What I’m up to - January 2021
Here’s everything new with me as we stumble into another year.
This is a cross-post from my current Now page.
Well, now that I can exhale again for the first time in several years…
- New York 2140 by Kim Stanley Robinson - I’ve been a KSR fan since I read the Mars trilogy when I was still in high school. I’ve been greatly enjoying this novel, with his signature sprawling style and eye-popping imagery. I’m also pleased to note that his characterisation is a lot more solid than it used to be - the large cast of characters is well drawn and the dialogue is working for me. As with all his books, it’s all sort of hanging loosely together at the midpoint, but I’m betting it will come together nicely in the end.
- Places in the Darkness by Chris Brookmyre - Another author I’ve been reading since my teens, including his crime/thriller work. This one (which I just finished) was great, very well put together. It was full of excellently done misdirection and had a genuinely surprising and enjoyable twist ending. The worldbuilding was great too. Recommended.
- It’s been a long time (last June) since I updated my Now page (sort of missing the point of it) but there’s been a lot of change in that time. I’m in a new job, which is for the moment 100% remote and which I’m really enjoying. We’ve also moved out of Edinburgh after a decade and bought our first house in East Lothian! If you’d told me I’d buy a house after losing my job in the middle of a pandemic this time last year, I wouldn’t have believed you, but here we are.
- Now that we live out in the country, I’ve got both forest and a beautiful beach within five minutes walk. I’ve been taking advantage of that with near-daily walks and I’m definitely enjoying the increased time in nature, the fresh air and the space to think. It’s also turned regular walking from a semi-chore I did mainly for the physical benefits to a genuine pleasure.
- Writing-wise, I had a big reset in December. I low-key decided to see how I would fare trying to write every day for a month. The answer was ‘very well’, and I have now turned that into the first genuinely solid writing routine I’ve managed for a long, long time. I intend to write a blog post about that, because it has been transformative for me.
- As a result, I’m making excellent progress on a novel tentatively titled Chronocosm, which I’ll hopefully be finishing the first draft of in February, possibly March. Then it’s back to a final edit on Stringers. And then… I’m going to give actually submitting my work a bash.
- Right now in Scotland, we’re in our second full lockdown, so we’re not planning too far ahead. For the moment, the main plan is getting to grips with home ownership (today’s lunch break was fun, fixing gutters on our conservatory broken by heavy wet slush after a snowfall) and hunkering down to wait out the winter.
- As above, this year is hopefully going to be the Year of Submitting my Novel(s). We’ll see how that goes.
- Finally, I think I’m going to dig my previous Now pages out of the site cache and post them as actual posts. It’ll be interesting to see how they’ve changed over the months I’ve been doing them. And, of course, I’m intending to do them more often than every 7 months.