Wow. I haven’t posted at this site since May, that’s a disgrace! Yet somehow, the time between May and here seems to have collapsed in on itself. When you work from home, a lot of the days bleed into one. Don’t get me wrong, I’m extremely grateful to be able to work from my upstairs office, it’s just sometimes the only thing that separates the days in your memory is the weather.

A lack of posts doesn’t mean a lack of action however. If anything, I’ve been busier than ever since the launch of Dark Missives back in April. The reviews have been pretty much, universally great. It’s been very pleasing and frankly, a massive relief that so many people have enjoyed my work. I’ve had people that I’ve never met drop messages into my inboxes to tell me that they’ve loved my work. Those days are simply unparalleled.

In further good news, I’ve completed a novel. Properly completed it. First draft brain dump. Massive edits. Beta readers comments. The works. The Clearances is a dark thriller with a slight near-future angle to it. This book poured out of me in the first few months of the year.

Editing it brought me joy. Not only that, but it taught me how to edit properly. Editing has always been the part of the process that I’ve dreaded. A skill that seemingly only professional writers really master. The first draft is usually my bag, the pure hit of creation. But this book was different. I warmed to the task. I prepared. I read up, I watched YouTube videos, I listened to podcasts. All of these things taught me something about the process but the main thing I learned was that it’s largely down to mindset. A book isn’t “done” when the first draft is finished. It’s only 50% done – at best! It’s time to knuckle down and go again in the editing phase. I’m there now. I can do it. I know what it takes.

I’ve started a new book. It’s another one that’s bringing me joy to write. Which sounds like an odd phrase. Lionhearts was a big jump for me as a writer. Both in terms of style and skill. I could feel myself getting better as I wrote it. But it wasn’t a process I enjoyed. I wrote it during the first lockdown when my health health (and everyone else’s) was on its arse. The subject matter of the book is beyond bleak. The Clearances and this new book aren’t comedies or cheery in any way, but the process is making me happier. Those hard earned skills from Lionhearts are now part of my repertoire. I can use them more readily.

The Clearances is now ready to go out to markets and whatnot. The cycle of rejection and hope begins again. It’s hard not to be pessimistic but that doesn’t get anyone anywhere in my experience. I’m a firm believer that rejection makes a writer. Like anything else, if you have it easy then you don’t improve, you don’t grow. I don’t want to be a stunted writer, I want to learn and get better. That said, I’d probably crawl over broken glass to get a book published so just a little bit of success with this one would be GREAT!

All in all, 2021 has contained more writing positives so far than any other year of my life. With one book under my belt, I feel ready to add to that. I’ve got plans for Territory, my snowbound horror novella. That’s edited and ready for action. But I’d love to land a novel somewhere else before the end of the year. Wish me luck and if you see me flagging, kick me up the arse and tell me to carry on going.

Michael Jordan, that monument to hard work (and treating your teammates like shit) said it best. “If you quit once, it becomes a habit. Never quit.”

There’s rejection on the horizon, but I’ll never give up.