Prospects and Plans

I did a little maths (that’s British for math) on the way home from the hotel job this morning. I figured out I only need to earn an average of £35 per day to match what I make as a night-porter. This feels like an achievable goal, which is a relief because the job is becoming a lot more demanding than I’d hoped.

The job has it’s perks. I get to complete the tasks unsupervised, which is great because I often felt patronised by managers at other jobs. I much prefer to be left alone and trusted to do the work well. Also, if there isn’t going to be an event the next day and wasn’t one that day, all I need to do is change the dirty table cloths, relay the tables, take out the bottle bins and bathroom rubbish, and then wait 5 hours until it’s time to set up the breakfast buffet. Ideally, this five-hour gap would give me time to write, read and network. However, there have been a lot of events lately.

Last night, the last of the guests didn’t go to bed until 1 am. They left several dirty glasses, coffee cups and assorted rubbish that had to be cleared. The glasses and cutlery they’d used had to be washed so I could use them for table settings. I then had to rearrange the tables in two rooms, then lay them (only to discover I still didn’t have enough cutlery and glasses), bring several chairs in from another building on the property, and then set up the breakfast buffet.

I have to go back for another shift in seven hours, and I’m still hurting from last night’s physical labour. I know to some of you it may seem like I’m whining, and I am. I know this. Suffering is a part of life, but (to a certain extent) we get to choose how we want to suffer. I’d much rather struggle over plot points and character development or push myself to meet deadlines and exceed client expectations.

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In order to achieve this, I aim to generate enough freelance writing work to earn £40 per day, with a stretch goal of £50. I’ve already spoken with several potential clients, three of which have already sent me their drafts and outlines. I’m feeling good about this. The sooner I no longer need to work at that hotel the better.

There’s no shortage of writers that have had an idea and begun writing a story, only to get stuck and lose hope. Some of them don’t even consider themselves writers, but I’m sure they’d love to see their name on a book! I can make that happen. £25 per hour may seem expensive (and if it is you think of it like an eight-hour workday), but I can work on your story for just one or two hours per week if you like.

A ten-hour work week would be all it takes to make the hotel job unnecessary, which is great because, with having to sleep during the day and getting no time to write during my shift, I often only have a couple of usable hours in a day at most. My days off are often spent recovering from work and networking to try and gain more clients. Hopefully, this blog post should help with that too.

Speaking of blog posts, I setup a Fiverr.com gig to try and get more writing work. I used to write an article per day for free when I first started blogging for a geeky WordPress site. I’d much rather get paid for it! One article per day would be enough to be able to quit the hotel job and write full-time. If you have a blog that needs articles, I’m your man!

Prices are negotiable, especially if I can get my name out there instead of ghost-writing, but my priority at the moment isn’t self-promotion. It’s getting enough money coming in to make working in a ‘regular job’ completely unnecessary. I’m a writer. That’s all I want to do.

This post, by the way, is what a ‘short’ article would look like. I can make it shorter if you want, but as you can see, it’s a little more than 500 words 😉

Have a great day 🙂

 

The New Plan – Operation Freelance!

After talking it over with a very smart friend I’ve decided to offer blog articles for £100 each, and £50 each for short ones.

I’m offering Ghostwriting and Co-Author services too. If you have a great story idea but don’t think that you could do it justice, then I can help. You may even have started writing it yourself and got stuck. You can hire me as a Ghostwriter, in which case the book has your name on it, and you get to keep the royalties, but you pay me for my time upfront. Or, you can let me take a Co-Author credit, both names are on the cover, we split the royalties 50-50, and it costs you nothing.

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I’m hoping to build up a client list as quickly as possible. I need to be a full-time writer. I’m going nuts. I’ve been trying to build my profile, and my reputation. Take my time. Do this right. Work wherever I can to survive while I make myself look great online. The problem is that the job I’m doing for money is taking all my time, energy and motivation.

