NaNoWriMo – Shall I?

I have been in a writing rut – in that I have done nothing new for ages. Life circumstances have been against me.

It’s time to take a stand against all that. I should set myself a challenge again and give myself the proverbial kick up the arse.

So I am considering going against all the odds and partaking in NaNoWriMo this year. I have completed it once but failed the following year due to some serious illness in the family.

These days, all the demands on me mean I don’t get any time to sit down and write – event doing this today is a very rare occurrence. I have been reduced to reblogging old content.

Well, those demands are going to have to take a back seat for a while. They will need to for my own sanities sake.

My plan is not to try and create novel, novella or even a part of one as I did last time. This time I want to use the push to create 10 drafts of short stories. Each around 5000 words long. I will then use these to enter some competitions with – maybe eventually publish them as a collection as well.

Well, that’s the plan. Let’s see how it goes. Lately, my plans don’t see the light of day – this is a last-ditch attempt. I need some success.

Image from Pixabay

NaNoWriMo Day 5

Not so good today only 730 words managed. It’s been a hard day. Didn’t leave work until 7:00 for one thing. For another, our youngest has been under the weather and acting a bit strange.

This morning he woke up laughing so hard I thought he was going to be sick. It was the kind of laughing that kids only do when someone is tickling them until they give up.  In our sleeping stupor in the early hours of the morning we all thought one of the others was in there with him, but he was alone.

When we did go in he screamed at us to go way and get off him, even though we were not anywhere near him. He only calmed down and got out of bed when his brother went in to get him. 6 years old and he calmly went in took his hand and lead him out of sleep and into reason.



NaNoWriMo Day 4

Well, it was hard today. Work has been very stressful – productive but stressful  – feel like I am doing 15 things at once sometimes.

On top of that I get home to find that I am needed to write a report for our youngest to try to get him some more support. That was 1600 words I could have used for NaNo!

And I had set my target high today – I wanted to hit 10,000 today to try to keep on a roll of being ahead. So how did I do?

I managed 2342 words today – which took me to a grand total on day 4 of 10014 – wohoo!



NaNoWriMo Day 3

A struggle today to find the time. Still managed to hit the minimum daily target of 1667 more in fact 1710. Wanted to hit 10000 today but got to 7672.



NaNoWriMo Day 2


5962 total now (so 2616 today) – not as many as yesterday but still ahead of the minimum daily target. Got to keep it up.

I finished today’s sprint by finishing chapter one.



NaNoWriMo Day 1

Well despite the momentous effort of actually finding some time to do it – and nearly giving up on the whole idea – I actually managed to do well.

3346 words on day one. Let’s see if I can keep ahead.



NaNoWriMo Madness

Must need my head examined – despite al the stress in my life and the lack of time – I have signed up for the second year running.

Going to resurrect a very old novel I started around 20 years ago. I recently found the complete outline for it in the loft! The story still excites me to this day and I still like the characters, so I will give it a second chance!

I am going to ignore my original attempt and start again from scratch – using the outline but writing anew – rather that trying to edit the old version. I think I can write better now.

I think.


To NaNoWriMo or not NaNoWriMo?

So I have been a bit quiet lately due to lots of reasons, work, kids you name it it’s fallen on my plate.

One of the things has been sorting out a loft. We recently had loft insulation put in so we had to remove everything from the loft and put it in the garage. There it has stayed all summer, waiting for me to get time to put it back. Being an impossible job to get done with the kids around I finally decided – as the weather gets worse and I have nowhere to park the car to take a day off work and get it done.

There was so much! Had to put down some loft legs to lift the new flooring boards above the level of the insulation.  That alone left me with blistered hands! Then I had to lug the boxes from the garage – (not near our house) – and up the stairs.

It was all worth it, though! Sure I can now park the car again in the garage – instead of half a mile down the road.  But that was just the aim. The extra cherry on the cake?

I found something. In sorting out what was in the boxes I found something I thought I had lost.

