Some of my other writing – sf+f in education

I have to confess, this is not the only place where I blog. It’s the place where I blog about my favourite things – books, writing, science fiction and fantasy. But in my attempts to get paid for words, I also post elsewhere.

One of those places is, where I contribute to a blog about education. And being the nerd that I am, I let my sf+f interests enter into that from time to time. So, here are a few of the other nerdly things that I’ve written, in an attempt to indoctrinate young minds and their teachers into all things sf+f:

Things I have learned from freelancing

So, after a little bit of time doing freelance writing, and an even littler amount of success from it, I feel that I’ve learned some valuable lessons for the other, more fun side of my writing life, and for anyone else who’s out there writing. These are, in no particular order…

Do more research

I’ve had to do research on all sorts of things. Not always in depth, but it’s always interesting to do, and even a few minutes’ research beforehand can making the writing flow much better and much more convincingly. Even things I think I can blag my way through are worth researching. I should bear this in mind for fiction.

Careful with the posture

Oh dear lord, the pain. I work at a laptop. This has been straining my shoulders and neck for weeks. That in turn creates headaches. Varying my posture, and never working slumped on the couch, really helps. So does the separate monitor I borrowed off a friend today. As soon as I can afford it, I’m buying one of those special posture friendly writing desks.

Goals are good, panicking about them isn’t

I’ve been setting myself lots of measurable, realistic goals – stuff like ‘write two chapters a week’ or ‘write one of those every Wednesday’. It’s good at keeping me focused and motivated. But inevitably, the first set of goals didn’t quite match what I could achieve. I’ve been running myself ragged trying to meet them, then beating myself up when I couldn’t. They’re still goals I should get to meeting sometime soon, just not yet, so I’m keeping them as aspirations. I just have to remind myself, when I start to stress out on a Friday afternoon, that as long as they’re pushing me to achieve more, I don’t always have to meet every goal.

Be more disciplined

Last night I sat up until midnight talking about gaming. Today I am dog tired and struggling to focus – hence this hasty post before I completely crash. I need to use my willpower to stick to things I promise myself, like getting to bed at a sensible time.

Now I’m going to follow some of my other advice, by having an evening off and chilling out. Have a good weekend folks.

One month – so far so good

It’s been a month since I left my job and started trying to write full time. Seems like another good point for some self-reflection on what’s worked and what hasn’t.

Overall, so far so good. Working on something I love has left me far more relaxed and happy than I would otherwise have been. I’d be happier if I’d sold more of the stuff I’ve been working on this month, but hey, I always knew I wouldn’t see those benefits straight away. Hopefully that’ll pick up before I start getting really anxious about it.

I’ve hit nearly all my goals for the first month. I’ve written a new story every week, blogged more here, done some blogging for other websites, and reviewed my old draft novel for edits (turns out it’s much better than I feared, which is a big relief). The only target I haven’t hit is tendering for freelance writing work. I’m a little annoyed at myself for putting this off, but not surprised. It was always the most daunting objective, and my confidence isn’t not notch at the moment. But I’ve signed up to a couple of freelance websites, so it should go smoothly this coming month.

I’m also learning to pace myself – to get more done while I feel enthusiastic and take things easier when my brain screams no. Being able to do this is one of the great advantages of working for myself, and over time I’ll get better at making the most of it.

Overall? So far so good. I’m not exactly rolling in heaps of money, but I’ve made a little, I’ve improved my peace of mind, and I’ve laid the groundwork for future months. So far so good.