Tag Archives: blogging

It’s 2019 and I’ve got Goals with a capital G

Happy New Year, everyone! My regular followers might have noticed that my output in 2018, and for that matter in 2017, hasn’t exactly been high. Part of that, I think, was fatigue around blogging and part was having quite a lot else on to worry about in my personal life. But 2019 is going to be different. Honest. While a lot of 2018’s worries haven’t gone away, with a new year comes a fresh outlook.

This is a quick update about my goals for the year and what I’ve got planned. So let’s get right to it.

Reading

Last year was a dismal year for me as far as reading was concerned. I barely read anything and didn’t review what I did read. This year I’ll do better. I’ve set a goal on Goodreads to read 24 books in 2019 – that’s two per month. And I don’t think I’ll have any trouble finding 24 books to read, between my “to read” pile (utterly massive) and the books coming out this year that I’m excited about (loads of them). I plan on reviewing any fantasy novels I read right here, but I’ll keep track of everything else – which is likely to include historical fiction and loads of non-fiction – with quarterly updates on my progress towards my 24 book goal, much like I did back in 2016.

Writing

I’ve been hard at work in the last few months working out what I want from my current novel. I now have a working title – Feud and Fire – as well as a general outline, a lot of notes about themes, particular plotlines, character and the world, and at the end of December I started the latest draft. I am happy with where I am with this story. My goal for 2019 is to write it, edit it and get it to a refined final state. Whether I then consider submitting for publication or decide there’s more work to be done is something I’ll decide when I get to that point.

I am also planning on writing some short fiction in 2019. I spend so much time working on these big novels, that a short break after finishing the Feud and Fire draft would be an ideal time to practice a shorter format, especially since I have enjoyed reading short fiction in 2018 (just about the only type of story where I have read more than previous years, thanks to the Daily Science Fiction emails I receive) and it’s been a while since I’ve written any.

Later this week I’ll be taking a look at how things stand for my One Million Words Challenge. I started it back in 2015 but stopped keeping track of it after a while. I have, however, continued to date each new document I create and each day of handwritten fiction in my notebooks, so it should only take an hour or two to get a fairly good idea of my overall total, by simply adding up the wordcounts of the numerous documents I have created since I started and adding an estimate of the handwritten stuff based on multiplying an average page wordcount by the number of pages.

Blogging

Yep, this is something I’m planning on increasing this year. I can hardly do worse than last year, so I’ve got that going for me. But in fact I’ve got a few ideas planned out, and with all that reading I’ll be doing there are bound to be a few reviews at the very least.

So that’s the plan for this year.

What about you? Do you have reading and writing goals for 2019? What are they? How do you think you’ll do? Did you meet your 2018 goals?

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The Liebster Award

I never heard of this thing either til just the other day but I’ve been nominated by Diane Brander on her blog How I Became a Writer for the Liebster Award, which is a means of discovering new, low traffic blogs. I’m thrilled Diane likes my blog enough to nominate me.

What is the Leibster Award?

Basically, the Liebster Award (which I keep misspelling – my name is Leiper, I’m not used to starting words with Lie) is a “pay it forward” blog chain designed to promote small-audience blogs you like – and your own blog. There seem to be several sets of rules, but these are the rules Diane posted so I’ll stick with those as much as I can:

1. Post the award on your blog.

Done. Hello.

2. Thank the blogger who presented this award and link back to their blog.

Yes indeed, thanks Diane, and do check out How I Became a Writer, it looks pretty cool and I’ve already found a few posts I like.

3. Write 11 random facts about yourself.

Okay that’s a bit tricky.

1. I crochet. The correct term for someone who crochets is a “hooker” – we use a hook. Look it up.

2. My favourite module at university was the ceramic analysis module I did in my masters year.

3. My favourite book is Howl’s Moving Castle by Diane Wynne Jones.

4. Even though I did a character study on Zuko, my favorite ATLA character is Sokka. Here is a haiku about Sokka:

They call me Sokka

That is, in the Water Tribe

I am not an oaf.

(Yes I have that memorised)

5. I am engaged. I have been engaged for seven years.

6. I am in the process of researching a non-fiction book about the ancient Greek city of Corinth, from the neolithic period to the city’s destruction at the hands of the Romans in 146BCE. This is because Corinth is severely underrepresented in literature about the time period compared to Athens and Sparta. Everyone forgets Corinth. Not me.

7. I hate ironing. It is my least favourite chore.

8. I used to know the Jabberwocky by heart, but I’m out of practice now.

9. I once tried to learn the Modern Major General song by heart but eventually gave up.

10. My kitchen is red themed, or at least the parts of it we could pick colours for: kettle, toaster, teatowels, crockery etc. I like red.

11. I don’t like being barefoot. I wear slippers in the house. The only times I am barefoot are when water is involved (showering, swimming, at the beach etc).

4. Nominate 11 bloggers who you feel deserve this award and who have less than 200 followers.

I don’t even follow 11 blogs, much less 11 with fewer than 200 followers. But since the official rules of the Liebster Award allow for 5-11 blogs, I’m going with the minimum of five, all from fellow Mythic Scribes members:

1. Brian W Foster’s blog

2. Rant, Ramble, Rave

3. From Peneverdant

4. Supercritical – the Alchemy of Writing

5. The Fantasy Review Barn

Check them out.

5. Answer 11 questions posted by the presenter and ask your nominees 11 questions.

Okay, here are the questions Diane has asked me:

1)  At what age did you start writing?

