Different types of creating

Another quick mile today…

…because I had quite a few things on my to-do list today. Most of them took longer than expected and now there are quite a few things on my to-do list for tomorrow as well. Hopefully it will balance out throughout the week!

I’ve been preparing my submission for this month’s virtual poetry night group poem, which has required a bit more of an analogue approach than I’m used to. (Actually writing something out by hand and taking a photo of it? Yikes!) The group effort will go live tomorrow night, so I’ll post a link to it on Thursday.

In the meantime, I have a few more things to tick off my list before I can collapse with a videogame. Tomorrow I’m hoping for a slightly longer run and an equally productive day!

Summer hat
A sneak peak of my poem submission, without the poem bit, obviously. What could this old straw hat be representing?

Today’s earworm playlist:

Yasunori Mitsuda – ‘Where It All Began’
Duran Duran – ‘Union Of The Snake’
Mesh – ‘I Can’t Imagine How It Hurts’
Rihanna – ‘Russian Roulette’
New Radicals – ‘You Get What You Give’
T.Rex – ‘Metal Guru’

Two metres, please

I managed a slightly longer run this morning…

…and felt so much better for it! My shoulder pain seems to have subsided for now, although I will be putting it to the test with a bit more yoga later today. I’m hoping to get out for some longer runs over the weekend as well.

It’s a bit busy inside my head at the moment, and I feel like my creative ideas are not keeping their two metres of social distance apart from each other (or, you know, two centimetres, or whatever the correct scale is for inside your brain). I’m not working on as many creative projects as I usually am – I’m having a few months’ break from prose fiction writing in order to refresh (and it’s probably working because I miss my characters BADLY); I’m not writing as much poetry as usual due to poetry night having gone virtual like everything else (although I did enjoy writing my short verse today for the group poem we’re doing this month!); my adventure game creation process is currently in a drawing-bad-graphics phase rather than a writing-interactive-fiction phase; and I’m not actively seeking out writing competitions and submission requests and the like because it was starting to stress me out by the end of last year.

It’s good to take a semi-break, especially in the current circumstances (many writers have blogged more eloquently than me about the fact that a pandemic does not actually make for an efficient writing period, despite all the additional free time, because the ever-present sense of dread is something of a distraction). However, I’ve always found that if I don’t get my ideas out, they rattle around in my brain, and at the moment there are a lot of them in there.

I think I just need a couple of days to write freeform and see what happens. Maybe next week, if work is still quiet.

I’m looking forward to the weekend (such as it is) now. Geth and I will be doing the parkrun quiz tomorrow morning and taking a trip to the now-reopened B&Q on Sunday in order to get more gravel for the garden and stretch the car’s wheels (I’ve not turned on the engine since we returned from Inverness last month, and I know it needs to be done every now and then). I’ll be doing a couple of scenic runs and not thinking about the parallel universe and my parallel self’s trip to London. And, of course, I’ll be playing a lot of videogames.

As I mentioned last weekend, I won’t be doing diary posts tomorrow or Sunday – I’ll be sharing my running vlogs, though, and I’ve got a couple of review posts that will be going up. I’ll be back on Monday to update you all on my continued lockdown adventures 🙂

Cherry blossom
Today’s run was another sunny adventure with bright blue skies and beautiful blossom everywhere. This spring has been so good to us weather-wise.

Today’s earworm playlist:

Toto – ‘Africa’
Pulp – ‘Common People’
Survivor – ‘Eye Of The Tiger’
Timecop1983 and Primo – ‘My DeLorean’
Yasunori Mitsuda – ‘Elysium, In The Blue Sky’
Chaka Khan – ‘Ain’t Nobody’

Blue skies

A nice midweek run in the frosty sunshine…

…and then I spent the afternoon doing admin and practising my ukulele (class went back tonight after half term and we have a lot of fairly complex tunes to learn at the moment). Ukulele class was a bit of a mixture tonight – we had some bad news re. the fact that our teacher won’t be teaching us anymore next term. We’re also learning a Justin Bieber song at the moment, and it sounded as though not many people were singing along – possibly because most people were concentrating on learning the riff – so I sort of felt like I was singing when I shouldn’t be for that one. Which was a little awkward.

After class I headed to poetry night. I decided not to read tonight, as although I do have a couple of works-in-progress they’re not quite ready for public performance. It was nice to enjoy everyone else’s poems without worrying about my own!

Love Yourself music
I know this song fairly well (it was everywhere in 2015). Not sure many other people in the class do though!

