Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Hello! I've been terrible at keeping up this blog, but I'm reluctant to abandon it because it has helped me through so much over the past 4 years. If you enjoy reading my musings, please check out Resurfacing and Rewriting. It's a mental health blog and everyone should think about their mental health and how to manage it — regardless of whether they have experienced mental illness or not.

I'm trying to figure out how to start making a living from writing and writing-related freelance work, like editing and proofreading. A major problem is my confidence in approaching people: I have few "contacts" and my anxiety means I'm terrible at networking, even online. It's frustrating, because I have confidence in my skills and my ability to do a good job, but I don't get many opportunities to demonstrate this because of my lack of confidence in networking.

I'm trying to work on short stories at the moment, because there are a few themed submission deadlines coming up that I really want to meet. It's not going very well... I suppose the trick is to keep scribbling and hope something emerges from the dross!

Monday, 3 August 2015

Power Month: The Review

My main goal for Power Month was to hit my 70,000 CampNaNoWriMo target and I'm delighted to say I did it! I now have a rough novel draft, which I intend to get rewriting after a breather for a few weeks. I spent most of the month thinking I wouldn't hit my target — I was writing 7,000 words a day for most of the final week — so this challenge was a reminder that I'm capable of achieving my goals when I set my mind to it. Instead of giving up or lowering my target, I kept going.

My other major goal was to write the next Scatterbrain Guide ready to release on 1st August... But that didn't happen. I had a very difficult couple of weeks near the beginning of the month, which threw me off course. Deciding to put the project on hold was disappointing, but necessary. Lesson learned: adjusting your goals when situations change is essential.

One of my lesser goals was to get writing some short stories. I thought I had neglected this goal, but I did actually do some freewriting and have come up with at least 2 solid ideas for stories. I think I forgot about this because it's in my writing journal and I therefore tend to think of it as "unofficial" writing. However, just because it's unofficial doesn't mean it's not essential — CampNaNoWriMo has reminded me of the importance of flexing our writing muscles most days, if not every day. Failing to complete "official" drafts (i.e. typed up and printed ready for making rewriting notes) is not the same as failing to do any writing. Lesson learned: give yourself credit for all of the writing you do, not just what has been completed.

Another of my lesser goals was to figure out how to make a living from writing and writing-related activities (such as proofreading and editing). I haven't done a lot of this, but I have gained some great ideas and encouragement from some of the people I've spoken to. If anyone has any tips or advice, please comment or email me!

I also intended to keep my blog Resurfacing and Rewriting going. It's been neglected for the past week, thanks to my prioritising CampNaNoWriMo, but I otherwise kept to my Mon-Wed-Fri posting schedule. I will get back on track this week. I love the blog, but it's hard work and it's always tricky in the early days, when it feels like nobody is reading your posts. I'm going to keep going, of course, because it's part of my mission to help break down the stigma surrounding mental illness and even discussions of mental health.

On the whole, I'm content with what I have achieved during Power Month, especially considering I hit a slump for almost half of it! August will be less rigid, but I hope to continue to progress towards my goals. Final lesson: pushing yourself can be motivating even when it doesn't work out — and achieves more than not aiming high.