Me as an existential horror superhero

My friend (and incredible art goddess) Laura drew this amazing picture of me as part of her Inktober project and it is so beautiful and perfect. I cried for about an hour after she sent it to me and then cried again a little bit when I saw it on Instagram the next morning. My brain totally short-circuits when people do nice things for me. I start having feelings and I can’t handle it.

The caption she gave it on IG is “Interrupting a very Lovecraftian Inktober to bring you a heroine that should have made it into one of his books. Introducing Tanya Simpson. Her defence against the dark forces are her deadly attack spiders (amazing idea for fending off intruders). She comes dressed as night, with a demon kitten on her shoulder. ”

She also included the tag #myfriendsaremyheroes ❤

Her art is absolutely stunning. If you’re on Instagram, you should definitely follow her at instagram.com/laura.jeacock/


Visit my Patreon to find out about the rewards you can get when you become one of my Patrons. If you’d like to make a one-off payment without a monthly commitment, or add a bonus on top of your existing monthly Patreon pledge, you can do that simply and securely through PayPal. Or show your support by buying me a coffee!

How they teach you about yourself

So writing poetry about animals seems to be a thing I do now. This is a follow-up to how they teach you about living, dedicated to the tiny furball I’m now responsible for keeping alive, healthy and happy.

how they teach you about yourself

i want to tell you
about those who came before you
who shaped parts of my heart
and left gold and green eyes there.

i want to tell you
that my temper is frostbite and silence
and i fear the limits of my patience
and that i might not love enough.

i want to tell you
about my discomfort with vulnerability
and how it stems from anxiety around
my lack of capacity for gentleness.

i want to tell you
about all i have broken and ended
and that i do not believe i deserve
to be relied upon or needed.

instead i calmly allow you
to carelessly dig through my skin
in the quiet hours before morning
and know that i will treasure these scars.


Visit my Patreon to find out about the rewards you can get when you become one of my Patrons. If you’d like to make a one-off payment without a monthly commitment, or add a bonus on top of your existing monthly Patreon pledge, you can do that simply and securely through PayPal. Or show your support by buying me a coffee!

5 ways writers can support each other online

With NaNoWriMo looming, I feel like I’m caught up in an electric buzz of collective excitement with my writing communities on social media. Writers on the internet are some of the most supportive people I’ve ever encountered. Maybe it’s because writers are also readers, or maybe it’s because other writers are rarely the competition due to the nature of how our work is consumed, but the encouragement and love I feel from my writer friends is mindblowing, always.

If you’re wondering how you can get more involved in writing communities online and offer encouragement to your fellow creators, especially writers who are publishing independently, I’ve put together a collection of ideas from my own experience for you to try. Enjoy!

Make genuine connections

Social media and blogs are great for discovering other writers. If you see a post you like, don’t just read it and move on. Visit the person’s profile or site, follow them, comment on their posts and get to know them. I don’t mean mass follow everyone who posts in a particular tag or has ‘writer’ listed as their occupation. I mean actually reach out, communicate and let people know you enjoy what they’re doing. If someone is posting about their new project, share in their excitement. If they’re having stressful times, a few words of encouragement can make all the difference. Treat other writers the way you’d like to be treated and get ready to make new friends!

Share what you love

Whether you’re mentioning someone in a #FollowFriday post on Twitter or reblogging their poetry on Tumblr, sharing someone’s work or a link to their profile or website can introduce them to a whole new audience – yours! Telling a friend about the amazing book you’re reading and sending them a link to where they can download or buy it is fantastic too. It’s a lovely feeling when someone likes what you do enough to introduce people they know to your work.

Take part in tags and games

Every week, I look forward to #SatLines and #SlapDashSat on Twitter. Not only are these great opportunities to share a little bit of what I’m working on, they’re also fun ways to discover other writers. You don’t even have to wait for a particular day or game to jump into tags though. Using (and browsing) #amwriting and #writerslife on Twitter will instantly connect you with other writers, any day of the week. If you’re involved with a big project like NaNoWriMo, check the relevant tags. I’ve met so many writers through #NaNoWriMo, #NaNoPrep and #CampNaNoWriMo, and it’s lovely to know that while I’m spending hours putting words to screen, lots of other writers are doing exactly the same thing and we can give each other a much needed boost!

