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NEWSLETTER

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Idle Thoughts

Happy New Year!

I know I say this e v e r y year, but… how is it 2022 already???

On 2021…

Despite the pandemic and lockdowns and whatnot, it still feels like the year has gone really fast. (While at times going incredibly slow, too… It’s a paradox.)

Like 2020, 2021 was an… interesting year. The pandemic was still going strong, and in England, we spent the first months of the year in a national lockdown. Restrictions eventually eased to allow you to meet a handful of people outdoors, then a handful of people indoors, then most restrictions ended. Then of course we got the Delta variant… and now the Omicron variant, so restrictions may return at any moment (some of them have, but no lockdowns yet).

Despite this, in the summer I managed to go see my family abroad for the first time in 20 months, which felt amazing. I had really missed them, and they had missed so much of the tiny tyrant’s life. As I’m writing this, I’m visiting them again over the Christmas period, though it was a bit touch and go for a while as they were reintroducing travel restrictions.

On Writing…

Writing went fairly well in 2021. I set myself a goal to write 240 000 words, and in the end, hit nearly 250k (248 966 to be exact). I think I would have had a little bit more if I hadn’t got sick for most of December.

I finished two novellas, one novel, and started a second novel and a third novella. (And finished up another novel that I started in December 2020, so most of it was written in 2021.)

I’d like to hit 240k again this year, but as I have a lot of revisions and editing to do, I’m not sure that will be possible.

On Goals…

I don’t like to make New Year’s Resolutions, but I will try to set myself some goals for the year. I failed on some of my goals for last year, so let’s see if I can do them this year.

  • Release first book in Howerty series (and all the things that entails)
  • Write more on the blog.
  • Be more active on social media. I will chose one or two platforms and focus on those. Instagram is a favourite of mine, but what should the second one be? A lot of people are saying TikTok is good these days because of #booktok but I don’t know if I have it in me for that one. Any suggestions?
  • Keep up with my ko-fi page.
  • Continue writing, hopefully hitting 240k again for the year.
  • Get the tiny tyrant’s room done. (Painting and some fixing of the room and setup in general).
  • Declutter our home in general.
  • More exercise and better eating. (The pandemic has not been good for my mental or physical health.)

What are your goals for 2022?

Idle Thoughts

The World’s Longest Writer’s Block

Once upon a time… I had the world’s longest writer’s block. As a child and teenager, I wrote a lot. So many (crappy) stories in so many notebooks. Then I paused as I got busy moving to another country and starting my career. After a little while, I started again. More seriously this time, and I wrote two novels.

I started my third and… I stalled. Not just a little bit, but I couldn’t seem to find the words to write at all. I wrote fourteen different drafts of the first chapter, and none of them worked for me. Nothing else came to me either. I was a writer without words.

Around the same time, and quite possibly related, I had a massive burnout and suffered from my first depression. I had time off my job in a UN Organisation, and once I realised I wasn’t getting better any time soon, I made the difficult decision to resign and move back to my home country. I definitely didn’t feel great.

Eventually, after many tests and meetings, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome. While it didn’t fix me, knowing why I felt the way I did, helped. But I still couldn’t write. I couldn’t even read more than a few pages without needing a nap. Brain fog was a thing.

A few years in, I played the game Dragon Age, and for the first time in ages, I felt inspired. I started a fanfiction story. Then another. I didn’t finish either of them but just writing–no matter how little, felt amazing. I moved countries again, and writing fell to the wayside as I started working full-time again for the first time in ten years (I had only managed part-time up until that point since I was diagnosed). With limited energy, I could only do one thing; work or enjoy life in my spare time. I worked and did little but sleep once I was home.

Then I had a child. A little tiny tyrant who never slept. (Her sleep still isn’t good, but at least it’s better than it was.) In early 2020 I heard about Wattpad, a writing platform where writers could put their stories and hopefully find readers who liked it. Finally having the odd evening here and there free (or semi-free), I decided it was time to get back to writing. I always missed it and it has always been something I’d like to be doing professionally.

So I signed up to Wattpad.

I released my first few chapters to crickets. Then I joined a writing group on the forums (that have since been removed), and I met like-minded writers. It was probably the best thing I could ever have done. Not only did some of them read my story, but we clicked really well and we’re all still in contact on Discord where we have a server.

Since those early days in 2020, I’ve written consistently. I finished the first round of revisions on the two novels from back in the day, and I’ve written one novel and four novellas. I’m currently working on my fourth novel.

If it wasn’t for Wattpad and the group of amazing writers I met through it, I don’t know that I would have broken my writer’s block. I’m so grateful to them. They’re an amazing bunch of people.

So, how long was my writer’s block? If I ignore the random bits of fanfiction (which was rare with long times between updates), the time between finishing my second novel and when I started writing on Wattpad was… 13 years.

Yes, you read that right. I had writer’s block for 13 years. Hopefully, that’s enough to fulfil my quota for a lifetime and I will never suffer from it again!

Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? How did you get past it?

Idle Thoughts

Hello 2021!

Am I aware that we’re nearly through the first month of the year already? Yes. Yes, I am. Does it feel like January had around 43 weeks rather than just over four? Also, yes.

Those who know me, or happened across me in the past, will know that I said in January 2020 that it was the year I would finally self-publish a book. Well, that didn’t happen. 2020 happened. I think we all know what that means, so I won’t elaborate on the shit-show that was last year.

So! Let’s look to 2021! This is–hopefully–the year I finally get somewhere in my author career.

2020 wasn’t a complete wash, writing-wise. I finished rough drafts of three stories for my Fantasy Romance series, and I did a round of edits on my Historical Romance (Regency). This year will probably be a little less full-on writing and a bit more editing and rewriting, but more on that another day.

2021 will be better. I’m determined. This year I’m releasing at least one book on Amazon Kindle, come hell or high water. I’m also querying another one with agents/publishers.

I will also try to blog regularly. In my world, regularly means once a week. Because let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I’m still a sleep-deprived mother of a tiny tyrant. My brain is in survival mode and anything else requires more planning than I’m capable of.

So… 2021, bring it on–let’s do this!