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Thursday, 17 September 2015

After All, It's a Step in the Right Direction

I've been excessively silent on this blog recently and I apologise for that. I'm still lagging behind with my book and classic film reviews but hopefully I can get those up to date soon. The sad truth is that I haven't had much time to read and watch anything or, really, to do much apart from react to things going on around me. It's not the most rewarding of existences and it certainly isn't healthy for me personally.

So where are we at? Well, last Friday I delivered what I hope is the last piece of my PhD puzzle. My thesis corrections have been uploaded and outstanding paperwork delivered so, theoretically, that should be that.

In other news, I was delighted to be short-listed in the 2015 Exeter Story Prize with my short story 'Pongo'. That's one I'm particularly proud of and I'm glad all that hard work paid off. One of the things that drew me to that competition was the ability to submit longer short stories. Sometimes you need the extra space and I don't think 'Pongo' would've squeezed in to a more constrictive word count.

I'm also standing for election again in the Pontefract North by-election on the 24th September for Yorkshire First. Politics is still something I'm passionate about, though I don't go into it much on this blog. However, in fairness, I haven't had much time to go into it on my politics blog either! The last post I managed over there was badgering the previous councillor to resign and, lo and behold, now I'm standing for her seat. Isn't life a funny thing?

My priorities have, quite naturally, shifted with waving the PhD goodbye. Top on the list is trying to look after myself a little better than I have been doing in recent months. Beyond that, there are always other things in the pipeline. Here are the headlines.

  • Back in July I developed a priority list of novel drafts. I've got cracking on the fourth draft of 'Max', marking up all the necessary edits and starting on the nitty-gritty of actually implementing them. This is going to be a long process and it may derail the other projects I want to work on before the end of the year. However, I'd still like to get to 'Danni' and 'Izzy' before the end of the year. I'm also working on the assumption that I'm going to be participating in NaNoWriMo this year, though by this point I've usually had a big idea and I'm working on refining it. I need inspiration to strike. 
  • On the short story front, I need to get back into the groove. For instance, I currently have four in need of a second draft and another four that I've decided need a complete overhaul before I resubmit them. At the time of typing, I only have three short stories out at submission but there are another two I'm content enough with to send out so I need to get on with that. My aim is to make my co-working day with Wakefield Jelly the main day for short story paper edits again. That's worked very well in the past and it's a dedicated day for escaping to edit short stories (in addition to a dedicated hour of escape each weekday to actually write them). Incidentally, if anyone's around on Wednesday 23rd September, pleased stop by at Create and join us Jelly folk. The group has been going for two years now and, amazingly enough, I've been going since the start!
  • I'm also hoping to take on some tutoring work for A-Level students and above. I had some success in this quarter earlier in the year so, if you know anyone who needs a little help with their English studies please ask them to contact me. Hopefully there'll be more on this in the future. 
  • Freelance writing and project management is also another string to my bow and is taking up a chunk of my time at the moment. 
There, that's perfectly manageable, isn't it? Who said anything about slowing down? Besides, it takes my mind off the fact I'm essentially flying without navigation at the moment. But, as Angela sings, it's a step in the right direction, after all...even if I don't know quite what direction I'm going in. 

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