Bringing in 2019 in Melbourne

My first blog post of 2019 is a little later than I’d planned but things have been quite hectic over the last two months! That’s hectic in a good way; I’ve turned up to a writing group in Melbourne, been to a festival, had some time off over Christmas and, most importantly, got my second-year visa.

I’m staying in Australia for a bit longer!

It removes my initial dilemma of what to do next and lets me take time to see more here, save up more money and THEN make a decision. That suits me just fine. I’ve settled in Melbourne well, I could see myself living here much longer, but that’s not why I came here. At least not yet.

One another note, it’s just over two weeks until I landed here in 2018 – that’s a whole year! I’m going to do a full recap then but, in the meantime, here’s what’s been going on.

Good Things Festival

The Offspring at Good Things Festival

The Offspring at Good Things Festival

I’d been looking forward to this festival for months. A day-long rock festival in Melbourne with some great bands and headlined by The Offspring – who played the entire Smash album and then some! What’s not to love about this?

The heat. That’s what. It was apparently 39 degrees Celsius that day and that meant I had to be careful. I missed the first couple of hours, which normally I wouldn’t, to make sure I could last the day. I also didn’t want to spend a fortune while I was there.

Bands I saw included Babymetal – who are awesome, by the way! – Dropkick Murphys, Bullet for my Valentine, Stonesour and, of course, The Offspring. The first and last of this list were the highlights, definitely, and now I’m looking forward to Download festival in March,

The not-so festive season

New Years Eve fireworks in Melbourne

New Years Eve fireworks in Melbourne

Christmas was a weird one. It was summer here, so no snow or cold weather. After 29 years, it was a big change. The end result was it didn’t feel very Christmas-y. So much so that I decided to work Christmas Eve and Day at the hostel, the latter paying almost $50 an hour so it made sense. Anything I could do that day, I could do any other day here.

More importantly, it was good just to relax for a while and take some time for myself. Do a little writing. Catch up on sleep. Spend some time on the beach. You know, that kind of stuff.

New Years was a little better. I went down to the lake at Albert Park for midnight and watched the fireworks as the clock ticked over. It was impressive; fireworks launched from countless rooftops in the CBD in a coordinated display for over ten minutes. Sydney tends to be a popular choice but it’s worth checking Melbourne’s display, too.

Doing more exploring

Melbourne CBD from Williamstown

Melbourne CBD from Williamstown

There’s a lot to see and do around Melbourne, and I’ve been lax the last few months in making the most of my time here. This weekend, I spent a day in Williamstown, just across the bay from where I’m staying in St Kilda.

It’s a nice place. Quaint. Quiet. Picturesque. There wasn’t much to do, but some really nice views and walks. I’m making a point to get out more on the weekend and see new places in and around the city. Afterall, why else am I here?

What does 2019 hold?

As I mentioned, Download festival returns to Melbourne for it’s second year and the following weekend brings the opening race of the F1 season. After how much fun I had last year, I’m definitely going to that, too.

In between times, there’s more work to be done to keep saving money before I take four or five weeks off work to go and explore the west coast. This will be a completely different beast to the east, where I took a bus and did it alone, as I’m going with three others and we’re driving (well, they are, since, y’know, I can’t drive).

After that, I’ll have decisions to make again. There’s more travelling to be done but I’ll need more money and the work situation will have an impact.

It’s Christmas Time!

Well, almost but who’s counting (10 days – 9 until my holidays start)? So, as you know my NaNoWriMo attempt didn’t go so well and I’ve been a bit quiet lately, dropping down to my normal routine of 2 posts per month. I like this number as I’m not pressured into writing a post – even though I do really enjoy it – and I can put more time into it. I’d love to have the freedom to do it weekly but we’ll see what 2015 brings.

What am I doing?

Well, I’ve not been slacking off…much. I’ve been diving right back into my novella. I’m well into the second draft now and I want to say a BIG thank you to my proof readers, Sami and Kat, for your time and effort. You’re comments are justified and helpful and having combined them with my own next steps, I can say everything is coming along nicely.

I’ll be working on this on and off over Xmas and hopefully have something closer to publishing standard by the New Year or shortly after. Then it comes to submission time. It might not get accepted but I’ll find another way to get it out there if not because I think it’s relevant to many people and hopefully enjoyable too!

What can we look forward to next year?

Well, I have a lot planned. I’m FINALLY going to make a start on the A Song of Fire and Ice series so I can watch the TV show, give you more insights into my writing styles and tips – I get a lot of good comments and feedback so I think I should share what I’ve learned from others and from myself – and even more book reviews, since my reading list is huge at the moment. World Hopping is still going strong too, but they’re Christmas break is also coming up.

I also have some more projects lined up for next year so it’s going to be really busy. You don’t want to miss this stuff so watch this space.

But until then

So, this is me signing off for 2014. It’s been a blast since coming to WordPress and I’m looking forward to more of the same, and better, in 2015. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Hogmanay!

See you in 2015.

NaNoWriMo – Week Four

Targeted word count – 60,000

Current word count – 0

So, there we have it. November is over and I didn’t write one word. Not a single word. This is my worst attempt out of every year I’ve done it – and there have been a few. Granted, I’ve had more failures than successes (I’ve only completed it once) but I usually get a good chunk in. I can’t even blame the distractions, really, other than the competition.

Oh well, time to move forward.

What have I discovered?

Well, it’s far too easy to get distracted! One year, I’m going to have the time to commit to this challenge properly – working full-time, even if it’s with a set routine, can be tiring and coming home to work for another 2-3 hours a night is a lot to ask every day. I thought I could do it, but it was too much.

I know I hark on about the competition but it did eat up a lot of time and, unfortunately, I don’t have much to show for it other than a revised plan and introduction for both stories. There are other competitions out there and I’ll be sure to keep submitting and trying to see if I can get somewhere with them.

Even having a plan doesn’t guarantee I’m going to be able to write – even if it’s a story I’ve known for a long time with characters I’m familiar with. Doing something new isn’t necessarily better but it can be new, creative and exciting to dive into something headfirst. It’s down to choice. I’ve failed with both and succeeded with one…which is the opposite of what I tried this year. Should I read into that too much?

What’s next?

Well, December will see me working on my novella. I want to get it as close to finished as possible before Christmas so I can have a proper break. I don’t mind too much if it needs a bit of touching up after but I want the bulk of it done first.

After that, it’s back to the novel I did in 2010’s NaNoWriMo. I need to add another 20-30k words to it and then make sure it’s consistent with the standard set in the first chapter. That’s my benchmark right now. From there, I’ll decide what the next draft needs. Following that, I’ll work on the sci-fi novel that was my other competition entry option.

All the while, I have an idea for a kid’s series that I’m going to do some research on. It’s something new to try, just like the novella is at the moment. It’s a lot of work but if I can get to December 2015 and have it done, I can be proud of myself! That’s my pre-New Year’s resolution.

Back to normal

Well, not quite. There will be one more post this month – maybe two if I have time – before I stop writing for Christmas. This will be the first year that I can just chill, not worry about blogging or writing or anything else. I have the time off work and I have plenty of plans to see friends and family, eat lots of food and hopefully enjoy some snow.

‘Till next time!