Friday, 23 December 2016

Writing Goals: 2017 Edition

Since finishing my first draft at the end of November, I've been thinking about what to do next. I have a sequel and a companion novel planned, which is weird because I've never written any kind of continuation before, but it feels right with these. Still, as much as I that was my favourite ever first draft to write, I'm not ready to jump right into another one and I doubt that's a good idea anyway.

I just finished my first draft of my very first horror story. I've always wanted to write one, and a few weeks ago I finally had the idea. It was a great little post-novel exercise. Writing something completely different (although the MC was still a lesbian ex-self-harmer, so not crazy different, I'm still me!) was kind of liberating. I found my style naturally changed slightly and I'm happy with it so far. The presses I want to submit to don't open until the Spring so I'll keep tweaking it until then.

As I started to think about my next move I realised that there's a lot I want to do in the coming year! Maybe it's because in early 2016, I was very depressed. I wasn't really able to focus on writing very well, so I didn't get very much done. I threw everything I had into getting a new job, I applied for everything possible and it finally worked out. I still can't believe how lucky I am, every day.

With that sorted, I'm ready to do the same thing again, but with writing. So I'm putting together a list of my writing goals in 2017. They include but are not limited to:
- a YA romance novel
- an NA novel
- a comedy article (or 2 if they'll have me)
- the rest of the Out of Control Trilogy
- and of course the sequel and companion novels I mentioned earlier

In some ways this list seems ambitious. I have a funny feeling I'm going to look back at the end of the year and laugh at just how much 2016 me believed I could get done. But I know that, even if it's super hard to find the energy sometimes (and they aren't all good days), if you can, and you throw yourself at everything, something will stick.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

It isn't anything awareness month

You might have noticed lately, depending on where you are and who your friends are on social media, that it appears to be some kind of Mental Illness awareness month. I Googled it (so you know, in terms of qualifications, I basically asked God), and it seems it isn't actually anything awareness month. In the UK, we have Mental Health Awareness Week in May. In the USA, it gets a whole month, which is also May and less officially, October. So you see how it might be weird to keep seeing things about it in December. 
Now, I'm not stupid and I'm not being mean. I want to say that all awareness is good awareness. But no one can tell me that the post I saw this week, is in any way positive:
I think Mental illness is one of these illnesses that people just don't really understand:
Everyone says: " If you need anything, don't hesitate, I'll be there for you ". Perhaps you'd like to copy this and send onto others.
It's mental illness awareness month and I've done this for friends and family for whom this has been all too real.

There's so much wrong with this post. The fact that it refers to Mental Illness as 'one' illness. The sweeping way it is suggested that few people understand. The fact that it is not in any way clear what its point is. And you know, saying it's May when Christmas is around the corner. This was posted by a friend who I respect very much. She's a qualified therapist and mental health nurse, she's lovely and she seriously knows her stuff. I know she didn't write this post, but she no doubt fell victim to the idea that all awareness is good awareness and a quick post is all it needs to help save the world.

The idea behind posts like this, and the simple lists of suicide hotlines that people are posting without any other comment is that they're spreading awareness and letting it be known that they are there for people. The trouble is, especially with a post like the above example, that it would seriously put me off approaching one of these people with my problems. No doubt their intentions are good but perhaps these things need more focus. Rather than badly written sweeping statements, people could learn about particular mental health issues in more detail and then help to spread awareness of those. 

I'd love it if I opened Facebook and one of my friends was posting about Anhedonia, self-harm, and Hypomania, that would be educational. For now, I'll have to settle for commenting on crappy posts that broadly cover nothing at all.  

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

You Have The Right To Remain Silent

Recently I heard someone in a big group I was in at work, complaining about how anti-social people are now. It was the usual 'people these days never want to talk to each other, they just want to look at their phones all day' stuff. He'd tried to speak to someone in the room and although she'd replied, clearly the fact that she was taking five minutes during break to text with her husband was somehow offensive to him. His thinking was that, although we were all together and talking about plenty of stuff for seven hours out of the day, we shouldn't spend our short breaks on our phones, but instead talk even more.

I'm not the type to get into an argument with someone I don't know very well, in the middle of a full room. Instead, I just commented to the two people I was sitting with. I said that it has nothing to do with phones, even before smartphones, I still brought a book everywhere. If someone doesn't respond much, it's because they don't want to talk. No-one has an obligation to talk to someone else.

It was even suggested that before smartphones people would sit and think and have brilliant ideas, and now no-one does. That is some of the most pathetic, pretentious crap I've ever heard. Some of my best ideas have been inspired by things I've seen online. If anything, I'm more likely to judge someone who has to be talking to people all the time to be happy. There's nothing wrong with a bit of talking, but when someone gets annoyed because total strangers won't engage in conversation, that person isn't happy in their own company, which is a whole other problem.

Thursday, 1 December 2016

The Post-NaNo Wrap Up

Over a week since my last post? Must have been the end of November! I finished NaNaWriMo with two days to spare, which I'm very proud of. It was an easy one for the first time ever. I absolutely adore my WIP which I haven't felt in ages! It'll need a lot of work to get it into shape but I have something good to work with, I'm sure. After the tough slog that was 3,000 Miles of Arizona, this one was a breeze.

I'm already missing it. I knew when I was nearing the end, that I would do. In the last couple of days I thought 'No, I'll be happy to get it done' but that isn't true anymore. That's for the best though, since I'm planning both a sequel and a companion novel. There was a character who was mentioned a lot but wasn't actually in the story that I think deserves her own.

And I've never actually written a sequel, so I hope the whole idea does carry over well. Of course, a good sequel can be hard to come by, so there's a lot of pressure coming from...myself. I can't wait to get this one ready and release it into the world, but at least this time I should have the patience to take a break from it while I work on the sequel.