Looking forward to 2019 blog header

Looking forward to 2019

Ok, it’s official.December is completely running away with me. I can’t believe I have less than two weeks of work left for the year, nevermind that I’m finishing my Christmas shopping this weekend! I have, at last put up the Christmas tree, at least…

Planning 2019 – January

I’m starting to properly plan for next year, though. It’s safe to say that I mostly pantsed this year. Maybe plantsed if I’m being nice! I’m still working on a kind of timeline for my writing (while leaving time for being ill, grrr!), but Porselein is the novel at the top of my list for January 2019. I really, really need to get done with the final outline and stuff. It’s been a year and I’m now thoroughly irritating myself by not getting anywhere.

Planning 2019 – February

February will then be mostly spent on The Ruon ChroniclesThe Knowledge Stones and Grove of Graves. I really want to start Book 1 of the Chronicles, but need to finish these two before I can do that.

In other news…

Jozi Flash 2018 is still happening. I know I’ve been really quiet about it, but we are still working on it behind the scenes! And this one is going to be brilliant! I can’t wait to see the final anthology!

You can have a look at the 2016 and 2017 anthologies over here. And they’re free!

I’m also thinking of trying out bullet journaling in the new year. I doubt mine will be a work of art (wow some people put a lot of effort into them and they’re beautiful!), but I’m just looking for a way to keep all my thoughts and stuff together. So I’m going to try that and see how it goes…mind you, I do have a lot of washi tape…hmmm….

I also have some new ideas for the blog and website next year! More fiction and writing and some book reviews too, to name but a few. I also have a guest post with the awesome Rachel Poli in January!

What about you? Do you have some plans for 2019 yet? Tell me in the comments! I’d love to hear.

Blog Header Discovering Your Passion part 3

Discovering your passion: learning and doing

(You can read Part 1 and Part 2 by clicking here.)

Okay, so you’ve decided what to pursue, but now you probably have quite a learning curve ahead of you – even if you just want to learn to brioche knitting (difficult, but awesome, btw). The first thing you probably need to do is to do some homework about your newly-chosen calling,especially if it’s a change in studies or your career. The more you know, the more prepared you’ll be to start stepping in the right direction.

Studying

If you want to (or need to) study something, find out where you need to go to study the specific subject – can you do online courses, do you need to go to a university, etc.

Most courses have their requirements listed online these days, but if there’s anything unclear, send an email detailing what it is you want to find out. Don’t just say “I want to find out more about your course”, be specific – even list courses you’ve already done. That not only gives a much better impression but shows that you really are serious about taking the course.

I also have found that email is the better option as people can then take their time to respond to queries and they already have your correct contact details when they need to send you things.

If you are able to learn online, it may be a good idea to start out with those courses that don’t cost the world. You can start small and then build up your knowledge.

Courses to consider

Some sites to consider (which are either free or not too pricey, especially if they are on sale!), are:

Where will you get the time?

I have bad news. You’ll have to make time to hustle if you want to get somewhere while also working on a day job, being a parent – or even both,the time won’t just fall into your lap.

A schedule

For me, it helps to get up early and work early in the morning (by early I mean writing from 6 am to 7:30 or 7:45 am) and then work on something else during my lunch hour – usually crochet or knitting. After work, I catch up on some podcasts and then it’s time for some more writing or planning.

But it’s no use trying to copy my exact schedule (especially if you have children!), you need to find a schedule that works for you. And, if you decide to get up earlier, you have to remember that the body isn’t going to get used to it in one day.

Perhaps you would rather work through lunchtime if you want to write, or perhaps get to work early and write then (I always have a timer going so I know when to stop). Otherwise,weekends may also do the trick. The main thing is to be adamant and consistent about it. If you have classes, say, on a Saturday, your family has to realise that that time is as good as you being at work.

The other thing to always keep in mind with your routine is your health. I wish I could say that my routine is 100% the same every day, but, some days, the dragon wins. The only book I’ve ever come across that really took health – and specifically chronic illnesses – into account, is Crank It Out! By C.S. Lakin. And boy can those chronic stuff mess you around…

So, if you have to break routine because of health, break it. You’re no good writing or working on your side-hustle when you feel like you’ve been run over by a train. If you still want to write while you’re ill, rather get a lap desk* and sit and plot in bed. It may not be the best thing posture-wise, but if you’re ill, it’s a lot easier to work and nap if you’re already in bed. So people tell me…

I’m still standing

One problem with writing is all the sitting, so I’ve now also invested in a standing desk. And this extra-cool awesome and pretty standing desk by DeskStand that’s #ProudlySouthAfrican too, I might add*.