Read and react

Few things warm my heart like someone saying, “I loved your book”. Actually, even just having someone get in touch to say they’ve downloaded my book and are going to read it feels pretty epic. Blog comments, and even Likes, are awesome. Basically, do things to remind other writers that they aren’t just shouting into the void. Let them know you’re reading and appreciating their work. Writing can be an isolated activity a lot of the time, as you know, and hearing from the people who read your words is important, especially if you know they can relate to your experience. On that note, if you’ve read something that genuinely shifted your perspective, touched your heart, made your day better or inspired you in some way, TELL THE WRITER! As a writer yourself, you know how feedback like that can carry you through times of self doubt.

Pay for what you read

At the moment, I give everything I write away for free but people who want to pay, and can afford to, can support me on Patreon, send a payment through PayPal (like buying a book after they’ve read it) or even buy me a virtual coffee. I’m still very much at the beginning of my actually-doing-the-writing-thing journey so knowing that people are willing to put money behind what I do feels incredible (and also helps me to pay for things that I need, which is good). I support other writers and artists on Patreon, and when writers I know publish an ebook, I buy it. I generally can’t afford to buy physical books, but independently published ebooks are so much more affordable and I’m grateful to be in a place where I can spend even a little bit of money supporting other creators. For a long time, I couldn’t afford to do this. Now that I can, it’s important to me that I do. Being on the receiving end of financial support for your creative endeavours is pretty damn good. Being on the giving end of that is equally wonderful.

I hope these ideas help you to make the most of your online life as writer and contribute to your community. There are so many of us out here, waiting to meet you

 


Visit my Patreon to find out about the rewards you can get when you become one of my Patrons. If you’d like to make a one-off payment without a monthly commitment, or add a bonus on top of your existing monthly Patreon pledge, you can do that simply and securely through PayPal. Or show your support by buying me a coffee!

The value of paying creators

My back is a total mess at the moment. I’ve been in a lot of pain for the last few days and it’s really difficult to move around. I’m shuffling more than walking and I can’t use my walking frame or sticks because I don’t have the strength needed to lean on my arms and hands. Imagine a penguin being tasered in the spine and that’s pretty much how I look when I try to move.

On Sunday morning, the first thing I did when I woke up was cry.

Then I turned my phone on and a PayPal notification popped up. Someone who enjoyed my writing had sent me $50, completely unexpectedly. The goodness of this takes a number of forms.

First of all, it paid for my web hosting for the next year plus part of the cost of software that I use for work. Knowing that those expenses are covered is amazing.

Secondly, it reminded me that what I create is actually worth paying for, which is easy to forget because I have roller coaster self-esteem and am still recovering from a previous job that left me feeling like nothing I did was ever good enough no matter how hard I worked.

Thirdly, it reminded me that people can be kind and wonderful, right at the time when those things are most needed.

The value of paying creators goes so far beyond a Patreon pledge or a PayPal payment (or a book bought or a piece of art commissioned or or or). It means more than covering costs and being compensated for a job done. It says, “What you create is worth something to me” and that matters more than people often realise.

My gratitude for the support and encouragement I receive from people who appreciate what I do is endless. Thank you ❤


Visit my Patreon to find out about the rewards you can get when you become one of my Patrons. If you’d like to make a one-off payment without a monthly commitment, or add a bonus on top of your existing monthly Patreon pledge, you can do that simply and securely through PayPal. Or show your support by buying me a coffee!

Ten weeks old

Silver the kitten turned ten weeks old on Saturday! I’ve been busily preparing for NaNoWriMo 2017 and he’s been my little writing buddy. His contribution has mostly involved reminding me to take breaks by attacking my feet, but he’s trying very hard.