I didn’t realize when I started working nights how lonely and depressing it would get. I needed some time to think, but now I’m ready to rejoin the world. I could just get another shitty job doing bar-work, retail or call centre customer service, but I really don’t want to have to. I want to write. It’s all I want to do, and I’m good at it.

I got my start as a blogger writing geek-culture articles for a WordPress-based website. The articles I’ve written for them seem to have gone, but I saved a few of my favourites and re-blogged them on Games ‘n’ Geekery. A geeky website of my own I created using all the skills I learned while working for them, and a few tricks I’ve picked up since.

They didn’t pay me anything, but the experience was invaluable. I learned how to use WordPress, how to make a good-looking blog article, and that I could churn out an original 500-1000 word article, including research, links, pictures and video, every single day.

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I used what they taught me to create this blog, and others. The Hermes925 serialized story that I’ve been posting to this website attracted the attention of Tod Foley, who recruited me for the UbiquiCity project. The writer team would video conference online to talk about our ideas and world-build together, then we each wrote a short story that fit into the world we created. My short story, and the others, are now available on Amazon as part of the UbiquiCity anthology. The accompanying RPG sourcebook will be out soon. It was a fun project. 🙂

I got the opportunity to ghost-write a story for someone, and that was fun too, but the client put the project on hold before I saw a penny for the work I did. I definitely learned a lesson there, but it put me off the idea of ghost-writing for a while.

I submitted a short story or two to contests and publications that offered a cash prize or payment if you were accepted, but it didn’t take me long to figure out that writing short stories for submission, especially if they don’t get accepted. Too much time and effort, for not enough guaranteed reward. If I write a good short story, I want some guarantee I’m going to get paid for it, and I certainly didn’t want to have to pay someone to publish it.

It’s about that time I got distracted by the Creative Writers group. It had only 32 members left, no admin at all. It occurred to me that I could test some of the things I’d learned about social media management and audience building, and also create the kind of supportive community I wanted to find. The group now has over seventeen thousand members.

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I even created an opportunity for group members. I’ve always been a ‘learn by doing’ kind of person. I learn best when it’s a necessary means to accomplish a desired outcome. In hindsight the Monolith project was probably a little too ambitious, but that was kind of the idea. Set the bar high and see if I could pull it off. I didn’t, but I learned a lot along the way.

The idea was to create a series of large anthologies, containing well-written stories, all conforming to the same theme. There would be no charge to submit and we would review the stories as they were submitted. That way we wouldn’t have to try and deal with a huge pile all at once after the submission deadline, and the writers would get feedback right away instead of having to wait. This also gave them an opportunity to try and improve their submission and try again.

We ended up with a lot of great stories, and a lot that could have been good if the writers had been willing to improve them. The project became a logistical nightmare, even with help from other admins in the group, and so the project was abandoned. However, I decided to test self-publishing anyway with one of the short-stories I had written. It sold pretty well for a short story, and I’m currently writing a longer story, hopefully a novel, inspired by the short story. It’s called The Haunted Story.

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It’s taking longer to write than I wanted though. I enjoy writing stories, but they’re harder than blog articles. I have several work-in-progress story-lines that I will to turn into books. A few of the ideas have already been mentioned in this blog. I know I can manage my time better, and be able to spend more time and energy writing my stories, if I can write full-time. The night porter job is an inefficient use of my time and wastes my creativity.

I could replace the hotel job by securing enough clients to write an article a day, just like I used to do. I’m a good writer, as you can see from this blog and my published stories. I’m more than happy to negotiate, especially if I can gain something else besides money, like cover-art, editing, or marketing.

I can do blogging, and it comes easily to me, but I’d prefer to write a book with you. I know from the previous experience that I write better and faster when I’m working for someone, and it gives me something to look forward to each day. Unlike my current job. At this point I’d welcome any opportunity to write for a living really.

