Mar 31

A is for Arse in gear

What better opportunity to get my arse back in gear than by once again taking part in the A-Z Blogging Challenge? A quick intro for those who have never heard of it before – blog every day in April (expect Sundays) and theme each post around the corresponding letter of the alphabet (first day is A, second day is B, etc.), leaving out Sundays gives you 26 days in April. I’ve completed the challenge twice before – once in 2011 and again in 2012…I failed miserably in 2013.

Right now I’m in a ‘transitional’ period in my life – some things have ended, some things have begun, and some things are stuck in the same worn out rut they’ve always been in. Whatever the case, things have to change. Putting my very wibbly life aside for the moment, I’m going to concentrate on the good, the bad, and the ugly of my writing.

The Good:

My article ‘Embrace the Dark Side’ featured in the March edition of Writing Magazine – the UK’s biggest and bestselling magazine for writers…and…AND…I had another pitch accepted, so fingers crossed article no.2 will be featured sometime in the near future. I am also submitting short stories to decent markets. I’m expecting nothing more than rejections but I’m at that unique time in my writing career where even a rejection feels good…because it means getting a letter from the ‘big boys’.

The Bad:

I have no clear writing schedule. I have several unfinished novels. My short story ideas are a bit samey – I tend to stick to clichéd and hackneyed ideas. I have never written seriously out of my chosen genre. I have no motivation. I have limited resources. I am a big wuss when it comes to meeting other writers. Useful conventions are always in bloody London! I am paranoid about sending my work to beta readers.

The Ugly:

I have to face up the fact that continuing stories without perfecting my craft is not a good way to learn. The ugliest of uglies is the fact I am NOT a good writer – I may have a couple of semi-decent short stories, some popularish bloggy rants, and a couple of decent articles, but mediocrity does not a good writer make. I have 10+ unfinished novels…that is not the sign of a good author.

The Change:

I must study in the ways of the word-ninja, step out of my comfort zone, and get my arse in gear. I’ve already started my journey by pitching and submitting articles. By forcing myself to actually pitch instead of just complaining “no magazine would ever want one of my zany rants”, I’ve stepped up the plate and proved I can write at least a semi coherent piece deemed suitable for the larger world outside of my freaky darling blog followers.

By sending out my short stories I’m hoping (fingers crossed) for some feedback by the very same people that would consider publishing my work if I improved it. Just taking part in the professional process of submitting and keeping track of submissions is a great confidence booster. We’ll see how that holds up once the rejections come flooding in.

The biggest change I need to make is pushing past the oh so familiar 85k mark. I need to face the fear of endings I’ve had since the beginning (ha). Only then can I edit the chuff out of those gits that have been sat on my hard drive for years gathering virtual dust.

Arse. In. Gear.


Excuse me.

p.s. it’s also Camp NaNoWriMo this month *gulp*


How could juggling so many projects possibly go wrong?



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  1. I am going to give you a kick up the arse Mr Chapman, ten novels is not a failure, most folk struggle to write one, and even if they do, they struggle with the second. I’ve seen your work and I say YOU ARE GOOD! I can say that, I am appearing alongside Ramsey Campbell and Graham Masterton in a future anthology, so I feel as though I am in good enough position to say what is good and what is not. Doubt is a bastard, you’ve been there as it crippled me and you helped me through and that is a another good sign of a good writer. So let us concentrate on the good shall we… 😉

    1. I can’t really call them novels until they’re finished – so technically I have 10+ ‘things’…piles of paper…whatever you want to call them. Concentrating on the good sounds cheery, and positive, and hopeful – that sounds like hard work :S

  2. Good heavens above, if they are brilliant novels, then just having them unfinished doesn’t mean you are not a good author – you just haven’t committed to that final polish. That’s your next step – your writing is excellent, you communicate brilliantly, and that’s the hardest bit to achieve.

    1. That’s the problem – they’re so bad they might as well stay unfinished…I’ll sort them eventually I suppo…ooh, look! A new novel idea!

  3. “I am paranoid about sending my work to beta readers.”

    ME TOO. Like really bad.

    We’ll get there though. Eventually.

    *gnaws on lip*

    1. I might just stick to sending it straight to publishers *gnaws lip as well* My own lip that is…

  4. Ten novels in progress mean you have an unlimited fountain of creativity! Vow! and here I am struggling along with two blogs! Best of Luck for the challenge. I blog at The Book Drifter and Drifting Traveller

    1. Every writer has an unlimited fountain of creativity! It’s the skill of actually writing the buggers that’s the tricky part 😛

      1. Haha! Cheers to writing it all!!

  5. One brick at a time.

    I had the same problem with finishing novels till I actually did it. It’s like you have to throw up to feel better. Let it go and get your work out there.

    1. I like that analogy…I’m off to stick a pen down my throat 😛

  6. Go at it Ninja! You don’t need to spend any more time kicking your own arse – you have a good grip on what the obstacles might be – so pitter patter fly atter (my daddio’s mantra). My post for D is discipline. Come have a look on D-Day!

    1. I’ll try and remember, Jan (mind of a…erm…of a…erm…one of those things…what are they called again?)

  7. I must study these word-ninja ways as well – great post!

    1. You have to find one first – they’re tricky buggers to pin down.

  8. I’m such a minimalist I’m lucky if mine even hit the 85K mark. I hope you get the push you need from this challenge!

    1. More likely it will be an excuse not to work on my novel 😛

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