DeskStand Jumbo Desk

I do still type slower standing, but it is coming along. And I don’t stand for hours upon hours (because buggered knees and joints), but I do stand after work so that I can stretch a bit as well. I’m busy with a cotton rug that will be my standing mat and foot massager all in one (I’m using this cotton and a 12 mm hook, so it’s really bulky and dense).

*These aren’t affiliate links, I actually own them. You should think of owning them too, they’re awesome!

Cutting down on binge-watching and binge-listening

This is one I struggle with. The watching not so much, but definitely the listening. I think it’s because one podcast episode can be everywhere from 15 minutes to 4 hours long (*looks accusingly at Astonishing Legends*) that I don’t always keep track of the time!

Do you have any tips and tricks when it comes to managing your time? Please share them in the comments below!

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Blog Header Image Rediscovering your passion part 2

Rediscovering your passion, part 2

(You can read Part 1 by clicking here.)

In part 1 of “rediscovering your passion,” I wrote about how it became clear to me that I was on the right road regarding the work I wanted to do and the passion that I wanted to pursue full-time, i.e. writing.

My eureka moment

While I’d always enjoyed writing and making up stories, I didn’t seriously start to think about writing as a career until grade 10 (so 15/16 years old) and I’d read The Lord of the Rings. The school counselor was not impressed, though, and I ended up doing work shadowing in the botany department of the local university. It was very interesting, but I couldn’t see myself actually doing it as a job.

Luckily, though, I had an awesome mother (she passed away 9 years ago), who was supportive of the path I wanted to follow.She even bought me Beowulf (okay,and she had given me The Lord of the Rings, so everything is definitely her fault! 😀 Blame it on my mother and Tolkien…).

But what happens when you don’t even know what your passion is, you just know that it’s not what you’re doing at the moment?

The road to your own eureka moment

First off, it’s important to remember that you don’t actually have to do something full-time for it to be your passion or to prove to anyone that it is your passion.

I’ve got a little list, I’ve got a little list…

Ok, I couldn’t help quoting Mikado. No, not a list of people to kill,* but a list of things you’ve always wanted to try.

Are there any of them that you can try out? Or, if it does come down to a new job, is there somewhere you can work-shadow for a few days just to see what it’s actually like? (Hint: Most stuff isn’t how it looks on TV.) So don’t just go quitting your job and leaving your family or yourself destitute because you once saw a TV show on something and now feel it’s your calling.

*I realise that I now sound like a serial killer to those who don’t know Mikado…

I’ve tried stuff, and know that it’s what I want to do… but I need to change my career/studies…

Oh boy, you’ve both hit the jackpot and have a helluva lot of work in front of you. BUT! Don’t quit your day job just yet. Unless you won the lotto and can now easily pursue your passion without worrying about getting the funds together!

If you’re looking at changing your career, I suggest some or all of these books (no affiliate links):

Coming up in part 3: A steep learning curve

Photo in header by Paweł Czerwiński on Unsplash

November update 2: fiction, non-fiction, and courses

Can you believe it’s almost December? (Of course, Black Friday is still looming in front of me and, with it, the fear that I will actually have to go to the shops sometime on Friday, but I digress.)

I really feel like I’ve been running around like a chicken with its head cut off for most of the month, mostly because I’m fitting in a lot of work between flares I’m getting thanks to the heat waves we’re getting. And when I do type during a flare I feel like it’s in slow motion, which is irritating beyond belief.

Fiction: Shards of Mirrors

But, good news! Shards of Mirrors is available on Noisetrade Books! (If you want to know how to get your book on Noisetrade Books, I did a blog post over here.) You can also get a copy of Shards when you sign up to my monthly newsletter over here. More fiction! News! Writerly stuff! Special offers! And only one email once a month!

Non-fiction

I’m also getting back to writing about crafts, but I first want to have a few posts together before I post on Trebles on my mind again.

