Writing, Inspiration and the Writers Yearbook

I’m running slightly behind the times, but I’ve recently received the 2012 edition of the Writer’s and Artist’s Yearbook. I’ve previously owned the 2009 and 2011 editions and with the best intentions had planned to use them after writing a fantastic novel, a batch of short stories and an array of short films and audio productions that would set me off on the rocky road to a full time writing career. Sadly that hasn’t happened yet – spending most of my time editing 60 Second Gamer on the PC put a stop to that – but now thanks to a streamlined editing process and a much shorter wait for video to render, I’ve got more spare time for writing and planning for the year ahead. Thus, purchasing the latest copy of the Writers & Artist’s Yearbook was necessary if I’m going to achieve my aims this year.

I’ve barely read this latest edition, but a brief glance at the e-book section at the back has already kick-started a few ideas that will help me get 2012 off to a positive start with respect to my writing and my videography plans. I had originally planned to write a novel in 2012. No easy task for someone who, despite wanting to be a writer for many years, hasn’t yet developed a writing habit. Except for this blog, which since November I have planned to use to get into a regular writing habit, for one, and to try and develop my writing voice for another. My key problem with novel writing is that I have the ideas but as soon as I start the first chapter I re-read what I’ve just done and it feels like it’s coming from somebody else’s pen, pencil or keyboard, take your pick. So I’ve never really got very far into any novel that I’ve ever wanted to write, and usually retreat to the relative safety of scriptwriting instead.

Not this year. Admittedly for now I’m giving up on the full length novel idea, as I’ve never done it before and need to try my hand at shorter writing lengths before building up to a proper story with explosions and everything, like a Michael Bay film with a half-decent story. So the plan instead is to write a few short stories  and take one of my novel ideas and turn it into a novella. For those not in the know, a novella is just a shorter novel, apparently it’s anything from 10,000 words up to 70,000 words (thanks, Wikipedia). My aim is a 40,000 word novella and I have just the story for it. But first I’ll write a load of short stories that won’t ever see public release to find my writing voice and to slowly build up to a single story over 40,000 or so words. I think that’s an easy target for the year, bearing in mind everything else I’ve got planned.

From this I can hopefully build up a few sales/downloads of my stories either through the Random Stoat website, Smashwords or Amazon’s Kindle page, perhaps continue writing novellas for the interim until I either build up the confidence to write a full length novel or, even better, write something of sufficient quality that would warrant submission to an agent or publishing house and turn my writing/videography thing into a career at long last. On top of that, I’m also planning on writing series 3-6 of Trent Samuels (yep, there will be 6 series in total), after which we’ll likely record them in bulk and release them sequentially over the next 2 years. Forward planning, indeed.

That’s not to say that I’m giving up on 60 Second Gamer, our movie podcasts or writing an excessive number of projects for my own amusement. Far from it – these projects will be ongoing and I have sincere hopes that by the end of 2012 the Random Stoat website will be overflowing with original content, 99% of which will be free and available to everyone. It might sound a bit far fetched at this stage, nay you might even say overambitious, but currently I’ve got ideas that will eventually result in a single Random Stoat podcast feed, consistently updated with a variety of podcasts and original audio series – more on this in a later blog by the way, they’re all still in the very early stages of development – then there’s my aforementioned novella which I’d like to see available on the Kindle by the end of the year, probably a couple of short films, and hopefully on top of all of this some business coming in for wedding videos, corporate videos and music videos as appropriate.

A lot of this is bolstered by the viewing figures for our YouTube channel (click here to take a look). In 2010 we had 4000 hits over the 12 months. Not too bad, but not particularly high. Then in 2011, no doubt influenced by the 60-odd extra videos we released, we had almost 14000 hits. That’s quite a sizeable leap in viewers, and I’m hoping we can carry on with this progress throughout 2012. We’ve hit a bit of a snag recently in that Ant now isn’t available during daylight hours, so that’s limited our sketch filming ability somewhat, but as the nights grow ever so slowly lighter we’ll be recording months of material in advance to get us through the winter months. Or, at least, that’s going to be the plan. It will be nice to see how the year treats Random Stoat, and it will also be interesting to see if we can make any more progress in popularity, podcast downloads and putting out high quality material.

Just to indicate how prepared I am this year – for the first time I’ve got the Trent Samuels Festive Special planned for a September recording date rather than the usual three weeks before Christmas routine that we’ve fallen into the last 2 years. This year, make no mistake, the Trent Samuels Festive Special will be released BEFORE Christmas. Shock horror. Suffice to say, the Writers Yearbook will be helping me through every step of the way, and I’m looking forward to the year ahead as a result.

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