February Hours

It’s 2.26 am as I write this. I have a stinking cold caught from my film group which is keeping me awake. So as it’s the beginning of March, I might as well give into insomnia and do the monthly stats, for February.

 I worked 244 hours in February, which for the mathematically challenged among you, means I worked four 61 hour weeks.  That’s 4 hours more than November, my previous busiest month, with 2 days less in the month. (In November I did also work 45 hours at the Eye Hospital, which is why I was gibbering the end of that month)

Unsurprisingly, Planning & Making A Film accounted for almost as many hours as the other three modules combined. The good news on that front is that we completed shooting, so (hurrah!) my hours should plummet on that module – I intend them to, certainly.

Cumulatively, I’ve worked 900 hours in the past 4 months (120 days) averaging 7.5 hours a day, or 52.5 hours a week.  The big single subject – bar, none, including miscellaneous reading and writing—is film; I’ve worked 138 hours on that.

However, it’s now Reading Week, so I shall devote some time to reading, which always helps me chill.

• March 2nd, 2011 • Posted in General • Comments: 0

January Stats

This post is especially for Marc, who absolutely loves stats…

So I’ve compiled the January work numbers.

In 31 days, I worked 217 hours – exactly 7 hours a day, or 49 hours a week, if you prefer. That’s down on November, but up on December. The averages are complicated by the Christmas holidays; I only worked 46 hours in the last two weeks of last year, and worked only 49 hours in the first nine days of January.

Excluding reading, I spent 42% of my hours on Uni work, again complicated by the holidays. If I include reading, I spent 56% of my time, so uni and writing work was split almost 50/50. Unsurprisingly, ‘other’ work dominated work hours, while slightly surprisingly, Genre dominated my uni split with 13% of my hours worked. If you’re what ‘others’ is, it can be as diverse as fixing a printer or reading my e-mails each morning.

Since I delivered Ultramassive to Angry Robot, fiction writing dipped in January, at least until a couple of days ago, while I spent least uni time on Feature Journalism — in both cases about 8%. If I was splitting absolutely eveything equally, I’d spend 11% of time on each.

Cumulatively, reading has taken most time over the last three months, accounting for 15% of my time. I’d quite like to wave that figure under the noses of those lecturers who complain how little reading students do. ‘Other’ work accounts for 14% of my average 50-hour week. Making a Film is the most time-demanding uni subject at 12%, and will increase this month as we head into the heaviest period — when we actually make a film!

There’ll be more stats in exactly four weeks time.

• February 1st, 2011 • Posted in General, Writing • Comments: 0

New Anthology — Transtories

I’m delighted to announce that Aeon Press have agreed to publish the next anthology I’m editing, to be titled Transtories. I’ve known Rob Nielson, John Kenny and the other members of the Aeon Press team for nearly four years now, and they’re great guys who take their work seriously, and their partying equally so. They’ve been stalwart promoters of Irish SF, but at the same time have championed fiction from both the UK, US and non-anglophone countries.

They kindly took my novelette ‘On the Rock’ for publication in Albedo One in 2008, and we have several other projects bubbling away, but for now Transtories is the one I want to focus on. The submission period will open on March 1st (anyone who submits early will have their submission deleted unread, and will probably break out in boils as well!) and run until March 31st. Submissions guidelines are over at the Aeon Press website.

And while you’re there, take a look at John Kenny’s page for Box of Delights, a horror anthology that will also be coming out later on this year.

• January 20th, 2011 • Posted in Books, Events, General, News • Comments: 0

Twelfth Night

So tonight the Christmas decorations come down, and its back to normal.

Actually, it’s been back to normal for a couple of days,except that as I’m self-employed I can stay in bed and read books and count that as work. This morning I fell asleep and lost whatever momentum I may have gained!

Most of the last couple of days have been spent on critiquing, and working through the critiques I get from others.  But it’s also been time to prepare for next week’s return to uni and the inevitable assignment.

And saddest of all, yesterday it was time to take the tree down. From now on, I won’t be able to switch the lights on in the lounge, and get that sense of holding the darkness at bay. I think that that’s what makes January tougher in some ways than December. We’re half-way out of the darkness, as Stephen Moffatt wrote.

But it doesn’t feel like it.