Today’s earworm playlist:

FM-84 and Ollie Wride – ‘Wild Ones’
Tinchy Stryder and N-Dubz – ‘Number 1’
Justin Bieber – ‘Love Yourself’

Midweek miles

Still battling various aspects of winter weather while running. High winds in Newcastle meant that this morning’s four-miler felt like a bit of a struggle! However, my overall pace was consistent with what I’ve been doing recently, which is great.

I did some day job work and admin this afternoon, and then headed out to poetry night this evening. It was good to get back into the habit of reading for a room again – I’d only missed one month, but November in some ways feels like ages ago now. I got some good comments on my poem, so am feeling motivated to keep writing over the next few weeks.

Other than that, will just be keeping fingers crossed for another good result on the scales at Slimming World tomorrow! Geth and I have been really good this week so here’s hoping…

Night walk
Not an OOTD: the dark nights can be quite pretty, but I’m getting a bit sick of them now.

Today’s earworm playlist:

Duran Duran – ‘Tel Aviv [AIR Studio Version]’
Sugababes – ‘Hole In The Head’
The Midnight – ‘Explorers’

Rhyming days

I’ve not written any poetry in a while, but I did today because otherwise I’ll have nothing to read at poetry night tomorrow!

Other than that I’ve just been getting on with admin again. Editing for clients (and doing my midweek run) tomorrow.

Calendar January 2020
Not an OOTD: the calendar tells me that January is nearly over. I will miss this droid poster!

Today’s earworm playlist:

Vera van Heeringen – ‘Riverside House’
FM-84 and Ollie Wride – ‘Never Stop’

New Year’s Resolutions 2019: the outcome

So, on the 1st of January 2019, I wrote a post about all my resolutions for the year. Let’s see how those turned out…

February 2019
Some winter snow in February.

1. Finish sorting out the house contents.

Uh… not a good start to the list. I don’t think I got anything done in this area. It’s now a resolution for 2020, and apparently one that I need to prioritise.

2. Write 500,000 words in 2019…

I absolutely smashed this one, writing approximately 875,000 words in 2019.

3. …and edit and pitch all the words I’ve already written.

I pitched my 2011 middle grade/young adult novel to twenty more agents, and none of them bit, though a couple did say they liked it. I also submitted poetry and short stories to a lot of magazines and competitions – again there was no success there. I just have to keep trying in 2020. I’ve already identified the novel project I’m going to be pitching this next year, and it should be in a submittable state by the spring.

4. Take weekends off.

Hahaha! Well, I’ve been slightly more successful than usual in not doing day job work at weekends, but only slightly. Writing and admin is another story – the to-do list just slips and slips and slips throughout the week and it’s never all done by Friday. I’m not really sure if this is something that can ever be changed.

5. Buy fewer clothes.

I was pretty successful in this area! I only bought stuff I actually needed (well, maybe the Duran Duran t-shirts weren’t exactly necessary, but they’re very nice). I don’t even feel the need to go out to every single vintage fair anymore.

6. Run a marathon.

Done and dusted! Of course, circumstances conspired to ensure that I’ll be doing it a second time in 2020…

7. Perform some of my poetry in public.

I was convinced that this one wouldn’t happen, but it did – eight times! I don’t even feel nervous about doing it anymore, which would have seemed totally impossible to me this time last year.

8. Get sober.

I got sober on the 5th of January 2019, and so I am very nearly at my one-year anniversary. While I’m very proud of myself for getting this far, I recognise that sobriety is a lifelong process, and so I can’t get complacent about it or think that the work is done. I’ll continue to utilise the great online and offline support communities that I’ve found, and to take more care of my own mental health.

9. Get back into the habit of music practice.

Rather optimistically, I thought I’d be able to make a multi-instrumentalist of myself in 2019. I’ve only really had time for my ukulele, but I’m really pleased with how it’s gone. I’ve done three terms of classes at the Sage Gateshead, moving from the absolute beginner to the beginner to the intermediate class, and with the intermediate class I really feel that I’ve found my level. Looking forward to class starting again next week! I also love that I can just find tabs online and teach myself new songs.

10. Actually play some videogames.

This didn’t really happen until about September, but I have been able to get some decent videogaming time in during the last few months of the year. It’s something I love, and I have lots of new ones to play, so hopefully there’ll be even more of this in 2020!

