My Writing Diary

11th February

Great progress over the past three days. I have now finished reviewing the 31k words / 90 pages of the French story. Next step is to type up the amendments – a job in itself! – and then work on the overall plan. It will only be once I’ve done that – and picked up the metaphorical pen again to try writing the next section – that I’ll know if the thing has legs.

As far as the notebook work goes, I have typed up over forty pages now, and have come to the end of 1993 – a tumultuous personal year. I didn’t realise how much! Still many days work to go on this one before I’ll have a true sense of what I have on my hands; only then will come the meaningful internal conversation about what to do with it.

8th February

Yesterday was a decent start, and I’ve spent another two hours today going through that part-draft of a novel set in France. It has been interesting in that, coming at it from a distance of a year-and-a-half, I find myself detached enough to a) hopefully edit a little more rigorously, and b) to identify the gaps, raise questions, surface ideas in relation to the story. At this stage, if it is to go on to be a project I decide to work through to completion, b) is the more important of the two – especially as when I finish reviewing the remainder of the 31k words, I will need to pull a plan together for the rest.

I’ve also started typing-up the entries from some of my old notebooks. 6 pages thus far from one that started in October 199 – something. I was never very good at dating the entries!! It is proving an interesting exercise thus far, and I wonder – should I carry on through all, what?, five notebooks – whether it will merely prove to be a more ‘coherent’ record of thoughts, or the basis for a truly radical narrative of some sort…

7th February 2021

It’s nearly eighteen months since my last entry here – not that I haven’t been writing! The draft I finished on 3rd August 2019 (see below) turned into “The Opposite of Remembering” published at the beginning of last year, and this was followed by “A Pattern of Sorts” (as well as another volume of poetry, “The Myths of Native Trees”). So far from fallow.

Why the update now? Well, in my last post – “You can’t be a Writer without writing” – I indulged in a little naval-gazing, the consequence of which was to persuade myself that I needed to do better… Not a score of 2 out of 10 as I had (harshly?) given myself a while ago [see below], but probably nearer a 6. What’s good? 8?

In any event, in trying to up my game I’ve wondered if going back to this public record might offer me a means to keep me ‘honest’ when it comes to putting in the effort – or another stick with which to beat myself! So let’s see.

This morning I’ve been working solidly for two hours thus far, the bulk of that time reviewing the start of the 31k words of the story I started when on holiday in France (see immediately below). The aim is to answer the question as to whether or not it has the potential or merit to be picked up again and seen through. My immediate reaction is that it’s better than I thought, and the opening is okay. I’ll see what it feels like once I’m a bit further through it – probably in a couple of days.

Writing this counts towards ‘working activity’ as do things like planning – something that will follow as soon as I’ve posted this. I want to try and work three hours a day as a minimum. Day 1 is off to a decent start…

Of course, all this may come back to haunt me..!!

7th August (La Rochelle)

I started my ‘holiday piece’ on Sunday, and after another solid session before breakfast, have now reached the dizzy heights of over 4,800 words. It feels a little like a novella at this stage, but let’s see where we go with it.

I slept badly (again) last night, creating (again) the next sequences in the story. I have at least another eight identified. I won’t know for while yet whether or not it has merit.

6th August (La Rochelle)

Having spent a large chunk of last night ‘imagining’ the beginning of a new story, I was up at 7 this morning and 70 minutes later had drafted 1,877 words. They may end up being nothing of course, but boy was I in the groove!

3rd August

I think I may have finished..! The third chapter from the end reached such a logical conclusion that I may not need the last two chapters I had been planning; they would only be duplication.

So pen down, breathe – and leave it alone for a while…

1st August

Seventy-four thousand… Edging closer, ever-closer.

31st July

Just started the third-last chapter and broken through 73k. Within a week now the first draft will be done..!