The plan for the original idea for a book I had many many years ago. I had actually written about 60% of it but abandoned it for a number of reasons. I did not have the confidence then to complete. I also did not really have the skills, the writing is not good. On top of that another series of books came out with a very similar premise and that discouraged me.

What I did do though is a complete plan. Every scene right to the very end of the plot.

The thing about this book is that I do pick it up every now and then and have a read of the bits I did do. Although the writing is not up to what I think I can do now, it still excites me every time I read it. It’s the project I most enjoy.

I have often though about trying to rekindle it – but then get depressed about trying to remember how the story was going to go.

Now? Well now I have the plan!

So an idea is sparking in my mind now. I had said that I would no do NaNoWriMo this year due to the pressures of life.  Also, I have other projects on the go – editing  a short story collection and not to mention that I had thought that if I did do NaNoWriMo this year I felt I should continue with the project I started last year – which only constitutes about half the story. So in theory I could finish that.

However, I still have to figure out the second part of that story. And I have a few weeks of editing to get as much as I can do on the stories.

Whereas – this plan would allow me to write without having to work out where I was going. I intend to rewrite it anyway and I intend to actually rewrite it – not just edit what I had before. I will ignore that and just work from the plan.

There are some major plot points that I need to address, but I might just ignore them for now and adjust them after.

So the question is to NaNoWriMo or not NaNoWriMo?


So having conquered NaNoWriMo last year and done a poem a day for a whole year previous to that I have now signed up for National Poem Writing Month – 30 poems in 30 days.

How hard can it be?


Just two kids to look after as well as a mounting work load – hence me writing this at nearly 1:00am.

Still – it will be good to get my poetry head on again.

Colourful Titles

Well since finishing and winning NaNowriMo (50k done!) I have had the flu so have not been very productive. So as a relaxing byway I decided to take a look collating my years worth of poems. I discovered two things. First I have quite a few with the same title. So I will need to rename some as part of the general editing.

Second I seem to like using colours in or as the title.

NaNoWriMo Day 29

Woohoo! Done it! Was looking doubtful today but a big push tonight and made the last 4000 words in one evening!

Finished on a major turning point of the book too. End of the first section. Two more to go – I imagine progress from now on will be lower though without the deadline to meet 🙂


NaNoWriMo Day 27

Best day so far! 3381 words. Only 3983 to go! Would really like to get that done tomorrow!

Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

Still only a third of the way through the actual story though so its going to be a full-blown book not a novella by the time its finished. Right now I will be happy with the 50K

NaNoWriMo Day 26

Four days left. Just over 7000 words to go. Touch and go whether I will make it now but getting so close!

Also – only 8 followers away from hitting 500.

Stats are keeping me awake…….

NaNoWriMo Day 20

Well after a traumatic morning – a big social worker meeting – a big review which was somewhat stressful to say the least I wasn’t sure I would get anything done today, and the last few days have been abysmal word counts.

However, introducing this new character has been a tonic. I had no idea where I was going today having finished a logical section yesterday. But as I started I picked up a tiny thread that was laid yesterday and ran with it – over three thousand words later a whole scene I had never anticipated was born. It all just flowed so today has been my best so far.

Still not ahead though but at east have caught up what i dropped recently.


NaNoWriMo day 19 Part 2

Just about broke the 30K mark and that was a struggle. Mostly just life getting in the way but then at the same time hitting a point in the story where it was difficult to get to the next turning point. It needed something in between where it was and that point but couldn’t think what it would be.

So in desperation – I made up and completely new, random character who is totally out of character and tone of the rest of the characters in the book so far – and threw him in to see what would happen. Just the scene introducing him had given me a few thousand more words as well as adding some impetus top the story and enthusing me.

So I would say to anyone struggling -make something random happen and see where it goes.

I say that – I can’t say whether its going to work out yet or just make things worse.

Let’s see.

NanowriMo Day 19

Struggling still. Did very little the last few days.

Still nearly 30000 words. So just over half way through the months and three fifths through the target word count.

Thing is i am only about 10% through the plot. So my hope of getting the whole story in around 50k is not looking hopeful. It’s going to be a longer story than that.

