In 5 Years Time: A Thursday Thought

Where will you be in 5 Years time? Can you visualise it? These are the questions being asked today.

I’m doing something a bit different this Thursday, by answering the questions posed by Shelley’s Blog in her post January in Review!

Q1. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? What small steps can you take between now and December 31st to achieve it?

In 5 years I see myself as a writer/photographer. I’m out of the daily 9 – 5 grind, I’m out of the sterile, stressful, impersonal office, and I’m in a studio of my own. Level Up Photography is bringing in frequent customers, Dark Background is publishing my work and the works of others, and in the down time I’m writing my novels or working on the Clouds.

The small steps to get there are the usual: Do more! Write more! Greg and I over at Level Up have been meeting this week, we’re getting the paperwork sorted, the website sorted and we have a client meeting in a few weeks. Things are running smooth there. As for my writing, I just need to write more, as I always need to, but thankfully I’ll finally be getting my study set up this month so that should create a dramatic increase in productivity.

Q2. What does a day in the life of your dreams look like? Write your perfect day from the minute you wake up to when you go to bed. Where are you, who are you with, what would you do?

I wake up next to Kirsty. We snuggle for a bit before getting up.

We go downstairs and feed Toby (our Cat) and, if Kirsty has it her way, the dog (She’s Pug-Obsessed).

We cook breakfast and call down the kids (I’m assuming this is the 5 years’ time, scenario)

I leave for the studio, and drop the kids to school along the way.

I work on my latest novel, or read the latest manuscript, or edit the latest clients photographs.

When all my appointments are done I drive back home.

I spend some time with Kirsty before we have to pick the kids back up.

Then in the evening we all eat together, we watch TV, read, or play boardgames.

The kids go to bed, Kirsty and I snuggle on the couch, Toby tries to squeeze in between us as always.

We go to bed together, I read for a bit, then we fall asleep to begin the day anew.

Q3. If money was not an issue what career would you have or what lifestyle would you adopt?

Studio! Studio! Studio!

Writing, Photography, Publishing.  They’re my main aims; they’re how I want to make my livelihood.

That said, “if money was not an issue” I’ve always said I’d love to run my own small games company. It’s a daydream of mine that, when I win the lottery, I’ll hire a bunch of students and create video games… Put my writing into that form as well as books and blogs!

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So, there we have it. That’s where I will be in 5 years… Give or take. As always, thanks to Shelley for those reflective questions, was great fun to fill out! Why not give it a go? Feel free to ping back here so I can see yours too!

How to be on the Clouds! A Guest Post Offer.

Want to be up on the Clouds? Apply to Guest Post here!

What a superb bit of serendipity that Work in Progress Wednesday (WiPW) lands on the 1st of February! Mainly because, for me at least, it’s about to become Focused February. That’s right, we’re already one month into 2017 and it’s time to kick myself up the bum and get FOCUSED. I’m excited, are you?

As part of my focus of Focused February I’m looking to focus on all of you; the readers, the writers, the photographers, the painters. All of you that are out there! I want to share with you, I want to hear your insights, I want to be invested in what you’re doing and breath in your inspiration.

That’s why I’m advertising the offer to be featured here on the Clouds. There will be a space every Wednesday for someone to talk about their Work in Progress (whatever it may be!). My ideas for the feature are for you to share something about what you’re working on, what you’ve recently learnt, or what’s recently inspired you. I’m happy for you to write a post, share a tutorial, or display a photo… I’m even happy to interview you about your work if you so wish! There’s more information over at the main page, with a few more ideas and a way to contact:

And, here are a couple of the past Guest Posts we had for NaNoWriMo!

WiPW – NaNo Edition: Featuring Cynthia

WiPW – NaNo Edition: Featuring Dominika

If you’re interested, simply let me know! Either comment down below or, preferably, fill out the form!

Thanks for stopping by! Feel free to share this with anyone you know who might be interested! And if that’s you, apply now!