Visit my Patreon to find out about the rewards you can get when you become one of my Patrons. If you’d like to make a one-off payment without a monthly commitment, or add a bonus on top of your existing monthly Patreon pledge, you can do that simply and securely through PayPal. Or show your support by buying me a coffee!

Gearing up for NaNoWriMo 2017

NaNoWriMo begins in three weeks and I’m beyond excited! I’ve been laying the foundations of my project for over a month, getting to know my characters and creating a structure for the book. October is being spent outlining in as much detail as possible and November (NaNo month) will be for all the writing.

50,000 words feels like a lot to write in thirty days. It’s a slightly intimidating number and I’m not completely sure that I’ll manage it (it’ll be the longest thing I’ve ever written), but I’m going to give it my best shot. I felt a similar level of trepidation before starting my Camp NaNoWriMo projects in April and July of this year so it’s a familiar sensation. I completed both of those with plenty of time to spare, but they were less than half the length of this one. It’s a massive challenge but I do like massive challenges.

Although this project has been in my head and on my computer for a while now, it’s still very much a voyage of discovery. I’d like to say that I’m intentionally refining my process, but really I’m still getting to know it. I’ve found that I definitely need a solid outline or I end up changing my mind about things and having to rewrite a lot. I’ve also found that I can’t just sit down and create an outline from nothing because I’m more characters-first than story-first.

What I’ve discovered works for me is to have a firm concept in mind for the project, then spend time with the characters while creating a rough structure. As I get to know the people who live in my head, the story begins to shape itself based on their motives and desires. I create very detailed character profiles and this sparks chunks of dialogue and other vague sketches. These spontaneous bits and pieces may or may not end up in the finished project, but when they appear in my mind I write them down because they always help me to build the story.

I don’t want to say too much about the details of my project because I’m still creating it and so much is subject to change, but I’m happy to share a blurb (very much a work in progress!) and introduce you to the characters, so here goes…

A retired contract killer, a hacker with a poet’s soul, an underworld chauffeur, a musician with a penchant for blood magic and a solider struck by lightning.

Inspired by the concepts and symbolism in tarot’s major arcana, 22 Cards weaves a winding path through five lives connected by the delicate threads of chance and possibility.

Brett
Hacker with a poet’s soul. Night person. Hardcore multi-tasker. Vodka, take-away food, Danish art house cinema. Death before drudgery.

Cain
Musician with a penchant for blood magic. Pills for breakfast. Keeps dead flowers for too long. Wants you to love her, dangerously.

Mercy
More casual chauffeur than get-away driver, but never say never. Woman of few words. Craft beer. Concealed weapons. Shit happens.

Noah
Retired contract killer, reluctant ex-smoker, coffee connoisseur. Stormy seas and expensive coats. Has feelings about not having feelings.

Wolf
Ex-military, current wandering god/fallen angel archetype. Accidental purveyor of prophetic wisdom. Struck by lightning – twice.

If you’d like to read an excerpt, which is pretty much just brain-spew since I haven’t started properly writing, and won’t until November, check out 22 Cards’ page on NaNoWriMo’s website here.


Visit my Patreon to find out about the rewards you can get when you become one of my Patrons. If you’d like to make a one-off payment without a monthly commitment, or add a bonus on top of your existing monthly Patreon pledge, you can do that simply and securely through PayPal. Or show your support by buying me a coffee!

Silver the kitten is now on Instagram

Because I was in danger of my my entire online presence becoming kitten-based, I decided to create an Instagram account for Silver. You can find him at @fromsilverwithlove if you’d like to follow tiny kitten adventures through regular photo posts.


Visit my Patreon to find out about the rewards you can get when you become one of my Patrons. If you’d like to make a one-off payment without a monthly commitment, or add a bonus on top of your existing monthly Patreon pledge, you can do that simply and securely through PayPal. Or show your support by buying me a coffee!