30 January 2012 - 7:05 pm

Still alive!

I can’t believe that it has been so long since I updated this blog. I’m so sorry! It has been months, and whenever I think of it in those terms, my brain says, “Months? Nah, it can’t be… oh, it is. Damn.”

Every time I have thought about writing something for this blog lately, I’ve had the desire and intention to write a post but the time has just slipped away from me. Even now, I’m writing this on the train on the way home, taking a break from writing actual fiction.

So, what have I been up to? It has been a packed, crazy few months. Let’s see if I can summarise my recent journeys in fiction and writing, and catch up to now.

November was NaNoWriMo, as it always is for me. Not just because of the challenge itself, but also because I’m a Municipal Liaison for this region. That means: prowling the forum with encouragement and aid for my faithful, madly-typing wrimos; organising and running events all over the city; putting together prizes and competitions; working full time at my day job; and, oh, writing a novel.

NaNo 2011 was a weird one. Usually, our numbers swell progressively from year to year, as word of the madness spreads and more lemmings leap off the novelling cliff into the wordcrafting updrafts. 2011, though, saw our event attendance drop, which worried my co-ML and me at first. We did everything we could think of to spread the word and it did pick up through the month (usually, it drops off!). Overall, we were really happy with how it went. We met a pile of new friends and had a blast, and we’ve got stacks of ideas to make NaNo 2012 bigger and better yet.

I managed to slide over the 50,000-word line without much problem, too! Despite everything that was going on, the writing came easily and quickly for me. I can’t say how much of a relief that was!

I used half of the NaNo wordcount target to finish off the second book of Starwalker, which has just finished posting (phew!). It was great to get ahead of the curve for a change!

Once that was drafted, I moved on to a project that has been tickling in the back of my brain for a while now. It’s a novel (rather than a serial), it’s steampunk, there are kinda-sorta vampires (I struggle to take ‘straight’ vampires seriously), and the central protagonist is a librarian. It’s possibly the first in a trilogy, as it links in with another story that I’ve been toying with for ages, though I’m still working out how they play together in the sandpit. I’m having lots of fun with it, though.

The end of NaNo was a relief: I was glad to put it to bed, but sad too. It’s a wild ride and I’m always more than ready for a rest when it’s done! A lot of December was spent recovering, as well as catching up on my day job, madly preparing for the more mundane events (like Christmas), and attempting to keep up a little momentum on my writing.

The two projects I worked on through NaNo have kept me busy since November ended. When I haven’t been editing and polishing Starwalker for posting, I’ve been writing the steampunk. The latter is up to 70,000 words and still going strong; there’s quite a long way to go there yet. I’m hoping I’m over the halfway point, but I don’t like to restrict myself; we’ll see where it goes.

Now that Book 2 of Starwalker has finished (more on that in another post soon!), I’ve decided to take a bit of a break before delving into Book 3. There is a third project that I’ve been struggling to get to, so I’ve decided to dedicate February to making a dent in it: editing the Apocalypse Blog for ebook release.

I’m up to the second book (of the main trilogy; that is, not counting the prequel). It’s over 100,000 words now and it’ll be even bigger by the time I’m finished. I’m hoping to get through all of Book 2 in the next month, so both of my other projects are on hiatus until 29th February.

It’s a bit of a gamble. The most dangerous thing for my writing is for me to take a break, because I find it so difficult to pick up a project mid-way through after I’ve put it down. That’s one reason why web serials work so well for me: they have additional pressure for me to keep the momentum up; and having people reading and waiting for the end pushes me to get there. So, Starwalker readers, don’t fear: I’ll pick that story up again. Getting back into the steampunk will be harder, though.

It will be worth it. I really want to get more of the Apocalypse Blog out (I’ve been getting emails asking me when more of it is going to be released in ebooks!). I want to get all three books edited and polished, and maybe look at doing a set of short stories related to it (I have plans for that somewhere). The short stories will depend on my other commitments once the ebooks are out of the way, though.

I’m certainly not short on plans. There’s so much I want to do! Starwalker and related spin-offs (I’m not going to say now just how many kernels of ideas there are already growing in the Starwalker universe). AB ebooks and spin-offs. The steampunk series.

Well, fingers crossed, I’ll get to it all before too long. Life, health, and work permitting!

I’m still battling with my health on a daily basis. Stress at the day job coupled with a general decline of my energy levels makes summoning up the creative juices so much harder these days (that’s why I am finally writing this blog post, because I’m not quite feeling up to thinking about story this afternoon).

We’ve got a big deadline at work coming up in April, and I think things are going to be rocky for me until that passes. Such is the fun of being a team leader. I’m hoping that things will improve after then, but I’m becoming more and more sure that I’d really like more of my mental energy focussed on my creative writing. It’s where my heart lives, and I have so little energy to go around these days. Those who know me know that I have a habit of picking up responsibilities, though, and I don’t know how easy letting go will be. I guess we’ll see about that.

In the meantime, I hope to not let it hold me back. I’ve had CFS for years now and I’m not putting my life on hold in the hopes it’ll get better soon. Push through and carry on, as always.

I have an ambitious year ahead of me: AB ebook releases; Book 3 of Starwalker; submitting the steampunk for publication; more NaNo organisation. It’s entirely possible that I’ll be arranging a writer’s retreat weekend for this November, too. It’ll be hard work but so worth it!

I’m still here; I’m still writing. It’s hard going right now but I’ll get there. Here’s to aiming high!

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