Not sure I will make up what the words I  have fallen behind, unless I have a good night tonight.

NaNoWriMo Day 17

As you can probably tell from my lack of posts – I am struggling. Just about managing to keep up the daily average but failing to get ahead at any point which is what I really wanted to do.

Still 28772 words so far, that’s 28772 words more than I would have done had I not taken up the challenge.

Story is flagging though – need to progress it to the next big turning point. Perhaps I should just rush on to that point now to give me impetus and worry about going back and filling in the gaps with better stuff later.

NaNoWriMo Day 12

Its been a struggle as I get stuck into week 2. The weekend particularly – life got in the way of this challenge again. But today was better – got into a flow and caught up a bit, still only just above the target and was hoping to have been further on by now. I like to be ahead as much as possible to take into account days when it all goes wrong. It flowed today though I don’t think the content was particularly good. Buts it’s words words words. And I finally broke the 20K mark. Editing can come later. The story is progressing. I feel like I should chuck in something unexpected now though. Something even I wasn’t expecting. Maybe I will do that tomorrow.

I also uploaded part one as an excerpt on the official site. So I thought I would also post here.

Please bear in mind though – it is a first draft so warts and all.

Cold Sanctuary

Part One

He woke to darkness. And total silence. Something was wrong.

He heard his brother stir. It was so dark he couldn’t tell if he had woken up too. Before he could ask he heard his father’s voice.

“It’s a power cut.” He was obviously talking to their mother.

“Dad?” So his brother was awake.

“It’s OK!” shouted back their dad. “I’ll just get the torch.”

“Don’t worry Lucas, dad will sort it out.”

“Yeah.” Lucas was silent for a bit, then. “I want a torch.”

“Yeah – you could have one of those with ghost head on it!” He started making ghost sounds to spook out his younger brother.

“Stop it!” Lucas protested. Gabriel continued to rib him, he couldn’t resist it. What was the point in having a younger brother if you couldn’t tease him.  And he had waited so long for a younger brother. Now at last he had one he was making the most of it.

“Damn!” Their father’s curse silenced them both.

“What’s up?” called their mother softly.

“The torch is not working either.”

“What about you phone, haven’t you got a torch on that?”

“Yes, hold on.”

There followed the sound of someone rummaging about and bumping in the dark, a few curses muttered under breath and then.

“I don’t believe it!”

“What’s up love?”

“The bloody phone is dead too. Hold on.. the phone line is dead too. Everything has stopped working. What’s going on?”

“Have we got some candles?”

“Somewhere, god knows where.”

“Hang on a minute,” they heard their mother getting out of bed and joining their father in rummaging about. Then they heard the striking of a match and the saw the sudden flare fire. It resolved itself into a warm glow and came the boys saw the outlines of their parents come towards them.

“Don’t worry boys,” their father smiled reassuringly at them. “It’s just a power cut. Lets all huddle together. It’s exciting really!”

He plopped himself down between the two of them and wrapped his arms around their shoulders.

“We could tell ghosts stories.”

“No!” protested Lucas vehemently. Gabriel was about to add his support to the idea, unsure how serious his father was, but their mother stepped in.

“Let’s all just get into the big bed and snuggle down until the morning. Then we will find out what going on.”

There was a sudden series of silent flashes. Like a strobe light. It felt like it came from outside but it was difficult to tell.

“What was that?” whispered his dad. Then the house shook as a loud rumbling roar filled the air. The four of them clung together trying to stay steady as the ground beneath them bucked and shivered.

Then it stopped.

“What the fuck was that!?” said their father. Lucas whimpered quietly.

“An earthquake?” said their mother.

“Here? Shouldn’t think so.”

Something exploded outside. There was huge boom and the flames lit the darkness. The house shook again.

Darkness and silence fell once more.

Lucas started crying softly.

“Mummy? Mummy was it is?”

She had no answer, she merely cradled him, stroking his hair softly. Gabriel was scared too now but he kept silent, he knew his brother’s need was more.

