Bristol Writers’ Retreat

I write this sat on the rather chilly platform 3 of Bristol Temple Meads. Not because I haven’t done writerly stuff today, more to thaw out my thumb. Yes that’s correct: I DON’T FEEL GUILTY ABOUT NOT WRITING! And why’s that, Ed? COS I’VE BLOOMIN’ DONE SOME!!! I hate it when people on tinternet use all caps for emphasis, don’t you?

Today* I went to my first Writers HQ retreat in Bristol, run by Amanda Staples. And I got a whole bunch done. The setting was perfect – The Old Library in Eastville. It is a community-run library and basically a large room full of bookly wonder and lots of comfy seats.

Bristol writers hq retreat
The scoreboard. I wsn’t in it for the wordcount, but still managed to land myself a gold star for my efforts. GET IN (as they say)!

Unlike pretty much everyone else (but not because I’m special), I concentrated on structure rather than wordcount. Recently I’ve been pulling all of my notes from everywhere and popping them in Scrivener and Aeon Timeline to create a single source of truth. I’ve also been fleshing out story characters and relationships. I basically spent the day doing more of that, despite already having written a chunk of the novel. As a planned series, I’ll wager it’ll save me more time in the long run. And also help in those “what would s/he do in this situation given eveything s/he’s been through?” instances.

If you’re a fan of writing with other writers, check-ins to see how you’re getting on, lots of tea, scrummy food and chatting, this is for you. It’s less about guidance and more about getting on with it in a supportive space. Also: you don’t need to read a thing to anyone, which feels a lot less stressful. You can check out the Writers HQ here (be warned, it’s sweary!). For me it’s been the full-day kick up the arse I needed.

P.S. You also get a gold star for writing.

*I actually only wrote the opening to this yesterday, before getting distracted by Family Fortunes, then going to bed because I’D WRITTEN (eaten) TOO MUCH.

2020 – the far future!

Last year lots happened. One of the biggest events was saying goodbye to a house we loved and an area and neighbours we did not (actually we didn’t say goodbye – fuck them!). We have really nice neighbours now and a great new house in a great new town, which is a really corrective experience for us. Moving itself was horrible, and the logistics of moving our lovely hens (now sadly down from 4 to 2) was stressful and difficult.

I wrote some stuff down in a post called “Positivity”, which in and of itself was a fairly positive step for me.

This year I plan to be more sustainable and fight the good fight for climate change, which has really been getting me down. I also plan to write more; I’ve already started by getting all of my notes in order and moving has enabled me to join a group and regularly visit a dedicated writing space (more on this later).

The job’s still going well, we saw some great gigs last year and visited some nice (albeit more local) places. I also got to animate and draw more, and lead a more structured existance. Though there’s still work to be done.

I’m still a narky bastard, but with the world in the state it’s in it can be hard not to be. The very future of the planet is at stake, so staying positive can be a chore and at times delusional.

I’m hoping as we get more settled in our new home we’ll make some longer, more nourishing relationships, and this time round, I’ll get some people reading my stuff. Output and writing exposure is now key. I managed to post a blog most months last year which felt really positive too.

As I said this time last year – if anyone’s reading this and cares and/or is a writer, give me a shout on the usual channels. Looking for writing buddies. Let’s talk. Updates soon. Promise.

Oh, and Happy New Year. Let’s make this one really count, for everyone’s sake!

The beginning of the rest of your life…

Frome. Day 12. Already. We made it. We’re here. Still settling, of course, but early reviews are resoundingly positive (after ridding ourselves of the bad taste from getting screwed out of heaps of money from solicitors, removals men and basically anyone involved in what became a needlessly messy process). We’re home. It’s done!

Mooching

There’s something great about mooching and I imagine in these days of online shopping even fewer will experience it. Charity shops, record stores, pre-owned video game gaffs, they’re my stomping ground again for the first time in a long time – at least six or seven years. For a long time after that, and especially in the last four or so years, I’ve been more reliant on Amazon. I’ve started to feel guilty about my shopping habits and their effect on the planet. There’s nothing like picking up a bargain and celebrating the success with a well-earned pint and a packet of crisps (seriously – there’s nothing like it) before heading home with a spring in your step.