March Forever

So March is right around the corner, again… and yet, it feels like the last one never ended.

For me, the buzz from the New Year quickly wore off, perhaps even quicker than most other years and January dragged in, February has vanished in a puff (which I’m glad of), and Spring is approaching. I like March, I like going into Spring with the longer days, little bit warmer weather, and the feeling that the world is waking up from its hibernation. But we’re still in lockdown, and it seems for Scotland it won’t be until the end of April that things might start shifting in the direction of normal again. Though I think we’ve all learned now, we probably shouldn’t get our hopes up.

Looking Forward

It’s not all doom-and-gloom! I promise there are still things we can be grateful for/look forward to. At the very least, more daylight! Plus, unlike last year, we can go out for walks as much as we want – most people have masks now and no one is panic buying so the supermarkets are still functioning well. Another great thing is the internet, how fortunate we’ve been to survive a pandemic while still being able to stay in touch with people – or like me, find new people! We can video chat and make plans for the future. Or just share daft memes. The point is we’re not completely cut off.

I’ve been making lists of all the places I can’t wait to visit again, even just in Glasgow there are so many. Then reminiscing about all my previous travels has made me wistful and nostalgic, but I will get those posts written eventually to share them with you all.

Keeping Busy

Lots and lots of housework and writing. I know, I never thought I’d say it but even I can’t put it off forever, at some points I have to stop and clean up. But I usually listen to music or audiobooks while I’m doing it so it doesn’t feel like a complete waste of time.

I’m working on two novels right now… that I’ve been working on for many, many years but at least now I kind of know what I’m doing. Honestly, the hardest part is just getting started. Planning helps. I’m one of those hybrid writers, I like to start, then devise a solid plan, write some more, change the plan and eventually see what comes out of that draft. I have four whiteboards propped up against my bookshelves with the breakdown of the current chapter in bullet points, which does help to get the creative juices flowing then I’m back to the notebook to HANDWRITE the chapter. I’ve found that going old school again is helping me to work faster, slightly more consistently and allowing me to add random notes and thoughts that just don’t happen on the computer. Plus, death by cursor is a real thing… as I discovered at the start of Nano in November… I’d planned everything out, I needed to work fast to be able to submit a word count every day – yet I stared at the screen, the blank page, and the keyboard and hardly anything appeared. I know I’m in the wrong business to say I hate deadlines, I mean that’s the ultimate dream to be able to do this full time – which would require deadlines, but there’s something so restrictive (for me) about having to be so damn quantifiable with your output.

It’s curious that this has been on my mind lately because today saw the second newsletter from Historian Dan Jones (more in a bit) where he talks about how he is a super planner when it comes to writing. He’s previously mentioned in his livestreams that he blocks out chapters and knows exactly what he’s going to write so he doesn’t face death by cursor when he starts. He also uses cork boards and pins to move around the chapter plans… which I thought was very novel and…

Cork boards

I’m pretty impressed I put them up so well, without measuring or using nails! I’ve filled them now with the left panels being one book and the right panels being another. I could probably do with a few more boards to take it down further, but I’m happy with it. It forced me to organise my chapters for both books and I have cut up index cards with each chapter name written on it with space for additional cards to hold notes when I write more/get editing. And I tacked my signed postcard from Dan Jones onto it as motivation… or whatever 😉

Not much gaming going on sadly, I feel a little bad, I haven’t given AC Valhalla a proper chance I’m just too sad about the lack of levels, the cold, and that it’s not Ancient Greece/Egypt anymore. I will get back to it eventually, though maybe after I catch up with the other AC games I didn’t play the first time around. Considering I have basically all the Valhalla merch, I should go back to the game and give it the chance it deserves.

History with a dash of dirty talk

If you’re easily offended, you may want to skip this. If not, then keep reading.

Several weeks ago I found Dan Jones on Facebook and saw that he’d started doing a Friday Livestream… I was curious, I guess everyone is discovering coping mechanisms to get through lockdown. Then I watched a stream. It’s less a coping mechanism than a group of foul-mouthed, history nerds with a penchant for gore and filth (GFAD!) who just want to watch a respectable guy battle with how far he can jump around the line of propriety before his publishers have an issue with it. Given the numbers and responses he draws each week, I doubt there’s truly a cause for concern. So if you want a giggle, to hear about some terrible craft beer, random story time, an epic book toss, and inappropriate-in-any-other-circumstance conversation then go check it out at 4pm!

(I’m not affiliated in anyway, I just think it’s hilarious – plus it gives me a weekly boost to my writing!)

Diversions

Aside from all that, I’ve just been studying Portuguese and a little Dutch and outlining lots of blog posts and prior material I can mine for my other site Languages with Eliza so have a wee look there if you want more language and related information. I’m also working through a Digital Marketing course and a few other courses that hopefully, one day, might help me in my quest to become a digital nomad!

I promise I’ll be back soon…

Let me know if you check out Dan Jones’ livestream! What books are you reading/writing at the moment? And tell me if Valhalla truly is a worthy AC game!

e x

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