29th July

Just over three-and-a-bit chapters to go; touching 72k words. We’re off on holiday on Saturday and I had vague hopes of getting this across the line before we went…But unlikely. I should finish it during the first few days in France, and then we’ll see what stimulation from a new environment surfaces…

27th July

At 68.5k, I’m about 4 and a half chapters from finishing my draft… But today I also managed to write a really rough paragraph or two. At least I know, though; and I’ll know where to look for the bodies when I start editing..!

26th July

Tiptoed over the 67k mark this morning – probably with more to come later today and over the weekend. Into the final furlong. I find myself wondering if I can get the draft finished before we go on holiday on the 3rd…one final manic push, perhaps…

[Later: make that 67.5k…]

24th July

Another chapter finished and 65.5k words. Six more chapters to go. They’re short, so perhaps 25k more words? Looks like the book will be over 90k and a few more pages than the 240 I was envisaging. A few, not many. I also have a nagging feeling that there’s a chapter or two missing that will need writing and inserting when I go through my first review. We’ll see.

Oh, and I finished a poem that was half-written – which is nice.

22nd July

Some inroads over the weekend sees the word count nearing 65k… And all at the cost of having written no poetry for a little while.

20th July

Bits and pieces over the last few days with the completion of another chapter. Eight to go, around 60 pages and 20k. End of September?

16th & 17th July

More of the same to edge me towards 62k – plus a blog post about writing. What else?!

15th July

A few hundred words more edges the total over 61k. These small burst may seem insignificant (larger chunks of drafting tend to happen at weekends for obvious reasons) but at the end of the day they all mount up…

14th July

Again, another few hundred words on the novel plus – as ever – reviewing of that written the previous couple of days.

13th July

Maybe 500 words on so on my novel. Edging over the 60k mark.

12th July

Little activity. Some minor editing.

11th July 2019

A busy day, so just a little tweaking of the few hundred words I wrote last night – and the inclusion of a really important sentence! – plus some minor re-tuning of a poem of two.

10th July 2019

Novel draft now up to about 59.5k words. About 25-30k remaining.

Last night’s Stanza not one of the best. Feedback on what I had submitted confirmed my suspicions that it wasn’t up to the requisite standard; a little confused I felt even before the meeting.

Which is fine. That’s what the group’s all about. Need to bring my ‘A’ game next time!

9th July 2019

The monthly Stanza meeting, so little time to write. The tweaking of a few poems, partly inspired by the group tonight – and the desire to write more, but just too tired to do so.

8th July 2019

Another writing day – of course! A few hundred words added to my draft novel, plus the beginnings of a poem; a poem which started with two lines that came to me in the middle of the night about a week ago that I had to get out of bed to write down! We’ll see what comes of that…

Update 7th July 2019

In case anyone were to be misled by this page, it isn’t a true reflection of my writing efforts; it’s actually a dereliction of duty! I write virtually every day. Really. But I have failed to keep a record.

Must try harder. 1/10

Later, Part 2:

  • More work on the draft of my next novel. Now up to just under 59,000. Final total looking like it will be in the region of 85k-90k.
  • Reviewing / tinkering some ‘almost finished’ poems, including selecting one – “Brachiation” – for Tuesday’s Stanza poetry group.
  • Entered three poetry competitions – as ever, with little expectation…

Update 7th September

It has been far too long since I updated this page. Indeed, since I updated a number of my pages. A job for the weekend, then. For here:

  • “At Maunston Quay” – a novel where I have about 16,000 words to go before the first draft is finished. Aiming for publication in the spring, 2019.
  • A new poetry collection is about 60% completed. It will be easier to finish one the novel is drafted. Again aiming for a spring publication.

I think that’s enough, don’t you?

Update 19th May:

  • “An Infinity of Mirrors”: published 1st May
  • “Degrees of Separation”: published 14th May
  • “After the Rehearsals”: published 14th May
  • Starting work on one or two new things, tentatively…

Update 18th April:

  • “An Infinity of Mirrors”: proof copy arrived, awaiting final review
  • “Degrees of Separation”: draft finished; proof copy to be ordered
  • “After the Rehearsals”: draft finished; proof copy ordered and awaiting delivery

Update 7th April: Great progress!