There are also more book reviews than I dare to count. But I’m taking them slowly and one at a time. The same goes for finishing #WritersTag at last. Sorry, that it’s taking me forever to do properly!

Courses

Online courses are evil. Ok, no I’m only joking. I just keep on signing up for too many all at once. So it’s really all my fault. Futurelearn and EdX offer free online courses – the problem is, most sound really interesting to me. Bother. But, anyway, I was taking the podcasting short course to help me not only when reading stuff for Patreon, but also to help a bit with audio when I’m writing my radio drama next year.

I’m also busy withsome short courses through Udemy and Shaw Academy, for writing and digital marketing.See what I mean? Too many courses at once! Ha! Luckily I can finish some on myown time!

Until the end of November, however, I will be focusing mostly on Porselein and, hopefully, I’ll be able to post a proper map for the story next week!

Books about writing I’m currently reading

The past few weeks I’ve been reading quite a few books on writing — specifically how to write faster and streamline your writing. This is mainly because I’ve found that I want to find a way to write at least the initial draft of a story faster and learn how to better outline my stories.

So far I’ve finished the first of the books I’m going to mention and am busy with the others (I always read more than one book at a time).

(Just an FYI, these aren’t affiliate links.)

5,000 Words Per Hour: Write Faster, Write Smarter by Chris Fox

Although I don’t necessarily want to write this fast (I think my wrist will hate me forever and ever), I have found some good tips in this book regarding sprints, dictation (which is good for when my wrist is hating on me) and more.

With lots of exercises to get you going and helping you write faster, this was a good buy for me. I also like Chris Fox’s writing style and will look into buying some of the other books in his series as well.

Write. Publish. Repeat. (TheNo-luck required guide to self-publishing success) – The Smarter Artist Book 1 by Sean Platt, Johnny B. Truant, David Wright

I listen to Sean, Johnny and David’s podcast and grabbed this book a while ago even though I’m only reading it now. I’m about halfway through and have found that there are some great tips to help you write, publish, and repeat. Great for those who are serious about making their living from their writing. I’ll probably have more to say once I finish the whole book.

Take Off Your Pants!: Outline Your Books for Faster, Better Writing, Revised Edition by Libbie Hawker

I’ve wanted to read this one for a while now as I started out a complete pantser, but boy did it mess up my “recommended for you” on Amazon for a few days, ha! Mind you, if I was someone who read a lot of romance and stuff it probably would not have been so obvious… Anyway, I’ve only just started this one, but really love Libbie Hawker’s style and voice. More on this one also once I’ve finished it.

What I want to read next:

Deep Work: Rules For Focused Success In a Distracted World by Cal Newport

I struggle to concentrate. Not so much that it is a huge problem, but I do find that I jump between tasks a lot during the day. And when I sit down to write it’s far too easy to “quickly” send a message or three, check the social media feeds, etc. So I hope this book can give me some tips to get myself again to a place where I can work for blocks of time (with or without the pomodoro technique) and not be sidetracked the whole time. I have the sample for this one at the moment, but haven’t bought the full book yet.

Rachel Aaron’s 2,000 to 10,000: How to write faster, writer better, and write more of what you love.

Recommended in some of the other books, so we’ll see how it goes once I’ve read it! Right now I can’t say much else about it except here’s the link, go check it out.

In the end, I know that reading won’t make me write faster, etc. but that exercises, and the like will. Sometimes you just need some pointers to point you in the right direction. So, if that is you, why not invest in a writing book or two?

Do you have a favourite book on writing? Please share in the comments below!

November writing plans: The Ruon Chronicles and Porselein

While the temperatures are cooling down for most of my readers (*waves hello*), the temperatures here on the Highveld are sweltering, leaving my poor desk fan to work most of the day at work to try and keep my space less stuffy.

To that end, I’m doing more of my writing early in the morning, leaving my melted brain to focus only on simple tasks like crocheting in the afternoons while I wait for it to cool down again. Which bring me to what I’ll be working on during November.

The Ruon Chronicles — The Knowledge Stones, Grove of Graves, and an untitled novella

The Knowledge Stones is starting to haunt me because I can’t seem to just finish it! But I guess it’s better to have it done properly that to have it only half done and sent out into the world!