About 8 or 9. I wrote and drew a comic about my mum which Dad photocopied at work so I could colour it in in different colours. I also wrote a story about a magical black cat which could walk between dimensions and bring people with her.

2)  What is your greatest writing success so far?

I got a short story, Ailith’s Gift, published in Myths Inscribed. That was pretty cool.

3)  What is your favourite book?

Howl’s Moving Castle. Oops, I’ve done that one above in my facts. Well, it’s so good it’s worth mentioning twice. I love that book.

4)  What was the first book you bought?

Probably a Horrible Histories book or a Redwall book. It was a long time ago. Either way, both those things gave me a foundation for one of my two interests now – ancient history and writing fantasy.

5)  What is your favourite song?

It depends on my mood and changes on a regular basis. Overall, I’d say The Boxer by Simon and Garfunkel.

6)  What is your favourite holiday destination?

Anywhere would be nice at the moment. No but seriously, the southern Brittany coast, specifically the bit around where my grandparents live near Sarzeau. There’s this little place called Saint Jacques which has a little harbour and some great beaches, there are dolmens nearby (neolithic chamber tombs), there’s Vannes half an hour’s drive away which is such a beautiful medieval city. There’s Chateaux du Suscino down the coast too which is stunning (and really close to the best beach of the lot).

7)  If you only had 24 hours to live, what would you do?

Spend it with my fiance and my parents. And eat ice cream. I miss ice cream – I’m dieting at the moment.

8)  If you were stranded on a desert island and could wish for one luxury item, what would it be?

Tricky. I’d have to go for a massive ball of yarn. I’d then find a way to make a crochet hook out of what was on the island, and crochet stuff to while away the time.

9)  If there was one thing about yourself you could change, what would it be?  Physical or psychological.

Personal motivation. I’d make myself more driven to do stuff, or at least make my ability to work less dependent on my will to work. I’d get so much done if I could be bothered.

10)  What do you do to relax?

Crochet and watch something on Netflix. At the moment, it’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In the past it’s been Avatar: the Last Airbender. When I’m done with Buffy I’m moving on to Scrubs.

11)  What writing project are you currently working on?

Anyone who has been reading my blog recently knows that very well. Not that many people have been reading my blog recently. I think my daily updates have been putting people off or harming my search engine ranking or something. Anyway, it’s the story of Fiarra, who is trying to overthrow the slavery-endorsing regime that took over her home town when the empire that settled it abandoned it, and see justice done for those who were part of it.

Questions for my nominees:

1. What story or story element did you abandon but still want to use some day?

2. Who is the person you admire most in the world and why?

3. If you won £1,000,000 or $1,000,000, untaxable, what would you spend it on?

4. Given the choice of being a witch/wizard at Hogwarts, a Hobbit in Middle Earth, or a Pevensie sibling in Narnia, which would you choose and why?

5. What one place is most special to you?

6. What music do you listen to to get into the writing mood?

7. What do you dislike most about your writing?

8. What landmark or achievement have you reached in your writing in the last 12 months?

9. If you could have a chat with any famous person, living or dead, for one hour, who would it be and what would you talk about?

10. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

11. What is the best piece of advice you could give a new writer?

Right, cool, this was fun. I look forward to seeing how my nominees respond. Do check out their blogs and also Diane’s blog linked above.

On reviewers, authors and online behaviour

I recently heard of a situation in which an author had allegedly been bullied so much by reviewers that she withdrew her book. Because she has expressed the desire to move on and a distaste for the drama and misinformation that has grown around the situation, I won’t link to her story. The fact is, though, it’s not the first time I’ve heard reports of authors being bullied by reviewers.

So I mean to set a few things straight here regarding the behaviour of both authors and reviewers. I will not be naming any names in this post as I don’t think it will do any good.

Continue reading On reviewers, authors and online behaviour

Eight Steps to a Better Blog Post

Today I came across an article online about how to write a better blog post. I wasn’t too impressed with it, though – the language and syntax was a bit off, like using “4th step” instead of the more common “Step 4”, and the line “I advice using simple words on your posts, all articles  in my blog are written in simple English.” I mean, seriously, that’s got three things wrong with it in advice about grammar. (“I advice” should be “I advise”, it should be two sentences with a full stop where the comma is, and there are two spaces instead of one between “articles” and “in”.)

And then at the end the conclusion had nothing to do with what the rest of the post had to say; it should really have been a ninth point, rather than a conclusion.

Anyway, it kind of annoyed me. And I know it’s probably some guy in India who got paid US$8 for writing it and thus the author and/or site owner isn’t interested so much in quality as attracting hits for ad revenue, but even so, it annoyed me. That’s also why I’ve linked the Reddit thread where it was posted rather than the article itself.

Continue reading Eight Steps to a Better Blog Post

6 month review

So I’ve been doing this blog for six months as of today. And I’ve enjoyed it immensely. I’ve learned a lot from it, about structure and marketing myself and all sorts. So here are a few things I’ve pulled out of my experiences:

What I’ve enjoyed the most

The posts I’ve enjoyed the most are those where I’ve had the opportunity to analyse a topic and bring in my experiences and observations. If you look at my Archives page, I’ve listed three poss as “Promoted” – the three I am most happy with, that I like the best. They are Inspiration, Archaeology and the One Ring, Building Worlds Alongside Stories and What’s With all the Kings and Queens in Fantasy? Overall, the posts I’m most happy with are those that I felt driven to produce; the more generic posts like the Best Fantasy Films posts, and the posts where I was wondering what I would post next, didn’t come out so well, I think.

Continue reading 6 month review