So, want to write a book with me? If you don’t have any ideas, I can help with that too. I’m aware that some people just want to see a book on the shelves with their name on the cover. I can arrange that. I can also go to the opposite extreme and help you polish up and revise a story that you’ve mostly written already (and that wouldn’t cost as much). It’d be much more fun to bounce ideas off each other and come up with a great story together, but I’m flexible.

Please email me: antonym.copeland@gmail.com or leave me a comment if you have any questions, advice for new freelancers, or a project for me. Whether you’re a fellow writer with too much on your plate, a website manager that needs more content, or just someone that wants their name on a book, I look forward to hearing from you.

Have a great day 🙂

 

Untangling my Brain

I’ve never been a particularly organised person. My ex-wife was very organised, but try as she might she could never get any of the systems to stick. Everything goes on my desk in a jumbled pile. Looking at it now I have several notepads, a letter about self-assessment, a wireless keyboard that I don’t use (but might), notes for an FAQ article for Creative Writers that I never got around to writing, a top hat, grooming cream, pens, a string of lights that look like spiders, my razor, several hair-ties, my laptop, and my wallet. This is not the full list, I just wanted to give you an impression!

Several of the items don’t need to be there and should be put away, but then as soon as I need them again they end up back on the desk. It must have been infuriating to live with. I realized today, while trying to sleep off a stomach book, that my thoughts are just as messy. When I think about writing, I often end up with a confusing traffic jam of thoughts. Oddly enough this doesn’t seem to happen when I’m actually writing.

I keep saying I want to write for a living, but I will often sit procrastinated, thinking my conflicting ideas. It’s hard to express what goes on, because these thoughts often occur simultaneously, but it’s like this. An event requires a date, and a location and people that all have their own plans and conflicting appointments. My brain will think of multiple dates, situation, and personality types all at once, which is rather overwhelming.

The prospect of writing become horrible. Yet, as I said before, when I start writing it’s different. Especially when I’m writing this blog. The words just flow. Stories are harder, but I think I may spend too much time over thinking each part of the story instead of writing it. I’ll look at the last sentence I wrote and get lost in my conflicting and overlapping thoughts.

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There’s no reason why I can’t stay on top of everything though if I just ignored the brain mess and just wrote. There’s this blog, ‘Hermes925’, the Games n Geekery blog, ‘The Haunted Story’, and my pseudonym project (trying my hand at a genre that doesn’t fit the Antony M. Copeland brand)! That’s it!. I could do a bit more on each, every day and make a bigger impact on my future career.

I need to get more books out, and sell them. If I can get into a routine, I may be able to add ‘The War on Magic’ back into the mix, and possibly rewrite ‘The City of Gate’ as a fantasy novel. Of course, establishing a routine has never been my strong suit, but I have to at least try.

I’ve considered trying to get a job as a content writer or copywriter, but it doesn’t sound fun. Writing for White Dwarf magazine would have been fun, but they turned down my application (to be fair, I rushed it it my excitement). Most of these jobs would be elsewhere. There’s a lot of content writer jobs in London, and Games Workshop is in Nottingham. If I took a job like that it would have to pay well enough to afford a place to live, which is unlikely.

I have a pretty good set-up here until I can make enough from books to quit the hotel job and rent somewhere much cheaper than I could find in a large city. It took Candace three years to get her income up to five figures. It’s doable. I’d rather not spend anymore of my life than I have to at the hotel, but if I manage my time correctly, the time should fly by.

I’m just not looking forward to the meeting with the owner. However she’s yet to actually schedule anything, and she may not take the opportunity to yell at me like everyone says she will. If she does, I need to take it with a large dose of salt. The main part of the hotel is actually the house she grew up in. This is her pride and joy. She’s bound to be protective of it. I’m still not going to appreciate being yelled at though.

Maybe I should get the Patreon going again, but this time really use it. Post updates to the stories and links to the blogs. It may help me become an independent writer a little faster.

First, I should tidy my desk!