• January 5th, 2011 • Posted in General • Comments: 0

Heading For The Coast

We’ll be heading south in a little while, so I’m racing to get this done before we go — I’m never quite sure how good internet reception will be down there. We were due to go down next weekend, but Kate’s been getting a little stressed about the whole Christmas thing; part of that is worrying about whether we can get down there before Christmas to drop the family presents off, or whether we’ll get snowed in.  If we head down this weekend, the whole issue becomes moot.

And I can afford to take a weekend away, since I finished the revision of Ultramassive yesterday, and am reasonably on top of university work. In fact, I’ve been using the worksheet to control my workload rather than it controlling me, to establish where I’m neglecting key particular chunks of work. I find it far more helpful to look at work at a strategic level than simply scribbling down tasks piecemeal.

It’ll be nice to have a break from the routine, and (maybe) go for a walk along the beach. Weather permitting, of course; that’s always the caveat at this time of year. Although it’s generally warmer along the south coast, it also tends to be wetter.  Pictures like this one -taken last February- are the exception, rather than the norm.

Back tomorrow for the last week of term. Wow! Where has the time gone?

• December 11th, 2010 • Posted in General • Comments: 0

That Was The Month That Was

I’m spending a lot of time –so much time– analyzing and writing about the spreadsheet that I started to monitor my hours.

I spent a little under four hours a day on average on writing stories, blogging, reviewing and on ‘others.’ That excludes blogs and creative writing exercises for uni, such as the film blogs. So I wrote the first part of a horror piece in November, but because it was specifically for genre, I didn’t count it in this part.

I spent about three hours a day on specific uni work, and another hour a day reading.  That shouldn’t be work, but when it becomes the basis for other items, such as reviews, or is part of a set text, then it can’t be ignored.

Interestingly (at least to me!) was the revelation of how little actual fiction writing that I do, at least when the novel is at revision stage. As little as forty minutes a day, but it’s the crucial forty minutes — get that novel revision done, and I settle down; defer it, and I get twitchy.

There is also a reason for doing the revision in small, daily chunks; it allows my subconscious time to process, and enables me to really focus on the text in front of me. A friend of mine attempted a novel crit in one go and said;

Equally interesting is the split of academic subjects within a three hour day, but I’ll continue that over on the Film Making Mumblings blog, for those who are interested.

So what’s the point of all this navel-gazing?

The reason for all this analysis is that with such a scattered and diverse set of tasks to occupy me, it would be very easy to neglect one aspect of my work.  This way, if I’m spending too little time -say- networking (as if), I can rectify it.

I know that there’s a danger of going overboard on this, but I’ve decided to keep the sheet going, for that last reason. I just have to ensure that it doesn’t become an end in itself.

• December 3rd, 2010 • Posted in General, Other Colin Harvey Sites, Writing • Comments: 0


No blog yesterday, as it was Monday, although I did post a Film Making Mumblings which I’ll link to here.

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I was keeping a spreadsheet of the hours that I was working, and what activities I was allocating the time to; the categories were the four uni subjects that I’m studying, (Writer’s Workshop aka Core, Genre, Feature Journalism and Film Making, plus writing, blogging, reading and other. As it’s the end of the month today, I’ve begun to reflect on the results. I’ll post an analysis -probably tomorrow- but one of the things that’s come out of it is how hard it is to allocate time to a job that’s as complex as being a writer.

For example, your hard drive goes and you have to get a new one. Is that work? I think so. But where do you put it? In the end, I put it under ‘other.’ The problem is that I also put the time I spent at cons and meetings such as the BSFA interview under other as well, and as a result, a third of my time is spent under other. Perhaps if I do it again, I’ll put a column in for ‘networking.’

I have one activity that doesn’t count as work, which is to take the afternoon off, and to attend Kate’s choral performance of various pieces of music such as ‘Hiawatha’s Wedding March’ and ‘Oklahoma.’  The event is at The United Reformed Church in Bath, just over Poulteney Bridge at 3.45pm. Tea and cakes will be served by my fair hand.

Meanwhile, I’m December’s Featured Author in The World’s Biggest Bookstore in Toronto.  There’ll be an interview going up at some point, and I’ll link to it, but in the meantime here’s a rather nice shot of the gondola end with Winter Song and Damage Time  on.

And I continue to paddle frantically below the waterline on stuff that I can’t yet talk about; as soon as I can, I’ll stop with the mystery.