  • “Mirrors” as before.
  • Short story collection: now >140 pages in and just two stories left. Should reach the 160 page target draft by the 15th April. Revision then through May with a revised publication & launch reading at the end of June.
  • Narrative poem: draft complete. Revision starts next week. Hopefully published with a launch reading in June.

Update 1st April:

  • “Mirrors” re-edit is now complete and I am awaiting my proof copy. The book will be republished as “An Infinity of Mirrors” on or before 21st May 2018.
  • Short story collection: now 120 pages in and five stories left. Aiming to reach the 160 page target draft by the end of April / early May.
  • Narrative poem: up to page 104. Seven poems left. Aiming for the same timescale as above. Hopefully published in June with a launch reading in July.

Update: mid-March 2018

  • “Mirrors” re-edit. I have reached Chapter 30 out of 41 and am scandalised by a) the number of typos I missed first time round, and b) the odd really clumsy sentence (where I was obviously trying to be too clever!). Fixing most, hopefully. I can’t go too far with the awkward sentences as that would risk destroying the overall integrity of the style…it’s an effort of its time, I’m afraid. Still on schedule for a summer re-publication.
  • Short story collection. I have made it to page 90 or 9 stories in. This should be about half way. On that basis, again a summer publication is on the cards.
  • Narrative poem. Progress is still good – though harder to judge than the two projects above. I’m probably just under half way through. Given I’ve no idea how long re-work/editing will take, this one’s looking like the back end of the summer before it sees the light of day.

I’m hoping to be able to have some kind of ‘event’ later on this year to hopefully launch at least two of these. Watch this space!

Update: February 2018 – I’m currently working on three things: a re-edit of my novel “Mirrors”, to be published under a new title (probably) in the summer; a new collection of short stories, hopefully ready for the autumn; and a narrative poem(s), again targeting a summer publication.

I have discovered that the value of a page like this manifests itself when working towards a deadline e.g. the final stages of revision for a new publication. So whilst I am writing now (and quite a lot), these are drafts towards a couple of works-in-progress. On that basis, I am unlikely to be making a regular entry here until into the New Year.

[4th December 2017]

  • 17th September, 2017
    • Published “Telling the time” in the 100-word challenge series
  • 23rd August, 2017
    • Published “Islanders” – a poem
  • 17th August, 2017
    • Published “Making the connection”, “The Seeds”, “Knocking-off time” – three pieces of ‘flash fiction’
  • 4th August, 2017
    • Published “Veritas” – a poem
  • 21st July: “Secrets & Wisdom” is published tomorrow; “Human Archaeology” was published on Tuesday. WHAT A WEEK!

So it’s now the 9th July and I suddenly realise that I haven’t been keeping this diary up-to-date… Why? Largely because I have been so absorbed in getting “Human Archaeology” and “Secrets & Wisdom” ready for the printers… The latest is:

  • “Human Archaeology” – the proof copy is due to be delivered to me tomorrow. If everything is OK, then I can promote and release it! First book with new publisher/printer, so everything’s crossed!
  • “Secrets & Wisdom” – final copy is ready for one last read through, and the cover is prepared. As soon as I know that the quality of the finished physical article will be good, then I’ll be striving to be able to order a proof copy ideally by the end of next week.

Ages ago I set myself the target of being done by mid-July. Looking good for that!

Hopefully I’ll be able to resume regular updates to this page once I get into actually writing again!