Death Sentence

I’ve mentioned something about the benefits of thinking negatively put I handed put a couple of important pieces together until this week. I hit a low, like you do, and was beginning to contemplate an exit strategy. There were a couple of people, and a couple of events, that helped me begin to climb out again.

Let’s start on a high note before I drag you into the sea of dispair I had been night-swimming in. Just a day or so ago, the UbiquiCity anthology was published! I still need to figure out how to get it to come up on my Author page, but if you search for ‘Antony Copeland’ (remember to leave out the ‘h’!) two results come up instead of just one!

For those that haven’t heard me mention UbiquiCity before, it’s a role-playing game sourcebook (that part isn’t out yet) and a collection of short stories, including one written by me! It’s based in the future and will probably be perfect for anyone who has played CyberPunk or ShadowRun and feel like the tech is out-dated. The consulting writers all help to create a society to play with that was utterly infused with computer-based intelligence. If you’re a proud RPG geek with a love of well-written fluff, buy it! 🙂

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In addition to this great news, I also recently learned that the e-zine, Diversions from Drudgery, is still on track! So Hermes925 is still going to get published. I can put my concerns regarding continuity and plot holes to once side. It’s already going out as is, I’ll have to create a revised edition later if I still feel it’s necessary. Which means I can focus more on The Haunted Story project!

So that’s helping. Another thing that was a huge help was actually talking to some of my friends about my depression. One of whom had an amazing revelation about her own depression. She admitted publicly (on Facebook), that she is suicidal, but that it doesn’t mean that she’s going to kill herself, or at least not yet. It means that she’s acknowledging that she may, one day, kill herself if her life doesn’t get better. She’s using that as motivation to make her life better, or (quite literally) die trying.

The worst possible consequence of anything is death. Especially if you’re a chronic over-thinker like me (the downside of a good imagination I suppose). I don’t go out much because that stranger walking towards me could kill me. I especially tend to avoid bars and pubs because a drunken person is far more likely to turn aggressive. That’s why Facebook is so appealing to me. People may threaten to kill one another, but the risk of them actually doing so is minimal! Just in case though, I always try to be nice.

This actually connects to something else I’ve done that I’m not sure I want to talk about much. However, it came up, so out it comes! I’ve had a working theory for a while now that part of the reason I get depressed is because I always feel like I have to be nice. To get ahead in life, and to stay alive. Happy people have no reason to reason to kill you, especially if you’re the one that made them happy. I’ve had this theory since childhood. Make everyone happy = everyone is safe! It doesn’t matter that lots of my fellow schoolchildren didn’t respond well to my attempts to cheer them up, the concept was solidly integrated into my core programming.

I wanted to be good and make my parents happy, and the best way to make sure they would be happy all the time, would be to save the world. In hindsight it was a supremely arrogant, and condescending way to treat people. Anyway, having to be good all the time so that you can save-the-world/not-get-killed would sometimes get tiresome. Especially when people couldn’t see that you were just trying to help. It made me sad when I saw people doing something incorrectly (and even sadder when they argued).

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I’m the one looking like I’m in mid-nervous wriggle on the left end of the first row.

I was absolutely convinced that I was better than them, and every time this concept was challenged I felt bullied and victimized. I know other people don’t think this way, because they didn’t understand. I got labelled a cry-baby, because whenever anyone challenged what I knew was true, I’d cry and an adult would come running to save me. In my mind this meant I was right. ‘See? The grown-up is on my side!’

Of course, this didn’t work so well once I was a teenager. When I was fifteen, one of my teachers suggested I keep a logbook of every time someone picks on me. I thought it was a great idea, until I discovered that the stuff I was getting upset about sounded so ridiculous on paper that I stopped writing stuff down. I felt like I could no longer justify crying to an adult over everything. I was forced to have to use my wits!

