100 days of writing, editing, and story-making.

My arrival in Utrecht coincides with the coronavirus shutdown. The beginning of my six months of freedom should be documented to make me more accountable. I plan to make the most of this time and make up for the last year of general disappointments. I’ll be updating my progress in 10 day lots as opposed to weekly because I’m now running in a different time zone. So look out for my progress reports and see if I either fly or fall 🙂

30th Birthday and travelling with cats

I arrived in the Netherlands half a week ago just in time for everything to start closing down 😦 I’m in Utrecht and all restaurants and coffee shops have closed. The nearest mall is like 90% closed with only a few places still open. I’m glad for that, though I’ve noticed that there are quite a few elderly employees. The supermarkets are thankfully still open. My husband is working from home and is usually on Skype, so he’s taken the desk and chair I scored from an op-shop just a few stores away. I also turned 30 yesterday. Couldn’t really do anything because everything is closed down, but it didn’t matter.

But I’ll tell you what. Getting to the Netherlands with two cats was a nightmare. I managed to get one confirmed for the longest time but not the second one. The KLM helpline was no use because frequently I would be told that wait time would be over 30 minutes and the line would then disconnect. By now, Facebook/Twitter and WhatsApp (I had also sent more messages through there) had gone dark. Things were not boding well. 

By now it was only a few days before takeoff, and I was beyond stressed. I went to the airport directly and spoke to someone. There I found out that I couldn’t get the second cat on because me and Chris were both in the same ‘cabin’ and they allowed only one animal per cabin. So I had to upgrade to business class as it was considered a separate cabin. The kind person who helped me was also on hold with their airline. (FYI, the business section of the plane was nothing special. It just had a divider between economy. Don’t waste your money). I wish I was told that before. (Forget the conversations I initially had on Facebook about cat carrier sizes and been rejected a few times. I ended up lying about the dimensions. No one ended up checking.). 

Anyway, with the charge to my card I went to check-in online it didn’t show the upgrade or the extra cat. So cue more stress. The next day we get to the airport to check-in our luggage and confirm the cats (I don’t think they even looked at the pet passports even though I showed it). But it turned out all was good. And it was only after we got to our new place that I realised that they hadn’t charged us for the pets 🙂 So because of the Coronavirus, we got free pet travel. 

Then days after arriving, I got a response to the messages I left in the three apps that said something about getting back to me when they could.

New goal

My original plan of having self-published 10 stories by my 30th birthday will not come to fruition. I’m a little put out, but I’ve already got seven out and I’ve got more stories. So I’m planning to change my goal to publishing two stories by December 2020. I think that’s a manageable goal for me. I’m not too sure which stories I will publish, as I’ve got a bunch semi-completed. Maybe I should complete some novellas before starting the first draft of a full-length novel, but it’ll depend on where my energy lies.

The decluttering process.

I’m due to leave Edinburgh in December, and I’m using this as an excuse to extreme declutter. I’m trying to get rid of as much as I can so that it is easier to move. But there are a few things that still have their hooks in me. A few beautiful nicknacks that I know that I might not be able to find again. Jewellery that despite never wearing, I can’t let go and a few items of clothing that I might use in the future (if I lost weight).

So far, I’ve ditched:

  • Notebooks that have no notes in them.
  • Books I’ve never or will never read again.
  • Clothes that won’t be worn.
  • Shoes that hurt my feet.
  • Accessories that do not accessorize.

All up it’s only been a few bags and a few boxes as I didn’t have much to begin with. I’m now in the later phase where it’s just those items left that have sentimental ties or have a hold over me that I can’t get rid off. I have this fantasy of myself just moving with only one suitcase. Though that won’t happen because we have cats and need to move them too.

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Glue

Just came across this interesting bit of advice. If you want to complete something, you need to glue your arse to the seat and do it. Funny enough it came from one of those Reddit read-it videos that have popped up on YouTube recently.

And I agree with it.

For the longest time I wrote in my living room alone, usually without music playing and then after burnout, I was all over the place. Nothing could reignite my ability to write and now I can’t seem to write as well as I did. I now go to cafes and let the background noise help me. But that shit adds up and I can be a cheap ass sometimes. So I need to retrain myself to write in my home again and save monies for my move to the Netherlands.

 

Works in progress

Currently, I’m looking at shorter works that I can polish up while I’m in a bit of a writing slump. There is this one group of short prequel stories that belong to a story I haven’t written yet. That’s three years old now and I’m starting to panic. The days are passing by, and I’m not as successful as I want to be. I am also moving to the Netherlands in about two months and the stress is getting to me.

The most current things I’m rotating between are;

  • A social sci-fi YA that I think will be quite long. It’s 60ish thousand words and maybe a third? done. Not too sure where I’m heading with the end. Maybe I might have to break it into two books? Atm, I’ve run out of steam so it’s going on the back burner until I get some more ideas for it.
  • A dystopian novel that is not even halfway through the first draft but I have a guestimate of where the ending is. I’ve changed the POV from first to third so it needs a rewrite.
  • A sci-fi YA that’s over 120 thousand and I need to complete the 3rd draft. I’ve lost a character somewhere and need to resolve that one.
  • The prequel stories I’m editing at the moment does not have a novel attached to them and I need to write a story plan for that, plus write a first draft of the novel.

I don’t think I’ll have any stories ready for publication for at least 12 months. That worries me because I wanted to have more done by now. I’m almost 30 and with not much to show for it. I know when I move I will have some time off and hopefully, I’ll use it to my full advantage.

 

Alas, I overestimated myself.

I will be 30 in about five months and my goal of having 10 stories out by then looks to be kaput. I thought it was a reasonable goal, but alas it was too much for me. On a brighter note, I’m getting my writing bug back and have been slowly working on some stories. There is one that I mentioned way back that it might be my best story yet. I had stalled on it but have now written another chunk. But I know this book is far from completion. There are a lot of others that are nowhere near completion and I don’t know when my next publication will be 😦 Maybe it will be a case that in a year or two I will end up pushing out a lot of them.