Funny, isn’t it? The last post I wrote on this blog was yet another relaunch. In August.
In fact, the post before that might have been another one, several months previously.
We’ll just have to hope for better things from this one, then, won’t we?
Hi. I’m back again. I haven’t changed.
Welcome to 2020! Only three months in, pah, that’s nothing. At least this year you were spared a navel-gazing retrospective of 2019 and a pious pledge to do better in 2020. Oh, I made them, don’t worry; I just kept them to Instagram instead.
I was kind of hoping to just let this blog quietly die. But recently, the yearly fee for my domain name quietly left my bank account, and I thought I’d tootle on over here and see if the blog was worth saving.
And I noticed something strange.
The stats were going up. People actually seem to be looking at this blog. Going back to old posts, having a peer at my book page, even expressly seeking out certain search terms. Oh yes, I can see this shit. Thank you, analytics.
So I figured: it would be a shame for me to shut this down. On the occasions I remember it exists, I enjoy rambling away and apparently, somehow, people are still listening.
I’m not going to go into a whole big recap of my life over the last few months; if you want to know that, just go and have a little scroll through my Instagram. I’ve kept that relatively alive, at least. It’s been such a busy few months that my life was really kicked into overdrive, and I’ve not had as much time for social media as I used to. Promotions, holidays, gigs, friends, family, yoga, Christmas, and a complete and utter lack of any writing whatsoever.
I regularly get little sparks that might indicate my period of writerly burn-out is coming to an end, but let’s be honest: they never come to anything. I’m still no closer to finishing Karin Cluster than I was the last time I wrote. I’ve got two brand-new stories with definite legs, that still haven’t made it beyond the first chapter. The big idea I’ve been researching for two years, that I think might end up being an epic tale that could be used as an actual doorstop, still hasn’t materialised beyond some interviews with family members and a fair bit of background reading. That folder of half-finished and nearly-finished novels in my Dropbox? Still staring at me on a regular basis.
I’ll get there in the end. Yes, I do look back particularly wistfully on the days when I’d churn out scene after scene, paragraph after paragraph, chapter after chapter. I remember sitting in the raggedy recliner in our old mouldy house in Manchester, snuggled in a hoodie and clutching my massive NaNoWriMo thermos of coffee, pounding out the earliest drafts of The Bean Jar. I did 20,000 words in one day, once upon a time. Now I’m lucky to crank out 200, and that’s on a good day.
But like I said: I’ll get there. With my new job (still on the railway – I’m a dispatcher now!) I work for seven days straight, then have fourteen off. With Ted in nursery three days a week, I have more time than I know what to do with. I’ve started yoga classes, for goodness’ sake. Half the time I don’t even know what I’ve become. I have all this free time, and surely, sooner or later, that impetus to get writing again – properly writing – is going to come. I mean, it had better. I spent four hours playing The Sims 4 yesterday afternoon when I could have been doing something actually productive (though the house I’m currently building on there is, ahem, epic).
The one thing that has been constant in these somewhat turbulent few months has been reading. I set my Goodreads goal last year at 52 books, and managed to surpass it. My final total was 64 brand new books read: I didn’t tot up the rereads, but I’d say there was at least 20 of those on top of that.
This year my goal is the same: 52 books. HOWEVER, considering it’s March 10th and I’ve already finished 22 new books, I have a funny feeling I’ll be beating that once again. I’ve decided to challenge myself a bit further this year and I’m doing the POPSUGAR reading challenge too. I’m not doing half as well on this one – in fact, I totally forgot I was doing it, so I need to sit down and work out how many I’ve achieved so far out of those 22 books I’ve already finished (if anyone is interested in the full list of prompts for this one, here’s the document).
Reading has been such a lifeline for me – not just while I’ve been so busy recently, but always. It’s a retreat when I’m overwhelmed; it’s a way for me to fall into a whole new world and pretend reality isn’t happening, even just for a minute. As a socially awkward introvert (with a pretty good line in pretending to be an extrovert) just having the Kindle app on my phone gives me a great way to shut out the world just for a few minutes, even in a crowded room. After all, it’s perfectly socially acceptable to zone out and stare at your phone for a little bit – there might be a few raised eyebrows if I suddenly whipped out a hefty hardback.
That’s why, tentatively, I’ve kind of decided the main direction this blog will now take: reading. I’ve been more of a random rambler in the last couple of years (on the occasion when the blog has been active at all) but I really enjoyed doing my old Reading Round-Ups, updating on my Goodreads challenge, and just general rambly reviews. I’m not going to call myself a ‘proper’ book blogger, as to do that I’d probably have to be reviewing books that have only come out in the past few weeks and let’s face it, I only just got round to reading The Shining. I’m not exactly up to date, most of the time. And most of my reviews consist of “Eee I liked it, I don’t know why but IT WAS GOOD GO AND READ IT”. Hardly professional, but I enjoy myself.
I’m probably not going to review every book I read, because you’d all tire of me in about fifteen minutes, but I’ll try and do at least one every couple of weeks. Let’s not get too ambitious here, considering I have been known (cough) to go silent for months at a time. I really don’t want to do that again – I was quite touched to see those stats telling me there are some of you out there who seem genuinely interested in what I have to say. After all this time!
I’m glad to be back. And I hope you’ll all keep on reading.