Century: Writespiration #4

He blinked.

“How long have I been asleep?” he asked, his voice croaking and previously unused.

“Exactly one century” answered a voice with practiced calm.

He took a moment to process the news.

“Then, my friends… my family… they’re all…”

He was met with a solemn nod.

Tears broke his eyes.

*****

Many thanks to Sacha for running this challenging over on her weekly Writespiration. The prompt this time was 100 to celebrate 100 Writespirations; a pretty awesome achievement! You’ll also find my entry for last week on there, or you can find it at The Lost Things: Writespiration #3, along with many other wonderful 52-Word-Works!

The Lost Things: Writespiration #3

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She’d fallen from the log and onto the mossy mound; spilling spores into clouds all around her. Suddenly, as though fragments of the undergrowth came to life, leaf-masked creatures surrounded her fallen form. They began to examine her curiously; stick think appendages poking and prodding. This was who she’d been looking for.

*****

52 Words. Exactly. That’s what Sacha is challenging us to over on her weekly Writespiration. I’ve missed the first two weeks (not sure how?!), but I’m making my first entry with this! The prompt was Lost Things. For some reason, my mind went to a Forst, and the Lost Things living there… and then I started thinking of these guys pictured above!

Gold & Misery: A Monday Motivations Flash Fiction

The incalculable wealth of the room was evident from a first glace; thousands upon thousands of gold coins and gilded relics stacked and scattered in chaotic heaps.

Upon these precarious heaps, with scaled eyes closed to the stale cavern air, the dragon slept as he had for eons now.

He was alone, the last of his kin, surrounded by riches he couldn’t spend, and a life he couldn’t share; the treasure would never sate his misery.

*****

I read the 3 themes specified over on Esther Newton’s Monday Motivations and was instantly hit with this image.

The themes were: Misery, Sleep, Gold.

It might be a tad cliche, and might be a tad inspired by the Hobbit, but still… Dragon’s are awesome! A big thank you for Esther for running these Monday Motivations, I’ve followed them for awhile but this was only my second time taking part. My first ever go can be seen here: Creation

Taking Risks with a Non-Risk Taker

How often do you take risks?