• November 30th, 2010 • Posted in Books, General, Other Colin Harvey Sites, Writing • Comments: 0

Saturday Evening Blog

I don’t often post a blog this late in the day, but it’s been an unusual day; almost perfect weather from a working point of view. Sunshine this morning for us to walk Alice around the fields, when we got home it rained for most of the day.  While Kate has lurked in the kitchen making soup and Apple Almond Cake I’ve spent the day on the usual revision.

But unlike most of the week, once the revision is done I’ve left uni work to one side to concentrate on reviews. And then, having written a couple of thousand words, the sun came out again for us to walk Alice through the park. She repaid us by bringing a stick fully fifty per cent longer than she is. As the girl used to say on the Clio ad, “size matters.” It certainly does to a dog.

Blog posts next week are going to be limited. With Damage Time out in the US on Tuesday, I’ll be posting extracts from the novel. And I’ve four reviews to go up on Suite101, all horror, which I’ll be linking to on the day they’re posted;

Stephen King      — Carrie

Joe Hill                 — 20th Century Ghosts

Gary McMahon — The Harm


Black Static 19

Right, that’s it for now. Off to eat some pizza.

Have fun!

• October 23rd, 2010 • Posted in General • Comments: 0

Friday Bloggage

 As part of my Making A Film elective requirements, I’ve started a new blog which –like all the others in my class– needs to be on Blogger.com (I guess if my lecturer needs to read thirty blogs at a time, it helps if they’re all in one place!). Probably my second biggest time-sink over the next thirty days is going to be the Film Group.

As part of my course, a team of six of us have to shoot an eight to ten minute film the weekend of the 20th and 21st. The preparation for that is going to be huge — and none of us have any idea how long it will take. Part of that preparation is to blog about it, and if you’re interested, the link is here. Feedback is welcome — oh, and there’ll be lots of links to short films which are far superior to mine.   

You’ll notice that I said ‘second biggest time sink.’ The biggest? Well, that comes with good and bad news, from my pov.

First the good news: I have to work at the Eye Hospital for two days next week, two days the week after, with an option of a further two weeks work on the same basis. That brings in some critical cash to ease the shortfall of about a grand’s worth of income that fell through over the summer.

Now the bad news: I have to work at the Eye Hospital for two days next week, two days the week after, with an option of a further two weeks work on the same basis. I’m already fighting to juggle priorities, and I’ve just lost 14 to 16 hours a week.

But on the whole, it’s more good news than bad. I just need to raise my game still another notch.

Back to the new blog…

When I signed on, I suddenly realized that I already had a blog there,  my first attempt at a bespoke blog, about three years ago.

And boy does it show.

But one interesting post, which was supposed to be the first of a series, is some of the outlining process involved in Winter  Song, which is here. I haven’t sat down and analyzed how far away (or how close) this version is to the final one — it might be an interesting exercise — if I had the time. 

Meanwhile, I have a short non-fiction piece to write for my Feature Journalism elective, a horror story to write for Halloween (and my Genre Fiction elective) and a couple of pages for Black Death, which is my Creative Workshop piece this year. But at least today’s bit of Ultramassive is revised.


• October 22nd, 2010 • Posted in General • Comments: 0

Damage Time – 1 Week To US Release

And only after I’d posted this, and the links went Facebook, Twitter, etc, did I realize that it’s actually 5 days to release. The UK releases on Thursdays -it went out on the 7th– while the US unleashes books into the trade on the last Tuesday of the month. Doh!

But back to the original post…

I was up before dawn this morning and nearly lost my fingers twittering in the dark (I had to alternate removing my glove to press the keys and put it back on when my fingers went numb) which meant that one tweet took twenty minutes, so Alice and I scuttled back into the warmth in record time.

This morning I’ve subbed a couple of poems to a magazine; I’ll be amazed if they take them, since the whole process was a little tongue in cheek, but I’ve long given up trying to second guess who will buy what, and who will reject it.

And I’ve tidied up the order of the Damage Time extracts, so hopefully new -and returning- readers will be able to run through them a little more smoothly, and added Chapter 7. I’ll add two more sidebar chapters next week in the run up to the US release (which is a whole 7 days away! eek!) and on the big day will post one last extract, which is a main narrative chapter linking into the two sidebars.

Right, onto revisions and uni homework. Abyssinia!

• October 21st, 2010 • Posted in General • Comments: 0