Eight Headless Chickens


It was a good end to 2013 with my first book published and the first draft of the sequel written, but January has been eight chaotic days, running around like the headless cliché… sorry, I mean chicken.

As I said in my non-resolution, Baiting the Bull, I had simplified my plans for 2014, aiming for just a small step each day. In a way that worked, but my mind still wants to veer off down different tracks.

Is that because it knows that I am playing mind games? I can’t hide the potential workload from myself, not when it mocks me each day. I sit at the computer and know what is going on, however hard I try to shut the demands off.

There are at least eight demanding chickens that I cannot hide from.

Cover credit: Danielle Sands

Cover credit: Danielle Sands

  1. Spiral of Hooves: the novel won’t sell itself so I need to promote it, without spamming the world.
  2. Wyrm Bait: the second novel I wrote, which has been professionally edited. But I’m finding it hard to tackle a rewrite.
  3. Gossamer Steel: a collection of short stories that links to Wyrm Bait. Where my passion is at the moment. Also have a linked novella, The Last Leaf, my 2011 NaNoWriMo win that needs editing.
  4. Challenges: 100 k in 100 days and My 500 Words. These give me the daily challenge to write – as in 3 – but not to edit. Will suffer when 7 takes over.
  5. Reading Blogs and other Social Media: finding enough time to give these justice is nigh impossible, and yet I need to connect with other people out there. That includes all the amazing IWSG folk.
  6. Reading novels on Kindle &/or paper: a writer needs to read, if only for pleasure. But sadly, as a slow reader, I have difficulty reading on a Kindle but that’s how I buy my books. Quicker reader the old fashioned, un-ecological way.
  7. Packing for our move to Wales next month: in less than eight weeks we are moving to Harlech. Boxes are taking over our lives, and the other details must be sorted. Writing will get harder.
  8. Gaming: something had to suffer and this is it. Some would say good riddance to this waste of valuable time. But it is crucial escapism, especially when you are trapped by a wheelchair. It is also the inspiration behind 2 & 3.

I need to focus myself back on the basic steps forward, and stop letting the headless syndrome affect me. I just need to identify the priorities. Without a head, this chicken can’t cross the road and get to the other side.

What do you think, dear reader? What’s the best way to cross the road?



This is my first posting of 2014 for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group This is when we release our fears to the world – or offer encouragement to those who are feeling neurotic. If you’d like to join us, click on the tab above and sign up. We post the first Wednesday of every month. Visit at least a dozen new blogs and leave a comment. Your words might be the encouragement someone needs.

The awesome co-hosts today are Bob Milne, River Fairchild, Julie Dao, and Sarah Foster!  Many thanks to you all for your time and effort towards making all IWSG members feel welcome.


And for those interested in Headless Chickens, visit:


Baiting The Bull


Setting New Year Resolutions is a bad idea, and I’m entitled to say that after six decades filled with failed attempts. That is also the motivation not to make that mistake this year, so no resolutions. I promise.

On January 1st 2013 I wrote a post entitled How hard are the Three Rs. It was an attempt to look ahead at my plans and resolutions for 2013, and to reflect on 2012. I admit that even though I achieved a few of the goals – publication, an editor, new readers, and maxing two MMORPG characters – I failed at the harder tasks, like writing 100k in 100 days and getting more drafts revised.

Therefore for 2014 I have a very simple To Do List, with one item: write or edit a few words each day. In that way the ‘bait for the bull’ is less overt, and I might even get something finished, be it a novel like Wyrm Bait or a short story.

Back in December I made the rash decision to do 100k in 100 days again. My total last January-April was 15,411 and in the summer I improved that by writing 32k in 100 days. What was I thinking? Not a good idea. I knew that it was impossible with all the preparation for our move at the end of February/early March.

Perhaps, having written over 50k in November for NaNoWriMo, I had a false sense of my capabilities. At least then I had a clear outline for ‘Tortuous Terrain’, and I knew my characters plus the ending. Yes, the first draft of ‘Tortuous Terrain’ has joined the queue, and one day it will be revised.

A short story set in the fantasy world eluded to in Wyrm Bait did inspire 1,530 words over the first two days of January. But even with this post I will be behind on the challenge. And I haven’t even missed a day through ill-health.


However, I signed up for My 500 Words: A Writing Challenge, which is more manageable, especially if I can count the same words for both challenges. But maybe I am misinterpreting the rules since my 1,500 word story was written over two days, so I cannot carry the surplus forward… or even future shortfalls. Does that mean that I fail again?

Unless I waffle on for another 107 words.

Therefore I will end by saying that, although I will do one or two more Spiral of Hooves interviews, I am considering changing what I blog about. Since the future priority has to be getting another novel published, and Wyrm Bait is the most evolved, I will blog more about the fantasy, cyber-crime and gaming elements that I am researching for short stories being written against the same background. Short stories are going to have to be part of my future. I may even revise some really old manuscripts.

Or do you have any better suggestions?

Which of my post have you enjoyed most?

Should I take more photos and write less?

Or do you want to taste more fiction?