At the Beach

Me and the wife like to go to the beach. Each time I go I signs like the one below, and each time there are people walking their dogs on the beach!

Now we are dog people but it annoys the hell out of me when I see this. The beaches are closed to dogs in the peak season so that we and our kids don’t play where a dog decided to… do some business.

Beach sign

The point of the rant though is the sign, I mean what’s the point? I am not aware of anyone getting fined for having their dog on there. If there was a chance I am sure people wouldn’t do it.

Anyway, just wanted to moan to no one in particular… 🙂

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Hello there

It’s been nearly two months, I thought I was at a place of regular writing but that hasn’t been the case. Camp Nano was a bust, I didn’t do much at all for it.

I was chosen to be on a jury for the British Fantasy Society award, Best Anthology. So I have been reading 6 of them for a while and then working with my fellow judges to choose a winner. this has now finished so I am again left to think about what to do next.

Went for a cuppa with a friend today and while talking about writing he was getting frustrated with me project hopping, or me coming up with new passages or ideas for things when I have a project I am in the planning stages of. So… I need to pick what I am working on and then put the time in.

Projects

Fantasy – Acomia
Sci-Fi – Earth First
Short – Xmas related one

The above is going to be my priorities and so over the next few days, I am going to be making a plan for how to get cracking on something meaningful.

It’s also approaching November, so that means I need to start planning for NaNoWriMo, if I hope to be able to finish it this year.

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Camp Procrastination time

It’s July already and that means it’s time for Camp NaNo. Something I have rarely ever tried which is weird given the self-imposed deadlines. But it is something I would like to get into, so it helps with getting some words down.

I have decided to try and get something done this time by pantsing a story I was planning, I am yet to start mind, it’s been quite busy up until now, then a night like tonight I am off to see 2 films so tonight I am not going to get much done. But it’s a goal and I have the writers meet this Sunday so I should get some good words done then.

I often marvel at how little time I seem to have when I have no small kids now. Each evening seems to be taken up by something family-related and this all get’s in the way of writing. A friend of mine would say this is all excuses, that if I wanted to reach my dream then I would prioritise it and I would achieve it.

As much as I loathe to admit it he is correct. I should be putting this goal forward, less tv watching or gaming maybe, something needs to give as the family part of my time will grow as I get more and more grandkids.

Have a goal is the mantra, what is mine?

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Writing in the dark

I was in a routine with posting but then I stopped putting the reminder on my Kanban board and so no posts were made…. interesting!

I have been reading a book lately which is in favor of pantsing, it is called writing in the dark and it is around that theme.

What the book is saying is that you need to let go of all of your hangups with planning and drafting and just write, quiet your critical voice and let your creative voice free to do what it wants to do. This is something that I would have struggled with as I am a world builder and not a pantser as such. I like to know what is happening in a story. But, I also struggle with too much note-taking and world-building and not enough actual writing. Something I was supposed to be doing something about this year.

This in itself is free writing as I didn’t plan this post I just started writing after reading the book, and therefore writing in the dark. I am also using my new smaller laptop to see what it would be like using this one to do some writing as my main laptop is quite bulky. It is working well, it’s a Chromebook and it is a really nice and small/light machine. It may be something I need to use moving forward when I don’t want to lug along the big one.

It’s the beginning of July, this is Camp NaNo time and I am thinking I would like to give writing in the dark a try during this event. It is a good way for me to test this to see if this is something I will be able to use in November when I am planning to get a lot of writing done.

All in all, it has given me something to think about.

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Quick update

I have been regular (until now) with posts on this blog and I have slowly moved forward a bit with writing. I have been watching a motivational video every day and it helps a bit.

I do need to start planning my time better so that I am making more time for actual writing. I have created meets for the writing group every 2 weeks now so even if not many people turn up I will be there.

I think Camp Nano is in July and I am going to check this as I missed April’s. This will be something that I can use to set my own goal.

#100bookschallenge – This isn’t moving very fast as I have a lot of reading ongoing and I need to make sure I am fitting this in.