“Something’s going on,” said his father in an ominous tone. “Wait here, let me take a look.”

His father slipped away into the darkness, he was back in a few minute with more candles, that he lit from the first. He set some up around them, and then took one himself.

“I’ll just take a look outside and see what is going on.”

“Be careful,” his mother put her hand on his arm. He nodded.

“I’ll be two minutes.” he slipped away again. They heard him open the front door. At the same time they heard more explosions, further off in the distance.

The two boys looked worriedly at their mother. She assented.

“OK, come on let’s go and get dad.”

They gathered up some candles and made their way warily towards the from door. Opening it carefully they found their father standing outside staring down into the distance.

From their house they could see down into a long valley. Usually it sparkled with the lights of civilisation, that Gabriel had always found kind of magical. Tonight it was a pool of darkness.

Though not completely dark, here and there were blooms of flames as distant explosions went off. And here and there what looked like laser fire. Like something from a sci-fi film.

Their father turned to them.

“OK, I don’t know what that is, but it does not look good. Let’s get dressed, get in the car and get out of here.”

They nodded.

Gabriel and Lucas snuggled together in bed while their parents started fumbling around in the darkness, trying to hold candles and pack bags hurriedly at the same time.

After a bit curiosity got the better of him. He snuck quickly back to their own room and grabbed his binoculars. He crept back to his parents room, imagining he was a spy along the way. The situation was a bit scary, but also somewhat exciting to an eleven year old.

His parents room had a long window that over-looked the valley. Keeping low, to preserve the illusion, he slipped stealthily towards it. Slowly he rose over the edge and peered out through the binoculars.

It was still very dark down there. But there were pools of light. Gabriel focused in on them.

They were fires. It looked like buildings were aflame. A pang of deeper fear struck him deep in the gut as he realised that there might be real danger here.

Something suddenly obscured the light, a shadow that passed before it. Gabriel had to refocus his view to see what it was.

Into his limited field of vision strode a monster. At least that’s what he first thought. It looked like a huge lumbering beast, humanoid in shape but monstrous in size and shape. As he watched, drawn in by fear and fascination, he realised that he was looking at some kind of suit. It looked like a twenty foot tall old fashioned diving suit, like ones he had seen in a museum once. Yet the resemblance was passing. It was festooned with many bulbous extrusions. And the helmet had no glass viewing point.

He could not see the man inside the suit.

The thing lumbered about kicking aside everything in its path, cars, fences, sheds. It lifted an arm laser fire shot out towards an unseen target.

Whoever they were, they were attacking!

Gabriel turned to tell his father but was stopped when the scream of jets passed suddenly over head. He leapt up and turned his binoculars back on the scene below. The jets released missiles towards the lumbering suits.

Gabriel’s heart was thumping.

“What is it?” said Lucas. Gabriel couldn’t answer. He was transfixed. He watched the missile scream, towards their targets. He saw two hit, the suit he has spotted first was engulfed in a bloom of flame and heat. Moments later the tremble and the boom reached them.

“What the fuck!” cried his dad.

“There is someone attacking the town dad!” Gabriel called. “I think the air force just blew them to hell though”

Even as he spoke though he saw the suit emerge, seemingly unharmed, from the explosion. It waved an arm behind it and Gabriel watched in horror as the two jets, sweeping back for another pass, seemed to suddenly just fall from the sky.


He didn’t hear an answer as there was another deafening roar and ground vibrated and buckled again. Through the window Gabriel saw what he instantly guessed was a huge spaceship loom over them and head down into the valley. Broad laser swept the ground razing everything in their path.

Gabriel turned to run and found his Dad beside him staring at the scene with horror.

He then noticed his two boys looking up at him with fear.

“Come on,” he said quietly. “Into the car.”

Gabriel grabbed his brothers hand and dragged him after his father. He grabbed their mother and they ran to the garage. His father pointed the key at the car but it wouldn’t open the door. Cursing he slipped the key in the lock and opened it manually, the door opened but the central locking was not working. Cursing even more he fumbled open all the locks and piled everyone in.

