Saying Goodbye to 2015

There’s always something quite nice and refreshing about a new year. I always find myself gearing up ready for exciting things. I make goals for myself and put in plot points to reach them. I relish the idea of starting afresh and while 2015 has not been a particularly arduous year, I feel like 2016 is signalling great new things to come.

Already I have had news that a co-written novella by myself and David Owain Hughes has been accepted for publication. I have a novel in with Dark Chapters Press which I hope to hear about come February and already a couple of short stories lined up to be in anthologies.

I have plans to finish writing a series of novels that I’m working on. This year I wrote two which means I’m challenging myself to write five novels next year in that series. I have another idea brewing that could possible be something in the middle grade/YA range which I’m excited about and of course I’ll try and keep up with short story submissions.

In other things I want to challenge myself to read more. Although the latter half of this year has gotten relatively better, I’ve picked up an actual reading challenge and started compiling a list of books that I want to acquire.

And of course there are those usual personal goals in amongst all of that including being more organised and certainly more assertive. That’s always a hard one, isn’t it?

Whether you’re a goal setter or not, I wish you all the most happy of New Years and hope that 2016 brings everything you could want.



Are you a Goal-Oriented Person?

Different people work in different ways. If you’re anything like me then you need to have lists of things to do, lots of ticky boxes that you feel great about crossing out and goals to work towards. If not then perhaps you’re the type of person who likes to wing it and see where it gets you.

I’ve tried both approaches in the past. And I guess it depends what I’m doing. I like to be organised. It helps me keep things in line and know where I’ve got to be and what I’ve got to write for when. However, it doesn’t always go to plan and I think it’s important to know when to step outside the box and wing it along with my counterparts.

Currently, I’m working on a few short stories for submission and I’m starting the edits of a nano novel. So that’s all going well. But in the middle of all of that my brain came up with this ingenious idea. And I couldn’t let it go so I’ve started planning it and while I’m not writing it yet, it won’t be far off. I’ve just gone with the flow of this and those deadlines are still niggling in the back of my mind so I know just when I’ve got to work on something else by.

Being flexible and adaptable is probably a very important to being a creative person. Rigidity is good but so is change and I try to aspire to both. Sometimes it’s hard and sometimes it blows my mind a little trying to stay focused but going with the flow but I’m learning as I go.

Are you goal oriented or do you wing it? Which approach is better for you and how do you go about it?

Move past that Mistake

Resolutions are something that really work for me. I’m a goal-oriented person and love being able to say that I challenged myself to do something and that I achieved it. I have a lot of willpower for some things and I think one of my flaws as a person is hating failing at anything. If I set myself a challenge and don’t complete it for some reason, I get pretty bummed out.

Last week, when we were in the second week of January, I accidentally missed a day of writing. There was so much going on. We moved my sister house, did lots of running around and then spent the evening with a couple of good friends having nice food and a drink or two. Somewhere along that time the whole ‘no zero’ concept got missed. I didn’t write that day and what’s worse, I woke up thinking about it the morning after. I’d already failed at my goal.

But somehow, I managed to shake it off. Sure I’d missed a day but there was good reason for it including complete lack of time and the curse of my forgetful mind. So yes, I was bummed for about an hour and then I got over it. I’m not letting that deter me and I’ve written every day since. Everyday. I think that’s what I have to hang onto. Yes there was a blip but it didn’t last and I got right back on that horse.

Perhaps sometimes, we have to remind ourselves that life doesn’t always go the way we planned. We can make excuses or we can continue on and that’s what I chose to do.

I haven’t tallied up my new word count up to date but I think I’ll make it a monthly thing and plan to do spreadsheets and everything to stay organised (I love that stuff!)

In other news, my shifts at work have changed and while it means I work more days the hours are nicer and more suited to being able to organise my life around them. They start in Feb so if I go a little awol for a while, you know why! Hopefully not though so I also want to blog weekly!

The First Chapter

So last night I wrote a short story intended for a contest. I had no idea what I was going to write when I started typing but the main character from the newest novel I’m working on popped into my mind and from there it just spiralled. What came from that was something that could potentially be the first chapter for my novel! I’m quite happy with it, especially since I wasn’t intending to write that.

What happens when you put pen to paper? Do you feel that you have to have something to work with, say an outline, before you start writing or can you just start with a very basic idea and go from there?

For me it depends on how I’m feeling at the time. I try to be organised—I really do!—but it doesn’t always work and sometimes a story takes it’s own route and I think when that happens it’s important to try and stay with it and see where it goes. Writing something, even a short story, can be an adventure in itself.

In other news I finally joined the world of Twitter! You can find me @AliceJBlack

It’s a little scary and I’m still not convinced I have the hang of it but I’m getting there!