Next two days I have grandkids and will be trying to get some writing done 🙂

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Hi, my name is Graham…

I’ve been told I have a problem, my family hasn’t gone as far as an intervention but I always feel they are on the verge. I am on course talking about my addiction to buying books.

I saw a meme a while ago that said book buying and book reading were two different hobbies and I think I have taken that as my mantra. I buy almost exclusively Fantasy and Sci-Fi with some exceptions. I have a nice collection of Agatha Christie novels and really enjoyed reading some of them.

I recently discovered Brandon Sanderson and he is quickly becoming my favorite author of all time. His world-building and characters are amazing. I get pulled into his books and find I can get through them very quickly. I am also trying to build up my collection of signed books from him. In the image above you can see the large hardbacks for his Stormlight Archive series, when I was introduced to his book I started buying the signed versions and have Oathbringer and Rythm of war signed. I then bought the first one Way of Kings from Waterstones. Words of Radiance were harder to get hold of. I must have called/emailed about 35 bookstores trying to find a copy of this book. eBay always had copied but they were priced £100+ and I didn’t want to spend that much on a £25 hardback. After a long fruitless search, I was resigned to knowing if I wanted it it was going to have to be eBay. In the end, there was one in my basket for £85, but I dithered and didn’t buy it, a few days later the seller messaged people watching the book offering it for £65. At that point, I realised this was as cheap as I was going to get it. Now I have all of them, if Brandon ever comes to the UK I will be going to try and get the first two signed as well.

I fully intend to read all of the books I own, I would say i am probably at about a third, but if the book-buying continues this may be fighting an uphill battle. A thoroughly enjoyable battle mind.

When my son moves out later this year my office will be moving back downstairs. At that point, I will have this room as a pure library. I will get about 3-4 more bookcases and a nice chair to have in here for reading. I can’t wait, my own library.

in the meantime the obsession (i mean hobby) continues. I have made this worse over the last couple of days. I sold a phone I was done with and flush with cash I popped along to my local Waterstones. I was casually browsing when the new illustrated edition of the Lord of the Rings jumped out from the shelves and into my hands. “buy me” it called out to me.

I was helpless and so popped down to the tills and paid £60 for this amazing book. “ahhh” I sighed, that should hold me for a while. The next day we were off to Whitby….. while there I frequented some bookshops, I was tricked cruelly by the cashiers to part with more money for more books. I tried to resist but it was useless. So, I ended up buying 3 more Gothic fiction books, a signed fantasy book by an author I haven’t read yet, and 2 more Terry Pratchet books.

The Terry Pratchet books were a surprise. I thought I had the whole collection of the hardback collection. Then there were two here, one I hadn’t seen and one I couldn’t find anywhere when I last looked. Then I noticed one that I also didn’t have in the hardback collection. I had to buy 4 of them in normal hardbacks. It would seem these have now been released.

This morning I bought the missing ones and pre-ordered Pratchets Biography. So much money spent in the last few days on books. But remember, I don’t have a problem!

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Sticker Bombing

I am generally not a person who gets rid of anything electronic, because of the price of second-hand electronics being low I just use things until they are broken. I would always put a load of stickers on laptops, I just liked the way it looked.

Since starting this I have gone a bit mad. I found some videos on youtube about sticker bombing, I had found a word for what I was doing, and it turned out you could do it to anything… so I did.

After seeing this I covered my new laptop and then my smaller one. I went around my office and did some of the drawers that I use. I just love the way they look and they make the office stand out. I think it is one of those things that you either love or hate from some of the comments I have gotten.

My latest one is a stand that I use in my office for many things. It is black glass and as such is a dust magnet, I covered the top layer a while ago and since then there hasn’t been much dust at all. this is something I liked very much 🙂

So I bought a whole load of stickers again and yesterday I got on the floor (much to the groaning of my bones) and sticker bombed it all. It looks very nice and I am glad I won’t have to wipe off dust every two minutes.