At the moment I’m busy figuring out one of the fight scenes (it contains some of the Tellerassar/eagle shifters and promises to be epic). At the moments it’s only a bulleted list of things which much happen, and will take quite a bit of writing to get ready, I think. And probably watching some more eagle videos…

But after that it’s just the denouement and setting up the next story in the series; the novella Grove of Graves.

The problem with Grove of Graves

I wrote Grove of Graves quite on a whim, not sure where it would go and having no idea that I would slot it into the main narrative that would make up The Ruon Chronicles (as opposed to being just a novella set in Airtha-Eyrassa). Neither did I expect secondary characters which I’d already created for later books to pitch up and demand to not only be in Grove of Graves, but also in Knowledge Stones.

Anyway…

After writing The Knowledge Stones, and knowing that Grove of Graves takes place just a few years after that, I need to make some changes to the story before publishing the final version which will then be canon in The RuonChronicles.

However, you will still be able to read Grove of Graves as a standalone story and even start with that one before tackling The Knowledge Stones.

Basically the reading order will be The Knowledge Stones, Grove of Graves, the unnamed story I’m going to talk about in a bit, The Charms of Life and Death (which is set to be Book 1 of a series).

The as-yet unnamed story

So, as luck would have it, I stumbled across an idea for another story (or two) that is set outside of the main narrative of The Ruon Chronicles, but still set in Airtha-Eyrassa. These will be novellas (because who am I kidding when I say “they’ll probably only be short stories”!) and I will work on them from January 2019 in order to get at least one out by March 2019.

As they are not part of the main narrative, there is a bit more room to explore the world of Airtha-Eyrassa, which I think will not only be interesting to read, but will also help me to be able to write faster when I start with the serious series of The Ruon Chronicles. They will also be a good entry into the world for those just starting out reading the stories about the world.

One of the stories is set during the Ruon Wars in the Midlands/Northern Lands, with the other set in the more eastern parts of the continent.

Porselein — still busy tinkering

Yes, I know. It’s been like a year and I’m still not done. (But what a year!) I’m basically almost just about done with the full outline of Porselein  and one of the things that I think has held me back — that there isn’t really fantasy fiction for adults in Afrikaans so why bother writing some** — may just be a thing of the past now that the Afrikaans translation of The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring has been published. I can only hope.

Anyway, so I’m busy with the seventh module of my writing course (for which I am writing the book) and thanks to that have seen many instances where I need to rethink the pacing of the book or up the stakes some more. There is also some more backstory that I need to figure out completely and figure out how much of that I need to include in the book — if I need to include it at all.

** Ah, self-doubt. The seemingly ever-present companion of a writer.

A Note on Forgotten:

Because apparently I hate having any time off, I’ve decided to translate Forgotten into Afrikaans and make that available on Kobo as well. (Still pondering whether or not on Kindle…) However, this is not a priority for me at the moment, but more something that I want to do in-between working on my other projects. For now my main focus will be the Airtha-Eyrassa fiction and Porselein.

Forgotten is available in English at the moment, and you can read more about the story here.

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Final writing update for October

And there goes October whooshing by!

I’m very thankful to have finished and published Forgotten before Halloween (more about that over here), but November promises to be a very busy writing month as well. More about that next week, though.

#TheMerryWriter

During October I’ve had some more luck with keeping up with #TheMerryWriter on Twitter, though I still seem to fall behind at least once a week… oops. Still, it’s a lot of fun and also a chance to meet other writers who have the same or similar interests than yourself.

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The Ruon Chronicles and Porselein

With spending so much time getting Forgotten finished (and basically being very tired after some double deadlines* at work), I’ve barely touched Ruon Chronicles or Porselein this month. However, my fingers are itching to get stuck in and finishing these. I want to get a good part of the work done before triple deadlines start!

This Friday evening is the local Christmas Market where I’ll be selling some handmade goodies, but then I should have the rest of the weekend open for working on fiction. And cleaning. But I’m focusing on the writing!

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Shards of Mirrors

Aaaaand I’ve started another project. Well, sort of. It’s been brewing for a while, and is basically another flash fiction collection, like Dim Mirrors, wherein a whole lot of my flash stories are collected together and made available on a platform like Noisetrade Books. I’ve got a vague outline for it thus far, but will probably only have it ready somewhere at the beginning of 2019 as it still needs to be edited, etc. See, most of my Microcosms fiction is written during lunch hour, so they can all probably do with some re-editing.

