It’s been a while since I updated this neglected blog. There is a half-finished post in that I was going to spell out my writing resolutions for the year, but that remains unpublished – that post remains in to-be-published hell taunting me of my impetuous foolishness back at the start of the year. Especially when I knew I would be busy with other things.
Other things you might ask? Well, there’s the day job. I moved from teaching freelance in several places, to a new full-time job in July. I’m enjoying that so far.
My writing has been continuing alongside that and I have been overtaken by a project which I wanted to write about, but I have been quiet about while I got on with it. That is now coming to an end.
The project is a published commission of a non-fiction book. It’s something of a labour of love and it is following one of my passions writing about music. The subject of the book is Tears For Fears. They are a band that I have been a fan off since the 1980s. The book is for Sonicbond Publishing, which produces the ‘On Track’ series. This is a book series that covers a band/artist’s career through their albums/songs.
My timing was perfect. I pitched the idea in September and the next month Tears For Fears announced that they would be bringing out their first album, The Tipping Point, in 18 years. It was also a book that the publisher had been looking to commission. I had been procrastinating about pitching the idea, but my teaching workload (or reduction in it) gave me the opportunity and time to undertake this project.
The new material from the band had long been rumoured and everything seemed to kick start after I had signed my contract to write the book. What followed was a flurry of media appearances, tour announcements and videos. The promotional campaign has been something else. From a fan’s perspective, it was great to read about the band. From a writing and research point of view, it’s been very helpful. There’s been a wealth of information has been published. A lot of it talks about the new album, but also a great deal covering the back catalogue. It’s been a fun process putting this book together.
I have enjoyed the chance to review the new album which came out in February of this year. In a nutshell, it’s great. Also, I have been listening to a lot of their old material too – all in the name of research. I did get to see them live in London, in July. Although I was due to see them again in Lytham-St-Annes, that gig was cancelled due to a rib injury suffered by Curt Smith. The only negative in the band’s year.
Today, I have completed the final edits of the book and the cover has been finalised. The deadline was due to be the end of September, but it has been put back. The book will be available to buy on 28th October 2022 and it is available to pre-order at Bookshop.org or Burning Shed.
I have finally finished novel number two. When I say finished. What I mean, is that after five drafts (that’s the number of my word document – there have been many more drafts that’s for sure) I have come to the point that I need to pass it on. It’s not finished in the sense that I can save it and upload it to an online platform and publish it. I now need to hand it on to beta readers or an agent to see if it is publishable.
This book was the first one that I started, but I moved on to another idea that came along (That other book is also finished* and it has been sent to publishers/agents to see if it’s publishable).
Having worked my way through the second novel again, I think that the story holds up, but I think that I will alter my approach when it comes to writing novel number three. I’m not bored of the process of writing and I have a few ideas percolating away in my mind what that book will be. I know that it will be in the crime genre and I have a definite setting for it. I have already jotted down about 2,000 words, but I will leave them for a few weeks when I’m ready to give it the attention it deserves.
For now, I have a few smaller writing projects that I would like to do. I feel like I’m in that between projects limbo, but it’s a good place to be as I’m glad that I have completed this element of writing book number two.
There’s the story about JK Rowling having had ‘loads‘ of rejections before she published the Harry Potter books. I have had none. That’s not me being smug, because the reality is that I have not sent out either of my novels to agents and publishers.
I have entered a couple of first chapter competitions, but I haven’t had that letter (it’s more likely to be the email these days). The badge of honour among authors.
Through a number of reasons, some mainly to do with procrastination and some the fear of rejection. This is something that I have neglected to do. I need to change my strategy if only so I know where my novels can be pitched when it comes to market. Even if I don’t get published in the traditional sense, I may get feedback that will help me shape my writing going forward If I choose to self-publish my work in the future.
So, the plan in the coming weeks is to open the Writers’ and Artists’ Yearbook and circle a number of the names that I would like to send my book out to. In the hope of getting closer to my novels being published. Here’s looking forward to the rejections flooding in…along with that one acceptance.
Given how busy work has got recently the writing has well and truly been parked up for another year. I’m still doing the 200 words for BXP, there was a tentative notion of doing NaNoWriMo but that is certainly on hold for another year.
The editing has stalled and the idea of writing the third novel will have to wait for now. I have simply taken on too much work and that is beginning to kick in now roll on the new year. The lockdown starts again tomorrow. That seems to be removing the fun but keeping the fact that I have to physically have to go to work.
What a year it’s been, there are four months to go. No one would have guessed the way the last twelve months have gone – that’s both on a personal level and with everything that’s happened with the Coronavirus.
I’m just getting myself back into the swing of things creatively after a week away in Scotland. I’m not haste to get back to any form of work just yet – both writing and teaching. I have some down time before I get back to the day job and I have to tie up the novel that I was editing. The last chapter needs to be edited. Then I will sit down and read through the novel as a reader, and not the writer.