After buying so many I now have quite a few left so I am now looking around my office for the next thing I can cover in stickers 🙂

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#100bookschallenge – To Kill a Mockingjay

Just a quick update, I am 50 pages into this book, and although it is of a genre that I don’t read I am finding it easier to get through than I thought I would. It’s quite a small book and so if it was Fantasy or Sci-Fi I would probably have finished it by now. But, I am in the process of reading too many books so it doesn’t get all of my limited reading time.

That being said I should probably get a move on, otherwise, it will take me until I die to finish reading these 100 books. 🙂

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Psychology

I want to talk about psychology, don’t worry I am not going to go into some deep technical essay on the mind and how it works in this crazy world. I am more going to talk about my own mind and how frustrating it is. The enemy within, my procrastination!

It’s a hard one to work out. I have enjoyed writing since I was a child, but, I haven’t written a great deal. Instead, you will find notes and ideas scattered around that have come to nothing. At the same time, I will be professing that my dream is to be a published writer that can afford to write full time. I dream this and say I am working towards it but then the time that I have where I could further this dream is spent doing nothing of import.

I say I don’t have time, and yet my kids are grown and I work office hours for the most part. they are excuses, I want to change but I am not sure how to do it.

I could liken it to health and weight loss, I had some sessions talking to a phycologist once about weight loss, part of a scheme supposed to help people that need to lose weight. I could sit in those meetings and answer all of the questions on what I would need to do to lose weight. Exercise, eat more healthily, etc. Then I would leave the session and just continue on with my life as I had before. I know what I need to do, I just don’t have the will to do it.

This is the problem with my psychology, I know what I want to achieve, be it weight or writing dreams, but I plod on doing the bare minimum. while saying I am trying. I often wonder what will force me to change. With weight loss and fitness it could end up being something serious that kicks me into gear, even knowing that now it doesn’t push me to change. With writing it would be the realisation that I am not going to achieve anything if I don’t start putting in the work.

I love this video, I watch it and get inspired, then it fades. Maybe I should watch this for the first 12 minutes of my day. Keep that motivation alive. I may try that, see if it helps.

I also have my Kanban boards that I have set up, they are already helping. seeing the tasks I need to do and moving them through the process.

I am more optimistic than I have been in a while.

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2022 Goals

When I was looking at the year ahead in December I was, as usual, up for planning and making grand goals that I would achieve in this new year, new me, new life. Blah blah blah. my goal was:

Writing

  • 2 Weekly Blog
  • 12 Short Stories
  • Xmas Story
  • NaNo April/Nov
  • Shattered Worlds Novel

Fitness

  • Gym 3 times a week
  • Wunning (with a friend)
  • Badders weekly

Food – Allot less and plan meals better

As you can see I set myself some good goals to try and achieve. But, I haven’t managed to get anything near these started. I’m disappointed in myself.

To date, I have been keeping up with Badders, and that’s it! I bought an A6 diary to use as a writing diary and looking back through it, it just shows how disappointing I have been and why I haven’t managed to achieve anything for a long long time. My problem is I have no excuses, my children are grown, we do have time with Grandkids and I do things with my wife but if I really boiled down to it I don’t have any excuses.

We are starting to work Agile at work for product Development and this got me thinking back to Kanban Boards and how this could perhaps help me. If I was to split my tasks into smaller chunks and then work through them, there is a better chance of keeping the momentum going. As daft as it sounds I can already see it helping. In the past when left alone at home while Trace goes out I would potter around and achieve nothing, or go on the Xbox. This time I looked at the board and moved this blog task down to the “doing” part and sat down. This is good.

Next, I am going to set up a board for writing projects, from the list above I had already dropped a Sci-Fi idea in the shattered worlds universe and have been developing one for Fantasy, although still set in the shattered worlds universe. I am quite keen on this one and I have been doing some writing for it. One of today’s tasks is to finish setting up the KanBan and then sit down to create the tasks so I can start writing this story. i have even added the Xmas story to the board as this is something I have been trying to write for years and given it’s a short it shouldn’t be that hard to do. But, it just needs to be right given what I am writing it for. Maybe using the board will allow me to break it down and get it completed ready for this Xmas.

I am optimistic.

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