Staying Accountable Via The Blog

I’ve been thinking about the purpose of this blog for a while. Partly it’s just a dumping ground for my general musings, partly it’s a place I can go when I’m trying to remember the name of that good book I read six months ago. Partly it’s a way to look back on the year at the end of it, work out what went well and what didn’t, and plan the following twelve months.

But one thing a lot of people use blogs for is something I haven’t done so far: a way of staying accountable.  Read more

2017

the sights of 2017

the grey sofa covered in grey blankets, and grey me lying there greyly
half-stripped wallpaper
a purple laptop with flickering screen, nestling amongst white bedclothes
a piano covered in dustsheets
plants at the end of the bath, fronds dangling near my toes
the glaring bright of the bathroom light: an attack
my face in the mirror, a white death mask
hospital monitors
candle flames
and smoke rising from a cauldron.

Read more

How Long Should My Novel Be?

I have written so many books over the years, and yet until now I’ve had basically no idea what I’ve been doing, which is probably why until this year none of them have been published. I read as much as I could find about how to write a book and tried to apply the advice, but so much of it was simply too vague.

“Work on it!” they said.
“Plan it!” they said.
“Stick to a writing schedule!” they said.

Yeah, OK. But how do I plan it? How many words long does a book have to be? How many chapters should my novel have? How many words per page? How many pages per chapter? How many chapters per book? How do I know which bit goes where? How will I know when it’s finished? FUUUCCCKKK HELP MEEEEE

Read more

The Week I Got My Brain Back

Last week’s post left off just as I was about to go into hospital to find out when they’d be booking me in for surgery. I had been hoping that it might be fairly soon, since I’m apparently an urgent case and I’ve barely been able to leave the house in months, but hope is a treacherous and flighty beast, and of course things didn’t go quite so smoothly.

The waiting list for surgery is 4-6 months long; the minimum amount of time in which I’ll be booked for surgery is four months. Then there’s an eight-week recovery period, so basically whatever happens I’m essentially taking the rest of the year off.

They can’t push me up the list unless my Angry Internal Organs actually rupture, which made me start wishing they would, until I remembered that would have irritating potential side effects like involuntary sudden death. So I figured maybe I’ll obey the doctor’s instructions and not do anything to make this whole situation any more precarious, and look after my Angry Organs, and hopefully maintain this tenuous truce for as long as I can.

Read more

There Is Still

the world is hard today
but there is still

there is still a person smiling at a stranger in the street
still the trees of summer wafting in the breeze
still the light of a warm golden evening slanting through the park
still dust motes dancing in its wake
there is still

Read more

Five Things I’ve Learned From Writing Professionally

I have been making a living through words on pages, in one way or another, since 2001.

Over the years, this has taken many forms: proofreading, poetry, copywriting, editing, academic research, translation… the list goes on.

Currently, on top of my various other jobs, I also edit a couple of websites. Doing so has recently given me cause to reflect on some of the things I’ve learned about writing over the years.

Read more