The car was dead. It wouldn’t start, didn’t even try.

“Everything is dead,” muttered his dad. Now Gabriel was getting scared. Those things down in the valley had been moving this way. They looked slow but how long could he and Lucas run for?

“The bikes” snapped his dad. They all jumped back out of the car but as they did another roar shook the sky, it was lower and the ground did not tremble as much.

Suddenly light flared up around them, it came from outside but leaked in through every open window and crack.

There came a sudden voice. A mechanical, robotic voice, programmed by someone who didn’t really understand the language it was speaking.

But they understood well enough.

“Humans! Come, Karak take your place. They destroy. We can save some. Hurry! Horun save.”

They all looked at each other in shock and disbelief.

His father shook his head.

“Aliens? What? What…” he kept shaking his head.

But their mother reacted quicker.

“They can save us they said! The children – we get them to safety.”

He turned on her with fear and indecision in his eyes.

“We have no fucking idea what’s going on!”

“I think we’ll be dead if we stay here.”

He looked lost for a moment and then turned to look at Gabriel. He nodded and turned back to their mother.

“OK let’s go.”

His father took Gabriel’s hand, his mother picked up Lucas and they ran out of the garage.

The light outside was blinded them for a minute. When they could finally see properly they could hardly believe what was before them.

A few houses up, hovering overhead, was another spaceship. Smaller, covered in bright lights and despite everything looking totally magical it waited. As they looked around they saw several more around them.

“Karak come! Hurry Humans. Save some.”

As they watched people ran towards the ship, a platform had been extended from beneath it and as people approached strange four armed creatures helped them up and inside.

There was another roar and they turned to the valley. The other ship, the darker, aggressive ship was heading back their way.

They ran. They ran towards the nearest bright ship.  As they approached the creatures on it started to withdraw. They were the only ones approaching it now. Had they not been spotted.

They began to scream at the tops of their voices. The creatures did not react, maybe had not heard. But then one happened to turn in their direction.

As they reached the platform the creatures held up their arms, gesticulating something the family could not understand. But they were not helping them up.

Then the mechanical voice spoke.

“Two. Save two only. Room gone.”

What did they mean.

“What the fuck! Take us all!” shouted their father.

Laser blasts shook the ground behind them.

“Dammit!” screamed their mother, “get the kids onboard.”

She lifted Lucas up to the platform amd one of the creatures took him from her. Gabriel felt himself suddenly boosted up and strange arms take hold of him.

“Look after Lucas!” shouted his father. “Make sure you’re both safe!”

The platform began to rise. Gabriel and Lucas screamed after their parents. Fear threatened to suffocate him and tears blurred his vision.

With a black hole opening up in in his heart he watched as their parents ran towards another of the bright ships.

The dark ship looked like it would get their first.

Then they were whisked inside the ship and confusion. There was a crowd of aliens and humans, a cacophony of shouts and cried and strange noises.

But through it all his brother’s cries cut. Gabriel found some inner strength and barged his way through to find him.

As the ship began to lift away from earth they clung to each other until they cried themselves to sleep.

NaNoWriMo Day 7

Almost a repeat of yesterday – very very tired after a hard day at work, a very productive day but very hard. Didn’t think I would do very much and in the last hour of the day managed 1711 words,

I have borrowed a man book from work to do this and finding sitting in bed writing on this is very relaxing and productive, This could be the future.

NaNoWriMo Day 6

Been so tired today – was up all night with unsettled kids last night – that I didn’t think I could do any writing today. Sat down at 11pm intending to do maybe a few hundred words to show willing. Managed to hit 1668! So kept up the daily target. Was particularly surprised at this because this is the first time in the process so far where I didn’t have a very clear idea what the next scene was going to be about.

And despite my tiredness earlier I actually feel quite refreshed from it.

I am sure work will do it best to destroy that tomorrow. At least its Friday!

NaNoWriMo Day 5

Better day. Got some done at lunch time, some tonight and broke the 10,000 world mark.

NaNoWriMo – Day 4

Slower today but keeping my day average just about over the target. At 7774 words now.