My wits weren’t as sharp as I had led myself to believe, and I was faced with the possibility that I may not be as smart as I thought. I’m still a little embarrassed by my final grades. The more frustrated I got, the more I found I wanted to say things that weren’t nice. However, it still had a strong self-identity as a good boy. No smoking, no swearing, and no intimacy with girls until you’re married. The idea of voices these ideas and questions made me very uncomfortable.

Then one day I snapped. It didn’t make much sense why I did. I’d failed to make an omelette in cooking class (the school called it ‘Food Technology’) I kept adding more eggs, sure that it would bind the sloppy mixture together. It was an embarrassing, and personally confusing, disaster. I realize now the reason why it upset me so much because it challenged my self-identity. I can make an omelette. I’d done it before. It wasn’t going according to plan, but it was okay because I knew how to fix it. Then the fix made it worse, and worse! It simply didn’t compute that it was happening.

Later that day, some else happened that wasn’t right. I was in the smart kid class for science (physics and biology were fun). It bothered me I wasn’t in the top tier for Maths too but that’s another story that also ended in me realizing my self-image was wrong. Good boys were supposed to be smart, be great at Science and Mathematics and go to university! Anyway, the Science teacher was off sick, so our class was to join one of the regular classes, and that teacher hadn’t arrived yet. The class contained several people that liked to pick on me. I lashed out with a fountain pen (fountain pens are better than other pens, therefore I had a fountain pen) at a (very stocky) girl that was curious about my odd-looking ‘rolling ruler’ an quickly left the room in search of an adult.

A rolling ruler. I thought it was slick!

I told the first adult I could find that I didn’t know what happened. People were picking on me, then the next thing I knew I was leaving. To acknowledge that I know exactly what I did would contradict my self-identity. I had had been diagnosed with epilepsy as a child, so mu mum thought maybe it was an ‘absent’ seizure.

I should point out that I no longer think they were picking on me or bullying me. I think they were trying to figure me out. They found my answers entertaining because, to them, they were weird. I’m on fairly good terms with my weirdness, but I was never good with depression. Partly because (I think) I still have the ‘good boy’ persona dominant. How can a good boy have depression? That makes no sense! How can I be my father’s ‘Sunshine’ (his nickname) and simultaneously be able to acknowledge the anger and pain? Especially when so many have it much harder.

Telling myself that others are worse off is part of the same arrogant ‘I’m better than they are’ mindset that I’m trying to shed. Though shedding may not be the write idea. I know that bottling up doesn’t work. There have been some previous occasions when I’ve tried turning the feelings I represent as a secondary personality. The idea being that by allowing ‘him’ to express himself, I can prevent myself from having ‘outbursts’ (the one in Science class wasn’t the only time).

The ‘good boy’ and this alter-ego do seem to agree on a few things though. Including that multiple personalities, talking to yourself, etc. is nuts! I’d soon suppress it all again. I still find myself wanting to say things I can’t if I want to be seen as professional and have readers like me, so I push it down. So I’m trying the experiment again, and justifying the potential insanity by pointing out that I’m a writer. Writers have conversations with and as their characters all the time while writing their stories.

I’ve also read several times that the books that make the most money are romance and erotica. Both genres aren’t my thing. It doesn’t fit my dominant self-image to enjoy or write about love and sex, but If I write the stories as my rebellious alter-ego, I’m not compromising my online brand, an I give those thoughts I normally suppress an outlet that actually helps the cause!

Anyway. Long segue. It sort of ties back though because this permission I’ve given myself to explore ideas that don’t fit my personality allows me to learn things about myself that I have previously never allowed myself too, including being able to admit that, I too, am suicidal. I still believe though, based on looking at every angle I can think of, that it’s symptomatic, or at least the optimistic side does.

The pessimist likes to point out that this is biological disorder, but he also doesn’t trust that disorders are real. He thinks they’re either part of a deliberate conspiracy to undermine us and put ourselves in limited boxes so we don’t actually analyse ourselves to closely and figure out what we can do with our unique differences, or that people prefer being dumb, it takes less effort, so they slap a label on themselves and each other to they don’t have to think too hard.

