A few updates

It’s been quite a while since I updated here. But as usual I got my yearly auto-domain renewal email and it reminded me that I have a website. So here’s what’s up with me.

I’m coming up on nine months in a new job. It’s still in UX design, but in-house now. I’m learning loads and it’s great fun.

I’ve been working on my health and fitness this year too. I’m rapidly coming up to thirty seven and my body has definitely started letting me know about it, so eating as healthy a diet as I can manage and getting regular exercise has gone from vague aspiration to necessity in fairly short order.

Last year, I also quit alcohol, likely for good. It’s been just over fourteen months and it’s gone from a strange talking point at parties to just being a thing I don’t really think about now. One thing it definitely has been is a massive net positive for my mood, wallet, health and general happiness. I’m not one to make po-faced teetotal faces at people and I still hang out in pubs with mates. I just drink gallons of lime and soda now instead of lager.

Probably the major change aside from work, health and booze is that I’m writing again. I had about a year and a half of not writing anything really, which was simultaneously a wonderful break and actually ended up reminding me that I do actually love to write. The problem was that for a long time I turned it into a chore.

I also discovered as I began writing again that I needed to consider new approaches. In the past I have been very focused on hitting a daily word count. What I was terrible at, even when I hit that word count every day, was doing anything with the raw output of that daily count. Added to that, I rarely did any real planning of what I was going to write, I’d just blindly fumble my way through the plot. The moment-to-moment writing was sometimes a lot of fun, but more often a grind. And the big, meandering, repetitive books that resulted were essentially impossible to edit without burning them down and starting from scratch.

So now, I’m working with an outline. I’ve worked out a calendar of writing activities that allow me to move from initial ideas to developed synopsis to full outlines. I’ve also switched from daily word count targets to more flexible weekly targets. This means I can write five or six days in the week and still regularly hit 5,000 to 7,000 words a week, or more if it’s going well.

This has been a really exciting change for me. After burning out on writing for a long time and looking forlornly at the four or five novels and dozens of short stories cluttering up my hard drive, I feel like I’ve got a handle, finally, on how to produce good fiction.

So the focus of this blog is going to shift a little, I think. I’ll still be writing the odd post about the outdoors, about politics (although the international 24 hour shitshow that politics has become since I last wrote regularly about it certainly isn’t encouraging) and about technology and the web.

But I will be writing about writing. What I’m doing, what I’m experimenting with and what, with a little luck, I might be publishing.

So that’s what’s new with me, as of mid-October 2017. Stay tuned for more soon.

Written on October 14, 2017