster, and the fact that I don’t know everything immediately. And that is the thinking that gets me nowhere.

And so I fail. I fail so much. And it’s hard. But I rethink, I get back up, and I keep on going.  And if keeping going means taking a break from writing- so be it.

Don’t confuse with being taught how to write with learning how to be a better writer.

Learning the craft, and learning how you craft is tough, and it takes time to find your voice. It also takes time to find the methods of working that suit you best.

When you learn the writing craft it is advisable to learn as much as you possibly can, throughout your writing career, by researching, reading, and trial and error.

When you learn how you personally craft, there is no-one more expert in how you work than you.

There no one path that is “the” path

By all means, take ideas from people who say what works for them. But don’t assume it will work for you too. And don’t feel discouraged if it doesn’t.

Be wary of being told of ‘the only way to do’ things. There is no one way. There is just the way that works for you. And if you find a way that works for you don’t let anyone else tell you it’s the wrong way.

Don’t make the mistake of burning yourself out trying to write to someone else’s system.

Sickness, Writing Progress, Films (Week 4)

I actually do remember what happened this week, this week the sun came out, this week it was glorious. Who couldn’t enjoy it? Me that’s who, and the other half!

We were laid up sick, with my third cold in the space of two months, and his second. I seem to have built up a slight immunity to it because I don’t seem to be so badly hit. The other half… has no voice. It means I keep finding myself whispering along with him because when one person whispers, it’s really hard to not to talk normally.

Editing Progress!

However, what it did mean is that I managed to complete a whole chapter in editing this week. I need to get faster than a chapter a week though. But it’s better than the three pages I managed in the first week of Jan, so maybe I’ll get faster?

Films

Although we were grounded for our second week in a row, we still managed to get three videos up in the week. And although only one of them came from our backlog, we only have one more video we can use if we’re still sick next week.

The first film I made was a YouTube Rewind video, although it wasn’t planned I would like to make another one next year because it turned out to be quite a nice little film.

Out First Year In Wales As A Montage

How To Make Linen- From Seed To Cloth

   Something's Missing... Also, Adorable Puppy News | Friday Show 03

 

Just Bee (Week 3)

Yes, I Can

I Managed An Art!

I know I said I wasn’t going to concentrate on artwork this year, but there are several reasons I wanted to make this. Firstly, I needed something to unwind with. It was a phrase that I’d posted over my laptop camera, which I’ve found oddly helpful for combatting doubts that my brain throws at me from time to time, and I figured if it helped me it might help someone else to see the phrase floating about in the internet.

Yes, I Can

A graphic that reassures (available on stickers and mugs)

I Finished A Whole Chapter

I haven’t managed to find a whole lot of time to write recently, and when I have had the time, I haven’t had the energy, so I was quite pleased to finish a chapter this week. Just 20 odd more to go… but one down, right?

I Beat The Odds

It rained a lot, I mean a lot a lot, this week. Which put a damper, pun NOT intended, on filming.

It meant that I had to be a tad resourceful with polishing up one of our old films, that never made it to something Vloggy, for Monday.

It also coincided with the Tuesday gloom, as I’ve just decided to call it, which meant that there was zero energy in my brain, I just about managed to make a cake, which was put up on Wednesday.

So I was quite pleased that, despite the setbacks, we managed to get films up on time.

Although, having said that, there was a glitch with the Friday show, and that is still reuploading as I type this. Hoping like crazy it will be ready before Friday ends.

Gluten Free, Egg Free, Dairy Free Chocolate Cake

A Tasty and easy to bake recipe

Three Churches Walk - Sellack, Hoarwithy, Kings Caple

Ian explores the wonderfully pretty three Churches Route, taking in the St Tysilio’s Church at Sellack, St John the Baptist Church at Kings Caple, and the lovely Romanesque-style St Catherine’s Church at Hoarwithy.

Bananas Are Evil, and Good News For Turtles - Friday show 02

In which we discuss this week’s shenanigans, plot for next week, and discuss the news about 3D printing turtle eggs.