Since I know these thoughts are upsetting, I tend not to agree with them in public. I still have the thoughts, I just can’t express them. However, that’s not really wanted to talk about. Admitting that feeling suicidal is, at least in my current situation, a fact, actually offers me a freedom I didn’t have before. If I might kill myself, the the worst that can happen is inevitable.

I may as well start taking risks as if I have a terminal disease. As if I could die tomorrow, at my own hand. Hiding from the world in my room is no longer a safe place. Suddenly my chances of survival in the outside world increases dramatically in comparison to the absolute certainty that, if I don’t make some changes in my life, I am going to kill myself.

I’ve believed the idea that ‘live for today, because you could die tomorrow’ for some time, but I’ve never put that additional piece ‘by your own hand’ before now. It makes the motivation far more immediate. A sudden heart-attack seems hard to imagine when compared to being hit by a bus, and of the two the heart-attack seems less painful, so my brain found a loop-hole and stayed indoors!

I can’t handle it anymore. I’ve got to make more contacts. Get myself out of the rat-race, or at least get myself a job that allows me to use my brain. Make more friends and hang out more with the ones I have. Perhaps even track down and meet up with some of the online ones! I think I may even be ready to risk a girlfriend! I miss having someone to cuddle and cry with, laugh and play with. The other guy has some ideas too that a good boy should never have.

It may hurt to open my heart again, but I’m hurting anyway. Maybe there’s even a chance that ‘the one’ is still out there, and not just a myth designed to keep us in line as ‘someone’ keeps telling me! It’s unlikely that anyone that reads this and the rest of my blog would be even remotely interested in dating me, but at least if they do, they’ll be somewhat forewarned!

If I start putting myself in situations that may make me happy, I may discover I don’t have to feel so sad. We’ll see if I’m brave enough, or if this new perspective will truly help.

Have a great day

The Haunted Story Continues!

 The Haunted Story: Dead Letter is my first work of fiction on Amazon. If you’re into horror, ghost stories and gore, then this book is perfect for you. Especially if you’re just looking for a quick read, and it’s only 99p!

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I’m currently writing the story of Janet Burrows. The homicide detective that’s been assigned to this case. I’ve been writing a little more each day, even when I don’t feel like it or it’s been a hard shift at the night-job, or I’ve been dealing with drama in the Creative Writers group (it’s inevitable with a Facebook Group this big)!

I want to get Janet’s story up quickly. It’s a full story, not just a letter. It will show you, the reader, what Mark Anderson can do now that he’s dead! Originally I was going to try to write the story in journal entries and case notes written by Detective Burrows, but that’s not the way it’s coming out.

Book 2 is written in the third person perspective, which allows the reader to be able to see the big picture and see what the characters don’t. First person might have made it feel more personal and immediate, but based on the way the story is taking shape, I think people are going to still be reading the book while under a blanket, clutching a pillow and yelling, “No! Don’t do that!” at the book!

I’m not sure what to call book 2 yet. I may just call it ‘The Haunted Story’ and leave subtitles for the supplements (like Dead Letter). However, I’m also planning to write a sequel following a journalist/ blogger that’s determined to get the details of the case for an article. Maybe I should name each book for its main character?

This would make the story I’m writing now ‘Detective Burrows’ or just ‘Burrows’. This sounds good, but that would also mean changing ‘Dead Letter’ to ‘Anderson’. This sounded ridiculous in my head, but now that I’ve written it, I think I like it.

I had intended to begin publishing Hermes925, but apparently, Janet really wanted to tell her story! I also found out that the ‘Diversions from Drudgery’ magazine project is still a go! I already agreed to publish the story through them, a few entries at a time. The revisions I was planning to make can wait. If I make any changes now, it will confuse readers that have already started reading the current version.

