This is only my second writing related blog post of 2019. And it’s April. I know, I know. Seems like I’m slacking, but anyone following me on social media will know that I have been a busy manboy. So far this year the first draft of ‘The Darkwood Mysteries: The Book of Lies’ has been knocked out, and I have been busy plotting out ‘The Darkwood Mysteries: The Rise of the Dragon’. I have now made a good start on ‘Rise’ and am about 10,000 words in. Not too shabby. That will leave one more Darkwood Mystery to write and I will then have twenty titles in the series. Woohoo!
It’s not all been actual writing either. I have been rethinking my blog and have cleared out pretty much all my non-writing posts, clearing up tags and categories, and going forward I am going to commit to two blog posts a month. One post near the beginning of the month and on writing, where I will be blogging about projects, plans, and sneak peeks (like this one–please note the funky new image); and another post part way through the month on what I’m enjoying, what I’m doing and inspiration (wait until you see the image for that one–it’s funky-adorable). I hope this will give my blog a bit more of an identity, and with only two types of post, you will know what to expect and what you want to follow. If either of them!
Why the change?
I have been thinking. I know–dangerous. I recently stumbled across the Creative Penn podcast (which is brilliant for creatives–listen to it!) and my resignation of my writing as just a ‘hobby’ has been blown away. I have come to see that my doing so has been defeatist, and me doing what I do a lot of–not pushing myself, not taking risks, through being fearful of rejection and failure. In actual fact, calling my writing a hobby was to excuse the slowed and now stagnant sales to myself through the changes at Amazon when I should have been pushing myself into marketing–something I have never managed to do. In all honesty the lack of sales and the reads and my labeling my writing as a hobby had robbed me of some of my motivation for writing. After all, I want my stories to be read–I’m a storyteller FFS. Wow… that got heavy fast, didn’t it?
For anyone who knows me you’ll know that I threw myself into counselling studies, and then accountancy studies, and I really pushed myself to achieve my passes in those fields due to a lack of security in the social care field I work in. While I am proud of those achievements, I lacked the momentum to follow the studies through into business due to the financial risks in leaving a job I have been in for a very long time, and through the fear of trying something different and it not working out. Well, I’m older now, and I’m in a better position financially and I know that I have to treat my writing the way I have treated my studies and go all in. I’m motivated–I now need to figure out what to do with that motivation. The first step is to start studying about writing–as a business.
Lots. So far, I’m going to start saving for a writing budget–my capital (get me!)–and for my actual titles I want new covers for my four horror novels, to have my own ISBNs, be print on demand, and I’m going to look into audio versions too. I’m also going to look into marketing with Amazon ads, mailing lists, and sorting out free PDF copies of some of my work which can be downloaded from my website. I hope you’ll tag along and follow my progress on these monthly posts. I welcome anyone with pointers, advice, or just cheerleader pom poms and choreographed encouragement.
‘The Darkwood Mysteries: The Book of Lies’ sees Darkwood and Hobbs hunting down a dangerous book. Not the first dangerous book they’ve encountered, I’ll grant you, but this tale is going full on horror. Think the horror of ‘The Thing’–in a drawing room. It’s also a little different because not all is what it seems for Darkwood and Hobbs, for Darkwood has a motive, and the short story is going to be echoing its title. This is a very different Darkwood.
Anyway, that’s enough of a tease, here is the rough first draft of the opening of the story:
Each of us will come to crossroads in our lives where decisions made for us, or choices consciously made by us, determine the course of our lives and our very nature. If we could just glimpse every possible future we could see how one child could become a cast of varied persons with markedly different characters and capabilities at the ends of the different paths they could walk. How very brittle is the present, the people in our lives, and the connections we have with them—so dependent on what has paved the way to them. For one past decision—one event—could be the stone in an icy pond, creating fractures where there could be ripples, and the landscape of the future is irrevocably changed into ill-fitting pieces swirling in eddies which will never reform in the same way.
And where do these choices come from, but ideas—individual and sudden as a whim, and as primal as a need determines; or reliant on a collection, as entrenched as a code, or as refined and yet intangible as beliefs. Individuals, peoples, cities, countries, leaders and faiths can be shaped, raised or felled by an idea. Even history past and the histories to be made—in whatever possibility—are shaped and determined by thought. All through an idea being acted upon through the fulcrum of choice in any given moment—the power of mortal beings over their lives and the lives of others and the future unfolding. Yet there are forces in this world beyond the comprehension of man or woman with the power to rewrite the nature of a person. Yes, there are things in this world which can change the unfathomable man into the unthinkable, and—like many ideas—one such force of nature resides in a book.
Considering the changes this blog post has been about, that excerpt seems very apt. Let’s see where this new way of thinking about my writing takes me…