It’s a question I’ve found myself asking more and more this year. I’ve never really been a risk taker myself; I’ve always been a bit of a goody-two-shoes. When I was younger, I never liked to upset my parents, I never really went through that rebellious stage. I hardly had tantrums, I was hardly ever ‘naughty‘. I always tried my best in school and if I ever did anything wrong, well, I was a wreck; I’m the only kid I knew who, even as a teenager, felt a swell of tears for doing something wrong. As I grew up I learnt to stretch this a bit, I learnt more and more what I could get away with and how some consequences mattered more than others… but I still didn’t really take risks. My lazy University life, where I pushed the extremities of attendance and deadlines, aside I never really left my comfort bubble.
I have friends who have travelled, I have friends who live in different countries, or who follow different, out of the norm, career paths. I haven’t really done much of that, or much of anything. I went from School, to College, to University, to working full-time. That’s. About. It. It’s enough to make you a bit melancholy; it’s enough to make you sit back and think “What am I doing with my life?”. There are things out there I’ll never see, people I’ll never meet, experiences I won’t partake in. I’ll sit at parties and hear the stories of my friends who have cycled solo around Australia’s coast, those who taught English in Hong Kong, or those who have driven (Yes: Driven) from England to Mongolia, and I’ll have nothing of worth to input.
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My friend Luke’s car; en route to Mongolia.
It’s something I’ve thought about a lot, something I would dwell on from time to time, but something that became more prominent as I started the process to buy a house; another norm, another anchor to this stable risk-averse life. To make matters worse, I’m a big believer that it’s these risks, these forays out of our relatively small comfort zones, that shape our character. Was I doomed to never be shaped? Never be modelled? Never have any experience to give weight to my perspectives? No, I came to a slightly different realisation instead.
I realised these aren’t the risks for me. I’ve always thought my fear of risks is what was keeping me back from these things, and it often was to an extent. What if something happened whilst I travelled? What if I didn’t like the country I was in? What if I couldn’t get a job when I came back? What if I lost all my money? What if… What if…
Some of my fears were more logical than others; some were because I was too cemented in this comfort zone of mine. I’m quite a nervous character at times, I get anxious quite often when I’m stepping out that zone, but I’ve realised it wasn’t just this that held me back; it was desire. When my friends have travelled I’ve been envious, I’ve wanted to be able to say I’ve done that, or have the confidence to do that, but at the same time, if I truly think about it, I don’t necessarily have the desire to do that. As much as I’d love the experience of teaching children English, being alone in a different country doesn’t do much for me. I’d be fearful, yes definitely, but I think the lack of comforts would maybe do me more harm than good. Whilst I realise it isn’t healthy to never leave your comfort zone and rest too much on these comforts of ours, I also realised these weren’t the types of risk’s for me.
I’ve realised that I’ve been so hung up on how I’m not taking those kinds of risk that I’ve never given much thought to the other kinds of risks I am taking or willing to take. Maybe I’m not born to be a traveller, but maybe my risks come in different forms. Buying a house, this house I’m in now, was a risk. It might not be as grandiose, as fantastical, it may not be . Starting a business, my own business, is a risk; it may never take off, I may not get any customers, I may fail miserably. I mean, this blog is technically a risk; I’m putting myself out there, on the internet, theoretically forever and saying, “this is me, this is my creative work, this is what I’m trying to promote“. Hell, I didn’t schedule this blog post in advance and I didn’t have a clue what topic to write about, this very post is a risk!
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My favourite risk right now!
So, maybe I’m not a traveller, and maybe I’m not a big risk taker, but I’m taking the risks that are right for me; I’m shaping my character the way I want it to be shaped. 2017 is potentially the year I take the biggest risks, I can’t disclose them all, they’re just for me and a few others right now, but we’ll see if they pay off.

How about you? Are you a risk taker? What are some of the most important risks you’ve taken in your life? Let me know! Share them below! 🙂

Building upon the Clouds

 

With NaNoWriMo over and December flying past quicker than I’d like, I’ve made a decision to get more organised. When NaNo was happening all around me, and with me not finding enough time to write for it, I found myself feeling guilty if my pen hit the paper for anything other than my Work in Progress; Remembrance in Blood. This, prefixed with me taking some time off from my blog in October to sort my house move, meant we’ve stumbled on the path a little. Not to worry though! I’m taking a more active approach to further build on the foundation that is Clockwork Clouds.

You see, I really want to make my blog ‘work’. It’s important that I don’t mean in a cash-creating, fan-favouriting, kind of way. Just in a, “well that looks professional and well maintained” kind of way. One reoccurring theme of my 2016 has been about taking my future, and with it my writing, seriously and a step in that direction is making my blog a serious factor too. So, for starters, I’m going to try and increase my pictures on here; it seems my posts would do well to feature a bit of eye candy as, most times, they’re painfully monochrome. Secondly, I’m going to start keeping to a schedule like I used to.

Admittedly, December is probably the worst month to do this update; my social plans have practically tripled just because we’re in the run up to Christmas, whilst January looks decidedly empty. Still, they say if you need something doing ask someone who’s busy, and if I can prove to myself I can get organised in December then I have no excuse for carrying it over into the new year.

I’ve decided the best way for me to be organised it so to have goals and targets, deadlines and accountability. If I could employ someone to just push me for deadlines I’d get so much more done; sadly I rely on myself and, as a boss, I’m fairly lenient. This is where you come in – The Readers. By telling you my *NEW* Blog Schedule I’m making myself accountable.

Here’s how Clockwork Clouds is going to work!

