I thought a lot last year about how to maximize my time once I returned to London and focused on my writing again and this week was a good test run for the ideas I had. It hasn’t been entirely successful but of course as we all know ‘failure’ is a hurdle you have to jump in order to learn and progress (blurgh) and this blog post is about sharing my first working week’s highs and lows with you. Let me start by saying what I have started.
Selfishly, this is of course my most important news. I worked out the bare bones of the story while in Spain and also the outline of the main characters but as of December I had not started to write. The single most important task I set myself over Christmas (which was a fantastic time catching up with all my friends and family, I hadn’t seen a lot of people for nearly a year) was to start writing the story Monday 5th January and then continue to write every day. As I mentioned in a previous post I am working for the first time on Scrivener and if you haven’t used this software before one of the basic features is that it allows you to create folders and sub folders for chapters and work on them individually so for me – as someone who has already worked out the approximate separation of chapters in the story line and scenes within each chapter – I had the first chapter ready to go, I just needed to sit down and write, which I'm happy to say I did and I have completed the first scene of Chapter 1. What I wanted to do as well however was share my journey of writing this novel and I had three main reasons for doing so:
- To create a sense of panic within me! Just like making a commitment to a friend to go to the gym with them, or go running with them, etc. once you have agreed to it there is no backing out and you simply have to turn up no matter how much you don’t feel like it. I felt that way about my writing, if I tell people I am doing it and I show them what I am producing then there is no backing out and I cannot fail to produce more content.
- To structure my week. I have a schedule in mind for how I need to break down my days to ensure I have research time, writing time (both my novel and separately, my short stories), social media time, reading time and so on. If I intend on sharing my writing life with people then I need to be regimented in doing so. It is unprofessional and unfair to be random in my posts. If I want people to look at my work then I can’t expect them to put up with irregular posts and delays. So by saying I was going to share my work it helped me focus on making sure I stick to a weekly plan which in a very brief outline will be this (Now of course I am doing other things as well but I am just sticking to my novel here!):
a. Monday: Research day (my novel is set in London and to help me I will photograph and make notes of the different locations I want to write about, therefore every Monday I will travel to a new location.)
b. Tues-Fri: share some photos on Instagram and Twitter of my research.
c. Saturday: Post my normal general literature related blog (this one!)
d. Sunday: Post my new blog on the site Biosgraphy about the week’s work on the novel.
AND MOST IMPORTANTLY:
I want to enjoy the process of writing (as tortuous as it can be) and over the last couple of years as I have learnt more about social media and joined more platforms I have grown to enjoy sharing media. At first I was very nervous about it, very shy and unsure but I am slowly getting used to it and more confident. I now enjoy sharing the images I take and seeing as I will be undertaking these little trips around London I feel it is a nice thing to do to share them in order to give you an insight into my writing inspiration. I will add all of my social media links to the end of each blog post so if you are on sites like Instagram, Flickr and so on please feel free to click on the those links and follow me where you can. It’s been fun trying things out and I admit I don't expect all of them to work but to give you an example I have recently experimented taking Google Photospheres.
These allow someone to take a 360 image and upload it to Google Maps (similar to Google Street View you may have used) and although I am only using my fairly battered iPhone rather than the special 360 cameras or camera attachments you can buy, they still come out okay, unfortunately not perfect, there are odd jumps in the stitching together but it gives you an acceptable image. The reason this is exciting for me is that as well as giving me a real life image I can go back to for my research it is also a new and interesting way for people to examine parts of the world they may never have seen before.
Let me explain to you what I intend on doing on the new site I mentioned above, Biosgraphy.
Biosgraphy: The story of my novel
I was searching for a site that I could blog on because although I considered creating another Blogger site (I find blogger very good) I thought it would be fun to try something new and give me new impetus to work in a different way. I found a few sites but chose this one as it seems very simple to use, allows for multimedia uploads and looks very nice. The idea is that I take all of my notes from my Monday research jolly and share them with you to allow you to get a feel of the places I am writing about, which may or may not be the more familiar London sites people are used to. I will curate these posts to a certain extent but I also wanted to do an additional job with this site...