So far I have an idea for a cover that is something like this:

Shard of Mirrors cover test

But I’m trying not to spread myself too thin! (She says, gazing at the pile of work she’s made for herself.)

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Have an awesome week!

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*For those wondering what on earth double and triple deadlines are, basically it’s our way of saying we have twice/thrice as many deadlines in the time we usually have one. Spoiler: by the time Christmas rolls around, the magazines up to February is basically finished… Anyway, it usually means a lot of coffee** and wishing that you had a TARDIS to get more hours out of the day.

** I drink mostly decaf though, so why I drink more coffee is beyond me! Ha!

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Patreon: Change is in the air!

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… but it’s good change!

Since starting my Patreon page, I’ve slowly but surely fallen off the wagon in posting everything that I’d hoped to post there for my Patrons. However, with the renewed faith that I will actually be able to finish Forgotten, The Knowledge Stones, and Grove of Graves still in this year, I also have renewed energy to get back into the saddle of Patreon, so to speak.

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So, to that end, I’m going to relaunch the Patreon page in a week or two with some new tiers ($1, $5 and $15 per month). The new video may not be completely finished by then, but I don’t want to put it off longer than two weeks for the rest as Forgotten is coming out for Halloween. So I definitely have some very busy weeks before me!

What’s in it for me?

Now for the really important things, i.e. what’s the rewards for being a Patron?

I’ve decided to rather only have 3 tiers, keeping them affordable for most people. What you will get in return is as follows:

One dollar per month tier:

  • Bi-monthly short story (Rather than a monthly one that I only rush through)
  • Behind the scenes looks at my most important WIPs as they’re being created – think Forgotten and The Ruon Chronicles
  • Worldbuilding notes, including maps, inspiration boards, etc. A look at the pipeline

Five dollars per month tier:

  • Everything of the one dollar tier, plus:
  • Early access to stories and news
  • Early drafts of certain stories

Fifteen dollars per month tier:

  • Everything in the one and five dollar tiers, plus
  • Extra behind the scenes and worldbuilding
  • Having your name used in one of the Ruon Chronicles books or stories for a character.

Other cool stuff I’m still working on:

I’m still working out how to incorporate audio into my Patreon – whether it’s reading a story, explaining something about the worlds I write in, or simply giving updates.

What do you guys think?

Keep an eye out here and on my Patreon page over the next two weeks for updates!

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Starting over in October

I blame it on writing stuff for January and February at work, but I’m already thinking about what my goals will be for 2019. This also got me thinking that there’s no real need to wait for the new year to start working on goals (but, unfortunately, I still need to wait for January to start writing in my new diary…). To that end, I’ve come up with a Plan Of Action for the next few months which I hope will get me where I want to be at the beginning of 2019 to start the year of with a bang.*

On the writing front — Porselein

Besides Forgotten, I’m working on Porselein this month — more specifically getting the outline (including the subplots) finished and finally finishing module 7 of my writing course. My plan is to really start writing this novel in December. At the moment I have only written a few scenes here and there. I’m very excited for this one, though!

On the publishing front — Forgotten and The Knowledge Stones

After having some difficulty in keeping up with the initial deadlines I’d set for myself, I’m now well on my way to releasing Forgotten for Halloween this year and The Knowledge Stones in time for the holidays. Because holiday reading!

Here are the covers basically done now…

Patreon

On Monday I’ll have more info about changes on my Patreon page (all good changes, though!).

All of these elements should mean that by January 2019, I’ll be ready with the full outline for The Ruon Chronicles (actually written down and not just in my head), and starting on the first book of The Ruon Chronicles, and Porselein.

In-between I’ll still contribute to The Mighty and write for Microcosms (though probably not every week). Sometimes my brain just needs some flash fiction before returning to a longer work!

*Okay, no, usually wishing family and friends happy New Year, cursing the neighbours for their fireworks, toasting the change in calendar with sparkling grape juice and then going to bed. I live on the edge. (But before that I do spend a whole day watching all the extended cuts of The Lord of the Rings films. #Tradition)

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