NaNoWriMo Day 3

Well how about that, struggled to meet the daily target on my days off. First day back at work and I nearly doubled my output! Lets hope it keeps up! 6319 now!

NaNoWriMo Day 2

Hard day, had no time at all today, doing a quick burst tonight but so tired. Still just managed to hit daily target over the two days. Lost what I had gained yesterday though. A bit annoying! Just need a good few hours free to get on a roll and get ahead.

NaNoWriMo Day One

Part one finished on day one.

2061 words so far.

Now need coffee

Forgetting it all for the weekend

So it seems the moment I signed up for NaNoWriMo the pressure from all sides of my life takes off like a rocket.

Work has become more and more stressful. To the point of the web site having major problems last thing Friday night. At this point I was so sick with stress I decided it would have to wait until Monday morning. I walked out and decided to try to forget everything for the weekend.

This was not easy, as I said work stress is building up and up, relentlessly. Getting tired of it now.

On top of that the pressure from our adoption is also growing – all the social workers and health visitors want a mass meeting with us – we are naturally stressing about this as we don’t know what it is about. The annoying this is that we feel we have made great strides in the last few weeks and the little one if definitely feeling settled, safe and his behaviour has improved dramatically. The problem is we don’t think they are seeing it.

And then there are financial strains, cars breaking down, things going wrong and family illnesses. All piling on and on.

So this weekend I though sod it all. Lets just concentrate on family time.

And we had a great time. On Saturday we took both boys to a local children’s centre and they had a great time. They found some bikes and played together lovely with them. Then Alexander went to one of his classmates birthday parties. It was in a cake shop, making cakes.

Although he could have stayed we decided that L would just cause chaos in such a small place with flour and eggs! So I took him down to the beach and we spent a great couple of hours together, the best behaved he has ever been. While Alexander had a great time making “Alien” fair cakes and eating marshmallows dipped in a chocolate fountain, L and I threw pebbles in the sea, raced the tide and sat an ate lollies while watching the boats. It was bliss.

On Sunday we went for a walk in the country side around the village. Again the kids were remarkably well-behaved, collecting leaves and twigs for a Halloween picture project mummy has planned.

I won’t say I wasn’t stressed – it was still there bubbling under but time with the kids and my wife has helped.

So despite all that – because of all that and to spite all that – I decided to plough ahead with NaNoWriMo. I uploaded the cover (see below) and synopsis. Using Scrivener I have made a very rough plan. Writing down some very rough scenes, mostly in order though a few may change. I think my next stage of planning will be to describe for each character how they change between each scene. So I get a little journey plan for each of them as a guide.

I still think there an extra dimension to my idea missing, but not going to worry about that at present. It will only be a first draft – I can add more to it later if I still think it needs it once i have finished.


Cold Sanctuary

Cold Sanctuary by Scott Bailey


Orphaned, wrenched from their home, can Gabriel look after his adopted brother? Can he find a voice to stand up for himself?

In an alien world, unwelcomed and lost, all they have is each other. They must endure a clash of cultures, adapting to a radically new life and dealing with deep-seated grief. Gabriel struggles to keep the promise to his parents to look after the brother he has waited for all his life whilst coming to terms with his new surroundings.

Can such a young mind take all the demands? And, when they are suddenly separated, can he find his brother again?

Their searches for answers, for each other and to fill the holes in their hearts leads them on paths of rebellion and revenge.

NaNoWriMo Sparks!

Amazing what a difference 24 hours and some pressure makes.

From nothing I now have the bare idea of a story in my head. No solid plot – but a rough idea of the two main characters, the setting and the themes! All I will say at this point is that it will be science fiction.

NaNoWriMo and life.

So those few who follow my blog (and despite nearly 500 followers I know only a few are regular followers) will have noticed a drastic drop in my output. Since finishing my year of a poem a day I have done very little since. This is despite my promise to myself to keep up the writing.

Well life always has its own designs on our plans. The old reason (excuse?) has been the lack of time. Its been a hard few months. We have been under a lot of pressure from all kinds of angles.