Monday – Monday Blog (#MondayBlog)

Every Monday I’m going to have a Monday Blog; the nature of which is just a standard blog post. It’s whatever’s on my mind when I’m writing, it’s something that’s appropriate to me, to my blog, and hopefully something you find interesting. Often it will be about writing, or about something else that is important to my life. Monday Blogs are the posts I advertise the most. Armed with pre-made hashtags, I share them on twitter and I get the most retweets for them (thanks to the wonderful twitter-people who follow the #MondayBlogs – without them I’d be nowhere). I also have the most time to work on them, I have ALL Saturday and ALL Sunday… plenty of time to come up with something good, right? So Monday is for more serious posts, like todays where you’re getting an update on the state of Clockwork Clouds!

Tuesday – Free

Tuesday is a free slot I’m giving myself, partly because I need a day to take part in writing prompts around the blogsphere, partly because I don’t have some alliteration or hashtag to use on a Tuesday. You can expect to either see some short stories, some flash fiction, or nothing at all. Wont that be a nice surprise? You’ll have to tune in and find out!

Wednesday – Work in Progress Wednesdays (#WiPW)

You may already be aware but I try to promote Work in Progress Wednesdays (#WiPW); it’s a slot on my blog each Wednesday where I aim to update you on the progress of some Work in Progress in my life, and where I invite you to take part (either by tagging a post with WiPW or by actually having a guest post here on Clockwork Clouds!). The way I see it, there are plenty of blogs you can visit to see reviews or interviews surrounding finished products. That’s not what I’m here for. I’m helping you to tell the world about something you’re currently doing. It’s about sharing inspiration, powering through a writer’s block, or even just venting off frustration. It’s a means of support, basically, for anyone and everyone that wants it. Every other Wednesday I also take part in Wordless Wednesdays over at Level Up Photography; so that’s always worth checking out!

Thursday – Thursday Thoughts (#ThursdayThoughts)

Introspection. Thursday will be a day that I share something I’ve been pondering; be it about lifeabout writing, or about both! I first started blogging to get these thoughts out on paper, I never intended them to be read but was open to sharing them. Since then, I’ve taken my blog more seriously, but this practice remains the same. Writing my inner thoughts helps me, it’s a conversation I have with myself and it’s often how I gain clarity or voice my concerns. Thursday posts, a bit like Tuesdays, aren’t a guarantee (I simply might not have any pressing issues on my mind!) but if I do, I’ll schedule them for here. Hopefully my ramblings can help someone else make sense of their minds!

Friday – Friday Feelings (#FridayFeelings)

Not too dissimilar from Thursday, I want to discuss Feelings on Friday; namely the positive ones. To finish off the week it seems important to reflect back… so, I’d like to take Fridays to share with your something good that’s happened during my week. In everything I’ve read around positivity and happiness, gratitude plays a huge and important role. When I wrote my 5 Things to Be Thankful For, it really did fill me with positivity for the rest of the day. I originally thought to do this on a Thursday as Thursday Thanks (and I still might!) but I think Friday is a nice day to round of the week by sharing something that’s given me a warm fuzzy feeling. With the run up to Christmas, I should hopefully have tons of content vying for this slot.

Sat & Sun – None Blogging Days

Saturday and Sunday are going to partly be from taking a break from posting, though I’ll hopefully still be around the blogosphere reading and commenting! What else will I do in this time? Well, I’ll relax, see friends/family, and hopefully create some new content to talk about in the week to come!

So there we have it, a schedule of sorts and something to hold myself to! Mondays and Fridays posts are practically gaurenteed. I always want a Monday Blog up, and I always want to reflect back and be grateful for the week I’ve had. WIPW is also pretty much a given, it’s a practice I’m promoting and that’s keeping me on the path to my book. The other two I’ll be a little more lenient with; Tuesday being an optional day and Thursday being reliant on where my mind is that week.

This is a trial run and if it works, it works! If not, then we’ll just have to mix it up again wont we?

What do you think? Will you be tuning in to see more content from Clockwork Clouds? Do you have a schedule you follow for your blog? I’d love to hear about the things you’re all up to!