Cariad Eccleston

Just a gin-filled dork.

I’m back from hiatus, and trying to work it all out

25 March 2018

Four weeks ago, I put the blog on hiatus while I figured some shit out.

Rather than spend the next four weeks finding ways to rephrase “I haven’t worked on the story because I’m still finding time to think”, I’m gonna sign off and see you on 25th March.

Well, it’s 25th March — and I’m back!


Like I said last time, my Sundays aren’t cordoned-off and reserved for focussed writing time any more. It was super difficult for me to handle losing that personal space and time, and I knew my productivity was going to be extraordinary low while I figured out what I was going to do.

I haven’t quite found my new routine, but I’m heading in the right direction for sure.

Adjustment 1: Let go of needing personal space to write in

I used to do all my writing at a standing desk in the living room. In fact, with some cabling switcheroos, it’s also where I do my day-job when I can’t get into the office.

My standing desk

For a bunch of reasons, this became way less convenient for me. I needed an option that was far more portable, so I could write more opportunistically.

Luckily, I fell into some good fortune! My annual bonus came in from my day-job, and I was able to treat myself.

I picked up a 12.9” iPad Pro with the Smart Keyboard, and – holy fettuccine – this thing is exactly what I needed. I can write on my standing desk, I can write on the sofa, I can write in bed, and I can toss it in my bag and write anywhere.

12.9 inch iPad Pro with the Smart Keyboard

Adjustment 2: Write when I can, not when I want

Since I can’t fit 9+ hours of writing into Sundays any more, I’ve had to start forcing myself to write when I get home from my day-job.

And – fuck me – that’s tough. I get home tired, burned-out from anxiety, and utterly drained of creative thought.

It used to be easy to let myself think it doesn’t matter, because I can catch up on the weekend, but not any more.

Having Ulysses and MindNode on my iPad and ready to go at a moment’s notice has helped, but it’s still a super tough mindset change.

It’s exhausting, but – shit – it’s going to be worth it. There’s no gun to my head forcing me to do this. I could have an easier life and just play video games for a hobby. But this - story - is - going - to - be - awesome!

Writing update

I’ll kick off this update with a quick recap.

During NaNoWriMo 2017, I started drafting a story called Esthree Postbuild and the Agency of Dragons and Stars and Things.

And – long story short – I failed to finish. Life came at me hard, bro.

I let the incomplete story lay fallow for a while, then in January I made a plan to split that story out into a trilogy.

On the face of it, it felt like the right thing to do. It felt like it would work.

And I spend most of the last four weeks trying to make it work.

I got myself into some serious knots. The story became more and more convoluted as it went on, so that each part of the trilogy could have its own standalone story while contributing to the greater epic.

It was a mess, and I didn’t know what to do.

So, I did the smartest thing that I think any writer can do; I took a hard break from thinking about it for a few days, and read some books.

If there was one book that changed my world that week, it was The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. I don’t want this update to creep into a book review (suffice it to say, it’s awesome) but I’ll tell you what it taught me: Esthree Postbuild and the Agency of Dragons and Stars and Things can work as an epic, single story.

So that’s what I’m doing.

I’m going to take the first draft I write for NaNoWriMo, and merge in all the mind maps and notes I’ve made during the last month, to write a single epic novel.

Last night, I created a new empty manuscript and started blasting out words. By the end of the day, I had 1,695 words.

1,695 words written

Not a bad start! Well, if we’re happy calling this third attempt a “start”!

The plan for this week

Since this is “Draft Zero”, I’m less concerned with word count and more with progress through the outline.

That said, though, it still feels good to see the word count creep up!

Right now, I’m about half-way through the first act. It would be nice to have that act done by the end of the week.

And if I’m going to achieve that without leaning not the weekend, I’m going to have to knuckle-down and get shit done in the evenings when I’d rather go to bed.

It’s going to be worth it. It’s going to be so worth it!