I’m also pleased to see that the ‘UbiquiCity’ project is making progress too. The  Sci-Fi RPG sourcebook, which includes a short story written by me, should soon be available on RPGnow.com. I’m sure I’ll end up writing an article about it, and another for the first issue of DfD, as soon as they both become available.

‘The War on Magic’ and ‘Timechain’ stories have both been put back on hold, for now, though I’m sure I’ll dip back into them if and when the mood strikes me. For now, ‘The Haunted Story: Burrows’ is my priority.

I have, however, also been trying to update my social media presence. Both LinkedIn and GoodReads have been recommended to me by fellow writers. LinkedIn to expand my professional connections including fellow writers, editors, games designers and movie-producers. GoodReads to find and interact with my audience, and also to cross-promote with other writers.

Updating my LinkedIn profile already allowed me to notice an opportunity I wouldn’t have been aware of otherwise. A writing job working for the company that designed my favourite game system. It’s been on my ‘dream jobs’ list for quite some time. I haven’t heard anything back yet, but it’s only been four days since the deadline. If I don’t get it, I’ll keep networking and writing, and try again the next time a similar opportunity arises.

I’m still playing with GoodReads. In fact, this blog post is motivated by the fact I just linked my WordPress blog feed with my GoodReads author page. If you’re a fellow GoodReads Author reading this, and you know how to update the cover image for my book (it’s already changed on Amazon, but hasn’t updated on GoodReads yet) please talk me through the process as I have yet to figure it out myself.

If anyone has any more tips on using GoodReads and LinkedIn, or recommended cross-promotion groups, I’d love to hear them. I am, of course, still on Facebook and Twitter.

Have a great day 🙂

 

The Monolith Crumbles!

It’s been a dramatic week. It seems almost ironic now that I called my last post about Monolith was called Plot Twist! My disappointment over my own short story not making the cut is nothing compared to what I felt when I learned, on the 15th, that the anthology project’s future was in dispute.

I wish I could tell you the details of what happened, but I don’t know them all. Even the admins who left the group in the aftermath would agree that there was a lack of communication involved. I also promised to take full responsibility for Monolith’s failure, which is fair enough since it was my project. They were just helping to realise m dream after all, and I was the one who chose them to help me.

It doesn’t matter at the end of the day what others say about me or the project. I’ve learned a lot from the experience, which was one of the main reasons I began the Monolith project in the first place. If it was successful, it would have helped a lot of new authors that don’t feel comfortable with the self-promotion aspect to get their work out there and to receive a fair reward for their work. However, the initial trigger was far less altruistic.

I’d been working on Hermes925 for quite some time, and I was becoming increasingly distracted from actually writing it by the fact that at some point, I would need to publish it. I had very little idea how publishing actually worked, particularly self-publishing, and I didn’t want to risk Hermes925 by doing it badly. An anthology of short stories seemed the ideal solution.

Again, I’d never done anything like this before, but I was sure I could either figure it out as we went or get help from people that either had experience with similar projects or at least had some idea how we might be able to pull it off. What I did know how to do, with all the reading I been doing on social media marketing, combined with the soft skills I’d acquired during nearly 20 years of customer service and sales jobs, was how to get people excited about an idea.

I admit that I avoided proof-reading. I had set a high bar for the quality of work that we would accept. Since I have no experience in editing and proof-reading and hate editing my own work even, it made sense to delegate the task to those whose opinions I held in high regard. If I do anything this again, I need to check that the stories being flagged for acceptance actually clear the bar I’d set.

I doubted my ability to do a good job, not because I have poor self-esteem (I don’t), but because I’m self-aware enough to be aware that stories outside my preferred genre tend to bore me. If I rejected every story that didn’t hold my attention, the book would have contained nothing but fantasy, sci-fi and ghost stories! I wanted the book to have more diversity than that.