Plus some unexpected bonus achievements…

The first unexpected thing I did this year was buying my car in May and properly getting back into driving again! I’d been meaning to buy a car for years, but I’d been hugely procrastinating about it because it seemed so complicated and I’d always been such a nervous driver before. Having a calmer temperament now that I’m sober has really helped with my driving, and I feel much more confident about it now that I’m getting so much practice in.

The second was starting to learn to code in the autumn. It had always been something I was interested in, due to my twin loves of retro stuff and videogames, but it was only this year that I finally got into it thanks to some of the ’80s Twitter accounts I follow discussing the Adventuron system (for creating illustrated ’80s-style text adventure games) in August. I was able to take part in a couple of game jams in the autumn and improve my game development skills, and I even wrote an Adventuron game for NaNoWriMo (or half of one, anyway – I’ll be finishing it in the first part of 2020, along with a few other games I have ideas for). I also started learning to program in BASIC in preparation for getting the BBC Micro up and running again. I have a lot more coding goals for the next year, but I’ll discuss those in detail in my New Year Resolutions 2020 post tomorrow!

Venturing out

A fairly early post today as I’ll be busy all evening. It’s the final ukulele class this term (sadly I can’t make the end-of-term concert next week as I’ll be at a gig in London, so it’ll be January before I’m back playing ukulele with the class again!) and then poetry night afterwards. Both of the poems I’m reading tonight are about it being a good time of year to stay in the house, which is sort of indicative of my current outlook on life.

I’ll be nipping out to Slimming World tomorrow, after which I can start preparing for a semi-quiet weekend!

Home treadmill
Not an OOTD: the treadmill is most definitely a near-permanent feature at the moment, with even Geth finding it too slippy to run outside most mornings.

Today’s earworm playlist:

Wham! – ‘Last Christmas’

Where did the day go?

I’m really absorbed in a couple of projects (including my NaNoWriMo text adventure) at the moment, and so the days have a tendency to disappear. Today was no different. I’m going to have to take a break from it tomorrow so that I can actually get some house admin done!

Might open it up again once I get back from poetry night tomorrow evening though…

5 1/4 inch floppy disks
Not an OOTD: got the old 5 1/4 inch floppies out all ready for testing on the (hopefully still working) BBC Micro next month! Can you tell I might be excited for Christmas already?

Today’s earworm playlist:

Duran Duran – ‘Come Undone’
The Everly Brothers – ‘All I Have To Do Is Dream’
Clint Mansell – ‘Leaving Earth’

Counting down

Last few days before Hallowe’en. I’ve still got a lot to do, the main thing being to get my text adventure game finished! It’ll be a bit of a squeeze but I’ll get it done. I’ve also got an article to finish, some editing to do for a client and a poem or two to write – not to mention a lantern to carve and a lot of TV and films to watch! Going to be a busy few days.

I’ve mainly been coding and walking today (still getting those steps in every day). Up early tomorrow to get started again!

Hallowe'en paraphernalia
Not an OOTD: my pumpkin is still uncarved, and Geth has put some boardgames on the table that we will probably be selling next year, including Fury of Dracula (the cover of which is now annoying me because I’ve only just noticed that despite the game’s title, Dracula actually looks really happy on the box artwork!).

Today’s earworm playlist:

Michael Land – The Smugglers’ Cave
Michael Land – The Scumm Bar (MI4)
Blancmange – Living On The Ceiling
Squeeze – Tempted
Duran Duran – Secret Oktober

Bits of everything!

Another good productive day. I went out for a run (just a short one today – I’m trying to get a bit of speed up by doing shorter runs on some days) and finished off my poems for this evening’s poetry night. I then spent the afternoon working on my text adventure game. Still quite a bit to do but I’m on track!

No ukulele class tonight (it’s half term) so I headed straight to poetry night. Poetry night was good – I read another running poem (I do a lot of those) and a poem based on the story of my game. Now back home catching up with a few writing tasks before bed.

It’s weigh-in day tomorrow – fingers crossed it’ll be another week slightly closer to my target range!

Kalenji running top
Not quite an OOTD (although I will be wearing it to parkrun on Saturday): one of my recent postal goodies! Have stocked up on some new winter running gear.

Today’s earworm playlist:

Duran Duran – Save A Prayer
Gunship – When You Grow Up Your Heart Dies
Matthew Wilder – Break My Stride
ABC – The Look Of Love
Boy Meets Girl – Waiting For A Star To Fall
Sacre – The London Marathon
Gomez – Whippin’ Piccadilly
Lukas Graham – 7 Years