At any rate, this week hasn’t been too bad for creativity, despite the weather being against the things I’d intended to do, but I have hit the end of the end of the week feeling somewhat burnt out. I wanted to get more editing done today, but I just couldn’t give it the focus needed.

Perhaps this week I’ll give myself at least a one day weekend.

How has your week been? Let me know in the comments below.

Just Bee (week 2)

Changes Afoot- Friday show 01

This week, ah what a week it was, things happened, and also stuff!

Basically, I’m struggling to remember what I did.

Cool Things I’ve Found

Richard Herring interviewed a guy called Johann Harri about the growing amount of people suffering from depression and anxiety, he talked about some of the societal causes, and solutions that people have come up with. I had to watch it in chunks because, although it was very interesting and a Huge eye opener, it was heavy going. Well worth it though. Check it out Here

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My writerly friend, Melfka, has a weekly #wordwitch cartoon.

They are often cute and funny. This weeks was a more personal and sobering piece that documented every rejection, acceptance, and the times when she was considered last year. Which I thought was a great way to show aspiring writer’s that the road to success is littered with rejections, and that’s the part that no-one sees.

New Writerly Editing Technique!

I found myself a new way to edit my novel. I’m on draft don’t make me think about it, I’m just not that strong.

And because I’ve basically recreated the entire world in my head I’m finding it easier to just open a blank document and copy, paste, and edit a paragraph at a time. It’s helping me catch world details that have changed. I’m also deleting a lot of bulk scenes and adding new ones.

So yeah, the blank document has been a blessing. Although I have only managed to get one evening of editing in.

I Opened Photoshop!

I had a design in mind, PS threw a wobbly and wouldn’t let me do anything. So I gave up.

Vlogs!

What I ‘have’ done is three videos. Well, two. The other half did one. But I helped with the meta tagging and stuffs.

Mini- Can It Handle The Snow?

A YouTube video about digging our 2017 mini countryman out of snow, to see how it would handle on the roads.

Our Vlogging Camera Kit- What's In The Bag?

In which Ian talks about the kit we use for making YouTube Videos.

Changes Afoot- Friday show 01

In which we talk about what’s happening with YouTube, how it’s affecting us, and we throw in some light news.

What Happened? Where Am I? What’s My Purpose This Year?

A year of working things out.

My partner and I decided to finally do something with our YouTube channel.

We called it Something Vloggy, and spent the year figuring out what kind of content we wanted to make.

We tried explainer videos,  cooking videos, we made videos in a documentary style, and the odd musical one.

What we decided we liked, in the end, were exploratory films, where we go and do something, and see what there is to see.

We also quite liked the DIY films, but we didn’t do as many of those as we would have liked.

 

My favourite videos from the last year were

Our walk up Pen-y-Fan, a mountain in Wales, our second Waterfalls Walk in the Brecon Beacons, and the Chocolate and Pear Frangipane recipe.

Writing

Writing last year started out well, but about April I stopped writing altogether. It became painfully clear that my WIP needed a radical world change and with it a lot of details needed to be rewritten.  Although I didn’t do any more writing I made a lot of notes as to the changes that needed to be made. Now I think I can tackle it head on- after I’ve tackled the backlog of other things I need to do.

Art

My artwork will take a back seat this year. Last year I tried to draw more frequently, but it didn’t work out as I’d hoped, and this year I know I have too much on to carry it on. Last year, however, I did manage to get some things created. The TEA ME graphic was an idea given to me by Myk Pilgrim, a delightfully nuts person I recommend you check out.

Read It And Wept

TEA ME

https://society6.com/product/bumble-bee-blues_laptop-sleeve?sku=s6-7871696p45a58v428

Bumblebee Blues

Onwards and Upwards and Possibly Downwards

Goals

I have many goals for this year, and I’m sure I won’t hit them all, but I shall tentatively name them here, as a reminder of what I forgot to do by the end of the year.