I wanted to learn myself :)
Part of the reason I am wandering around every Monday is to educate myself on London. I have lived here my whole life but as you may expect there are parts I have never visited. There are also parts that I regularly go to but only ever see a fraction of. London is a famous city but it is the same no matter where you live, there are parts you never see and certainly histories you never uncover. I wanted to discover more of my home city and explore the literary connections that are all around me. With a city like London you can never learn everything, there is simply too much to work through however that doesn’t mean you can’t try to dig a little bit. There are too many books on different aspects of literary London to attempt to begin to write an overview but the main things I wanted to focus on were the writers, literary histories and literary locations that are within the towns that make up London. One example of something I could look up as I went to a new town were the English Heritage Blue Plaques:
Now, there is no point in just researching every single plaque within London because it is too arbitrary, there is no connection to what I am doing. Yes, it would be interesting but you have to limit yourself somehow otherwise you could take up every single minute of your day researching and never get around to writing. So, instead, when I go to a town that may appear in my book I will find out what plaques are there and look at those specifically. I tried to use a new blog site to chart my progress with this but it became too much work to spend time on a separate project so I decided to include this on my weekly Biosgraphy write up. The site I wanted to use is Niume: https://niume.com and it is a very good site that I recommend, it is just for purely workload reasons I decided against it. It has some interesting articles and blogs there so do check it out if you can. I was also tempted to use another new blog site called Rekordr: http://www.rekordr.com which again is a fantastic site but just not practical for me to spend time on it…yet!
So I am hoping that although the title of my blog is The Story of My Novel it will be of interest to people who want to see another side of London, possibly learn a new literary gem or two, and understand me more as a writer and as a person by seeing the background that informs my choices with plot and story and why those choices may or may not influence my characters and themes.
Here is the link for the site I am using, Biosgraphy, take a look for yourself:
Here is the link to my individual page where I will be posting every Sunday. My first post will be tomorrow, Sunday 11th January 2015 so please do bookmark it or come back tomorrow and check it out, I hope it will make more sense when you see it and I hope you find it interesting:
What else am I working on?
Okay, so I am now posting on Instagram and Flickr weekly, blogging weekly on my general writing blog, blogging weekly about the London research for my book, tweeting and continuing to grow my literary related image boards on Pinterest – what else am I up to?
- As well as writing my first novel I am still working on short stories. While I was in Spain I drafted several to a fairly decent stage and I still have several more to move on from idea stage. I will always continue with short stories because I really love them and I feel it is a great method to develop my writing. So, I am hoping that this year I can self publish a short story more or less once a month while I am working on the novel. I will update you regularly about how those are going and it is my intention to get the first of the year out the end of January.
- I am looking to kick start my YouTube channel back into action. I am really interested in interviewing a range of people who have something to say about the world of independent creativity. I have writers to meet of course but also artists of all genres and forms including people who work in more technical, business and sales related fields that can offer advice and information on what independent people need to do to make themselves heard. I also have another couple of literary related ideas for some video series but they are still in research stage so I am too nervous about telling you about them now in case they never get off the ground. I love the premise of them, it is more about whether they are practical to do. I'll keep you posted...
- I am happy that my Facebook pages are live again as I didn’t use them while away so I’m looking forward to sharing general news and affairs with you.
- One last thing I am unsure about is whether or not to release my novel chapter by chapter on Wattpad. I like the idea of it but I am unsure whether it will be up to scratch as I will not be in a position to fully edit each installment. If you don’t know Wattpad then do look it up, especially if you are an active reader. You can find great stories there: http://www.wattpad.com For writers it allows you to upload work and (hopefully) build up an audience. However, the reason I am nervous about doing this is I want to keep to a tight writing schedule as I really, really, really want to get this novel finished this year, and I am unsure as to whether this will help me or hinder me. I will think about this over the next couple of weeks and let you know my decision.
- Work with Rufus Garlic and Alfred Duff! I’ve missed my two writing colleagues and they have been very busy on their projects while I was away so we have a lot to catch up on. Alfred has new books in the Warspite series on the boil and Rufus has several short stories ready as well as a flash-fiction project ready to go too. This means I have a lot of work to do with my amateur ‘publishers’ head on, which I am very excited to be able to share with you soon.
Please join me on all my social media pages:
YouTube 1: https://www.youtube.com/thinkingplainly (Personal Channel)
YouTube 2: https://www.youtube.com/thinkingplainlyltd (Company Channel)
And Author Profile Pages to keep informed of the latest releases:
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