We are still trying to adjust to having a very full on two-year old join our family, and all the knock on effect of that. We love him dearly and would not change our decision but it is taking the wind out of our sails.

Talking it over the other day as we realised that one of the issues that has affected us in a surprising way was his age. When we signed up for adoption we, like many, were envisaging a baby. As you progress through the courses and the process it becomes clear that it is unrealistic, so we opened up our minds to a slightly older child. When it came to it, in our minds age was no longer an issue, and in some respects we could see an advantage in a two-year old. One of the driving forces behind our decision to have another child was as a companion for our oldest – who dearly wanted a brother or sister and had already been deprived of one already. A two-year old would be more ready to play and interact with him.

However the reality has hit us harder than we expected. When you have a baby – as daunting as it all seems, you get introduced to each challenge gradually. So when they are first-born, you have to learn how to feed, them comfort them, change their nappies etc. But their demands don’t go far beyond that – by the time new challenges come along you have just about mastered the first ones.

With adoption of a slightly older child, all the challenges come at once. Not only have you got to learn to change nappies but also how to get them to eat their dinner, deal with challenging behaviour and stop them escaping the push chair Houdini style and make their escape.

Now I hear you crying we don’t have to learn all that as we have already done it once. Well that’s true. But you have to get used to doing it all again, and its a bit of a shock to the system. I don’t envy people who are doing it for the first time.

On top of that, the support we have enjoyed in the past has slowly ebbed away. This is no fault of our support network, they have all had their own plan challenging life changes, and they all support us still in many ways. But the support of having someone there has fallen. For example – we haven’t had a night out together for over a year now. And the nights out alone can be counted on one hand. It takes its toll. On the one hand our sources of stress have bloomed while our outlets for it have wilted. It’s no one’s fault. Just one of those perfect storms of circumstances.

Throw in a few bouts of very bad illness, some natural disasters ( a flood and a maggot attack! Seriously!) and it all adds up.

And then there’s work. We are balancing on a knife’s edge of survival. We have run that knife’s edge for a few years now. It’s a situation of risk, where we could crash and burn or reap what could be ripe rewards. Those rewards draw ever closer but as they do the risk and the pressure increase. Due to my position a lot of the physical responsibility falls on me. No solely but were I to get something wrong it would tip the balance enough to crash it. We are all in that position at work really and after a few years of it, it is tiring. Many late nights home and sleepless nights worrying.

So that I hope is some sort of explanation as to the lack of output.

Two things further to say. Firstly – that all sounds like doom and gloom but it’s not. In all areas we are making progress. A few months ago we felt like we were drowning. A few weeks ago like we were treading water. Now – we are swimming strongly towards shore. It’s some way off – but we will get there.

Secondly. Many people would say that if I had a real passion for writing none of that would matter – that I would make the time to write. Maybe that IS the difference between a successful writer and an amateur. I do love writing – but I also love my wife and kids and I can’t put down my responsibilities to them for my passion. I think that would be selfish.

That said – I have decided to give myself a rather large kick up the arse in the writing department. I am going to try the nanowrimo challenge. (Maybe unofficially if it’s too late to sign up formally.) For those who don’t know it it’s National Novel Writing Month. The idea is to write a 50,000 word short novel in 30 days. (The official website is here

Now I have all the same everyday stresses and challenges but I thought – sod it! I am going to attempt it despite all that – because it is difficult not easy.

Trouble is I am fresh out of ideas! I mean I have loads – but ones I think need longer than 50,000 words.

If it comes to November the 1st and I have nothing still then I will attempt the technique of just starting writing anything and see where it goes. Not something I have ever done before, I usually have a plan, even if it’s very rough.

But in the meantime – if anyone has suggestions or prompts they would be welcome. Maybe a title? Or just a single word? Perhaps a concept to explore? I like combining two disparate concepts into stories, that normally enlivens things. So maybe if I get enough separate ideas I will combine a few of them.

So wish me luck! I need a lay down now to think 🙂