I would like to have a video a week, giving my progress for the week. A sort of online diary on the highlights. I’ll  post them on Fridays. Hopefully setting a day will help me stick to it.

We are aiming for three videos a week on our channel. A DIY, a walk, and what we’re loosely calling ‘The Friday Show’.

This week is a little different because we have some snowy videos going up.

I would also like to get at least one book ready for publishing. I have one awaiting edits, and I’m working on another, the planning for which has finally been completed. It was a hard task as it had multiple books, and I needed to tie the story together, but the world I was writing in kept changing.

Finding a Writing Companion #writerslife

A writing companion is something I’d never really thought I needed. I always assumed that I’d end up chatting more than I’d end up writing. Here’s the thing though, I now don’t know what I’d do without my writerly friend.

When we first started talking she was a human I liked, but eventually I got to know her, and gradually we started to hold each other accountable for our work, chatted about our projects, and bounced ideas off each other.

If you are looking for a someone to write with here are a few things to look out for.

  1. Make sure you get along with that person, if you can’t talk to them normally, chances are you’ll end up offending or annoying each other when one of you is tired and unable to word things as delicately as you might otherwise do.
  2. Make sure you can handle criticism and dish it out. There’s absolutely no point in having a writing buddy if you’re just going to praise each other all the time, because you don’t learn from that.
  3. Listen to the advice that is given. You don’t always have to agree with it, but it can lead to you thinking about things in other ways and get a fresh perspective.
  4. Make sure you can actually work whilst you talk to them. If you’re chatting instead of writing, that’s missing the whole point of a writerly pal.
  5. Make sure that you work with someone you can say- I’m off to work now- and they will understand.
  6. Don’t use them as a one way advice machine. There has to be give and take, listen to them, help them without thought of reciprocation. A friend in need and all that.
  7. On the other hand, make sure you find a writerly pal that also lets you talk. It has to be a two way thing.

If your’e not sure that a writerly pal is right for you, here are a few unforeseen highlights.

  1. You have someone to share all the highs and lows of writing with, especially when you’re at a point where you can’t tell the world what you’re up to- having someone you can tell is liberating.
  2. You get excited for their successes. It’s nice to see friends succeed generally, and when they can tell you their successes you end up being genuinely chuffed for them. Especially since the chances are you will have been with them throughout their journey.
  3. Friendship. You may have good friends, best friends, and partners, but a writerly friend is ALWAYS happy to talk about writing and books. You don’t have to worry about boring their pants off, but they are just as nerded out by the whole thing as you are.
  4.  When you don’t want to write, or feel you can’t, a writerly pal can help you get back on the writing horse. You will have to do the same for them, but in the end you bolster each other

I cannot overstate how nice it has been to get to know my writerly friend. Cheers Melfka!

Writer’s Fatigue- Taking a break from your WIP and getting back to it.

General fatigue, and an increase in activity for my day job, (like somehow I night light as a writer, as if it’s a super power, and I’m a caped crusader) has halted my writing for some time now.

I have decided that this week I will to leap, or at least belly flop and scramble, back onto the proverbial saddle.

Luckily I left past me some notes so I know where to take off from, the trouble is that stepping away from a wip and coming back to it, sometimes my writing style has changed. It usually depends on what I’m reading as to how it’s affected. At the moment it’s Harry Potter, so my writing becomes a little playful, if it’s sci fi or fantasy I tend to zoom in on the scenery. Unfortunately if I’m reading a book that’s not as well written as as it could be I sometimes catch myself straying into some of the habits I’ve read.

If that is the case I have to stop reading that particular book.

It’s not so bad if I’ve been working on a story for a while, I can get into the feel of it pretty quickly, but after having stepped away I’m more susceptible to these outside influences.

Of course there are upsides, I’m more alert to flaws that I may have missed by proximity, but by and large it’s a bit of a struggle to get back into a story sometimes.

What tricks do you have for getting back into your writing stride?