Because of my lack of oversight, some stories got accepted that didn’t reach the high standards I was hoping for, so I recruited a few more people to help us clean up the mess we’d made. There was one person in particular that dove right into organising and directing the project with such fervour that I felt like I could finally take a breather and refocus on the parts of running Creative Writers I was best at. Engaging with people.

Sadly, my stepping back and leaving them too it was misconstrued and led some of the team to believe I no longer cared about the project. At least, that’s what I’ve gathered. To a certain extent, they were right. The further along in the project we got, the more it seemed like another set of hurdles for new writers to jump, instead of being any real help. However, I still felt we could stand out from the other writing opportunities out there and provide people with a real shot of getting known and building a sustainable income.

Sadly, I didn’t get an opportunity to reassure them of this before I was asked to pull the plug on the Monolith project. I made a series of bad calls, including taking a back seat right when I should have been making sure that the plans being made fit with my original mission statement. Perhaps I could have controlled the outcome and kept the project on track.

On the other hand, perhaps this is for the best. Now that the Monolith project isn’t demanding my attention every day, I have more time to write. Theoretically at least! I still have the Creative Writers group to run, along with the associated blog, a story I’m proof-reading and another waiting for my attention when it’s finished, four works-in-progress that all want some of my time, this blog, the games and geekery blog (which I don’t think I’ll have time for anytime soon), and my night-porter job!

I’m choosing to see the demise of Monolith as a good thing. A burden lifted from my shoulders. I’m still disappointed that I couldn’t make it work, but who knows what the future may bring.

 

 

 

What Would Jerry Do?

I’m not saying I’m a ‘Jerry’, but if I was writing ‘Rick and Morty’, after separating from Beth, Jerry would’ve started wearing black eyeliner and writing bad sci-fi based on the adventures he never got to have!

For those that don’t know what I’m talking about, ‘Rick and Morty‘ is a cartoon in which an alcoholic mad scientist (Rick) takes his insecure grandson (Morty) with him to parallel dimensions and alien worlds. The results are hilarious and often disturbing, and Jerry (Morty’s father and Rick’s son-in-law) never gets to come along.

Jerry loves Beth (Rick’s daughter/ Morty’s mother) more than anything, but he’s rather spineless. As a result, his attempts to be the man of the house are more than a little desperate. Beth clearly wears the pants in the relationship. Even after they break up, Jerry still defines himself by the relationship he’s lost.

He’d clearly be better off moving on and finding someone who appreciates him for who he is. After of course, he’s taken the time to truly discover who he is as an individual, and not as a clingy parasite, but he’s Jerry, and he’ll continue to self-sabotage and aim to fail because that’s what Jerry’s do across multiple parallel dimensions.

It occurred to me last night at work while humming ‘Everything I do‘ from the Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves soundtrack (I made the mistake of watching it again recently) that there are some definite similarities between the relationship Jerry has with Beth, and the one I had/have with my ex-wife. Unlike Jerry, I don’t see my ‘Beth’ anymore, but I still find myself thinking about what I’ve lost even though I know that what we had was unhealthy.

I even had a somewhat Rick-like father-in-law!

However, the point of this article wasn’t to mope down memory lane, wondering for the infinite-th time what I could have done to make her happy and berate myself for the promises I didn’t keep. It was to realise that I can use this parallel to my advantage! Most writers are familiar with the advice ‘write what you know’ (interestingly enough, the writer I recently interviewed recommended the opposite) but doing so often leaves me bogged down in emotions that halt my progress.

I’m working on a story right now in which the main character is intimidated by his more intelligent and successful spouse, and it occurs to me that, instead of reopening old wounds to bare my own soul on the page, I could just base the character on Jerry! Hopefully, the trick works and I can finish the short story without spiralling into self-pitying depression in the process!

If only I could also find a character with a similar childhood to mine so that I can tackle my The Science Of Magic rewrite too! I’m hoping to get part one of both stories out on Kindle soon so that I have more on my Amazon author page than just the first book of The Haunted Story series. 🙂