Back in the saddle

Howdy, y’all.

Hmm. Seems this post might have a Western flavour to it. Reckon I’ll try to keep that to a minimum.

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So, once again I return to this unfortunate, neglected blog of mine. Quite a bit has happened since last I visited, though unfortunately none of it of a writerly bent.

An extremely difficult few months have been and gone at work, but another cohort of students have received their degrees, and I am (hopefully) in line for a promotion, so its hardly all bad. Speaking of which, my girlfriend had her birthday on Wednesday, then graduated from university on Thursday. I am hugely proud of her; she worked really hard, and deserved every second of what was a lovely day. She’s also gone and got a job, spending a total of one day as an unemployed person, the clever-clogs.

This last has the unintended consequence of giving me a lot of time to write in. She will be commuting up to London on the world’s most expensive train line (I haven’t the figures to cite that, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it were true), which means she will be out of the house at 7:15 every morning. Given that I have a much more leisurely walk up to work that starts at 8:30, this gives me a full hour, plus procrastinating time, in the house all by my lonesome.

I have found my writing time.

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I’ve always struggled to make time for writing. Writing during my lunch breaks has never worked for me (although if I get this promotion, it should mean my own office, so that might make it easier), and once I get home in the evenings I’m either too tired (as with the past few months) or too interested in procrastinating or slumping in front of the TV to really get into a regular writing groove (the TV poison of choice at the moment is rewatching Battlestar Galactica on Netflix. I also have a hankering to return to Band of Brothers, in my opinion the best TV show ever made, at some point).

So, this time is a godsend. The only thing I have to do to have a full hour to dedicate solely to writing is to get up in the morning, and while that is a challenge, it’s one that I’m sure I’m up to.

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This suddenly-free time has come at just the right moment, for two reasons.

One, the more important reason, is that I am overflowing with writing ideas after months of lethargy and inactivity. I have started a quite dark, interesting story set in my Reconstruction (life in a post-zombie apocalypse world, in short) setting, that is unlike everything else I’ve written, or even read really. It owes more than I am honestly comfortable with to Chuck Wendig’s Atlanta Burns stories, which were such a bolt from the blue I had to try something like it myself. I am writing it with an anthology submission in mind, but really I just want to see where it leads.

There is also the new War Stories anthology that will soon be opening to submissions. This is right in my wheelhouse, but way above the level that I have so far been pitching my stories: a damn-near professional rate of pay, a pretty impressive list of contributors (Joe Haldeman!), and it’ll be published by Apex Books, a name synonymous with some rather fine anthologies. So, coming up with a story of sufficient quality is going to be a challenge, but one that right now I am really looking forward to.

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The other reason having dedicated writing time now is such a boon is that I now have a dedicated writing space!

[add picture here once the study has been cleared of crap!]

Alice’s parents were kind enough to bring down her grandfather’s old desk, and isn’t it a beauty? Short of the sage-green inlaid antique that I shall someday own and sit next to a matching leather wingback chair (that I shall set in the centre of my library, surrounded by the accumulated books of a life lived in second-hand bookshops… Hmm? Oh yes, the post), it is exactly what I want from a desk. When payday rolls around I shall be buying a decent, supportive desk chair, and at a later date I’ll get my iMac’s graphics card replaced and set that on top, and then my haven shall be complete.

I know that I shouldn’t be so tied to surroundings and writing times and such, but I am a creature of habit, a failing I have yet to correct. Right now, I will settle for actually writing once a day, getting my words-per-hour up, getting shit finished, and getting my brain and body into a state where writing is a normal part of the day.

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Anyway, I have rambled enough for now. Hope you have enjoyed this instalment of ‘Jon remembers he has a website.’ With luck, I shall get better at updating it as my output and writerly activities start to be worth reporting.

I hope you fine folk are enjoying the summer. I certainly plan to!