It’s certainly been quite a productive summer, I have been busy with work and other things, but I have managed to achieve a few of things that I set out to do. The lack of commute and working from home has given me more time, I’m certainly not in the mood for getting back into the old commuting routine just yet and I’m hopefully that I can put off doing that for another few months.
It’s July and we’re past the halfway mark of the year. It has been a difficult one given the pandemic and lockdown. Thankfully I have been okay and my family too. Although a few of my neighbours have been affected. They are thankfully on the mend.
At the start of the year, I set out a few of my writing ambitions for the year. Having been something of a sporadic writer, I decided to be more productive and committed this year. I signed up for the BXP Challenge to write at least 200 words a day. I’m pleased to say that I have not missed a day doing this and I’ve written 48,458 words for the year. This has been helped by writing whenever I could. That would have been on trains in the morning, instead of doom scrolling on social media. A few notes on my phone or a laptop in coffee shops has enabled me to build up a head of steam. Not having to commute since March has helped, especially in my most busy periods May and July when I was busy marking. I still managed to get something written.
One good thing about being this productive is that it enabled me to finish a few things that I had been planning to do. My first novel, Difficult First Album, was waiting for one final edit before I could send it out to publishers. That’ll be done. My second novel is close to being redrafted.
Yesterday I finished my submission for the 33 1/3 series for a book on the band Tears for Fears. This is an idea I have had for a while and I have had a few notes hanging around that needed finishing. They have call-outs every year for submission ideas, I have missed the boat for many reasons. Thankfully this time I have managed to get something finished.
It may be an obvious thing to say, but the whole idea of showing up and getting things done has worked for me. I will carry on in the same manner for the remainder of the year.
At the start of the lockdown, there were several articles published about having all the time to finish that novel. That is something I had been trying to do since the start of the year, so I was ahead of that curve.
So, while, everyone else went off at a rate of knots doing the Joe Wicks workout, baking banana bread or painting the house, I was editing, using the extra time that I was saving on the commute.
Weirdly with more time, comes more distractions to occupy the creative time. First was the latest series of Curb Your Enthusiasm to get through and there was the Tiger King. There’s the Star Wars Skywalker Saga boxset that’s been released on DVD. Then there’s the work which has luckily for me has not disappeared because of lockdown. Instead, I have had to adapt to teaching online using Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Thankfully that has gone smoothly without any hitches. There’s no commute which is a blessed relief, not having to battle with the daily clown show that is Northern Rail.
Why is that my word count for April was less than it was for the preceding three months? I’m still doing a minimum of 200 words. April was mainly reading and re-editing so the new words may have replaced those that were no longer needed.
As we enter May and June, it’s marking season. That means my creative projects get put on hold. Here’s hoping that I can keep the writing streak going.
I’m not one for doing New Year’s resolutions, but this year I did and I resolved to write more. Yep, that one again. Usually, by this time of the year, I would be still building up to this happening. With the usual excuses of writer’s block or that I didn’t have the time due to work. The work situation is still as busy as it has ever been, with the usual bundles of prep and marking to get through.
As we enter weeks of lockdown, I have been taking stock of what I have written this last year. I have racked up 28,764 words so far. This is from various projects new or that needed editing.
This has been done by signing up for the BXP Writing Challenge that sees writers producing 200 words per day. Before the lockdown, I did this by writing on the train and which was often delayed on the way to work – it made a frustrating regular occurrence all the more productive.
Sometimes it was easier to write more, sometimes it was a struggle to get to 200 words, sometimes the words flowed freely, sometimes it was an effort to drag the words out.
It was worth signing up to and I realise that I am not that focused unless I have some sort of goal. I would recommend it any writer out there.
There was me thinking that I would blog and tweet my way all the way through the final project of my MA. The best-laid plans and all that…Who knew that the whole business of writing a novel would get in the way.
Well, it’s finished. There were times that it felt like I would never get to this point, but thanks to the support of friends and family I have managed to get over the novel completed and submitted.
I’m happy with how the novel has turned out. It could possibly do with another read through, but time was against me to do that. I will edit it once more when I receive my feedback in the New Year. Then I will contemplate sending it to agents and publishers.
So with the submission of my final project, I have come to the end of my MA (that’s presuming that my novel has not failed). Looking back, I have no regrets signing up for the MA, the three years have been eventful and have gone so quick. I have met some great people along the way. The tutors have all helped in getting me to this point in my writing career. A number of my fellow students have now become really good friends.
There are plans for us all to work together and support each other when we get around to writing our next novels. That’s to come, but for now its nice not to worry about edits, deadlines and all that. Well the writing ones, there are plenty of deadlines with the day job.