  • 28th June –
    • Started work on setting up my title(s) with my publishing engine…
  • 21st June, – 27th June 2017
    • Proofread / edited 270 pages – and breathe!
  • 8th June – 20th June, 2017
    • Proofread / edited 219 pages
  • 7th June, 2017
    • Published “The Fortune Teller” blog post
  • 6th June, 2017
    • Published “Wallpaper (2)” in the 100-word challenge series
  • 27th May – 5th June, 2017
    • Proofread / edited 88 pages
  • 26th May, 2017
    • First round of sequencing completed. Now to 260 pages of revision…!
  • 25th May, 2017
    • Sequencing “HA” material (this could become a theme..!)
  • 24th May, 2017
    • Sequencing “HA” material
    • Published the “Anything’s Possible” blog post
  • 23rd May, 2017
    • Published “Wallpaper (1)” in the 100-word challenge series
  • 22nd May, 2017
    • Draft content for “Human Archaeology” selected and printed ready for editing
    • Started work on sequencing “HA” material
  • 21st May, 2017
    • Decision taken on publishing “Human Archaeology” [aka “2017-H1”]; blog published
  • 20th May, 2017
    • Published “The Blackwood Convention” in the 100-word challenge series
    • Finished redrafting “The Bay Tree” for “The Empty Box”
  • 19th May, 2017
    • Finished redrafting “Vinno” for “The Empty Box”
    • Started redrafting “The Bay Tree” for “The Empty Box”
  • 18th May, 2017
    • Completed “Murder Mystery (or Archaeology V)” [poem]
    • Finished redrafting “The Interview” for “The Empty Box”
    • Started redrafting “Vinno” for “The Empty Box”
  • 16th & 17th May, 2017
    • Continued work on a new ‘found’/’curated’ poem, tentatively titled “Murder Mystery”
    • Started redrafting “The Interview” for “The Empty Box”
  • 15th May, 2017
    • Started work on a new ‘found’/’curated’ poem, tentatively titled “Murder Mystery”
    • Published “Carbon Dating” in the 100-word challenge series – along with the much longer original. Comments welcome!
  • 14th May, 2017
    • Published “The Natural Light Alarm Clock” in the 100-word challenge series, this partly inspired by yesterday’s ‘Dark Side’ workshop.
    • Completed “The Superiority of Nature” [poem] – title may change…
  • 13th May, 2017
    • Attended an all-day Ripon Writers’ workshop on the subject of “The Dark Side”  led by an external speaker, Steve Toase. A number of pieces of flash fiction might make their way to this site.
  • 11th May, 2017
    • Completed “The Permanence of Shrapnel” [poem] – and it’s not often I go ‘wow’, but ‘Wow!’…
    • Completed “Gauntlet” [poem] – title may change…
  • 10th May, 2017
    • Further work on the two new (short) ‘found’/’curated’ poems
    • Redraftied “My Dear Polly” for “The Empty Box”
  • 9th May, 2017
    • Started work on two new (short) ‘found’/’curated’ poems
  • 8th May, 2017
    • Added another 633 words and completed the first draft of the ‘as yet untitled short story’; rework to follow
  • 7th May, 2017
    • Working on an as yet untitled short story, probably for “The Empty Box”; added 1247 words to the draft (a candidate entry for the Bridport Prize?)
  • 6th May, 2017
    • Working on an as yet untitled short story, probably for “The Empty Box”; added 950 words to the draft
  • 5th May, 2017
    • Completed “Love-locked” [poem]
    • Completed “Spinning Plates” [poem]
  • 1st May, 2017
    • Redrafted “Spinning Plates” [poem] – needs some work!
    • Redrafted “Evening Class” for “The Empty Box”
  • 30th April, 2017
    • Redrafted “Twins” for “The Empty Box”
    • Redrafted “Old-Age Travellers” for “The Empty Box” (though this may end up in a non-fiction pile somewhere)
    • Redrafted “Funeral” for “The Empty Box” (it may need to be re-titled)
    • Redrafted “Recommended Books” for “The Empty Box”
    • Redrafted “Candles” for “The Empty Box” (but will need some major surgery!)