I love reading blog posts that give advice. If I’m already taking the advice I feel smug I’m doing things right, and if I’m not I feel like a daring rebel.
Either way, win!
I once read some advice that if you take a break from blogging and then return you shouldn’t draw attention to the fact you’ve been away. Just continue posting as you were, and most people won’t notice you were gone.
Uh, I think in this case that ship has not only sailed, it’s been eaten by a kraken.
So yes, I’ve been away, and the elephants have carried the world on through the void, as elephants are wont to do.
Here are a few other things that happened, which I know about because they happened to me, I read about them (everything you read online is true, remember?), or I made them up.
I probably didn’t make them up.
1. I missed talking with so many cool writer friends online. Rating: one wretched unicorn sobbing a pool of tears
2. More people bought Colleen Hoover’s books than bought the Bible. Rating: awesome if you’re her, rubbish if you suffer from serious writer envy
3. I quit four fifths of my day job and currently have the time and energy to write. Rating: awesome until I run out of savings
4. My website and blog didn’t vanish in my absence, but my hosting service auto-charged me so much I’m going to need to be here for the next ten thousand years to make this worthwhile. Rating: I’m undecided about spots
5. Wordle happened. If you’re not familiar with this bite-sized game, I have some advice on how to make your life infinitely better. Get a cat. Rating: great (note the five letter word), though not as good as cats
6. Writers still like cats. Rating: do I need to rate this? Seriously?
7. I rewrote my About page. Rating: three camels
8. I got three years older. Don’t be smug. So did you. We also got three years wiser. Rating: I’ll take it
9. I solved the problem of having to eat every day (give or take). Rating: a self-confident moose… until I eat my solution every day for a week
10. Twitter got a new overlord who, as I understand it, likes advertising and some very nasty people, and doesn’t like us having fun with our friends. A lot of writers left. Rating: a big steaming pile of dragon poo
11. I burned out and stopped writing. I recovered and started writing again.
12. I wrote 33k of a new book (deserts! camels! giant scorpion demons!), then reread my old WIP, fell in love with it, and went back to editing it (but with a better plan). Rating: the best dragon hugs ever
13. I decided I had a better chance of surviving the apocalypse if I was fit (because we all know another apocalypse is coming, it’s just a matter of which one gets here first). I started running, hurt my Achilles tendon, and couldn’t run for two years. Rating: zombie fodder
14. I found the book I should have found two years earlier, Built from Broken by Scott F Hogan, and fixed my Achilles. Rating: does running ever get easier?
15. I read lots of books and liked some. I found dozens of books I didn’t remember buying on my kindle. Fairies? If so, thank you and I won’t question your taste in public.
16. I contemplated learning to write short stories, read a bunch of stories I didn’t understand, and decided to think about it. Rating: strawberry popsicle
17. Two big traditional publishers were told they weren’t allowed to become one big traditional publisher, and said some embarrassing things in court. Rating: according to Stephen King, delightful
18. Yet traditional publishing seemed to get (even) harder and (even) less rewarding. Rating: three dead sparrows
19. I ate the ultimate breakfast smoothie for monster fighters every day for two years. Rating: one defeated (but still magnificent) forest dragon
20. I started following New Zealand politics and regretted it. Did you know our current prime minister is a guy called Chippy? Chippy?! Who actually seems earnest and sweet, not qualities that will help you fix a broken country. Rating: one post-apocalyptic city
21. I rethought my priorities and came up with a plan to win at
life writing. Rating: three peacocks who are not currently moulting
22. Computers learned to write with as much inspiration as a teenager scrolling TikTok but considerably better grammar. Some people got excited. Some people freaked out. Rating: a cute hedgehog, I think
I also had a peek at what some of my writing friends have been up to. Some no longer exist, at least if you judge by the existence of their blogs. (Please come back as ghosts!) Some have new books. (If that’s you, share them in the comments and I’ll check them out.)
The hilarious and prolific Kim M Watt, whom I interviewed at least once, has written, if I count correctly, about a million more books. Check them out if you want to read about “tea-drinking, crime-solving dragons collaborating with women of a certain age”, a “snarky feline PI and his scruffy human sidekick” or various other odd and delightful characters.
My artistic and multi-talented friend Dewi Hargreaves has become the go-to person for maps to go in the front of books. So if you’re planning to publish a fantasy novel and you want your world to look incredible, check out what he can offer. He also has a new short novel, set in the “shattered remnants of a far-future America, a time in which our own era is nothing more than myth, a time in which monsters walk the Earth again, travel is dangerous, authoritarianism is ever-present, and for most people, every day is a fresh fight for survival.” I can’t wait to read it!
The (much braver than me) Anna Adler published even more steamy romances about aliens. I’ve been beta reading for Anna for years, and her books are always sizzling hot and as entertaining as a salsa-dancing badger. If explicit alien romances are your thing, you should check them out.
What happened in your world while I was away? I want to know everything.
I also have some time right now, so hit me up if you need a beta read. I’ll read the first chapter of any genre and decide from there if I can help you with the full draft.
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